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Supergirl In Training

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“Do you think she’ll like pasta?”

Lori glances at her while opening a can of tomato sauce. “I’m pretty sure she likes anything edible.”

Lena snorts as she finishes slicing a mushroom and puts it in the bowl with the rest of the slices before taking another. “Be serious, Lori. I didn’t have much on hand last minute—do you think we should have just ordered takeout instead?”

Lori rolls her eyes as she goes to rinse the can opener under the faucet.

“Neither of you ever have time to cook usually, so she just about cries with joy whenever she gets to eat something you made.”

“Really?” Lena asks, preening, unexpectedly pleased with herself. “I must get a lot better at cooking, then.”

Lori shrugs. “Eh. It’s mostly the novelty factor. Your cooking’s alright, I guess.”

She says it with such reluctance that Lena looks up from her cutting board, scoffing. “Excuse me.” She flings a mushroom slice at the girl and laughs as Lori squeaks when it hits her in the face. “Smartass.”

“You’re being mean,” Lori whines pitifully, pouting up a storm as she picks up the slice to chuck into the trashbin. Lena rolls her eyes.

“Oh please. You could’ve dodged easily.”

The girl breaks character at that, dissolving into giggles as she starts to shuffle linguini into the boiling pot. Lena smiles and shakes her head at the mischievous display.

“Are you always this dramatic?”

Lori looks at her at that, putting a hand to her chest as if ostentatiously offended, tucking her chin in absolute shock.

Me? Dramatic? I wonder just who I could be getting it from!”

Lena laughs, just hard enough that she has to put down her knife, picking up another mushroom slice and threatening to chuck it again.

Stop that,” she chortles, wrinkling her nose at Lori. “You’re such a little shit.”

Lori grins at her as she stirs the pasta. “That, I get from Yeyu.”

The soft buzz of Lena’s phone interrupts their antics, and Lena hurriedly wipes her hands on a towel before picking up.

She smiles at Kara’s caller ID coming up on the screen. “Hello?”

“Hey, Lena…” The tone of her voice sets Lena on edge immediately—she sounds so tired.

“Hey, Kara.” She wedges the phone between her shoulder and head before turning back to her workstation. “What’s up?”

“I, um,” Kara sighs. “I have to cancel on you guys, I’m sorry…”

Lena stops her motions and bites back a disappointed sigh.

“That’s alright. We can reschedule for a better time.”

She ignores the way Lori frowns next to her.

“I’m so, so sorry, Lena, I just—“ Kara makes a frustrated noise. “Something came up, and—“

“It’s okay,” Lena laughs softly. “You don’t have to explain yourself to me, Kara. If you can’t make it, you can’t make it. How does tomorrow sound?”

“Yeah, tomorrow works—I just—I’m really sorry—“

Lena knits her brows together. “Hey, you have nothing to apologize for.” She hesitates for a beat. “Are you alright?”

It seems to take Kara off-guard. There’s a pause before she finally says, “Yeah, I’m okay. Why?”

“It’s just that…” Lena tries to tread carefully. “You’ve been so apologetic lately. I was just wondering if everything’s alright.”

Kara’s breath sounds so brittle on the other end.

“Yeah, everything’s—everything’s fine, I’ve just been stressed. Sorry.”

Lena gives another soft laugh. “Don’t be. Text me tomorrow when you’re free?”


“Goodnight, Kara,” Lena says, going for a reassuring tone as her lips curve up in a smile that goes unseen.

“Goodnight, Lena.”

She holds her phone in front of her for a moment after Kara hangs up, sighing deeply. Worry gnaws at her robustly—Kara doesn’t usually sound so listless, so small, but for the past while she’s been… so meek. Lena chews on her lip for a moment, trying not to be too concerned.

“Kara has to reschedule tonight,” she says, pocketing her phone.

“Yeah,” Lori mutters, dejected. “I heard.”

“Hey,” Lena murmurs, reaching over to tousle Lori’s hair. “Don’t look so down, we’ll see her tomorrow.”

The girl swats at her hand half-heartedly, peering up at her with a small smile.

“Yeah, I know. I guess I was just really hyped to hang out with you two.”

Lena grins at her lopsidedly before putting the last sliced mushroom into the bowl and rinsing the knife.

“Tomorrow, monkey.”

She places the knife on the drying rack, looking up to find Lori beaming at her with the brightness of ten suns.

She smiles, brows furrowing, a little taken aback. “What?” She realizes what she’s said. “Sorry, that was weird—“

Lori shakes her head. “No! It was just—“ she grins wide. “That’s what you usually call me.”

Lena smiles as she moves to put a pan on the stove, feeling her chest fill up with impossibly vast fondness.

“Alright, how about we stuff our faces and you can tell me more about your semester.”


“Thanks for making dinner.”

Kara smiles at him over her shoulder, rinsing the plates.

“No problem.” She dries her hands and goes to sit back across from him, fighting the tiredness in her shoulders. He smiles at her sweetly, reaching across the island bench to hold her hands.

“Sorry about earlier,” he says, eyes softening with vulnerability, rubbing his thumbs over her palms. “I was just worried all day, and then I finally found you and you were just so nonchalant about it…”

Kara swallows, wanting to push up her glasses but not pulling her hands away. “I’m sorry.”

He squeezes her hands. “You just make me feel so crazy. Like, you’re so… strong and dependable, it’s hard to keep up. You don’t need me, and I’m always scared I’m gonna get left behind.”

Her chest clenches. “Mon-El, I’m sorry—I don’t—I don’t mean to make you feel like that.”

He smiles at her ruefully. “I just feel so vulnerable around you, you know?” He sighs. “Could you try to make more time for me?”

She nods, squeezing his hands. “Yeah, I will. I promise.”

Things are fine, she tells herself. They just had a good dinner, they made up, and he’s smiling that sweet, kind of pretty smile at her and his hands aren’t too warm on hers and she’s happy. She’s fine.

Everything is fine.


“What are you doing here, Jess?” Lena asks, nearly jumping out of her skin when her assistant steps into the elevator with them. “It’s Sunday.

“Good morning to you too, Miss Luthor,” she says impassively, scrolling through something on her tablet. Lori laughs.

“Hey Jess.”

Jess shoots her a small, rare smile. “Hey Lori.”

Lena scoffs and shakes her head. “My question still stands, you know.”

Jess glances at her. “It’s your day off too.”

Lena sniffs indignantly. “I was just checking on something in the labs. What’s your excuse?”

“Just checking on something in the network,” she shoots back, shrugging.

Lena shakes her head again. “Workaholic,” she mutters under her breath.

Lori snorts and Lena sees the two girls share a knowing look. They’re getting on like a house on fire, honestly, it’s frightening.

“I saw that,” she says sternly as the elevator dings on the main floor. “Do what you need to and go home, Jess. That’s an order.”

“Of course, Miss Luthor.”

Lori giggles. “Bye, Jess!”

Lena sees Jess wave at her with a smile through the closing elevator doors and puffs out a sigh.

“How did you win her over so fast?” She mutters as she walks towards the entrance, more rhetorically and under her breath than anything. Lori falls into step next to her with a grin.

“Oh, you know. My natural charm.”

Lena raises a brow, giving her an incredulous smile.

“And that shining humility, yeah?” she quips, opening the door for the girl. Lori wrinkles her nose at her and opens her mouth to shoot back before stopping short and grinning.


Lena turns to see Kara walking up to them with a grin, grunting a little when Lori hops over and latches on. (Lena tries not to flush at the sight of her crush in non-work clothes. The blonde looks beautiful, with half her hair up in a braid, in jeans and a handsome Henley shirt underneath a baseball jacket.)

Oof.” Kara laughs, twirling the girl a little. “Hello to you too, is’kah,” she wheezes, putting her down and patting her back. She smiles over Lori’s shoulder at Lena.

“Morning, Kara,” Lena says, walking up to them.

Kara grins back as Lori finally lets go of her. “Morning.”

Lori beams at her. “What are you doing here? I thought you were busy until later.”

Kara smiles. “My deadline got pushed back a few days, so I thought I’d surprise you guys. If you’re okay with that, of course—“

“We are!” Lori looks at Lena. “We are, right?”

Lena just laughs and shakes her head, unable to resist the girl’s enthusiasm.

“We are,” she confirms, running a thumb under the strap of her purse. “Would you like to get lunch with us?”

Kara smiles as she slings an arm over Lori’s shoulders.

“I’d love to.”


“Wow,” Kara breathes, finishing off the last of her ice cream as they sit in the shade in the park outside the restaurant. “So you’re doing an accelerated program at MIT, and you’re graduating next year?”

Lori nods, still halfway through her pint bucket of gelato. (She steadfastly ignores the stares from passerby.) “It’s nothing compared to how fast Mom got through her degree.”

Lena shakes her head as she chews the last bite of her cone. “You’re also training for your superhero debut on the side, don’t forget that. I didn’t even have to work during my program.”

Lori shrugs, hiding her face in her ice cream. Lena laughs and reaches over to shove her shoulder lightly.

“Oh, come on, where’s all your bluster?”

That gets a laugh out of her—Lori sticks out her tongue and makes a show of shoveling a huge scoop of ice cream into her mouth.

Kara winds down from a chuckle and smiles fondly. “So—what does the L in your name stand for?”

Lori struggles to swallow for a second. “It’s actually a funny story,” she says, putting down her container. “So when you guys were getting married, you had this huge fight about who would change their name—“ she laughs. “Mom wanted to change hers to Danvers and you wanted to change yours to Luthor.”

Lena ducks her head bashfully. It sounds… entirely like what she would do.

“So you guys compromised on both keeping your last name, with the promise that when you had a kid, you’d hyphenate. Except,” she says, pointing an accusing spoon at Lena. “You went back on your word when you decided to have me—you wanted me to be a plain old Danvers.”

Lena struggles under matching leers of judgement from the two aliens, laughing at the absurdity of feeling guilty over something she hasn’t done.

“Why would you do that?” Kara asks, sounding almost hurt. “You promised!”

Lena raises her brows and laughs sharply in disbelief. “I haven’t done anything yet!”

Lori drops the act and laughs, taking another scoop. “So anyway,” she says around a mouthful. “You guys had a huge fight again until you decided on letting it be L. Danvers. Short for Luthor, but also for the House of El, you know, kind of like a pun.”

“That’s…” Lena shakes her head. “That’s actually kind of brilliant.”

(Just like the smile Kara’s pointing at her at the moment.)

Lori grins. “Well, it was your idea.”

Lena fidgets under twin looks of—of adoration, almost, running a hand through her hair.

“Should you really be telling us this much?” She asks. “I mean, I know you have a memory wipe, but wouldn’t it be smarter to make less thing to, well, wipe?”

Lori scrapes up the last of the gelato and shrugs.

“Well, it’s not really like a memory wipe a la men in black,” she says. “More like an… occurrence eraser?” She pushes up her sleeve to show them her watch. “See this?”

“Yeah,” Lena says softly, hand running over the same watch on her wrist. “That’s—that’s mine.” She takes a deep breath. “It was Dad’s.”

Lori smiles at her. “Luthor heirloom. You gave it to me for my fifteenth birthday. Anyway, when you perfected the time machine, you refitted the inside of the watch with a consequence tracker. It’s recording all of my actions here, and the effects of it right now, so that when we plug it into the eraser, it’ll erase me from the timeline.”

Kara leans forward, alarmed. “What? But isn’t that dangerous?”

“No, not like erase me erase me—it’ll just erase my presence from this part of the timeline.”

Lena frowns. “Wouldn’t that leave a gap in the continuum?”

“Only for a moment—kind of like, if you scooped up a section of water from a pool really quickly. The universe would snap back into equilibrium. It won’t be so much that you don’t remember me—“

“It’ll be that you were never here at all,” Lena finishes, feeling… unduly melancholy at the thought of going on with her life without having met Lori.

The girl nods. “Yeah. So, I shouldn’t do anything huge, because there’s a risk of something happening if the equalizing splash is too big, but otherwise—“ she grins. “I can tell whoever I want.”

She smiles at the two of them, trying to garner a similar reaction, before slumping at her very somber parents.

“Oh come on, guys,” she says. “You’ll see me in five years.”

Kara allows herself a burgeoning grin at that.

“I guess we will.”


Kara and Lena laugh as they watch Lori marvel over the game machines in the arcade, (“these don’t exist anymore!”) yelling at a driving game.

“Don’t break anything!” Lena calls over the music, unsure if Lori’s even paying attention to her.

Kara laughs. “She doesn’t do anything halfway, does she?”

Lena shrugs. “That might be my fault.”

And Kara just. Laughs again, because that’s all she can do—there’s so much joy bubbling up in her chest when she’s around these two, there’s something about the way that Lena smiles so softly and the way that every time she notices some mesh of herself and Lena in Lori her heart lights up like a symphony of windchimes.

Lena’s phone beeps and she fishes it out of her purse.

“I’m sorry—“

“That’s fine,” Kara smiles, just watching the way Lena frowns at her phone—Kara kind of loves the way she seamlessly transitions into business mode, fingers tapping away at her keyboard with purpose and jaw set in an imperious way that’s nevertheless elegant. Lena glances up at Kara, catching her staring, but doesn’t react beyond a quickening of her heartbeat.

And that’s—that’s another thing that’s really nice, Kara supposes. Nothing’s changed between them. It feels so foreign, like there should be some uncrossable rift between them after Lena’s confession—but Lena smiles at her all the same in that contagious way, teases her the same, shoots her short, fond looks all the same.

Not a hint of scorn.

Lori stalks over to them, hands stuck her pockets and mouth stuck in a pout. Kara laughs and ruffles her hair.

“Ran out of coins?”

Lori nods, petulant, before glancing at Lena.

“Mom? Everything okay?”

Lena nods absently. “Yeah, just—“ she shoves her phone back into her purse and sighs irritably. “I’m sorry, there’s an emergency conference call about to happen, I wish I didn’t have to but—“

“That’s okay,” Lori says, despite her deflation. Kara takes one look at her sad smile before wrapping an arm around her shoulders.

“We can hang out for a bit until you’re done. Text me?”

Lena glances between them, smiling at Lori’s sudden grin.

“I will. I’m sorry, again—have fun, you two.”

“Bye, Mom!”

Lena leaves them with a twinkling wave and a smile.

“So,” Kara says, grinning. “Wanna go flying?”


Lori is fast. Like, insanely fast—like would give Barry a run for his money and leave Kara severely winded fast. They race over the hills, challenging each other to stunts, and Kara can’t remember the last time she’s had to push herself that far on her flying technique.

She can’t remember the last time she’s had so much fun with her powers.

They end up sprawled at the top of the highest peak, out of breath and shaking with exhilarated laughter.

“Rao, you’re fast,” Kara breathes, slumping over her knees.

“And getting faster each day,” she quips in Kryptahniuo, with that perfect intonation—Kara sits cross-legged, looking up at Lori, at her bright grin, her tan skin, the way her smile dimples in the same places as Lena and feels that wholeness in her chest again.

“Your Kryptahniuo is perfect,” she breathes as Lori comes to take a seat next to her. “Did I teach you?”

“Of course.” The girl sits with her knees loose against her chest, arms balance over them. “You and Mom didn’t speak English around me until I was three.”

There’s something about the way that Lori slips an English word inbetween the Kryptonian words, so naturally, so casually—something about the mundanity of the hybridity that makes Kara’s heart swell.

“Lena can speak Kryptahniuo?”

“Yeah.” Lori clasps her fingers together, staring out at the horizon. “She’s fluent before I’m born.”

Kara tries to imagine it—Lena’s perfect mouth curling, albeit stiffly, around her language. Her profound, lilting voice breathing out the cadences.

She can, and yet she can’t.

Kara looks over at this—this miracle of a being, a perfect mix of everything she loves about Lena and everything she’s proud of in herself. She can even see a bit of Alex’s sense of humour in her, and all of it is just so unbearably wonderful, so tragically marvelous.

“Do you…” She gulps. “Do you have any siblings?”

Lori shakes her head. “Nah. I was… a miracle, of sorts. You guys tried again a few times, but nothing stuck like I did,” she says with a laugh.

“Are you lonely?” Kara asks, because she was lonely when she first came to earth. She was so lonely, being the only one, and she can’t stop thinking about everything Lillian said about Lori—her terrible words about Lori’s hybridity, about her never fitting in.

Lori raises her brows at her.

“No,” she says, furrowing her brows in a bemused smile. “No, of course not. I have you and Mom.”

Kara laughs, so touched, before looking down at her hands. “I meant… If you’re ever lonely because you’re part human. Neither Lena or I can really understand how that feels,” she says, looking over with a frown, only to find a nonplussed Lori.

“Oh!” the girl laughs. “No, I’m not. Alone, I mean. I have Conner and Jon.”

Kara tilts her head. “Conner and Jon?”

“Uncle Clark’s sons. We’re technically like… distant cousins, but they’re more like my older brothers.”

And Lori declares it with such happiness, such simplicity—while Kara gapes at the thought of Clark having children.

“And they’re—they’re also…?”

“Half human, yeah.” Lori smiles at her. “They speak Kryptahniuo too. I mean, Conner has a little bit of an accent, because he’s older but—that’s kind of a long story,” she says with another laugh.

Clark’s children. Who can speak their language. Kara’s mind reels—that makes the five of them, the last children of Krypton, no longer alone, no longer trapped in the sadness of being the last. They don’t have to be the last. They aren’t.

“How—how are they?” she asks eagerly. “What do they do?”

“Well,” Lori says, leaning back on her palms. “Jon’s doing a B.A. in journalism at Columbia, and I think Conner’s an architect? I’m not sure what he does as a day job, to be honest,” she snorts. “He’s always so busy being Superboy.”

Kara blinks. “Superboy?”

The girl nods. “Yeah, like, Superman, but junior.” She laughs. “He wants to pass it onto Jon and graduate to something else, though. Me and Jon are still in training,” she clarifies. “You and Uncle Clark want to wait until we have the full range of powers, and neither of us have freeze breath yet.”

Kara nods with a chuckle. “Yeah, that one was the last one to show up for me too.”

Lori turns to smile at her, before frowning with concern.

“Mom—Mom, are you crying?” She reaches forward, and Kara hurriedly wipes at her eyes to find that yes, she is indeed crying—she’s not sure when she started.

“I’m—I’m okay, I’m sorry—“ she laughs, rubbing the tears away. She tries for a reassuring smile but Lori’s already halfway to tears herself, bottom lip trembling and eyes reddening. “Oh, no, Little One, don’t cry, I’m sorry,” she cups Lori’s cheek. “My little darling, don’t be sad.”

“Speak for yourself,” Lori grumbles, sniffling. “I’m a sympathy crier, I can’t help it.”

Kara laughs and pulls the girl into her arms. “My soft little one. I’m sorry, I was just—I was just so happy to hear that you’re not alone.” She muffles her words into dark hair, pressing a little kiss to the top of Lori’s head. “Clark and I, we were so lonely growing up. We had to hide, we thought we were the last—we started to get so scared of being different, of being from another world. I didn’t want that for you.”

Lori wraps her arms around Kara, squeezing tight enough for Kara to feel.

“I wasn’t scared,” she whispers fiercely. “I was never scared, or lonely. You and Mom—and Clark and Conner, you always made me feel proud of who I am. Proud of where I come from.” Lori pulls away a bit to peer up at Kara. “You’ve always made me proud to be your daughter.”

Kara sniffles and pulls her daughter back in, holding on tight.

“I’m glad. I’m so glad, Little One.”

Ukiem. This profound wholeness in her soul, this togetherness, this belonging that she didn’t think she’d ever be able to feel again without Clark—it reverberates through her entire being now, as she holds Lori in her arms. She has a glimpse of a future that doesn’t mean eternal loneliness, where she doesn’t feel a chasm between her human family and her Kryptonian descent, where her love of her two homes merge seamlessly, where she’s not alone—

And in the end, that’s what she’s so scared of. Being alone.

And now she’s filled with so much hope.


She crashes down from her giddy high the moment she gets back to her apartment and finds the door open, and Mon-El standing in her living room.

“What are you—“ She closes the door behind her, feeling anger burn in her throat when she sees her broken lock. “What the hell did you do?” she hisses, stalking up to him.

He ignores her. “Where have you been, Kara?” He snarls, teary-eyed.

She throws her hands up, outraged. “Out. Doing stuff. Why?”

He grimaces. “So you weren’t even working this time?”

“This time?” She pinches the bridge of her nose. “Mon-El, what are you talking about?”

He purses his lips and nods, laughing mirthlessly. “Of course. You don’t even realize what you did.” He takes a deep breath. “I called you twelve times, Kara, and you couldn’t answer me once?”

Twelve—“ She groans. “Mon-El, we literally saw each other last night. Why?”

“I don’t know, because I was worried about where you were, because you promised me you’d try to make more time for me?” he says, voice breaking. “I knew you’d do this. I knew you’d break your promise, Kara, you always do this—do I even matter to you at all?”

“Of course you do, Mon-El—“

“Then why do you make me feel like I’m nothing to you?”

“I don’t mean to!”

“But you do!

She feels the familiar burn of shame and guilt in her chest, the familiar push to apologize, try to fix things, that same sense of being such a bad person—

And for the first time in a long time, she feels angry.

“Mon-El,” she starts, trying to keep her voice even. “I’m sorry that you feel that way, but I’ve made efforts to make time for you. I cancelled on a friend to spend time with you just last night.”

“And then today you didn’t—“

“It’s not my responsibility to drop everything for you at any moment of any day!” she snarls. “I’m sorry that you feel that way, but after some point your feelings are your responsibility, and yours alone.”

There’s a burst of strength when she echoes Lena’s words from earlier—a sort of determination filling her bones. She tries to hold onto memories of spending time with her and Lori, of how good it felt, of how at every turn that she thought she’d feel ashamed, she was reassured. How it doesn’t always have to be like this.

“How could you say that, Kara?” he cries out. “You made me feel like this! You’re just going to—you’re just going to leave me feeling miserable?” He scoffs, wiping at his eyes. “Some kind of hero you are.”

Kara wavers. Of course it would be cruel to just—just force someone to be responsible for hurt that she’s inflicted. What if she’s being horrible? What if she should just—

She clenches her jaw. She thinks, she tries desperately to remember.

“After all you’ve done for me, it’d be kind of silly for me to hold onto a grudge like that.”

Kara has done more than enough for Mon-El.

“Get out,” she says, crossing her arms and taking deep breaths. “And don’t come back.”

He stays deadly silent for a moment.


“You heard me.” She doesn’t look up at him. “It’s over. Get out. I don’t want to see you again.”

“You don’t mean that,” he whispers, reaching for her, faltering as she steps away. Tears fill his eyes. “Kara, you can’t do this—you can’t just break up with me.”

“I can, and I am,” she says, trying not to break, trying to keep calm, stand her ground. “Please leave.”

No, Kara,” he whimpers. “No, you can’t do this! After everything you’ve put me through, after I waited for you, you’re just going to—you can’t just leave me like this again!”

“You didn’t wait for me at all!” she growls, finally snapping and glaring up at him. “You went on to date someone right after I said no the first time, and then you just—you made me feel terrible and responsible that you liked me!”

What was I supposed to do?” He throws his hands up. “I was hurting—was I just supposed to shut up about it?”

“Stop—“ she screws her eyes shut and grimaces, trying not to let him under her skin, trying to fight that feeling of unfairness, of powerlessness. “Stop making me sound like I’m out to get you! It’s not about you!” She opens her eyes to glare at him once more, not caring that her ears are humming with her heat vision at the ready. “It never should have been my responsibility that you feel that way about me and it is not my fault.”

He takes a step towards her. “Kara—“

“No.” She tries to ride her burst of confidence, her grip on her sense of self, this moment of knowing that she deserves better than this before he can shake her again. “If you won’t leave, then I will.”

And with that, she speeds out her window as fast as she can.


“Is it the frames that are lined with lead,” Lena asks, turning Lori’s glasses over in her hands. “Or is there a lead mesh in the lenses?”

Lori smiles at her ever-growing curiosity, opening her mouth to answer before it snaps shut and her head whips around to the veranda.

“Lori?” Lena doesn’t get an answer as she sees Kara, still in her civilian outfit, touch down and walk towards the door, almost limping as if exhausted.

She follows her daughter, concern thumping in her throat as Lori yanks the door open and pulls Kara into her arms.

“Ta nahn gehd w jolum, eh Yeyu?”

Kara laughs listlessly before shaking her head. Lena hesitates by the couch when she sees that Kara’s been—Kara’s been crying, her eyes are red, and her cheeks are flushed.

(anger and protectiveness flare in her chest. Who did this. Who did this to Kara?)

“Nahn khap w’voi, eh is’kah.” Kara pulls back and kisses Lori’s forehead. “Ta chad rrip w :dehdh vo kryp?”

Lori glances between Kara and Lena before nodding slowly, pulling Kara into one more hug before reluctantly heading out the door.

And there’s a moment of déjà vu, with Lori leaving the two of them alone in Lena’s vast apartment, the sun starting to set, but this time—this time it’s not soft, hesitant Supergirl in her home, it’s frazzled, distressed Kara Danvers, and Lena’s arms ache with the urge to pull her into an embrace.

“Kara,” she starts, tentatively, concern doubling when the blonde looks up at her with such a fragile look in her eyes. “Are you alright?”

Kara opens her mouth, then closes it, and again a few times, frowning as if she’s reaching for words and finding each one lacking.

She seems to settle on some, finally.

“I broke up with Mon-El.”

Lena gapes, because that’s—that’s really not what she was expecting to hear. She can’t tell if she’s happy or worried.

“I’m sorry, Kara.”

Kara laughs at that, only a touch hysterical, wringing her hands as she starts pacing.

“Don’t be, it was—it was a good thing, I should have left him earlier, you know? I was just—I was just so—“ she takes a breath. “I felt so guilty that I didn’t like him back, and—and he was the only one paying attention to me at the time, you know? So I thought, I thought I should just stop leading him on and just date him but—Rao, I really shouldn’t have—“

“Kara,” Lena takes a step towards her, worry full-blown in her heart now. “Kara, breathe.”

The alien doesn’t seem to hear her. “I was just—so afraid of being alone, and there he was, the closest thing to another Kryptonian that I wasn’t related to, the only other person who would understand, so I thought I’d be happy, but—“ She stops pacing and turns her full attention on Lena.

(Lena tries not to buckle from the sheer intensity of her starlight blue eyes.)

“Being with you and Lori made me realize that I don’t have to choose. I don’t have to settle for the closest thing to a Kryptonian. I can be with a human and be happy.” She wrings her hands harder. “I should be with someone because I want to be with them, not because I’m afraid of being alone. I should be with someone who makes me feel like I can be myself and it won’t be a bad thing.”

Lena shakes her head, taking another step forward.

“Of course it won’t be a bad thing,” she murmurs softly. “Kara, are you alright?”

“I’m—“ Kara sighs stiffly. “I’m not, but—I need you to listen, please.”

Lena reaches her hands out in an offer, clasping her fingers around Kara’s when it’s taken up.

“Of course.” She squeezes lightly. “Always.”

Kara gnaws at her lower lip, tucking her chin for a moment before looking back into Lena’s eyes.

“When I’m with you, I feel so happy. I feel…” She laughs breathlessly. “I don’t even know how to…” Shaking her head, she presses on. “When I notice things about Lori that remind me of you, I just feel so wonderful, and I realized that it’s because—because I have feelings for you, Lena.”

Lena tries to process her declaration—tries being the operative word.

“And I think—and I honestly think I always have felt this way about you, ever since we met, I just didn’t—I just didn’t know how to even think about it, and I—“ She swallows and shakes her head. “With you, I want to be with you. I don’t have to make myself feel like I should be with you, like I need to be spending time with you. It’s like I’ve fallen in your orbit and I want you.” She brings her hands up to cup Lena’s cheeks, slowly. “You make me feel so wonderful.” She bites her lip. “You made me realize that I don’t have to keep feeling awful.”

And with that, Kara leans down to kiss her and Lena loses the ability to think. It’s just Kara’s lips, so soft, pressing so gingerly, with the slightest of trembles, caressing her with such gentleness—

Lena’s so lost in it that she almost forgets to pull back.

“Kara,” she whispers, breathless, her hands pressing feather light into Kara’s chest. “Kara, wait.”

Kara’s eyes widen, and Lena pre-emptively grasps her wrists before she can jump away in self-contempt.

“I’m sorry, Lena, I—“

“It’s okay,” Lena says, squeezing her wrists firmly. “It’s okay, Kara. I just—I don’t think this is a good idea.”

There’s heartbreak in her blue eyes and Lena lets go of her wrists to tangle her hands in blonde hair, murmuring soothingly.

“Kara, darling, please don’t be sad,” she pleads. “I’m not rebuffing you, I just—“ she holds Kara’s jaw gently, brushing her thumbs against her cheeks. “You just broke up with your boyfriend.”

“Because I want to be with you,” Kara whispers.

“Exactly.” Lena smiles sadly. “You just got out of a relationship where you felt awful and confused. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to jump into another one so soon.”

Kara sucks in a breath and frowns. “But you—you don’t make me feel confused.”

“And I’m… I’m happy, Kara, I really am,” she says, because honestly, she would give anything to just give this up and go back to kissing Kara senseless—but she can’t. “But I just think that you should take some time to heal before we get into anything, okay?”

Kara shakes. “Why?”

And Lena thinks she looks… so beautiful, so achingly handsome—she shakes with brittle emotion, blonde hair igniting in the red sunset and blue eyes burning with sadness that Lena wishes she could kiss away.

“Because you deserve the chance to be happy,” she says, finally. “I want you to be healthy, and happy—I want you to have the chance to feel more sure of yourself before you get involved with anther person.” Lena lets her hands fall slowly.

Kara catches them, holding on fiercely.

“But I… You…”

Lena shakes her head. “I’m not going anywhere. If, after taking some time to yourself, you decide that you still want me, I…” She takes a deep breath. “I’ll still be here.”

Kara’s jaw sets stubbornly, tears filling her eyes, and for a moment Lena’s afraid that she’ll be angry, that she’ll feel rejected—but then she leans her forehead against Lena’s, taking in a shuddering breath, holding Lena’s hands to her chest.

She feels so small like this, even though she stands much taller—she feels so vulnerable, fragile, and Lena wishes more than anything in the world that she could just damn it all and take Kara into her arms, to whisper assurances against her lips and kiss affirmations into her hair and make all the pain go away, but she reminds herself— the only one who can heal Kara is herself. She would only serve as a crude crutch, no matter her good intentions, causing more pain in the long run.

“I’m here for you,” she whispers. “I’m not going anywhere.”