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a special kind of glow

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Soulmates.

The hot topic that transcends language and culture. The one thing that brings people together.

It’s the exact thing that Lena abhors.

From the moment she was born, soulmates were what set her apart. There was no soft light surrounding her body, not even the faintest glow.

At first the doctors thought her soulmate was far away. When the two parts of a fated pair are physically close, the aura around them increases. The first time soulmates meet, there’s a blinding light when they embrace. From then on, each person will have a steady glow. It will still grow brighter and dimmer, but there’s no mistaking the shine of a person who has met their soulmate.

Lena knows. She’d seen it on her mother, even though she had never seen her with any other person. The earliest memories Lena has is asking her mother about her soulmate.

Later, Lena will wonder if her questions were the reason why she was given up to the Luthors.

The Luthors had an interesting viewpoint on the soulmate concept. Lionel had the shine of one who had met their fated one, but Lillian had never gained the same glow.

Four year old Lena hadn’t understood why her new parents weren’t matched. She wouldn’t understand until later, when she looks at the pictures of Lillian and Lionel the year before Lena was born. Both share the same hazy, dim aura.

So Lena doesn’t have a very good opinion of soulmates. After seeing how Lionel meeting her mother and completing the bond had torn apart their marriage. And knowing that Lionel, even after choosing his wife over his soulmate, had made him a drunk, filled with regrets.

Even if she had had her own soulmate, Lena thinks she would still scorn the idea. Lex did, and was one of the very few that had met his in childhood. She was a seemingly meek girl named Eve, but they argued more than anything.

Most soulmates meet around that age, although some do meet earlier or later. Not that Lena ever paid attention to the statistics.

It was one of the only things that the Luthors praised her for. Lionel, in one of his drunken, emotional soliloquies, had told her how lucky she was to never know the turmoil of having one. Lillian, during one of her sharp lectures, had told a child Lena that she was lucky to never know the distraction of a soulmate. And Lex, in one of his manic rants, had told her that she was lucky to never need to bow down to and compromise.

All it ever did was make Lena lonely. To know that everyone else in the world had a perfect other half except for her was tragic to a younger Lena. Logically, she knew that not everyone met their soulmates, or lived happily ever after, even if they did have one. But to know that it wasn’t even an option for her to be happy and in love.

Or so she thought.

Although she had spent her whole childhood thinking that she was the only one without the soulmate glow, moving away from her family showed her that she wasn’t alone. Though they weren’t a majority, there was a significant minority of people who have never gotten that shining light around them.

All of them were alien, something Lena didn’t put together until later.

Much, much later.

After Kara betrayed her, and everything fell apart.

Kara’s Supergirl secret was the final piece of her own personal puzzle. She had been questioning her soulmate conundrum for a few days, after someone published an article in one of her science journals. They hypothesised that everyone lacking the soulmate aura was an alien, because all humans had one. The only outliers to this theory, they wrote, was humans with alien soulmates.

It had led to her developing an alien detection device, something that had caused a rift with Supergirl, who was very disapproving of a Luthor creating such a thing.

Little did the Kryptonian know, she had only built it to test on herself.

Not that it mattered, because Kara was human and she didn’t have the soulmate glow. It was something she often used to comfort herself with. To feel less alone. And sometimes, she thought that maybe, just maybe, she could have a chance to have something with her best friend. Something people had with their soulmates.

That all went out the window when she learned of Kara’s true heritage.

It wasn’t just that she had kept something so important from Lena. Not that she lied, or that others had lied. No, it was that Kara being human was her final shred of hope that she wasn’t alone in the world.

And the worst part of it all was that Kara didn’t even know what she had done.

Lena leaves National City for a month. She goes back to Ireland, and takes some time for herself. Of course, she still works her usual hours, just does her meetings and other business remotely.

It’s not ideal, especially because she doesn’t have access to her lab, forcing her to work on only the theoretical or programming parts of them. Which is not as much fun as being able to put everything together. At least, she’ll have a lot of projects in the later stages of completion when she comes back.

The upside to her getaway from her daily life is that she no longer has to dodge calls from Kara or her friends. Although, the painful memories had mostly stopped flooding her mind with each text from her old life days ago.

At this point, it’s more that she’s avoiding going home.

Because going home means that she’ll have to talk to Kara. Talking to Kara means that she’ll have to explain exactly why the betrayal hurt as much as it did. Lena isn’t ready to talk about it with anyone, and it’s somehow humiliating to have to talk about her lack of soulmate.

She’s actually surprised that Kara has allowed her this long to process her emotions. She’s not used to this behaviour from her best friend. Although she supposes that Kara hasn’t ever kept something huge from her before, so she doesn’t have any frame of reference.

By the time one month turns into nearly two, Lena is ready to go back. She’s going a little stir crazy, and even being in the same country as her birth mother isn’t giving her the same peace as it was before.

When she finally returns, Lena feels a bit more settled. She doesn’t feel like the world is falling apart, and the thought of talking about her lack of soulmate doesn’t make her want to curl up with embarrassment.

She takes a few days to get back into the routine of her daily life. She’s never been gone this long, and even though she’s been working diligently on her work electronically, there’s still a huge backlog. It takes her at least two weeks to get through it.

And another few days to work up the courage to message Kara to meet up.

It’s excruciating, the talking. Kara cries. Lena cries. It’s a veritable flood, but she thinks she understands why Kara did what she did. Not that it excuses the lies and the betrayal, but Lena thinks that the important part is that they’re going to be more honest going forwards.

Which means she’ll have to be honest about her own feelings first. She thinks it’s a long time coming, as she’s never talked about this with anyone before.

So she does. She tells Kara about how it felt to grow up without a fated one, and how her family made her feel about it. She talked about her biological mother and Lionel, and how Lillian had never forgiven her for the strain on her marriage.

She tells her about the alien theory, and why she was building the device to detect if she was an alien. And finally, her own research on the subject, which was admittedly not much.

It was probably the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. She wants to stop and cry, or run away. But she doesn’t. She talks until there’s nothing more to say, and Kara doesn't say a word. She just listens, and squeezes Lena’s hand as she speaks.

When she’s done, Kara tells her that soulmates don’t exist on Krypton. How she had also grown to be jealous of the shining aura until she met Lena. And how she had found hope with her, that they could maybe have something deeper together, two souls without a bond.

Kara tells her that if Krytonians had soulmates, she thinks that Lena would be hers.

Lena thinks that hearing the woman she’s in love with confess her feelings is better than some bright lights telling her to be with someone.