It’d only been about 20 minutes since Supergirl had stalled their descent and carefully placed the remaining tail of Morgan Edge’s plane down, however, if pressed, Lena Luthor would swear it’d been at least 2 hours.
While Supergirl made phone calls to arrange for the chemicals to be dealt with, for Edge to be dealt with, Lena couldn’t do anything but sit and replay the events of the last few hours.
The phone call from Kara. Confronting Edge in his office. Waking up on the plane.
Realizing she had no time to try and get control of the plane. Desperately trying to find a way to stop the chemicals from being plunged into the reservoir.
Supergirl showing up suddenly. Refusing to let Lena fall with the plane.
Supergirl insisting that she climb. Convincing her to take the leap and trust that she’d be caught.
Supergirl wrapping her arm tight, tight, tight around her ribs, pulling Lena into her arms as soon as she had settled the plane.
Regardless of her touching down moments later, Supergirl had still pulled her up into a bridal carry, arms tight around her ribs and thighs. Whispers of you’re okay, I’ve got you, you’re safe now floating into her ear, barely heard over the wind, and the waves, and the adrenaline pounding through Lena’s veins.
Now, sitting on the fallen log Supergirl had gently placed her on, Lena can’t help but think of how Supergirl had held her so tight that she can still feel an ache in her ribs. How she had surely imagined the Girl of Steel’s forehead resting close against her temple. How her whispered reassurance washed over her as if Lena actually deserved comfort from the caped hero.
Lena’s hands are still shaking, the sounds of the beach and woods around them beginning to filter back into her awareness. She can hear Supergirl still talking to someone, yet all Lena’s brain could do was wonder why.
Why did she refuse to let me go?
Why would she hold me so close if we were nearly on the ground?
Why did it sound like she was reassuring herself as well?
Why did she sound so familiar ?
“Lena.” Supergirl’s voice is so soft, so inexplicably familiar, as she approaches the trembling CEO.
Lena could feel her heart starting to settle, the adrenaline finally leaving her as she sat waiting for Supergirl to tell her what to do, to guide her through how they’ll deal with everything that’s happened as her brain struggles to do anything but wonder why, why, why .
There’s a gentle look on the hero’s face when Lena finally manages to make eye contact again, the first she’s managed since just before she jumped in a final, desperate bid to not plummet into the water below.
“Lena, are you okay?” There’s a nervousness to the woman standing in front of her, her shoulders almost sagging under the weight of her cape, seeming so out of place under the blue suit, yet somehow familiar all the same. Lena finds she has to clear her throat before she can finally answer.
“Yea- Yeah. I’m okay. Are you? Is there anything I can do to help?” Confronted now, with soft eyes and quiet words, Lena feels her own nerves beginning to ramp up again. Feels the need to do something to help, to do anything but let herself think about the last few hours, last few days, again and again and again.
“No. No, I’m fine. The people I work with are on their way to deal with the chemicals. I just need to wait for them to get here, then I can take you home. It shouldn’t be too much longer.”
Lena, now faced with the cautious energy still emanating from the Girl of Steel, feels her own nerves shifting into confusion.
“Couldn’t you just fly the chemicals to them? Wouldn’t that be faster?”
One of Supergirl’s hands, that had previously been twitching at her side, is now firmly grasped around her own cape, fidgeting in a way that lingers in the back of Lena’s mind. It’s her turn now, to clear her throat to answer.
“I don’t want to leave you here, and I’d need both hands to make sure everything stays together and-”
“Why?” The question is out of Lena’s mouth before she can even think to stop it. The question that’s been rattling around her head since they set down interrupting whatever explanation Supergirl was trying to get through.
“What?” It’s Supergirl’s turn to be confused now, seeming unprepared to have to explain beyond what she’d already prepared.
“Why not just leave me here? I’ll be fine while you take care of all that.”
It’s a lie, bold and unbelievable with the shake lingering in her voice, but Lena is suddenly desperate to be alone. Desperate to be away from the gentle eyes currently directed at her as she feels herself slipping back towards the self-loathing she’s been drowning in all week.
It’s a bold and unbelievable lie, yet Lena is still shocked that Supergirl doesn’t seem to buy it.
“I’m not gonna leave you here alone, Lena. Not after everything that’s happened.”
Supergirl, looking more like the Girl of Steel again, takes a step towards the CEO, looking ready to offer more comfort. It’s all Lena needs to jump to her feet and begin to pace as her nerves and confusion wash over her once more.
“I’ll be fine, Supergirl. I don’t need you to babysit me. It’s not like I can get anywhere from here before you could find me again. You’ll still get whatever answers you need from me. Just go take the plane. I’ll be fine. Just go be the hero and-“
Lena finds her words vanish as Supergirl places her body in the way, freezing both her rambling and her pacing.
Supergirl isn’t touching her, not quite, but her hands are hovering over Lena’s elbows, her eyes and voice gentle, gentle, so familiarly gentle. She’s treating Lena like an animal that might be spooked at any moment.
“Lena.” An undercurrent of the steel that defines her is back in her tone. “I am not going to leave you alone in the woods after I saved you from a plane crash that was orchestrated by the man that’s been attacking your reputation all week.”
As fast as her nerves had risen up within her, they’re gone again, and Lena finds she’s barely able to get words out.
“But why? Why do you care so much? I don’t deserve this. A Luthor doesn’t deserve this much care, and certainly not from a Super.” It’s quiet, barely loud enough to actually be considered words, but Lena can see Supergirl’s face shift into sadness as they’re processed. It’s a look that would anger Lena if she wasn’t so tired, if it didn’t seem so familiar.
“You are not like your family, Lena. You’ve proven that time and again and I have never, not once , regretted coming to you for help when it was needed.”
The words hit Lena square in the chest and she can feel her knees buckle but Supergirl is holding onto her arms, gentle and barely there, as if she was already worried Lena would collapse at any moment.
She finds herself guided back to the log she’d been perched upon, Supergirl’s guiding presence still so gentle. Lena doesn’t even realize she had begun shivering again, the latest brief spike in her adrenaline dissipating, until a heavy weight settles across her shoulders, a clasp being secured around her neck.
It’s not until she feels the deep red cape wrapped tight around her body, sees the now capeless hero kneeling in front of her, that Lena understands what’s happening. Realizes that Supergirl is still taking care of her.
“Why?” Lena is starting to feel like a broken record but she’s just so tired, still so confused about why someone she’s only interacted with a handful of times is so adamant about making sure she’s okay, it’s all she can seem to ask.
Supergirl ducks her head slightly to catch her gaze, making sure to have eye contact while she finds words to explain.
“You, Lena Luthor, are a good person . Full stop.” Their hands are locked together in Lena’s lap, grounding both of them to the moment, as nerves seep back into the hero’s voice. “It took me barely any time at all to know that you are nothing like your family. I believe in you, Lena, and I have since nearly the moment we met.”
There’s something in the way she says it, that something familiar , that allows Lena to blink back the tears she can feel lingering behind her eyes, for now , allows her to catch the pleading look in Supergirl’s eyes, begging her to really listen to whatever comes next.
“I’ve been accused, more than a few times actually, of believing that everything is good and kind and that I’m naive for looking at the world that way. But it’s because I’ve seen how good and kind the people of this planet can be, how good you are, even as your family tries to drag you down with them.”
There’s something about Supergirl’s words that give Lena that itch of familiarity she’s been feeling since they landed back on solid ground, only now it’s strong enough to drag a memory back to the surface.
The memory in question is, admittedly, a bit wine-soaked and, until this moment, something she wasn’t entirely sure hadn’t been a dream. Now, though, Lena remembers vividly.
Hiding away from the press at Sam’s house. Opening a bottle of wine as soon as she was alone. Opening a second bottle before Kara found her in her misery.
Kara trying to make her feel better, even as all evidence pointed to Lena being at fault.
Telling Kara that the world was not as good and kind as she liked to think. That she should stop believing in Lena.
The realization hits Lena like a freight train, eyes widening as she looks into the blue eyes of Supergirl, shining with worried tears but suddenly so familiar. She’d laugh if she wasn’t so shocked.
“ Kara .”
Kara’s breath rushes out of her all at once, as if she’d been holding it for ages, a tear breaking free of her eye as she smiles somewhat grimly at Lena.
Lena can’t stop the laugh that breaks free in that moment, can’t stop herself from cupping the face of her best friend to wipe the rogue tear away. Kara has enough time to let out another shaky breath before Lena throws her arms around her and hugs her with as much strength as she can muster.
Kara’s arms are tight around her again, familiar in a way she still can’t believe she never figured out. Lena pulls back, jaw still working wordlessly as she tries to figure out exactly what is even worth saying at this moment. She’s about to say something, anything , to at least break the silence, when Kara stills and looks far over Lena’s shoulder.
“Alex and the DEO are almost here.” Kara is looking at Lena again, hands pulling her cape back around her body as she moves back. “I know we have so much to talk about, and I promise we will, I don’t want to keep secrets from you anymore. For now, just remember that I believe in you , Lena Luthor.”
“Okay.” Lena can only manage a quick nod of her head before she, too, hears the approaching trucks of Supergirl’s covert government agency.
Kara gives her a gentle smile as she finally moves to stand, readying herself to be the hero that’s expected when she has the suit on. Lena feels the edges of the cape tucked into her hands as Kara gives them one last squeeze.
As the first truck breaks through the tree line, the end of their night finally in sight, Lena can’t help but think that there’s still a less than zero chance that she’s dreaming on the couch in Sam’s living room.
On the slim chance this isn’t a dream, Lena thinks, watching as Kara greets the black-clad agents and starts organizing the clean-up for the mess they made, I might just need to send Edge a fruit basket.