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you can hear it in the silence

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Five years from now, Kara is going to reach across the table at Noonan's and take her hand. She's going to look deep into Lena's eyes, biting her lip as her thumb rubs gentle circles into Lena's palm, and her voice will barely rise above a whisper when she asks, “When did you know?”

And when she does, five years from now, Lena will think back to this moment.

This moment, which is as close as Lena's come to happiness since she'd woken up ziptied to a chair in her brother's office. This moment which, despite the fuzzy feeling of her unbrushed teeth and the pungent aroma of burnt toast filling the air, is perfect.

Kara, bed-warm and sleep-heavy, is gazing beseechingly down at the charred remains of a slice of a bread as though if she only pouts hard enough, its edges will un-blacken and its corners will stop smoking.

“I'm so sorry,” she says as Lena rounds the screen separating Kara's bedroom from the rest of the apartment and perches herself on a barstool, tugging her borrowed sleep shorts a little lower down her thighs.

Kara's tone is mournful, her face so forlorn she looks to be one deep breath away from tears. “I wanted breakfast to be perfect, since it's your first time staying over and if it's terrible you might not want to stay again and I, I really want you to stay again, but I don't know why you would since you probably have a private chef waiting for you at home and I can’t even manage toast—”

“Kara,” Lena interrupts, biting at the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing as Kara's bottom lip trembles. “It's fine, really. I once set fire to my dorm kitchen trying to boil an egg. And besides,” she winks as blue eyes meet hers. “I like to give my personal chef the weekends off.”

Kara huffs out a relieved chuckle, her face brightening. “Oh, well, in that case,” she grins, a sparkle returning to her eyes. “I'd better feed you up before you go home. Never let it be said that I don't look after you.”

Lena can't help the smile that pulls at her as the warm bright feeling in her chest grows and grows. She tugs the sleeves of Kara's sweatshirt over her hands, fighting the urge to fidget as the blonde orders a frankly obscene amount of food from the brunch place on the corner.

She feels exposed like this, face bare and hair sleep-mussed, unshowered with unbrushed teeth, huddled inside borrowed clothes after the impromptu invitation to stay over when last night's movie marathon ran late. It's a far cry from the regimented composure she fights so hard every day to project, and something in her chest twists anxiously.

Kara is a reporter, after all, and National City really doesn't need any more reasons to hate Lena right now. The darkest corner of her mind – the one which has been waiting for the other shoe to drop, for everything to come crashing down ever since the whirlwind of Kara's too-good-to-be-true friendship had come blazing into her life – still worries that this may all be an elaborate ruse. A trap, a way to get close to her in order to assess her weaknesses, to bring her down with an inside scoop.

But in their six months of friendship, Kara's never given her any reason to believe she has any kind of ulterior motive. And despite the suspicions and anxieties hammered into her by a lifetime of hurt, Lena knows now that even if this is a trap, she'll take the bait willingly. Especially if it means Kara will keep looking at her like there might just be something in Lena that's worth her time.

"Hey,” the blonde says gently, leaning back against the counter opposite and pinning Lena with a searching look. “You okay? You kind of zoned out on me there.”

Lena jumps, blinking back into herself with a start. “Yes, sorry. I was miles away.”

The blonde only smiles, flicking on the coffee machine at her elbow. “You sleep okay?”

“Very well, thank you,” Lena answers, fighting to lessen the formality of her tone, to soften the edges her harsh childhood had sharpened into a fortress to keep the world at bay. “Your bed is surprisingly comfortable. I had a great night's sleep.”

"Perhaps the company had something to do with it,” Kara winks as she turns to pull two mugs down from the hooks at her shoulder. Lena thinks back to the smell of Kara's sheets and the soft pulls of her breathing, to the warmth of Kara's ankle against her calf and the strong fingers that had wrapped themselves in the sleeve of Lena's sweatshirt in sleep, anchoring them together. She blushes.

Kara only smirks, pouring their drinks and grabbing the milk from the fridge. “Well, the food's all ordered, it should be here soon,” she says over her shoulder, the waterfall of her golden ponytail mesmerising in the bright rays of morning light filtering in through the vaulted windows. “And you don't need to head off in a hurry, unless you have plans—?”

She glances back at Lena, who shakes her head. “Great!” she grins. “’Cause I was thinking, maybe we could check out the botanical gardens, since it's such a nice day? Oh, and there's a new bakery right across the street that I've been dying to try—”

Lena listens to the blonde's excited rambling with an endeared smile plastered to her face, feeling happy and warm and wanted with every fibre of her being. The feeling is new but so welcome she could cry, and Lena wonders – not for the first time – how she ever got so lucky.

Kara's presence in her life is like sugar in her coffee; meant only to sweeten that which has always been bitter.

Lena's always taken her coffee black. Softening the blow was never much her style.

But here, now, perched at Kara's breakfast bar with her hands wrapped around a steaming mug the blonde has brewed to perfection, sunlight streaming in and highlighting the angles and planes of Kara's face, the way she’s smiling at Lena like there's nowhere else in the world she'd rather be, she realises her reasoning is twofold.

Sugar isn't just appetising. It's addictive. And now that Lena's had a taste of sweetness, she's hooked.

In this moment, Lena knows. She's in love.


Four years from now, Kara is going to reach across the table at Noonan's and take her hand. She's going to look deep into Lena's eyes, biting her lip as her thumb rubs gentle circles into Lena's palm, and her voice will barely rise above a whisper when she asks, “When did you know?”

And when she does, four years from now, Lena will also think back to this moment.

This moment, which may well be one of the lowest of Lena's life. And she's had some doozies.

The two bottles of wine she'd managed to mainline between Sam leaving to orchestrate damage control at L-Corp and Kara arriving and attempting to confiscate her glass have well and truly caught up to her now. She sways heavily on her stool, the room spinning. Tears sting her vision and guilt scorches her throat as she presses a hand over her eyes so she won't have to look at Kara's face anymore.

“Please, just— just, stop believing in me, okay?” she slurs, heart full to shattering with the faces of lead-poisoned children. “I am not worth it.”

She hears Kara sigh, and the room falls silent for a long long time. Lena drops her head fully into her hands, fighting the nausea that's taken root in the pit of her stomach. It could be the booze that's causing it, of course, but it could also be the incessant headlines baying for her blood, the bullet James had taken for her that she'd fully deserved, the curse of her family finally fulfilling itself.

The guilt, the worry, the crushing disappointment of the knowledge that despite her very best efforts, she'll never be anything but a monster— it's too much to feel. It's too much to bear.

So, Lena drinks.

She drains her glass. She pours another. Kara watches, silent and disapproving, fingers twitching against the granite countertop between them.

Lena finishes her glass. Splashes the last dregs of the bottle into it, blood on ice. Still Kara watches, motionless and mute. It's only when Lena's swallowed the last of the red and is lurching unsteadily to her feet to source another that she moves, a hand reaching out to encircle her wrist.

Shame ignites beneath her skin and she pushes Kara away. Snaps at her to go home, to learn to recognise a lost cause when she sees one and just give up already. Kara refuses with a stoic shake of her head, and Lena sighs.

They repeat the same routine three times en route to Sam's wine rack, the blonde shadowing her every step. Each time, Lena wobbles, head fuzzy and room spinning. Each time, Kara steadies her, and Lena flinches from her touch like her palm is a brand, snarls at her to leave, to cut her losses, to just fuck off. Each time, Kara refuses.

She eventually retrieves the wine after a number of unsuccessful attempts but overbalances on her toes, bottle slipping from her grip as she sways dangerously. And then Kara is there, glass bottle caught a split second before it can shatter, a firm arm at her waist that will not be rebuffed.

Lena struggles, shoving and protesting, but this time Kara does not give in. “Enough,” she says quietly, firmly, blue eyes burning a mere inch from Lena's own. “Lena, enough.”

Lena's unsteady legs buckle further and Kara’s basically holding her up now, walking her slowly over to the couch and she shouldn't be this strong, surely, shouldn't be lifting Lena onto the cushions quite this easily. But it's such a minor concern when weighted against the fact that Lena is personally responsible for the hospitalisation of children that her mind brushes over it, forgets it immediately.

"Please go home,” she slurs as the blonde arranges her on the couch, as she stashes the unopened wine far out of reach and sets about finding blankets and pillows in various cupboards. “Please, just— leave me alone.”

“No,” Kara says, almost snaps, glancing back over her shoulder. Partially hidden in the linen cupboard, her face is cast deep in shadow, a splinter of half-concealed truth. “I made you a promise, I gave you my word. I'm your friend, and I will protect you. Always.”

She crosses back to the couch, soft blankets and pillows held out in invitation. When Lena refuses the offering Kara sighs, draping a knitted throw over her anyway and perching on the cushions beside Lena's hip. “I'm not going to leave you, so you might as well stop asking,” she hums, softer now, a hand reaching toward her that Lena no longer possesses the strength or coordination to bat away.

Long fingers make contact with her cheek, with the mussed curls tangling in her eyelashes, and Kara sighs. “You are not your brother,” she murmurs, fingertips grazing Lena's cheekbone, sliding back to thread into the fine hair at her temple. “And you never will be. There's too much light in you to allow for that kind of darkness, so put that fear down, Lena. Let it go. Be free of it.”

Tears spring unbidden to her eyes. “I poisoned children.”

Kara tilts forward and Lena wonders if it's just that her vision has upped its spinning, but then warm lips are pressing against her forehead, soft and delicate as gossamer wings. Kara's mouth moves against her skin, breath damp and sweet and unmistakeably her. “You saved the world.”

Neither one of them moves. When Lena speaks again, the words hit the elegant hollow of Kara's throat. “I don't deserve your kindness. I don't deserve you.”

Kara's lips are still on her forehead. “I don't care.”

Lena feels as if her throat is splitting open, every last fear and hatred and worry and insecurity gushing out of her in an unstoppable stream. “I'm scared.”

“I know.” Kara's lips press once more, and then withdraw. They watch each other in the dim light from the kitchen. Lena's vision is beginning to blur at the edges. Kara's hand is still in her hair.

“You will get through this,” the blonde whispers, so earnest Lena almost manages to believe her. “We'll figure it out. Together.”

Heart in her mouth, tongue sticking behind her teeth, Lena's eyes slide closed.

The sweetness of Kara's words, her gentle touches, seep inside her like honey. She doesn't deserve it but God, she wants it. She wants to be worthy of Kara's faith in her more than she's ever wanted anything in her life. She wants Kara more than she's ever wanted anything in her life.

And it's telling, she knows, that she's just lost the trust of all of National City, that she has no way of easing those children's suffering and no way to prove that she isn't the cause of it, that she's finally living up to the Luthor name she's been running from ever since she'd learned what it truly meant and yet in this moment, with Kara's hand in her hair and the ghostly imprint of her lips on Lena's skin, none of it seems to matter.

In this moment, Lena knows. She's in love.


Three years from now, Kara is going to reach across the table at Noonan's and take her hand. She's going to look deep into Lena's eyes, biting her lip as her thumb rubs gentle circles into Lena's palm, and her voice will barely rise above a whisper when she asks, “When did you know?”

And when she does, three years from now, Lena will also think back to this moment.

This moment, which stands alone as an oasis of calm in the turbulent tumult of the past days, weeks, months of chaos. Lex's escape from custody, Eve Teschmacher's betrayal, James’ shooting, the Harun-El serum, the whole shitty totality of it all has been weighing Lena down like an nth metal chain around her neck.

And Kara, Kara hasn't been around. The one person who has always managed to ease Lena's suffering has deserted her when she needs her the most and it feels like she's been sliced open, cracked in two.

She tells her as much, when Kara at last comes to see her. Tells her she's missed her, tells her she needs her, all but begs her to stay. And what does Kara do? She leaves.

And when she leaves, Lena is gripped by a panic so intense she fears she may never breathe freely again. So terrified is she that Kara is gone for good, that she's forced away the best thing that's ever happened to her, that almost before she knows what's happening she finds herself at Catco with apologies dripping from her own tongue.

Anything to get Kara back. Anything to keep her.

Lena apologises. Kara apologises. Lena cries, and Kara holds her, and tells her that the decision to help her brother when he was dying of cancer doesn't make her the monster she now believes herself to be. And standing on her office balcony with Kara's fingers wrapped around her biceps, with her own tears spotting dark on Kara's blazer, Lena manages to believe her.

When she's collected herself, smoothed away the wetness coursing down her cheeks, she speaks. “I really want to help you with your investigation on Lex.”

Kara's face lights up; Lena's whole world along with it.

“I'd love that,” Kara says, voice quiet and still a little tentative in the wake of their new truce. “But first— would you, um. Would you like to have lunch with me?”

Lena blinks. “Don't you want to get started on the exposé?”

“I do. But—” Kara's face is still painted that earnest shade from earlier, when she'd smoothed her hands over Lena's shoulders and whispered you are a brilliant, kind-hearted, beautiful soul against the sensitive skin of her neck. Lena feels her cheeks heat up at the memory, at the intensity in the blue eyes still roving her face.

Kara shuffles her feet but her gaze is clear, unwavering. “But you were right. I've spent too much time recently prioritising the wrong things. So, I want to work on this exposé with you, and I want to bring your brother down. But first, I'd really just like to have lunch with my best friend.”

Lena's heart trips in her chest. “I'd like that too.”

So, that's what they do. Kara asks her to wait, which she does, idly tapping out a few emails on her phone. And then the blonde is back, far quicker than should have been possible, with her arms full of takeout bags from the café on the third floor and she's taking Lena by the hand and leading her to Cat Grant's private elevator. She presses the button for the roof and Lena's gaze jumps to her face but Kara only smiles, and squeezes her fingers. “Trust me, it'll be worth it,” she hums, her excitement infectious. “You'll be safe with me.”

And Lena believes her.

That's how she ends up sitting at the edge of Catco's roof on a clean sheet Kara had borrowed from the builders on the second floor, heels kicked off, Kara's red blazer draped around her shoulders. It is worth it, she'll admit; the view from this high is phenomenal. The sun burns bright in a cloudless sky, glinting off the glass-sided skyscrapers of the business district, the glittering waters of the bay beyond.

Kara had picked up Lena's favourite salad, some flatbreads and dips, and they drink kombucha and eat strawberries in the sunshine. They talk and they laugh and they catch up and there's no more fighting, no animosity, no megalomaniac brothers or backstabbing secretaries or worlds needing to be saved. There's only them, she and Kara, and it feels like all she will ever need.

The blonde's hands are braced behind her on the rooftop and she looks happy and carefree as she regales Lena with stories of her upstairs neighbour's antics, and Lena feels the tight knot of tension that had taken up residence in her chest begin to unfurl.

"Hey,” Kara hums, pushing up straighter as Lena licks strawberry juice from her fingertips. The motion brings them closer, their shoulders brushing. “Look up.”

Lena does. High above them, a huge murmuration of starlings whirls and swoops through the air. Thousands of birds move together as one, a vast wave cresting but never breaking against the blue canvass of sky.

“Wow,” Lena gasps, awed.

Against her side, Kara hums. “Yeah.”

They watch the birds for a long moment, captivated by the ceaseless swirling and diving. When Lena at last tears her gaze away from the sky, Kara's eyes rest intently on her face. "Here,” the blonde murmurs, reaching out. The pad of one finger makes feather-light contact with her cheek. Lena's breath catches in her chest.

Kara holds out her finger, proffering the stray eyelash she'd captured with a smile. "Make a wish,” she whispers, her fingertip an inch from Lena's mouth. Her eyes never leave Lena’s.

Lena looks from Kara's face to the eyelash, and back again. From somewhere deep inside her heart, the truth bubbles its way to the surface. “I don't need to.”

Kara smiles, a brilliant, beautiful smile, and Lena knows. The stresses and anxieties of their current crisis feel far away here, harmless as birdsong. She's meted out forgiveness, received it in return. For the first time in her adult life Lena has communicated an issue with a loved one and been heard, understood. She has admitted her own mistake without having it spell out the end of her relationship.

Lena smiles back. The weight of the world sublimates into nothing beneath the bliss of a simple picnic in the sun.

In this moment, Lena knows. She's in love.


Two years from now, Kara is going to reach across the table at Noonan's and take her hand. She's going to look deep into Lena's eyes, biting her lip as her thumb rubs gentle circles into Lena's palm, and her voice will barely rise above a whisper when she asks, “When did you know?”

And when she does, two years from now, Lena will think back to this moment.

This moment, which has sapped the both of them to the bone. Another fight, another screaming match, another quick-fire back and forth of accusations and recriminations. Another night of cursing and crying and choking on all the things they never said before this, on all the things they can't now that Kara's secret has detonated in the shrinking space between them like a nuclear bomb.

Another round of bloodshed, and for what?

Lena sags against the arm of the couch, exhausted. Her face is hot, scratchy with salt from the tears still drying on her skin. She's dehydrated, probably, and half hoarse from shouting, tongue blistered with the bitter sting of betrayal.

Across the no man's land of her living room, Kara slumps against the floor-length windows, drops her temple to the cool glass. She's breathing heavily, cheeks wet, posture battered and eyes dark-bruised beneath the force of Lena's wrath. As Lena watches, her eyes slide closed.

It's been three months since Lena found out. Three weeks since Kara found out that Lena had found out.

Every night since, they've done this. Every night, Kara has shown up on her balcony and begged, pleaded, apologised, cajoled, defended, rebuffed, and sobbed. Every night, Lena has unleashed the hollow agony of Kara's deception masquerading as anger in her chest, incinerating the both of them in the fires of her desolation.

She would have expected the wounds to have cauterised by now. To feel some kind of release, the relief of catharsis. Or at least, to have expended some of her fury after all this time.

She hasn't.

They've been at this for three hours already this evening, and gotten nowhere. Kara's skin is pale above that fucking supersuit, face drawn and complexion sallow.

Lena knows how she feels. The singular exhaustion that is her rift with Kara has sapped her in every way imaginable. She can't sleep. She barely eats. She's no longer interested in work, research, friends. There's nothing in her life that isn't tainted by the shadow of the lies her best friend told and kept telling, every day for four years. Lena doesn't know how any amount of screaming and crying is ever going to get them past that.

Across the room, Kara sighs. It might be the saddest sound Lena has ever heard.

“Should we keep doing this?” she asks after an interminable silence, voice rough with tears still building. Her eyes are still closed.

Lena manages, with exorbitant effort, to raise her drooping head. “What?”

“Is there a point to all this?” Kara asks quietly, hunched body sliding a little further down the glass. "The explanations, the fighting?”

Blue eyes blink open. The weight of the sadness in them is unbearable. Lena struggles to find it within herself to care.

“Lying to you about who I am is the single biggest mistake I have ever made, and if it will make even one single shred of difference I will apologise to you every day for as long as I live,” Kara says into the aching chasm between them. “But I can't keep doing this. Not if it won't change anything. I can't— I don't want to keep hurting you.”

An hour ago, Lena would have scoffed at a sentiment like that. Would have parried back with some piercingly dry comment about how the blonde should have thought about that before she decided to betray Lena's trust as soundly as she possibly could.

Now, though— now, she's just too tired.

“So, should we keep doing this?” Kara whispers, throat working. “Or— God, Lena. Should we just— should we give up?”

Green eyes meet blue, two shattered hearts haemorrhaging between them. “Is that what you want?”

“No.” Kara's voice is loud, fiercely determined in the face of Lena's hesitant whisper. “God, no. Never. I don't ever want to give up on you, Lena. I don't ever want to give you up.”

Kara straightens then, with a strength Lena cannot imagine mustering herself. Perks of being a superhero, she supposes. Perks of being Kryptonian. The thought stakes another shard of ice through her bleeding heart.

“But I know that I've spent four years calling the shots for both of us by keeping you in the dark,” Kara continues. “I've taken away your agency. I've taken away your choice. I won't do that again.”

She sucks in a deep breath, a little of Supergirl's regality seeping back into the defeated slump of her shoulders. “So, I'm doing what I should have done from the start. I'm being honest with you, and hoping that you'll be honest back. I'm asking what you want.”

Kara's fingers twist anxiously before her, bottom lip bleaching white beneath the nervous pressure of her teeth. “Do you think we should keep doing this? Or do you— fuck.” Her voice cracks, the tears brimming in her eyes once again breaking free. “Do you want to give up?”

Jesus Christ. Lena never knew that the prospect of doing the right thing could hurt so much.

“Fuck,” she mutters as she kneads her knuckles over her closed eyelids, digging in until white lights starburst across her vision. “Fuck, Kara.”

“I know,” the blonde whispers from across the room, brittle and broken. “I know. I'm sorry.”

Lena slows her assault on her own eyelids, pinching thumb and forefinger hard at the bridge of her nose instead. “I want to give up,” she mutters, and in the taut silence between them she hears the blonde gasp, watery and thick.

Lena blinks open her eyes to find Kara's face crumpling, every facet of her seeming to fold in on itself even as she visibly fights to keep herself upright.

Lena sighs, and hates Kara, and hates herself even more. “I want to, but— I can't.” She sucks in a ragged breath, hating the truth that's just fallen from her lips, hating the lies that had necessitated it. Hating everything and everyone and most of all, hating just how much she's hurting. “I can't give this up.”

The tiniest spark of hope flares to life in Kara's eyes. Lena hates that she notices, hates that she cares, hates that the sight eases the tight knot of devastation clawing at her ribcage just the tiniest bit.

She also knows that this was inevitable. She knows that, though she hates Kara, though she's nowhere close to forgiving her, though she has no idea how they can rebuild from here or even if she truly wants to try, a question like Kara's could only ever have one answer.

In this moment, Lena knows. She's in love.


One year from now, Kara is going to reach across the table at Noonan's and take her hand. She's going to look deep into Lena's eyes, biting her lip as her thumb rubs gentle circles into Lena's palm, and her voice will barely rise above a whisper when she asks, “When did you know?”

And when she does, one year from now, Lena will also think back to this moment.

This moment, which is barely even a moment at all. It's more like a dream, warm and faded and fogged in darkness, seconds stolen when sleep should have long since claimed them.

Kara's nightmare had woken them both. In the month since they'd pulled her out of the Phantom Zone, she hadn't slept alone once. Often, she stays with Alex, curling into her sister's side the way she would when they were just kids after one too many late-night horror movies. Once, she stays with Nia, tucked up snug in a borrowed pair of puppy print pyjamas.

Mostly, she stays with Lena. It's natural and unspoken and easy as breathing, the way Kara will show up at her place after a Supergirl save or Lena will let herself into the blonde's apartment after a late night in the lab. They cook dinner and watch Celebrity Masterchef and brush their teeth elbow to elbow at the bathroom sink and when Kara is inevitably tugged screaming and sobbing from her night terrors, the way she presses her face to Lena's neck and her hand over Lena's heart is natural and unspoken and easy as breathing, too.

Kara's racing pulse has calmed a little, her grip on Lena's body beneath her losing some of its urgent desperation. After a long moment of Lena's hand stroking her hair, of gentle reassurances and lips pressed to her temple the blonde pulls back, just enough to rest her head on the pillow facing her.

In the dim light filtering in through the bedroom window Kara's pupils are blown, her face solemn. There's something in her heavy gaze that Lena can't identify; something weighted and potent that prickles goosebumps up the length of her spine.

"Feeling better?” she whispers into the inch of warm air between them, reaching out to tuck a sweat-matted curl reverently behind the blonde's ear.

Kara catches her retreating hand and holds tight, twining their fingers together on the narrow swathe of pillow between them. If either of them were to move so much as a millimetre, their clasped hands would press against their lips.

The blonde nods and sure enough, the soft heat of her mouth brushes the back of Lena's knuckles. She shivers.

Kara is still watching her, the intensity of her gaze causing Lena's heart to thud hard in her throat. She squeezes lightly at the fingers threaded through her own. “What?”

A pause, heavy and sweet as overripe fruit. Kara blinks once, slow. “You're my best friend.”

Lena swallows down a sudden swell of emotion. The blonde nudges closer and when she speaks, the wet seam of her lips catches on the angle of Lena's bent knuckles, painting her skin with the words.

“You're the most important person in the world to me,” Kara whispers, breaths skating fire-flashes across Lena's fingers, voice muffling out past the mouth pressed to her skin. “You know that, right?”

Lena's voice deserts her in the wake of the quiet words. She leans forward instead, presses her lips to Kara's fingertips where they rest against the back of her own hand. It's answer enough.

She hears Kara's breath catch, feels the disruption mirrored in her own chest. Both their mouths are pressed to the joined hands clasped between them. If they were to move their fingers down even just a fraction, there would be nothing separating their lips but a promise, a prayer.

Kara's eyelashes flutter in the semi-darkness. The tip of her nose brushes Lena's own. Neither one of them moves their hands.

They only gaze at one another a long moment, and Lena wonders if the blonde is memorising the planes of her face the way she's memorising Kara's. She could look at her forever, be happy here with her forever, and in this moment, Lena knows. She's in love.

For the first time, she wonders if perhaps she's not the only one.


Right now, Kara is reaching across the table at Noonan's and taking Lena's hand.

It's been three weeks since they'd taken down Lex for the last time. Three weeks since Kara had stormed into the Tower's med bay to cup Lena's bloody, bruised face in her hands; since she'd brushed her thumbs feather-light over Lena's split eyebrow and purpling jaw and growled don't you ever scare me like that again. Three weeks since she'd leaned in and pressed her lips to Lena's.

It's been two weeks and six days since Lena, confined to a gurney but utterly uncaring thanks to the warm Kryptonian curled against her side, had pressed her aching face to Kara's shoulder and first whispered that she loved her. Two weeks and six days since Kara had first said it back.

It's been two weeks and five and a half days since Nia had walked in on Lena in Kara's arms, lips pressed to her neck and hands wandering beneath her sweatshirt, and promptly shrieked the place down. Since their friends had exchanged pointed glances and relieved sighs and congratulated them on finally making it official, their expressions ranging from overjoyed to exasperated to plain exhausted.

It's been two weeks and four days of she and Kara dating; of morning kisses and shared showers and the perfect partner at game night and all of Lena's wildest dreams coming true.

It's been less than a minute since Kara had admitted, hushed and wondering, that she'd known she was in love with Lena ever since she'd found herself suddenly prepared to poison National City's entire water supply rather than let Lena fall. That she hadn't been able to fully it admit it to herself until she'd found herself suddenly prepared to alter the course of all of history in order to get Lena back.

And right now, Kara is reaching across the table at Noonan's and taking her hand. She's looking deep into Lena's eyes, biting her lip as her thumb rubs gentle circles into Lena's palm, and her voice barely rises above a whisper when she asks, “When did you know?”

And now that she has, Lena is sure of her answer.

The highlight reel of her relationship with Kara lays itself at Lena's feet, each precious memory between them stretching out like a roadmap of her growing affection, with every hard-won step leading her right to this moment.

And in this moment, Lena knows. She's in love with Kara. Really, she always has been.