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Come Home to Me

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Kara has spent the better part of the morning fending off her coworkers curious about her next "big story". She knows Nia was only covering for her while she was gone and couldn't actually know how long Kara would be gone, but did she have to be so over the top with her excuse? To be fair, the lie was actually a pretty good one for Kara’s long absence. The downside is now she has to try and figure out a way to find “the biggest story of her career” and subsequently write it.

Andrea herself had come to track down Kara to grill her about it. What’s the story? Is it an expose? On the outgoing or incoming administration? When do you think we can go to print?  Kara had hemmed and hawed like it was her damn job, and she almost broke her glasses twice with how much she was fiddling with them, finally squeaking out an excuse that Ms. Grant had explicitly forbidden her from speaking about the piece until they were ready to print. Thankfully Andrea bought the lie and Kara had fled the scene with a rush of intense relief and made a beeline for the snack cart so she could stress eat her feelings.

Arms full of snacks she retreats to her desk and sends an email to Cat to see if maybe there was a big life/career changing story she wouldn’t mind Kara tagging along on, and then begins the arduous process of decluttering her email inbox for lack of anything else to do. It’s mindless and mundane but Kara leans into it. It helps her focus on something other than her harrowing experience in the Phantom Zone. The memories creep up on her when she’s idle for too long and she would rather not have to relive those memories any more than she must outside her dreams at night. The last few months have been so stressful between crisis, the anti-monitor, Lex, Leviathan, not to mention everything that’s happened with Lena. The emotional rollercoaster that has been their relationship has been exhausting, and then on top of it, her second harrowing experience in the Phantom Zone, and now she’s back at her day job…and she’s just tired.

So, she reads her emails because it’s safe and easy and she doesn’t have to worry about any life and death stakes or ruminate over her relationship with Lena, which, when she reflects on it, makes her nervous. Not because she has any lingering doubts about Lena’s motives or loyalties, because the other woman has been doing everything she can to atone, not to mention she almost single handedly rescued Kara from her exile in the Phantom Zone and saved her from being killed by her own brother. No, she’s nervous in a…good way? An anticipatory way? Ever since she got back her interactions with Lena have been… charged…charged in a way that Kara’s never really experienced before. The conversations they have had since her return home were completely innocuous and simple. Things like…

 

“How are you feeling?”

“Tired, but good, now that I’m home. You?”

“Fine. Better now that you’re home.”

 

Totally innocent and normal…but there’s something in the way Lena looks at her and a quality to her words that sends shivers down Kara’s spine.

Kara bites her lip when she recalls the following day, reaching out to Lena when they finally had a moment alone without her sister or friends hovering in the same room.

 

She stretches her hand out to grasp Lena’s and realizes it’s the first time they’ve done this in months, long unbearably lonely months without her best friend. Kara’s eyes water in relief when Lena doesn’t pull away, because Kara hadn’t wanted to breach Lena’s personal space. Hadn’t felt like she had any right before, while they were still navigating this new tenuous reestablishment of their relationship. Kara was worried Lena would reject her touch, so she had kept her distance at first, but Kara can’t help herself, she missed Lena so much and just wants to feel the comfort of her again. Her breath stops a moment in surprise when Lena slides her palm against hers so she can lace their fingers together and looks at Kara with a tremulous smile. Then Lena practically flings herself into her arms and Kara almost sags to the floor in relief and happiness and holds Lena as tight as she dares. Lena clings to her, and heart and chest have never felt so full.

“Don’t leave me again,” Lena says into to her neck, small and watery, and Kara presses firmly, cheek to temple.

“Never.”

And it’s such a reckless promise to make for so many reasons, but Kara doesn’t care. It’s Lena. She never could deny her anything, especially not this. Not when Kara never again wants to leave Lena's side.

They stand there for long minutes, Kara doesn’t care to keep track, she just holds and sways ever so slightly, and commits the feel of Lena against her to memory. When they finally do pull away, they don’t go far, still in the circle of each other’s arms. Kara wants to say something, anything really but she’s taken in by Lena’s soft teary gaze and feels herself pulled as if drawn by a magnet, and Lena’s leaning toward her too...

“Kara! Lena! We’re about to order food! Hurry up!” Alex’s voice jolts Kara, and Lena’s no longer in her arms but a few paces away and looking in the direction Alex comes, she feels bereft and so annoyed at Alex. And while Kara seriously contemplates sororicide, she can’t help but to admire Lena’s flushed neck and face even as her expression is schooled into perfect nonchalance. She hopes Alex doesn’t notice the red she feels in her own ears and cheeks.

 

It’s been a few days since then, but she and Lena have been texting, hesitant, infrequent, and haltingly. Dare she even say a little flirty? Trying to find their footing again, and eventually, they fall back into old habits and familiar rhythms of communication. 

It surprises Kara, though it really shouldn’t, because Lena has always been so thoughtful, when she gets a phone call the morning of her first day back to work, this very morning in fact.

 

“Hey, Lena!” and Kara knows that she sounds a little too elated to be talking to Lena, but Lena’s answering chuckle at her over bright response banishes any of Kara’s embarrassment.

“Good morning, darling. I just wanted to wish you well on your first day back.” Kara stops mid step on the sidewalk, almost trips herself in fact, at Lena’s term of endearment. Kara takes a moment to appreciate because it's been such a long time since Lena has used it. She didn't how much she missed that easy affection from Lena, until all she had had for months was a spiteful 'Supergirl' thrown in her face and never her name. If Kara's this flustered by a such a small thing she realizes it might be prudent to pause and step to the side for this conversation, if only to prevent injury to the sidewalk and others walking past.

“Oh! Thanks!” Kara says breathlessly, and beyond pleased, and she can feel how wide the smile on her face is. Wonders idly that she might look unhinged. “It’s sweet of you to call. You didn’t have to do that,” but she's glad that Lena feels like she can call Kara again, it's one of the few times the last couple weeks that they have and Kara hopes it will continue, increase even.

“I know, but I wanted to wish you well." Lena pauses and then teasing, "I’m looking forward to reading your groundbreaking piece cowritten with none other than the illustrious Cat Grant.” Lena had been so very amused when Nia had shared with the others what she had told everyone at Cat Co. about Kara’s absence, and took every opportunity to bring it up.

Kara groans. “Don’t remind me! Please. I beg you change the subject,” pouty and petulant, Lena chuckles again and Kara imagines perfectly what Lena looks like right now and is over come with the urge to ditch work and fly over to see Lena right now instead. Maybe find a way to wipe off the smug grin she probably has on her face…

“Alright, if you insist,” she agrees easily, but Kara can still hear the smile in her voice.

There’s a slight pause, then she hears Lena take a steading breath, and hears a slight change in tone “I…Well, I was actually hoping we could meet up for lunch, my treat...for your first day back to work.”  

Oh.

She and Lena haven't had lunch together in so long, Kara remembers after their falling out that she wished she could remember the last lunch they went on, wished that she knew that one would be the last so she could have treasured it, to be able to recall it during the rough times ahead. This would mark the first time since their reconciliation that they went to lunch, and now coupled with the slightly flirty texting and that hug her sister interrupted Kara wondered...was this a date? Was Lena asking her out? Like out. Out? Or just like friends out? Like they used to do? Was she just being a nice friend? Or did she want-.

“Kara? Are you still there?” Oh, Kara has been silent too long and Lena sounds a little nervous.

“Yep! Yeah! Yes, I’m still here! I haven’t gone anywhere!” her free arm is gesturing wildly, and she probably ,maybe definitely, looks unhinged, then realizes she hasn’t answered Lena’s question. “And yes! Yes, I’d love to get lunch! With you. Together. Just me and you…” sweet Rao, she was talking too loud and too fast and rambling, wasn’t she? She hears a quiet breath of relief and can hear Lena's racing heart. Kara tries not to home in on these little things normal humans can’t hear because she knows they are private, but she can’t help it. Lena laughs fondly at Kara’s word vomit, and they agree on a time and place to meet and hang up.

Lena’s parting, “See you later, darling.” Dissipates all of Kara’s embarrassment once again and she practically starts floating to work. At least she does until she realizes that she might actually be going on a date with Lena Luthor, then she promptly feels queasy. But in a good way?

 

So, it’s imperative that Kara not have to think and dwell on any number of things that have happened recently, but mostly if she thinks too much about having lunch with Lena this afternoon she might spiral herself into a panic attack. Or worse, let her nerves get the better of her that she tries to cancel, which she simultaneously absolutely does and doesn’t want to do.

Kara is almost grateful for the stream of coworkers that grill her this morning about an article that does not in fact exist, because it helps her to forget for a moment her own nerves.

She’s mindlessly munching on potato chips, focused so intently and squarely on getting through her mountain of backlogged emails, feeding chips into her mouth in consistent intervals, crinkle on full display, when a throat clears next to her. She jumps, inhaling a chip and she’s certain if she wasn’t made of steel, she would probably have died from the sharp edges that would have cut up a more human throat. She coughs a few times to clear her airway and feels a hand lightly thumping her back.

“Sorry about that Kara, I didn’t mean to startle you,” says the decidedly male accented voice. Kara reaches towards the far edge of her desk for her coffee and takes a moment to drink while also consciously moving out of William’s immediate reach. She clears her throat a few times, then answers.

“It’s alright. No harm done. What can I do for you, William?” He settles himself on her side of the desk instead of the more polite and professional opposite side, looking far too comfortable in her space. He crosses his arms leaning slightly down toward where she’s sitting in her chair, smiling sweetly at her. Kara frowns, feeling a little uncomfortable, and pushes her chair back so she can stand and create some space between them. She starts tidying all her garbage and wrappers for something to do waiting for him to speak.

“I wanted to see you. You were gone a long time and you never answered any of my messages or returned my calls.” The smile he directs her way is pleasant enough she supposes, but his next words make Kara pause her cleaning, “You left without telling me.”   

The slightly entitled tone he uses rankles Kara in way that she doesn’t like, all thoughts of trying to find an excuse about why she didn’t return his messages fly out the window. "Excuse me?” she says taken aback; she straightens up to her full height from where she was hunched from tossing some trash in the bin next to her desk. Turns fully to face him.

“Why didn’t you call me to say Cat Grant had pulled you in for something big? I had to hear it second hand from Nia. And you were radio silent the whole time,” the way he says it, like he should have been her first call makes her skin crawl. Kara tries to keep her temper in check, it isn’t exactly unreasonable that William expected to be kept in the loop. William isn’t a bad guy and she has been encouraging him, but she still end up crossing her arms and feels her face go hard.

“Did I miss something, where exactly do you come off thinking I owe you an explanation about my whereabouts and actions?” she says hotly.

He looks genuinely surprised at her outburst then scoffs lightly, “Because we’re you know…” he trails off and Kara stares at him in disbelief.

“That we’re what? We had one date. How does that translate to me checking in with you? What, you wanted me to ask your permission?” she says throwing as much rebellious sass into that word as she can, he looks alarmed and tries to backpedal.

“No, no of course not, I just thought we were on our way to something more. Of course, you don’t have to check in with me, I was just worried about you.” His tone is sincere and the look on his face is horrified at her suggestion. 

Kara a takes deep breath and forces herself to relax her shoulders and uncross her arms. She’s not angry with William, not really, her emotions have kind of been all over the place lately. Honestly, between everything going on and her unexpected reconciliation with Lena, she’s been anywhere between oh shit I’m going to die and holy shit I think I’m in love with my best friend, and through it all she had quite frankly completely forgotten about William. That more than anything makes her feel like an ass. He’s not exactly in the wrong and he doesn’t deserve to bear the brunt of her anger especially when he has no context about anything that’s happening in her life.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t’ve bit your head off like that.” She sighs, she has never been good at these kinds of talks, but she can’t keep leading him on, especially not now when she’s trying to figure out what’s going on between her and Lena. “Look William, I need to talk to you about…” and draws her hands together and hunches her shoulders, ready to dive in when her eyes flick over William’s shoulder and her breath catches.

She can feel all the uncomfortable tension of having to speak to Willian bleed out of her when she locks eyes with Lena on the far side of the room, the tension replaced by pleasant surprise instead.

Kara is rooted to the spot by Lena's intense single minded and focused gaze, she watches Lena strut towards her sporting a sharp crisp maroon suit. Lena cuts a devastating picture all high heels, determined efficient steps, red painted lips, hair pulled back in her signature intimidating CEO look. Lena smirks and lifts an eyebrow at Kara as she draws closer, apparently pleased by whatever expression Kara’s face wears.

She remembers to breathe and takes a few steps around William to greet Lena and calls out as the dark-haired woman approaches.

“Lena! What are you doing here?" then adds hurriedly trying to course correct, "Not that I don’t want you here, but I thought we weren’t meeting for lunch for," she glances at a clock on the wall, "another forty five minutes,” Kara feels jittery and can tell she's about to start spewing incoherent nonsense. However, any rambling she might have continued is abruptly cut short because Lena just smiles beautifully as she draws closer while Kara is speaking. She doesn’t halt a few steps away like Kara anticipates, no. Lena walks right into Kara’s space, slides a hand around Kara’s waist in a half hug and plants a firm kiss to her cheek, her body feels like it lights up, and she leans into it without any permission from her rational mind, eyes fluttering closed.

In fact, all thought promptly evacuates Kara’s mind and she feels a blush creeping up her neck, swift and raging. She has no words. She knows her expression is plain surprise, but she can’t help but feel immense pleasure at the gesture. Lena just kissed her, and in a decidedly not platonic way if her lingering lips were any indication.

Lena laughs oh so lightly, smiling fondly, and Kara’s brain shorts again when Lena reaches up to wipe the mark she’s left behind, the hand around her waist dragging scorching marks as she brings it up to Kara’s face.

“Hello, darling, I had a meeting with some investors a few blocks away, and my next appointment rescheduled so I thought I would come pick you up and we could go together,” and Lena’s tone is so affectionate and fond that Kara practically melts into a pile of goo right then and there. “And I wanted to give you this,” Lena presses something into her hands, and Kara realizes that Lena has given her a small vase full of plumerias.

“Thank you,” Kara whispers, because these flowers mean something to both of them, and her heart races because she knows that flowers have meaning, and Lena hardly ever does anything without intention and carefully planned action. “They’re beautiful,” she breathes gazing into her eyes like a lovestruck teenager (and let’s be honest that’s pretty much what Lena has reduced her to), and Kara knows that Lena knows plumerias stand for love and new beginnings.

She smiles at her in a way that Kara can tell Lena knows her message was understood, well received, and accepted.   

“I know your lunch break isn’t for a little while yet, I thought I might go bother Andrea until you’re ready to go. I don’t want to distract you from your important work,” and with the way she emphasizes that word Kara knows she is teasing again about that damn article, but instead of griping about it Kara says the first thought that comes to her mind without filter.

“I like when you distract me,” it comes out low and flirtatious, and suggestive in a way Kara has never really been comfortable with speaking in the past, but Lena seems to have brought it out in her, and it feels so easy to banter with her in this way.  

It’s Lena’s turn to flush, her expression is equal parts pleased and surprised, but the businesswoman has never been one to be flustered for long, and answers Kara’s words with a smirk and smoldering, “Noted.” That hit’s Kara low in her belly, and Kara really wants to-

There’s a throat being cleared to Kara’s right and for the second time today William has made her jump. A wave of mortification passes through her for so many reasons, the least of which is that during the whole of her entire exchange with Lena she has completely forgotten about William, again. She’s not embarrassed about her interaction with Lena, only that there was some outside party privy to it. Lena seems to have been under a similar trance and also hadn’t noticed their audience but, as always, she recovers quickly enough to cover what would have been an awkward silence or stuttered bumbling from Kara.

“Mr. Dey, lovely to see you again, I hope you’re recovering well from your wound,” she says with perfect dignity and aplomb, and were it not for the lingering flush in her cheeks Kara could swear Lena hadn’t just been caught blatantly flirting with her.

“Yes, I have, thank you, Ms. Luthor,” William says kindly, looking thoughtful, as his eyes flit back and forth between Lena and Kara, and rests a moment on Kara’s hand currently curled around Lena’s bicep. She resists the urge to remove it under his scrutiny.

“Glad to hear it,” Lena nods to him and turns back to Kara.

“I’ll let you get back to work, come find me when you’re ready, darling,” she says, warmth filtering back into her voice when she addresses Kara. She nods, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. Kara lets her hand drag down Lena’s arm, palm and fingers grazing elbow, to forearm, to wrist and catches Lena’s fingertips at the last moment, their arms stretching out fully between them, the gap growing, as Lena slowly pulls away. Lena smiles small and secret squeezing her fingers once in farewell before turning away heading towards Andrea’s office.

“I didn’t realize you and Lena were back on speaking terms,” William says behind her, and Kara really needs to stop forgetting he’s around because she startles again. For someone with super hearing she’s really letting one human get the drop on her way too many times.

Kara turns back toward her desk and contemplates where she wants to put Lena’s flowers, somewhere she can look at them without too much trouble, “Yeah, she reached out to me and apologized for reacting so harshly,” she says distractedly positioning and repositioning the flower vase and various items on her desk. It’s such an oversimplification of what really happened but she doesn’t owe him anything and even that tidbit feels like too much in hindsight. Kara knows that she’s fiddling with the vase because she wants to avoid a conversation with William, but she needs to do this otherwise it’ll just get harder and harder the longer she puts it off. She takes a steadying breath and turns to William and finds him staring off to the side in the direction Lena left with a look of concentration, and flicks his gaze back to Kara like he’s puzzling something out.

“Listen, William, about what I wanted to talk to you before,” she looks down at the ground for a moment looking for the right words, “You’re a nice guy but I think it would be best if we keep our relationship strictly professional,” there, that’s clear and succinct and even polite. Kara waits in the wake of his silence. He just looks at her for some time, eyes searching her face, then tilts his head, almost as though he wants to ask her something but then catches himself and seems to thinks better of it. And Kara knows immediately that he wants to ask about Lena, but he doesn’t, probably realizing it’s none of his business and she feels grateful to him for respecting her boundaries, he really is a nice man.   

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” he says instead, disappointment lacing his words, but he seems more resigned than upset.

Kara drops into her chair with a relieved breath whooshing out of her lungs when William finally leaves, glad to be done with that whole fiasco.

She perks up when she sees a new email on her computer from Cat.

 

Ms. Danvers,

I find it hard to believe that you’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel in terms of investigative journalism in National City, I know I taught you better than that. Surely there’s something even you could sniff out, especially with your super connections. What about your girlfriend at Luthor Corp? With a brilliant mind like hers…I wonder what exactly she sees in you…she must have some groundbreaking technology that will revolutionize the world, her family does seem to have a penchant for actions with global impact. That being said. Keep a look out, I may reach out…

.    

Cat Grant

 

Kara finds herself blushing at the computer screen. Did Cat actually think that Lena was her g-…but why would she? Cat had only ever been around at the beginning of their friendship, she couldn’t know, she especially couldn’t know about what happened the past year during their falling out. Not to mention what was happening between them right now. Cat couldn’t know yet, not when she and Lena were still figuring it out in the moment. Kara herself hardly knew what was going to happen between them from one moment to next, she just felt like she was hurtling headlong towards something new and exciting. Also, she was a bit put out that Cat had to go and be a know it all even in Kara’s personal life despite not being around the last few years.

She glances at the clock and decides it’s close enough to lunch time that she can get away, gathers her things and goes in search of Lena.

Any of Kara’s nerves from this morning vanish as they chat amicably about their day on the elevator ride down in a way reminiscent of their old ways. Lena is telling her about a new project her R&D team has started when they reach the bottom floor and spill into the busy lobby, Kara listens intently, completely enraptured by Lena’s passion asking questions and making comments where appropriate, that she unthinkingly draws Lena close with a hand around her waist as they navigate the rush of people going about their days, gently guiding Lena to one side or the other depending on the press of humanity around them. Kara is so focused on simultaneously guiding and listening that she doesn’t notice the short pause in Lena’s words when Kara places her arm around her, nor the momentary underlying quiver when she starts again a second later.

Their car is right outside the building when they emerge, and the driver, Harold, comes around to open the door as they approach. He’s been driving Lena around for the last few years during the day shift, an older gentlemen widowed and technically retired from the Luthor Corp financial department, but he’s always liked cars and driving around, so he approached Lena about maybe taking him on as a chauffeur. Which, of course she agreed to immediately. Kara knows he has a soft spot for Lena who in turn has a soft spot for him. Harold gives them both a wide beaming smile and greeting which they return in kind. Kara offers her hand to help Lena in for which she is rewarded with a beautiful smile, Lena’s pearl white teeth on full display, and a heartfelt thank you, darling that has Kara blushing to the tips of her ears.

She’s just put one foot in when Harold’s voice catches her attention as he says, “Welcome back, Ms. Danvers, it’s good to see you, you’ve been sorely missed,” his eyes are heavy with unspoken relief. Harold more than anyone had probably seen the results of the great schism in their friendship and the toll it must have taken on Lena. Kara’s eyebrows scrunch together in unexpected emotion, but she smiles kindly at Harold through the sharp pang in her chest and the regrets of the past.

“It’s great to see you too, Harold, I’ve missed being around,” she says softly, then adds low but emphatic, “In fact, I plan on sticking around indefinitely, as long as Lena will have me,” she says with sincerity, and steps fully into the vehicle.

“Very glad to hear it, Ms. Danvers,” he responds, just before he shuts the door for her, and makes his way to the driver’s seat.

“That’s good, because I plan on keeping you around indefinitely,” Lena says when Kara turns to her, and runs her hand down the length of Kara’s arm and laces their fingers together, squeezing gently, and Kara can’t help the goofy smile that splits her face and Lena's answering smile in return is everything. 

Chapter Text

Lunch is interrupted.

Because of course it is.

Because the world, and the universe, and all the gods in the pantheon of every mythology that exists in the vastness of the whole aforementioned universe, have decided to rain doom eternal and a life without love on Kara Zor-el Danvers.

She might be being a tad dramatic…

But she’s so upset that she was forced to cut her lunch short with Lena. It’s enough to make Kara stamp her foot in annoyance like a child whose favorite toy has been broken. She cringes when she sees the hairline cracks in the concrete below her feet, oops. Alex turns to look at her and Kara sees the scolding reproachful big sister look that makes her shoulders hunch and bare her clenched teeth like Kara’s still thirteen, newly arrived at the Danvers’ and accidentally broke something. Kara mutters a sorry and Alex just sighs.

“You’re the one that has to tell J’onn why his floor is cracked, not me,” Alex flicks a hand in the air as if it’s of no consequence to her but frowns a little and then asks, “What’s going with you?”

And Kara flounders a little. She hasn’t talked to Alex about what has been going on between her and Lena, so how can she explain that she’s mad her maybe kind of lunch date with Lena was interrupted? Like she’s really, really, disappointed. It’s not that she doesn’t want to talk to Alex about it but most of their conversations since she’s been back have revolved around Kara’s time in the Phantom Zone. Both Alex and Kelly having taken on the lion’s share of helping Kara talk through the whole ordeal and it’s because of them that Kara is even able to get any semblance of rest at night. So more often, than not, after a conversation about her trauma Kara is usually left exhausted and emotionally drained and she just wants to curl up under a blanket with Alex and eat her feelings or fall into bed and finally be able to sleep. There hasn’t been any time or energy on Kara’s part to talk to Alex about what’s been going on with her relationship with Lena, and if she’s being honest with herself there’s a small, small, part of her that still wants to keep whatever is happening between them, exactly that. Between them.

“Guys, focus, we have to find this guy,” Nia says, and it saves Kara from having to answer Alex and she mentally slaps herself to turn her focus to the task at hand. She tries not to dwell on how she had to leave Lena on that balcony alone when she flew away to help with the latest disaster.   

And they were having such a good time too! Well, to be fair, there were some bumps along the way…though that was only to be expected considering, but overall, it went well…

 

Harold drops them off at the entrance and they were promptly seated on a secluded balcony, and Kara realizes that she doesn’t have to hide how much she can eat in front of Lena anymore, so she orders a mountain of appetizers and two entrées. Kara can see out of the corner of her eye while she orders that Lena tries valiantly not to laugh in the server’s face when he realizes that all that food is just for her.

“You know, I’m starting to think you were holding back a lot whenever we shared a meal. I already knew you had a large appetite, but it seems I am going to have to readjust my relative concept of ‘large’,” Lena says with a smile and teasing quirk of her eyebrow. Kara gives her a wide awkward grin and a sheepish shrug of her shoulders. Lena’s smile grows wider, tilting and shaking her head fondly at the alien bottomless pit.

“Yeaah. Actually, I was pretty bummed this morning because I was running a little late for work and I couldn’t stop by Noonan’s for second breakfast,” Kara tells her dejectedly.

“Why were you running late?” and then a thought comes to her, “Did you not sleep well last night?” she asks with quiet concern, because Kara had confided in Lena during some of their late night text message sessions of the last week, about some of her conversations with Alex and Kelly and why she hasn’t been sleeping well. She hasn’t told Lena everything only because Kara hadn’t wanted to relive some of those memories twice, but it’s enough information that Lena knows how it’s affecting her.

Kara’s voice sticks in her throat and doesn’t say anything, just looks off to the side, jaw clenched when she remembers a particularly bad dream the night before. She startles a little when she feels Lena’s cool fingers slip into hers on the tabletop, and the soft concerned look Lena gives her has tears prickling behind her eyes. But Lena’s gaze also sends a rush of warmth through her chest that sooths and comforts, and Kara squeezes the pale hand in hers gently, grateful for Lena’s presence and unspoken support.

Their food comes then, and the sad tension is lifted. Kara sighs happily as she takes her first bite.

“This is so good! I had some snacks at work earlier, which were great, but this is way better,” Kara gushes, and adds, scoffing, “I probably would have enjoyed those chips better if William hadn’t startled me and almost caused my death via potato chip,” she says disgruntled and grumbly.

Amused, Lena quips “The Girl of Steel taken out by a snack. Lex would be so mad if he knew that’s all it took.”

Kara lets out a loud surprised laugh, “It’s true, kryptonite is nothing…nacho cheese potato chips on the other hand are deadly,” she says, chuckling, and Kara lets out a content little sigh as she and Lena lock eyes in shared amusement, matching grins on their faces.

“Just let me know, I’ll pull some strings and William can share a cell next to Lex for his chip related crimes if he comes at you again,” Lena says with mock seriousness.

“Oh, believe me he better not,” Kara says, distracted by how beautiful and carefree Lena looks in this moment, and adds unthinkingly, more serious, “not after our conversation this morning.”

Lena sobers a little from her amusement, brow scrunching, curious, “What happened this morning?”

Kara jerks back a little, pulled from her amorous thoughts, “Oh, umm, I…” she stutters. How does she explain what happened with William? Oh, sweet Rao, she forgot that Lena wasn’t around then…

“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, Kara,” Lena says seriously and a little concerned into the silence that followed.

“No, I do!” Kara says emphatically, though Lena’s expression is skeptical, “I do want to tell you. If anything, you, out of everyone, deserves an explanation. I don’t want keep anything from you ever again,” she says the last quietly, knowing that Lena will understand she’s referring to their fall out. Her face softens in understanding and Kara continues, “Umm, I guess I need to give you some backstory…”

So, Kara tells Lena all of it, and anxiously watches as her face becomes slowly and carefully more neutral when she mentions how persistent William was in his pursuit to date Kara, her initial rejection, and then subsequent change of heart after some pestering from her sister, and she grows increasingly nervous when she finally recounts their date. Lena hasn’t said a word or moved at all during Kara’s rambling and she’s worried she’s completely ruined everything, but she barrels on because Lena deserves the whole truth and tells her about this morning. Kara sees Lena’s jaw clench when she mentions William’s possessive comments that grated on her nerves and recalls her words to him verbatim after Lena went to go see Andrea.

The silence feels oppressive, and she squirms under Lena’s placid scrutiny, forcing herself to keep her mouth shut lest she start rambling in earnest. Green eyes are trained on Kara and she watches Lena take a shallow breath and look away. That is what ultimately makes Kara break.

“I completely forgot about him the whole time we were trying to stop Lex and Leviathan,” she all but yells, her heart racing in nervousness, “That more than anything made me realize that I didn’t really care very much for him, I was going to sacrifice my life and I couldn’t spare him a single thought,” Kara says breathlessly, recalling the moment her vision had slowly gone dark while she was hunched against a wall, Lex pouring beam after beam of Kryptonite into her chest, shards of ice and fire coursing through her veins.

Lena’s eyes snap back to Kara’s and her lips press into a pained line across her face, and opens her mouth to speak but Kara presses on, “Not even when I was in the Phantom Zone and I was missing home, my family, and friends, he never once crossed my mind.”

Kara reaches out to grasp Lena’s hand and stares directly into pained sympathetic eyes, “In those moments, the only person, the only thoughts I had were of you, Lena,” she whispers, and she hears Lena’s sharp intake of breath and her expression changes into one of muted surprised, brows scrunched up hopeful and full of wonder, her eyes watering, lip quivering ever so slightly. Kara can feel her own tears starting to burn behind her eyes. They stay like that, hands clasped, communicating without words and it fills her with a sense of peace, just sitting here with Lena. Watching her breathe in tandem.

Finally, Lena inhales and exhales slowly, and Kara watches as Lena’s mouth tics in a way she knows, from long years of experience, something light and teasing is about to come out of her mouth.

“Looking back on this morning, William’s face during our interaction makes much more sense than before,” her eyes alight with mischief, “If I had known, I would have tried to play up the flirting more to make him jealous.”

Kara is so surprised and relieved she barks out a laugh and covers her mouth with her free hand in astonishment, smiling wide and uninhibited, “That was you NOT playing up it?” she manages to choke out, incredulous. Rao, I think I might burst into flames if she turns it up anymore, picking up her glass of water feeling suddenly parched, and feels her cheeks turning red.

“Probably,” Lena says, and laughs loud and free, shoulders shaking, when Kara chokes on her water, because apparently, she said that out loud, and buries her head in the crook of her arm in mortifying embarrassment. “Come out, darling,” she tries to coax, squeezing Kara’s hand affectionately, amusement plain in her voice.   

“Nope, I live here now,” comes Kara’s muffled reply, and feels Lena pull her hand from her grasp.

“Kara, please,” Lena pleads, softly, then cool fingers touch at her temple, and she huffs in resignation because she can’t ever say no to Lena, apparently, and peeks up with one eye. What she sees sets her heart racing again and her chest expanding in warm affection. Lena is pressed over the table like Kara, but unlike Kara the palm of her hand is resting flat on the table, her chin resting on top gazing softly at the Kryptonian, her other hand brushing Kara’s loose hairs back into place. Lena smiles oh so softly when Kara finally raises her head and her hand trails down from her temple to rest tenderly on her cheek...

The explosion is so loud and unexpected to Kara’s ears, that she stands abruptly, knocking her chair over. Lena stands too turning toward the sound frowning.

Kara tilts her glasses down and can see several blocks away that a fire has broken out in an apartment complex. She turns to Lena, eyes wide, “I-Lena, I’m sorry, I-…” stuttering regret in her every expression.

“It’s ok,” Lena breathes, brow furrowed, and grief stricken, “Go.”

Kara’s shoulders sag in relief that Lena isn’t angry and takes two hurried steps into Lena’s arms and presses a firm kiss to her cheek, then speeds away leaving a breathless Lena Luthor behind her.

It was an old cracked gas line that took out the bottom floors of the apartment complex. Kara had spent hours putting out fires, rescuing survivors, shoring up weak walls, then finally sifting through the rubble collecting bodies feeling her heart clench every time she found one. The sun had long set, and she was hovering scanning the rubble for anymore survivors or otherwise when she heard and saw one of the volunteers that had come to help, trying to flag her down. As she came closer, Kara noticed that this volunteer was wearing a safety jacket with the Luthor Corp logo, in fact most of the volunteers who were passing out food, water, and blankets were wearing them.

“Supergirl! I was given very specific instructions to give you this,” said the woman as Kara landed. She handed Kara a small black crate with the Luthor Corp logo on it.

Kara frowned. “Who told you to give this to me?”

“Ms. Luthor,” and then the woman was gone hurrying back to her duties.

Kara was taken aback, and then took a moment to really look at the human helpers. They were mostly Luthor Corp if their jackets were any indication and there were tents and tables and make shifts signs, saying things like food, water, and hotel accommodations. She stopped a passing volunteer and asked about how and why and where all these people came from with organized precision.

“It’s a part of the L-Corp Community Disaster Recovery Plan. Whenever people are displaced from their homes or require emergency provisions and services, we are dispatched to help local authorities,” he said, “Ms. Luthor implemented it a few months ago, I know she was working on the proposal for as long as a year though, we have a large dedicated management staff that handles the logistics and administrative work but the rest are just employee volunteers, and we recently started partnering with other National City businesses and hospitals for better response and resource distribution, as well as a bigger volunteer pool,” the man’s pride in his company is plainly heard through in his words. Kara thanks him quietly, “Thank you, Supergirl, you saved a lot of lives today,” and he scurries off.

Kara felt her chest well with emotion completely in awe of Lena as she looked around.

Lena had made this possible and it made Kara ashamed to know that there had been any point in time that she doubted Lena’s inherent goodness even for a moment. Lena had organized this months ago all while she and Kara were on the outs. Rao, she wanted to cry. She wanted to cry in happiness and pride that her Lena was so kind and generous because Kara would bet her very super powers that Lena probably founded this whole endeavor with her own personal money for it to be profitable so it would be approved by the board and Lex.

Kara sat down heavily on the roof of the apartment complex and opened the box Lena had sent for her. Inside was a note and some other items.

Supergirl,

I know you well enough to know that you won’t be thinking of taking care of yourself while others are suffering. So, I’ve asked for this to be delivered to you, especially now that I realized how many calories you probably expend doing the things you do.

Enclosed you will find some prototype nutrient packets we are testing for the military. One packet contains as much as 5000 calories of essential vitamins and nutrients including electrolytes. It helps boost energy naturally and repair damaged muscle tissue (not that you need too much help with that particular problem). Just add 32 ounces of water and one packet of powder to the shaker bottle and shake until it has the consistency of a melting milkshake, maybe a little freeze breath if you want a cold beverage and enjoy.

Thank you for everything you do for this city and planet.

-LL

P.S. I’m sure my team would appreciate any feedback you might have on the product should you feel so inclined.

Kara smiled softly at the card and felt her heart warm. Lena had thought of her and wanted to help in her own small way. The note was a bit formal, but it was only to be expected since Lena couldn’t be sure no one in the chain of people it took to get to Kara wouldn’t read it.

She pulled her phone out and sent Lena a simple text.

Thank you. You’re the best.

Inside the box were assorted packets of various flavors, Kara chose chocolate and set to making her shake. After her first hesitant sip she practically chugged the rest of the bottle. It was delicious! Even if it did have a little bit of a chalky aftertaste.

The buzz of her phone alerted her to Lena’s reply.

It was just a winking kissy face emoji.

She was staring dreamily at her phone when the crackle of her comms came through.

“Kara, we need you at the Tower, asap.”

While Kara had been helping with the fire, the other Super Friends were working another case, and now they needed help with tracking down and diffusing bombs a xenophobic terrorist had placed around some alien neighborhoods. Kara asked if the apartment complex she had been helping with earlier was the first target, but Brainy had quickly ruled that out as the odds being less than five percent likely.

Kara spent the rest of her night flying around the city with Nia and Alex acting on intel from Brainy searching for the bombs.

 

They had finally found and dismantled all the bombs and were standing around in the Tower talking about how they could find the bombmaker himself. Kara checked the time on her phone and groaned to see that it was a little before midnight and, also saw a notification for a text from Lena from a few hours ago.

Goodnight, darling, excellent job today.

It’s when she sees that text that she starts pouting and subsequently stomps her foot and causes those hairline fractures in J’onn’s floor.

By the time she gets home after apprehending the bombmaker and turning him over to the NCPD, it’s after two in the morning and she flops into bed, completely exhausted. She sends Lena a text goodnight and promptly passes out phone still in hand.

A week.

It’s been a whole week. Seven FREAKING days! Since she last saw Lena. Sure, they have been texting, and there was a couple quick calls goodnight, but it’s not the same. And it’s no ones fault really; it’s just how circumstances have played out.

Now that Lex is behind bars, Luthor Corp transferred to Lena again, as it did in the last universe and just like last time Lena decides to rebrand the company to L-Corp and start the arduous process to once again root out Lex’s shady business practices and employees. That takes considerable time and effort and since Lena will be rolling out the brand change this next week; she’s hardly had any time to eat and sleep let alone see Kara.

Kara has also been ridiculously busy. A tsunami off the coast of Japan has devasted thousands of lives and she spends every free moment she absolutely doesn’t need to be at Cat Co. in Japan helping with rescue efforts. She’s praised for helping find hundreds of trapped people and clear roads for emergency vehicles and delivering much needed medicine and supplies. To say she’s exhausted is an understatement in the extreme.

Finally, at the end of the week she’s sent home with heartfelt thanks by the Japanese authorities and she floats into her apartment mid afternoon to take a long hot shower. She flops into her bed with a sigh and after a moment of deliberation she dials Lena.

It rings a few times then picks up and then, “Just a second, darling,” then to someone else, “Yes, make sure I get those reports before my three o’clock meeting and hold my calls for the next five minutes, thank you, Jess.” Lena takes a calming breath, “Sorry about that,” and Lena sounds as tired as Kara feels.

“Rough day?” Kara asks sympathetically.

Lena hums in agreement, “Rough week more like, the disaster in Japan had a ripple effect to several ongoing projects, business mergers, and investments. We’ve decided to delay the brand relaunch by a week so we can try and work around all these emergency meetings,” she sighs tiredly, “But that’s enough about work. How are you? Are you home?”

“Yeah, I’ve done all I can over there, I’m just lying in bed,” Kara replies.

“God, I don’t think I’ve seen my bed in three days,” Lena groans, “I’ve started having daydreams about my pillows whenever I see clouds in the sky.”

Kara laughs lightly but her mouth turns down in a frown when she asks, “Lena, tell me you haven’t been sleeping in your office.”

“Ok, I haven’t been sleeping in my office,” Lena says easily.

Kara sighs, only slightly amused at Lena’s antics, “Man, you are tired, your jokes are getting pedestrian,”

Lena scoffs indignantly, “Pedestrian! That’s rude, at least I don’t resort to puns, like someone, I know.”

“You are not going to draw me into this argument again, puns are funny Lena, end of story,” Kara says smiling light and easy.

“You would say that, words are literally your job,” she retorts.

“True, also don’t think I didn’t notice you changing the subject, Lena. Seriously. Promise me you’ll go sleep in your bed tonight not your office couch,” Kara pleads. She doesn’t respond right away, and Kara just listens to her breathing.

“Ok, I promise,” Lena says finally, so so softly. Kara sighs in relief.

“And food? Do I need barge into a meeting full Supergirl regalia and force you to sit down for a few minutes to eat? Cuz I will,” Kara threatens lightly.

Lena laughs, “No, Jess, organized the catering for the next meeting, I promise I’ll eat a whole sandwich before I leave that meeting.”

“Good, I’m glad,” and Kara just smiles to herself in victory.

“Thanks for looking out for me, Kara,” Lena says, and it’s breaks Kara’s heart because she knows Lena hasn’t had anyone looking out for her the whole time she and Lena were fighting.

“Always,” she promises to Lena, “Speaking of looking out, thanks again, those nutrient packets came in SO handy this week, I didn’t always have time eat as much as I needed and those things saved my life, and helped keep me going for longer than I would have otherwise,” she gushes, “I’m gonna need some more though I’m down to my last few, preferably chocolate and strawberry flavors, please, those were my fav.”

“I’m glad to hear it, I’ll have some delivered to your place,” and Kara thanks her as she hears the scratching of a pen.

“Lena…” Kara starts hesitantly and stops. Lena’s answering hum fills the short pause. “Do you have any have time tonight to maybe grab dinner? Or I could bring you something,” Kara asks shyly, “but if you don’t, I totally understand, it’s just…I miss you.”

She hears Lena take in a shaky breath, “Oh, Kara, darling, I miss you too,” and Kara hears a distant frustrated…growl? “Unfortunately, because most of my meetings are with the Japanese offices I have back to back meetings all afternoon and late into the evening to accommodate their business hours.” Lena adds a heartfelt, “I’m sorry,” that has Kara wishing she hadn’t asked in the first place.

“It’s ok, I thought I’d ask, you know, nothing ventured nothing gained and all that, right?” she says lightly, trying to keep the disappointment out of her voice. There’s a longing silence that lingers between them, and Lena clears her throat.

“Actually, Kara, I have a question, and please feel free to say no, I don’t want you to feel obligated or pressured, not to mention it might not be the most fun, especially with the kind of people who attend-”

“Lena!” Kara interrupts laughing, “You’re pulling a Kara, breathe, what’s your question?” she can feel the fond smile on her face pleased to know that she’s rubbing off on Lena.

“Would you like to accompany me to the L-Corp Rebranding Gala?”

Oh.

If all the air in her lungs hadn’t just rushed out of her, Kara might have found the way Lena asks her so formally, adorable, but as it is she feels a flutter of nerves in her belly instead, “Like…as your…date?” she breathes out, and doesn’t take a breath in.

“Yes,” Lena says simply, and if Kara were human she would think that Lena is perfectly composed and in control but Kara is not human and she can hear her racing heart and knows she’s not the only one that’s nervous and, that, more than anything, helps her to breathe again.

A sort of giddiness starts to overtake Kara and she can feel the grin growing on her face and responds just as simply, “I’d love to.”

Chapter Text

Kara was still exhausted but after her phone call with Lena she was feeling restless and jittery. Immediately following Lena’s invitation Jess had come into her office saying their five minutes was up and Lena’s next appointment had arrived. They said farewell with quiet goodbyes and Kara, still lying-in bed, turned to clutch her pillow, grinning like an idiot, and let out a full-bodied contented sigh.

She really did try to go to sleep but her mind kept distracting her with thoughts of Lena. She was going to the gala as Lena’s date! It’s enough to make her laugh, but after some time as she continues to toss and turn trying to go to sleep, eyes burning, her thoughts start to turn for the worse. It’s little things at first, just small insecurities, nothing she can’t just brush away, but eventually they start to stick, and they spiral into something altogether too big for Kara to rationalize, until she’s convinced herself it’s too good to be true, and surely Lena just meant that she wanted a friend to go with her. It has Kara up and out of bed pacing her room in worry and frantic self-doubt…and she really just needs her sister right now. So, she text’s Alex to let her know she’s on her way and leaves without waiting for a reply.

Kara flies straight through Alex’s open window, barely takes in that Kelly and Alex are curled up on the couch, Kelly with a book and Alex with her phone, and any other time she would probably feel bad for barging in and disturbing their peace but Kara is too far into her anxieties to notice.

Alex and Kelly straighten up slightly looking over the back of the couch and watch as Kara begins to pace steadily back and forth behind them, wringing her hands and chewing her lip.

“Kara, what’s the matter?” Alex asks with concern frowning and moves to stand next to the couch but out of Kara’s pace lane.

She pauses mid step for a moment drawing in a sharp breath, looks at Alex with stricken eyes, trying to figure out what to say first or where to start but it overwhelms her, and she lets out a strangled choked sound and resumes pacing instead. Frenetic thoughts flit through Kara’s mind ranging from what a terrible friend she had been to Lena for selfishly keeping her identity secret to who could ever want to be with her when she was throwing herself headlong into danger and almost dying every few months. 

Alex exchanges a shocked worried look with Kelly.

“Kara, I can see you’re upset right now but why don’t you take a moment and just focus on your breathing,” Kelly says gently.

The pacing continues and Kara tries to do as Kelly suggests thinking of only taking air into and pushing out of her lungs, she slows marginally, and eventually her breathing evens but then she feels tears prickle at her eyes. Alex approaches as Kara slows and draws her into a warm hug. She sags against her sister placing her head on her shoulder, hands tucked under her chin like she used to when Kara was a child and Alex would curl around her to block out the world. It always made her feel safe and cared for, it does the same now, tears of relief spilling onto Alex’s shoulder, her breath hitching slightly, listening and focusing only on Alex’s steady heartbeat. Kara just feels so tired, but her mind won’t let her sleep. Alex holds her tight, swaying, and silent.

After some time, Alex speaks, “How about we get you into pjs and we can cuddle on my bed, and you can tell us what’s on your mind if you’re up for it, yeah?” she asks gently, Kara sighs and nods, feeling so much calmer now that she has her sister.

After she’s changed into Alex’s comfy sweats, she presses her back into the middle of the headboard hunching and drawing the blankets up to her chin, her eyes avoiding, twisting the blanket in her hands, still chewing on her lip. Alex presses close on one side, and Kelly on the other rests a comforting hand on Kara’s shoulder, and she starts to feel guilty and embarrassed about barging in on them and her subsequent little meltdown.

“Ah, ah,” Alex says negating, as she presses quick fingers to Kara’s crinkle, “No feeling guilty, we love you and want to help so don’t go down that rabbit hole.”

Kara scoffs and is annoyed and pleased by how well Alex can read her. There’s a stretch of silence and Alex tentatively tries to draw Kara out.

“Is it, Phantom Zone stuff?” Kara shakes her head, “Is it, work stuff?” another shake, “Supergirl stuff? Like the tsunami recovery, I know that has been rough on you.”

“No, it’s none of that,” Kara says softly, “Well, maybe a little of the recovery efforts cuz I feel so exhausted,” she amends, and that much is true, she feels so weary. Kara’s been going nonstop for the past week and she feels frayed and spread thin, her call with Lena had been a bright spot but afterwards her elated feelings quickly spiraled and twisted into something else entirely. Alex hums and pulls Kara tighter into her side.

“…It’s…about Lena,” she whispers, small and unsure. She can feel Alex tense, and Kara can imagine that Alex is running through a gamut of worst-case scenarios involving the Luthor, but before she can potentially get worked up, Kelly steps in.

“What about Lena?” she asks with no expectations or agenda.

Kara’s breath hitches as she stumbles over her words, “Well, she-I mean I- we…”

Alex squeezes her and calms her before she can her worked up again, Kelly must use her psychologist superpowers to deduce what is going on with Kara because what she says next settles her racing and jumbled thoughts.

“Let’s try this Kara, you love movies, right? Think of your relationship with Lena like a story or movie, Alex and I have seen part of the movie but you’re going to have to fill in the missing scenes for us. Start wherever you think is best and eventually we’ll get to the part that’s worrying you and by that time we will have a better understanding for having all the context. Do that sound good?” Kelly says pleasant and kind, and she nods, relieved. Kara feels a rush of warmth for Kelly and is so grateful Alex has such a sweet and kind partner.

Kara tells them, she starts haltingly at first, and then the words are practically rushing out of her, she starts all the way back to the inception of her relationship with Lena, painting a picture of their interactions, and giving commentary in the moment with the clarity of hindsight on certain actions or thoughts. Kara speaks for a long time looking at nothing and no one in particular, not wanting to see Alex’s reaction, so she misses all the looks that Alex and Kelly sometimes share over her head. When she’s done, Kara feels lighter if no less tired, and no one says a word. Kelly stands to move towards the kitchen.

“Well, that was a lot,” Alex says, with more than a little astonishment, and Kara steadfastly does not want to see the look on Alex’s face in case she finds disapproval there, because she doesn’t have the energy right now to defend Lena against her as usual, as much as she wants to.

Kelly returns with a mug of hot chocolate for Kara and starts to feel the tug of sleep calling her, finally, as she sips her drink and sags further into Alex’s side.

Alex seems to notice after a while and gently passes the mug back into Kelly’s hands and coaxes Kara into a more comfortable position on her side. Kara sighs sleepily while Alex smooths Kara’s hair back, running fingers through her hair in just the way Kara likes and knows will lull her to sleep.

Kara comes out of her slumber a couple times enough to hear Alex and Kelly softly speaking, but she quickly falls back into oblivion feeling warm and safe, knowing Alex is nearby keeping watch.

Her bladder wakes her sometime the next morning and she rolls out of bed half asleep, and as she walks back to the bed Alex stirs looking up at her with sleepy concerned eyes, Kelly lays behind her, one arm wrapped around her waist. Kara’s chest clenches at the sight and feels simultaneously happy for her sister and a yearning for something similar for herself.

“You ok?”

“Yeah, just a bathroom break,” Kara whispers, Alex nods, closes her eyes, pats the empty space in front of her where Kara slept the night before and extends an arm in invitation for cuddles. Kara slips back into bed and presses her forehead to Alex’s chest and sighs loudly, feeling her sister’s arms draw her in close. The jostling seems to stir Kelly who pops her head up to look over Alex’s head at them.

“Everything ok?” she asks sleepily.

“Yep, go back to sleep, babe,” Alex says succinctly, and Kara smiles, and drifts back into sleep.

In the morning Kara wakes to the smell of breakfast and a loud rumbly belly, Alex and Kelly are in the kitchen working in tandem and Kara takes a moment to admire the easy way they move around each other and the space.

“Good morning!” Kelly says brightly when she sees Kara sitting up in bed and she responds in kind. Alex makes her way to the side of the bed and sits down,

Alex tilts her head at Kara, “How are you feeling? Sleep ok?”

“I feel so much better,” she says with utter sincerity, and she really does. The haze and oppression of her emotions from the previous day has dissipated and she feels a thread of embarrassment for her actions, especially now everything with Lena is out of the bag, “Thanks, Alex,” she says more softly and so grateful. Alex just smiles at Kara and leans forward for a hug.

“No problem, it’s what big sisters are for,” she says as always, squeezing Kara tight.

Once they’ve finished their breakfast, Alex pulls Kara to the couch and lets her get comfortable in her favorite corner with requisite pillow and blanket. Alex settles in between where Kelly and Kara sit, passing a cup of coffee to her girlfriend as she does so, facing Kara and leaning to rest lightly against Kelly. Kara fiddles with the edge of the pillow anticipating the conversation that will surely follow and waits.

“So…you and Lena, huh?” Alex says seriously with none of the skepticism or disapproval Kara had worried about last night. Kara looks at her sister with wide eyes and nods, hoping against hope that her big sister approves, even if ultimately, she doesn’t need it, she just wants it. Alex hums, “I gotta say, I’m surprised,” nodding to herself, then an unexpected smirk appears on her lips, “I didn’t think my little sister had such good game.”

Kara chokes on nothing and her chin drops, stares at Alex in surprise and then indignation, “Alex!” she yells, slightly scandalized, and can feel a blush coming on as she smacks her sister with the pillow, and hears an accompanying, if amused, scold from Kelly. Alex just bats the pillow away and flashes a smug grin at them both.

“What? I have eyes, Kara,” she says, matter of fact, like Kara’s the dummy. It exasperates her as only an older sister can do. Kara just huffs and rolls her eyes pouting, but a smile is tugging at her lips, because yeah, Lena is kind, and intelligent, and gorgeous and just…everything.

Alex sobers and waits for Kara to meet her gaze, “But, really, what’s the issue, sounds to me like you’re a couple of huge gay disasters for each other.”

Kara glares at her sister growling out her name again, but Alex just raises her coffee to her lips, eyebrows going up in a look that’s all-knowing sass and a question, as if to say without words, but did I lie though?

“Alex, stop teasing your sister,” Kelly admonishes coming to Kara’s aid, Alex shrugs sheepishly and little chastised. “What Alex means to say is, why don’t you tell us what you’re feeling about your evolving relationship with Lena.”

Kara fiddles with the pillow in her lap some more and tries to put emotions and thoughts into words, “Mostly I’m excited,” her gaze turns to the side staring out the window, “I haven’t felt this way about anyone since Mon-el, but this is different,” she says with quiet conviction.

“How is it different?” Alex asks, curious, playfulness stowed for now.

Kara sighs, “With Mon-el we had this shared history and…trauma, I guess. He understood that part of me that no one else ever has or could,” she glances down to her fingers, picking at her nails, “After he left and then came back, I realized that I had romanticized the whole of our relationship, and in the end he had to leave again, but later I realized that I wasn’t exactly upset he went home, I was relieved, because I don’t think he and I would have lasted, our dead planets and trauma could only keep us together for so long.” Kara frowns down at her hands, and then looks up at her sister.

“But with Lena,” she pauses shaking her head slightly in disbelief that she didn’t understand sooner, at least not consciously, “it’s this indescribable connection,” Kara tries to find the words anyway, “she and I are share the same values and desire to do good. I saw myself in her. Even though my past and pain looks different it didn’t diminish my understanding of her, she wants to belong so badly, just like me.” Kara’s face darkens with regret, “I hate how things blew up between us and there are things we both did we aren’t proud of but even after everything I knew she was still coming from a place of good.”

“I’m no stranger to loss, I’ve lost so many people in my life but when I lost Lena,” Kara clutches at her chest still able to feel the pang of loss when Lena confronted her at the Fortress, “it was like losing Krypton all over again,” she croaks through labored breaths. Kara feels Alex’s hand grasp hers tightly and sees her sister’s watery gaze looking at her with such sympathy.

“I’m sorry,” Alex says hoarsely, “I didn’t know. I didn’t understand.”

“Neither did I,” Kara whispers, “I didn’t realize until recently, not until she came back to me and apologized,” tears spill down her cheeks partly in pain from past events and partly in relief that Lena had come back at all, “I wanted to be mad at her, tried to be angry, but more than that, more than anything I just wanted her back,” she presses her lips together to try and keep them from quivering and takes the tissue Kelly passes to her with quiet thanks and wipes her face, taking a moment to calm her slightly erratic breathing.

She pushes past the lump in her throat, “When I saw all the things, she was doing to make amends, I didn’t have the heart to fight forgiving her anymore, I didn’t want to” and she glances up at the ceiling to try to stop more tears from spilling, “I died, Alex,” she sobs. Alex’s tears have spilled onto her cheeks, hand griping Kara’s in an iron hold, “I died, and Lena saved my life.” Kara’s voice is watery and her smile, proud.

“Do you want to know something crazy?” Alex stays silent but nods her head slightly, face pinched, “I knew I was going to be ok; I knew that Lena would save me,” Kara says with such conviction and certainty, “I felt it in my bones, Alex,” Kara breathes, vindicated by very presence before them, “and she saved me. Twice.”

“When I came back, things were different, I thought we would go back to how we were before but instead it was like all of our interactions had these double meanings,” she thinks back on all of their exchanges since then, flushing, “like everything was electrified, and it feels like we’re heading someplace inevitable but she and I haven’t actually talked about it,” and that’s the crux of the problem Kara realizes, she and Lena haven’t had a proper conversation, it’s all just been flirting and innuendo, never anything clear and unambiguous.

There’s a long pause as Alex processes and then finally, “Then I think you know what you need to do, Kara.”

 

Kelly packs her a to go container of the left-over mountain of pancakes, and Kara squeezes Kelly in a tight hug trying to convey how grateful she is to the other woman, “Thanks for everything, you’re really too good for my punk sister,” she feels Kelly laugh at Alex’s indignant, hey, behind them.

Kara releases Kelly and turns to her sister, who’s all playful scowls, then turns serious, “Hey, I just wanted you to know that I’m happy for you, that you found Lena,” Alex’s tone and face are full of warm affection. Kara hugs Alex hard and tries to convey all her love and thanks in that single action.

“We’ll have to do a double date one of these days,” Alex says into her shoulder. Kara pulls away in surprise, sputtering.

“But what if we aren’t-or Lena doesn’t want…” Kara starts to argue, some of her earlier insecurities rearing up, she doesn’t want to assume that Lena wants to be with her in that way, even if all signs seem to point to, yes. That’s why they need to talk.

Alex is having none of it, and cuts her off, “Kara, after everything you told us, I’m pretty confident.”

“But-…”

“No buts,” she interrupts, voice stern, hands reaching out to grab hold of Kara’s biceps, “do you trust me?” Kara nods without hesitation, of course she trusts Alex, but still averts her eyes. “Then, please, trust me about this,” ducking down into Kara’s eyeline.

Kara lets her, and bites her lip uncertainly, looking into Alex’s sure and steady gaze, feeling her confidence rise, “Ok,” she breathes out, “you’re right.”

Alex’s quick grin is sure and swift, “Of course I am.”

Kara says goodbye to her sister and checks the time, it’s still mid-morning so she sends a text to Lena just to say hi and check in, then flies high above the city soaking in the sun and takes a deep cleansing breath. She’s glad she went to see her sister, and she tries to push any lingering embarrassment for her meltdown out of her mind. It’s ok, she’s been under a lot of stress and now that she’s talked it through and has a plan she can move forward.

Nia calls while Kara is doing lazy laps around the city, stopping a couple petty crimes and finding a lost dog, and asks to meet up for lunch, they agree on Noonan’s.

“Hey!” Nia cries and throws her arms around Kara in a friendly hug, “How are you? I’m sad we haven’t been able to hang out with all the craziness,” Nia says as she takes a seat, Kara’s already ordered their beverages and sandwiches, and Nia digs right in.

“I know, I’m sorry.  You’ve been covering for me a lot, I really appreciate it,” and Kara does. Nia has covered for her so much the last couple months, not just with work but also superhero work both while Kara was in the Phantom Zone and during the past week while she was overseas and couldn’t spend much time in National City.

Nia waves her thanks away likes it no big deal, “Don’t worry about,” but then her smile turns mischievous, “but there is something you can do if you want to repay me.”

Kara replies without thought, oh so naïve and trusting, “Name it,” taking a bite into her own sandwich.

Nia leans forward on her forearms, “I’m gonna need you to spill that sweet, sweet, tea about your love triangle,” she says gleefully.

Kara chokes, “My what?!” she manages to rasp out after her coughing fit and marvels idly in the back of her mind that she’s gotten old enough that she’s only able to understand Nia’s slang from the context clues.

Nia snorts at her reaction, “Kara, I’ve spent the whole last week listening to the rumor mill churn out some crazy stuff about your love life,” she states like Kara should know. “So, come on, spill, I’ve been waiting to ask for a week after I saw you guys.”

Kara sputters, “Wha-What did you see?! There was nothing to see!” she insists.

Nia rolls her eyes, “Yeah, half the bullpen saw you guys, I was in one of the conference rooms waiting for a meeting, but man did it look juicy through those glass walls.”

Kara’s mouth flaps open and closed like a fish and she can feel her signature blush rising high on her cheeks. Nia’s gleeful interrogation face changes into concern and mild self-reproach.

“I’m sorry, Kara, I didn’t mean to make you so uncomfortable, I was genuinely curious, you know I would never gossip about something you told me in confidence, right?” and Nia looks so young and ashamed, that Kara rushes to comfort her, forgetting her own.

“Of course!” Kara says honestly and sincerely.

Nia sighs in relief, “Oh good, I was caught up in the drama of it, you know? I was excited to get the real scoop from you, even if I won’t tell anyone else.”

Kara looks down and fiddles with her glasses, “Well, there’s not much to tell there,” she tries to deflect.

“Kara,” Nia says softly, tilting her head in skepticism, “all jokes aside, you don’t have to tell me, I just thought you might want to gush about Lena little.” Kara’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise.

“Hey, don’t give me that look, I’ve been around for a minute and I could tell something was up with you guys even when you were on the outs, even before I witnessed all that eye fucking from across the building last week.”

“Nia!” and it’s ridiculous that Nia has the ability to make her blush like this, but it’s probably only because it has to do with Lena. Nia for her part just takes another bite of her sandwich and looks at Kara patiently expectant.

She sighs, and Kara thinks to herself that she’s been sighing a lot recently…it must be love, but she proceeds to tell Nia a condensed version of events, telling her about Lena’s more amorous attentions lately that are not unwelcome, and how she gave William the boot when she realized she wanted to pursue Lena instead, and finally about how their maybe not but possibly a date lunch was interrupted. If Kara glossed over some of the details that’s only because it’s private between her and Lena.

Nia sighs dreamily, gushing about how Kara’s love life is like a movie plot. Kara laughs and finds that she doesn’t mind sharing this with Nia, and maybe she did want to gush to someone about how beautiful and kind and thoughtful Lena is.

It’s as if speaking of Lena summons her, because her phone rings with her caller ID, Nia’s eyes widen and gesture excitedly for her to pick it up.

“Hi, Lena!” Kara says, and tries to reign in her enthusiasm a little while Nia’s eyes are trained on her face, soaking up every muscle twitch, but from Nia’s knowing smirk she doesn’t think she succeeds as much as she hopes.

“Good morning, darling, or-oh should I say afternoon,” Lena says, her voice sounds a little rough, and Kara imagines that she’s just woken up and is probably still flushed from sleep-…and she stops right there, now is not the time.

Lena isn’t one to sleep so late into the afternoon though, so she asks, a little concerned “Did you just wake up?”

“Yes, a little while ago, I don’t think I fell into bed until almost after four this morning, these Japanese meetings are kicking my ass,” she says with mild annoyance. “But you’ll be pleased to know that, even though these meetings might have ruined my sleep schedule, I did come home and slept in my own bed instead of the office, as promised.”

“That’s great, I’m glad to hear it,” Kara says tenderly, glad that Lena was able to get some much-needed rest. “You must have been tired; you rarely sleep for more than six hours at a time and here you’ve gone and slept for almost nine.” Lena hums in agreement and Kara can hear her making coffee in the background. Kara thinks back on her conversation with her sister and Kelly this morning and what she needs to do, it makes her stomach feel queasy with nerves.

“Listen, I’m glad you called,” she grips the napkin in her lap for something to take her mind off her nervousness, “I was hoping I could setup a time to see you so we could hang out, maybe watch some movies and have dinner at one of our places,” Kara is proud of herself for keeping the tremor in voice to a minimum. From the other side of the phone, she hears Lena’s breathing quicken ever so slightly, and Kara continues in the silence, “I know you’re super busy so whenever works for you is fine by me,” and then adds a little hesitantly, eyes cast down toward her lap shyly, “I’d really like to spend some time with you.”

“I’d really like that too, darling,” Lena says, and Kara thinks that’s longing in her voice. “Let me go over my schedule and I’ll let you know. Is that alright?”

“Absolutely!” she says brightly and feels some giddiness bubble into her chest in anticipation.

“Perfect, I’ll talk to you later, have a wonderful day, I lo-...” Lena seems to choke on her words, and Kara frowns a moment, but Lena recovers, the next words seem to rush out of her mouth, “I’ll talk to you later, goodbye.” Kara barely gets her own goodbye in, and she quirks her head at her phone from the rushed ending, she shakes her head and looks up at her lunch companion.

Nia has her elbows on the table, chin resting on the backs of her hands staring at Kara, and sighs dreamily, “You are adorable when you’re talking to Lena,” she states, daring her to argue. Kara just looks away and smiles bashfully.

“Shut up, Nia.”

Chapter Text

Kara fidgets, willing herself not to grip the bag of food in her hand too hard lest she shred it to pieces and tries to distract herself on the agonizingly slow elevator ride up to CEO’s office, recounting her phone conversation with Lena the night before, when she called her late in the evening between meetings.

“So, I have good news and bad news,” Lena tells her as Kara settles into the corner of her couch.

“Bad news first please, so I can have my good news as consolation,” she says, playing with a loose thread on the blanket across her lap.

“I won’t be able to do a movie night until Wednesday at the earliest,” and Kara can hear the apology in her voice while she speaks, “My schedule should finally be free of emergency meetings by Tuesday afternoon.”

Kara pouts to herself, it’s Sunday so she’ll have to wait three more sleeps and that feels like an eternity away, but Lena’s next words make her perk up significantly.

“But the good news is that I can see you for lunch. A whole thirty-five minutes, if you have time around one o’clock tomorrow,” Lena says, and Kara can tell she’s biting her lip even if she can’t see it.

“A whole thirty-five consecutive minutes?” she quips lightly, “You must have had to rearrange your entire schedule just for me,” Kara says teasing, expecting Lena to match her wit as usual, but Lena’s response makes her breath catch in her throat.

“Yeah, I did…totally worth it,” Lena says lowly, with more seriousness than Kara anticipates, and her chest aches because she misses Lena so much and is surprised again by what lengths Lena will go for her, that she would rearrange her entire day of important meetings to have even a few minutes with her.

Kara breathes hard, willing herself not to cry like the huge sap she is, and clears her throat, “Thank you,” and gets stuck trying to understand why this thank you makes her choke up, and realizes after a moment that it’s gratitude for Lena making Kara a priority, even above the work she is so passionate about. “I’ll pick something up from that protein bar you like on the east side of town,” and Kara is proud of being able to wrest control of her voice to sound normal again, “I’ll even get you that kale concoction you like so much,” not bothering to hide her disgust.

Lena chuckles, “Sounds perfect, you’re too good to me,” and Kara wants to argue that it’s Lena who’s too good, but she hears Jess in the background calling Lena away. They bid farewell and Kara calls Alex to she if she has time to do an impromptu sister night so she can distract herself, and not pathetically pine away all night in her apartment alone.

The elevator finally arrives on the correct floor, and Kara forces herself to walk normally towards Lena’s office. She approaches Jess’s desk and sets a smoothie from the protein bar down in front of her like the old habit it is, then realizes belatedly that this universe’s Jess has never met Kara Danvers before. Jess’s eyebrows reach toward her hairline, “Can I help you, Miss…”

“Danvers,” Kara says quickly, and tries to suppress the urge to ramble, and sees Jess flick down to eye the smoothie, “that’s for you,” she blurts.

Jess takes a sip and says in surprise and slight suspicion, “How did you know that’s my favorite?”

Kara’s hand rises without thought and fiddles with her glasses, “Lucky guess?” and curses herself for the way her voice goes up at the end making her words a question. Then she gestures towards Lena’s office doors trying to make a quick escape, “Can I?”

Jess scrutinizes her for a moment longer then rises and knocks on Lena’s door, opens it and calls, “Ms. Luthor, your one o’clock. Ms. Danvers for you,” and gestures Kara inside, closing the door behind her at Lena’s thank you.

And wow. Kara hasn’t seen Lena in over a week and this moment almost wrecks her. The following seconds feel long and drawn out, even though Kara knows logically the pace of time doesn’t slow. She watches Lena’s lips form a smile that’s all teeth, wide and sweet, cheeks turning a rosy pink, and the sight of it makes Kara’s heart flutter and race expanding her chest with warm affection and she’s gutted by how much she missed Lena.

In the next moment, she sees her stand to push herself out of the office chair, Kara’s mind blanking and throat going dry because Lena, as always, is gorgeous in any outfit but this particular dress makes her stomach drop and her thoughts turn decidedly lustful. But, then with a rush she realizes she’s about to have her arms full of Lena, and scrambles forward to drop the food in her hands on the coffee table to her left and meets Lena halfway.

They practically collide and just an instant before they do Kara makes sure that she recoils the tiniest bit, so Lena doesn’t feel like she’s throwing herself into a brick wall, and wraps both her arms around Lena’s waist, one hand trailing up to cradle her head gently against her neck, the other woman’s arms locked tightly around her shoulders. Lena must have kicked off her heels earlier because she stands shorter than she normally does, and Kara finds she quite likes the height difference, if only so she can feel Lena rest more comfortably against her shoulder and chest.

Kara takes a deep breath in and Lena’s sweet scent and perfume fill her lungs and settles something in her chest she didn’t know was restless there, feels tension she didn’t know she was holding bleed out of her shoulders.

“I missed you,” Lena says soft and vulnerable into her neck, and it’s so reminiscent of their first hug when Kara returned from the Phantom Zone, she feels a small spike of emotion hit her chest.

Kara squeezes Lena just the tiniest bit closer and breathes out, “I missed you too.” It makes Lena take in a shuddering breath and Kara turns her head slightly to press her lips to Lena’s temple tenderly.

Lena pulls back slightly, but she’s still close enough that she can feel the small puffs of air across her face, Lena’s left hand dragging down Kara’s neck and collar coming to rest flat on her chest, while green eyes stare at her own hand, brow pinched ever so slightly, as if studying the feel of Kara’s racing heart. Then glacially, Lena’s eyes meet Kara’s, and she’s sure Lena felt her skipping heart as they do. Kara’s breath feels shallow and stops a moment when she sees intent eyes glance down at her lips.

Her stomach chooses to growl then, and it’s sounds so oppressively loud in the silence.

Kara is so shocked, and she can see the matching shock in Lena’s face that Kara can’t do anything but screw her eyes closed and turn her head to the side willing this moment to be a nightmare.

Lena barks out a surprised laugh and lets her forehead drop to rest onto Kara’s chest, and mumbles, “I just can’t catch a break,” chuckling in disbelief. Kara stands still as a statue refusing to even move, gnashing her teeth, trying her hardest to manifest some type of new superpower, preferably something like invisibility, and feels as though her skin is on fire from the raging blush on her face.

“Kara,” Lena says with frank amusement in her voice. Kara continues to emulate her best impression of stone but shakes her head infinitesimally in response. “Darling, it’s alright,” and Kara can’t help it that she starts to melt a little when she feels cool fingers slide up her jaw tugging in vain to turn her head. She finally lets her, but she refuses to meet Lena’s eyes, choosing instead to keep her head bowed, staring at her favorite freckle on Lena’s neck. “Sweetheart, there’s no need to be embarrassed, it’s just me,”

Kara flicks her eyes up super-fast and takes in Lena’s expression. She’s not mad, not that she really expected that, her lips are pressed into an amused line, and she’s looking at Kara with such fondness that feels undeserved. Lena leans forward to hug Kara again, this time pressing the Kryptonian’s face gently into her own neck and shoulder. Kara forces herself to relax into Lena, “There’s no rush, come on, let’s eat.” She guides them to the couch, and they sit close together, closer than they ever have, closer than necessary, Kara is turned slightly inward, and Lena turned almost completely to face Kara, one leg pulled up and knees pressing into Kara’s thigh.

It takes a few minutes, but Lena finally gets Kara to loosen back up, catching each other up to talk about their own trials during their week apart, and Kara also tells Lena about her encounter with Jess just a little while ago.

“How did she become your assistant again, anyway?”

“Well, when I had to step in as CEO again, I was wishing I had Jess with me, she was such a huge part of L-Corp’s success in the early days. Honestly, it if weren’t for her staying on top of everything I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish even half as much as I did then,” she pauses in remembrance with a small smile and then continues, “I had a hunch she still worked here and sure enough she was an assistant to a junior VP in one of the offices across town. I interviewed her and when she turned out to be more or less, the same person I remembered, I poached her,” Lena says smugly.

Kara nods and then laughs at herself, “I completely forgot she didn’t know me this time around, I think she thinks I’m a stalker or something when I gave her, her favorite smoothie,” Kara says frowning slightly at the door that separates the, Lena laughs out right.

“I wondered why her expression was more guarded than usual when she announced you,” she says, amused, “It seemed like she was hoping I might throw you out.”

“Well, that’s too bad because I plan on being here a whole lot more in the future, so she better get used to me,” Kara grumbles, and glares mildly at the door. When she looks back to Lena, she’s almost startled to find her so close, but it’s her expression that makes her freeze, with bated breath.

“Yeah?” and the voice Lena uses is happy, and breathless, and brimming with hope, head tilted, brow quirked up in question. Kara’s eyes flit down to Lena’s mouth and then back to her eyes, and she nods drawing the smallest bit closer.

“Absolutely,” she says, certain, “I’ll be here all the time,” she whispers, and Kara leans forward, her left-hand snakes around Lena’s waist, and watches her eyes start to flutter closed…

Kara’s phone buzzes and rumbles loudly on the coffee table, and Kara, startles, turns her face to the right away from Lena, and bites out a loud Kryptonian curse she didn’t know she remembered let alone used in years, at the same time Lena mutters a disgruntled, son of a bitch. Lena has essentially collapsed against her, forehead pressed into Kara’s neck, right arm curled under and around the Kryptonian’s shoulder.

Kara snatches up her phone without checking who it is and barks out a curt and frustrated, “What!”

“Ms. Danvers, I know you are no longer my employee, but that does not give you the right to speak to me thusly, you of all people should know I do not tolerate such insolence,” comes the familiar smooth placid voice.

“Ms. Grant!” Kara yelps, and the all the angry tension in her body is immediately replaced with abject mortification born from years of being her assistant, “I’m so sor-,” but Cat cuts her off, and Kara can almost imagine the casual wave of her hand in dismal.

“Enough, I sent you an email fifteen minutes ago telling you to contact me immediately, but you’ve forced me to track you down instead,” she states, impatience clear in her voice.

Kara feels like she’s missed a step going up some stairs, “Oh, I haven’t checked my email in about that long…” she trails off.

“And what, pray tell, were you doing that is more important than your job, Ms. Danvers?” she asks, sarcastically.

“Uhhh…” Kara glances briefly down at Lena who hasn’t moved from her spot pressed against her, and flushes when she thinks that telling Ms. Grant she was in the middle of trying to kiss one Lena Luthor and failing miserably (twice!), due to things beyond her control, is probably not a good idea.

“Spare me your rambling,” she cuts in before Kara can actually say anything, “Meet me in the location I sent you via my encrypted email.”

“I-What? You’re in National City?” Kara asks, still reeling.

“Of course not, and you would know that if you weren’t off doing God knows what, when you should be doing your job,” Kara knows better than to try and explain she was on her lunch break, “if you want to be left behind on this story then by all means, carry on with whatever it was you were doing.”

“Ms. Gr-,” Kara tries to interject, so she can get more information but Cat talks over her again.

“You have one hour to get here Ms. Danvers, otherwise it’s just going to be my name on the byline for this story,” and she hangs up without another word.

Kara stares at her phone a little dazed, then clicks on the email from Cat sitting in her inbox, and sees at the top, 527 Texas Ave, Texas City on time or don’t come at all.

Kara jumps a little when she feels a hand on her thigh, and feels Lena pull back enough from her side to be able to see her face.

Lena scoffs, shaking her head, “Cat is always steam rolling over people,” Lena looks a little sheepish when she says, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, she has a very loud piercing voice.”

Kara chuckles, agreeing, “Yeah, and it’s ok, I don’t mind. Also, she pretty much confirmed my theory she knows I’m Supergirl.”

“Why’s that?” she frowns.

“She wants me to be in Texas in an hour,” Lena hums in understanding, leans into Kara to rest her cheek on her shoulder, and Lena’s left hand reaches up to fiddle with a button on her collar. “I didn’t tell her,” Kara whispers and grasps the hand near her throat, hoping that Lena will understand she never revealed her secret to Cat, hopes that she doesn’t misunderstand. Lena doesn’t say anything, just takes one breath and nods, and Kara exhales in relief, releasing her hand reaching instead to clasp both hands around Lena’s waist to pull her closer.

Kara can feel Lena’s lips drag slightly on the fabric of her shirt when she speaks, “If you’ve got an hour, that means we can finish our lunch break,” Lena’s hand slides slowly up Kara’s collar to curl around her neck, burning a trail, and she shivers involuntarily, “I still have ten minutes before I have to go,” and the very slight suggestive undertone in her voice makes Kara inhale sharply.

But the universe, as always, is against them. A bright orange light starts pulsing in Lena’s office, accompanied but a low and insistent alarm, Lena sits up and with a knock in comes Jess.

If Kara didn’t think that Jess was the consummate professional before, she does now because without batting an eye or missing a beat she takes in her boss currently wrapped up in Kara’s arms and simply says, “My apologies for interrupting, Ms. Luthor, but there’s been a biohazard breach in one of the lower labs, it’s been contained to two sub floors, but all non-essential personnel and visitors must evacuate as per standard safety procedures,” and strides forward to hand Lena a binder, and turns to leave.  

“Thank you, Jess,” Lena calls, she and Kara stand, and turn to locks eyes, matching looks of utter exasperation.

“This is ridiculous,” Kara says, alluding to their trysts always getting interrupted, and she can’t help but laugh in incredulity.

Lena laughs right along with her, “Completely and utterly,” she agrees, and frowns, “I am sorry Kara, I know a biohazard breach wouldn’t harm you but…”

Kara shakes her head, “No, it’s fine, I understand, I have to go see Cat, anyway,” and then becomes resolute when she has a thought, “I swear, I’m not going to let anything interrupt movie night on Wednesday, barring the world literally blowing up I am not leaving your side.”

Lena looks grim but amused, “Don’t jinx it, darling.” Kara leaves with a parting lingering hug, and a sweet kiss on the cheek from Lena.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

Kara arrives at Cat Co. on Wednesday morning armed with a usb drive full of a copy of Cat’s sources and hard-won research, as well as a partial story written by the former CEO herself. She sits down heavily in her chair and pulls up the document to continue where Cat left off. Kara has already been to Andrea’s office to pitch the story and give her the first few pages to read from Cat, and after her boss had finished was told in no uncertain terms that Kara was not leaving the office for any reason without turning the expose in for review that very night. So, she settles in and (super) speed reads through all her materials to make sure she has all the facts straight and then gets started on adding to and amending Cat’s words when necessary.

Kara had spent the last couple days following Cat around, first around a port town in Texas and the port itself and then in Houston where the whistle blower, Sarah, who Cat had originally gotten the story from was laying low. Sarah had a change of heart about testifying and was refusing to speak to Cat anymore, so Cat had enlisted Kara’s help.

“The effect of your sunny hopeful demeanor will lure her into a sense of security, then your saccharine charm and heartfelt impassioned plea should be enough to convince her to change her mind,” Cat says to her, and Kara is not at all surprised to be used in this way by her former boss, “If all else fails we can promise her Supergirl as a protection detail,” Kara just about spits her coffee in Cat’s face, in surprise.  

Thankfully, it was enough, especially after they had gathered that last bit of evidence for an airtight case at the port before they had gone to see Sarah. Now, all Kara must do is type it up and send it off then she can finally have this weight of what was originally a fake story, and now a very real and important one, lifted from her chest and she can look forward to movie night with Lena.

Just the thought of it makes Kara smile to herself and if she maybe puts on the slightest blur of speed to type faster, well no one’s paying her any attention.

Around midday she sends a text to Lena reminding her to have lunch and receives a picture of a partially eaten wrap and a happy blushing smiley face and Kara sends back a heart, dopey smile in place. Nia brings her lunch like the kind friend she is, and Kara keeps writing until it is finally complete in the late afternoon.

She gives it to Andrea first for an initial look and then routes it up for edits and print, although in this instance they must wait on final approval from Cat, but Kara’s not worried on that front she was trained by Ms. Grant herself, so she is confident her piece will pass Cat’s sharp eyes with little fanfare.

Kara heads home feeling light and free.

Lena arrives at her apartment thirty minutes later than they agreed but Kara’s too giddy to care and she knows Lena has been so busy that she’s grateful the businesswoman showed up at all. Lena seems to hesitate at the door when she sees Kara but the Kryptonian drags her in and closes the door behind her and pulls Lena into a hug quick and smooth.

“Hi,” Kara breathes into Lena’s hair. A quiet and small hi floats up to Kara’s ears and she pulls back to look at Lena, eyebrows scrunching in concern, “You ok? Long day?”

Kara takes a moment to really look at her and notices that Lena seems subdued in a way that is so contrary to her normal demeanor. Her eyes seem almost a little sad and Kara wonders what has happened this afternoon that Lena’s mood is so altered from the seeming happy playfulness of their texts earlier in the day.

“Yeah,” Lena says simply, and Kara’s heart aches a little and yearns to comfort so she leads them to the couch to get settled in amongst the pillows. Lena sits with her back against the arm of the couch and Kara crowds in close pulling Lena’s legs over hers so she’s almost but not quite sitting in Kara’s lap.

“Want to tell me about it?” Kara asks with no expectations or judgement as she slides an arm around Lena’s back to pull her even closer and reaches out to intertwine theirs fingers with the other.

Lena looks at Kara studying her face, then shakes her head no, and looks down fidgeting with their tangled fingers and Kara recognizes it at one of Lena’s nervous and anxious habits. She frowns about to ask again what’s the matter, but Lena speaks, “Tell me about your day instead, please,” she pleads slightly, “How was writing your piece?”

Kara takes a breath and decides to trust Lena to tell her what’s bothering her when she’s ready and try to be a distraction for a little bit. So, she tells Lena all about the last couple days now that she can, Cat, whom the day before when Kara was about to answer a call from Lena, said to her in no uncertain terms…

“I told you. Not a written or spoken word about this until we’re done,” Kara pouts a little because she wants to tell Lena, but Cat adds sternly, “not even to your girlfriend, Danvers, got it?”

Kara answers the call frowning and says petulantly instead of a hello, “Ms. Grant says I’m not allowed to tell you anything that’s happening cuz she’s a big meany,” and Lena just laughs heartily in response.

She just lets herself ramble telling Lena all about their adventure and Lena presses more into her side, which is normal and fine, but things still feel a little…off. She alternates between glancing down at Lena’s face and squeezing the hand in hers and the one around her waist trying to convey with touches that Kara is present, and cares, and will listen if Lena chooses to speak.

Kara pauses for an instant when Lena’s fingertips reach up to trace along her jaw and up to smooth the loose hairs at her temple behind her ear and pulls their joint hands to press into her sternum, eyes and fingers intent on cataloguing this moment. And Lena asks the right questions and hums and chuckles at all the right parts, but Kara can see she’s not fully…in it, she doesn’t tease Kara like she normally does, there’s no jokes about Cat. It makes a small pit of worry grow in her belly.

The take-out Kara ordered earlier in the day to be delivered at this time announces it arrival, and though Kara is loath to leave Lena’s side, she presses a kiss to cold fingers and extracts herself from her cozy spot.

She sets the bags on the island and Lena picks a movie they’ve both seen a thousand times and puts it on in the background, then makes her way to sit on one the stools. Kara longs to know why Lena seems so melancholy, and as she’s handing over the plate, she’s made for Lena, let’s herself ask, “Is there anything you want to talk about?” Kara askes gently, brows ticked up in concern, “You seem a little sad, we don’t have to do this tonight if you’re not up for it.”

Lena’s jaw clenches and she stares down at her plate for a moment, “No, I don’t want leave,” and meets Kara’s eyes with serious resolution and then seems to perk and put concentrated effort in eating and talking to Kara like she normally does, but Kara knows Lena. It’s a show, and Kara’s a little hurt that Lena would put up such a front like this for her, they’re best friends first and foremost, Lena shouldn’t have to put up a mask.

Kara has a thought then, and a spike of pain accompanies it, what if…what if Lena’s changed her mind about them?  She doesn’t want to consider it, but she must, because something is clearing going on in Lena’s head, and this night is not at all going as she thought it might. Kara watches Lena as she recounts her day, and she can see the tension in the line of her shoulders and the bouncing of her foot. The knot in Kara’s stomach continues to grow and she knows that she has to talk to Lena about this.

They tidy up the counter when they’re done eating but instead of heading over to the couch, Kara catches one of Lena’s hands before she can stand and leans across the island to grab the other when she turns to face her.

“Lena,” Kara starts staring at their joined hands, “there’s something I wanted to talk to you about,” she looks into attentive green eyes, and Lena squeezes her hands to say that she’s listening. “One of the reasons I wanted to hang out tonight was so we could really talk about…us,” and Kara says it with weight, in a way Lena can’t misunderstand.

Lena seems surprised, “Oh,” she looks away, and then down at their hands, one finger starting to flick and fidget in nerves, “what about us?”

Kara sighs, releasing one of Lena’s hands, walks around the edge of the island to stand next to her, “Only that I want that,” and with her free hand lifts Lena’s chin so she can look at her, says “I want there to be an us,” Kara can see and feel plainly Lena’s chin start to quiver and then teeth clench tight to stop it.

She continues, “Ever since I came back, whenever I’m with you it’s been…” she searches for the word, looks back and forth between each of Lena’s beautiful eyes, “like magic. New and exciting and wonderful, it’s felt like we’ve been hurtling headlong in something.” Kara runs her fingertips through the hair at Lena’s temple and brushes long loose strands back and over her shoulder, feels the shiver that accompanies it.

“I want that something to be me bringing you lunch at your office all the time or forcing you to leave work early so you can rest, I want to take you on dates,” Kara rests her palm along Lena’s jaw and feels her lean into it, “I want to wake up next to you and lie in bed on lazy Sundays, I want to see you laugh loud and free at the next ridiculous thing I’ve done to embarrass myself, I want to take you home to have Christmas with me, Eliza, Alex, and Kelly,” she watches as Lena’s eyes start to well up with tears, “I want to cook you dinner and burn it and then we just curl up on the couch and order pizza,” Kara can feel tears prickle behind her eyes too, “I want all of it, I want to be with you in every way that matters,” she wipes away the few tears that trail down Lena’s cheek, and Kara can see all the love and affection she feels for Lena reflected back at her. “I love you. I’m in love with you, Lena Luthor.”

Lena’s lip trembles more and more noticeably, silence drawn out between them, and then her face drops pinched and tight, and her raspy croaked words feel like a physical blow to the chest, “I can’t,” pulling away.

Kara reels, then she can’t breathe, can hardly make sense of anything, feels rising panic in her throat, tears welling in her eyes, “What?” she gasps, “Lena,” and tries to reach for her but Lena pulls back and the sight of that is an even worse blow. “Why…” and she struggles to fight back tears.

Lena is hunched clutching herself, looking away red eyes shut tight, “I shouldn’t have stayed, I told myself I wouldn’t stay, I didn’t mean to stay, it was a mistake,” words rush from her lips, “but I was weak,” she says with biting self-loathing, “and I couldn’t leave you,” and the pain in voice is terrible.

Kara shakes her head, “No. No. I don’t- I don’t understand,” she croaks, and she wants to sooth the ache Lena clearly feels, wants to sooth her own, tries to draw closer, but Lena backs away, shaking her head, and puts the island between them, “Why are you doing this?” Kara pleads in an anguished whisper.   

“Because it can never work, Kara!” she practically shouts, “It was a stupid beautiful wish,” she says quietly, tears streaming down her face, and she still won’t look at her.

“No,” Kara grinds out, “No, you don’t believe that, not after everything, something happened today,” her breathing is uneven and ragged, “What happened today?” Lena screws her eyes up shaking her head, “Lena, please,” she breathes, “it doesn’t make sense, make it make sense,” Kara begs.

There’s a long stretch of silence, and finally she manages, “My mother came to see me today,” Kara practically hisses in a sharp intake of air, “one of her little minions saw us at Cat Co. and reported back.” Lena’s words sound strangled and watery, but she presses on, “She came to tell me that it was fine if I was sleeping with you to use you for good press, but she wanted me to end it if it was more than that.”

Kara feels adrift and unmoored, tears still coursing down her face, anger swelling in her chest towards Lillian, “What did you say?” but she almost doesn’t want to know the answer.

“I told her to go to hell and kicked her out of my office,” Lena says matter of fact, voice hoarse, and Kara feels immense relief, and then confusion.

“Then why? Why are you doing this?” Kara says loudly, moving around to the same side of the island but keeps her distance from Lena. It doesn’t make any sense, everything was fine, everything was perfect only just this morning, what had gone so wrong?

“Because I can’t subject you to my family, Kara!” she says just as loudly, arms flinging out and down, sharp and emphatic, “Tell me how it goes! Tell me! We date, we move in together,” her words coming fast, “we get married,” and voice cracks on the last word, almost whisper quiet. Lena stares straight into Kara’s eyes as the alien’s mouth drops open slightly, feeling helpless. “We what? Invite my mother and brother? Two of the biggest xenophobes on the planet?! Lex killed you!”

Kara sputters, “I- we-…” then finding her footing, feels like maybe she can find a way back from here, “I don’t care about them, I care about you!” she yells again, “Besides they don’t know my secret anymore, you made sure of that.”

Lena shakes her head, looking so sad, “No,” resigned, “but what about when they figure it out again?” and Kara can see her shaking, her whole body practically vibrating, “We both know they’ll find out again, Kara,” fresh tears make their way down Lena’s face, “I won’t do that to you,” she whispers.

“Why do you always have to suffer, Lena?” It’s always Lena who is tortured by Lex and Lillian, it’s always Lena trying to pay and make up for their sins, “Why can’t you pick your own happiness?” Kara spits out, a little anger coloring her words, and she can see that strikes a chord.

“Oh, you’re one to talk!” Lena volleys right back, with heat in her voice, and Kara is taken aback, “You died, Kara!” she shouts with pain laced in her voice, “I can’t keep watching you throw your life away, as if you don’t matter, as if your only use is to die for the world,” she cries.

Kara gapes at her, and then looks down, clenches her hands into fists at her side, chastised. It’s something she thought seriously about after she was trapped in the Phantom Zone, reflected seriously on Alex’s point of view about how Kara’s sacrifice had felt like she didn’t care about the pain to her loved ones caused by Kara’s recklessness, that she didn’t have to give her life because she felt guilty for living while her whole planet died. She struggled with it but she forced herself to see look at it another way, replacing herself with Lena in those scenarios, how would Kara feel in Lena’s place watching her sacrifice her life with no thought for her own safety. It makes Kara’s chest wrench painfully, “You’re right,” she swallows the lump in her throat, and looks at Lena’s astonished face, she hadn’t expected that, and she’s deflated, “and I won’t be doing that anymore.”

“What?” incredulous, and disbelieving.

“I’m not saying I’m going to quit being Supergirl,” she can feel some steadiness come back into limbs and her breathing, she takes a step toward Lena, and when she doesn’t back away she takes another, “I’m telling you that I’m choosing you,” and she can see Lena start to shake again, “I choose to do everything in my power to always come back home to you,” Kara holds her breath as she reaches out to grasp onto Lena’s waist.

Lena shakes her head over and over, staring at Kara’s chest with red-rimmed eyes, arms hanging straight down, “Why should I believe that?” she says shakily.

“Because I lost you a hundred thousand, agonizing, gut wrenching times while I was in the Phantom Zone, and I refuse to lose you again when I’ve only just got you back,” she croaks, and she grips the fabric of Lena’s shirt tight in her fist, tears spilling down her cheeks, leaning her head down to rest against Lena’s.

Lena takes a ragged breath, and Kara reaches ever so slowly to tilt her chin up so she can look into beautiful tearful green eyes, “My cousin told me after the Daxamite invasion that if he had to make the choice I did and it was Lois who would be sent away, he wouldn’t have been able to choose the world,” Kara breathes in sharply, “I didn’t understand why back then,” she pauses, willing Lena to understand, “but I do now, because if I had to choose now, between you and the world,” she shakes her head, “I’d let the world burn,” Kara says with steady conviction.

Lena lets out a strangled sob with her name, closing her eyes. Kara wipes the tears streaming down Lena’s face, and waits for her to open her eyes, then says softly “Lena, forget about everything else, what is it that you want?”

Her lips tremble, and her eyebrows pinch together, and Lena whispers, “You,” exhaling sharply, “it’s always been you.” Kara closes her eyes, bringing her forehead to meet Lena’s.

“Then I’m asking you to choose us,” she says gently, “you and I have proven time and again that we are always stronger together than apart,” she pulls back to thread her fingers through silky black hair, eyes pleading, “Whatever it is we can face it, together.” Kara waits, watches Lena’s red rimmed eyes, and it breaks her heart how small and vulnerable she looks.

A long agonizing silence follows, and Kara waits and wait, willing herself to keep her hope alive because Lena is still here, and she still has a chance. Finally, finally, chin quivering, Lena lets out a quiet breathless, watery, but certain, “Ok.”

 

And Kara can finally breathe again.

 

They’re spread across the length of the couch, Kara’s back propped up a little against the arm, Lena draped half on top of her. She’s softly stroking Lena’s back and running her fingers through her hair, her breathing long since evened out and calm. Kara savors the moment, she feels at peace, and she feels grateful that Lena’s here with her safe and secure.

Lena clears her throat a little and sits up some so she can look at Kara, “I’m sorry about my meltdown,” she says quietly, and her eyes flick between Kara and anything else, plays idly with one of the buttons on Kara’s shirt.

Kara stills her hand and squeezes, “It’s ok, I’m just glad we worked it out,” she says with relief. Lena sighs an equally relieved, me too. “Besides, I can’t judge, I had a meltdown last week myself,” Kara adds, eyes flicking back to the musical on the tv.

She can feel Lena’s concerned face looking at her, “What? When, what happened?”

Kara turns her attention back to piercing green eyes, “The evening you asked me to the gala,” Lena’s eyebrows go up, “I was exhausted and I didn’t really notice my emotions and nerves were really frayed on top of that, it was a rough week, and after we hung up,” pauses and clenches her teeth when she recalls, “I started to spiral, it’s started with small stuff and then snowballed. It was a lot of my fears and memories from the zone, I feared that it was all made up and wasn’t true, I went to see Alex and Kelly, they helped me calm down,” she reaches up to smooth the crinkle in Lena’s forehead, it only partially works.

Lena sighs, staring at the button she’s been playing with, “I spiraled today too, after my mother left,” Kara wraps her arms more fully around Lena. “During our conversation I was just angry and indignant, but when she left, I just started thinking about you and them,” she sighs, looking up at Kara, “well, you know how that went, and then apparently there was some other stuff wrapped up in it that I didn’t realize.”

Kara hums, “Yeah, same, during my conversation with Alex and Kelly, I realized that one of the reasons I spiraled was because I needed to talk to you.”

“We’re quite a pair, aren’t we?” Lena scoffs.

“Yep, we’re a little broken but my jagged pieces match up with yours to make a smooth whole,” she says lightly, smiling at Lena.

Lena huffs, “I think your metaphors need some work, darling, I thought you wrote professionally,” and Kara’s smile grows because it’s the first-time all-night Lena’s teased her properly and called her darling.

“Whatevs, you love me, crappy metaphors and all,” she says cheekily, and Lena rolls her eyes, giving Kara that fond look, she loves and warms her chest.  

Lena’s smile grows a little serious, “I do though, I didn’t say it before, but I do love you, Kara,” she says, earnestly.

Kara brushes the back of her fingers across Lena’s cheek, and whispers a soft, loving, “I know,” she watches as Lena’s eyes flick down to her mouth, and they lean forward at the same time.

Kara jerks back before they kiss, and Lena gives her an incredulous exasperated look, Kara flicks her eyes around the room and cocks her head, listening, “Kara, wha-…?”

“Sorry, I was just expecting something to happen to interrupt us,” she says seriously. Lena’s face goes a little dark with anger.

“Darling,” she growls, “you interrupted us, and so help me, Rao, if you don’t kiss me this inst-…” Kara doesn’t hear what threat Lena has thought up, because she surges forward to press their lips together, and Lena lets a out a relieved sigh from her nose and huffs in the back of throat, then shifts to slot their lips better together. It’s warm and sweet, and when Lena opens up to her, she’s not sure who moans, Lena presses Kara further into the couch, fingers trailing up her neck and into hair, Kara’s sure hands mapping Lena’s back and hips with purpose.