Actions

Work Header

Take a Chance

Chapter Text

“What is it?” Kara huffed out, her frustration finally reaching critical mass.

“What’s what?” Alex replied, playing dumb by pretending to study the DEO’s monitors far too intently considering Kara had literally just dispatched the rogue villain of the week.

Kara crossed her arms, hip cocked forward slightly as she leant against the central console, blue eyes observing her sister's profile closely. 

“Whatever you’re not telling me because you think it will upset me.” The superhero clarified bluntly, her social hesitation and uncertainty having dampened over the last few years. 

She had learnt the hard way how important it was to never shy away from the truth and avoid speaking around the heart of the matter. It was a lesson she had absorbed completely, and it was one she refused to forget - needing to prove she had evolved, had bettered herself from the version that had required teaching in the first place.

“I’m not…” Alex refuted, shrugging dismissively but keeping her gaze trained forward, “There’s no-“

“Look, I’m asking you out of courtesy,” Kara cut in, “but you and I both know that I could just as easily ask Nia, and she would fold almost instantly.”

Alex grumbled irritably under her breath - Nia still had yet to build an effective resistance to Kara’s puppy dog eyes and this particular weakness had caused no small amount of trouble for Alex over the last five years.

“It is Lena related, right?” Kara checked, though it was completely unnecessary. 

For Alex to actively try and keep a secret from her, it couldn’t be about anything else. And it had been more or less confirmed by her sister's reaction to her threatening to go to Nia.

“Just because I’m keeping a secret, doesn’t automatically mean it’s to do with Lena.” Alex tried, though the conviction behind her statement was weaker than wet tissue paper. 

The redhead side-eyed her and Kara merely had to arch an unimpressed eyebrow in return for the DEO director to deflate. 

“Okay maybe it’s a little to do with Lena.” Alex admitted with a wince, rubbing the back of her neck in defeat.

Kara threw her hands up in exasperation. “It’s been over five years, okay? I’m fine!”

Her bellowed declaration of stability, made the nearby DEO agents look over with a mix of curiosity and concern. Kara grimaced at the reaction and as such didn’t resist when Alex grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the central room and into her private office.

Alex turned to face her fully, lips pressed tight together and hands firm on her own hips (it had always annoyed Kara that Alex managed to make her signature superhero pose far more intimidating than her own attempts). 

“Yelling I’m fine, definitely helps your case.” Alex retorted, voice dripping with sarcasm.

Kara had the good grace to look suitably embarrassed for a moment before launching into the same variation of the speech she gave every time there was a morsel of Lena news to be had. “I screwed up, okay? Big time screwed up - ‘regret it for the rest of my life’ screwed up!” Kara declared prompting a beleaguered sigh from her sister who knew the blatant lie that was coming next. “But I’ve made my peace with it. I won’t spiral into another depressive episode when I hear how happy she is.”

Alex shook her head, not even remotely convinced - not that Kara could blame her, the last time Alex had been pestered into telling her a Lena update, Kara had spent a weekend on a drinking binge that had successfully proven that there were limits even for a kryptonian. 

“I don’t think-“ Alex began.

“What is it?” Kara demanded. “Is she getting another medal from the president?”

Alex shook her head, jaw clenching and unclenching. “Kara, you don’t want to know this.”

“Her and Kal save the world again?” Kara barrelled on, her lips curling into a jealous snarl. “The greatest Luthor and Super duo continue to make the world a better place?”

That particular news article had been printed and burned by Kara’s heat vision more times than she dared admit to anyone.

“Kara, please-“ Alex begged, expression crumpling as Kara relentlessly pushed.

“Tell me, I can take it.” Kara proclaimed, voice coming out high pitched and strained. “Is she dating someone again? Another famous actress? That Olympic male gymnast? What-“

“She’s getting married.”

A bomb must have gone off, Kara thought to herself.

A kryptonite bomb.

It was the only thing that could explain the ringing in her ears, and the way everything just… hurt .

A shard of kryptonite must have pierced her chest and cut her heart into jagged pieces. That was the only thing that could explain it.

“What?” She questioned, barely above a whisper. She didn’t quite recognise her own voice - it sounded shattered and unfamiliar. She also didn’t know what she was asking.

Didn’t know what ‘ what’ was all about. 

What just happened?

What did you say?

What post-apocalyptic reality are we living in now?

“Next week, she’s getting married.” Alex explained, giving Kara answers she no longer wanted. “Sam, Ruby, Kal and Lois are invited.”

She knew it should sting. Not being invited even though they hadn’t spoken in nearly five years. That she should feel something about the fact that Lena had omitted Alex, Brainy, Nia and J’onn as well - it further reinforced how Lena believed them to be Kara’s friends and never hers (which was one of the things Kara regretted most - how her poor treatment of Lena had infected and destroyed everyone else’s friendship with the youngest Luthor).

“To who?” Kara asked, tone cold, hollow… empty.

“Kara,” Alex murmured softly, reaching out to comfort her sister, “this clearly isn’t good for you.”

Kara jerked backwards so fast that the papers on Alex’s desk shot into the air, fluttering down around the sisters like snow. 

“Just tell me!” Kara ordered, hands turned into white knuckle fists at her sides that would be capable of tearing through the strongest of metals. Her eyes heated but she managed to stave the fire in them as she glowered at her sister.

Alex slumped back, leaning heavily against her desk, running a frantic hand through her short hair. “Does it matter?” Alex muttered defeatedly, brown eyes filled with pity and sympathy as she stared up into Kara’s eyes.

“Of course it fucking matters,” Kara snapped in outrage before she had a chance to stop and think , “because it’s not me!”

The admission hung heavy and rotting between them. It wasn’t a revelation to either of them, though the fact that the intensity of Kara’s feelings hadn’t dampened despite the separation of half a decade was.

“Kara…” Alex breathed, standing back up and moving towards the blonde with the obvious intent of hugging her.

“I should get back to CatCo.” Kara mumbled, cheeks a fiery red with shame. She stepped hurriedly away from her sister and was already halfway out the door before she halted, turning back to call out a sad yet sincere. “Thanks for telling me.”

 


 

“I genuinely don’t get why you love these films so much.” Lena remarked, hands cupping her just made cup of cocoa, nose adorably scrunched up as she snuggled back down on the sofa beside Kara, who didn’t hesitate to wrap an arm around her best friend’s shoulders.

“They’re sweet and romantic.” Kara replied with a happy sigh, turning to nuzzle into the side of Lena’s head for a fleeting moment as the film’s lead started her joyful march down the aisle. “It makes me hopeful.”

“Hopeful?” Lena repeated curiously, leaning away slightly so she could meet Kara’s blue eyes.

Kara shrugged, ducking her head bashfully, “It’s stupid.”

“Hey,” Lena murmured gently, freeing a hand from her mug so that she could interlace her warmed fingers with Kara’s, “you could never be stupid, especially not about something like this.” Her best friend asserted, before asking seriously, “You want the classic big white wedding?”

“Uh…” Kara blushed, cheeks pinking as her mind struggled to kick into gear. 

She didn’t know how to tell Lena that the reason she loved weddings more than any other event is because they so closely resembled Kryptonian Bonding ceremonies. That the exchanging of rings, polished everlasting metal, reminded her of wonderfully crafted bracelets clasped on wrists. That it was an occasion for family to join together across generations, for the rare flashes of art and music on Krypton to take centre stage over cold science.

She didn’t know how to tell Lena that after being alone, abandoned and lost - ripped away from her home in the cruelest of ways - that the idea of belonging to someone else, of having a home in someone else regardless of time or location was what Kara wanted more than anything else.

She didn’t know how to tell Lena because it would require admitting the truth of who she really was, it would require taking accountability for years of lies. 

She didn’t know how to tell Lena without losing her forever.

“Yeah.” Kara coughed awkwardly, “I want the whole thing. Beautiful dress, surrounded by family… the love of my life at the end of the aisle. Everything.” She shot Lena a side-long glance, “I’m guessing you don’t?”

“Never really been my thing,” Lena admitted readily and Kara’s heart twisted at how Lena didn’t hesitate to bare herself, how she gave all of herself when it could be argued that Kara - at best - only gave half, “probably because I can’t imagine I have enough people in my life to invite and feel ‘surrounded’.” Lena pursed her lips thoughtfully, “I also don’t get the need for the spectacle. Just the idea that there’s someone out there that would want to…” Kara watched her best friend deflate, expression wistful and pained, “be with me, love me like that… that’s more than enough.”

Kara’s eyes stung with barely suppressed tears at how little Lena thought of herself. Whoever had the privilege of marrying her best friend would be the single luckiest and most fortunate person in the universe and Kara wished Lena knew that, wished she believed it. But when she opened her mouth to say it, to proclaim it, her breath faltered and her courage abandoned her… like it always did with the youngest Luthor.

“So no white dress?” Kara muttered instead, voice meek and lacking the lightheartedness that should have carried the question.

It didn’t matter, though, Lena let out a quick exhale that resembled something on the edge of laughter. Kara’s escalating heart rate settled at that, however, it did little to alleviate the pang of regret that was steadily accompanying all her interactions with the CEO.

“Well, I guess I could be convinced by someone special.” Lena teased, shooting Kara an overtly salacious wink that wouldn’t - on the surface - be considered genuine.

“Anyone that marries you will have to be special.” Kara replied, the statement tumbling out instantly. 

It wasn’t the heartfelt confession that Kara wished it to be and it wasn’t quite light enough to be dismissed as a friendly reassurance. Instead, it was yet another thing that fell into the ethereal greyness that lied between them, something to tuck away and think back on late at night when they tried to work out if the other meant it the way they wished they did.

“Yeah?” Lena whispered, piercing green eyes studying Kara’s face closely.

Kara swallowed thickly, “Yeah.”

 


 

Lena found out less than six weeks after that movie night. They defeated Lex and Kara had been on the edge of breathing easy, of being able to simply relax back into her life when it all came crashing down.

They had been at Games Night and Kara had been antsy, waiting for her best friend to arrive. The thought of pulling Lena into a hug had been what she had been looking forward to most all day.

Kara was at peace, laughing and drinking with her friends - her family - when Lena had arrived. Kara had beamed up at her immediately and for a second Lena’s entrancing green eyes lit up in return before turning dark and distant.

Kara’s smile faltered, crinkle appearing between her brows when-

The wine bottle smashed into the wall behind Kara’s head.

Deathly silence fell over the area.

Kara looked into hollow, emptied out versions of her favourite green. She would have preferred anger, fury, rage… the defeated nothingness staring back at the Kryptonian was far worse.

Lena turned and left, grinding Kara’s heart to dust and taking the sand particles left with her.

She knew. 

She knew because Lex had told her. 

She knew because she had gone to stop her brother, intent on saving the world like always only to find out that those she was saving the world for didn’t view her as their equal. That the people she treated as family had kept her on the outskirts. That her best friend had lied, had manipulated, had-

 


 

It was Lois that found out everything from Lena.

When the fallout had happened, as Kara and the Superfriends realised what they had lost, the blonde hero sent notice to her cousin that his identity was probably known as well (mostly because she remembered how hurt she had been when Kal shared her secret without her consent). Kal and Lois had arrived almost immediately, frantic and terrified (especially with baby Jon to consider) at the concept of a Luthor knowing their identity.

Kara, joined by all the Superfriends, quickly put their minds to rest, sharing Lena’s actions from before, her dependability, kindness and inherent goodness. Kal and Lois were convinced their secret was safe but they were horrified to hear how Lena had been isolated and kept at arms length after her considerable good deeds. Alex and the others had squirmed uncomfortably and tried to weakly talk around their hesitancy.

Kal and Lois had simply looked at Kara for an explanation but she had none. Yet again the words would not come.

It was Lois, therefore, that had sought out the youngest Luthor and through her incredible tenacity was able to gain access where everyone else was rebuffed and harshly rejected.

It was Lois that comforted Lena, gave her support and sympathy.

It was Lois that relayed Lena’s demand that they give her space.

It was Lois that suggested Lena return to Metropolis - presenting it as a way to celebrate how L-Corp, after Lena’s repeated sacrifices and heroism, was fully rehabilitated and ready to reclaim its once home.

It was Lois that encouraged Lena and Kal to work together becoming an unstoppable force that Kara and Lena had always danced on the precipice of.

A Luthor and a Super. Saving the world.

 


 

Kara did as asked. Gave Lena space. Or at least the semblance of space.

She checked in constantly, hovered nearby throughout the days and nights leading upto L-Corp’s departure and Lena along with it. She followed Lena’s jet to Metropolis, a sentinel ensuring safe passage.

She kept her distance for three months. Three months of stony silence before she broke.

Snapped , more like.

Landing on Lena’s new balcony in Metropolis that had been specially built for Superman this time - not for her, though Kara, at the time, had hoped that she had been considered consciously or unconsciously as well. 

Kara couldn’t remember the exact words.

She remembered crying from beginning to end. 

Remembered ‘I loved you’ - past tense.

Remembered finally breaking through Lena’s cold, hardened shell to the raw, bleeding wound hidden underneath and regretting it almost immediately.

Remembered how seeing Lena’s agony was worse than kryptonite , worse than watching Krypton burn…

Remembered Lena saying she needed time to heal, for Kara to stop hovering nearby - because she knew, she sensed Kara’s presence even without seeing her once - and to give her time to stop thinking of Kara and feeling only pain when she did so.

Remembered promising to do just that.

Remembered a timer starting to count in her head - the seconds that she would be condemned to purgatory.

Remembered the hope that just refused to go out - the hope that whispered give it time, give it time, give it time with every beat of her heart.

Remembered thinking that given enough time Lena would reach out and they would get the chance that Kara had almost destroyed for them.

Remembered flying zig-zagged and dangerous to Alex where her endless stream of tears returned to full flow as she sobbed into her sister’s shoulder using words and phrases like ‘heartbroken’ and ‘I love her’ and ‘I can’t survive this pain’ and ‘what do I do?’ and ‘ I can’t breathe’ .

Remembered a hollowed out shell of Kara Danvers moving through the motions for a year, for two, three, four… five ...

Remembered taking up drinking to excess whenever she saw Lena’s life flourish and grow - not because she didn’t want Lena to be happy, that was what Kara wanted and wished for more than anything - because she wasn’t there with her for those life-changing events.

Remembered Alex and Kelly’s worries growing with each occurrence, intervening more and more to such a degree that they encouraged Kara to consider AA meetings - she did eventually, and found destroying entire junkyards to be a healthier coping mechanism, external destruction rather than internal.

Remembered Brainy at the behest of Alex, setting up Kara’s phone and computer to prevent searching for any keywords affiliated to Lena and to alert Alex if Kara ever managed to stumble upon a news article.

Remembered listening to Kal and Lois skipping large parts of stories where it was clear that Lena was involved - it was nice in some way to know Lena was getting the credit she deserved, but it hurt when Kal’s stories started to involve gaps at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year (events that made Kara’s loneliness even more acute and her longing intensify).

Remembered her life without Lena.

Remembered regret and guilt and loss.

Remembered-

“She’s getting married.”

 


 

Kara shouldn’t have been there. Shouldn’t be anywhere in the vaguest vicinity of where she currently was.

The bride was dressed in a simple silky white shift, sipping intermittently from her champagne glass as she stared contemplatively up at the designer white dress hanging off the door in front of her. Raven locks were pinned up, so tight and intricate that it made Kara wince sympathetically at how it must tug and pinch at the bride’s scalp - she’d always preferred it down, loose and curling… soft and inviting . The bride’s make-up was artistic with a dramatic edge that would captivate but made her look… not like herself in Kara’s opinion.

Or maybe after five years it made Lena look more like herself - the version of herself she had become once free of Kara and all the pain she brought into her life.

She was hovering outside the dressing room window, trying to work out how far she was willing to take this. If it would be better to leave without saying anything, to try and leave some part of Lena’s life unspoiled.

It was the fear that she had always given into when she was best friends with Lena that made her decision for her. Like speaking her truth and learning to ask for what she wanted - Kara had also promised herself that she would never allow that bone deep fear to stop her ever again.

The window was open and it was as good an invite as Kara was ever going to get.

“Lena?”

The beautiful bride-to-be jerked in her place, champagne glass nearly tumbling to the floor but saved at the last second. 

She didn’t turn around for a beat… then two…

Kara was just about to escape back through the window when Lena exhaled slowly and pivoted round to meet her.

“Kara?” Lena breathed out, green eyes closed off and wary.

The kryptonian studied the love of her life for a moment, taking in every little detail - soaking it all up as if accepting that this would be the last time she might ever get to see it again. That the timer that had counted past five years would stop after this moment, the hope powering it gone forever.

“Don’t marry them, please.” Kara requested, no flowery language, no build up. Just the honest truth.

“What?” Lena’s jaw dropped and the champagne glass didn’t survive the second shock, crashing to the ground - released by trembling fingers.

“Don’t marry them.” Kara repeated, uncaring of how the carpet below them soaked up the amber liquid. 

Lena’s expression flitted through an array of emotions before settling on indignant rage, “And why the hell not?!”

Kara didn’t flinch, didn’t retreat, instead she stood taller, the crest of her super suit catching the early afternoon light. “Because it should have been me. It still should be me.”

Lena scoffed in disbelief, “You can’t be serious. Now ? You’re doing this now ?”

Kara pursed her lips, fighting back the regret that always came with the reminders of countless missed opportunities. “Yes.”

The straightforwardness of Kara’s answers seemed to be throwing Lena, leaving her wrong-footed, clearly expecting the blonde to talk around and hint and imply like she used to.

But Kara had learnt. (The lesson had been too painful not to.)

“You had years, Kara!” Lena argued, “Years where I…. I threw myself at you. Practically begged you to love me… to trust me…”

“I know.” Kara replied sadly, wanting desperately to reach out when Lena’s pretty green eyes began to glisten with unshed tears. “I know. But I’m here now.”

“I don’t want you to be.” Lena muttered, arms crossed over her chest and head ducked downwards to hide her expression.

“I know that too.” Kara assured, fingers twitching with the desire to make contact, to comfort and coax - even after all these years her body remembered, the pathways of hardwired instinct related to her best friend were still there, still active even if temporarily closed for service. 

“Then why are you here?” Lena murmured, voice barely above a whisper.

“Because I’m in love with you.”

Lena’s head snapped up at that, green eyes like saucers.

Kara’s single biggest regret was that she had never said those words to Lena before, had alluded and pointed at them during their final interaction but had never outright said them. And Lena had deserved to hear them then and deserved to hear them now to forever vanquish the doubts that had always been with her.

“Because I’m in love with you and we didn’t get our chance.” Kara affirmed, taking a half step closer to the bride, her red heeled boots and Lena’s bare feet meaning the younger woman had to tip her head ever so slightly back to maintain eye contact. “We didn’t get our chance because of me. Because I was afraid, I was so afraid of losing you. Of doing even the slightest thing that could mean you weren’t in my life. And in the end every action I took out of fear of losing you ensured just that. I’ve spent five years without you, Lena, and I can’t bear a single day more.”

“Kara,” Lena whispered, “I’m getting married.”

“I know.” Kara smiled sadly before adding, “Don’t.”

“What are you suggesting? Seriously?” Lena sighed, shaking her head mournfully and Kara knew she was losing her then. 

“I’m suggesting that we have our chance now before it's gone forever.” 

Gathering the small amount of courage Kara had left, she tentatively let her hands nudge forwards, brushing against Lena’s cool, pale fingers. That small contact was everything. Made it easier to breathe, made the colours of the world more vibrant, made everything just more

“I let fear hold me back from the person that made me happiest in the entire universe and I won’t let it hold me back again.”

“Kara…” Lena whimpered, glancing back over her shoulder at the closed door that her wedding dress was displayed on, though she didn’t pull her hand away from Kara’s touch, didn’t flinch or retreat.

“Do it.” Kara pleaded, stepping across that final slither of distance between them, her forehead leaning forward to rest gently against the side of Lena’s, “Take a chance, I’m begging you. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life wondering what could have been.”

Lena inhaled shakily, head returning to forward facing - foreheads pressed against one another, breathing in the same air - and then… and then…

Lena’s hands slipped fully into Kara’s, fingers intertwining together.

Chapter Text

It was set to be a beautiful ceremony on a spring day that couldn’t have had better weather even if it tried. The venue, the Metropolis Grand, was the finest hotel in the city and had been rated the best in the country for the last twenty years. The guest list was long yet also exclusive; celebrities and businessmen vying for golden invites to the social event of the season.

Everything was to the excess: the ballroom, the flowers, even the seven-course meal set to be served.

It was to be a once in a lifetime spectacle.

The bride, dressed in a simple silky white shift, sipped her champagne glass and stared contemplatively up at the designer white dress hanging off the door. Her hair was up, locked in place by enough hairpins to ensure she would be finding them into her old age. The make-up was a little over the top for her liking but it definitely gave a striking effect that would at least be memorable. 

Sam and Lois had been attending her, though she had elected to not have bridesmaids and make the walk up the aisle on her own despite Kal’s sweet offer to accompany her. 

It had felt wrong to accept; felt wrong to have them all up there with her for this.

The wedding was a request from her soon-to-be spouse, a fair one that required little from Lena other than to turn up and say a few pretty words. 

She’d requested some time on her own - pretending that she wanted to put on the dress by herself, to experience the full get-up alone first. Lois and Sam had been unconvinced but acquiesced - their offers of a quick getaway becoming less and less jokey, and more and more serious with every passing hour - probably hoping that she would use this time to shimmy down the drainpipe.

The breeze from the open window was soothing and helped ease the tension of her mind, her eyes slipped closed for a fleeting moment. That was when she smelled vanilla and strawberry - a fragrance she would always associate with Kara’s unbranded shampoo.

And that was when she heard-

“Lena?”

 


 

Life in Metropolis was enjoyable enough. 

Her work was lauded, her philanthropy viewed as genuine rather than manipulative and she had a group of friends that felt like hers. A group of friends that shared and laughed and trusted. It wasn’t a group that Lena expected to have. The Lane sisters were a force unto themselves, Sam was just as dependable as ever (but quieter than she once was following Reign) and Kal…

Kal had reminded her of Lex and Kara - marked by heavy association - before he even had a chance to become his own person in her eyes. 

(It took her a while to realise that Kal felt the same way about her - saw Lex’s brilliance in flashes and the mark of Kara’s affection from the good times - that he too had to separate her out from two rather large shadows).

He came to her shyly the first few times, cape more static than billowing, seeking out her support at the behest of Lois who had practically kicked his flying ass all the way to Lena’s new office. She liked working with him, liked catching up with his wife over a glass of wine following their adventures even more. 

Kal was more serious than Kara - than Supergirl - he was more confident with his powers (having grown up with them and them being a fundamental part of his entire life) whilst simultaneously more hesitant to use them for little things. He liked to believe he was only human as much as possible.

Their friendship was a soft one, quieter and more dependable than any other. It was nothing like with Kara or Supergirl, but it felt more steady and sure-footed because of it.

Her friendship with Lois, however, was the opposite. High-cackling laughs as they gossiped about their days and snarky nicknames of Luthor and Lane which eased their distaste for family heritage.

L-Corp continued to flourish under her steady hand and sharp mind. Inventions for the betterment of mankind snagging her front place on the TIME person of the year cover twice in the span of half a decade (though the second time was a shared achievement with Kal after they prevented the untimely destruction of the Earth). She grew to love her job in a way she hadn’t before - no longer battling a bloodstained legacy which refused to give her a moment’s peace. 

She dated here and there. Looking for fun and release more than anything else.

She preferred dating others in the public eye with their own busy schedules and commitments.

It eased the pressure and ensured a level of understanding that she couldn’t have with someone free from the blinding flash of paparazzi lights. Dating a famous actress meant the relationship only ever lasted until she was called away to shoot her next film across the country or in a different continent. Dating an athlete with an even more packed schedule than her promised little depth and no hard feelings.

It was a good life, better than she thought she would ever have after… after Kara and all the hurt she brought.

It was good, but there was a longing for more - a longing for the childhood ideal of love.

 


 

Lena met Henri Rousseau at L-Corp’s first charity event since moving to Metropolis: a masquerade ball that used glamour and disguise to wheedle hundreds of thousands out of rich checkbooks to ensure that Luthor Children Hospitals across the country could continue to push boundaries and save young lives.

He was french, but had spent half of his life in the states so had learnt to smooth out the edges of his accent in much the same way Lena had. It was still there, the natural preference to curl letters but he had learned to restrain the urge in a similar way to the youngest Luthor.

(Lena had fleetingly wondered if Kara had learned the same skill; Kal had his easy american lull and when she had heard him mutter kryptonian phrases they were usually clipped and americanised, almost unnatural in their recital. She wondered if Kara hated hearing him speak that language. She wondered if Kara would ever have told her or shared her native accent with her.)

He had red hair, fiery and burnished like copper, he dressed impeccably and obviously took great pride in his appearance, his red and black suit custom made by Italian tailors, though he had an air of nonchalance which implied his look was effortless.

He introduced himself with a firm and appraising handshake before immediately shifting into business. He avoided small talk and any attempt to butter her up, instead he simply explained that his family’s pharmaceutical company was looking to expand and that they had a few key products that would work well in partnership with some of L-Corp’s. 

Lena appreciated his straightforwardness after hours of pointless drivel and unwelcome flirting, so listened to his pitch.

Rousseau Pharmaceuticals had made their name in Europe and brought their business over to America a couple of decades ago. They had established a decent foothold but were eyeing up the next rung on the ladder to become a substantial corporation. Henri had risen to CEO a decade ago when his father passed rather suddenly. The company had a fantastic reputation and considering they were in one of the most despised business sectors it spoke very well of them and their efforts.

 Lena set up a meeting with him the next day and within a month, Rousseau Pharmaceuticals and L-Corp were announcing a joint business venture.

They became friends. They had similar mindsets, similar interests and similar priorities.

They understood one another in a way few in the world ever would.

Henri accompanied her to events when she was between romantic entanglements, and she gave him help with her technical mind and knowledge when she could.

Their interactions tended towards quiet reflection, soft conversation from distanced armchairs - discussing their strategies and views of the world. 

They rarely hugged but that didn’t mean they hesitated to reach out with gentle touches here and there - a light squeeze to Henri’s forearm to subtly alert him to a useful business contact, a guiding hand on her lower back to carefully steer her away from a handsy executive.

It was easy and seamless but lacking the warmth Lena found herself wistful for in all of her friendships.

 


 

“Her name is Marie.” Henri revealed one quiet night; they had gone for drinks at a cocktail bar Lois had recommended after meeting a very illustrious source there a couple of weeks earlier.

“Who’s Marie?” Lena prompted, sipping from her martini glass.

It was rare for Henri to bring up anything personal, their conversations keeping to current affairs, their joint ventures and other business-related rumblings.

“My…” Henri smiled sadly at her, brown eyes reflecting a sense of loss Lena was all too familiar with. “My true love. My heart’s desire. My… fairytale.”

“I didn't know that you were with someone.” Lena replied curiously; Henri’s bachelor lifestyle was well documented by the media.

“That is because I am not. She was…” Henri sighed, folding his hands in front of him on the table - Lena had a bizarre urge to reach out and make contact, to offer shared sympathy. She resisted, not sure it would be welcome. “She was my best friend growing up, she lived next door and I,” The grin that lit up Henri’s face was boyish and a whole new level of charming, “adored her. Adored everything about her and for some… unfathomable reason she felt the same.”

Lena smiled at that even as a sinking feeling appeared in her stomach. She didn’t want it to end in loss and heartbreak, she was tired of her friends suffering those hardships.

“We were together for much of my young adult life.” Henri continued, the youthfulness receding as he shifted back into his more mature mindset. “All I ever wanted, even when I was a child, was to go into the family business. To save lives on the grand scale that my family had been trying to every generation. I remember spending hours as a boy sitting on my father’s knee as he worked, his voice a whisper in my ear explaining his decisions, justifying where the money and the resource went, why investing here was better than investing there. I loved it. All of it and it was all I wanted to do. When my father died, I stepped up as CEO. I knew to carry on my legacy that I would have to spend most of my time here in America, seeking brilliant minds to keep pushing the boundaries. 

“Marie didn’t want that. She wanted a quiet life with children. For me to be home at five every night. For me to promise that she and our family would always come first. She wanted me to step back, ease away. I loved her. I loved her more than anything, just not more than my own needs. I couldn’t give her the things she wanted and needed, in much the same way she couldn’t give me those things either.”

“Henri, I’m sorry.” Lena said utterly genuine - the story far too reminiscent of Alex’s desire for a family versus Maggie’s desire for something else. Neither was wrong and their love didn’t cease either.

It’s one of the worst possible things that could ever happen - realising your true love wasn’t the right person for you.

Couldn’t be what you needed them to be.

Lena knew that better than most - knew that from her own painful, personal experience.

“You need not apologise.” Henri assured with a wave of his hand. “You have suffered the same, no?”

Lena jerked in place at that but realised the tone of her apology had been a little too understanding. “Mine wasn’t… I sometimes think it was requited... but I can never be certain. She…” Lena bit her lip hard, her heart hammering in her chest as it did every time she thought or gave voice to the kryptonian she would probably always carry with her. “I loved her but she…”

“Couldn’t give you what you needed.” Henri supplied knowingly.

“Honesty.” Lena nodded, fingers tracing the rim of her glass, “I have a problem with lies and she… preferred sweet fabrications to the… painful but more real truth.”

“I see.” 

Lena laughed, humourlessly, “We make quite a pair, don’t we?”

“At least, we’re a pretty pair.” Henri shot back with a wink.

“What happened to her? Marie?” Lena asked curiously.

“Last I heard, she was married and had two beautiful children. And your deceptive fairytale?” Henri inquired in kind.

Lena opened her mouth, before closing it slowly, “I don’t know…” Lena admitted, “I keep an eye out, follow her work closely. She has friends and family that she values above everything.” She just about kept the bitter ‘above me’ from following. “I’m sure she’s doing fine. Happy, even.”

“Hmm…” Henri hummed thoughtfully, lifting his nearly empty glass, “To the lie of fairytale love.”

“I’ll drink to that.” Lena cheered darkly, clinking their glasses together.

 


 

They started dating after three years of knowing one another. 

Henri proposed it like a business transaction, laying out the terms of the relationship.

It wasn’t particularly romantic but it was honest and he had taken that part of Lena’s requirements to heart in much the same way she looked out for his business.

The physical side of the relationship was satisfying enough - they worked out what the other liked and gave it easily but there was no desire for deep connection, to actively seek to give pleasure and happiness to one another. They provided what was needed and little else.

It was as easy and seamless as their friendship.

Professional and clearly defined.

A little bit dull and lacking warmth.

But adequate enough - which in the grand scheme of things wasn’t bad.

They could never break each other’s hearts as that would require they be exchanged. They could never inflict any lasting wounds because they both knew each other’s achilles’ heel and were kind and respectful enough to never even consider harming them.

It wasn’t what Lena had pictured for herself growing up - ideas of knights and princesses were children’s fantasies - nor was it what she imagined a few years ago - twinkling blue eyes, soft kisses and lazy mornings were even more impossible.

But it was secure, comfortable and it brought her some joy which is probably why Lois and Sam kept their worried frowns to themselves as much as possible.

 


 

“We should get married.” Henri asserted one afternoon after they had just finished their review of the profits from their most recent venture.

Lena blinked before quickly regaining her composure and arching an eyebrow at the man sitting across from her, “Why do you think that?”

Henri looked at her seriously, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees before declaring, “Because you will never be the love of my life and I will never be the love of yours. Because I will never lie to you about my affection. I will always respect you and view you as a dear friend. And… maybe … given enough time I could grow to love you properly.”

Lena pursed her lips at that. He wouldn’t have said it if there wasn’t a true potential for it. She loved Henri deeply, he was one of her closest friends but her heart didn’t sing for him, no matter how much he touched and coaxed her - whereas just the thought of blue eyes and a bright smile ticked her heartrate up a gear.

Could she grow to love him like that?

And did it really matter if she couldn’t?

As if reading her mind, Henri continued with his pitch with his usual blunt and fearless business-tone, “People who think love is enough to sustain a relationship are destined for passionate yet very short marriages. There’s more to it than that. And I can give you those other parts. We could give each other them. I will never lie to you, in the same way that you would always respect my need to place my family’s business above everything. Above you.”

Lena snorted, shaking her head in amusement, “Coldly romantic.”

Henri tilted his head to the side, “Do you disagree?”

“No, I don’t…” Lena replied earnestly, “I just… I guess some small part of me was holding out for that deep love which provided everything else you listed as well. But I’ve learnt the hard way that unicorns and magic are more real than the fairytale of true love.”

Henri frowned at that, brown eyes turning downcast and mournful, “I am sorry that I can’t give you that love.”

“And I’m sorry that I can’t give you it either.” Lena responded; the silence that followed was shared and filled with longing for two people that would never be.

“You would be safe with me.” Henri promised instead. “Happy, I like to think. Is that enough?”

Is that enough? 

There had been a small part of her that hoped that maybe the day would come where the idea of opening herself back up to Kara didn’t scare her, where she could consider reaching out. But five years had passed - Kara had more than likely moved on and her heart still hurt from the wounds inflicted and feared another that would most definitely finish her off.

She would be safe with Henri. 

Maybe a little bored… but safe .

Lena straightened up in her seat and nodded once, “What else is there?”

 


 

“What’s the plan here Kara?” Lena whispered, eyes slipping closed as she felt Kara’s breath mingling with her own, and the heat of her skin warming Lena’s cool forehead. “How do you see this ending?”

Kara squeezed their interlaced fingers tighter together whilst her free hand reached up to stroke Lena’s cheek with the pad of her thumb. Lena barely suppressed the whimper that rose up at Kara’s touch; just this… this small intimacy made her heart race faster than the most intimate relations she’d had since separating from her best friend.

“Honestly? In much the same way it's about to start.” Kara replied without hesitation. “With a wedding dress. With a promise of forever.”

Lena slumped forward at that, overwhelmed by resurrected fantasies she had thought she had buried long ago. Kara, golden hair sparkling under the summer sun, beaming at her, blue eyes sparkling brighter than the waves crashing behind her on the beach. 

Kara caught her, arms wrapping around her body and keeping her upright and secure in a tender embrace, the thin shift meaning Kara’s hand on the back of her neck and the small of her back, burned … imprinting her fingerprints permanently into her skin.

“How can I trust you?” Lena cried, burying her face into the crook of Kara’s neck, breathing her in.

“You can’t.” Kara murmured sadly. “Not right now. You just…” The blonde superhero sighed, clearly wishing to offer another solution, some valiant act of service that would prove without a shadow of a doubt her loyalty... but the kryptonian had grown wise over their time apart and knew that was no longer an option, “You just decide to and let me do everything I can to live upto it. You just decide to trust me and then I show you with every passing day that your trust is well placed.”

Kara placed a kiss to the side of Lena’s head, whilst Lena tried to figure out if that was something she could feasibly do.

Something she wanted to do.

Could she forgive and take the risk? Knowing how her last foray had left her hollowed out and decimated…

Could she just decide to trust? To expose her weakest spot yet again knowing that she may not recover from a second critical hit.

 


 

“Henri?”

Her red-haired fiance turned sharply round, he’d been bent forward tying up the shoelaces of his polished black shoes. He was dressed impeccably as ever, pressed black trousers, immaculate white shirt with gold lining, his waist coat and jacket midnight black with gold patterning on the right hand side. 

Henri blinked at her in surprise, eyes dropping down curiously, observing that she was attired in what she had worn to the hotel that morning - comfy jeans and a soft green jumper, hair still up in its intricate updo (too laborious to remove the excessive hairpins) and make-up scrubbed off quick and rough, leaving behind reddened skin.

“Lena, my dear,” Henri muttered, lips pressed together, “you aren’t ready?”

Lena shook her head, eyes dropping to the floor, “No.”

“Ah, I see.”

Lena looked up at that to find a melancholy yet understanding expression on the frenchman’s face. She stepped forward, tugging the engagement ring off her finger (Henri had told her to choose one and he would pay for it upon their agreement to wed - she’d chosen something standard and conventional but with a suitable price tag for their respective wealth). 

“We deserve love and everything else…” Lena declared softly as she carefully placed the ring in Henri’s extended hand before reaching out to encourage his fingers to curl around it.

“It is merely a fairytale.” Henri reminded her, brown eyes filled with sympathy, “I can give you a real future.” He bent his head forward to whisper in warning, “You and I both know it will only end in heartbreak.”

“Probably, but I’m not ready to give up just yet.” Lena replied, green eyes swimming with unshed tears. 

She wasn’t sure if her tears were from mourning the easy future she could have had, weeping preemptively for the heartbreak she was assuring for herself or for the pain she had just inflicted on someone she cared deeply about. 

“Henri, please believe me when I say: I really care for you.” Lena declared, “You are a dear friend and I want better for you too.”

Henri smiled at her and tenderly wiped away the few tears that had escaped, “Your affection has never been in doubt. I genuinely wish you all the best.”

“Thank you.” Lena breathed, before leaving for the hope of more that an uncertain future could provide.

Chapter Text

Her super suit receded with the removal of her glasses, leaving behind comfy, grey sweatpants and a white long-sleeved Henly; Kara was finally free to subtly pinch the skin on the back of her hand, flexing her fingers to ensure her nails harshly dug in. The pain was sharp but also sweet - it confirmed that the dream she was in the middle of was also reality.

Lena was here.

In her apartment, walking around her space, examining it for changes over the course of five years. Kara stayed rooted to the spot by the window that she had flown them in through. She was desperate to make contact, to hold Lena in her arms and never let go but it was clear that the youngest Luthor needed time to adjust, to breathe on her own.

Kara didn’t question, didn’t push - especially not with how Lena had stumbled, eyes red and swollen from crying, out of the back door of the hotel where she was to be wed and simply asked Kara to take her far away. Kara hadn’t hesitated to sweep her up and take to the skies.

Lena had cried silently into her shoulder for the whole flight, not saying a single word - her anguish over the loss she had just inflicted on herself overwhelming yet also effective at keeping in check the fear that tended to surface whenever she was in the air.

Kara’s decision to take Lena to her apartment was instinctual, she wanted to give Lena a safe haven to recover whilst also showing that she was serious about this - about letting Lena in.

“New tv?” Lena called out, the first words she’d said since her runaway bride act.

“Uhh… yeah. I broke the last one.” Kara replied, biting the inside of her cheek. 

Lena hummed in acknowledgement as she continued to refamiliarise herself with Kara’s space. Her tears had stopped now but her movements were slower than normal - the events emotionally draining her and leaving little behind.

Kara counted the seconds as they went by. She wanted to say something… wanted to do something to start proving that Lena’s decision to choose her was the right one. That she was worth it.

“Lena?” Kara called out nervously, barely resisting the urge to fiddle with the edge of her cape.

“How did you break it?” Lena inquired, her tone curious but also testing.

Kara sighed, mouth contorting into a grimace as she admitted, “Drunken stupidity.” 

Lena nodded, crossing her arms over chest as she stared at her own distorted reflection in the blank tv screen, giving Kara only her profile to view.

“Let me guess, one of Alex’s less than well thought through bets at game night?” Lena kept her tone absolutely neutral, but Kara knew any reminder to the events where she was the odd one out must still sting.

She would have told Lena the truth regardless, but taking Lena’s focus away from the things that hurt her was a nice incentive to counterbalance the shame that always followed her admittance.

“No. I was on my own.” Kara answered earnestly.

“Pfft…” Lena chuckled, shooting Kara an unimpressed arched eyebrow. “You never drink alone.”

“Yeah, I know.” Kara replied, shoulders hunching forwards protectively. “I started drinking more in general. Then I started to drink alone. Then I started to drink to excess…”

There was a sharp inhale from the raven haired woman then that wouldn’t have been audible to anyone other than a Kryptonian.

“I knew I had a problem when I started to hide it.” Kara confessed. 

She had imagined thousands of conversations with Lena and not one of them had been about this. But the words came easier than expected. 

They had always been easy (if Kara was honest with herself) when it came to Lena - everything, every secret had always been nestled on the tip of her tongue waiting to be unleashed. Kara had repeatedly allowed fear to keep the words in place, to shackle them up inside of her. 

Fear no longer had the power to stop the flood. The worst had happened and silence was the cause. If anything Kara would now be afraid of trying to keep everything at bay, at trying to stem the tide.

“I tried to keep Alex from seeing how much I was drinking. I hid the bottles as much as possible and got the alcohol from other places to the bar we usually frequent.” Kara glanced up to find Lena watching her intensely. “I reached the stage where the only thing that would cheer me up and get me through the day was counting down until I could have my next glass… I was in control for the most part but there were times when… I just needed to feel less . That’s when it would really get out of hand.”

“Kara, it’s okay.” Lena soothed, suddenly somehow right in front of the blonde, reaching out to take Kara’s hands in her own.

It was then that Kara realised her fingers were shaking, that her breath was coming out faster than before.

“You don’t have to do this now.” Lena consoled.

“B-but,” Kara stuttered anxiously, “I don’t want you to think I’m hiding anything. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Kara,” Lena whispered, sounding pained, squeezing their hands together, “I don’t want to hurt you either. I trust you, I’ve made my decision. The rest of the story can wait until you’re ready.”

“Okay…” Kara sighed, eyes shifting down to admire Lena’s hands in hers - needing to see that the sensation of cool, soft skin was real. “What… uh… what do you want to do now?” Kara inquired gently, willing to do just about anything Lena requested.

“I know we have a lot to talk about…” Lena murmured around a yawn, “but would it be alright if we just…” Lena trailed off uncertainly, tired green eyes blinking up at her expectantly.

Memory upon memory crashed into Kara - an exhausted CEO, smiling shyly up at her as the credits rolled, a pointed yawn after only one glass of wine, a hopeful quirk of an eyebrow once everyone else had left after game night… all of them prefaces to Kara’s most treasured moments. 

Holding Lena in her arms, curled up on her bed, lips pressed unconsciously to the back of the raven-haired woman’s neck. Blissful sleep with her best friend's solid warmth pressed against her.

“Nap?” Kara supplied, blue eyes twinkling with hope and heart skipping with delirious delight in her chest.

 


 

Kara shuffled closer to the warm body, burying her nose into waves of midnight hair, shifting her feet to feel the ankle tucked around hers pliantly following the movement. She kept her eyes closed as the heavy slumber drifted away from her consciousness, waiting for the dream to fade along with it. She opened a single eye, heart pounding in her chest with adrenaline-fuelled disbelief. 

Lena was asleep against her. In Kara’s bed. Her back settled against Kara’s front. 

Slowly, Kara unclasped her hands from around Lena’s waist and went to sharply pinch the skin on the back of her hand. 

Just as her nails were about to bite in, a gentle hand covered her pinching fingers, taking hold and squeezing kindly.

“It’s real, I promise.” Lena drawled, voice still layered with slumber, even as she moved in Kara’s arms until she was on her back - her head turned so that she could meet Kara’s awestruck blue eyes. “Hey.” Lena greeted, blinking up at her, expression softened by sleep.

“Hi.” Kara whispered, eyes tracking over Lena’s face greedily. “Did you… uh… sleep okay?”

Lena shrugged one shoulder, lips twitching up on one side in amusement. “Not bad. You?”

“I haven’t slept that well in five years.” Kara replied earnestly.

The amusement on the other woman’s face faded in an instant as she inhaled sharply, green eyes widening with surprise. 

There shouldn’t be any surprise, Kara thought to herself. Lena should have known that Kara was most comfortable in her skin and with her own mind when she was around her best friend. Should have known that Kara adored nights that Lena stayed over as all her senses were so consumed with absorbing all of her that there was nothing left for fretting or fearing. 

Lena should have known and Kara should have told her.

“Lena.” Kara began, lifting herself up so that she was peering seriously down into Lena’s green eyes. “There’s so much-”

“Shhhh…” Lena soothed, reaching up to tuck a lock of blonde hair behind Kara’s ear before letting her fingertips trace along Kara’s jaw.

Kara, for all of her super strength, couldn’t stop the whimper from escaping at the sensation of Lena’s teasing touch on her flushed skin.

“Later.” Lena requested, head nudging upwards so that her nose was brushing against Kara’s - lips mere centimeters from contact, their breaths dancing between them.

Kara inhaled shakily, nerves ripped to shreds with the anticipation of what could - was - coming next. “I love you.” Kara breathed, needing Lena to hear that and believe it before anything.

Her eyes slipped closed again, the warm breath against her lips grew hotter, closer and she could just feel the ghost of Lena’s lips against hers-

KNOCK! KNOCK!

“KARA! Are you in there!?” Alex’s voice obliterated the moment, leaving absolutely no survivors.

Lena fell back against the pillows, expression guarded - the soft sleepiness and gentle hope of a moment ago destroyed as reality announced its presence. 

Kara groaned despondently, shooting Lena a look of deepest apology and regret as she freed her limbs from around the other woman and hurried from the bed to the front door. She wrenched it open just as Alex was on the edge of banging a fist against it once again - requiring a last second dodge to avoid her sister breaking bones on her steel face.

“You’re in.” Alex said dumbly, blinking in surprise as her hand fell lamely back to her side.

“Clearly.” Kara retorted in a huff. It wasn’t Alex’s fault, but adding yet another missed chance to her already too long list with Lena had put her in a foul mood.

Alex pursed her lips at the attitude, crossing her arms as her gaze turned sharp and suspicious, “You weren’t answering your phone.”

Kara winced at that, before gesturing for Alex to come in, “I was napping.”

“Mid-afternoon?” Alex asked, eyebrow raising sharply, brown eyes becoming concerned as she followed Kara into the apartment.

How many times had Alex found Kara passed out after one too many? 

It had been a long time since then but the worry would always be there now and Kara would always feel guilty about that.

“It’s been a long day.” Kara replied softly, deflating noticeably. “I haven’t… No drinking, I promise.”

Alex studied her for a long time but nodded eventually, clearly seeing the truth in Kara’s open gaze or at least aware that she couldn’t smell the sharp, cloying scent of alien alcohol anywhere.

“I know today…” Alex cringed but then steadied herself. “I know today wasn’t going to be easy. That’s why I’m here.”

“I’m genuinely doing alright, Alex.” Kara assured, the smile she managed to shoot at her sister genuine.

“I know you asked to spend the day alone…” Alex continued, arms dropping out of their defensive fold so that she could easily rub at the back of her neck. “But I figured you would want to know…”

“Know what?” Kara prompted even as a hopeful yet sad swoop of her stomach told her she already knew.

“Lena isn’t…” Alex huffed, “The wedding was called off.”

“Oh.”

“Oh?” Alex repeated, brow furrowed, “That’s all you have to say?”

“Uh…” Kara bit the inside of her cheek; she didn’t know what to say. She and Lena hadn’t discussed what they were telling people, they hadn’t even discussed what had happened .

“Uh? Seriously?” Alex’s eyebrows shot up. “You just found out the woman you have been pining for, for over half a decade called off her wedding and that’s all you can say? I was expecting…” Alex shook her head. “I don’t know what I was expecting but it definitely wasn’t apathy.” 

Kara shifted her weight uncomfortably from foot to foot as her sister studied her closely.

“Are you finally getting over her?” Alex asked quietly, the hopefulness of her tone making Kara jerk back abruptly.

“NO!” Kara shouted. “There’s no way-”

“Is everything okay out here?”

Kara and Alex’s heads both whipped around to see Lena in the bedroom doorway, watching the interaction between the two sisters with cool, assessing green eyes that would have been intimidating if she didn’t still look somewhat sleep-rumpled and her hands weren’t tucked into the pocket of one of Kara’s hoodies she must have grabbed off the bedroom floor.

Holy shit .” Alex whispered, head shifting from Lena to Kara to Lena and back again on endless repeat.

 


 

“I’m happy for you but just…” Alex whispered glancing over Kara’s shoulder as she lingered in the doorway, “be careful, okay? Remember to look after yourself as well.”

Kara nodded in understanding, shooting her sister a hopeful smile, “I will, I promise.”

Alex pulled her into a quick hug, kissing the side of her head affectionately before stepping back and departing.

Kara closed the door behind her sister, the click of the lock the loudest sound in her apartment. The Kryptonian took a deep breath, mentally preparing herself before turning around - knowing that Lena’s walls had gone all the way back up. That the earlier reprieve had been merely the eye of the storm. The two of them experiencing a safe haven between the emotional turmoil of before and the emotional turmoil that was sure to come next.

When Kara turned it was to find Lena positioned defensively in the corner of the room, lips pursed tightly together and eyes wary.

“Are you okay?” Kara asked.

“Fine.” Lena replied tersely.

Kara knew it was a lie but let it slide, instead stepping forward into the room whilst ensuring Lena didn’t feel like her space was being encroached upon. “We should probably talk.”

Lena chuckled darkly, “Probably. We’ve never been very good at that, though, have we?”

“You always were.” Kara refuted, “It was me that…” She shook her head, there would be a time to go over the past, re-examine their failings but she had promised herself that if ever given half the chance that she currently had - that she would look to the future as much as possible. “I hope that I am better than I once was. I hope that we might be better than we once were.”

Lena’s eyebrow arched in surprise - just as taken aback by Kara’s forthrightness as she had been in the dressing room where she had chosen between a white dress and a supersuit.

“I’m sorry… I’m still not…” Lena winced, “I’m trying to… to trust fully.” The CEO blushed lightly and Kara’s heart fluttered at the sight, “I want that too. Us to be better. To have a clean slate. I wouldn’t have…” The affectionate pink to her cheeks diffused away to be replaced by melancholy. “I wouldn’t have left one of my closest friends at the altar if I didn’t.”

“Lena,” Kara soothed, stepping tentatively closer, wanting to provide comfort but stopped from doing so by a wave of Lena’s hand.

“What I’m trying to say is… I’m trying really hard not to snap or test or be snide, but it… comes back to me sometimes, you know?”

“I know.” Kara murmured, shoulders dropping as she shoved her hands into her pockets, to limit the urge to reach out and make contact. “I… I don’t know if all the guilt for what I did to you will ever go away.” Kara confessed before adding quietly, “I’m not sure if I want it to.”

“Don’t say that.” Lena begged, green eyes suddenly anguished. “I don’t want you to… torture yourself. That was never my… I just didn’t know how to be around you anymore. I didn’t even know who you were .”

“It was always me.” Kara insisted.

Lena tilted her head to the side, “Maybe, but not all of you.”

Kara deflated at that, only able to nod helplessly in agreement.

“I think that was the worst part of it for me.” Lena mumbled to herself, “I gave you everything. Showed you all of me, all the dark and twisted parts and I thought… I thought all of me was good enough for all of you . I thought it was an even trade. But that was a lie.”

“It was never you that wasn’t good enough, Lena. I thought I wasn’t…” She paused in a futile attempt to hold back her sobs. “It was always me that was never good enough.”

Suddenly, she was enveloped in a soft embrace, one hand stroking through her hair whilst the other wrapped around her shoulders - instinctively Kara’s arms encircled Lena’s waist in kind, face seeking shelter in the crook of her best friend’s neck as tears ran down her cheeks. 

“I’m so sorry, Lena.” Kara cried.

“I know.” Lena whispered. “I forgive you.”

“No!” Kara jerked backwards out of Lena’s embrace at that, unable to believe those three words more than any other. “You can’t! I… promised to protect you and then-” 

She couldn’t finish it. 

She relived the moments she would regret for the rest of her life - laughing when she was told about J’onn tricking Lena, not being there for Lena after encouraging her to turn over the last member of her family, guilting Lena about keeping her friend’s secret when she had asked her friends to do the exact same… using Lena’s last name as an excuse for not sharing hers.

She wanted to lay all her sins out for Lena to see, but mostly she wanted to hide herself away in the darkest corner with the strongest alien alcohol she could find and drink until she couldn’t remember her own name let alone all those she had failed, all those she had lost .

“Kara, enough.” Lena ordered, reaching out to cup Kara’s face, thumbs tenderly wiping away the tears that were falling.

“But-” Kara hiccuped.

“Enough.” Lena repeated gently. “If you won’t accept my forgiveness for your sake, then accept it for mine.”

Kara’s brow furrowed in confusion at that.

“For anything that we try, it won’t work if I don’t trust you and if I don’t forgive you. And I want this to work . ” Lena breathed desperately, pressing their foreheads against one another. “So badly .”

“I’m asking too much of you.” Kara whispered guiltily even as she brushed their noses against one another. 

“Only I get to decide that.” Lena chided.

“I know.” Kara sighed, pressing a sweet kiss to Lena’s cheek before dropping her head back to rest on Lena’s shoulder. 

 


 

“What happens now?” Kara asked quietly. 

They had migrated to the couch, Kara’s head in Lena’s lap as the CEO ran her fingers through golden locks.

“What do you want to happen now?” Lena prompted curiously.

Kara stared up into the green eyes she adored. “Anything. Everything. As long as it's with you.” 

The soft smile that lit up Lena’s face was more than worth baring her soul. “Seriously, Kara.” 

Kara frowned at the prompt. “I am being serious.” Kara insisted, shifting into an upright position, settling next to Lena on the sofa. “What do you want, Lena? I know we haven’t talked about it but you did just end an engagement.”

Lena’s lips twitched downwards at the reminder but Kara didn’t regret bringing it up, it was something they needed to talk about.

“It was less of an engagement and more of a…” Lena’s gaze ducked down to her own lap, her hands now free from Kara’s hair, fiddling with the edge of Kara’s jumper, “not quite a business proposal or a friendship pact but something along those lines.”

Kara could feel the crinkle appearing in her brow at the explanation. “I don’t understand.”

“It’s a long story.” Lena sighed.

“Well, I have nowhere to be.” Kara shrugged, “Do you?”

Lena glanced at the time, it was early evening now, the sky starting to pinken and turn dark at the edges. “Technically, I think I should be having my first dance with my new husband.”

Kara couldn’t help how just the reminder of what could have been was like a physical blow. 

“Sorry,” Lena apologised upon seeing Kara’s agonised expression. “Though, it's not what you think.”

“Business deal slash friendship pact, right?” Kara guessed, trying to make her voice lighter than she felt.

Lena nodded, expression turning pensive, “His name is Henri and he understood what it was like when-” Lena’s voice cut out as she glanced at Kara nervously.

“What it was like when?” Kara encouraged, even as her stomach bubbled anxiously.

“When the person you love isn’t right for you.” Lena replied.

“Oh.”

“We met at a masquerade ball.” Lena began and proceeded to tell Kara everything.

About years of friendship. About accepting that maybe love just hurt and that it was everything else that truly mattered in a relationship. About a proposal that was cold but honest. About how Kara coming to her and speaking only the truth, when lies or misdirection had been the mainstay, sparked hope when there had been none. About hurting a dear friend but promising to keep his reputation and his company well looked after. About being scared yet genuinely excited for a real relationship for the first time in years.

Kara listened intently, taking it all in, her heart aching that her actions from before had turned Lena away from the hope of more - she’d always wanted Lena to be happy even though a small piece of her was selfishly grateful that no one else had been gifted Lena’s love in the interim, aware that if it had, that there was a good chance Lena would be dancing with her new spouse right now.

“It feels weird, though.” Lena mused.

“What does?”

“Calling off a long term commitment to… uh… reconnect with my best friend.” Lena grimaced over the terms, clearly uncertain what words she was supposed to use which merely highlighted their need for further discussion. “It just seems… hard to rationalise. Breaking up something so permanent for something undefined and ephemeral.”

“We only need to rationalise it to ourselves.” Kara murmured. “We don’t have to define anything until you’re ready.”

“You get a say too.” Lena reminded her.

“Lena, I meant it. Anything. Everything.” Kara declared. “I would marry you tomorrow if that’s what you wanted. Or I would be more than happy with just this .” Kara took Lena’s hand in hers, squeezing their palms together and interlacing their fingers.

“You would marry me tomorrow?” Lena breathed in utter disbelief.

“Well, I would also marry you today but I think the registry office is probably closed. I could fly us to Vegas, if you’d prefer but I don’t particularly want to get married with Elvis officiating.” Kara’s nose wrinkled at that final thought.

“I…” Lena croaked. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Whatever you want.” Kara replied. “I love you, Lena and I’m in this for the long haul.”

“We live in different cities.” Lena pointed out.

“I can be in Metropolis in twenty minutes at full speed.” Kara explained.

“But long term-” Lena muttered.

“Let’s worry about the long term as it comes.” Kara suggested. “We’ll make it work if we talk about it and plan. We can make anything work if we’re together.”

“El Mayarah.” Lena acknowledged.

Kara’s breath stuttered in her lungs at hearing the kryptonian phrase fall so effortlessly from Lena’s lips - fleetingly wondering what the whole kryptonian language would sound like on Lena’s clever tongue. 

“I don’t want to reconnect with my best friend .” Lena announced after a moment of deep thought.

“Okay…” Kara said slowly, sitting very still as she awaited the judgement that Lena would lay down.

“Dating. I want to date you.” Lena muttered shyly. “Does that sound okay?”

“That sounds like a dream come true.”

“Can we take it slow?”

Kara nodded eagerly, “However fast or slow you need.”

“It’s just… after everything …” Lena winced at her awkward reference to her called off engagement, “I need to sort a few things and re-find my equilibrium before we start anything, if that makes sense?”

“Perfect sense.” Kara reassured. “Take as much time as you need. I’ll be right here”

Chapter Text

It had been two weeks since her wedding that never was.

Two weeks of her phone ringing off the hook with reporters trying to get the gossip, of trying to steady the share prices following a noticeable downturn; of newspapers, blogs and talk shows taking potshots at her. It should have bothered her more than it did but mere musings of infidelity and a fickle heart were pedestrian in comparison to being accused of poisoning children. 

It was oddly comforting to realise that this was the worst press she had received in the last five years and it would leave no lasting impression on L-Corp’s or her own reputation, and would fall into the background within a couple more weeks.

Rousseau Pharmaceutics had garnered a decent uptick in share price, the good-looking bachelor with a broken heart of gold was a wonderful story to pitch and Lena was more than happy to encourage it, it was the least Henri deserved. They were continuing their joint business ventures without missing a beat and they would continue to have a strong working relationship - Lena was also hopeful that their friendship would survive and return to what it once was given enough time.

She had yet to reach out to Kara since the superhero had flown her back to her apartment with a promise of space and a lingering kiss on her cheek that Lena could still sometimes feel if she closed her eyes. 

She knew as the days ticked away that she should text or call - hell, even send a carrier pigeon - but she didn’t know how to start a message. There was so much for them to rebuild, whilst so much already promised and committed. They had yet to go on their first date but it felt like they were already engaged. They had once been best friends but it had been five years since they had spoken.

Lena sighed, thumb following the edge of her phone screen, mentally trying to construct something more than ‘hey’ to send to Kara.

“Earth to Lena…” Lois drawled, yanking Lena away from her train of thought.

Lena winced apologetically having completely forgotten about her lunch companions - she felt even worse knowing it hadn’t been the first time either over the last couple of weeks. Lois and Sam had allowed her far-off gazes and inner monologues for a while but Lena knew her time for allowances was starting to run out.

“Sorry.” Lena murmured, focusing back on her two closest friends and the dessert she had barely touched. “What were you saying?”

Lois and Sam exchanged a worried glance - a common occurrence around the youngest Luthor.

“Look, Lena,” Lois said slowly, “we just want you to know we’re here for you. If you want to talk...”

“You seem to have a lot on your mind.” Sam acknowledged.

Lena sighed before biting her lip; she wanted to talk to them. Wanted their advice, their banter and their support. It had become something she could depend on. 

Sam offering to stitch a machiavellian businessman up for tax evasion. Lois sneaking in a crude innuendo out of nowhere to ensure laughter even around the heaviest of topics. Of them both listening intently and offering kindness and help wherever possible. 

“I…” Lena began hesitantly, eyes dropping down to watch the ice cream scoop that had accompanied her chocolate brownie turn into a puddle.

She didn’t know why this was so hard.

She’d told Lois and Sam about Lex, her life with the Luthors and about her falling out with Kara but she’d never… she’d never told them why Kara’s lies had cut so deep. She’d pretended it was best friendship and that the wounds exacerbated trauma from the Luthors. Whilst that was all true, it wasn’t everything

Heartbroken was the part that she always missed out - for her heart to be broken it had to have been given away.

It was the missing piece of the puzzle that her friends didn’t even know they were missing, the picture looking for all intents and purposes complete without it.

“I didn’t leave the wedding alone.” Lena offered out into the table space between the three of them.

“You didn’t leave ‘ alone ’?” Sam repeated, utterly perplexed.

“Well, we’d already figured you had a getaway driver.” Lois chuckled lightly. “Though, I will admit to being slightly hurt that you didn’t ask me. I’ll have you know that I am very fast behind the wheel.”

“Yeah, we know.” Sam muttered darkly, “How many points on your licence do you have now? It’s a miracle you’re still allowed to drive.”

“At least I don’t drive like a grandma. You do a full itinerary check before every journey.” Lois retorted.

“And my insurance company thanks me for that with low premiums.” Sam shot back with a smug smirk.

“God, only you would use financial incentives as a comeback.” Lois groaned.

“That’s because-“

“I left with Kara.” Lena announced, causing an instant hush to descend over the bickering friends as they both stared at her with open mouths.

Kara …” Lois repeated, blinking rapidly as if rebooting, “I didn’t think… uh… that you invited her.”

“I didn’t.” Lena replied, gaze fixed on the napkin that she was folding, unfolding and refolding. “She came to see me when I was about to put on my dress.”

“And what did she say?” Sam inquired, face creased in concentration.

“She said…” Lena licked her lips, cheek tingling at the last point of contact between her and Kara. “She told me not to get married and that she loved me.”

The silence that followed wasn’t just deafening, it was like a heavy blanket had fallen over them, weighing them all down.

Lena glanced up furtively to assess her friends’ reactions but found both of them had their best masks on.

“And?” Lois prompted, “What happened next?”

Lena laughed, “You already know the answer to that.”

“You called off the wedding for Kara.” Sam said slowly, the statement the trigger for Lois and Sam to undergo the realisation .

Lena rolled her eyes, “I didn’t call it off for Kara.”

Her declaration was followed by two sets of pursed lips and an in-sync, “You just said-”

“I know,” Lena huffed, “but it wasn’t like that.” 

Another meaningful look was exchanged between her two best friends.

“I called it off for me.” Lena murmured shyly, feeling awkward about the admittance even as Sam and Lois’ expressions immediately softened. “Kara was just the catalyst, I guess. I wasn’t marrying Henri for the right reasons,” Lena confessed, always uncomfortable pointing out her own faults and failures, “which, I know you both were probably more than aware.”

“We had our suspicions.” Sam admitted, reaching out to squeeze Lena’s fidgeting fingers.

“We didn’t want to say anything because you seemed happy,” Lois revealed, face twisting with guilt as she too reached out to make contact with Lena’s other hand - binding the three of them together, “and Henri’s a good man. We didn’t want you to feel like we were… like we didn’t support you.” 

“I appreciate that.” Lena said genuinely, smiling sweetly at the other women, feeling emboldened by their unflinching support. “Kara made me realise that I deserve a chance to have what you and Kal have.” Lois beamed proudly at her in response. “That I deserve a chance to find real love. I didn’t call off the wedding for Kara,” Lena reiterated, needing her friends to see the truth of this statement, “I did it for me because I realised what I was worth and what I deserve.”

“Lena, I’m so proud of you.” Sam whispered, hazel eyes sheening up with tears.

“Same.” Lois agreed, instant and earnest. “You deserve a full relationship, filled with love.”

“Thank you, both of you.” Lena squeezed their joined hands together gratefully.

“So…” Lois teased gently, “where does that leave you and Kara?”

“I… uh... don’t know.” Lena admitted, “I… want more and I’m ready to take that risk… I just…”

“Want some help?” Sam inquired knowingly.

Relief and gratitude rose up in Lena’s chest, only to be followed by a wave of peace. Her life might be a little bit of a mess and she may have made some bad decisions here and there but she had ended up with two pretty kick-ass best friends so she must have done some things right along the way. 

“Yes please.” Lena sighed.

Lois winked at her, “You’ve got it. Fill us in and we’ll sort out a plan.”

Lena took a deep breath finally confident that, no matter what, everything would be okay in the end.

 


 

[Lena] Hey

Okay, it wasn’t the best of opening texts following three weeks of silence after calling off her wedding for her blonde best friend, Lena could admit, but it wasn’t the worst one out there and Lena would take that as a small victory.

[Kara] Hey

The response came through in less than two seconds, the simple reply followed by a plethora of emojis that Lena couldn’t interpret beyond them showing Kara’s excitement.

Lena bit the inside of her cheek, thumbs hovering above her phone’s keyboard as she struggled to come up with a response. She didn’t really have anything to say, she just… wanted to talk to Kara, to restart that connection, to show that she was improving… 

If she was being honest with herself, she just wanted to hear Kara’s voice more than anything.

Before she had a chance to doubt herself, Lena tapped the call button and pressed the phone to her ear. It didn’t even ring once before it connected.

“Lena! You called.” Kara cheered gleefully, her voice raised so as to be heard over the sounds of rushing air.

“Yeah…” Lena replied, heart already hammering happily in her chest at Kara’s obvious elation, knowing that she was the cause. “Are you in a tornado or something?”

“Oh, no.” Kara replied and instantly the billowing wind receded, “Just doing a final lap around the city before heading home.”

“You’re on patrol.” Lena winced guiltily, shifting to pull her legs up to her chest as she curled up on her sofa. “I shouldn’t have called. I should have checked first. I can call some other-”

“No! Please!” Kara begged desperately. “I’m finished for the night, I promise. I was just taking in the sights.”

“The sights?” Lena echoed softly, gaze moving away from the muted news on the television screen to the window which gave a breathtaking view of the Metropolis skyline. “Like what?”

“Like…” Kara started before faltering uneasily, and asking in a quiet, uncertain voice, “Is this really what you want to talk about?”

“I don’t care what we talk about, I just want to hear your voice.” Lena replied without hesitation. 

Past her would never have been so forthright, but she had broken off an engagement and told Kara that she wished to start a relationship - any reason for coyness had been lost. There was no benefit in hiding, she had chosen to trust Kara, to put her heart on the line again… she was already open and vulnerable, any walls she put up would be an inch thick and merely serve to unfairly harm Kara.

“You do?” Kara perked up and Lena could practically hear her grin over the phone.

“Yeah.” Lena murmured sincerely, before adding seriously, “I think we need to learn how to talk to each other about… small things again.”

Kara fell silent for a beat, reflecting on Lena’s point and what she was saying without really saying it. That they needed to rebuild their friendship, re-discover that easy rhythm they had once had, make each other laugh and remove the strains of awkwardness that came with their fallout and five year silence.

They needed to re-learn one another.

“Like that I can see the most adorable puppy in the world currently tying his owner to a tree with his lead?” Kara suggested, tone light and humming with the potential for giggles.

“Exactly like that.” Lena chuckled down the line, her stiff posture easing as she allowed herself to stretch out across the length of the sofa.

“Lena, he is the cutest dog I have ever seen.” Kara stressed.

“You say that about every dog.” Lena teased.

“Doesn’t mean it's not true.” Kara verbally pouted down the phone.

“If you say so.” Lena snorted, curling the phone closer to herself as she prompted soft and eager, “What else do you see?”

 


 

“What about the other part of your day?” Lena questioned, as she dished her food onto her plate, eyeing the phone on the counter warily. 

“The other part?” Kara repeated, confusion evident in her tone and the clatter of pots and pans as she clumsily tried to make her own dinner.

Lena sighed helplessly, trying to push down the pang of hurt and frustration that accompanied Kara’s obliviousness. 

They had taken to talking every night for the last week. Most often before bed, Kara’s voice and the sights she saw as she flew home after her patrol lulled Lena into a deep, restful sleep. Occasionally, they would talk over dinner when either had plans for the evening - Lena had drinks with a team that successfully completed a prototype last time, whereas this time Kara was meeting the superfriends for karaoke. 

They told each other about their days, for the most part, though they had also started to carefully share details surrounding their five years apart. Lena, however, quickly realised that Kara was still holding back. She happily told Lena about her articles, about Alex’s marriage and their attempts to adopt, about her favourite tv shows and books but there was a noticeable red-caped elephant that Kara kept avoiding bringing up.

“The super part.” Lena snapped, her emotions getting the better of her for a moment. 

The stunned quiet that followed provided Lena more than enough time to reflect and feel guilty about how she had handled it.

“You don’t have to tell me about it if you don’t want to.” Lena rushed out apologetically.

“I do.” Kara breathed, the sounds of dinner prep completely stopped, prompting Lena to scoop her own phone up, take it off speaker and press it to her ear. It felt more private… intimate for what was about to follow. “I… really do. I just didn’t know if…” Kara inhaled shakily, “if you wanted to hear it.”

“I want to know all of you, Kara.” Lena whispered earnestly.

“Rao, I love you.” Kara declared.

“I know.” Lena muttered, blushing deeply, “Now tell me how many kittens you saved from trees.”

 


 

“I have them both, you know?” Kara revealed after Lena had finished telling her the story of her photoshoot with Superman. 

She’d described how Kara’s cousin had looked to Lena for guidance on how to pose - suddenly awkward at being put on display. She told Kara about how Kal had nearly fried the photographer on her behalf when he suggested that the Super should bridal carry her for the picture. Kal had announced that considering how many times Lena’s intellect had saved him that it would make more sense for her to carry him which had then led to one of hers and Lois’ favourite photos that, unfortunately, didn’t make the cover. Kal sweeping his cape into his lap and floating in Lena’s arms had required a recreation every Christmas much to young John’s delight and Lois’ glee.

“What? The TIME covers?” Lena checked as her own rib-splitting laughter died down.

“Yeah, I mean…” Kara coughed, suddenly shy on her end of the phone, “would it sound stalkerish to admit that I’ve collected most articles about you?”

Lena’s breath faltered at that, her thrilled heart skipping a beat. “Maybe a little.” Lena admitted, lips twitching with the urge to level up from a smile to a grin. “Though, I… I have all the copies of CatCo that you’ve ever written in.”

“You… you still read my work?” Kara said dumbly, the shock apparent.

“Every. Single. One.” Lena emphasised each word with a flirtatious edge that had Kara stifling something that might have been a whimper or a moan. “I watched all the Supergirl news too.” Lena added gently.

“That’s… that’s…”

“Good?” Lena guessed.

Kara sighed dreamily, “Great. Amazing.” There was a pause and Lena waited for the blonde to build up enough courage to tease in response. “Maybe a little stalkerish.”

Lena couldn’t hold back her grin at that.

 


 

Lena eased back in her bathtub, cradling her phone to her ear. It would have been more sensible to put it on speaker and rest it nearby but Kara over the last few weeks had started to flirt, started to suggest and tease which meant that Lena now loathed to put any further distance between them when she was starting to crave closer, closer and closer .

She was now starting to imagine what would happen when she spent time in Kara’s company again. Imagine how Kara would kiss her for the first time, touch her, taste…

Kara had grown confident and comfortable enough to say what she wanted and Lena’s reasons for time - for slow and space - were starting to grow distant and hazy.

“When did you… um…” Lena began, voice hushed and cracking, as she tried to recover from Kara’s whispered pleas.

“When did I?” Kara encouraged in her tone that promised praise and good things if Lena replied.

Lena shook her head, trying to clear it of the fog caused by the steamy tendrils of the bath and Kara’s heated declarations. “When did you realise that you liked me like that?”

Kara didn’t reply immediately and Lena couldn’t help but feel a flash of regret for disrupting their fun with a serious question.

“Like or love?” Kara inquired curiously.

Lena pursed her lips, “Both.”

Kara hummed thoughtfully as she considered her answer, “After a lot of self-reflection, I can say I liked you from the moment I met you but I didn’t…” 

Lena frowned at the wistful sigh that Kara let out, it was a sound filled with so much regret that Lena wished they were together for this conversation so she could pull the blonde into a hug and place a kiss on her forehead to ease away the crinkle that was undoubtedly there. 

“I didn’t realise that was what I was feeling.” Kara confessed, “I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t aware of my sexuality or because I… I’d never felt that strongly about someone else and couldn’t interpret it even in general terms. I realised I liked you when… you remember that night you had been drinking after Edge framed you?”

“Yeah...” Lena replied; her memories of that night were little more than a swirl of alcohol and pain except for when Kara came into frame - those were sharp and in high definition regardless of her intoxication.

“Then. Right then.” Kara asserted. “The moment you looked into my eyes, when you had been so unfairly hurt by the world and yet you were still kind to me and to others. I just… wanted to take you in my arms and never let you go.” The sound of Kara inhaling sharply with desire had Lena’s heart rate accelerating. “I wanted to kiss you so badly, to make you feel cared for.

Lena sank further into the water, hoping it would cool her heated skin as she listened to the woman she had been in love with for nearly a decade - when you really thought about it - expressing her desire to take care of her.

 “I realised I loved you in Kasnia.” Kara continued, warming to the subject now, her affection bleeding through every word. “There was a… there was evidence that showed I was Supergirl there and you… you nearly saw it. And the idea of losing you, of hurting you with my secret… it…” Kara whispered, “It broke my heart. For a moment… just considering that I might lose you was like losing Krypton all over again.”

“Kara…” Lena breathed, equal parts devastated and loved.

“Yeah?” Kara murmured.

“I’m ready for that date now.”

Chapter Text

Flying away from Lena after placing a featherlight kiss on her cheek was even harder than it was five years ago. Knowing that they were so close, that there was a thin tendril to redemption and reconciliation which could snap in an instant, made the promise of space so much harder this time around. 

She had gone five years without Lena, five years heartbroken and hollowed out…

Now her heart was sellotaped and stapled back together, an interim control as the cracks slowly started to heal with every second she got to spend in Lena’s orbit. 

Walking away after twelve hours in Lena’s intoxicating presence was harder than emptying all the bottles of alcohol down her drain with Alex hovering supportively over her shoulder.

She returned back to her apartment and instantly buried her face in the pillow that Lena had used during their nap, inhaling the scent that barely remained. 

She could do this. She could wait.

This was a good thing, it was more hope than she had the last time Lena had asked for space. 

Then again, Kara had assumed that Lena would reach out to her eventually, and had lived in hope just as much as she did now.

What if Lena changed her mind?

What if Lena regretted calling off her ending?

What if those twelve hours were all Kara would ever get?

Kara inhaled shakily and blinked rapidly to dispel the tears that were threatening to fall. Her apartment was too quiet and her thoughts too loud. The urge to drink something to settle her nerves, to quieten the voice of the millions of ghosts that had followed her from Krypton, was more intense than it had been for the last six months.

She exhaled slowly, recognising the destructive thoughts and using the techniques that Kelly and her sponsor had taught her to disable them before they could turn truly malicious. 

Sleep didn’t really come that night, anxiety and excitement keeping her away from slumber’s outreach. 

For the next two weeks she kept busy: throwing herself into work and Supergirl saves whilst spending time with Alex and Kelly, and attending an increased number of AA meetings. Alex fluttered around her constantly like a worried mother hen, though, she kept quiet about Lena’s reappearance to the other Superfriends which Kara was grateful for - knowing that Brainy, James and Nia would hover much the same or pester her every waking moment to find out if this meant that they could reach out to Lena now too. 

“How are you doing?” Alex inquired for the eighteenth time that day as she lingered behind under the ruse of helping to clear up after game night.

“I’m fine, seriously.” Kara reassured, squeezing her sister’s forearm as she passed by her to carry the empty bottles to the recycling.

“Are you sure?” Alex pushed, following close behind her, giving up any pretense of cleaning. “Have you got a meeting tomorrow? Do you want me to take you?”

“Alex!” Kara huffed in exasperation, whirling round to face her sister. “Enough.” Kara pleaded. “I get that you’re worried but I have things under control.”

“You say that,” Alex frowned, hands shifting endlessly from her hips to crossing protectively in front of her chest, “but Lena’s the reason-”

Kara flinched at that, brow creasing heavily, “No. Wait… Is that what you think?” Kara interrupted in total disbelief. “That Lena is the reason that I started drinking?”

Alex hesitated, lips pursed tight together, before asking quietly, “Isn’t she?”

Kara’s jaw dropped, her expression horrified, “No! Rao, no! I drank because of my terrible coping mechanisms.” Kara threw her hands up in the air and laughed darkly. “I drank because I still see Krypton burning when I close my eyes. I drank because I couldn’t handle the guilt of what I did to Lena, what I did when I was under red K, or simply when I failed to save everyone as Supergirl.”

Alex’s eyes widened, brown eyes aching with sympathy.

“Lena - being around her - was my crutch,” Kara explained, shaking her head dismally, “she made the world quieter, made my thoughts quieter… and when she was gone.” Kara winced, her barely stitched together heart pulsing with pain at the memories. “What I’m saying is… Lena wasn’t the cause and it's unfair of you to hold her responsible for something I did.”

“I wasn’t-” Alex started to deny, ducking her head guiltily.

“Weren’t you?” Kara accused with an eyebrow raise.

Alex sighed, shoulders rolling forward as she admitted, “When she left, Kara… you… fell apart.”

Kara pushed down the hurt that followed that revelation. The months after Lena left were hard for her and as such were hard for Alex - who bled when her sister bled, who hurt when her sister hurt. Her sister supported her, helped ground her, found her an alien AA meeting where she could be somewhat herself, drove her to every meeting and pressed kisses to her forehead as Kara sobbed into her shoulder finally releasing all the agony she had stored up over the course of her lifetime.

It was understandable that her sister, who loved her so fervently, would - without really thinking about it - want to identify the cause and lay blame there. Would want her sister to be innocent of the pain she inflicted on the two of them,

Kara understood all this in an instant because she knew she would do something similar - had done something similar in the past. Even now, she held some resentment and anger towards Maggie for the heartbreak that followed a mutual and responsible decision that no one was to blame for.

Kara, however, knew that if she and Lena were to ever have a chance long-term - she needed Alex onside, needed her sister to be more mature than they had both failed to be in the past

“No, Alex, that’s where you’re wrong.” Kara said slowly. “I fell apart a long time ago. I just stopped pretending when Lena left. I stopped trying to keep the broken pieces of myself together.” 

Alex’s mouth formed an ‘o’ as understanding dawned.

“I know it was bleak for a while there but…” Kara smiled hopefully at her sister, “I’ve learnt from it, I’m stronger for it in a lot of ways.”

“I’m just… scared …” Alex admitted, reaching out to pull Kara into a tight hug, “I don’t want you to go through that again.”

“If Lena and I don’t work out?” Kara checked.

“Yeah.”

“I can’t promise that everything will always be plain sailing, regardless of if Lena and I turn out okay,” Kara murmured, as she squeezed her sister comfortingly, “but I can promise I will always try to improve, to make the right choices and look after myself.” She buried her face into Alex’s shoulder as she asked shyly, “Is that enough?”

“Of course.” Alex replied, pulling away immediately so that she could meet Kara’s vulnerable blue eyes. “I’m proud of you.” Alex asserted, before turning remorseful, “I don’t know if I say that enough? I know Supergirl gets a lot of praise and credit, but my little sister deserves even more.”

Kara beamed at that, her chest swelling with affection, “I love you.”

“Love you, too.” Alex responded automatically - the reply instant and hard-wired.

“Would you and Kelly be up for dinner after my meeting tomorrow?”

“Always.” Alex beamed.

 


 

“Everything okay?” Alex asked a week later, eyebrows shooting up at the way Kara floated into the control room for a mission briefing despite the early hour of the morning.

“Better than okay.” Kara grinned, ducking her head down to hide her blushing cheeks and murmur so no one else could hear, “Lena called.”

Alex instantly grabbed her arm and pulled her into a hug, “Sister night later? Tell me about it?”

“Definitely.” Kara whispered, feeling like her heart was close to bursting with all the love and joy it was currently experiencing.

 


 

Talking to Lena every night quickly became the highlight of her day. She would spend the hours counting down until her phone would light up with Lena’s name. She had even restarted the habit of taking mental notes of anything she saw or did that she wanted to tell Lena about - something she used to do without consciously realising it during the highs of their best friendship. 

It was never as easy or as seamless as Kara would like.

There were awkward pauses whenever they were confronted with a reminder of the hurt they had inflicted on each other, or when they accidentally stepped on an unknown sore spot or simply when they struggled to fill the silence that didn’t used to be there. There was the occasional false start, or sharply ended call when they failed to adequately communicate what they were feeling.

But for every wince and flinch, there were two smiles and warm chuckles. 

For every terse word, there was an affectionate term.

For every prematurely ended conversation, there were discussions that went deep into the night - only ended by the heavy, even breaths of sleep finally claiming one of them.

For every secret shared, Kara felt a little more seen , a little more stable .

It built and grew and flourished… not consistently - sometimes a step forward, led to two steps back - but steadily. Progressing forward inch by inch until the tight ball of fear that Lena would just stop calling, stop reaching out eased up and loosened in her chest.

She started to grow comfortable and confident. 

The trust that she had placed that Lena would be there, would talk and give them a genuine chance grew stronger - each phone call cementing the realisation that taking that leap was the right thing to do. 

(Kara hoped that Lena felt the same way about her own leap of faith.)

It was as Kara’s anxiety lessened, that she began to venture out of the comfort zone of friendship and into the zone that she had been yearning to explore for years. 

It started with compliments, sweet phrases and genuine declarations to test the water. Overtures to Lena’s physical beauty mixed in equal parts with nods to her intellect and compassion. 

Lena’s breath would stutter with surprise and delight which merely made Kara increase her assertions, desperate to hear that sound again whilst also eager to remove the surprise portion of the reaction. Wanting to flood the youngest Luthor with enough pretty words that her compliments were expected and believed .

From there Kara’s confidence merely bolstered further, the compliments became light flirts that would provoke Lena’s voice to drop an octave and whisper intimately down the phone in return - that would incite a kindling fire inside the kryptonian that the CEO would effortlessly fan into a blazing heat with a teasing tone. 

The flirtations grew into suggestions that most likely crossed the line of respectability for two people that had yet to go on a first date - not that Kara cared for social niceties anymore when it came to this. She and Lena were so far out of the scope of a normal relationship with their strange history that Kara decided to - for the first time since arriving on planet Earth - not give a shit about conforming to social expectations. 

All that mattered was that her and Lena were comfortable and that they felt at ease with the pace and the steps they were taking. 

And Kara was happy - thrilled - with how things were progressing. It felt natural, right and earned.

Yes, she would prefer to have some of these conversations face to face with Lena - to be able to gaze into green eyes and intertwine their fingers together - but she respected that Lena had more than just their relationship to work through following the cancellation of her wedding.

It was a little over two months since Kara had declared her love for Lena on her wedding day when Lena told her she was ready for a date. Ready for them to see each other. Ready to start something properly with Kara.

It was a moment that Kara had been unwittingly holding her breath for since she pressed a quick kiss to Lena’s cheek before leaving her apartment once again. It was a moment that should have been followed by the flutter of a thousand butterfly wings, by a catch of breath and the steady blaze of exhilarated fire at her centre.

It wasn’t.

Dread followed the announcement alongside the ice cold grip of fear clenching around her heart.

Lena and her were in a good place. 

A great place. 

Kara hadn’t screwed up yet, couldn’t screw up easily over the phone but a date… 

What if they went on the date and Lena realised that she wasn’t attracted to Kara?

What if they went on the date and the rapport they had so diligently built over the course of two months of phone calls vanished leaving an awkward catastrophe that they couldn’t overcome?

What if Kara went for a kiss and Lena went for a hug?

What if Kara picked a restaurant with a cuisine that Lena no longer liked?

What if-

What if-

 


 

“Tell me everything will be okay. Tell me if tonight isn’t perfect I won’t lose her again.” Kara begged, her stomach in knots as her sister wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pressed a kiss to the side of her head. 

They were sat on the edge of Kara’s bed following twenty minutes of Kara ripping her wardrobe to shreds followed by a panic-attack, that half-an-hour later, the kryptonian was only somewhat recovered from.

“Kara,” Alex soothed, “she called off her wedding for you, I think she’s willing to forgive any standard first date awkwardness.”

Kara slowly unclenched her fists that were resting on her knees, grimacing at the creases that were already marking up her light blue dress. “But that’s the thing…” Kara murmured, “she called off her wedding and I just… I feel like I have to be worthy of that. Worthy of the second chance she’s given me and what if… what if I’m not Alex?”

“You are.” 

“Yeah but how do you know -”

“Because I do.” Alex interrupted, not needing the question to give the answer. “You screwed up. We all screwed up.” She corrected with a wince; all of the superfriends still carried different quantities of guilt for their participation in the deception of the youngest Luthor. “But Kara, you always learn, always improve, always… strive to become better. And it's one of the best, most amazing things about you. You are so worthy of a second chance and Lena will see it, I have no doubt. I just wish you saw it too.”

Kara inhaled shakily, her body de-tensing enough at the fervent words to fold more comfortably into her sister’s arms. “Thank you.”

“No thanks necessary, it’s part of the sister job description to help with first date nerves.” Alex promised before nudging Kara’s shoulder, encouraging her to shift on the bed so they were facing each other directly. “Listen, carefully, okay?” Alex requested, hands placed on Kara’s shoulders ensuring they were locked together, the kryptonian focusing solely on her. “ It doesn’t have to be perfect .”

Kara’s brow furrowed immediately, “But-”

“No.” Alex said firmly, cutting off Kara’s refute before she had a chance to voice it. “There’s no such thing as perfect. First dates are awkward and, believe it or not, it's one of the best things about them.”

“Did you hit your head at work again and not tell me?” Kara scoffed affectionately. “Do I need to call Kelly to check you for a concussion?”

“Don’t be ridiculous whilst your big sister shares her wisdom.” Alex frowned, brown eyes scrunching up slightly to convey her seriousness. “First dates are you learning about each other, regardless of if you’ve known each other for a long time or not. You’re still learning how you work together within a romantic relationship. And when you’re learning about something for the first time, you’re going to make mistakes.”

Kara grimaced at that, heart unable to even consider inflicting damage intentional or otherwise on her potential relationship with Lena.

 “It's part of the process.” Alex comforted seeing the agonised flicker of emotion cross Kara’s face. “But Kara… you’ve said it yourself you learn from your mistakes.”

Kara perked up thoughtfully at that.

“It can literally only get better from here.” Alex pointed out.

Kara considered her sister’s wisdom. It was just like those first phone calls with Lena, hesitant and faltering as they re-discovered their rhythm. Their first date would be the same; them working out how to date , when to touch, how long to make eye contact,  when to flirt and when to ease back.

“I just…” Kara sighed, “want it to be easy from the start, you know?”

“I know.” Alex nodded understandingly. “Though you’re not really at the start anymore.”

“It could have been easy…” Kara whispered wistfully. “I think that’s what’s upsetting me. I lost the chance for it to be easy from the beginning. For the first date just to be… exciting more than anything else.”

“I’m sorry.” Alex commiserated.

“Not your fault.”

“I didn’t help.” Alex acknowledged, taking accountability for how she had stoked distrust and hesitance at the early stages of Kara’s friendship with Lena, had helped build the foundation of lies that would crumble later. 

Kara shrugged; it was the past now, fixed and unchanging.

“You can still be excited, Kara.” Alex said softly. “I have an idea.”

Kara tilted her to the side curiously.

“Close your eyes.” Alex ordered.

The kryptonian hesitated for a beat but relinquished quickly, closing her eyes.

“Imagine you’ve arrived at Lena’s apartment. You’re outside the front door, bouquet of flowers in hand and you’ve just knocked.” Alex described, voice taking on a narrative lull that she had slowly been developing with every visit to the National City Orphanage. 

Kara allowed her mind to create the image her sister was constructing; Lena’s black door was in front of her, the plumerias held tight in a shaky hand as her heart pounded in her chest.

“You hear footsteps approaching. There’s a pause.”

There’s a rushing sound in Kara’s ears as adrenaline propels her blood around her body at breakneck speed. She’s struggling to breathe, palms sweaty and legs twitchy with excessive energy.

“The door swings open and there she is…”

Lena’s wearing a green dress, collarbones sharp and exposed, raven hair curling and pulled to rest over one shoulder. She’s smiling, bright and brilliant, her lips a dark, painted red that Kara wants Lena to stain her skin with. She’s beautiful, breathtaking and the whole world has been struck silent in awe. 

“How do you feel?” Alex prompts gently.

Kara smiles bashfully to herself, “Excited.”

Chapter Text

“Kara, dinner was delicious, I promise.” Lena assured as they stepped out of the restaurant; Kara’s head, however, remained ducked and her shoulders curled forward in deflation.

“Yeah…” Kara sighed, coming to stop on the corner, staring dismally up at the Metropolis skyline. “This isn’t going well, is it?”

Lena opened her mouth to deny it but the words wouldn’t come, the inherent dishonesty of declaring that everything was going well made her throat tighten and her stomach squirm. They were doing so well with being open and she didn’t want to disrupt that even with a white lie whilst it was still so tenuous, so new and vulnerable.

The date hadn’t been a disaster - it just wasn’t… magical .

It had started well… excellently even. 

Kara had knocked on her door, looking utterly ravishing in a yellow dress that made the smile she gave Lena truly dazzling. She had brought a beautiful bouquet of plumerias, clearly handpicked and lovingly arranged. They had walked to the restaurant sharing shy glances, fingertips brushing all the way there. 

It was when they sat down for dinner that the awkwardness settled in. It was a five-star restaurant - Lena had no idea how Kara had even managed to wrangle a reservation on such short notice - so high-end that the prices weren’t on the menu.

(Her and Henri had come here a few times in the past, though she kindly didn’t tell Kara that.)

It was not the type of restaurant that she and Kara ever went to when they were best friends. They went to fancy restaurants occasionally but usually as celebrations or with the deep understanding that Lena would be staying over, watching crappy films and they would end up ordering mass amounts of greasy food at midnight. 

There was no easy point of reference for them to lean into, which made the date stilted and lacking the warm familiarity that had become a hallmark of their reconnection.

Conversation didn’t flow, neither knowing how to shift them from friends to romantic prospects - a gap made even worse by them still learning how to interact with each other in general after everything they’ve been through. Any time they started a topic with any substance they would be thrown off-course by the waiter coming over to refill drinks, serve the next course and check-in on them. 

Kara’s nerves had her stuttering, forehead beading with sweat, and knocking over her water glass twice. Lena would have found it sweet and endearing if it wasn’t so clearly an unpleasant experience for the blonde. Any attempts Lena made to soothe her anxiety merely made Kara more wound up; disappointed that Lena needed to intervene.  

“It’s not the worst date I’ve ever been on.” Lena offered, nudging Kara’s side fondly with her elbow.

It was still early in the evening; Lena knew Kara probably had something else planned but the light and enthusiasm had dimmed in her blue eyes and it was obvious she was doubting what came next if how they were now lingering on the street corner was any indication. 

“Who beat me for the top spot?” Kara questioned with a pout.

“Andrew Finch.” Lena replied without hesitation causing a gasp to escape from her date.

“The rockstar?!” Kara squeaked in disbelief.

“I object to that.” Lena huffed, rolling her eyes dismissively, “His music is generic and bland to the extreme, there’s nothing rock and roll about it.”

“I’d forgotten how much of a music snob you are.” Kara groaned; eyes scrunching up in amusement at the edges.

“I’m not a snob,” Lena scoffed faux-defensively, “I just have taste unlike the majority of this country.”

Kara crossed her arms, hip cocked forward and eyebrow raised in challenge, “Name any song released in the last five years.”

“I…” Lena began, before immediately faltering. “Just give me a minute.” Lena mumbled, pursing her lips tightly together as Kara began to chuckle. “Why couldn’t you say six years?” Lena eventually whined, stamping her foot childishly.

“Because I was keeping you in the music loop six years ago.” Kara pointed out with a smirk.

Something warm and happy fluttered in Lena’s chest at that - it was the first time that Kara had referenced back to their past friendship and the break without accompanying it with a wince. It was progress and acceptance all rolled into one.

“That’s... accurate…” Lena admitted, before inching forward a step so that the two of them were even closer, fluttering her eyelashes at the kryptonian. “I guess you’ll have to bring me back up to speed.”

“Yeah?” Kara swallowed, eyes going wide.

“Yeah.” Lena replied, reaching out to squeeze Kara’s hand instantly making the superhero perk up. “I have an idea…” Lena started slowly, “if you don’t mind me taking over the date plan?”

Kara blinked in surprise at the request but nodded quickly. “By all means.”

“Thank you.” Lena breathed, nudging forward to press a quick kiss to Kara’s cheek before moving away and pulling out her phone. “One minute.” She requested, holding up a finger in warning as she moved away. “And no listening!”

“I won’t.” Kara murmured, standing stock still, her hand slowly rising up to reverently touch where Lena’s lips had pressed. 

 


 

“Sorted?” Kara asked once Lena had returned to her side, sporting a bright grin, after ending her phone call.

“Sorted.” Lena declared with a firm nod.

“So what’s the plan Miss. Luthor?”

“Well, firstly,” Lena asserted, raising an eyebrow in challenge as she held out a hand between them, palm facing upwards, “you hold my hand.”

The smile that took over Kara’s face could barely be contained. “I can do that.” Kara slipped her hand into Lena’s, their palms tight against one another and fingers locked. 

Lena’s heart skipped a beat at the contact and the way Kara’s blue eyes twinkled. 

“Good.” She hummed before leading them down the street, “Now we’re going for a walk.”

“Okay.” Kara accepted without complaint or question. “I believe you were telling me about the worst date that you’d ever been on.”

“Right…” Lena laughed as they seamlessly picked back up the dangling conversation thread from before.

It was a staple of their friendship from years ago that they could have a running conversation for weeks that seemed to never finish as they were willingly pulled off course by an array of tangents. 

“Well, I met Finch at the premiere of that sci-fi film that doesn’t even remotely understand how time travel works a year or so after moving to Metropolis.”

Kara frowned thoughtfully, “That really doesn’t narrow it down.”

“Not much more I can tell you, I’m afraid.” Lena shrugged helplessly. “I snuck out halfway through and went back to work - the factual inaccuracies angered me so much I designed a free learning module for high schoolers explaining the underpinning science of time travel.” She coughed awkwardly then, shooting Kara an embarrassed side-glance as she added, “I, then, sent it to the director with a note saying he might learn something.”

Kara burst out into laughter prompting Lena to chuckle along with her. 

Once the kryptonian’s amusement had eased, wiping away tears of laughter with her forefinger, she squeezed Lena’s hand in hers and murmured thoughtfully, “I don’t remember you taking science inaccuracies that personally when we used to watch films together.”

“That’s because I vented to you about my frustrations as we were watching it,” Lena reminded her before frowning slightly, “rather than bottling them up and releasing them in a passive aggressive manner on the unsuspecting populace.”

Kara slowed their pace, tugging lightly on their joined hands so that Lena would meet her eyes - Kara’s expression was soft and undeniably fond as she whispered earnestly, “You explaining exactly why a character has done something stupid was my favourite part of movie nights.”

Lena blushed at that, flooded with memories of throwing popcorn at Kara’s television, at whispering wry comments in the blonde’s ear, at huffing loudly whenever a character did something particularly idiotic, or aggressively pausing a film or show so that she could explain - in detail - why whatever scientific concept they were using was totally wrong. Over their time apart which allowed for destructive reflection, she had grown more and more embarrassed with her behaviour during film nights (at how easy it was to share with Kara and to truly be herself) now that she knew there had been a whole swathe of secrets between them.

“Are you being sarcastic?” Lena questioned with equal parts disbelief and suspicion.

“No.” Kara answered immediately, expression turning downcast at Lena’s doubt. “I loved listening to you.” Kara insisted, bringing them to a complete stop so she could give Lena her full focus. “I loved hearing your passion and ideas and… your critiques always made me laugh. You’re still the only person I would ever watch a horror film with.” 

“Oh.” Lena breathed taken aback. “I loved making you laugh.” Lena bit her lip surprised at her own admittance as much as Kara was in that moment. “I loved how you cuddled up to me when something scary happened - it’s why I suggested so many horror films. I don’t even really like them.”

“Oh.” Kara murmured, the melancholy of a moment ago rapidly replaced by the cheesiest grin imaginable.

“Yeah.” Lena rolled her eyes, banging her shoulder affectionately against the girl of steel who kindly rocked backwards at the action.

“We got off track again…” Kara pointed out as they continued walking, shoulders brushing constantly together - Lena intermittently wished they weren’t holding hands so Kara could freely wrap an arm around her shoulders.

“I think we’re actually getting on track.” Lena said softly.

“I think so too.” Kara agreed, using only the tiniest burst of superspeed to press a kiss to the side of Lena’s head.

Lena’s heart fluttered and when she spoke next her voice came out a little higher pitched than normal, “We’re nearly there.” 

The entrance to the public gardens of Metropolis stood before them, streetlights lighting up the pathways and illuminating a poster for ‘Back to the Future’ on the entry arch.

“We can put your declaration that you like my company during films to the test.” Lena joked, as she nodded to the poster.

“An open cinema?” Kara guessed excitedly; putting the CEO’s sudden bout of nerves regarding her last minute plan to rest.

“I wasn’t ready for our night to end.” Lena explained. “I thought we should try something a bit more familiar with a romantic element rather than something completely new.”

“Lena…” Kara sighed, so much sheer love conveyed in that single word that the youngest Luthor felt like she must have accomplished the impossible to earn it.

Lena inhaled, ready to reply when she spotted a familiar black town car pull up nearby.

“Hold that thought.” Lena requested, squeezing Kara’s hand once more before letting go and rushing over to the car, from which her driver George was just getting out. He handed her a brown bag that she accepted with a gracious smile and a sincere thank you before returning to Kara’s side. 

“Big belly burger has arrived.” Lena announced jubilantly, holding the bag out for the kryptonian take.

Kara took it with a quizzical expression peeking inside to see her a couple of burgers and at least three shares of fries.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Lena tsked, “I’ve seen how much Kal needs to eat and I know that you didn’t order nearly enough at the restaurant.”

“Lena, I…” Kara’s jaw moved up and down, the bag of takeout held carefully like it was something precious. “I wish I had done this to start with.” Kara blurted out after a long pause, lips pressed tight together clearly pained at the alternate realities they could have been in.

“Kara-”

“I wanted to…” Kara ducked her head, toeing at the ground dejectedly as she whispered, “I wanted to impress you.”

Lena knew that. 

Knew how important this had been to Kara. Knew thanks to a camera outside her front door that Kara had arrived early and spent ten minutes rearranging her windswept hair and psyching herself up. Knew how Kara lit up everytime she managed to make Lena laugh. Knew that Kara wanted this night to go well so desperately that her hands shook with the desire to make it happen.

“Kara, listen to me carefully.” Lena soothed, reaching out to loop her arms around Kara’s neck, bringing them close together - the only distance between them due to the brown bag of food nestled between them. “You most definitely impress me, especially in that dress.” Lena licked her lips as her gaze dropped suggestively downwards earning her a hitched breath from the blonde. “Do you have any idea how much willpower it took for me not to drag you into my apartment instead of going out for dinner?”

Kara made a sound like she was choking on air before mumbling, “Probably the same amount it took for me not to kiss you against the door.” 

Lena’s stomach performed an aerial display complete with barrel rolls at that revelation.

Kara shifted the bag of food to under one arm so that she could edge closer to Lena, their forehead making contact and resting easily against one another. “I wanted to sweep you off your feet.”

“You did that a long time ago.” Lena promised, eyes slipping closed as she enjoyed the simple pleasure of breathing the same air as the woman she loved. “Come on, the food’s getting cold and the film will start soon.”

 


 

“He cut his toenails at the table? I don’t believe it.” Kara exclaimed, leaning against the wall with a heavy thud of shock as Lena made to unlock her front door.

“Neither did I but trust me he did.” Lena replied, “I watched the toenail clipping land in my soup.”

“Ugh… okay... that’s disgusting.” Kara grimaced, making a sound similar to retching as Lena managed to push her door open. “Though, it does make me feel a lot better about our date.”

“Our date isn't over yet,” Lena reminded her as she shifted to lean against the doorway to her apartment at the same time Kara straightened up and moved to face her directly. “And I have clippers in my apartment if you want to make a play for the title.” Lena offered, jerking a thumb over her shoulder.

“I’m good with second to last, thanks.” Kara chuckled, adjusting her glasses as her nerves clearly started to return. 

Lena was instantly eager to soothe and reassure, wanting the end of their date to maintain the good vibes they had fanned into existence at the open cinema.

“You’re not second to last.” Lena assured without hesitation.

Kara arched an eyebrow in pleasant surprise, “Really? Third to last?”

“No.”

Kara’s brow furrowed at that, “So, where do I place? Mid-table?”

Lena swallowed thickly, cheeks flushing a baby pink, “You’re in a league of your own.” She shrugged her shoulders at a futile attempt of casualness. “Wouldn’t be fair to compare anyone else to you.”

“Because of our history?” Kara asked quietly, uncertain.

“Because I love you,” Lena whispered, gaze fixed on the floor, afraid of Kara’s reaction even though she knew (with near certainty) that Kara loved her too. It didn’t matter that she didn’t see Kara’s face, she could still hear the sharp inhale of breath from the kryptonian. “And the scientist in me can’t make any comparisons when I’m so biased towards you.” Lena rushed out, trying to move past her declaration so that her skyrocketing heart might settle. “Though, it does mean you will be competing with yourself from now on.” She hummed thoughtfully, “The bar has now been sent for the second date.”

“Lena?” Kara breathed out.

“Yeah?” Lena winced, finally gathering enough courage to look up.

Kara was stood up straight, hands clasped on her hips and chin raised ever so slightly upwards. Dark blue eyes were watching her so intently that Lena barely resisted the urge to squirm and shift. 

“I love you,” Kara said simply as if it was little more than an indisputable fact of the universe, “and I’m going to kiss you now.”

Lena stopped breathing, her heart stopped beating, her entire being - every neuron, every atom - stopped . She was in a state of suspended animation, mere seconds away from receiving a gift that for a long time she believed she had never been and would never be worthy enough to receive.

It quickly became clear though that Kara was waiting for a sign that her intent was welcome and Lena’s sudden freeze did not send that message. It was the hardest thing Lena had ever done - so fearful of doing something that would prevent the next few seconds from happening - but she managed to whine a desperate, “ Please .”

Warm hands cupped Lena’s face, strong thumbs tenderly stroking her cheekbones whilst blue eyes peered into green searching for something - some sign that this was real .

Lena reached up and covered Kara’s hands with her own, the contact grounding and a confirmation of reality.

Their noses rubbed against one another, stuttering breaths meaning their lips almost brushed every other second. An eternity in a single second then…

Lips slotted seamlessly together, tongues testing and teasing at the edges.

Lena’s knees shook as fireworks exploded behind her eyes and her mind screamed and begged for more.

Her hands slipped from atop Kara’s moving to tangle in golden locks as her entire body pushed into the kryptonian, who held her ground and encouraged full contact by gently releasing Lena’s face so that her arms could wrap around Lena’s waist and hold her closer.

Kara kissed her like she was the first source of water after going months alone in the desert, whilst Lena turned pliant and flexible under the tsunami of fervent adoration that Kara’s lips painted against hers. 

Screw being unbiased, Lena thought fleetingly to herself as she pulled back to gasp for air whilst Kara merely shifted her reverent kisses to Lena’s jaw and neck in the meantime, this was the single best date she had ever been on.

She would take a thousand awkward dinners for a kiss like this anyday.

Chapter Text

Kara pressed featherlight kisses to the expanse of pale skin laid bare before her earning a sleepy hum of approval.

“Don’t tell me you’re leaving already?” Lena groaned, rolling over whilst simultaneously pulling the duvet up to lock in the warmth - sadly depriving Kara of her favourite sight to behold. 

Not that Kara could blame her, Metropolis was freezing in comparison to the sunshine warmth of National City, being overcast for what felt like ninety percent of the year. No wonder she’s so much more powerful than Kal, Kara thought to herself, when he goes without regular doses to the source of their power.

“Alex and J’onn get twitchy if Supergirl is away for too long.” Kara murmured regretfully, even though they’d had this exact conversation at least twice a week since their first date.

The heavy frown and furrowed brow revealed that Lena clearly had issues with this statement.

Kara waited to see if Lena would communicate what exactly her problem was but she remained tight lipped as ever. Kara always intended to bring it up, to gently prompt but she was always rushing out the door in the morning, never able to take the time to have these conversations - she didn’t even have time to stay for breakfast or soft morning sex like she so desperately wished too. And when she returned for their next date night/sleepover, Kara had either forgotten all about it or she had missed her girlfriend so much that the idea of tarnishing their time together with an awkward conversation was wholly unthinkable.

“Right.” Lena muttered, expression turning blank and inscrutable.

Kara hated it when Lena shut-down, locked her out from whatever thoughts or emotions were swirling behind guarded green eyes. 

It had happened a few times over the course of their six-month relationship - Lena being triggered into withdrawing causing Kara to turn either frantic with nerves or defensive. Every relationship had their bumps and in comparison to most theirs were relatively small but they still stung and they scared Kara to her core - fearful that their relationship was more fragile than it actually was.

“Lena-” Kara sighed, reaching out for Lena’s hand only for her girlfriend to pull it away, arms crossing over her chest and locking the quilt in place around her.

“You should be on your way.” Lena said.

Kara pursed her lips and got to her feet, pulling out the phone she had hastily tucked into her trousers in her rapid dressing that morning. She unlocked it and selected her sister’s contact. 

“Hey Alex,” Kara greeted as soon as the call connected, “I’m going to be late back to National City.”

She frowned as her sister’s tinny voice filled her ear, barely listening as her sister argued that it wasn’t in the city’s best interests, her full focus was on Lena who was looking at her with surprise and no small amount of awe. 

Kara had never felt more heroic in her life under Lena’s gaze at that moment.

“Alex,” Kara interrupted, “I need this. I’m not asking for a day, just a few more hours. Are there any emergencies, currently?”

Alex hesitated before replying ‘no’.

Kara didn’t wait to hear anymore, “I appreciate it, bye Alex.”

She ended the call and in the flash of an eye was under the covers, arm around Lena’s waist, sitting up against the headboard.

“Kara-” Lena began.

The kryptonian instantly detected the guilty tone in Lena’s voice and cut it off by pressing a kiss to the side of her head and whispering, “This is important. You’re important.”

Lena exhaled shakily, hesitating for a few beats before turning and burying her face in Kara’s chest, snuggling into the hero’s arms.

“We need to talk, don’t we?” Kara suggested after a few minutes of enjoying Lena’s comforting weight.

“It’s the grown-up thing to do.” Lena huffed petulantly, sounding completely un-thrilled at the prospect. 

“Do you want to start?” Kara asked softly.

“It might be best that I get dressed first.” Lena replied, looking up to meet blue eyes and smirking teasingly, “Your hand is starting to wander, darling.”

Kara’s cheeks burned bright red, her traitorous hand that had drifted to Lena’s rear - its go to resting place in bed - snapping back to her side. “Sorry.”

“I’m not.” Lena assured, nudging forward to kiss Kara, slow and lingering. “But it's not quite conducive to grown up communication.”

“I think you’ll find it’s actually extremely grown up.” Kara grinned roguishly, rubbing their noses tenderly back and forth before pressing another kiss to Lena’s lips and leaning back, “You get dressed, I’ll make coffee.”

“Okay.” Lena agreed, shifting out of Kara’s arms so they were both free to complete their chores.

Kara made the coffee without her powers, using the fancy coffee machine and the syrups Lena had bought specifically for her whenever she stayed over. Lena appeared after only a few minutes, not bothering to shower instead just throwing on a pair of sweats, a baggy NCU sweatshirt (turns out Lena had stolen it from Kara and kept it for the entirety of their separation) and putting her hair up in a hasty ponytail. 

Once they both had coffees in hand, leaning against opposite kitchen counters did the silence turn awkward and heavy with whatever came next. 

“What if you wanted to go on holiday?” Lena asked, the terseness of her voice revealing the question to be something far more serious than what it appeared to be.

“Uh? What?” Kara’s eyebrows pinched together in confusion.

Lena’s gaze dropped to observe the steam rising from the mug in her cupped hands, “What if you wanted to take a break? Go see the world.” Lena pursed her lips as she added shyly, “Be with me for more than a few hour increments at a time.”

“I… I don’t know.” Kara replied honestly, “Is that… something you would want? To go away somewhere with me?”

Lena rolled her eyes, clearly disappointed in the question. “I like to think we could have the option of a honeymoon at least.”

Kara’s heart stuttered in her chest at that - a reference to their future together, of marriage, being concrete and certain rather than accompanied by a defensive if .

“But that’s not the point or should I say problem.” Lena added.

Kara shook her head to free herself of her now daily fantasies (that were now less fantasies and more plans ). “Then what is?”

“That we are sick of having to cut short our time together.” Lena declared bluntly, “That we can’t spend mornings in bed together. That I can never do anything to surprise my girlfriend because to me she lives a five hour flight away. That we can’t be spontaneous or see each other just because we want to.”

Kara’s expression turned pained, “Lena, you know I want to live with you more than anything.”

“And you think I don’t?” Lena frowned. “I want it more than anything but I don’t see a solution to our problem.”

“We just haven’t found it yet.” Kara pleaded, heart rate starting to accelerate as it always did when her relationship with Lena met a stumbling block she couldn’t quite get them over by herself. “Maybe I could move here.”

Lena arched a formidable eyebrow at that, “And commute back to National City?”

Kara opened and closed her mouth, no sound coming out.

“Metropolis doesn’t need two Supers and I would never ask you to leave National City,” Lena murmured quietly, the softness of her tone revealing how serious she was being, “or stop being Supergirl.”

“Look if something happens in National City,” Kara replied, forcing a smile to try and sell the idea that she had offered up countless times over the last month without improving on it, “I can be back there in two minutes at full speed. It only takes me twenty minutes as I try to fly safely.”

Lena sighed, putting her mug down on the counter, before stepping up to Kara - hands reaching out to cup the kryptonian’s face. The CEO smiled sadly up into blue eyes as her thumbs stroked Kara’s cheeks. “You would never forgive yourself if someone died in the two minutes it takes you to get there.” Lena whispered, “And I would never forgive myself for making you feel that way.”

Kara blinked to dispel the tears that were blooming, gaze dropping away from Lena’s as she muttered defensively, “I get to have my own life, I get to put myself first.”

“Yes… but when was the last time you had a holiday?” 

Kara winced as the painful understanding dawned, “I… ah… I see your point.”

“I can’t move back to National City.” Lena apologised, hands falling away from Kara only for the blonde to catch her wrists - keeping them connected.

“I would never ask-”

“I know.” Lena reassured, going on tiptoes to press a quick kiss to Kara’s cheek. “I keep asking myself to, though.”

“Lena.” Kara breathed, saddened at the weight Lena was placing on herself - aware that it was the exact weight she had been placing on herself too.

“Moving headquarters for the third time in a decade…” Lena shook her head dismally, “I can’t justify uprooting that many people again, some people won’t be able to move due to families and… they don’t deserve to lose their jobs because of their fickle CEO. It’s not just L-Corp, though…”

“No?” Kara prompted, curious even as her heart twinged painfully at another obstacle to their happiness.

“I have a support system here, a family.” Lena admitted, “I would have to give that up and I…”

“You shouldn’t have to.” Kara asserted firmly.

“I don’t know what to do.” Lena cried, face twisting as she resisted the obvious urge to cry.

“We’ll figure it out.” Kara soothed, wrapping her arms around the love of her life and pulling her tight against her body.

“That’s what we said at the start of all this.” Lena muttered, burying her face into Kara’s shoulder. “That it’s a long term problem. Future Kara and Lena can solve it. But the thing is… we are our future selves now. This is the next step, and we both really want to take it but we can’t figure out how to do that… What does that say about us? About our long-term relationship? What if-”

“Don’t.” Kara begged, “Don’t say whatever you’re about to say next.” 

Lena fell silent, leaving them only with the sound of shuddering breaths and the looming threat of an unclear future.

“I love you.” Kara declared earnestly, hoping it was enough to scare off their fears.

“I love you too.” Lena replied instantly and just as sincerely, before adding with a resigned tone, “But that’s not everything.”

 


 

Their first date set the tone for their entire relationship - an awkward somewhat fumbling start, followed by a show of commitment to improve, to learn, which climaxed in the simple, effortless magic that romantic fiction depicts love to be. The beauty of the ending, the easiness of it all, was all the more precious due to the effort that had come before it. The work Kara and Lena both put in to identify and articulate their issues and surpass them together.

Their first time was much the same, Kara’s fear of losing control made her uncomfortable and hesitant which in turn made Lena distant - nervous that Kara wasn’t interested in her, was regretting their decision now that it was laid bare before her. The flames of their initial released passion fizzled out leaving something cold and unwelcome prompting Kara to fly jerkily off the balcony. 

Any long-lasting effects of that disappointment, however, were never given time to coalesce as Kara returned to Lena’s side less than a minute after her initial departure, dropping to her knees in front of the disheveled Luthor, trembling golden hands reaching out for desperate contact as a deluge of words poured from her mouth to explain. 

With interlaced fingers and the exchange of soft kisses, they talked and healed.

Their second attempt - which was their first in all the ways that truly counted - was everything they both dreamed it would be and more.

The pattern continued - though their awkward first attempts at things were now sweeter and more endearing in nature, shared moments that sparked laughter and insider smiles.

They learnt to overcome nearly all obstacles.

Learnt to listen and share

They talked through Supergirl - the lies and the hurts that had come with heavy secrets.

They talked about Lex - the trauma of losing a grounding force in one’s life regardless of how corrupted it had become.

They talked about unhealthy coping mechanisms - needing to burn memories away with shortcuts rather than carefully laying them to rest.

They talked about culture and history unknowns - lost girls no longer connected to their childhood homes.

They talked, and talked and talked. Falling more in love with one another with every word shared.

No relationship is perfect, though, no matter how much Kara would like theirs to be.

They had their stumbling blocks; issues for which there were no simple solutions - only compromises that would always leave a bitter taste in their mouths but gave confidence that they wouldn’t shy away from the hard choices.

Which is probably what made this obstacle, the one that they had both foreseen from the moment Kara carried Lena away on her wedding day so terrifying. It was one which couldn’t be compromised - two parties both taking a small loss for both of their overall happiness.

This was a problem that could only be solved with a sacrifice on one of their parts. 

A sacrifice both would willingly make when faced with the alternative, but one that neither would accept from the other on their behalf.

An unstoppable force and an immovable object.

 


 

“I just…” Kara sighed, flopping back onto the sofa cushions, gazing unseeingly up at the ceiling, “don’t know what to do.” 

Kara didn’t need to see her sister to know that her and Kelly were exchanging a look.

“I’m sorry, sis.” Alex soothed and it was obvious in the apologetic tone that she was still ruminating on the realisation that Kara had shared about the DEO’s demand on Supergirl which had prevented her from having her own life in a lot of ways. 

Kara listened as Kelly pressed a kiss to Alex’s brow before disappearing to a different room, leaving the sister’s their privacy; less than a beat later, Alex was settling down next to Kara, arm sliding around her shoulders encouraging the kryptonian to meet concerned brown eyes.

Kara hesitated before meeting her sister’s gaze - equal parts guilty for pointing out the harshness of the DEO’s demands on her time and annoyed that Alex was only seeing it now that Kara had clear evidence of its impact in the form of her relationship with Lena. 

“I’m sorry.” Alex repeated earnestly.

“It’s okay.” Kara replied with a helpless shrug.

“No, it’s not.” Alex rejected immediately. “National City can get by ninety nine percent of the time without Supergirl. The city’s become lazy. I’ve become lazy.” Alex amended squaring her shoulders to take responsibility. “Especially over the last few years.”

“I did kinda throw myself into Supergirl after Lena and then after…” Kara winced but pushed herself not to treat her past like taboo, “after my alcoholism.”

“Yeah.” Alex agreed. “But I should have noticed… should have… God, Kara, you haven’t had more than twenty-four hours off Supergirl duty in five years. I’m your sister and I should have seen that at least.”

“Hey,” Kara murmured softly, nudging her sister’s side as she reminded her gently, “you noticed a lot of other stuff. And you know now that you’re not solely responsible for me, right? You get your own life too.”

“I know.” Alex smiled sadly; it was a lesson she had learned over the years with Kelly’s affection helping along every step of the way. “Still, I can help with this.”

“Yeah?” Kara asked, perking up ever so slightly.

“I’m director of the DEO with a number of superheroes and agencies on speed dial.” Alex asserted with her usual swagger. “I’m pretty confident that I can make it so Supergirl has a better work/life balance.”

“That would be amazing. Being able to actually spend a weekend with Lena without feeling like I’m letting someone down…” Kara trailed off, the tightness in her chest simultaneously loosening before tightening back up again. 

She trusted that Alex would put her mind and resources towards solving this now that the problem had been raised with her. And having those extra hours with Lena meant the world to Kara but she couldn’t help but feel it would be slapping a band-aid over the serious wound.

A short-term exchange to distract from the long-term worry.

“Still doesn’t solve our living situation…” Kara muttered, deflating back into her sister’s awaiting side hug.

“No, it doesn’t.” Alex agreed sympathetically.

“What do we do?” Kara asked, tilting her head to look pleadingly up at her sister.

“I don’t know either.” Alex admitted.

“I have this… dark… twisty feeling in the pit of my stomach that this… that this is the thing .” Kara whispered.

“The thing?” Alex prompted curiously.

“The thing that we can’t get past.” Kara confessed, feeling physically sick at just the concept of an end . “The thing that will break us.”

“Oh, Kara.” Alex breathed, her other arm instantly coming round to fully encircle her in a comforting embrace. 

“I don’t want it to end, Alex. I can’t lose her again…” Kara cried, “especially not over something like this. Such a stupid thing as distance when I can fly faster than anything on Earth.”

“This won’t break the two of you-”

“You don’t know that.” Kara cut in sharply.

“Yes, I do, okay? I know that.” Alex declared defiantly. “You love each other.”

“But that’s not everything, Alex.” Kara argued, resting her cheek on her sister’s shoulder whilst wrapping her own arms around her in return. “You know that better than anyone.”

Alex’s breath faltered at that, at the call back to two hearts filled with love but beating out of sync, of a ring given only to be returned.

“It’s different for you and Lena.” Alex said slowly, choosing her words with more care than she ever had before. “You both want the same things, the same future, the same relationship. You just don’t know how to get that. But that’s the thing Kara… you two are invincible when you work together.”

The wings of hope fluttered back to life in Kara’s chest, buoyed up into the air by her sister’s coaxing.

“You think so?” Kara checked, needing this reinforced and made as strong as steel.

“I know so.” Alex promised.

Chapter Text

Their first trip together was nothing particularly special. Lena took Kara to a villa the Luthors owned out in Tuscany. A week under the Italian sun, with mornings spent in bed or lazing by the pool and afternoons exploring the nearby towns whilst the kryptonian ate every flavour of gelato on offer. It was the best holiday Lena had ever had, just the two of them able to enjoy each other’s company out of the public eye.

Their next trip was a little further afield and involved an altogether terrifying prospect for Lena - meeting Kara’s mother. 

Argo was exactly how Kara had described it, which somehow made it no less daunting a location for the youngest Luthor who would never have thought she would step foot on an alien planet in her lifetime - she had always had a small hope for visiting the moon if technology progressed rapidly enough. 

It was one thing to learn about Kara’s culture over cuddled up conversations on the sofa, it was a whole other thing to be immersed in it with Kara’s hand in hers guiding her every step of the way. Lena’s kryptonese was shaky and stilted at best - her ability hindered by having to unlearn all of Kal’s incorrect grammar and americanised accent. 

If it was any other language she was learning Lena would have shied away from sharing her poor skills until she had more confidence. However, the way Kara positively glowed with pride and adoration at every word Lena haltingly offered up made enduring the awkwardness of disrupted conversation more than worth it.

Kara’s mother wasn’t what Lena had expected. 

She had met her before briefly and hadn’t gotten a good read on the woman with everything going on. Alura was reserved where Kara was curious and eager. Alura was exact and clear with her words whilst Kara rambled and became tongue-tied. Alura worked more in absolutes whilst Kara strived to see grey.

Lena had expected more similarities between the two and was surprised to find out that there was little commonality there. (She wondered if this was due to Kara’s time on Earth, her trauma and experiences or if it was simply genetic - taking more after her father. Lena promised herself that she would find out, take the time to dig deeper and deeper into her love as time permitted them.) 

Regardless, it was clear in Kara’s hesitancy when interacting with Alura that these differences were compounding a number of issues yet to be resolved creating tension in their relationship. Oddly enough, Kara’s nervousness helped Lena get over her own anxiety about being liked by Alura - her focus shifting immediately from her needs to Kara’s.

Her interest in being liked surpassed by her need for Kara to feel comfortable in her once home.

By the end of their visit, Kara’s relationship with her mother was on firmer ground, Lena had finally gotten a hang of the kryptonese tenses that she kept shifting accidentally between and Alura had whispered her blessing in Lena’s ear. It was a fantastic, relationship defining vacation… only ruined by the fact that when they returned home Lena was forced to yet again watch her love fly back to National City, deprived of sleeping soundly in each other’s arms once more before returning to work.

Kara now being able to leave National City without feeling like she was abandoning the citizens was a game changer; it gave their relationship so much they didn’t know it had been missing. Being able to go away together was one thing. Being able to sleep in without setting an alarm was another. 

But Kara smiling brighter and easier as if she was Atlas finally able to set the weight on her shoulders down? 

That was revolutionary.

It also helped distract from the problem that wasn’t really going away - the one that always came sharply back into focus whenever Kara kissed her goodbye before returning home.

Lena knew they were at a crossroads and they would have to pick a path eventually but that made it no less devastating a venture. Pain and discomfort lay down either route for one of them; all that was left to decide was which…

 

Xxx

 

Lena watched as Kara fell, tumbling through the air - her red cape making it look like she was surrounded in a vortex of blood, the crimson droplets being whisked away by the whipping air accompanying her fall.

The camera didn’t catch the collision with the ground, though the force of it was undeniable in how the stable image shook from the shockwave.

It was the silence that followed that terrified Lena, that pulled her back to a four year old child that could only wait and wait to see if her mother would reappear from the waves that had carried her away.

It was with unsteady hands that Lena pulled free her phone and hit one of her favourite contacts.

It didn’t even get a chance to ring before it connected, the commanding tone of her best friend instantly filling her ear.

“It’s okay, Lena. Clark is on his way to you now.” Lois declared, voice clear and direct so Lena could make sense of it through the shock she was experiencing from watching the woman she loves get blown out of the sky on television. “He’ll be there any second and he will take you straight to Kara. She’ll be okay, I promise. She’s the strongest person I know and she loves you so much,” Lois emphasised, “that there isn’t a single weapon or bomb powerful enough to keep her away, okay? She’s going to be fine.”

There was the sound of feet landing on the balcony behind her; Lena couldn’t bring herself to turn around to face Superman as her heart screamed that it was the wrong Kryptonian.

“Lois, I-“ Lena began before cutting herself off with a sob.

“Hey… it will be okay. It will all be okay.” Lois soothed in the voice she would use when whispering loving reassurances to Jon after a nightmare.

“I can’t lose her.” Lena confessed, her heart tender and raw.

“You won’t.”

Lena exhaled shakily, her free arm wrapping tight around herself as she added, utterly vulnerable, “I don’t want to do this on my own.”

There was a pause that followed her admittance and it was a long enough beat that Lena felt her chest collapse with humiliation and shame.

“You’re not going to.” Lois said firmly, tone hardened and unyielding - the strength and certainty of it rebuilding all of Lena’s broken supports in an instant. “Clark is going to drop you off and then he is going to come back and get me. I’ll be right by your side soon enough.”

“Thank you.” Lena whispered so gratefully.

“You’re family;” Lois reminded her for the thousandth time, “how many times have you been there to hold my hand in these situations?”

“I don’t know.”

“Exactly, so no thanks needed.” Lois soothed, before ordering (knowing her husband could hear her clearly from Lena’s phone), “Clark take her to Kara.”

Instantly, Superman was stepping up next to Lena, eyes soft and filled with compassion. He bowed his head and slowly held out his arms for Lena to approach.

Lena immediately moved closer, accepting her friend’s comforting hug which he carefully transitioned into a lift once she had nodded her consent.

“Lena, I’ll fly as carefully as I can.” Clark promised as he strode towards the balcony, acutely aware of Lena’s discomfort with flying.

“Don’t.” Lena said sharply. “Fly fast.”

 


 

“Here.” 

Lena jerked in place, hand intertwined with Kara’s clinging all the more tightly as she looked over her shoulder to see Alex holding out a cup of coffee with a sympathetic expression.

“Thanks.” Lena yawned, accepting the cup with her free hand whilst ducking her gaze away from the redhead.

“No problem.” Alex murmured, moving to the other side of the sun bed to check over her sister's vitals. “If there’s uh… anything else you need…”

“I’m fine. Lois and Clark are getting me some food.” Lena replied, focusing on how her thumb stroked over and around Kara’s knuckles on endless repeat.

“Right… great.” Alex acknowledged, nodding to herself. “She’ll be okay.”

“I know.” Lena sighed, eyes drinking in the sight of her unconscious girlfriend. “I should have been here.”

“You beat the ambulance back to the DEO.” Alex reminded her gently, giving up pretending like she was going over Kara’s medical status. “You were here, Lena.”

Lena shook her head, shoulders drooping with exhaustion, as she reached out to stroke through golden hair. “It's not enough… I didn't… I didn't get to kiss her goodbye this morning.”

“Kara wouldn't want you to blame yourself-” 

“I'm not blaming myself.” Lena chuckled darkly, lifting the limp hand clasped in her own to her cheek so she might experience more of the kryptonian’s comforting warmth. “It’s just… Not enough for me anymore.”

Alex squared up then, chest puffing out protectively as a harsh frown ripped away all softness of a moment ago. “You're not planning on breaking up with her, are you?”

Lena looked sharply over at the redhead, green eyes distant and expression guarded (though there was a small amount of hurt that she couldn’t hide no matter how good her business mask was). “Are you always going to assume the worst of me?”

Alex flinched, “I wasn’t-”

“You were.”  Lena shot back prompting Alex to crumble instantly, the guilt, regret and shame in her brown eyes shining brightly. “I understand why,” The youngest Luthor said slowly, voice easing away back to something more controlled and kind, “and I appreciate that it's more to do with the power I have to hurt her than anything to do with my name. I respect that.” Lena revealed, flashing the older Danvers a rueful smile. “I’ve always respected that. But it’s exactly why I can’t be friends with you and the other Superfriends.”

Alex pursed her lips at that, “I don’t think-“

“You will never be my friends,” Lena explained gently and without cruelty, “my entire relationship with Kara would affect how the rest of you treat me. And neither her nor I deserve to take the responsibility of that on our relationship. I like how you all protect Kara, but don’t pretend you would ever protect me in the same way.”

Alex blinked at that, mind whirring away trying to raise a counter-argument. She wanted to say that her and the superfriends would never be in a position where they would be forced to choose, to make such a loyalty decision. 

But they already had. 

The argument was already destroyed. It might have worked in the past. The chance of being pulled in two directions normally minimal when both parties were reasonable and earnest people. But the worst had happened and there was no going back to a time of ignorance - Lena knew where she was in the pecking order and it was unfair for her to pretend that she didn’t.

Alex deflated, nodding stiffly as she murmured a sad, “I understand.”

“I love your sister, I hope you can be confident of that at least above everything.” Lena continued, curling protectively around Kara’s hand as if Alex intended to now drag her out of the room and separate the two of them forever. “I know how important it is to Kara that you and I get along. And I, honestly, hope we do too, but I figured… I figured you would understand my need for boundaries.”

“I do.” Alex assured, and it was obvious in her defeated posture that she was mourning a friendship that they were never really given the opportunity to have. 

They stood in companionable silence for a minute or so, both of them bonded by their love for the unconscious blonde and little else. Alex made to leave, she had plenty of work to do and the more she could get done, the less there would be for Kara to worry about when she woke up. 

“Lena?” Alex called back, hesitating in the doorway, watching how tenderly Lena watched over her little sister.

“Hmm?”

“Your love for Kara was never and will never be in question.” Alex promised.

 


 

“I told you she would be fine.” Lois announced, nudging Lena’s side affectionately as she came to stand by her on the DEO balcony. “She loves you too much to let anything get in the way.”

“I know.” Lena grinned, cheeks still flushed and radiant from whatever declarations of love Kara had whispered in her ear upon waking. Lena had ducked out to give Kara time alone with her sister and the Superfriends.

“Then why the brooding?” Lois questioned, crossing her arms in faux-accusation. “We made each other drunken promises - which are the most sacred of promises. You can’t Luthor brood, and I can’t Lane rage rant.”

“You rage rant all the time.” Lena scoffed, rolling her eyes in amusement.

“No, I generally rant,” Lois corrected haughtily, “and on occasion I tirade , I will admit. Pray, though, that you never see a rage rant. Come on, talk to me.” Lois encouraged, wrapping an arm around Lena’s shoulders as they stared through the glass windows of the DEO out into the dim twilight. “I will feed Jon excessive amounts of sugar just before you babysit if you don’t… and trust me Kryptonian children do not have an off-switch when on a sugar rampage.”

 Lena laughed happily at the threat, turning to rest her head on Lois’ shoulder before admitting quietly, “I think I have to move back to National City.”

“Have to or want to?” Lois checked.

Lena smiled to herself, chest warming up as the desires she had been struggling to hold back finally rose up inside her. “ Want .” She asserted confidently. “I want more time with Kara. I want us to move forward. I want wedding rings and Kryptonian children that Kara can feed excessive sugar to.”

Lois beamed at the confession before schooling her features to help work through what was causing the raven-head so much turmoil. “What does this mean for L Corp?”

“I have a… contingency plan . My ‘if I get hit by a bus plan’ which can be repurposed.”

“Lena…” Lois said carefully, not wanting to spoil Lena’s plans but needing to ensure she was taking into consideration her own needs and not just Kara’s, “Make sure you’re not giving up everything.”

“I’m not.” Lena reassured quickly, “If my spark of a plan works the way I hope it does I might get more than I have now when it comes to it. L-Corp isn’t the problem, though… I would willingly and happily give it up in a heartbeat for Kara. Being CEO has never brought me joy and L-Corp has only ever made me more aware of the burden of my last name. I’ve always secretly wanted to be free of it but felt I couldn’t entrust it to anyone.”

“But you do now?” Lois inquired interestedly.

“If my spark of a plan works… yes.” Lena admitted.

Lois wanted to press for more answers - her curiosity piqued- however she managed to hold back and focus on what her dear friend needed. “So if not L-Corp, then what is the problem?”

“You.” Lena answered immediately, causing Lois to blink in surprise. “Kal. Sam. Lucy. Ruby. Henri.” She listed off, jaw tight and green eyes pained, “My friends. My family. My support system. I would be giving you up and having to start again.”

“I’m sorry…” Lois muttered, stepping away from Lena so that the CEO could fully take in the effect of her dropped jaw and wide eyes, “I think there was a phenomenal glitch in the matrix just then. See, I thought I heard my best friend - who is a super genius - say the single most stupid sentence since the start of the human race.” 

Lena’s eyebrows shot up at that, “Lois-“

“Hold on.” Lois requested, raising a hand to stop Lena from saying another word. “I’m questioning reality. I think I need Clark; see if he knows how to assess if we are in an alternate reality where Lena Luthor is in fact an idiot.”

Lena folded her arms across her chest and huffed out an aggrieved breath, “Are you done?”

“To be honest? I could go for like an hour.” Lois admitted honestly, tapping her chin as if in deep thought, “I think I need to call Sam, she’ll never forgive me if I don’t involve her in this golden opportunity.”

“Fuck it, I’m moving to National City tomorrow. I can’t wait to be rid of you.” Lena groaned, throwing her hands up in complete exasperation.

“Nuh uh, Luthor.” Lois tutted, grinning maniacally, “You just said we are family! No take backs!” She yelled, utterly gleeful. “You’re stuck with us and you seem to be continuously forgetting that my husband - who is conveniently wrapped around my little finger and adores you almost as much as I do - can fly me over to National City in like twenty minutes. And that you also have a kryptonian who would eagerly offer you free rides whenever you want.” Lois paused, considering what she had just said before smiling impossibly wider, “Ooh unintentional innuendo that I’m going to pretend was entirely intentional when repeating this story to everyone that I can.”

Lena buried her face in her hands, questioning every single life-choice she had ever made that had led to this moment. Her embarrassment was brought to a rather quick end by Lois reaching out to lightly grab her wrists, encouraging her to unhide her face.

 “Jon calls you his aunt,” Lois reminded her, all teasing from a moment ago completely gone to be replaced with a fondness the reporter only gifted to a select few, “and as such, will expect and desperately want to see you regularly. This distance is nothing for us, okay?”

“Okay.” Lena repeated, believing it when the indomitable Lois Lane said it. “I’m really glad you barged into my office five years ago.”

“Me too, Luthor.”

 


 

“Lena, my dear, you look ravishing as always.” Henri greeted with complete sincerity, pressing a kiss to either of Lena’s cheeks. “Love most definitely suits you.”

Lena’s smile in return was bright; still grateful that she hadn’t lost this wonderful man’s friendship after everything. “Not nearly as well as that outfit suits you.” She shot back, nodding her head at the new burgundy suit the frenchman was sporting. “New tailor?” 

“Yes, actually.” The businessman beamed, always delighted when Lena showed off her astute eye for fashion. “Savile Row.”

“Very nice.” Lena complimented as they took a seat on the couch in her office.

“Thank you.” Henri nodded his head, undoing the button of his suit jacket before bracing his elbows on his knees, eyes keen and assessing as they shifted to business. “Now, pray tell why have you summoned me?”

“Maybe I just missed you.” Lena teased.

“Whilst that is undoubtedly true at all times,” Henri declared, placing a head over his heart as if touched by the notion, “I doubt if you merely wished to indulge in my sparkling wit that you would have had us meeting in the office when you know that the cocktail bar down the road makes my favourite drink to perfection.”

Lena chuckled to herself whilst nervous hands smoothed down her skirt. “I have a business proposal for you.” Lena revealed carefully, green eyes studying her friend’s reaction closely.

Henri cocked a thoughtful eyebrow at that, mind whirring away as he mused, “Another joint venture, perhaps? I’m afraid we don’t have anything in the pipeline at the correct stage for that, nor do I think we have the resources to progress any research for L Corp properties.”

“Not a joint venture…” Lena said slowly, her heart thudding at a slightly faster than usual tempo - she didn’t know if it was with anxiety or excitement at the prospect of what could come next. She took a deep breath, lifted her chin resolutely and said, “A hostile takeover.”

Henri’s brow furrowed immediately and if he wasn’t such a consummate professional, Lena was sure, he would have flinched in shock.

“I’m sorry, did I hear you correctly?” Henri murmured, all the light whimsy of a moment ago vanished.

“Yes.” Lena replied, impressed with how clear and definitive her voice was.

Henri pursed his lips and nodded, “I… I’m listening.”

She laid it all out to him, holding nothing back - even the parts that weren’t relevant to this particular business deal - she wanted him to understand her motivations, to reinforce the trust that would be needed on both sides for this to work. He listened attentively, asking for clarity here and there but for the most part absorbing the full scope of what she was suggesting.

They talked through most of the night, hashing out the details and the intricacies until they had something defined and tangible to truly assess and brood on. Henri left in the early hours of the morning, requesting time and space to think through her proposal and to consult with his trusted executives for input. Lena gave him what he requested, returning to an empty apartment that merely crystallised the certainty of her decision.

Henri came back two days later - longer than Lena had expected him to take but not long enough for her to think he was uninterested. Lena had expected him to come back with a list of demands or compromises, at least fifty or so questions about the finer points of the deal but he was only interested in confirming that this was something that she wanted. 

“Are you sure about this?” Henri asked once more, eyes soft and filled with friendly concern.

“I am.” Lena assured, reaching out to squeeze her friend’s hand, “Henri, you know me well…” She reminded him gently before asking, “do you really think that this wouldn’t make me happy?”

Henri lifted her hand connected to his and placed a reverent kiss to the back of it, “From what I know of you, my dear friend, you deserve this and everything it can give you.” He sighed, “It’s just…”

“I don’t have the same attachment to the Luthor legacy as you do to your family’s.” Lena said, cutting right to the crux of the matter. “I care about my reputation, my honour and my own name…. Not my family’s.” Lena paused, lips pressed into a thin line before correcting her previous statement, “Not this family’s, anyway. I like the idea that I can restart… that I can create my name with good deeds from the get go.”

“Lena, it’s just… it’s a lot… it’s everything I’ve worked towards.” Henri breathed.

“I know.” Lena laughed gently, heart warming at the sight of the hope and joy building in the good man sat next to her - knowing without a doubt that everything L-Corp had built couldn’t be in better hands than his. “I couldn’t give this company to just anyone; I trust you to do right by it.”

 Henri straightened up immediately, chest puffing up like he was about to receive his knighthood and all the responsibilities to the realm that came with it. “I will.”

And just like that, Lena felt something inside her relax, felt it ease and flex - a burden she had been forced to carry slipping away. She felt young in a way she had been deprived of for all of her twenties. Felt fresh, clean and untarnished. The first blanket of snow yet to be moulded into a thousand potential different shapes by giddy hands.

“Oh, there’s someone I want you to meet.” Lena declared, getting to her feet, tugging her successor along with her, and heading out of the office that would soon no longer be hers. “Her name is Jess and she would make a fantastic COO.”

“You have that twinkle in your eye.” Henri muttered warily as Lena grinned back at him.

“What twinkle?” Lena asked, playing intentionally dumb.

“That twinkle you get before you change someone’s life.” Henri remarked.

Lena shrugged, as she pressed the button for the elevator, “Sounds about right.”

Chapter Text

“One more, please?” Kara begged, nuzzling into Lena’s bare hip.

“I really don’t think I have another in me.” Lena panted out, arm thrown over her face as she attempted to recover. 

“Are you sure?” The kryptonian checked, voice gravelly and dirty in all the ways that Lena adored. “Even if I go slow…” Kara nipped at the sensitive skin above Lena’s hipbone causing her body to jerk and judder with desire. 

“Maybe…” Lena admitted, lifting the arm covering her eyes up ever so slightly to meet dark and pleading blue. “Super slow, though…”

The smirk that grew on Kara’s face could have given the Devil a run for his money. “ Super slow.” The hero promised, mouth already dropping back down to tease at marked skin. 

“You’re insatiable.” Lena groaned appreciatively.

“Mmhmm…” Kara hummed, uninterested in disconnecting her lips from Lena’s skin long enough to reply with actual words.

 


 

The house they bought was on the outskirts of National City; Alex had taken to referring to it as ‘The Mansion’ which earned repeated eyerolls from the youngest Luthor who loathed the term. 

It was large, without a doubt, Kara could admit that much. 

It had five bedrooms and just as many bathrooms - to encourage people to visit and in preparation for a future they both envisioned. A study that Lena had immediately redecorated and turned into a suitable workspace for Kara, covering the walls with framed pictures of her greatest headlines and achievements which had Kara tearing up the instant she saw it. Lena, in turn, had claimed the double door garage as her work space, filling it with random pieces of equipment that she could tinker with happily until the early hours of the morning. 

The hallway, meanwhile, was wide enough to allow for the transmat portal doorway, that connected to Kent Farm with a press of button at either residency, to open up. The living room was situated at the back of the house, with large floor to ceiling windows, a skylight for superhero exits/entrances and an array of comfy sofas perfect for hosting Kara’s game nights. 

Kara adored the home she was building with Lena. 

Adored the plethora of comfy blankets she had tucked into nearly every corner for quick and easy access.

Adored the many bookshelves that they had built into every wall and how all were filled with the hundreds of books that the two of them had collected and shared.

Adored that Lena kept Kara’s sobriety chips proudly on display in their bedroom.

Adored that she got to wake up every morning with Lena in her arms.

Adored that she had a home she couldn’t wait to return to everyday.

Adored all of it.

Except for the guilt that accompanied every single, little piece of joy.

The uncomfortable ache that had settled permanently at the bottom of her chest when Lena had told her she wanted to move back to National City - wanted to live with Kara. The sharp twist she felt behind her heart when L-Corp was wiped from existence and replaced with Rousseau Pharmaceutics. The bubbling nausea of watching Lena start from scratch - though she had no doubt that ‘The Lena Luthor Foundation’ would be a complete success.

Kara knew that Lena had made her choice - was happy with her decision and had more or less mitigated all the negative fears they had both had about her having to move back to National City.

She knew that Lena loved her new company and all the challenges and opportunities it provided.

Knew that Lena loved their new home and living with Kara.

Knew that Lena with her transmat ‘corridor’ to Kent Farm could continue her weekly poker nights with Lois, Lucy and Sam without issue. 

Knew that Lena could continue working with Superman without missing a beat, could continue the partnership she had built and enjoyed for over half a decade.

Kara knew all this. Knew her guilt was irrational and came from a place of trauma caused by repeated abandonment.

She knew all of this but it didn’t ease her fear that Lena was secretly miserable and would one day - once fully exhausted by the facade of pretending to be happy - would snap and vanish from Kara’s life without a glance back.

It made Kara want to hold on all the tighter, made her need to give Lena her very best at all times - to give her everything -, made it so she had to be perfect and infallible and… and…

 


 

“Everything okay?” Kara inquired timidly from the study doorway - having stepped out upon hearing their front door slam. She fidgeted worriedly in place as she watched Lena dump her bag in the hallway, snatch the heels off her feet and abandon them haphazardly before making to storm up the stairs to their bedroom. 

“Fine!” Lena snapped, shoulders hunched up to her ears with tension.

“Oh…” Kara flinched, deflating instantly.

“Shit…” Lena winced, turning back round and hurrying down the stairs to the blonde’s side. “Kara, I'm so sorry.” Lena apologised, reaching out for the kryptonian’s hands to squeeze them reassuringly. “I had a… had a bad day, but that’s no excuse for snapping at you.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Kara shrugged, even as her heart warned that this was the beginning of the end.

Lena sighed, going on tiptoes to press a sweet kiss to Kara’s brow. “You’re too good to me.”

“I don’t… I…” Kara shook her head furiously, eyes darting everywhere but at her girlfriend before deciding to change the subject. “What happened? With your day?”

Lena arched a curious eyebrow at Kara’s less than subtle shift of topic but acquiesced without struggle, choosing instead to exhale heavily and slump forward so that she could rest her forehead on the hero’s shoulder. 

“What didn’t happen?” Lena whined only to let out a pleased hum when Kara wrapped her up in a tight embrace. “When I went to get coffee this morning I ran into someone who showed me that the ‘National City Anti-Luthor League’ is still going strong. I did not miss that part of living here.”

Kara grimaced at that, her guilt roiling up into a seething mass of accusations - she’s the reason Lena is back here, she’s the reason Lena is suffering .

“My prototype had a power surge,” Lena continued, face buried into Kara’s shoulder preventing her from seeing the effect of her story, “meaning I didn’t have it ready for my meeting and as such the investor I’ve been courting for the last month ran away faster than Lex did whenever an accountant mentioned taxes. And then to top it off....” Lena pulled back then to pout, “My favourite pair of heels broke.” 

Kara immediately pressed kisses to Lena’s cheeks, trying to soothe away the loss.

“It doesn’t matter, tomorrow will be better.” Lena declared with a soft smile upon receiving Kara’s affection, returning it with a lingering kiss of her own. “You have games night at your sister's. You should go get ready.” Lena reminded, rubbing their noses together affectionately before stepping away.

Kara frowned heavily at that, hands remaining on Lena’s hips to keep them connected together. “I want to be with you, especially if you’ve had a bad day.”

“You are with me, always.” Lena chuckled fondly, hands moving to stroke through her own hair - an action the inventor did whenever she was feeling particularly fatigued following a long day. Kara’s hands twitched with the desire to take over the movement, to provide further comfort. “I am going to have a nice long bath, read a book and go to bed.” Lena announced, sounding rather pleased at the prospect. 

“It wasn’t a terrible day,” Lena murmured softly upon seeing how unconvinced Kara was by her words, “not by any stretch of the imagination. You should go see your friends.”

“You could come with me.” Kara offered weakly, already knowing that Lena would say no.

Lena came to games night every now and again but she wasn't a permanent fixture. Lena had good relationships with the Superfriends now, but there was still that underlying knowledge that Lena had been treated as an outsider looking in and that wasn’t something that could just be bridged over a short period. She came whenever she and Kara hadn’t spent much time together that week if Supergirl had been called out far too much.

“I appreciate the offer but not this time.” Lena replied with an apologetic shake of the head. “I’m not feeling up to being social, is that okay?”

“Of course.” Kara rushed to reassure, even as dark thoughts whispered lies into her head that Lena hated her life, hated being here with her. She kicked the voice that she hoped sounded nothing like her own into submission, smiling warmly at the woman she adored. “I love you.”

“Love you, too.” Lena responded, instant and utterly earnest. She placed a quick kiss to Kara’s cheek before making her way back up the stairs at a far more leisurely pace.

Kara bit her bottom lip, watching Lena walk away from her, unable to stop the first part of the question that had been at the forefront of her mind from tumbling out, “Would today have been better if…”

Lena turned back immediately, arching a curious eyebrow at the blonde. “If what?”

If you still lived in Metropolis?

If you still worked for L-Corp?

If you weren't with me?

If you had never met me?

“Kara?” Lena prompted as the blonde stared up at her, mouth unable to finish what it had started and what her heart was too afraid to know the answer to.

“Nevermind.” Kara said, with a jerky, dismissive wave of her hand.

Lena’s brow furrowed, “Kara, is everything okay?”

“Perfect. Absolutely perfect.” Kara smiled brightly back, though the muscles of her face felt stiff and unwilling. “I’ll see you later.” She added before grabbing her bag and coat to make a quick escape.

 


 

The tumbler of Crysthanis rum was practically luminescent. It glowed under her gaze and Kara watched as its light shone through the gaps in her fingers whenever she curled her hand around it. She played with it, fingers tapping up and down the glass’ sides to form different light displays, swallowing thickly every now again as she allowed the craving - the need - to wash over her.

“What are you doing here?” Kara asked with a resigned, defeated tone as the love of her life slid onto the barstool next her, nodding in greeting at the alien bartender who eyed the Luthor warily.

“Looking for you.” Lena greeted jovially, crossing her arms in front of her on the bartop, not making eye contact with the blonde who kept her own eyes solely focused on the alcohol within her grasp.

“How did you find me?” Kara inquired.

“You were off earlier,” Lena acknowledged, shifting closer which wafted the floral scent of her shampoo towards Kara - prompting the blonde to close her eyes and inhale deeply, “and when you weren’t back at your normal time… I got worried. Phoned Alex. She thought you were off all night too. Suggested I try here.”

Kara snorted with self-derivement, “I can’t blame her for not wanting to come. I wouldn’t want to go through this again with me, if I was her.”

Lena finally looked at her then, green eyes unbearably soft yet also assessing, “Actually, she’s on her way. I re-routed the transmat corridor to my foundation,” Lena revealed, “gave me a major head start.”

“Oh.” Kara startled at that, the swarm of self-loathing thoughts jolted from their incessant buzzing.

There was a beat, Kara licked her lips, hand tightening on the glass when-

“Have you had anything to drink?” 

“No.”

“But you want to?” Lena questioned, no judgement in her voice.

Kara chuckled darkly, “ Always .”

“More than normal?”

Kara’s jaw clenched before she nodded hesitantly.

Lena hummed so Kara knew her non-verbal response was recognised. “Do you want to talk about it?” 

“It’s stupid.” Kara spat, free hand curling into a tight fist in her lap. “I know it’s stupid.”

“I'm sure it's not.” Lena murmured softly. “Especially if it's making you feel like you are right now. We don’t have to talk about it if you’re not ready to. We can sit here as long as you need.”

Silence settled over them, comforting yet also suffocating. Kara’s chest felt tight with shame and remorse, her eyes stinging with unshed tears.

“I… I’m sorry.” She whimpered, face twisting this way and that in an attempt to stop the tears from falling.

“What are you apologising for?” Lena frowned.

“That I…” Kara croaked, hundreds of answers to that one question flooding her mind and overwhelming her. “I don’t know.”

“That’s okay.” Lena soothed, hesitantly reaching out to lay her hand tenderly over the top of Kara’s clenched fist.

Kara focused on breathing in and out, air moving shakily throughout its irregular transfer.

“Is she-” Alex panted, sprinting up to the bar, appearing at Kara’s side in a flash, filled with frantic concern and love.

“We’re just sitting, okay?” Lena interrupted, nodding to the empty seat on Kara’s other side.

Alex blinked, looking between her sister, Lena and the glass on the bar. Understanding dawned and resolve solidified, she lifted her chin, nodded once and settled on the seat next to Kara, letting out a sigh of relief. “Right.” 

 


 

“I don’t feel like I’m good enough.” Kara admitted into the darkness, safely ensconced in Lena’s arms in their bed - dawn just starting to illuminate the world on the other side of their windows. 

They had stayed at the bar until closing time. Had stayed until the bartender had loomed over them - though he was stared menacingly down by Alex. Had stayed until Kara had finally… finally unclasped the glass tumbler and placed her hand atop of Lena’s in her lap. 

Alex had driven them home then, had kissed Kara’s head and hugged her tighter than she ever had before. Kara and Lena had changed quietly for bed and fell into each other’s arms, neither feeling the inclination to sleep. 

The confession came after an hour filled with cuddles and gentle touches that kept Kara grounded and ensured she felt secure.

“You… you’ve made all the big sacrifices for this relationship,” Kara said, the words stuttering and stilted, “and I don’t know how to be… how to be worthy of all that.”

“What sacrifices?” Lena asked, the confusion apparent in her voice without Kara having to see the visible evidence of how her eyes scrunched up and mouth thinned.

“What sacrifices?!” Kara exclaimed, nearly jerking upwards at the sheer absurdity of the question. “Lena, you finally had a home that you loved. A family that didn’t lie to you. A job that made you proud. Recognition, awards and honours. Everything you ever deserved and you gave it up. For us. For me .”

“Kara,” Lena said slowly, emphasising every word. “ I chose to do that. I didn’t give up anything. I love National City, no place does coffee like Noonan’s.” She reminded her, placing an affectionate kiss to Kara’s jaw. “I still have a family that doesn’t lie to me, it's even gotten bigger since I moved back here. And I love my new job. I actually get to invent again and do things the way I want without having to consider thousands of employees and a cantankerous board. I never liked the spotlight, you know that and being here with you gives me the peace that I’ve always wanted. I haven’t given anything up,” Lena shifted so that she was staring down into shiny blue eyes, “I’ve only gained.”

“You still had to take that leap.” Kara croaked, “You’re always the one that takes the leap.”

“What are you talking about?” Lena encouraged.

“You trusted me from the moment we met.” Kara explained. “You were honest and open, you didn’t hesitate despite everything that you had suffered with Lex and then… then when I… When you chose to give me a second chance after everything … you forgave me with no proof that I would be there to catch you. You constantly take these incredible leaps, whilst I keep myself rooted to the ground, and I… I’m so scared of not catching you. Of not being worthy of your courage. I can’t lose you.”

“Kara, you think I’m leaping on my own?” Lena muttered incredulously, free hand moving to cup Kara’s face and stroke her cheek. “I’ve had your hand in mine every single time. I was open and honest with you because you were there from the very start, opening your heart, making yourself vulnerable when you had no reason to do so.”

“But I-” Kara began to object.

“You can be vulnerable and still be dishonest.” Lena affirmed, stern but tender. “And yes, you lied but you still bared yourself to me in every way you could, still placed your faith in me when everyone was telling you not to. And then you put yourself out there again and again when I turned away. You stayed strong and constant when I faltered. Your bravery is why we are here today.” Lena smiled bright and grateful; Kara barely resisted the urge to turn away from the sight feeling so undeserving of it. “You risked a lot when you came to see me on my wedding day and I will be forever grateful to you for doing so. For being willing to try when I had lost hope.” Lena bent down, their foreheads pressed together allowing their breaths to intermingle. “You need to forgive yourself, Kara. I have and I’m so, so happy that I did.” 

“I’m trying.” Kara breathed.

“I know.” 

“I want more.” Kara confessed, trembling hands starting to move up and down Lena’s back. “I just don’t… I don’t feel like I can ask for it.”

Lena smiled sadly at that and Kara knew that she had noticed, had been waiting and wondering. 

Why hadn’t Kara asked? 

They knew what future they wanted; had talked about it extensively. They knew that both of them were desperate for the next step. 

Lena had seen how Kara’s eyes would linger over the window displays of jewelry stores and bridal boutiques. Lena knew that Kara’s mother asked at the end of every call when she was going to get a daughter-in-law. Lena knew how Kara’s mouth would form the four word question unconsciously whenever she saw Lena after a day apart.

“Ask me once you’ve done it.” Lena requested pleadingly.

“Done what?” Kara inquired, crease forming between her brows.

“Ask me to marry you once you’ve forgiven yourself.” Lena clarified gently.

“I…”

“I’ll say yes.” Lena promised, healing whatever wound Kara was about to inflict on herself before she had a chance. “But I want to know without a shadow of a doubt that you’re asking me for no other reason than I make you happy. Okay?”

“Okay.” Kara murmured quietly, before adding sincerely, “You do make me happy.”

“I know.” Lena kissed her once, twice, thrice before settling down and curling into Kara’s side. “And ditto.”

Chapter Text

“Last chance to make your escape.” Lois offered, between sipping her champagne, from the chair in the corner as Ruby and Sam continued to coo over the bride. “I have a speedboat on standby.”

“Can you even drive a speedboat?” Sam drawled, arching an unimpressed eyebrow at the reporter.

“Pfft… it’s a car for the water, how hard can it be?” Lois dismissed with a wave of her hand.

“No escape necessary.” Lena cut in before Sam could escalate the bickering by reminding Lois that she could barely handle a standard car yet alone an amphibious one. 

“Yeah?” Lois checked, getting to her feet and approaching her best friend to pull her into a tight hug.

“Yeah.” Lena confirmed, squeezing the other woman closely as Sam and Ruby rushed to make their embrace a group hug. “Don’t make me tear up, you’ll ruin my makeup.”

“Not sorry.” All three chorused, merely making Lena let out a watery chuckle, unable to bear the sheer joy she was experiencing.

The wedding was to be on a private beach, just outside Midvale, connected to a small bed and breakfast that they had bought out for the weekend. The weather was idyllic, sunny but not sweltering, with only a slight breeze. The guest list was short and intimate, only family and close friends.

Lena was dressed in a simple yet elegant dress, her hair styled but loose whilst her make up was understated, giving an overall effect of effortless beauty and warmth.

She had gotten ready with the three women currently with her, all of whom were set to stand by her side as she married the woman she loved. Clark was to walk her down the aisle - she had asked him shyly, a week after Kara had proposed, and the Super had immediately teared up, incredibly touched by the request.

Eliza and Alura were to walk Kara down the aisle, the two mothers encapsulating both parts of the blonde. Alex was Kara’s Maid of Honour whilst Kelly and Nia were her bridesmaids.

Other notable guests included Henri Rousseau and Jessica Rousseau - who had eloped following a whirlwind romance less than a couple of months ago. Lena had been furious at being denied an invite to the spontaneous wedding; Henri, though, had made up for the slight by throwing one hell of a wedding party and sending Kara a tailored suit for the event that Lena had particularly enjoyed peeling off her fiancé afterwards.

“Knock, knock.” Clark called out in sync with his knuckles rapping on the door. 

The four women slowly disentangled themselves as Lois yelled for her husband to come in.

The second the door swung open, a small figure darted inside, colliding with Lena’s legs whilst shouting out an exuberant greeting of, “Auntie Lena!”

“Hello, my darling.” Lena beamed down at the dark-haired boy, dropping to her knees - utterly uncaring of the creases it created in her stunning white dress - so that she could hug him easily in return. “Don’t you look dapper in your suit?” Lena complimented, prompting the boy to blush a pleased pink.

“Really?” Jon checked, squinting suspiciously up at her.

“Really.” Lena affirmed. “You’re going to give even Henri a run for his money.” She adjusted his blue bowtie, ensuring it was straight and not too tight.

“Awesome!” Jon cheered.

“Alright, little man, it’s time.” Lois said gently, hand held out for Jon to take. “Me and you need to get in position, Auntie Lena can’t marry Auntie Kara until you’ve checked the path is clear.”

“And covered it with flowers!” Jon reminded his mother firmly, before pressing a farewell kiss to Lena’s cheek and rushing over to Lois. “The flowers are the most important part! That’s what Auntie K said!”

“How could I forget the flowers?” Lois lamented, shooting Lena a playful wink before guiding her son out of the room, Sam and Ruby following behind whilst trying to stifle their amused giggles. 

“You ready?” Clark inquired softly, the crook of his arm held out for her to accept.

Lena grinned brighter than she ever thought she could. “So ready.”

 


 

“Was it?” Kara whispered into her ear as they swayed to the music that accompanied their first dance as spouses.

“Was what?” Lena replied, nose brushing teasingly against Kara’s neck producing a full body shudder from the Kryptonian.

“Was it everything you imagined?” Kara clarified, breath warm and enticing on Lena’s cheek.

Lena smiled softly to herself, remembering blue eyes filled with adoration focused solely on her as they declared their promises for everyone to hear. Their oaths were of love, trust, support and devotion. Commitments to listen and learn, to shelter and protect… of love and everything else. 

Rings were slid onto shaky fingers, then bracelets onto bare wrists with lingering touches. The kiss that followed marked the beginning of a journey just as much as it did an end. 

Their loved ones cheered, applauded - all sincere in their love of the couple and their desire for them to share a bright future.

Lena wouldn’t have changed a single second of it.

“And more.” Lena finally answered, leaning away ever so slightly so she could stare into the beautiful blue eyes of her wife. “How about you?”

Kara’s eyes crinkled impossibly more with happiness. “Doesn’t the smile on my face answer that question?”

Lena pursed her lips in faux-seriousness, “Communication is important.”

“Yes it is…” Kara agreed slowly, dipping forward to rest her forehead against Lena’s. “Today has been like a dream, a beautiful dream that promises to last forever.” Kara sighed heavily, tone losing its lighthearted edge, “I still sometimes don’t believe it...”

“Believe what?”

“You. Me. Us. This. All of it.” Kara breathed, fingers pressing just that little bit harder against Lena’s back as if she would disappear in an instant. “That you gave me a chance.”

“Gave us a chance.” Lena corrected firmly with a shake of her head before kissing her wife deeply, earning a cheer from the crowd that finally encouraged other couples to join them on the dance floor. “You keep forgetting how inherently selfish I am.” Lena joked, pulling back to find Kara sporting a dazed, awestruck expression that the Luthor would never get tired of being able to produce.

“Of course,” Kara sighed dramatically upon regaining her wits, “how could I forget how much of a blanket hog you are?”

“Pfft…” Lena snorted haughtily, as they continued to sway effortlessly in sync to the music, “you don’t need them with your body temperature.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t like snuggling in blankets on an evening.” Kara pouted prompting Lena to roll her eyes - somewhat resistant to the puppy dog gaze being sent her way.

“How about we make a deal?” Lena proposed, lifting her chin and adopting her familiar business voice. “I’ll be your blanket and you can be mine .”

“Hmmm…” Kara pursed her lips thoughtfully, “I don’t know if I’m ready for such a long-term commitment like that. I think I need to ask my wife.”

“You adorable asshole.” Lena muttered darkly even as her green eyes twinkled with affection. 

Kara shrugged nonchalantly, before reminding the raven haired woman, “You chose to marry me.”

“That I did.” Lena acknowledged, smiling soft and proud, hand shifting to tenderly stroke Kara’s blushing cheek, “Best decision ever.”

Blue eyes sparkled with mischief pre-empting the teasing that was to follow, “Eh… I’ll need to see how this blanket deal works out before I agree with that.”

“I want a divorce.” Lena huffed, making to step out of Kara’s embrace only to be tugged all the closer, Kryptonian hands settling on her hips and lifting Lena into the air with a squeal of surprise and delight.

“Nuh uh, you’re stuck with me now!” Kara shouted triumphantly, spinning them round on the dance floor making Lena cling all the tighter and giggle all the louder. “No take backs!”

“I love you.” Lena whispered between her laughter, voice lost in the raucous exuberance of their guests joining in on the excitement - not that it mattered, she knew Kara would still be able to hear her. “For this, and everything else.”