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Alex works on her patience.

She has been for a while; she refers to the psychological torture Kara puts her through when she talks about Lena as her very own trials and tribulations. She sits on the living room floor of Kara’s apartment and pushes teriyaki-soaked noodles from one end of the cardboard container to the other as Kara rants on.

She is missing crucial information.

She knows she is because if she is not, Kara mentioned to her new best friend Lena Luthor that she was pretty much going to be unemployed and Lena… bought CatCo. That’s a substantial purchase, right? Alex tries to think of stock markets and trackers, attempts to remember what value CatCo was valued at most recently. If she is right, Lena must have bought the company for anywhere between 700 and 800.

Million.

Dollars.

Surely that cannot be right. She knows -better than anyone- that Kara has a way of getting what she wants, and she’s no stranger to the blonde’s puppy dog eyes, but spending close to a billion dollars on a company that’s so not a Luthor field? Absolutely not. Lena Luthor is up to something; Alex is sure of it. More pressingly, whatever she is up to seems to have got something to do with her baby sister. Mr. Li’s noodles suddenly don’t taste quite as nice anymore.

Kara doesn’t seem to pick up on her worries. She’s opened the fourth pack of pot stickers and is happily scoffing them down her face, talking about a new Vietnamese place she and Lena went to. Alex feels sick.

“- and she’s so, so smart, Alex. You would like her, really, she’s very clever. She has, like, two master’s degrees and a PhD and I think she’s also working on this -”

She is going to run an extensive background check on Lena Luthor and maybe even get a DEO team to follow her every move, just to be safe.

*

Kara is dying.

Kara is dying and there is nothing she can do - J’onn can’t do anything, Brainy can’t seem to do anything, nobody at the whole damn DEO seems to have any idea how to save Kara from the deadly Kryptonian radiation in the earth’s atmosphere. Desperate times call for desperate measures so she does what she never thought she’d do.

She calls Lena.

Lena walks into the DEO with her heels and her teal dress and her leather bag and a look of solemn determination. Alex tries to think of something to say, reminds herself to not tell Lena that Kara is SuperGirl - wonders how this genius hasn’t figured that out for herself yet - and tries her hardest to not look too intimidated by Lena’s icy stare.

“Where is she?”

“Hey, listen,” she swallows, “I know you and SuperGirl don’t always see eye to eye on everything, but it means a tremendous amount to us, to me, that you’re always here when we need you the most.”

“People always underestimate me, but I care,” comes the response, “I really do.”

They stalk through the catacombs of the DEO and Lena delves through her bag, grabbing out a little device Brainy almost immediately snatches from her hands.

“Oh, my. A radiation-controlled proto-environment housed in a vacuum-sealed, mechanical exoskeleton contained in a spring-loaded two-millimeter disc.”

Lena Luthor has somehow managed to create a protective SuperSuit. She takes it away from Brainy and pushes it tightly against Kara’s - SuperGirl’s - chest after Alex okays the plan. She watches as the suit materializes around her sister, then watches Lena’s face as the youngest Luthor’s jaws clench and unclench. Minutes later, Kara’s vital signs seem to stabilize, and Lena lets out a sigh of relief that is so loud she can hear it.

“Thank you.” She gives Lena a one-armed hug before walking her out, “For everything.”

“Don’t mention it,” Lena grabs her sunglasses from her bag and zips it up, motions to her driver to pull up closer, “can you ask Kara to call me when you see her? I found a really cute Japanese place; she’d love it for lunch.”

“Of course.”

Alex waits for Lena’s city car to turn around the corner before running back in to where Kara is recovering. She talks her down from a panic attack, then another, then informs her exactly about how she is still alive.

“Lena?” Kara mumbles, running her hand over the material of her suit, “She - made this for me?” There’s a pause, “I thought she - see?” She suddenly exclaims triumphantly, swatting at Alex’s forearm, “She is good.”

“She is complex.” Alex replies, not taking her eyes of Kara’s vitals that seem to be improving by the minute, “She’s damn smart though, I’ll give her that.”

*

She is going to kill Lena Luthor.

She is going to hunt her down, arrest her and then kill her. She silently vows to do so when she wraps her arms around Kara, weakened from the Kryptonite cell Lena put her in (in the Fortress of Solitude no less) and almost frozen to the bone. Kara sobs, either from pain or from complete shock, and tries to relay what has happened.

The mad genius took Myriad.

Great.

Alex tries to stay calm although every fiber of her body is willing to rid the world of Lena Luthor. Kara’s saying something about how Lena killed Lex for them, how she knew Kara was SuperGirl, how she felt hurt and betrayed and Alex knows this is the shock talking because there is no way in hell Kara is defending this insane psychopath of a woman.

“I hurt her, Alex.”

“Are you listening to yourself?” Alex hisses as she wraps a blanket around Kara’s shoulder, “She could have killed you.”

“She didn’t want to.” Kara says softly.

“You can’t know for sure.”

“I do, because” the alien looks down, “I asked if she was going to kill me and she said she just wanted me to hurt as much as she hurt because of me,” Kara looks up at her, tears streaming down her face, “she’s not a bad person, Alex, this is all on me.”

Kara is in shock.

Alex is sure of it.

*

For a second, she thinks she may have to use force on Lena Luthor in order for her to relinquish the crystal. The younger woman stands a few meters away from her, eyes full of tears and frustration, her knuckles white from holding onto the crystal for dear life.

“I have to bring her back.” Lena tries, looking more desperate than Alex has ever seen her.

When she opens the palm of her hand and makes the crystal fly toward it, Lena looks nothing less but broken, merely a shadow from her former self. It’s a far cry from the CEO Alex has got used to, all icy glares and cocky brows. She rushes out of the room and tries to ignore the sobbing noise behind her. The wailing haunts her through the hallway as she makes her way back to the upper level of the Tower.

Later that day, Lena finds her as she’s looking over National City, the powerless crystal in her hand and her eyes fixed on the skyline. There’s a slight cough and when she looks over, she lays eyes on Lena who’s holding two glasses of Scotch.

“I don’t belong here,” Lena admits quietly, adding “I’m not like you. You’re all true heroes. I know how much your sister means to you, Alex, and yet today you made the most painful sacrifice because it was the right thing to do and,” she watches Lena look away and swallow before trying to come across calm and collected again, “I don’t think I can do that.”

Alex tries to think of what Kelly has taught her. She points out how every single person on the team has their own strengths, she emphasizes just how valuable Lena is, she says she could only choose the Greater Good over her sister because of her time in the army. Lena nods, and even breaks into a small smile when Alex compliments her choice in scotch, but it’s obvious the young woman doesn’t buy into what she is saying. Not really.

“We’ll get her back,” Alex concludes after they have almost finished their glasses, “and we’ll not tell her you’d have sacrificed four million lives just to do so.”

Lena snorts through her tears and Alex hopes the joke distracts Lena from the uncomfortable truth they might not actually get her back. She wonders who would be more devastated.

*

The tech room in the Tower is quickly turning into the Lena Luthor Chamber. Every time Alex walks in, there are more devices, and suits, and technology, and every time Brainy tells her it’s not his work but Lena’s. There are more protective suits, an elaborated version of the Lena Luthor Protocol, new nanotechnology Brainy is trying to master, a portable sun.

“Brainy,” Alex looks around the room, “does she sleep?”

“Negative.” The Coluan gives her a look, “she has nightmares, so she tries to avoid sleep as much as humanly possible.”

“Nightmares? Worse than Kara being stuck in the Phantom Zone?”

“Her not coming back.” Brainy doesn’t make eye contact, “She can’t fathom it.”

When Alex sees Lena next, there are dark circles underneath green eyes and a determined look on a face that’s paler than usual.

*

She watches J’onn wrap Kara in a hug. Brainy says something she doesn’t quite hear but when Nia walks over to have her moment with Kara, Alex can’t help but look at Lena instead.

Standing at the back of the line, hands wrung together and eyes firmly on the ground.

When Nia finally pulls away, Alex hears Kara make a sound she hasn’t heard before and when she looks at her sister, she’s just smiling at Lena and Alex thinks the youngest Luthor might just dissolve there and then. She watches them hug, and Kara whispers something in Lena’s ear and even from where she is standing, she can tell Lena’s crying. She makes a mental note to mention this to Kelly later, just to -

Kelly.

Oh.

She takes one step forward to the duo right when they are pulling apart from the hug. And Alex’s sentence gets stuck in her throat when she suddenly feels the room shift right in front of her. Kara’s hands are still resting on Lena’s elbows, and she is leaning in closer, staying parallel with Lena as the latter takes a step back.

Oh.

She looks at Lena.

She looks at Kara.

She tells her sister why Kelly isn’t there and Lena slips away, back to the back of the room, back into the obscurity of not having to deal with Alex’s inquisitive look.

*

She doesn’t know what she expected but it certainly wasn’t this. But of course, of course, Lena Luthor seems to have somehow managed to become a magical witch right in time for Kara to have to deal with yet another fifth dimensional imp. She watches Lena clutch a book with spells and she observes her when she excitedly tells Kara about what she can do, how she can use her new powers, how she can help, and her excitement is only matched by Kara’s very own.

Alex watches them.

Lena’s touching her arm to emphasize her point. Kara eagerly nodding at anything the younger woman says. The way Kara tucks a loose strand of hair behind Lena’s ear when she leans over and her hair falls in front of her face like a curtain. The smile Lena gives her in return.

She knows that smile.

She fails to get Kara on her own. Lena seems to be attached to Kara’s hip ever since she’s returned from Newfoundland and her sister doesn’t seem to mind - quite the opposite. When she announces she’s going home with Kelly, Kara gives her a quick hug and gets back to where Lena is scribbling on a notepad.

Unbelievable.

The drive through National City is monotonous at best but tonight, it’s even more boring than usual. She keeps thinking of Kara and Lena. Lena and Kara. She’s faintly aware of Kelly talking in the passenger seat, something about her Guardian helmet and training and Alex really wishes she could pay attention but instead, she keeps replaying pivotal moments from the past few years in her head.

Lena buying CatCo.

Lena creating a protective suit.

Lena shooting Lex.

Lena rescuing Kara from the Phantom Zone.

Lena learning magic.

Lena.

“Have you listened to anything I have said?”

She snaps her head sideways and finds her fiancée looking at her in slight amusement. Alex moves one hand from the steering wheel and squeezes Kelly’s knee softly.

“Sorry, I was just thinking.”

“What about?”

“Kara,” Alex says slowly, “and Lena.”

“Ah.” Kelly grins, “Right.”

“I think -” Alex pauses.

It makes sense. It would make so much sense. Kara’s fierce protectiveness, both as SuperGirl as her human alter ego. Lena’s relentless striving to do good in the world. The lunch dates that singlehandedly supported the National City economy in times of crisis. The looks, the touches, the outbursts, the stubbornness. It has to make sense.

“- I think they love each other.”

“Well yeah,” Kelly laughs, “obviously.”

“No, I mean,” she gestures, “love love. Gay love.”

“I know, babe.” Kelly gestures at the traffic light above the intersection, “Green means go.”

“What do you mean, you know?” Alex puts her foot down on the gas, “How did you know? I’ve only just noticed. I don’t think - do you think Lena knows?”

“I think you and her are slightly behind.” Kelly laughs, “Kara knows though.”

Kara knows though.

It would make sense, Alex thinks as they continue the drive home. It would make sense.

*

It all comes to a head when they are all at Kara’s apartment again for game night, a futile attempt to have some normality in their lives while the world seems to be going crazy. Despite Kelly telling her (repeatedly) to not hyper-focus on Kara and Lena’s interactions on the drive there, Alex can’t help but clock Kara offering Lena the ottoman and then sitting between her legs, Kara bringing out a bottle of scotch she knows full well is Lena’s favorite, and Kara deliberately ordering a side of wok-fried greens with her usual order of thirty pot stickers.

Somewhere between Exploding Kittens and Charades, Lena has to use the bathroom and Kara uses the few minutes without Lena to get everyone refills in the kitchen. Kelly sighs as Alex gets up and hurries over under the ruse of helping with the drinks.

“Hey,” Alex bumps her hip against Kara’s as the latter pours Nia another gin tonic, “can I ask you something really random?”

“That bodes well.”

“Are you and Lena,” Alex pauses, looking at Kara’s profile carefully, “dating?”

If Kara is surprised by her question, she definitely doesn’t show it. She doesn’t drop the bottle, her hand doesn’t shake, she doesn’t flush, she doesn’t even look at Alex. She puts the bottle of gin down and opens a can of tonic, dumping it into the glass before using her freeze breath.

“That is hardly a random question, is it.”

Are you?” Alex repeats.

“Is she what?” Lena asks, appearing seemingly out of nowhere before leaning back against the counter and picking an olive from the small bowl.

“Dating you.” Kara looks up at the dark-haired woman, “My sister would like to know if I’m dating you.”

Oh.

“Are we?” Lena asks, not a shred of coyness in her tone, “Dating?”

Oh shit.

Alex looks in between them for the second time in a few weeks, only noting now how nervous Lena looks and how exasperated Kara seems at the question. Somewhere in the living room, the conversation seems to come to a halt and Alex suddenly feels slightly nauseous. What if they haven’t talked about it and I dropped her in it? She can almost feel Kelly’s eyes pierce through the back of her head.

“I don’t kiss my friends, Lena.”

When the hell did they kiss? And how did she miss that?

“I’m just gonna -” she gestures at the rest of the friends before making her way back to the couch and sitting down next to Kelly, “I think you were right.”

“Right about what?” Nia joins in.

“Them two,” Kelly points in the direction of the kitchen where Kara and Lena are having a conversation that obviously requires Kara reaching for Lena’s hand and squeezing it gently, “that they’re in love.”

“Oh,” Nia snorts, “obviously.”

“It’s beyond any reasonable doubt,” Brainy pipes in, “I have it at a 98.18% certainty,” he adds, looking over at the kitchen as well, “ah,” he pauses, “make that 99.99%.”

Why would he -

She follows Brainy’s line of vision and turns her attention back to the kitchen, where Kara’s cupped Lena’s face and leaned in.

Oh.

The kiss is brief and even from the living room, Alex can tell Kara’s asking something as soon as she pulls back. And then Lena is nodding, and then she is smiling, and then Kara’s smiling too, and she leans in again and -

She really shouldn’t be watching this.

“There,” Kelly grins, “and now everyone knows.”

Alex tries her very hardest to not look back at her sister and Lena Luthor, instead opts to tear the label off of her beer bottle until the duo is back, handing everyone extra drinks and sitting down exactly how they did before. Only this time, Lena drapes her arm over Kara’s shoulder and the blonde reaches for her hand, lacing their fingers together as Brainy tries to make sense of the scores so far, almost accusing J’onn of cheating. Lena laughs, and Alex watches her sister bring their entwined hands to her face before pressing her lips against Lena’s knuckles gently.

Lena catches Alex’s eye and purses her lips together in a smile. Alex nods.

It makes sense.