It always starts like this. Kara’s nervous hands grasped in front of her, eyes focused on the ground or ceiling like a kid about to admit to breaking something expensive. Lena always tilts her head to the side, making sure Kara knows she has all of her attention, an upwards quirk of her lips to let her know she doesn’t have to worry. But the first time? She could see the nervous energy radiating from Kara in waves, as her confession comes tumbling out in a cascade of joined words.
“You remember when I came back from the Phantom Zone and we finally hugged again and then we promised to always be truthful with each other no matter the consequences and to never keep secrets again?” asked Kara, finally meeting Lena’s eyes.
“Do I remember reforming the single most important relationship in my life after rescuing you from a literal hell dimension?” Kara sends her an affirming nod. “Yes, it rings a vague bell,” she chides playfully.
“Well,” she draws out, swaying on the balls of her feet as she works up the courage for the next part. “I have a confession.”
And that’s how it starts; the unburdening of all of Kara Zor-El Danvers’ secrets to Lena Kieran Luthor, no matter how big or small they might be. Lena soon realizes that Kara needs this release, needs to lighten whatever pressure she might be feeling, needs to test the strength of their reformed relationship slowly. Lena wants nothing more than to see that weight lifted from her friend, especially when it comes with the added bonus of reassuring them both of the trust they still have in each other.
They’re in Lena’s office, packing up take-out boxes from an extended work lunch. Kara is fiddling with stationary, giving her eyes and hands something to focus on as Lena stands amused on the other side of her desk, waiting for the inevitable confession.
“I always end up eating all the poststickers at your galas.” There’s a blush creeping up Kara’s neck as Lena calculates the sheer volume of dumplings she knows the superhero must be ingesting based on her usual order quantities. “I promise I arrive with the absolute best intentions to share, but in fairness I do use up a lot of energy fighting off the idiots that inevitably turn up trying to kill you.”
Lena reaches over her desk to stop the rearranging of pens, grabbing Kara’s hand to give it a reassuring squeeze.
“And I appreciate your timely intervention every time.” Kara finally looks up to meet Lena’s smile. “So how many do you think you could actually eat?”
After some discussion about an ill-fated bet with Alex, Kara reveals the exact number of dumplings it takes to make her vomit and Lena ends up quadrupling her order with her caterer for all future L-Corp events.
Lena gives a small hum to let Kara know she’s listening as she continues to search the Tower databases for their weekly foe.
“I realized that I never actually told you that I don’t have allergies.” When nothing more is forthcoming, Lena finally looks over her laptop screen at the actual child that is her best friend as she twirls recklessly fast on a computer chair.
“Oh yeah sure,” the Kara blur says as she becomes a distortion of red, blue and blonde. “Mercy Graves? I don’t have allergies, I said that to cover up using my freeze breath on the other people trying to kill you.”
“Yes I figured that one out on my own Kara. I didn’t think that Earth’s mightiest hero could be taken out by pollen or some innocuous dust particles.” She returns her gaze to her screen as the Girl Of Steel comes to a screeching halt across from her.
“Wait! If I don’t actually freeze them and it’s really more of a gust of wind is that really freeze breath? Wind breath doesn’t really sound right either though, does it? Quick Lena, google synonyms for wind before this melts my brain,” Kara whines, as Lena does exactly as she’s told.
Lena is a little distracted – she’s just eaten what feels like her bodyweight in Chinese food and she’s snuggled up to Kara on her couch, re-watching The Wizard Of Oz for the ninth time with her best friend’s hand combing through her hair. Her eyes are half-lidded as she grumbles to let Kara know she’s listening. Well, she’s really trying to listen, but damn if that hand through her hair isn’t the most soothing thing she’s ever felt.
“You actually confessed to J’onn about James kissing you.”
Okay, she is definitely awake now. She bolts upright, turning to glare at the blonde who is looking next-level sheepish.
“Explain immediately,” she manages to force out.
“So erm, the thing is, if you remember actually, you see-“
“Spit it out Kara.”
“Funny story actually,” Kara says, shooting finger guns at an unimpressed Lena. “I was in a little coma from the fight with Reign but Alex had told Catco I was sick so you came over to check on me and my friends COMPLETELY UNBEKNOWNST TO ME due to the aforementioned coma took it upon themselves to have J’onn fill in for me.”
Lena seems to stare for an age before her jaw slowly drops in what can only be described as abject horror.
“Oh fuck I tried to kiss J’onn.”
“I told J’onn about James and then said all I could think about was you Kara, and that’s how I knew I had feelings for you. And then I tried to kiss you. No, I tried to kiss J’onn! Oh fuck.”
“Again I ask, WHAT?” Kara has gotten to her knees, ringing her hands with nervous energy. “Why has this never come up?”
“You pushed me back. I mean, J’onn pushed me back I guess. And I panicked that I’d just done something to irrevocably ruin our friendship so I took it all back and told you, J’ONN, I told J’onn to never bring it up again. And you haven’t.”
“BECAUSE IT WASN’T ME LENA!”
“Oh god, I need to apologise to that man so much. He’s psychic isn’t her? Is that like an always-on thing because he might have been around for some VERY not-safe-for-work thoughts and I need to know the appropriate level of apolo-“
Lena’s panic spiral is finally cut off by her best friend’s lips for a much too brief moment. Kara rocks back with the biggest grin Lena has ever seen on her face.
“I would never have pushed you away Lena.” She leans forward again to push brunette hair away from Lena’s face.
“You have no idea how long I’ve been trying to work up the courage to do that. I for sure thought you’d noticed when I leaned in post-Phantom Zone rescue but then you never mentioned it-”
“Because you never mentioned it after pushing me away so I didn’t want to give myself false hope!” she cuts in, then pauses. “But you never pushed me away… and you just kissed me!”
“Yup, I definitely just did that finally. And we could have been doing this for literally years,” Kara grumbles.
“Because you were in an actual coma and I knew nothing about it.” Her eyes go wide in panic as she grabs both of Kara’s hands and pulls her forward. “Never do that again please.”
Kara smiles as she leans further forward, guiding Lena onto her back as she hovers above her, that smile as bright as the sunrise starting to gleam through the apartment windows behind them. “Yes Lena, I promise to never intentionally let your other best friend beat me to a pulp again.”
The blonde finally sinks down to join their lips for what Lena decides is a much more appropriate amount of time.
Kara has a mischievous smile on her face as Lena rushes around her apartment for the third time this week. Sleepovers with Kara’s inability to let Lena leave her bed without at least thirty minutes of morning snuggles have really messed with the Luthor’s timekeeping skills.
“I didn’t fly to your office on a bus. Well, I did fly but not on a bus. Just a regular flying person, so only half a lie?” Kara is now lounging over Lena’s kitchen counter, holding out a thermos of coffee to her girlfriend with what can only be described as a shit-eating grin.
Lena has just grabbed her laptop bag and turns to Kara as she glares. “Yes Kara I am aware.”
She reaches for the proffered coffee, only to be waylaid by lips that have her ire deflating in a second.
“Maybe I can use those regular person flying skills to get you to work on time?” she asks hopefully.
Lena melts and is being gently deposited on her office balcony in under a minute.
Lena looks over to her girlfriend immediately, sensing the reluctance in her tone. They have just had a wonderful meal at a romantic restaurant to celebrate their three month anniversary and are walking hand-in-hand back to Kara’s apartment, so the sudden change in tone worries Lena.
“Yes Darling?” she says as she gives Kara’s hand a reassuring squeeze.
“I haven’t wanted to bring this up because we’ve been so happy but I think we need to talk about it.” She pauses while a couple walk by them, checking they are out of earshot before continuing. “Kryptonite.”
“Kara, I’m so-“
“No. No apologies. I think we’ve apologized to each other and forgiven each other enough to last our lifetimes. Kelly said I need to tell you how it affected me to move on, so I don’t feel like there’s a subject we both have to tiptoe around.” She inhales a deep breath and continues. “After you left me in the fortress, after Alex released me and tried to break through your firewall, I couldn’t stop crying. For days, I was locked in my apartment crying on my couch into your MIT hoodie. I need you to know that the thought of ever losing you would break me. And i did think I'd lost you Lena.”
They’ve stopped walked and Lena pulls Kara over to a bench, grasping both of her hands as she urges the blonde to continue. “I knew that you using Kryptonite on me when you knew my identity meant you didn’t see me as Kara anymore, only as Supergirl. And you didn’t love Supergirl.”
Kara’s glistening eyes raise to meet Lena’s as she manages a resigned smile, letting Lena know she’s done.
“Ditto.” At Kara’s questioning look she elaborates, eyes quickly dropping to their joined hands. “I locked myself in my office with some extortionately priced scotch and cried into your NCU sweater until my ribs hurt. I was blinded by hurt and betrayal and self-loathing because on some level, the most important fundamental level, I did still think of you as Kara and I couldn’t comprehend what I had just done to you.”
Kara guides Lena’s chin back up and gives her a soft smile.
“We’ve forgiven each other a dozen times over. Maybe it’s time we forgave ourselves too?” When she receives a nod of agreement, she pulls them both up from the bench. “Come on, let’s get home.”
As they continue through the park, Lena can’t help but feel like there is one more thing she has to say.
“Even though I will always regret hurting you and will always be sorry from the deepest depths of whatever the scientific equivalent of a soul is –“ Kara tries to interrupt but Lena raises her hand her stop her. “Let me finish please, I need to get this out now before I burst. There is some part of me that will also always be grateful that we went through that together too. Once the hurt started to numb I realised that the only reason I felt such loss and pain was because I was in love with you.”
Kara jolts to a standstill, jerking Lena to an emergency stop in her shock. Her eyes are so wide and hopeful and yearning that Lena has to tilt her head back, stare into the night sky and take a deep breath.
Lena continues, “I don’t think I would have ever admitted that to myself under any normal circumstances, so while I’m sorry I ever hurt you-“
“Was?” Kara interrupts. At Lena’s questioning look she explains, “You said was. Was in love. Past tense?”
“Oh right,” Lena chuckles to herself before taking a steadying breath and making eye contact again. “I was in love with you, past tense. I am in love with you, present tense. I will be in love with you for as long as you’ll let me, future tense.”
The dopiest grin Lena has ever seen spreads across Kara’s face as she pulls her in, wrapping her arms around her. Lena is pretty sure she’s floating as soon as their lips meet, which with any other girlfriend would be a beautiful metaphor but in this case was literally happening. Kara jerks back as her head hits the underside of a lamppost a few moments later. She looks dazed as she realises what she’s inadvertently done, quickly lowering them with a glance around the thankfully-abandoned park.
“That’s the greatest thing anyone has ever said to me.” She raises Lena’s hand to her mouth, kissing her knuckles as she says, “me too, all of it. Past, present, future tense I am so in love with you.”
“Yes my love?” comes the distracted response as Lena tried to push through the last of her emails so they can meet their friends for karaoke night.
Kara is wandering around Lena’s office, pulling out random books, picking up picture frames to stare at photos of them both that have pride of place in her girlfriend’s office. Her patient meandering has finally brought her to the desk, fingers dancing through the petals of a freshly delivered bouquet of plumarias.
“I’m the one who keeps sending you the flowers you know? I know you think it’s just a weekly delivery set up by your assistant but it’s not, it’s always been me from the first time you told me they were your favourite.”
“I’m aware,” comes the distracted response as the typing continues.
“You knew?” comes the disbelieving reply.
“Oh course I did Kara. I’ve had nine assistants since I met you, two of which have definitely tried to kill me and one I can’t prove. I didn’t think they all magically knew my favourite flower and cared enough to get them for me.”
She pushes away from her desk finally as Kara asks “why have you never mentioned it?”
“Because I thought you knew that I knew?” She bends to put her heels back on her tired feet and circles the desk to place a kiss on Kara’s cheek. “I loved that even when we were both hurt and angry with each other, every Monday morning I would come in to a new bouquet on my desk. It helped remind me that you were someone I could rely on, someone I could learn to trust again. That no matter how much I yelled or screamed it, our relationship was genuine.”
“Best. Flowers. Ever.” Kara stutters out between kisses.
Lena wants to stay asleep, but there’s also a Kryptonian’s hand running up and down her bare back that is definitely doing its best to wake her up. She finally relents when Kara becomes impatient and has purposefully wandered towards the ticklish part of Lena’s ribs. She rolls over and lies nose to nose with the love of her life, content to stare as deeply as she possibly can into those crystal blue eyes as Kara once again unburdens herself.
“You told me when you realised you loved me, but I’ve never actually told you when I had my Lena-Luthor-Is-The-Love-Of-My-Life epiphany.” Okay this is the kind of confession Lena can get behind. She sinks forwards so her lips can trace along Kara’s jawline, down her neck, across her collarbone as she struggles to speak. She draws in a gasping breath and spurts a run-on sentence at such a speed that it matches even Nia’s best effort.
“I took Alex to my friend Barry’s wedding that was in a different universe at the time and Alex totally slept with the captain of a spaceship that can travel through time, THROUGH TIME LENA, and before the wedding was interrupted by an army of Nazi doppelgangers from an even more different universe that were trying to harvest my heart for my evil twin, I was singing this love song about always wanting to come back to the person you love and all I could think about was you and that is when I knew that I loved you.”
Lena draws back from Kara so slowly, she’s pretty sure she couldn’t have heard what she thinks she has just heard.
“Wait, slow down. Nazi doppelgangers? I’m going to need the full story this time darling.”
Kara laughs and pulls Lena into her, “Okay picture it, she has my exact face but she’s mean Lena, like really super mean and trying to rip my heart out…”
“Hmmm?” Lena asks as she pulls a patch of white fluff from her black shirt.
“I accidentally brought an abandoned kitten home.” Lena holds up the fluff to Kara as she continues sheepishly. “I’ve been hiding her for two weeks so you didn’t see her while I tried to find her a good home but I don’t think anyone is good enough for her and I really want to keep her. She’s just a fluffy white cloud of fur and I’ve been calling her Marshmallow but you can totally name her something less good if it means we can keep her.” Kara rushes into her bedroom and emerges with something that resembles a cloud with limbs and eyes. “Marshmallow is objectively a perfect name for her, but whatever you want Lena.”
She lets out an amused sigh at Kara’s blatant attempt to guilt her into pet ownership. “I knew the cat was here from the first night Kara. Otherwise I’d have been asking a lot of questions about why my Kryptonian girlfriend had started leaving fur balls on the rug and hiding a litter tray in the linen closet.” She edges forward to gently scratch under the furry mass’s chin, receiving a happy purr from the kitten and an excited hum from Kara. “Okay Marshmallow is the perfect name, but you know this is your decision right? This is your apartment.”
Kara smiles at her bemusedly as she asks “when was the last time you went to your place Lena?” She receives a confused expression before adding “you’ve been here every night for at least a month Lena. We live together, had you really not noticed?”
Lena has a momentary sense of panic before she meets Kara’s reassuring gaze. This is where their relationship was always heading, Kara just got there a little faster this time. She leans over the kitten to peck Kara’s lips before pulling back to make eye contact with the fluff bomb.
“Okay Marshmallow,” she begins, ignoring Kara’s excited mumble of victory at her name choice being accepted. “We need to set some ground rules if you’re going to live in our home.” She makes eyes contact with Kara as she says this last part, reaffirming the decision that they had apparently made over a month ago.
“Yup?” she says distractedly as she teases Marshmallow with what she can best describe as a furry fishing rod, with some kind of incorrectly-sized glittery dragonfly attached. They both appear mesmerised so Kara decides to make this one quick.
“I wasn’t getting coffee with Kara Danvers when those guys pushed you off your balcony. Because I am Kara Danvers. And Supergirl. So I wasn’t getting coffee with myself when that happened.”
“Figured.” She gets in preoccupied response as Lena brings a squeaky mouse into the mix. Marshmallow does an excellent Puss In Boots impression as her eyes go so round Lena thinks she’ll pass out at the adorable levels being reached.
“Also I used the freeze breath of them, but didn’t freeze them. We never did come up with a better name for that. Wind? Gale? Tornado?” she cuts off immediately, her eyes wide and mouth open as she follows the red dot on the ceiling.
“Works every time,” Lena murmurs as she lowers the laser pen down the wall to a level that can distract both a Kryptonian and a kitten.
Kara is just about to head out to work so Lena knows this won’t be one of Kara’s more serious confessions. She leans over the kitchen island for her goodbye kiss, which Kara delivers with some excellent precision floating to avoid all open containers on the surface. She lands back on her feet, screws the lid on her coffee cup and heads to the door.
“Just an FYI really. I fried the wiring on your alien detection device. It worked perfectly. Always did. So sorry you spent thousands of dollars on refitting it for non-existent faults okay, love you bye.”
She’s out the door before Lena can fully process what she’s just heard. When she comes to her senses a few seconds later she makes use of the fact that Kara has superhearing.
“HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS KARA. FOR A COOLING SYSTEM ON A DEVICE THAT NEVER OVERHEATED IN THE FIRST PLACE AND THEN NEVER GOT MARKETED BECAUSE YOU AND YOUR STUPID MORAL COMPASS MADE ME SEE THE ERROR OF MY WAYS.”
She’s worried now, because Kara seems really worried. The blonde had taken her by the hands, led her over to their couch and began pacing back and forth in front of her.
“This is the last one, I promise. But it’s kind of a biggie and I need you not to freak out and to let me get through this so,” she disappears and reappears in the blink of an eye, depositing a startled Marshmallow onto Lena’s lap in an attempt to keep her girlfriend calm.
“Freak out?” Lena asks, heart beginning to pick up pace as she basically begins doom scrolling through a mental list of everything Kara could be about to drop on her.
“Nothing bad, promise.” Lena settles a little and allows her fingers to run through the softest fur she’s ever felt, trying to calm herself with the repetitive motion.
“So the present I gave you for your birthday?” Lena’s eyes glance down to the bracelet resting on her wrist. “It wasn’t actually the gift I had planned for you. I was trying to give it to you alone but then stupid Alex had to go and be all extra thoughtful and ambush us with a surprise party with all of the people you love and gift-giving in front of everyone and I panicked.”
“So the bracelet wasn’t my gift?” Lena questions, wondering why Kara is bringing this up after so long.
“Well it was,” the pacing begins again, joined by some hand-wringing and a nervous laugh. “But also there was meant to stipulations attached to the wearing of the bracelet that you’ve been unaware of.”
“What stipulations Kara?” she asks warily. Lena’s hand goes to the silver band, Marshmallow using the distraction to escape the nervous stroking that has her fur sticking up in all directions.
“Okay just let me get this all out and remember that I love you. Very much. So you see the thing is, I was actually trying to ask you to marry me.” Kara finally stills for a moment to look at Lena, only to be met with wide glassy eyes. She panics and continues is a rush. “Kryptonian custom involves the exchanging of bracelets. I planned to propose when we got home and I had a really awesome speech about overcoming obstacles and true love and all that mushy stuff you always say you hate except when it comes from me. I’m blanking on the details right now because I am extra super nervous but the gist of it was that you’d agree to wear the bracelet if you said yes. To marrying me, that was the stipulation.”
There’s still no movement from Lena; just stunned silence and her gaze following Kara’s increasingly erratic pacing. She stops just as she’s entering a speed above human and stands as still as she can in front of the woman she’s clumsily asking to marry her.
“But then I was so nervous that I didn’t realise that all of our friends were piled in here waiting to surprise you and Alex never told me because she’s an awful sister. Also because she said I can’t keep a secret from you anymore, which I guess is true. Except for this last one. And I’ve been trying to work up the courage to ask ever since because I’m so ridiculously in love with you and our life together that I never want to contemplate going through any of this without you. And that is my last secret, I promise.”
Kara’s nerves somehow get even more frantic as she watches Lena, seeing everything processing at genius-level speeds behind her eyes.
“My birthday was five months ago,” is all Lena manages to get out before her eyes go back to computing the massive quantity of data she’s just had directed at her.
“Yup," she frantically nods in agreement. "Oh and there's this.” Kara gets down on one knee and pulls out an Nth metal ring matching the bracelet Lena has been wearing religiously for months. “Last week I made this too, so its traditions from both of our worlds. If you would do me the honour of accepting of course. Completely up to you.”
Just like Marshmallow, Kara is one hundred percent going to get her way again and Lena can’t find it in herself to have even an ounce of annoyance about it. But before she can answer a thought comes rushing obtrusively to the forefront of her mind.
“Wait! Is this why your parents kept giving me those knowing looks the last time they visited and were asking if we had any news we’d like to share?” Kara freezes, eyes wide, ring still extended towards Lena hopefully. “That was three months ago Kara! Your parents knew we were engaged three whole months before I did? Kara Zor-El Danvers you are in so much trouble.”
“Kara Zor-El Luthor-Danvers you are in so much trouble,” she corrects. “Again completely up to you. Whenever you decide to decline or accept my proposal. No rush. I’m not worried at all. Haven’t been in a constant state of panic in the one hundred and fifty three days since your birthday as I try to ask you to spend the rest of our lives together or anything. I can wait.”
“Totally can wait.”
Nothing but an amused smile from Lena.
“Look how good I am at this waiting, it’s so easy.”
Lena didn’t think anything outside of a superhero showdown could make Kara sweat, but the shaking hand across a glistening forehead says otherwise and she decides to put her out of her misery.
“Of course it’s a yes Kara, it’s always been a yes for you and will always be a yes. Past, present, future.” Kara has the ring slipped on her fiancée’s finger and is leaning in for what she hopes will be a super romantic kiss when Lena says, “now explain to me why your mother’s eyes lit up asking me something about visiting the birthing matrix the next time we're on Argo.”
Kara’s eyes go wider than Marshmallow following a red dot across the room. She takes a steadying breath, kisses Lena’s cheek and leans back ready to explain.