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the name that becomes pain when i call it

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Farewell only comes once,

But why does longing come so much?

I have never forgotten you,

For a single moment.

-Don't Forget Me, Suzy


Mon-El came back. Mon-El brought back a wife. Mon-El left without a wife. Mon-El's wife was now dating a former supervillain whom, as cliché as it sounded, only became marginally good because of her new girlfriend.

Kara watched as Imra and Gayle sat in a non-descript laboratory at the DEO, with Gayle smiling reluctantly while Imra giggled unabashedly, and thought that she would have been able to react physically to the irony of the situation once upon a time. A genuinely happy grin would stretch out on her face and she would even hug Gayle Marsh, even though it would only be a few short seconds because the other blonde would definitely push her away with a scowl and a snide remark.

But Kara would have. And when she was done, she would call Lena and tell her about the news.

"Are they here?" Alex asked as soon as she emerged from a random corridor. Kara nodded in the direction of the laboratory. The redhead stopped her movements and the two sisters just watched the couple interact. "It's sweet, isn't it?"

Kara hummed questioningly, unable to help the mild twinge of jealousy clicking in her chest.

"Even though she's forgetting stuff, she still remembers Imra," Alex whispered, sounding envious herself.

National City's savior narrowed her eyes slightly, but she could see where Alex came from. Hell, she had seen the gravity of Imra and Gayle's affections for each other since before they even started dating. And despite everything, despite the bitterness that still refused to leave her, there wasn't a part of her that wasn't delighted at the prospect; she just hadn't quite remastered the art of physically displaying it.

"Yeah, it is," she offered, hoping that Alex would just take the minute smile that Kara had managed and not comment on it.

Thankfully, the DEO Director did and with a nod, went to the laboratory to do her job.

Kara looked away when Alex greeted them and instead of springing apart, Imra just stood nearer to the table and wrapped a protective arm around the telepath.

She flew away from the balcony and landed near the warehouse that the DEO had ended buying when they realized Kara wasn't exactly the sweet summer child that everyone had thought her to be. Once she made her way inside and ensured that the locks were in place, she got changed into more comfortable clothes and started stacking up ten piles of concrete blocks in a row, followed a hollowed out car over the piles, and then sand bags to fill out the empty spaces.

All these, she did slowly and gradually – at normal human speed.

A punch. Two punches. Three punches. The concrete and the sand bags were working because there wasn't any significant dent. She was starting to feel the loosening – not only in her muscles, but in her entire being – and when she was ready to throw the fourth punch, the interiors of the warehouse just went amok. Flashing red repeatedly.

She looked up, a little confused, before she realized that her presence was required back at the headquarters. Abandoning her adoption of the human speed, she swiftly changed back into her suit and flew back over to the DEO, only to see havoc.

Everyone was moaning, either lying on the floor or kneeling somewhere, heads between their hands. Some were sobbing. Some were yelling. Some were soundless, but the haunted looks in their eyes were enough. She walked in, and she was certain that it was only because of her powers that she managed to pass them all and to the laboratory, where Gayle was seizing on the table and Alex was crying in a corner and Imra was just trying her best to calm the other blonde down.

Kara rushed in. "What's going on?"

"She started seizing and –"

"Why aren't you affected?"

Imra had tears in her eyes when she finally turned to Kara. "I don't know."

Kara had an idea as to why, but this was not the time to relish in secondhand affection. She watched Gayle for awhile, trying to think of something. But she wasn't the medical expert here; Alex was, and Alex was currently out of commission.

"I'm gonna have to take her away."

"What?"

"Somewhere there's no one. I'll bring her to – to – to the Fortress, okay? I'll bring her there, where there's no one around and she can't hurt anyone, alright?" Kara asked for permission.

She had learned to ask permission now. Because when Lena passed away, no one asked for Kara's permission on whether they could take her wife away. So now, if Kara had any part in it and if the other person deserved it, she asked for permission.

At Imra's nod, Kara reached out for Gayle, fully prepared to launch back out into the sky. Except everything went to literal hell right when her fingers clasped around the telepath's biceps. As soon her fingers touched seizing body, her vision went black and the echoes of moans and screams dropped off.


"Kara, just because I've invited you to my place doesn't mean I'm gonna eat junk food with you for dinner," Lena said with an incredulous chuckle as she stared at the Chinese takeout Kara was holding.

Loads and loads of them.

The blonde gasped, truly offended at her best friend's dismissal of her favorite takeout place since she moved to National City. "Excuse me." She walked forward, knowing full well that Lena would step back for her, and so she did. "Do you know what is junk food?" Kara spun around to see the CEO just closing the door to her penthouse and training her eyes on her, amused. Nope, no matter how absolutely beautiful Lena looked like that – unabashed and casual – Kara would not let this slide. "Kale is junk food."

Because Lena always kept her composure, she just scoffed, uncrossed her arms, and strode across the living area to the bar.

If anyone asked Kara, she would vehemently deny that she just spent the entire time watching Lena's long legs ripple with movement in those almost scandalous shorts of hers.

Honestly, the tabloids would have a swell time if they ever saw Lena Luthor dressed in a loose T-shirt with the most ridiculous plunging neckline and a pair of bright yellow shorts.

Since the first time Kara saw the woman dressed like that – they had a sleepover once upon a two-months-ago-but-who's-counting – the blonde had had one too many fantasies, featuring said woman in said getup. It definitely made for some really intense orgasms, especially during the week before her time of the month, but she tried to refrain from thinking about it too much.

For the sake of both her sanity and capability to look Lena in the eye after one such fantasy.

"A normal human being would have had a heart attack at the rate you go with those things," Lena commented, and suddenly, she was sitting on the couch and Kara was still standing there.

Judging by that smirk tugging on the CEO's lips, she probably already knew why Kara was frozen on her spot. The blonde cleared her throat and just placed the takeout on the table, making her way to the kitchen while Lena started grabbing the boxes and cartons. They had built a routine now.

"But you are a hell of a lot more than normal, so I wouldn't be surprised that you're so damn healthy and fit."

When Kara came back to the living area with the plates and bowls and cutleries necessary, she just gulped and blushed. As Lena cast an absent glance in her direction as she poured fried rice in a plate, Kara just offered a bashful smile, hoping that Lena couldn't hear the speed her heart had taken to beating.

.

The wind beat in her ears. The clouds felt fluffy and wet as she threw her body into and out of them. In her ears, she could hear the mild rumblings that called for the impending arrival of rain and storm.

The nearer she got to her destination, the louder her anxiety pulsed and pushed away the weather. The nearer she got to her destination, the slower she got. The more she wanted to avoid the impending confrontation, the more she beat herself up for not seeing this coming.

Lillian Luthor's past actions had cast away any plausible vote of confidence. And she should have expected her to pull a move like this. Kara still wasn't certain why she had believed the things the woman had said to her during the Daxamite Invasion. It wasn't as if the Luthor matriarch had any credibility to her name.

She landed on the balcony of DEO and headed inside, footsteps heavy and palms clammy. She was nervous for two things – one was whether Lena was okay and two was whether Lena was okay. The first one she wouldn't be so worried about because Lena had only gotten a surface cut and Alex was treating her. The second one…well.

Her sister emerged from one of the laboratories upstairs and looked down at her over the railing. When Alex offered a nod, Kara clenched her jaw and climbed up the stairs until she reached the redhead.

"I tried to talk to her, but I don't think she'll want to listen to anyone but you right now," Alex offered with a sympathetic frown. "She's got a couple of scratches and she sprained her ankle, but other than that, she's fine."

At this point, she didn't think she could ask for much other than her best friend being fine physically. Mentally, well, there was no guarantee. Fully prepared to have something – maybe a table – hurled in her direction, the blonde just nodded with a firm expression and walked into the lab.

No table was hurled in her direction. In fact, there was nothing being thrown at her. Not even a beaker or a needle. It was eerily quiet, save for the whirring machines and occasional beeps of the computers.

So quiet that Kara didn't even have to try to hone in on the sound of the other occupant's heartbeat – too calm and too slow for someone who was supposed to be angry at her.

"I'm not even trying to be funny here," Lena slipped in, emotionless eyes trained on the blonde as she sat on the table. "But it's because I'm a Luthor, isn't it?"

Twenty feet separated them from each other. Kara needed only six strides at most to reach the other woman. And yet, she didn't think she had ever felt so far away from the CEO as right now. Staring into those cold and calculating green eyes unpleasantly reminded her of the other woman's mother, and Kara had only ever seen those eyes on someone else, never on her.

She decided that honesty was the best policy. Only regretting that she hadn't adopted that policy early on. "Initially, yes," Kara reaffirmed, wanting to wipe away the twinge of desolation that flitted past those green pupils.

She wouldn't have time to anyway, because as soon as it appeared, it disappeared.

"I didn't expect you to be so…" Kara drifted off.

Even now, she had no words for how her stomach fluttered whenever Lena walked in and took hold of the room, the way her hands grew clammy whenever Lena threw in a casual flirtation in their conversation, or how she became the clumsiest and most forgetful she could ever be whenever Lena smiled at her.

"I didn't expect you," she settled, shooting Lena a somber smile. "But then we became close and I just – I started to become afraid. Afraid how you would react if I had told you. You've had such a bad history with –"

"Don't you dare," Lena hissed. And for the first time, Kara saw the stony expression transform into something else, something that resembled disgust and incredulousness. "You would have told me early on if you truly cared about my history with honesty."

The truth in those words only served to ring so loud that Kara could only stay quiet. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, willing herself to outwardly show her desperation for a sign of forgiveness from her friend. Not only would it not be fair to Lena, it would also do nothing to help the situation.

"I'm sorry," was the next best thing she could offer. She stared at Lena, swallowing past the lump in her throat. "You probably don't believe it –"

"You're right. I don't."

Kara inhaled sharply and just nodded. "But I really am sorry," she finished.

.

It took her falling from the tallest building in the National City for them to start repairing their friendship, after more than two months of silence on either side. Alex had chosen not to take sides, regularly getting coffee with Lena while reporting back to Kara about the CEO's conditions. Sometimes, at Kara's behest, the redhead would bring the most unhealthy lunch just so the raven headed woman could load up on some necessary carbohydrates.

Kara remembered these. She remembered a metahuman who intruded from Earth-1 and somehow managed to absorb her powers. She remembered falling. She remembered crashing. She remembered the absolute horror on a random DEO agent's face as he hovered over her and spoke into his earpiece. She remembered seeing Barry flashing over and slipping his arms under her body to carry her. She remembered darkness.

And then she opened her eyes and found herself in a foreign laboratory. The DEO was advanced but she didn't think it was this advanced. Plus, the DEO was never this quiet. She stared at the foreign machine hovering over her, seeming to have stopped in its operation as soon as she had woken up.

Which was probably why then Lena came into her view, carrying a tablet in one hand while the other hesitantly hovered over her, only to settle onto the screen of her tablet.

"Lena."

The woman looked away from her tablet and settled on the blonde. Any other person would have just assumed that she was the infamous stone-cold bitch who didn't listen to anyone and potentially desire to wipe out the entire alien race, but Kara could see the warring emotions in Lena's twitching eyelid and her shaking fingers.

Kara looked around her, all the more confused at the presence of the one person who had been avoiding being anywhere near her since that fateful day. Not that she wasn't happy. She was so delighted to finally see the woman face to face, and not just through the occasional flyby because she didn't trust Alex's reports enough.

"You are in my lab two hundred miles west from the city," Lena offered. "The DEO brought you over because they didn't have the equipment to restore your power and well, I'm the smartest person they could think of to be able to do something."

The lack of narcissism in Lena's voice made Kara smile a little.

"You were out for a week. You didn't lose your powers. You –" Lena gulped and frowned a little, shifting her gaze away from Kara, like she didn't want to look at the blonde when she said the next thing. "You died actually. Well, almost. You would have if you were human." Kara's eyes widened, jaw dropping at the implication. "I had to yell at Clark for him to get the algorithm at the Fortress that could restore your life force."

At that, Kara could only laughed, and regret it soon after at the ache that spread in her chest.

"Careful. You're not entirely healed yet."

"Wait, Clark?"

The CEO clenched her jaw and proceed to place the tablet carelessly on a random stool by the bed. The blonde narrowed her eyes at the placement of the stool, but decided not to pursue when she saw the slight blush rising in Lena's neck.

"Yes, I knew who he was from Lex's notes." Lena shook her head with a sardonic twitch on her lips. "Funny how I didn't just put the pieces together. I'm usually very good with puzzles."

Kara watched the woman take a few breaths, each one deeper yet more fragile than the other. And then she gasped when Lena lowered herself until her entire body was bent and her head was pressed against the railing of the bed. She tried to lift herself up, but apparently, just because she had woken up didn't mean that she could move like she usually did, so she had to hiss and lie back down, which immediately attracted Lena's attention.

When Lena lifted her head, her eyes were red rimmed but alarmed. She stood up and checked over Kara, brushing her forehead and checking the machine and tapping on her tablet. Upon making sure that Kara was still okay – well, as okay as she could be – Lena just shook her head in chastisement.

"I told you to be careful."

"Are you okay?" Kara had to ask.

For a long moment, they just looked into each other's eyes, unblinking and quiet.

"You can't do that again," Lena demanded.

Kara frowned, not quite understanding.

"That – dying. That. You can't do that."

"I didn't –" Kara fought down the surging sense of happiness at the thought of Lena being worried about her; maybe there was a chance to salvage their friendship after all. "I didn't mean to do that."

"I don't care." She didn't think she had ever seen Lena so…impudent before. Almost childlike in her pout and the way she snapped those words. Kara probably shouldn't find it adorable, but she really did. "You can't do any…dying!" Lena started waving her hand around. "Not before I can forgive you."

Kara stared at the woman, mouth open. She blinked a few times at Lena, while the other woman just clenched her jaw and seemed to be exerting all the strength she had to keep her eyes trained on Kara. Deciding that it would be wise for her to relieve Lena from this – something she must be so unfamiliar with; to demand and not give – Kara just offered a smile and reached out gingerly to capture Lena's hand.

When Lena showed no sign of protest, she laced their fingers together and vowed to herself that she wouldn't let go if she had anything to say about it.

"I'm not leaving you. Not if I can help it," she promised.

And from there, with Lena's reluctant squeeze of her hand, the mending strings started to sew their friendship back together.

.

Five places, and none of them was satisfactory. Well, not for Kara. Lena pretty much said okay to all the places they had visited, but Kara wasn't surprised. The woman had spent almost her entire life in a cold mansion, a cold boarding school, and cold hotel rooms; she'd say okay to anything as long as there was a bed, a bar, and a study. As a matter of fact, the woman barely used her bed as it was, so the bed wasn't as much a requirement than a luxury.

Which was why Kara was so adamant in looking for a home. If they were going to move in together, Kara would make damn sure that it would be a place that Lena would want to come home to, rather than just a place in the back of her mind, like a reminder that she didn't have to stay at the office all the time.

The real estate agent was already getting peeved. Kara could tell by the frown on her brows and the mild twitch on her lips whenever Kara displayed any sort of distaste to anything in any of the house she had recommended.

There was something not right about the lighting. Bathroom wasn't convenient. Bar wasn't big enough for Lena's extensive collection. Not enough space for the junk food that Kara would inevitably store. Always something wrong.

"Hey, Kara," Lena called softly when Kara was in the middle of an almost all-out argument with the agent because she started picking at the fireplace. "Can I talk to you for a second?"

"Excuse me," Kara spat, rolling her eyes at the agent before making her way over to her girlfriend standing by the arch to the kitchen. "Yeah?"

"What are you doing?" Lena had this frustrated but fond look on her face as she cocked a brow at the blonde, fighting hard to not smile.

"The fireplace is –"

"Not the fireplace, sweetheart."

"What?"

The raven haired woman sighed and then offered a placating smile over Kara's shoulder to the agent. She wrapped a gentle hand around Kara's elbow and led her further into the kitchen so they were out of sight.

"Every place we've been to, you find something to pick at," Lena started, placing her bag on the island and pulling Kara closer to her by the waist. "I never pegged you to be so picky. In fact, you told me that you moved into Alex's apartment when you first came here because it was, and I quote, 'there and you don't need more than a bed and a kitchen for junk food'. So what is it?"

The blonde huffed and lifted her eyes to the roof for a few moments. When she looked back down, Lena remained patient and anticipatory. "I want you to have a home." Lena hummed, awaiting more. Kara felt herself calm down more as Lena's hands slipped under her shirt and started stroking the skin of her hips. "You've been staying in the Luthor mansion, a boarding school, and then hotels and hotels and hotels. You have vacation homes. You have office buildings. But you've never –" Kara cut herself off, finding reluctance in saying the words. She settled for locking eyes with her girlfriend.

She watched as her girlfriend's lips extended to a grin, a fond one. She hummed in comfort when hands on her hips slowly made their out of her shirt, up her waist, her arms, her shoulders, and then around her neck. Closing her eyes to the sensation, she allowed two pecks to her lips before pulling the woman in her arms closing and placing her chin on the woman's shoulder.

"I love you," Lena whispered in her ear. "Thank you for being so considerate. But I do have a home. My home is you."

Kara whimpered at the words and buried her face into raven hair, breathing in the shampoo that Lena had recently picked up. "But the fireplace doesn't even start a fire."

Kara's heart soared at the way Lena's chuckle vibrated through her entire body, shaking them both. Two hands patted her hand in acquiescence. "Okay, let's see what else the agent has in her repertoire."

.

"You ready?"

Kara looked into the mirror and adjusted her tie once more, smoothing out the grey jacket and making sure her loafers were clean and untainted. She stood straight in front of the mirror, looked herself in the eye through the reflection, and told herself how lucky she was to get to this day.

She turned around and found Alex already standing by an ajar door. "Yeah," she breathed, unable to help the excitement from creeping into her voice.

Many stories she'd been told described nervousness, clammy hands, and temporary cold feet. But she felt none of those today. Instead, Kara didn't think she had ever been more ready for anything in her life.

She remembered when she had just been on Earth for two years and she had to do a presentation about dinosaurs in class. Her pronunciations still were not perfect, so she spent the whole night with a reluctant but present Alex to perfect her dictations and pacing. Her sister even made a flashcards and just tossed them on Kara's desk the morning of the presentation, and with those flashcards and the practice she had had the night before, Kara was certain that she would be able to pull through the presentation.

Right now, as she walked out of the dressing room to the room where it would happen and faced her friends and family – even those who chose to cross Earths to witness the biggest day of her life – it felt almost like that day of the presentation. Except instead of waiting for it to be over, she couldn't wait for it to begin.

Kara offered a thumbs up when Diggle silently regarded her from the podium. He smirked and nodded back at her.

Soon, the piano started playing and Winn started singing. They only realized that Winn had pretty decent pipes on him during their first karaoke sessions, and Kara couldn't think of anyone else better to sing at this momentous occasion of her life. She would have asked Alex, but she needed her sister to stand by her side more than she needed her display her singing talent.

"This is my love song to you. Let every woman know I'm yours, so you can fall asleep each night, babe, and know I'm dreaming of you more."

"You should turn around," the redhead whispered in her ear when Winn reached the second verse.

The blonde gulped and nodded to herself once more before following her sister's instructions. What she saw knocked her breath away. And she could have sworn she would be floating if it wasn't for Alex's firm grip on her arm to keep her grounded.

Okay, well, Kara might have been ready, but she wasn't ready.

She wasn't ready to see Lena walking down the aisle on James' arm. She wasn't ready to see Lena in a dress like that, a pinkish hue with a modest neckline and hair pulled up in a simple chignon to allow for a an elegant shawl. She wasn't ready for the lyrics to echo so badly in her chest as she watched the love of her life taking slow steps towards her. She most certainly wasn't ready for the emotions to attack her all at once at the thought of belonging to this woman in all senses possible.

"Rao," she whispered, catching Lena's eyes and feeling her own well up. "Rao," she repeated, offering the tenderest smile in the distance.

Lena smiled back and Kara watched as her fingers on James loosened, like she couldn't wait to let go and hold on to the woman waiting for her at the end of the aisle.

"I will never stop holding your hand. I will never stop opening your door. I will never stop choosing you, babe. I will never get used to you."

Kara's hands were itching when Lena finally reached her. James winked at her as he handed Lena's hand over to her, which Kara took willingly, lacing their fingers together with the silent promise of always doing it. She watched as the raven haired woman swept her eyes down Kara's length, a brow quirked in approval. When she looked back up, the green in her eyes had diminished slightly to allow for the darkening of her pupils.

"Two months ago, Miss Danvers here came to Earth-1 just to ask me to officiate her wedding, because, and I quote, "we never know what's gonna happen and I just really want to marry Lena no matter what happens and you're the best last minute officiant I could think of, or, at least, that's what Barry told me'," Diggle started, eliciting laughter from the rest of the audience. "Of course, I couldn't refuse, so here we are – about to witness two women who could easily the most powerful women on this Earth united, forever and always, Rao willing. Do you have your vows?"

Kara snapped out of her reverie, reluctantly tearing her eyes away from green irises to nod at their officiant and then down at their conjoined hands. She cleared her throat and locked eyes with the other woman again.

"When I first met you, Lena, I wasn't expecting us to become friends, let alone be here today," she began, making each word a promise, swearing by each vowel and consonant. "I liked you as a person when you talked about becoming your own woman and getting out of your brother's shadow. I liked you as a friend when you made the effort to come to CatCo and invite me to that event. I loved you as a friend when you told me you couldn't wait to work with me more." Unable to help herself, she lifted an alabaster to her lips and pressed a long kiss to the smooth skin. "I liked you as more than a friend when you saved the entire alien race from your mother. I loved you as so much more when you believed in me so much that you refused to bow to your mother's will." She heaved a deep sigh and her smile went serene and peaceful. "I once said that the Luthor name doesn't deserve you, and I'm still not sure if the Danvers name deserves you, but I promise you, Lena, I will do my very best to make sure that deserve you from today onwards and love you with every fiber of my being."

When she was done, her hands were shaking, which made Lena's shake too. Behind her, she could hear Alex sniffling and wiping away tears. In front of her, Lena wasn't even trying to hide her own crying, allowing the teardrops make paths down her cheeks.

"Oh, thank god my makeup's waterproof," Lena lamented, chuckling to herself. Kara laughed and lifted her hand to kiss it again. "Kara Danvers, oh, what can I say?" The raven haired woman closed her eyes momentarily and opened them again as she straightened her shoulders and gathered her composure. "You saved me. You saved me from so many people coming after my life. You saved me from the childhood I had, the way I've been brought up. You saved me from the destiny that my last name was directed towards. You saved me from myself. I can only wish that I've played some part in saving you as well, in whatever way I can."

You do, Kara mouthed. All the time.

Lena's smile widened. "Thank you for saving me, Supergirl. From this day forth, I promise that I won't be such as damsel in distress anymore, if only to let the rest of the world have you for a little bit, just as long as you come home to me."

Diggle was tuned out then. Kara's entire body was itchy and she just wanted to move forward until she could press herself against the woman in front of her. It was only when Alex had to poke her really hard that she remembered the ring. Impatiently, she put it on Lena's finger, almost dropping it due to the shakiness of her movements.

"You may kiss the bride," Diggle announced.

"Oh, thank Rao," Kara grunted.

She reached forward and lifted Lena's shawl, and then proceeded to swallow Lena's giggles by capturing her lips and pulling their bodies together. Lena hummed into her lips, and Kara hummed back. Their own wordless promises to each other. Forever and always.

.

Lena had never been the kind of person to take naps. She always thought naps were wasteful of time and unnecessary. Well, that was before.

Kara landed on the balcony to their shared home, deciding to come home when she heard the most beautiful heartbeat in all of city thudding in penthouse at a time it wasn't supposed to, and decided to check out the bedroom. Sure enough, her wife was there, dressed in Kara's NCU sweatshirt and a pair of underwear, huddled under the blanket and lost to the world.

The blonde stood at the doorway, taking in the sight before her for a few long moments and allowing the ache in her chest to grow. If Lena was napping, it could only mean one thing; Kara had foolishly thought that Lena's strength would extend to fighting this illness.

Maybe not.

She fished for her phone from her back pocket and texted James that she was taking the rest of the day off. And then tossing the device on a cabinet by the bathroom, she took off her own jacket and trousers, and climbed under the covers, wrapping her arms around her wife and tucking the woman's head in the space between her neck and shoulder.

Lena's breath shuddered, a sign of her waking up. Kara hummed and gently ran her fingers through Lena's hair when the woman's hand wrapped around the curve of her hip. They laid there in silence, letting the humidity of early afternoon and the syncing beats of their hearts to fill the empty spaces.

"I'm sorry."

Kara frowned and cast her eyes downwards to the mop of black hair. "What for?" she whispered.

"I promised I wouldn't be such a damsel in distress."

"Stop it," Kara admonished, closing her eyes and burying her nose in Lena's hair. She shifted slightly so she could embrace more of Lena in her arms. "Stop it."

"Kara?" Lena called softly.

She frowned, not wanting to hear anymore of Lena's unnecessary apologies. Unnecessary and painful. "Stop it."

"Kara."

She just wanted to pretend that everything was alright, that this was just Lena finally listening to her and taking a break. "Stop it."

"Kara, please."

"Stop it."


"Kara!"

She bolted up with a gasp. Immediately, she could feel the cold moisture on her face, drying away from the force of the air conditioning system in the building. When she reached up, she could only feel dried tear tracks and the hiccups in her chest that hadn't let up.

Her instincts jerked her away when a hand gently touched her cheek, which retracted as soon as she leaped out of the bed and retreated to the wall. Her vision was blurry and she felt like the insides of her head were drowning in cotton balls.

She gave out a whimper as her knees buckled under her, a certain someone's voice echoing even though she knew for sure that she shouldn't be able to hear that voice on this Earth anymore. Her ears were still ringing with tonal giggles, wistful sighs, and vocabulary that only Kara had the privilege of hearing.

"Hey, Kara." Her gaze lifted to find Alex approaching her with hands outstretched in a placating gesture, a wary look pasted on her face and eyes swirling with empathy. "You're okay. You're safe. You're at the DEO. You're safe. Are you hearing me?" When Kara nodded, Alex was marginally relieved, but there was still wariness. "Okay, then repeat what I just said, yeah? Can you do that?"

"I'm okay. I'm safe."

"Okay, and where are you?"

"I'm – I'm at the DEO."

Alex nodded vigorously, kneeling down in front of Kara, hands still placating. "Yeah, you're at the DEO."

Kara squeezed her eyes shut, feeling her nerves cooling and her heart calming down. Her head was clearer now and legible snapshots started coming in. She gasped again when she recalled the pain that had grasped at her body as she touched Gayle and felt the memories rushing in. A whimper escaped her throat and she curled tighter into a ball.

"Hey, I'm gonna touch you, alright?" Alex asked, gently, sounding closer now.

Kara just nodded. And then two arms were encircling her body, lifting her from the floor and halfway onto Alex's lap. The redhead had one hand on Kara's head, stroking her hair and humming something or other under her breath.

"I saw –" A hiccup cut her off, but Alex nodded anyway.

"I know," she whispered.

Her sister made shushing noises and just sat there, stroking the blonde's hair and allowing the alien to take as much time as she needed.


Apparently, when Kara touched Gayle, the telepath had unknowingly siphoned all her energy away from the rest of the DEO and concentrated on the alien. That had allowed the rest of them to regain their consciousness and composure and see that their resident superhero was in the worst pain that anyone who had ever been in love could imagine.

Psi hadn't gone rogue, as some of the DEO agents would like to say. The woman was just sick and she needed intensive care – the kind of care that the DEO, or more accurately, Alex, had yet to discover. The only way that Gayle could stop the seizures and hone her energy was by listening to Imra's voice, and even then, Imra still couldn't touch her girlfriend, which was why they were not sure if it could even work. Thankfully, it worked and Gayle managed to come back out of whatever trance she had been in.

Except Kara didn't.

She had held on to the telepath for too long that she was still trapped in the zone – stuck between here and there, tracing the memories and not really knowing that she had to find a way out. Alex was still surprised that Kara managed to come out of it at all, but she didn't ask. When the blonde looked at her sister's face, the redhead was struggling between curiosity and fear.

Kara didn't offer either.

"I'm sorry," Gayle said, looking genuine in her apology.

Kara sat there, a few feet away from the glass. "You don't have to do this, you know?"

Gayle laughed humorlessly, shaking her head and taking in her surroundings. "I would have agreed last time, but now, I'm a changed woman." She shrugged. "I don't want to…hurt anybody else," the telepath murmured, guiltiness marring her expression like an ugly gash.

"You saw, didn't you?"

Gayle inclined her head in confirmation. She opened her mouth, but then closed it again, deciding against whatever she had wanted to say. Instead, the blonde behind the glass settled for: "I'm really sorry."

"I know."

Kara could still feel the ghost of Lena in her arms, dredges of the last memory before she came out of it and back to reality. She was still deciding if she'd feel better to be back here. Conscious and alive.