Kara’s always looked forward to her weekly sleepovers with Lena. Over the past few months, they’ve come to provide a respite in the storm—their late nights and sleepy early mornings are a soft, warm haven away from the demands and stresses of Sam’s case, cramming for finals, and the pressures that come along with finding a decent summer associate position. Having something to look forward to had always helped Kara keep her head above water, and up until very recently, she wouldn’t have thought she could enjoy their sleepovers more than she already does.
But now, with Lena hovering above her on the couch, slowly trailing her kiss-swollen lips down Kara’s neck like they have all the time in the world, she realizes just how wrong she was.
Their sleepovers before were wonderful.
Their sleepovers now are new, improved, and at the present moment, threatening to drive Kara absolutely mad.
Because tonight marks the third day they’ve been officially together, and with every passing minute, Kara’s getting more and more desperate to finally have sex with Lena.
(And yes, normally, she might wait a little longer before jumping into bed with somebody new, but she’s also not normally in love by day three, so…
…special exceptions, and all.)
Plus, it doesn’t help that Lena seems to have read some sort of comprehensive guidebook on the best ways to dismantle Kara and leave her a desperate, needy, squirming wreck beneath her, which happens to be what she’s in the middle of doing right now.
“God, you’re a tease,” Kara murmurs, absently winding a hand in Lena’s hair as she arches her back beneath her, desperate for more contact.
Warm lips curl up against her neck. “I’m not,” Lena murmurs, nipping the skin beneath her, then soothing it with her tongue. “I just happen to think that patience is a virtue.”
“Huh,” Kara says. “And where was that attitude three nights ago when you ripped all of the buttons off of my shirt?”
Lena tsks against her neck at the reminder of Kara’s gingham shirt that she had, in fact, ripped open in her haste to get her hands on bare skin a few nights prior. “I already told you, I’d replace it.”
“Oh, no,” Kara says, angling her neck to give Lena better access. “You can’t. A shirt like that? It’s irreplaceable.”
Lena glances up at her with mirth dancing in her eyes. “Something tells me that if I look hard enough, I’ll find a value pack of them lurking in a Bass Pro Shop bargain bin.”
“Hey!” Kara pulls back with a laugh. “I’ll have you know, that shirt was from Costco! It was practically haute couture.”
“Mm. My mistake,” Lena murmurs. She leans close again, brushing her lips against Kara’s as she lets her fingertips slowly push up the fabric of the plain tee shirt beneath her hands. “But you can’t really blame me for ripping it off of you. Not when you looked so good in it.”
“Good?” Kara repeats with a scoff. “The first time you saw me in it, you asked me if I got lost on my way to an Oklahoma audition.”
Lena’s hands hesitate and she pulls back with a faraway look in her eyes. After a moment, the look clears and she smirks down at Kara, seeming far too proud of herself.
“I did ask you that, didn’t I?”
“Mhm.” Kara leans up to catch Lena’s lips again. “Always a charmer.”
Lena chuckles. “In my defense,” she says between long, lazy kisses, “I was desperately…trying to convince myself…that I wasn’t attracted to you.”
“Yeah?” Kara’s eyes flutter shut as Lena moves away to kiss along her jaw, and she can’t help the shiver of need that runs over her when she feels blunt fingernails scratch up her sides. “And how’d that work out for you?”
“Not so well,” Lena says, working a sensitive spot just below Kara’s jaw as her hands migrate down to map over firm, toned abs. “Still attracted to you, and now, I get strangely aroused whenever I hear Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.”
The unexpected reply cuts through the haze of lust fogging Kara’s brain, and she laughs in surprise, then blinks open her eyes to see Lena, smiling down at her with an impossible amount of warmth in her gaze. It makes something in her chest tingle, and she can’t stop the dopey smile that fills her face in return.
God, she loves that look.
God, she loves Lena.
Gingerly, Kara sits up just enough to grip the bottom of her own shirt. “Interesting,” she says, tugging the fabric over her head. She tosses it away from the couch, then lies back down and looks up at Lena, enjoying the desire darkening her eyes as she hungrily stares down at Kara’s breasts. “So,” she says, letting her hands smooth back and forth over Lena’s legs and smirking when her thumbs brush close enough to sensitive inner thighs to produce a murmur of approval. “Would now be a good time to tell you I may or may not own a cowboy hat?”
Kara means it as a joke, but when Lena’s eyes flash with interest, she makes a mental note to dig the old hat out of her closet back in Midvale when she visits with Alex next week.
“You know, I could see you working on a ranch,” Lena says, slowly tracing a finger from Kara’s neck to the swell of her breasts. “Wearing a tank top,” she adds, letting the finger idly dip down into Kara’s cleavage. “Working up a sweat…” Lena flicks her hair over her shoulder and leans down to let her lips replace her hand, and Kara’s grip on Lena’s thighs tightens at the sensation. “And your arms,” Lena murmurs, her lips leaving a blazing trail along the swell of Kara’s breasts. “Fuck, your arms,” she breathes, her kisses become more and more wild as her hips slowly start to roll against Kara. “They’re so…you’re so…”
Kara bites back a groan at the lust in Lena’s voice and the intoxicating way her body is moving. It’s all too much and still not anywhere near enough, but when she feels a hand reaching behind her, feels strong fingers working at the clasp holding her bra on, she can’t tamp down the shiver of anticipation that runs through her body.
Eagerly, she surges up to meet Lena’s lips, kissing her with a heady desperation as Lena’s fingers work at the clasp behind her back. But before she can finish unhooking the lacy, light blue bra that Kara had worn especially for tonight, there’s a loud vibration from one of their phones on the table.
Lena’s hand hesitates, her fingers burning against Kara’s back as she breaks their kiss, and Kara screws her eyes shut, desperately hoping that it won’t be Lillian calling at the worst possible time again.
She feels Lena pull away, and there’s a brief pause where the only sound in the room is the buzzing of the phone against Kara’s wood table. But before Kara can let any disappointment seep in, Lena’s suddenly beside her again, picking up like they were never interrupted.
Slowly, she licks a burning trail up Kara’s neck and palms at her breast, and when Lena’s lips eventually reach the shell of Kara’s ear, she scrapes her teeth against it. “It’s yours,” she says, in a husky whisper that zips between Kara’s thighs and makes her throb with want.
“It’s my what?” Kara asks, her own voice breathless and low. Her eyes are still closed and her back is arching toward Lena as she once again finds herself lost in the sensation of Lena’s lips and hands against her skin.
Normally, she’d be embarrassed that she’s this worked up before she’s even pantsless. But luckily, she only seems to have a few working brain cells left, and they’re not focused on embarrassment. Not when their only job is to fire off increasingly desperate messages to the rest of her body, each one some garbled combination of “Lena” and “please” and “more.”
Lena chuckles at Kara’s breathless, brainless reply as she carefully changes her position, stretching herself out until her body is pressed against Kara’s, which…god, does Lena’s weight feel good against her.
Kara runs her hands up and down Lena’s back as she settles in place, quietly marveling over the fact that she’s actually allowed to touch her like this. That Lena’s lying on top of her like this. She had wanted this for so long, had dreamt about it, had even woken up twisted in her sheets with a throbbing ache between her legs once or twice over it, and now, she can just…touch her. Like a lover. Like it’s the easiest thing in the world. She can touch her and kiss her and worship her, and sometimes, that knowledge alone is almost overwhelming.
But luckily, it’s never overwhelming enough to stop her.
With Lena finally settled on top of her, Kara wastes no time in closing the small distance between them and capturing soft lips in a needy kiss. It’s just long enough to ignite another spark in her core at the brush of their tongues, and to make Kara desperately wish that Lena’s shirt was off, too, so she could watch the hypnotic rise and fall of her chest without any barriers.
Before she can think to act on her newest want, Lena’s pulling back and pressing a long, lingering kiss to Kara’s jaw. “Your phone,” she says, answering the question Kara had quite frankly, forgotten she’d asked. Lena nuzzles the skin beneath her as she plays with Kara’s bra straps. “It’s Alex.”
Immediately, Kara groans, and not in a fun way.
“Oh my god.”
Kara shakes her head and retreats as far back into the couch cushions as she can, causing Lena to look up, a flash of concern cutting through the desire in her eyes.
“Kara? What’s wrong?”
“You can’t say my sister’s name while you’re on top of me doing…doing this,” Kara grumbles, waving a hand between them. When Lena just laughs, Kara rolls her eyes good-naturedly and stretches back up to capture Lena’s lips again. “Anyway, she can leave a message. But it won’t be important. I sent her a picture of you and Streaky earlier, so it’ll probably just be a ten minute rant about betrayal, or something.” She kisses Lena once more, indulgently sucking on her lower lip and letting her hands slowly wander down until they’re planted firmly on Lena’s ass. “And besides,” she murmurs, squeezing Lena hard, pulling her even closer and drinking in the quiet gasp of surprise from above, “I’ve got more important things on my to-do list tonight.”
Kara’s phone falls blessedly silent as Lena’s fingertips slowly trail up her ribs.
“Uh.” Kara blinks up at Lena, confused by her strange reply. “No…what?”
“I’m not playing that game.” Lena runs a fingernail along the edge of Kara’s bra as she kisses her, then slowly traces it down, all the way to the band of her sweatpants.
Kara shivers beneath her slow, gentle touches, but still manages to ask, “what game?”
Lena pulls back enough to fix Kara with an amused glance. “The game where you say you have more important things on your to-do list tonight and then I ask, like what, and you say, you.” She smirks as she lets her hand dip beneath the waistband of Kara’s sweats, just enough to tease and scratch gently at the sensitive skin still covered by her underwear.“I won’t fall for that,” she whispers, her breath hot against Kara’s lips. “I know all your tricks.”
Kara hips jerk up at the touch, but she still manages an eye-roll because yes, that kind of had been her plan. “Caught me.”
Lena smirks once more before bending down to capture Kara’s lips in another kiss, this one deeper than before and full of so much promise, it leaves Kara more wanting and breathless than she’s been in ages. She presses even closer and lets her hands tangle in Lena’s hair, tugging gently as she licks into her mouth.
Maybe Lena can sense the urgency and desperation behind Kara’s kiss, because suddenly, her hand is sliding even lower and before Kara knows what’s happening, there are fingertips brushing against the very telling, very wet patch soaking through the front of Kara’s underwear.
Kara whimpers at the desperately needed contact, but the sound is covered when Lena breathlessly whispers, “fuck.”
She looks up at Kara with awe-struck eyes and parted lips, clearly overwhelmed to find out just how excited Kara is by this turn of events.
“Yeah,” Kara whispers back, pressing up against Lena’s fingers as she seeks friction. “And I didn’t even need you to sing anything from Oklahoma.”
The stupid comment clears some of the wonder from Lena’s eyes, and she chuckles against Kara’s lips.
“The night’s still young,” Lena murmurs, dropping a quick kiss to Kara’s lips as she slowly and purposefully grazes over the front of slick underwear one more time.
Then, she pulls her hand back.
“Lena…” Kara whines, hips chasing after what’s no longer there. “You’re teasing again.” She knows she sounds petulant, but it’s not her fault—she might quite literally die if Lena doesn’t put her fingers back.
“I know. And I’m sorry. I don’t want to be,” Lena says, smiling as she hooks a finger in the waistband of Kara’s sweats, “but right now, I need these off.”
The words ignite something in Kara’s chest and paint a very welcome mental image of Lena’s head between her legs, but before Kara can linger on it too long, Lena’s shifting down her body. She lets her lips and teeth trail over every inch of bare skin before her, all as her hands grip at the fabric covering Kara’s hips. She tugs lightly, and Kara’s just beginning to relax against the couch cushions when Lena suddenly sucks a bruise into the skin beside Kara’s belly button.
“Oh my god.” The groan explodes out of Kara’s mouth as her back arches off the couch, buoyed by the waves of pleasure being unleashed across her body. She tangles her fingers into the dark hair before her, and as she writhes beneath Lena’s talented lips, Kara thinks that this is probably the most exquisite torture she’s ever been privy to. “Lena,” she whispers, her voice rough and broken. “I…I want…”
Blazing green eyes lift and lock on Kara’s, and Kara feels her pulse speed up at the potent mix of desire and love she sees, painted plain on Lena’s face and making her look almost ethereal.
“Tell me,” Lena says, her eyes never leaving Kara’s as her fingers flex around the fabric of grey sweatpants. “Tell me what you want.”
She wants everything.
She wants Lena’s mouth on her, and she wants to see if Lena’s tongue is just as talented in the bedroom as it is in the classroom.
She wants Lena’s hand between her legs again. Wants to feel those strong fingers curling inside of her, pushing her to her breaking point.
She wants Lena to leave her breathless and boneless, wants her to show Kara exactly how much she loves her with every touch and every kiss. She wants Lena to tilt the whole world on its axis and to hold her close in her arms after all is said and done.
She wants Lena to never leave her side again. She wants Lena to be her everything, her forever, her always.
She wants…she wants…
“You,” Kara breathes out, infused with so much more than she can put into words. “I want you.”
Lena’s eyes soften for just a moment. “Well, that’s lucky, then. Because you already have me,” she murmurs. “All of me.”
She drops a long, lingering kiss to Kara’s stomach, then gently nuzzles against her skin. And it’s such a simple gesture, but it makes Kara feel safe and protected, makes her breath catch in her throat and her eyes burn.
She runs her hand through Lena’s hair. “You have me, too,” she says. Then, because she can (and because she probably couldn’t stop the words from coming, even if she tried), she adds, “I love you. So, so much.”
Lena spares a shy, but still dazzling smile. “I love you, too.”
They hold each other’s eyes for a moment, and then, long fingers gather the material at either side of Kara’s waist. Lena slowly starts to tug, and Kara closes her eyes and waits for the blessed relief of cool air against her overheated, burning skin.
But it never comes.
Because before Lena can do anything more, before she can tug off Kara’s pants and underwear and press her tongue to where Kara desperately needs it to be, Kara’s phone is ringing again.
It buzzes on the table beside them, loud and demanding, and slowly, Lena loosens her grip on Kara’s sweatpants. But unlike last time, Kara doesn’t immediately mind the loss. Because this time, there’s something uneasy and heavy slowly settling into her stomach, quickly chasing away the lust that had been there just seconds before.
Alex wouldn’t call twice unless there was something wrong.
She cranes her head toward the table to check the caller ID. Maybe it’s not Alex. Maybe it’s just a telemarketer with awful timing. Maybe…
No. It’s Alex.
Her contact photo is lighting up Kara’s phone, grinning up at her without a care in the world, and Kara feels her stomach sink. She glances back at Lena to find uncertainty and concern lingering in her eyes as she watches the phone.
“Maybe you should…?”
Kara frowns, the heavy feeling increasing at the anxiety in Lena’s voice. “I mean, it’s probably nothing. It’s probably just…” She bites her lip, then looks back to Lena. “Give me two minutes?”
Lena nods and shifts until she’s off Kara’s body, then sits ramrod straight on the couch beside her, still watching the phone with a creased brow.
The room suddenly feels much colder, but Kara can’t be sure if it’s from the loss of Lena’s warmth on top of her or the fear that’s steadily dripping into her veins. Hastily, she plucks her discarded shirt from the floor and tugs it over her head, then she grabs her phone, takes a deep breath, and accepts the call.
“Two calls in a row,” Kara says by way of a greeting, trying to sound casual and upbeat, like this is something that happens often and not like she’s quietly panicking over the idea of Eliza or Kelly lying broken and battered in a hospital bed. “Miss me that much?”
“Kara,” Alex says, her voice tight and strange and sending a new round of anxiety racing through Kara’s body like wildfire. “Kara, did…” She releases a heavy sigh. “Did you see mom’s text?”
Kara’s heart rate picks up at the question, but she still forces herself to remain as calm as she possibly can. “No? Sorry, I’ve been…I’ve been a little distracted tonight, what did…?”
“…Give me a second.”
Kara swallows heavily, then pulls the phone down from her ear. Lena mouths “what is it?” with worry in her eyes, but Kara simply shakes her head and navigates over to her group chat with Eliza and Alex. She doesn’t want to unnecessarily panic Lena when there’s every chance this is just Alex overreacting to something minor, like some dumb sports team trade gone wrong.
Once she has her messages open, she sees a string of new texts waiting for her, some from Eliza, some from Alex. Slowly, she scrolls to the first text in the bunch to find a link to a news article, and once she reads the headline, her stomach drops like a stone.
With a shaking hand, she taps on the article and skims the content, all while her pulse thunders in her ears, and once she’s done, she lifts the phone back up.
“They can’t do that,” she whispers to Alex, noticing the way Lena stiffens in her peripheral vision.
“Of course they can,” Alex says, her voice bitter and hard and laced with anger. “They can do anything they want to. They’re the fucking Luthors, Kara.”
“But that’s…I mean, they can’t—”
“Did something happen between you and Lena?” Alex asks, cutting her off without any hesitation. “Is that why they’re doing this? Is this some sort of…of payback?”
Before Kara can reply, she hears Lena draw in a sharp breath beside her. When she glances over, she sees Lena, looking at her phone with wide eyes, one hand covering her mouth.
Kara assumes it wouldn’t take much for Lena to find the article. A simple search of anything related to the Luthor family would pull it up, as its the latest, breaking news:
A brand new Luthor Corp factory, set to break ground in Midvale in the coming months.
A factory that the article presumes will lead to toxic ground water for the entirety of Midvale, even though the Luthor family representative swears otherwise.
A factory exactly like the other four that had devastated the communities they’d been placed in and led to countless illnesses and deaths.
A factory that just so happens to be right up the road from the sleepy, charming, isolated farmhouse that Kara and Alex had grown up in, and that Eliza still calls home.
After a moment, wide green eyes slide up to lock onto Kara, and there’s so much fear and anguish there, Kara can hardly breathe.
“Because if something happened between you two then…then make it unhappen,” Alex is saying on the other line. “Do whatever you have to do, okay? Because this…this is bad, Kara. This is really, really bad. I mean, mom could…” Alex trails off into silence for a long while, and when she speaks again, her voice is rough, like she’s actively trying not to cry. “Mom could get sick. She could die. I mean, you know what these factories do.”
“That was…that was years ago,” Kara manages, tearing her eyes away from Lena to stare at the wall across from her. “They can’t still be—”
“Of course they can! Just because they fell out of the news and everyone chose to turn a blind eye to what’s happening, doesn’t mean it’s not still happening. People are still dying every day because of these fucking factories and there’s nothing anyone can do about it!”
“And it’s not just mom! It’s everyone in Midvale. It’s everyone we’ve ever…it’s…fuck,” Alex hisses, and Kara winces at the loud sound of a fist slamming down onto a table.
“That better not have been your scalpel hand,” she murmurs.
Alex doesn’t acknowledge the comment. “What are we going to do? We can’t let this happen. We—”
“We won’t,” Kara says, suddenly emphatic. “Look, there are…there are things happening that I haven’t told you about yet.” When Alex inhales, sharp and frustrated, Kara hurries on. “But I promise, this factory isn’t going to happen, okay? I promise. It’s just a threat.”
“It’s not just a threat, Kara! There’s a fucking groundbreaking planned two months from now!”
“Which won’t be happening,” Kara repeats. “Trust me, there’s a plan in place and…and I know it doesn’t look great right now, but it’s going to be okay. We’re working on it and we’re going to get Clark involved, and he's going to write an exposé. And we’ll get the DOJ in on it, too, and…and that factory won’t be opening its doors, okay? Heck, the other factories will probably be closing their doors once everything is done.”
Kara’s trying to sound chipper, but she’s sure she’s missed the mark when there’s a long silence on the other end of the phone. And when Alex finally speaks again, her voice is low and simmering with so much danger that Kara actually flinches.
“Kara…please, please tell me…you haven’t decided to take on the Luthor family.”
Kara nervously chews her lip, then decides to answer honestly. “I mean…not singlehandedly?”
“What? Someone has to!”
“And that someone doesn’t have to be you! Oh my god,” Alex says, and Kara can almost picture her, stalking across her apartment floors, brow furrowed in deadly concentration, fist clenching rhythmically at her side.
“Okay, don’t overreact,” Kara says, trying to calm down whatever cyclone of emotions is currently blowing through Alex and threatening to overwhelm them both. “I told you, we have a plan and a mountain of evidence and there are a lot of other people—”
“You have a plan,” Alex interrupts with a scoff. “You have a fucking plan. That’s…what am I supposed to say to that, Kara?”
“I mean, I know you and your plans! I’ve put up with so many of your plans, and that’s because I love you. But this? This is—! I mean, it’s just so goddamn…”
“No. No, I can’t do this. I’m sorry, Kara, but this is where I draw the fucking line.”
“No! You don’t get to talk right now,” Alex seethes, her words clipped and harsh. “I mean, I get that you like her, but is she really worth risking hundreds of lives over? Including your own?”
The emphatic and furious yes sits heavily on Kara’s tongue, but she wisely decides not to voice it right now. Instead, she stays quiet, deciding it’s smarter to let Alex get all of her anger out in one go.
“You can’t take on the Luthor family. Okay? You cannot do that. And especially not after you’ve pissed them off by doing whatever it is you’re doing! And it doesn’t matter how many stupid fucking optimistic speeches you’re dying to give me right now. You won’t change my mind. And if you go through with this…if you put this one person ahead of an entire community…ahead of your entire fucking family…”
There’s a long silence, and even though Alex doesn’t finish her thought, Kara can still read between the lines.
They wouldn’t come back from that.
Alex would never be able to forgive her.
But luckily, it won’t come to that. Not when they have a whole arsenal of ammunition to use against Lillian.
“Alex…” Kara starts slowly. “I promise you, I’m not putting anyone ahead of our family, okay? I promise you that. And I know this is scary. I’m scared, too. But…” She sighs. “Look, can we talk about this when we’re all in Midvale next weekend? Can we just…regroup with Eliza and talk through what’s been going on over on my end and then…then go from there?”
“Please? I promise, there’s a lot you don’t know and a lot of big name players we’re going to get involved and…I just think if you could see it all in front of you…if you would let me make the case, it might make a pretty big difference.”
There’s another long pause on the other end, and if it wasn’t for the shallow sound of Alex’s breathing, Kara would think they had been disconnected. But eventually, Alex exhales. “Fine,” she says tersely. “Next weekend. But only so you can focus on the trial. But if what you have to tell me doesn’t change my mind, then will you agree to just drop it? And I mean actually drop it this time. Not the bullshit you pulled when you applied to Harvard. I mean, would you agree to back off and stop seeing Lena?”
Kara glances to her lefthand side and watches Lena for a moment. She’s bent over her phone, thumbs moving across the screen quickly with a look of pain etched on her face, and all Kara wants to do is find a way to make it disappear. All she wants is for things to be normal and easy and to not have to listen to Alex telling her she’ll have to one day choose between her family and the woman she loves.
Because when it comes down to it, she’s not sure she can choose. She’d feel like a part of her was missing, no matter what.
So instead of giving Alex the answer she’s looking for, she clears her throat and says, “I really don’t think we’ll get to that point.”
It’s not what Alex wants to hear.
She’s deathly silent on the other end, and Kara waits anxiously, wondering if Alex is about to hang up on her for the first time since high school. But after a long moment, Alex says, “but if we do. If we do get to that point, tell me you’d prioritize the safety of an entire community over one woman. Kara, tell me this isn’t actually a hard decision for you.”
Kara closes her eyes wearily and turns her head further to the side to try and keep her conversation semi-private, even though it seems that Lena is still lost in whatever is on her phone. “Would you give up Kelly?” she murmurs. “If situations were reversed? Would you be able to do that without a fight?”
She can picture Alex, gritting her teeth in anger as she tries to figure out a way around the question. Eventually, she mutters, “of course not. Of course I’d fight for her. But I’m in love with Kelly. There’s a pretty big difference between fighting for the love of your life and fighting for…whatever you and Lena are.”
“Right.” Kara taps a finger against her thigh. “So…about that…”
There’s a pause, then Alex sighs with the weary cadence of someone who knows Kara far too well and says, “you’re in love with her, aren’t you?”
“Very much so.”
“God. …And is she in love with you?”
“God,” Alex grumbles. “You and your fucking careful observation.” When Kara gives a small chuckle, Alex tsks, then continues. “Okay, so…fine. Fine. You’re in love with her. Which…congrats, I guess. I mean, never thought you’d find someone who brings me even more stress than Mike fucking Matthews, but…” She heaves out another sigh, this one sounding like it’s emerging from the very depths of her soul. “At least you keep life interesting.”
“Thanks?” Kara asks, cocking her head. “I think?”
“But even so…even if you’re in love…if I knew that it was between being with Kelly and hurting thousands of other people…Kara,” Alex murmurs quietly, her voice gentler than it’s been throughout the conversation. “You have to know what I’d choose.”
“I know,” Kara replies. “Of course I know. And…and you know I’d do the same if there was literally no other option in the entire universe. But there’s always an option, Alex. There’s always a way to win. Which is why I won’t have to make that choice. Because I won’t let it get to that point.”
“You can’t know that.”
“No,” Kara agrees. “But in case you’ve forgotten, I’m surprisingly stubborn.”
Alex manages a strangled sounding laugh. “Yeah. Yeah, weirdly enough, I haven’t forgotten. That stubbornness is half the reason why I downloaded a fucking meditation app to my phone last year.”
“Wait.” Kara sits up a little and feels the improbable hints of a smile flickering to her face. “Are you joking?”
“Alex Danvers has a meditation app?”
“Does it work?”
“Yes. I’m the poster child for peace and tranquility,” Alex deadpans. “Can’t you tell?”
“So that’s a no, then.”
“I don’t know. Sometimes it makes me sleepy, but most of the time, it just makes me want to throat punch the people leading the sessions. But Kelly says that sentiment means that I’m not giving it a fair try, so…”
A silence fills the line, but this one doesn’t feel nearly as charged as the last, and Kara feels some of the pressure in her chest ease as she waits to see if Alex has anything else to say before she deals with Lena, who’s probably spiraling beside her.
“I really hope she’s worth all of this.”
“She is.” Kara smiles down at her lap. “I promise, she is.”
“She’d better be,” Alex mutters. “A fucking Luthor Corp factory in Midvale and my little sister going toe-to-toe with an evil billionaire…”
Kara hums. “Almost makes you miss Mike, huh?”
There’s an explosive snort on the other end of the phone. “God, no. I mean, this isn’t ideal, but anything’s better than the world’s first sentient pile of trash, Mike Matthews.”
“High praise,” Kara says. “I’ll pass that along to her.”
“Yeah, well…next time, can you just…I don’t know, pick someone normal?”
“Hate to break it to you, but there won’t be a next time.” Kara bites her lip to contain the smile threatening to burst forth. “This is it, Alex. I know it. I mean, she’s just…she’s so…” Kara trails off, then shakes her head. “She’s everything.”
“Jesus,” Alex snorts. “Need me to drive that U-Haul we moved you in with back to Boston?”
“Shut up,” Kara says with a laugh.
Before Alex can reply, there’s another voice murmuring in the background. Alex answers quietly, then clears her throat. “Sorry, Kelly just got home. I should probably go. But I really, really hope this plan of yours is bulletproof. Because I want you to be happy, but I just…”
“I know,” Kara says. “It’s a lot. But it’s a good plan, Alex. And you know Clark wouldn’t be on board if it wasn’t, right?”
“I…guess so,” Alex admits slowly. She doesn’t have all the information, but even so, she’s probably realizing that Clark is more level-headed than Kara in most situations and wouldn’t be risking his career over Lena Luthor unless he thought it was a surefire win.
And with all of the evidence Lena and Kara have already compiled in the last four days alone?
It’s a surefire win. They’ve basically made the prosecution’s case for them.
“So there you go!” Kara says enthusiastically. “Even if you don’t trust me, you can trust Clark.”
“And I promise, we’ll discuss it all when we’re home. Okay?”
Alex exhales slowly. “Okay.”
“Good.” Kara relaxes back against the couch. “It’ll all be okay, Alex. I swear it.”
“I hate how optimistic you always are,” Alex grumbles.
“I know you do,” Kara says lightly. “But someone has to offset all of your cynicism.”
“Love you, too,” Kara teases. “Tell Kelly I say hi?”
“Yeah,” Alex says. “Yeah, I will. And Kara?”
“I really am glad you’re happy. You know how much I love you and you know that I only want the best for you, but I just…I really hope it lasts.”
“Yeah,” Kara murmurs. “Me too.”
She finishes on the phone with Alex and by the time she taps the end call button, she feels like she’s just run a marathon. But she knows she needs to pull herself together quickly for Lena’s sake, so she plasters an easygoing smile on her face, smooths down her hair, then turns to face Lena once more.
“Sorry about that. Alex was just…”
She trails off when she sees the white-knuckle grip Lena has on her phone, the thousand yard stare she’s directing at it, and the familiar paleness to her face.
Kara’s heart sinks—she’s left Lena alone too long with only her spiraling thoughts for company. And while Kara may be cursed with unyielding optimism and Alex with raging cynicism, Lena is the proud owner of a deep well of pessimism, caused by one too many betrayals, one too many times. Which means that in the time Kara was on the phone, Lena’s probably gone down every rabbit hole and thoroughly explored each worst case scenario until they’ve merged together into one paralyzing, all-consuming, throbbing ball of terror.
This is going to take more than an easygoing smile and a few jokes to fix.
Slowly, Kara edges closer. “Hey,” she murmurs, nudging Lena with her knee, trying to get a sense of how far gone she might be. “Everything okay?”
The question breaks Lena out of whatever fugue state she’s fallen into, and she gives a short, almost hysterical bark of laughter. “Yes, Kara. Everything’s okay. Everything’s perfect.”
Kara sighs at the bitter sarcasm. “So you saw the article.” She rubs her forehead, wishing she could turn back time to ten minutes ago, when her biggest problem had been the fact that her pants were still on. “I know it looks bad,” she starts, preparing to have the same conversation she just had with Alex all over again. “But—”
Before Kara can finish, Lena’s standing up and sliding her phone into her pocket.
Kara watches with nervous eyes. “What are you doing?”
“What I should have done before,” Lena says, her voice strained. “God, I shouldn’t have let you talk me into any of this. I know better than to…” She exhales sharply, shakes her head, then reaches for her bag. “I’ll fix this,” she mutters as she gropes inside for her car keys. “You can tell Alex she doesn’t have to worry. I’ll just…I’ll go to Lillian and tell her that it’s all a misunderstanding. I’ll tell her that she doesn’t have to concern herself over anything happening between us and that it’s all—”
“No,” Kara interrupts, standing up from the couch and shaking her head back and forth wildly, like some kind of demented bobblehead. “No, Lena, we…we talked this through already. We’ve started gathering evidence. We have a case! You can’t just—”
“I can,” Lena says, still searching for her keys. “And I will.”
“Are you seriously going to walk back all the progress we made? Over one threat?” Kara reaches out and puts a hand on Lena’s bag, halting the search. “Lena, she can’t back it up! She won’t even have a factory to open once Clark—”
“No. No, Kara. I’m not…” Lena closes her eyes and tilts her head back. “I’m not going to the press,” she finally whispers.
Lena looks back to Kara with a grim finality in her gaze that makes Kara’s knees wobble. “We’re not getting the DOJ involved. We’re not getting Clark involved. We’re not going to tell anyone anything.”
Kara takes a step back, once again shaking her head, like it’s the only motion she’s been programmed to do. “I don’t…I don’t understand. You said that you’d—”
“That was before.”
“No, that’s…” Kara bites on the inside of her cheek to keep the frustrated scream inside, then forces herself to take a few long, deep breaths.
Maybe she should download Alex’s meditation app.
“Lena. Nothing has changed,” Kara finally says, speaking slowly. “We knew this was a possibility when we made the plan. Okay? But Lillian threatening to open this factory in Midvale? That’s why we made the plan in the first place. So she wouldn’t be able to do anything like this again. So as long as we just stick to the game plan…”
“There is no game plan anymore, Kara.”
“I was texting Lillian. While you were on the phone with Alex. And this factory? It’s only the beginning.”
Kara hesitates. “What does that mean?”
Lena sighs and sinks back down onto the couch, running her hands through her hair. “It means that this is only step one to keep me in line. And if I fight back, then she’s prepared to go even farther.”
“Like revoking Alex’s medical license,” Lena murmurs, her eyes dull and far away.
Kara scoffs, crossing her arms. “She can’t do that.”
“I assure you, she can. She could do it today, if she wanted to. And that would just be step two.” Lena looks up at Kara with a sad smile. “Don’t you get it? She’d never stop.”
“Okay…but isn’t that all the more reason to go through with our plan? I mean, we have the evidence already. And she’s only threatening you because she thinks we’re together, not because she knows what we’re up to. And as long as she doesn’t even know that you’re considering this, we still have the element of surprise, so she’d—”
“Say we do,” Lena says, cutting Kara off. “Say we go through with it and we think we have the element of surprise, but she’s still one step ahead and nothing changes. Then what have we accomplished? We’ll have provoked her for no reason and be right back where we started. Worse, even,” Lena adds. “Because at least right now, I can stop whatever she’s planning. I can tell her I’ll stay away from you and have her scrap the factory. She’ll drop all her threats and abandon her plans if she knows I’m where she wants me. As long as I’m still under her thumb and playing the role of Mrs. Mike Matthews, then none of this is an issue. So…” Lena sets her jaw with a horrible, grim determination. “That’s what I’ll do.”
“No, Kara,” Lena says. “No more arguments. No more speeches. No more plans. This was…it was a nice dream,” she says, standing up from the couch once again and lifting her bag to her shoulder. “A beautiful, wonderful dream,” she adds gently, reaching out and stroking Kara’s cheek with a shaking hand. “And you," she breathes. "You are more than I ever could have asked for. More than I ever could have imagined. You are the most incredible, beautiful person I've ever...” She cups Kara’s cheek for a long moment and just stares at her with burning, anguished eyes, like she can't bear to look away. Then, she clears her throat and whispers, “but dreams like this aren’t meant for people like me.”
Lena silences any protestation about to fall from Kara’s lips by pressing forward and stealing them away. She kisses her softly, lingering like she’s trying to commit every bit of Kara to memory. She kisses her with a quiet kind of desperation, like she knows that it'll never happen again.
She kisses her like it's a goodbye.
And then, after a few precious, ephemeral moments have passed, she pulls back with glassy eyes and confirms Kara's fear.
“Goodbye, Kara,” she murmurs, stroking her thumb against Kara’s cheekbone one last time as a tear escapes down her cheek. “Goodbye.”
Then, she lets go and turns to the door.
“Goodbye?” Kara echoes, suddenly feeling like her world is falling apart around her. Because this can’t be happening. She can’t be losing another person she loves.
“Lena, what are you…”
But Lena doesn’t turn around. She puts her hand on the doorknob and twists it open.
“No. Lena, please don’t do this.” Kara says, shaking her head as a familiar fear slowly claws its way up her throat. “Please. Please don’t leave.”
Lena’s shoulders tighten, but she doesn’t turn. Instead, she tugs the door open and steps into the doorway.
“I love you,” Kara whispers to her back, her voice broken and threaded with a quiet desperation. “I love you and I…please, Lena. We can still be together. We can figure this out, okay? I love you. Just…please, don’t leave. Please, Lena.”
Lena stops for only a moment as she lets the words sink in. But the sentiment doesn’t do anything to soften her stiff form. If anything, the whispered words of love seem to fortify the decision Lena’s already made for the both of them.
She exhales, slow and ragged, and for a moment, her fingers tighten against the door.
Then, there’s a whisper of something. Something soft, and something that sounds an awful lot like I’m sorry. But it’s so faint, Kara can’t tell if she’s actually heard it, or if it was just the wind whistling outside of her window.
And then, just like that, Lena’s letting go of the door, letting it slowly close behind her and leaving Kara brokenhearted and devastated on the other side.
She stands there, staring at the closed door for what feels like hours, her eyes burning and the shattered pieces of her heart sending waves of pain ricocheting through her shellshocked body.
Lena’s really, really gone.
And Kara’s alone.
Once again, Kara’s alone.
Maybe she should be used to it by now. Maybe she should even expect it. Maybe she should know this is going to happen with any new person she meets, and maybe she should have some sort of coping mechanism at the ready for when the inevitable comes to pass.
Maybe she should.
But she doesn’t.
All she has is familiar, hot tears that cloud her vision suddenly and without any warning.
All she has is a hollow ache in the center of her chest that she’s felt one too many times before, yawning open and sucking the light out of the room, like an all-consuming black hole.
All she has is the icy numbness that spreads from her head to her toes as her old fear of isolation slowly settles back into her body.
All she has is an image of Lena’s warm, bright smile and soft, green eyes, shining with love. All she has is the phantom touch of her gentle hands and her burning lips. All she has is memories, hundreds and hundreds of memories of Lena, crowding her days and nights with joy and light and laughter and making her feel more than she’s ever felt before. All she has is the ghost of what might have been, taunting her as the tears start to fall, dripping down on the ruins of a relationship that never had a chance to begin.
All she has is a burning, massive love, sitting inside of her, with nowhere left to go.
And as she stands there, motionless and broken in the middle of her living room, tears falling down her face, she realizes something.
For the first time, she doesn’t know how to fix this.
For the first time, she finds herself thinking that there’s really nothing that can be done, and that Lillian has actually, really won.
That she’ll never see Lena again.
The thought makes the tears fall harder and faster, and as Kara sinks down to her knees and lets the sobs overwhelm her, something dawns on her with startling clarity: for the first time in a very, very long time, Kara Zorel-Danvers—relentlessly optimistic, eternally cheerful, always-sunshiney Kara Zorel-Danvers—doesn’t have any hope left.
And without hope…
Kara doesn’t know who she is.