“Jess, I thought I asked not to be disturbed.”
“I have coffee and gelato—didn’t want them to go off.” Kara hid a small grin as she saw her best friend’s head snap up faster than a pirahna’s jaw. “Think you can make an exception?”
“For you, always.” As Lena stood from her chair and rounded her desk, Kara entered the office fully, closing the door behind her. Setting the things down on the coffee table, she straightened up just in time to catch Lena’s hug.
“Hey, stranger,” Lena pressed her lips onto the reporter’s cheek as she wound her arms around Kara’s waist. “Been a while since I saw you.”
“We literally saw each other for lunch six hours ago, but okay.”
“Hush, I missed you.”
Kara snorted as she shook her head. “Missed you too. Busy day?”
“Like you wouldn’t believe.”
“Got time for a small break?”
“At this point, darling, I deserve a life-long break from board meetings. I despise them with all my heart.” Her black-rimmed lenses glinting in the low light, Lena rolled her eyes dramatically and groaned under her breath as she walked back to her desk to drop her pen.
Now’s the time, Danvers.
Kara’s right hand went to scratch the back of her head and her left fidgeted with the leather strap of the satchel slung over her shoulder, as she struggled to spit out the words she had rehearsed for hours in front of her mirror.
I love you, Lena Kieran Luthor. I always have. And I want nothing more than to show you, for the rest of our lives.
A hand on her forearm shook her out of her thoughts. “Kara dear, I might be rich as hell, but I don’t like to replace things if I don’t have to. If I hadn’t stopped you, you would’ve worn a hole straight through the floor, and I really don’t know how I would explain that to Liz.”
“My contractor. Stop changing the subject! It’s very obvious that you’re preoccupied.” The young Luthor rubbed small circles into the taller woman’s biceps. “You can tell me anything, darling, you know that, right?”
Kara sighed wearily as she gently slipped her glasses off, rubbing her nose bridge and clipping her frames to her dress shirt placket. She groaned and put her head in her hands, mumbling quickly, “Ihavesomethingtotellyou.”
Lena huffed a low, amused chuckle as she stepped closer to Kara, gently peeling away the reporter’s hands from her face. Swiping a thumb across one of the blonde’s cheeks, she sent a soft smile Kara’s way and got one in return. “There’s a smile. Now, I am incredibly smart, but even I can’t understand nervous Kara English.” Taking one of Kara’s hands, Lena placed it over her heart. “Relax, dear, and take your time.”
Kara could feel the steady thrum of her best friend’s heart under her palm, the soothing circles on the back of her hand from Lena’s thumb. Her shoulders sagged, and she took one last deep breath in. “I have something to tell you. And it will probably change our relationship. It’s a pretty big secret.”
Lena raised an eyebrow, moving her left hand from the reporter’s face to her chest, rubbing the raised outline of her crest, hidden under her dress shirt, with her thumb. “Even as big as this?”
“I’d put it on the same level.”
“And have you been keeping this secret from me since the beginning of our relationship, as well?”
“Well, technically. But I wasn’t really aware of it at the time? I just realised it, but looking back I can see it’s been there since the beginning.”
With a still raised brow, Lena moved to rest her arms on the taller woman’s shoulders, her voice gentling even further. “You can tell me. It won’t change a thing, unless you want it to.”
“Okay, here it is. I” —Kara’s phone rang, making her groan— “goddammit.” Her forehead dropped, making contact with Lena’s, as she dug her phone out of her slacks pocket with a sigh. “Yeah, what’s up, Al?” After listening for a couple seconds, the Super hung up, still keeping their foreheads connected.
“Can we pick this up later?” Kara whispered across the small space, resting her hands on the shorter woman’s waist. “Lex is up to no good again.”
The youngest Luthor hummed as the edges of her lips quirked up. “Of course.” Winding her arms around the other woman’s neck, she bumped her nose against Kara’s before nuzzling the crook of her neck. The CEO was the picture of quiet confidence; but under her blouse, her heart belied her calm facade.
Kara stepped away from Lena, quickly shedding her clothes and satchel, leaving her standing in her blue uniform. Walking out to the balcony, she was prepared to fly off when she felt something pulling on her cloak.
Turning back to her best friend, the question Kara had on her lips died when she saw the look on Lena’s face. The tightened mouth and worry lines made the blonde grasp at the fidgeting hands, stilling them.
“Don’t worry. I’ll come back in one piece.”
“You better.” Lena’s calm bluff and her voice broke at the same time as she came closer, pressing her lips into the taller woman’s cheek. “Fly safe, Supergirl. I’ll be waiting for you.”
The first thing Kara felt as she came to was an overwhelming sense of cold and tiredness. It was a weird feeling, one that she had very rarely. Oh, scratch that. She was cold everywhere except for on her right leg.
What the chocolate chip cookie?
With her eyes still closed due to exhaustion, Kara attempted to dial into her other senses. Other than feeling cold, she could feel the rough hospital gown and gurney sheets, and smell the antiseptic of the DEO medical bay. Ah, hold on...was that jasmine and mint?
Kara relaxed slightly. There was only one person she knew with that perfume. Alex smelled like eucalyptus and sandalwood, Kelly smelled like lavender and citrus, and Nia smelled like vanilla and rose. It was Lena who was partial to jasmine and mint.
Kara looked up from the article she was typing on the couch in Lena’s office, towards the desk Lena was sitting behind.
With another huff, the shorter woman stood up from her chair and walked towards where Kara sat, carrying a small bottle.
“It’s this perfume I bought. Here, smell.”
Kara did so, and she looked confusedly at Lena, now seated next to her. “What’s it supposed to be?”
“Jasmine and mint.”
“I can smell both of those.” Kara furrowed her brow as she continued sniffing the bottle. “Am I missing something here?”
“No one makes it the way I’d like. They’re all too flowery and wispy, and too jasmine-forward. I want the earthy mint coming through more, you know? I’ve half a mind to learn how to make perfume so I can do it myself.”
Of course, Kara could not let this stand. Handing the bottle back to the brunette and resuming her typing, the blonde bumped her shoulder into Lena’s. “Don’t worry about it, you’ll find a perfume to your tastes eventually.”
“God, I hope so.”
Later that night, using her journalist skills, Kara learned the skills of a perfumer. It was hard to do it without Lena knowing, but using her speed she finished her reporter work a little bit sooner than normal, leaving a few hours every day to research. Feeling confident after two days of research gathering, Kara borrowed the DEO lab, and Alex’s nose, to bang away at a fragrance of her own.
After two weeks of sneaking around the brunette, the reporter had come up with something she felt the CEO would appreciate. She presented the perfume (along with the specs) that night, and was pleasantly surprised to find that Lena loved it. The feeling in her chest when she saw the young Luthor’s face split into a bright grin was indescribable; Kara wished she could bottle that up.
Finally, Kara opened her eyes, wincing as the bright light hit her retinas. She raised her right hand to shield her eyes from the sunlamps overhead as her eyes adjusted to the light. Looking down at her lap, she found the source of the warm spot—Lena was fast asleep, piled on her legs. Her laptop and glasses were on a small table, a makeshift desk, next to her chair.
The younger woman looked like a doctorate student, with her hair up in a messy bun, clothed in grey sweatpants and Kara’s National City University sweatshirt. At this point, it was more Lena’s anyway, with the frequency she wore it.
As she raised a hand to meet the dark locks, Kara remembered the words Lex had spit at her before pulling the trigger and sending a kryptonite bullet through her midsection.
“If you want to keep my darling little sister safe, you will break off all contact. Immediately. And make it believable! Or I won’t hesitate to kill her before your filthy alien eyes.”
Her hand and smile dropped simultaneously, and Kara shifted uncomfortably under the covers. This woke the light sleeper Lena, who rubbed her eyes and put her glasses back on, before turning to the blonde.
Lena’s nose crinkled up as she sent that smile in Kara’s direction, making the Kryptonian’s heart race. But it sank to her stomach as she steeled herself for what she had to do next.
“Morning, sleepyhead. You had quite a rough night—“
Because Kara’s eyes were focused on the white wall straight ahead, she missed Lena’s spine stiffening, eyes blinking, and mouth tightening.
“I didn’t quite catch that. What did you say?”
“I said,” Kara turned to the youngest Luthor, sky blue meeting pale green, “get out. I don’t want to see you.” She returned to staring at the wall, after spitting the words out.
Lena grabbed her hand, making the reporter flinch and pull away. “Kar...please. Talk to me. What’s going on, what aren’t you telling me?”
“I’m not going to say it again. Get. Out.”
In the corner of her eye, Kara could see her best friend building up her walls again, as Lena’s nightmare became a reality. The raven-haired woman had mentioned it several times before, a nightmare of Kara cutting off her friendship with her, that had kept Lena up many sleepless nights.
Normally, Kara would apologise. Her heartstrings were pulled taut as she saw the other woman’s face crumble before putting up the Luthor mask that everyone was subject to. Kara wasn’t an exception anymore—she was just like everyone else, turning her back on the constantly betrayed woman.
As Lena dropped her shoulders in quiet resignation and slowly picked up her laptop, Kara sagged deeper into the bed. She didn’t want to do this, she wanted to hold Lena in her arms and fall asleep to her heartbeat. But she was willing to do anything to keep her best friend safe.
As Lena moved to exit the room, the door swung open and Alex entered. The older Danvers sister furrowed her brow when she saw the youngest Luthor leaving, but she wisely held her tongue until Lena had left the room. Alex spun to face Kara.
“Don’t ask, you won’t get an answer.”
“I—okay.” Alex slowly walked to Kara’s bedside, brow still furrowed. She took the seat that Lena had vacated, eyeing the injured superhero carefully. The sisters sat in silence for a while, until Kara couldn’t take it anymore.
“Sooo...am I allowed to go home?”
“Yes. But! You blew out your powers, so once you get to your apartment you! Will! Not! Leave! Got it? Lena’s got your work covered. You just worry about getting better, okay?”
Kara grumbled, but softened slightly as Alex brushed her blonde hair away from her face. “Thanks Alex, and I’m sorry for worrying you again. I love you.”
“I love you too, sis. It’s okay, I’m used to it. I’ll swing by your place later tonight with some pizza.”
“Sounds good!” Kara swung her feet over the side of the bed, standing up and stretching out her limbs.
“Oh, and Lena’s taking you home.”
At this, Kara froze. Selfless, lovely Lena, of course she volunteered to drive Kara back. But that wouldn’t do; Lex wanted all communication ceased, and the Kryptonian was not willing to test the older Luthor sibling, not this time.
“You know...Lena’s already really busy with trying to cover for me at work and leading two businesses...and she already wasted most of today by spending it at my bedside! I think I’ll just get a taxi.”
Alex stared at her for a few seconds, but the DEO director had enough pressing issues. “Okay, fine. Just get home safe. Text me when you get there?”
“You got it. See you later, Al.”
After grabbing her glasses and putting on her shoes, Kara was out the door and on the sidewalk outside the DEO building, waiting for a cab.
As she got to her apartment, Kara felt like she was wading through molasses. She shuffled around her living space on autopilot, until she finally landed in her bed. It wasn’t until she was under the warm covers, surrounded by a comforting smell of jasmine and mint, that she realised she was wearing one of Lena’s sweaters she had taken from her.
She missed her best friend so deeply, it hurt. As much as Kara wanted to text Lena and ask her to come over, there was nothing she could do except tuck her nose into the neck of the pullover, breathing deeply as the comfort and warmth pulled her under consciousness.
“Hey, Kara. Wake up! I have pizza and hot chicken noodle soup in the kitchen.”
At Alex’s quiet words, Kara stirred and popped her eyes open.
“Hey Alex. Time s’it?”
“It’s 17:45. You’ve been asleep for about nine hours. How are you feeling?”
“Sore and tender in the center, but otherwise okay.”
“Good. You won’t be leaving this place until you’re one-hundred percent healed. Now c’mon, the pizza and soup are getting cold.”
As they ate, Alex updated Kara on the Lex situation. He was still at large, but the DEO was working with Lena to try and find him. Kara’s reporting job was still safe, and Lena was taking care of everything smoothly.
Kara felt a twinge of guilt hearing about the last part, but there was nothing she could do. The sisters ate quickly with little speaking after that, and soon the reporter was back under the covers, in a restless state of sleep again.
As soon as Kara woke up, she could tell it was going to be a very long day. While she wasn’t diagnosed with depression or other disorders, sometimes she had off days. With nothing to do but hang around her apartment, the reporter’s bad mind space got even worse.
To her side, Kara’s phone buzzed. Two pulses; one short, one long, for the morse code letter A. That was the special vibration set for Alex. She reached for her phone on the nightstand table slowly as it buzzed again.
Al🔫: Brunch later today?
Kar🥟: Rain check? I just need some space.
Al🔫: Sounds good. Love you.
Kar🥟: Have fun with Kelly tonight! Love you too.
Kara moved to throw her phone back on the table when her phone background caught her eye. It was a photo of Lena from the previous week, one of their mornings together. The normally put together businesswoman had flour on her nose, hair, glasses, hands, and clothes, the aftermath of a flour fight. If she was mad about being covered in flour, Kara couldn’t tell. The smile stretched across Lena’s face and the light refracting in her irises made Kara’s heart skip in her chest, so much so that she had to snap a photo.
Opening up her photos app, Kara thumbed the folder with a heart. This was the album with candids of Lena, that she had taken with her superspeed. As she scrolled through the photos, Kara felt tears pricking her eyes, remembering the happy moments with the dark-haired CEO. She buried her face into her pillow, as sobs shook her body like a leaf in the wind.
Suddenly, Kara heard three firm taps on the door. She groaned as she picked up her head to look through the door, and saw that it was Lena standing on the other side. Kara hesitated, and for a moment she debated not opening the door at all, but she wanted— she needed to see her, even if it was only for a second, even if she was going to slam the door in her face.
Kara stood and walked to the door, her hand trembling as she turned the doorknob. She swung the door open and there stood Lena Luthor, her long raven hair messily done up in a bun at the top of her head. Her green eyes were glinting with unspilled tears behind her thick black frames, and Kara could almost hear her heart shatter.
“Kara, tell me what I did wrong. Whatever it was, I’m sorry. Just… tell me what I can do to fix this. Please, ” Lena’s voice cracked on the last word, as the younger woman struggled to keep herself together. Kara could feel tears brimming in her eyes but she forced herself to keep them in, she couldn’t cry, she couldn’t.
“It’s nothing.” Kara’s voice was quiet, as she gripped the doorframe so hard the wood cracked. “You should go.”
I’m sorry. I love you.
Those were the words Kara wanted to say, the words she needed to say. But she didn’t. Instead of reaching forward, the reporter stepped back into her apartment.
But Kara had already slammed the door shut. She thought back to the conversation they’d had before she had left to fight Lex, how she had been so close to telling Lena everything. Now it was ruined.
Through the door, Kara heard a muffled sob, and she slumped to the floor, pressing her forehead into the grain of her door. With her enhanced vision, she saw that Lena had done the same. The dark-haired CEO was kneeling on the floor outside her apartment, her hand pressed against the wood. Kara aligned her own hand with Lena’s, where they would have been touching had the door not been between them. Their fingers would have been intertwined, sharing each other’s warmth.
I’m here for you, Lena.
Rao, she wished Lena could see her, or hear her, or feel her.
Through the door, Kara saw Lena stand up, wipe away her tears, and start walking towards the elevator. After vacillating with her hand on the doorknob for a few moments, she wrenched open the door, fully intent on following the young Luthor. She stopped in her tracks when she found a small, rectangular box on her doormat.
Cautiously, the reporter bent down to examine the small parcel. It was plain, and light, but when she tried to look through it, she found that she could not. Bringing it into her kitchen, she eyed the box warily as she poured herself a cup of water.
Deciding that it wasn’t going to kill her, Kara opened the box to find a pair of glasses and a slip of paper. Am I really that bad with my glasses? Opening the note, she found Lena’s flowing script, the pen ink running into tear stains.
I finally finished making this a couple of nights ago, a thank-you gift for the lovely perfume you made me. I’d like you to put them on. I know, it looks just like a normal pair of glasses. But please, indulge me.
Kara did as Lena asked, slipping off her current pair and grabbing the new one. As soon as she picked it up, she could instantly tell it was heavier. As she settled the new frames on her nose, she continued to read.
Now that you have them on, I want you to feel along the arm of the frames, on the left side. You should feel a tiny button. Press it.
Kara pressed the small raised area that Lena had pointed out on the frame, and gasped. Right there, as if the brunette herself was in her arms, was the sound of Lena’s steady heartbeat thudding in her ears.
Ever since you told me a couple of weeks ago that you use my heartbeat as a way to ground yourself when you feel anxious or panicked, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I wanted to make sure you could listen to it when you blew your powers out. You do seem to do that quite a lot, darling.
I was going to wait and give it to you the next time you had a solar flare, but recent events moved the timeline up. I don’t know what’s happening, dear, but just know that I’m here for you.
I may not be near you physically, but my heart will quite literally be. At least, the beating of it.
That did it. Kara could feel tears running down her face, and she wasn’t surprised that most of the tear stains were at the end of the note. Even though she had been a complete jerk to the scientist, Lena had gone out of her way to make something specifically for the blonde. More than ever, Kara felt like she didn’t deserve her best friend’s affection.
Carefully folding the note back up, Kara threw herself onto the bed, still wearing the glasses. Her heart was in so much pain, and she needed to get some of it out. Kara sat up and mopped away the tears from her face with the sleeve of Lena’s sweatshirt that she was wearing.
Rolling off the bed, Kara kneeled next to it, and reached under, feeling around until her hand felt the lead box hidden below. She pulled it out, setting it gently on her mattress.
Before walking to the bathroom, Kara pulled off the sweatshirt she was wearing. She didn’t want to get Lena’s sweater stained with her dirty, tainted blood. She took her time, folding it the way she used to do in university. Turn to the back, cross the sleeves, fold the sides in, and fold up at three points. Kara left the sweatshirt on the bed, then headed to the tiled area.
As soon as she opened the lead box, the glow of green fell upon her, and Kara’s breath hitched in pain. There laid one blade of Kryptonite, and even such a small piece of the green substance was weakening her.
It was the only thing in the world that could kill her.
Kara pressed the blade against her wrist, and let out a scream through gritted teeth, because what the fuck was she even living for at this point? Everything, her whole life, meant nothing if Lena wasn’t in it.
Lena’s heartbeat was a dull drum in Kara’s head, a reminder of a gentler day, when Kara could rest her head against the young Luthor’s chest and listen to her heartbeat. Usually the thumping beat would be accompanied by soft fingers combing through her blonde hair, lulling her to sleep. Right now, her eyes were closing and her head felt heavy for an entirely different reason.
As she collapsed against the bathroom counter and slid down to the floor, Kara saw nothing but red pooling on the white tile. The air stinging from exposed skin sliced open haphazardly, the pain tingling in her arm, felt so good. As black spots started popping up in her vision, Kara slumped over to her side, her cheek making contact with the cool floor. The glasses Lena had gifted her got knocked off in the process, but she didn’t have the strength to reach for them.
Unbeknownst to her, the tumblers clicked in the lock of her front door, before swinging open.
“Kara?” Lena’s voice was faint in Kara’s ears, mixing in with the loud thumping of the Luthor’s heartbeat.
“Alex gave me her key, and said I should come over to break the news. Lex has been caught, and Alex is booking him as we speak.” Lena’s footsteps slowly moved from the kitchen area towards Kara’s bedroom, as her heart started to pick up its pace.
The pounding in Kara’s ears was significantly louder and faster, panicked even. “Kara, listen… whatever happened, we can work it out. Like we always do.”
Lena’s voice quavered, possessing an undercurrent of fear and anxiety that she valiantly tried to hide.
“Love? Are you sleeping?”
Lena’s footsteps were in Kara’s bedroom now, getting closer to where she was bleeding out. By now, she has probably seen the light on in the bathroom, spilling out from the crack at the bottom.
“Kar? Are you alright? Kar, what’s— Oh my god— ”
The door opened and Kara could hear Lena’s shocked gasp, loud and clear. She couldn’t lift her head, but she could see Lena’s socks and cuffed jeans, as the brunette ran toward the steadily paling blonde.
“KARA! Stay with me, stay with me, please!” Some shuffling. Lena’s soft and warm, trembling hands took the kryptonite out of Kara’s limp grasp, and she heard the click of the lead box closing, stopping some of the pain coursing through her veins.
“Alex! Kara’s hurt! She used kryptonite on herself. I know you’re on a date with Kelly, but please get over here as quickly as you can!”
The last thing Kara heard before her vision went completely dark was Lena pleading her to, “Stay with me, Kara! ”
Kara was beginning to get an extreme sense of deja vu. She was spending more time in beds than she liked. As she sat up, rubbing her cheeks, her eyes fell on the vacated chair next to her bed, Lena’s laptop open and running, but no Lena in sight. Concentrating on her hearing, she found the businesswoman pacing in the living room in her heels, conducting a meeting. Kara chuckled to herself, as she glanced down at her left forearm, which was wrapped in white gauze.
She poked at the wrapping, but didn’t feel any pain, so she slowly moved to unwind it. It was hard to pull apart the layers due to the dried blood, but eventually she revealed her flawless skin underneath. Kara sighed wearily—just once, she wished that she could have scars, to show weak moments of pain.
At that moment, Lena came through the doorway of the bedroom to find Kara staring at her wrist.
“Kar! You’re awake! Fuck, I’m so glad you’re okay, but never scare me like that again!” Lena climbed up onto the bed, launching herself into Kara’s strong arms. The blonde followed her momentum and laid back down on the pillow, wrapping her arms around the shorter woman.
“I’m sorry for making you worry. I just wanted to feel something, and see something other than perfect skin.” Kara burrowed her nose into dark locks as she continued. “And while I’m apologising, I’m sorry for pushing you away at the DEO. Lex threatened to kill you, right in front of me, unless I stopped talking to you. You have no idea how much it hurt me to cut you out like that.”
Lena hummed as she pulled back to make eye contact with Kara, unshed tears glimmering. “I figured it was something like that. It’s fine, I forgive you. You’re too stupid cute to be mad at for long, anyway. But we aren't done talking about this, you know that, right?”
"Ugh, fine. Yes. But let's do it another day." Kara remembered a detail from before she passed out. "Where's Alex?"
"She's back at home, with Kelly. Do you want to give her a call?"
Reaching over to the bedside table, Lena handed the phone to Kara. Alex picked up within two rings.
"Kar! Are you okay?"
"I am okay, actually. And getting better. It's fine, I just...spiraled. I'll tell you about it on Sister Day?"
"Sounds good. I love you."
"Love you too, Al. Say hi to Kelly for me!"
Throwing the phone back onto the nightstand, Kara laid back down as Lena moved up to cuddle up on the older woman's chest, tuning in to the strong, steady beat. Kara just about melted at the sight of the fully relaxed CEO lying on top of her. With her hearing tuned into the dark-haired Luthor's heartbeat, soon they were synchronised. As Kara's muscles started to relax as well, a sudden rumbling from her stomach interrupted the soft moment.
Kara felt the chuckle in Lena’s chest before hearing it. “C’mon, Supergirl, let’s go rustle you something to eat, before your stomach eats your body from the inside out.”
For the rest of the night, it was an unspoken agreement that the conversation left interrupted at the L-Corp office would be revisited another day. Instead, Lena and Kara took advantage of the lazy night in.