Kara uses the word ‘love’ for nearly everything.
There was nothing she didn’t love.
She loved her family, her friends, her boss, her work colleagues, random animals she met in the street, the rain, films, all junk food, the pizza delivery guy, the Chinese delivery guy and the Thai delivery girl. Kara loved everything, and would say it to just about everyone.
Lena was not the same. She had used the word love for only one person. Her brother. Her favourite food is chicken wings (yes, I know you were expecting something more pretentious) but whenever she conveys her preference for the food she uses the word ‘like’ and if she is feeling particularly affectionate she throws in a ‘really’. The word has meaning and power like no other word to Lena. Her brother said it to her… and that’s it… no one else has ever said they love her. So Lena guards that word like she would a nuclear weapon cache (no, L-Corp does not have a secret nuclear weapon cache before you ask). Lena has promised herself to never use the word, it meant too much to her and saying it to someone would give them far too much power over her.
Anyway… back to Kara. Lena should’ve expected it. Was expecting it. But just because she was expecting it doesn’t mean it didn’t break her heart and send her soaring at the same time.
Lena was at Kara’s on a Saturday night to continue her childhood film education that Kara was schooling her in. Lena had seen films, obviously, just not kid’s films. The Luthors didn’t approve of low brow animated flicks and so denied their children ever seeing one. When Lena had admitted in passing to having never seen an animated film, Kara had gone nearly catatonic for a full minute. Lena was convinced she would have to phone an ambulance before Kara had snapped out of it and asked the dreaded ‘why?’. Lena had shrugged and merely muttered the Luthors, hoping to leave it at that. Kara had changed the subject at Lena’s abject attitude; Lena, however, had noticed the steely glint in Kara’s eye for the rest of the conversation. That following Saturday, Lena was invited over to Kara’s in the afternoon and gasped at what she found waiting for her. Kara had constructed a huge blanket fort in the living room and there was an array of snack food laid out for them.
(Okay, so if we’re being honest, the gasp was more due to the scandalously short pyjama shorts and strappy pyjama shirt and let’s just say biceps and leave it at that. If I hadn’t already known Kara was Supergirl, the muscles on display that day would have convinced me.)
Kara had quickly dragged her into the apartment, handed her a pair of the fluffiest and cuddliest pyjamas Lena had ever seen and told her they were starting with ‘The Lion King.’
(So, back to the current Saturday when it finally happened). Kara, halfway through ‘Anastasia’, had to run out for ‘more ice cream’ (I knew the freezer was fully stocked) and knowing a ‘run to the store’ would leave Kara exhausted, Lena put in an order for Chinese, ensuring the order for potstickers was double Kara’s normal amount. The food arrived a few minutes before Kara returned, and Lena laid out the food in the fort she had constructed (blueprints were made and everything, it was the most technically planned out and executed fort ever, and I would fight anyone who questioned that).
Kara arrived back (without ice cream) and a black smear on her cheek. Lena chuckled to herself as Kara’s eyes lit up at the fort and the food and sped (slightly faster than humanly possible) to Lena’s side before wrapping her up in a warm hug. Lena ‘really likes’ (shut up, I know what you’re thinking) Kara’s hugs. They are warm, and all consuming, as if Kara was trying to push her feelings of affection through to you with her arms alone.
Kara had pulled back with that twinkle in her baby blue eyes that Lena ‘really, really liked’ (don’t you dare comment) and said it. It being, “Thanks, Lena. This is why I love you.”
What followed was the heart breaking and soaring that we mentioned earlier. Lena’s world shattering and reforming. Whilst Kara… Kara turned and started eating potstickers, and once her mouth was full she spluttered, “Wh- What are we watching next?”
Lena knew… well, on some level she did anyway (how deeply buried that level is, is up for debate)… that Kara had meant it. Not in the way I would like, but still… Lena knew Kara meant it.
She had shown it in her actions on numerous occasions (not on numerous occasions… all the time, in fact.) Kara would check up on Lena regularly, encouraging her to not skip meals and leave work at a reasonable hour. Kara was invested in her welfare, defended her against her harshest critics and even went so far as to declare ‘Kara Danvers, believes in you’, to ensure there was no doubt in Lena’s mind regarding her support. Lena had meant it when she said she had never had friends or family like Kara before. (Yes, I can hear the world’s smallest violin playing in the background).
So, Lena knew she meant it. The issue was she didn’t know to what degree Kara had meant it. Did she mean it on the same level she loved anyone who brought her food? Did she mean it the way she talked about her work colleagues? Did she mean it the way she said it to Winn? Or did she mean it in the way she said it to inanimate objects she would use once before throwing away?
Lena was working out a scale or spectrum to help analyse it. Lena’s mind was logically and scientifically oriented so having a way to measure and assess what way Kara used the word ‘love’ in relation to her was a necessity. Her working title for the measurement was the ‘Kale to Alex Love Scale’, (yes, I know it could do with a snappier title, but I’m a scientist not an advertising guru. Kale being something Kara would lie and say she loved just to appease Lena and… I don’t really need to explain why Alex is at the top of that scale, do I?
Lena was an optimist, so when she took into consideration that Kara had said it after Lena had provided food, Lena placed herself adjacent to the Chinese delivery guy. Before you cry foul, the last time he had delivered food to Kara, she more or less proposed to him, so I am being very positive about my estimation.
The next time Kara said it (you better get used to it as that is the only way I’m going to refer to it), Lena was working late for the eighth night in a row. Kara had been busy for nearly two weeks, having cancelled plans on Lena for the third time that day. Lena brushed it off easily, she watched the news. She understood that Kara was needed elsewhere and when she was free her family dominated her free time.
Lena could push to see Kara but what right did she have to do that?
Kara didn’t know that Lena would stay up and flick between at least ten different news stations all night when Supergirl was in a battle. She didn’t know that Lena was working on creating a kryptonite vaccine or absorber that could be embedded into Kara’s suit to prevent her ever having to feel the effects of green kryptonite ever again. She didn’t know that Lena was the single largest anonymous donor to help the clean-up efforts following a Supergirl battle as Lena knew how upset Kara would get over every dented car or piece of debris she created when saving lives.
Kara didn’t know Lena knew she was Supergirl.
Therefore, she didn’t know how desperately Lena wanted to see Kara in person after she had been in a fight. So Lena had to wait patiently at the back of the queue behind Kara’s family and friends who had obvious reasons for clamouring for her attention.
Lena played chess, she knew how to wait, to be patient (Lies).
Okay, Lena secretly hated being patient so she filled her time with activity and work. Meals and going home fell to the wayside without Kara there.
Lena glanced at the time in the corner of her computer. 23:14 stared back at her, taunting her. Lena rolled her shoulders and dove right back into her plan to restructure L-Corps bio-engineering departments. She wanted to start developing medicines for aliens to benefit Earth’s newest arrivals, but she wanted to ensure that the research was only used for good and not taken and warped by any of Lex’s followers.
Lena’s head jerked upwards to see Kara standing timidly in the doorway to her office, fidgeting with her glasses. “Err…” Words failed Lena. (Her lack of coherence was due entirely to her exhaustion and not because Kara was wearing that blue dress that matched her eyes. No, sir.)
“Why are you still here?” Kara crossed the office, her earlier timidity vanishing to be replaced with fire in her eyes (which could be very possible, what with the… you know… laser eyes…). “Lena you look exhausted, you should be at home.” Kara walked purposefully round the desk and with the cutest pout in the history of the world (I know this to be true, I checked) reached out closed the lid of Lena’s laptop.
The wrinkle between Kara’s eyebrows made Lena murmur out a “Sorry.” Lena hated putting that crease on Kara’s forehead.
Kara shook her head as she pulled Lena to her feet by interlocking their fingers, “I love you, Lena, but I absolutely hate your workaholic attitude.”
Lena’s breath caught and she had to run through every calming technique she had ever learnt to bring her heart back to a reasonable beat. Kara smiled down at her brightly as she eagerly ushered Lena out of the office and back to Kara’s apartment. Lena had taken to not commenting on that development. Kara always takes me back to her place. Kara always takes me home. There’s something to that, right?
Lena decided, based on the pitying looks Kara would throw her whenever Lena yawned on the journey to Kara’s, that she would move herself up the ‘Kale to Alex Love Scale’ and bring herself in line with kittens, which were a step below puppies.
The third time it happened was at the end of a phone conversation. Lena had phoned to confirm their lunch plans, (Supergirl had been busy in the early hours of the morning), Lena wanted to give Kara an out if she needed it. Kara had been adamant that she wasn’t busy at work and insisted she would be there (not necessarily on time… how strange is it that someone with super speed is always late? It was these sort of questions that keep me awake at night…).
“Okay, if you’re sure, I’ll see you soon.” Lena smiled as she pressed the phone to her ear more tightly, hoping to hear Kara’s voice as clearly as possible.
“Okie-dokie.” God, she’s adorable. “Love you, see you soon.” And then Kara hung up.
Lena kept the phone to her ear for a further five minutes as the ease with which Kara used that word (it) reverberated round and round her head (and chest). Lena lowered the phone and uttered, “Well, shit. Where does this put me on the scale?”
Lena moved down a rung on the scale, bringing herself in line with romantic comedies.
The fourth time… well… Lena didn’t know what to make of the fourth time.
Lena was visiting the local children’s hospital. She went once a week, every Sunday morning, ordering her driver to take a long, circuitous route so that no news reporters would follow her. This was the only time Lena really took for herself and just for herself. She would visit the children in their wards, being careful not to overstay her welcome. Even some children had wisely learnt from a young age that Luthors were bad news. But some children… some children… treated her like everyone else. They didn’t see her as evil or cruel, they just saw her as the lady who was very good at doing the different voices when she read them a book aloud.
Lena would sit down with the nurses and the doctors and the parents… anyone really … who had an idea about how to improve the lives of the young patients. Lena would listen attentively to their suggestions and would do anything in her power to implement them, her only request was for secrecy. She didn’t want the hospital to ever get caught in the crossfire that Lena’s last name brought with her.
“And they all lived happily ever after.” Lena finished softly, as the girl she had been reading to had fallen asleep, lulled into a deep slumber by Lena’s rhythmic storytelling. Lena placed the book on the bedside table, collected her bag and made to leave pausing only to brush the hair covering the small girl’s face behind her ear. Lena stealthily walked out of the room and closed the door behind herself.
“Lena.” A voice breathed out in reverence behind the CEO.
Lena turned to find shiny, bright blue eyes staring at her with an awe that no one had ever looked at her with before.
“Hi.” Lena said shyly, completely out of her element. There was a clear barrier within her mind between Lena’s normal life and Lena’s involvement with the hospital. It wasn’t that Lena didn’t trust Kara with this part of who she was (in fact I had often fantasised about bringing Kara to meet the kids here, knowing how well Kara would endear herself to everyone, and getting her input on ways to improve the place), it was simply that sharing this part of herself was special, the same way saying it was special. And Kara might not know that, might not know that she was seeing a side of Lena that no one had ever seen, not even Lex when he had still been Lex, my Lex.
Kara gave Lena a smile so dazzling that Lena was convinced she had discovered a replacement for the sun.
“What are you doing here?” Lena inquired as she dipped her eyes from that stunning smile and those beautiful, baby blue eyes to take in Kara’s appearance. Her clothes were slightly ruffled, her glasses askew and there was a red piece of fabric sticking out the back of her light grey button up.
Kara blushed bright red and began to stammer, “I… uh, I was, uh…” Lena arched an eyebrow and watched as the reporter struggled to construct a sentence (excuse).
“I was in the neighbourhood… I mean the ward.” Kara finished weakly with a gulp.
Was she following me? Was she keeping an eye on me because I’m a Luthor?
Or was she genuinely in the neighbourhood and heard me by accident?
Lena tried to push down the fears and doubt that were clawing at her mind (heart). “Right…” Lena muttered with a sinking feeling in her stomach that she couldn’t help. “You heard?” Kara’s eyes widened in fear and Lena quickly clarified, “Me reading. You heard me reading?”
Kara sighed with such relief that Lena couldn’t help the amused smirk appearing on her face. “Yes. You were… so… so…” Kara positively lit up as she stared at Lena, “I mean, Rao, if I didn’t love you before I definitely do now.”
That’s when Lena realised that she really, really, really liked hearing it from Kara.
I just wish I knew if she really meant it. I know she’ll never mean it the same way I would.
The binds around her wrists and ankles were tight and cut deeply into her skin, the blood surrounding them did little to provide Lena the lubrication she needed to slip herself free.
Every nerve screeched and screamed in agony as the electric shocks coursed through her.
Lex’s men had grabbed her with ease as she was leaving her office (deep down I admire the efficiency with which they kidnapped me). They had thrown her into the back of a van like of a sack of potatoes (how undignified… how bad is it I’m actually glad no one was around to see that?) and given her a few swift kicks to keep her quiet as they drove to an abandoned warehouse (what is it with bad guys and abandoned warehouses? Do they all use the same realtor or something? More of the questions that keep me awake at night.)
The electric shocks began as soon as they arrived. They asked her questions as they tortured her. It would appear Lex had found out at Lena was working to remove the kryptonians’ one weakness and wasn’t happy about the discovery (shocker… see what I did there? Shocker? …Kara would laugh, she loves puns… oooh, maybe I’m at the pun level on the Kale Alex Love Scale.)
If you hadn’t figured it out yet, Lena escaped the torture by retreating into her mind. First, she tried to complete complex maths equations. That didn’t work. Then she tried to design a graduate programme aimed at encouraging women to work in the engineering sector. That simply descended into me trying to improve the design of the electric shock equipment to make it more energy efficient. As Lena (helpfully) tried to inform the goons (Kara would be proud of me for using such a word, it’s right up there with golly) about her improvements for their technology, they decided to up the voltage.
That brings us back to the whole… everything hurts.
The only thought that reduced the pain, that allowed Lena to escape for brief flashing moments, was Kara. Kara and it. Kara saying it, Kara meaning it. Lena saying it back. Lena imagined what would have happened if she had been brave enough to whisper it back to Kara those four times.
Lena blacked out around the fifteenth reimagining.
The pain had stopped, but it must have started raining. Lena could feel drops of liquid landing on her face over and over again. I thought the abandoned warehouse the goons had me in at least had a roof, they should go back to that evil realtor.
“Please, don’t leave me. I love you, please, don’t leave me.”
Lena’s eyes flickered open to find baby blues swimming in tears. “Kara.” It was all Lena could say, and maybe if her thoughts hadn’t been so addled (by the whole everything hurts… thing) she might have noticed that it was Supergirl saying it, not Kara.
Jess informed Lena that Supergirl had flown Lena to the nearest hospital and with (genuine) fire in her eyes demanded that a doctor attend to Lena immediately, and if so much as one person dared to not give her the best treatment they could or make a single Luthor comment, they would deeply regret it. Supergirl had stayed by Lena’s bedside until Jess had arrived to take over the vigil. Supergirl told Jess to phone Kara Danvers if anything happened as she would be able to get in touch with Supergirl fastest.
Supergirl left to round up any and all people even marginally involved with Lena’s kidnapping and, if the news was accurate with their information, took great pleasure with apprehending the goons who flipped the switch on Lena’s shock therapy.
As soon as Lena was awake she was getting herself discharged. I refuse to let those goons affect me or my business in anyway. I won’t let them or the press paint me as weak.
Jess argued futilely to keep Lena in her hospital bed but no one did stubborn like Lena when she had made up her mind. Lena walked out of the hospital with her head held high ignoring the flash of cameras and went straight back to work (like the badass I am).
Lena immediately got to work on creating the graduate programme she had thought up.
Considering I am probably the smartest person in the country… possibly even the world… I may have made a strategical error.
The ‘strategical error’ being that I had forgot about Kara… and how Kara might react to my reduced hospital visit.
The door to Lena’s office slammed open causing half the plastering to fall to the floor. Lena blinked at the remains of her wall before turning her head to see the cause. Kara looked furious. Beyond furious.
I didn’t even know Kara could look angry.
“You nearly died, Lena!” Kara yelled as she stormed into the office leaving cracks in the floor with every step as she moved towards the CEO. Lena steadily got up from her desk chair and moved round the table to meet the blonde.
“Kara-”, Lena began, putting on an air of nonchalance that only served to deepen the crease in Kara’s forehead.
“No, Lena!” Kara roared in exasperation tinged with deep sorrow that cut straight to Lena’s heart. “What in the name of Rao were you thinking when you left the hospital?”
Lena pursed her lips and shrugged, she had left as she didn’t want to appear weak and it didn’t take a genius to know that that answer wouldn’t go down well with Kara at this current moment.
“Do you know what it would do to me if I lost you?” The anger in Kara’s tone slipped away to be replaced with a heart wrenching croak, that revealed how desperately Kara was trying to keep back a flood of tears.
Lena swallowed and without thinking shook her head. I thought I was at the mint choc chip ice cream level, at least a few rungs below the superfriends.
Lena watched as something broke in Kara, it was almost imperceptible but Lena… knew Kara, knew her eyes better than she knew pi.
Those baby blues ached with pain.
“How can you not know?” Kara whispered more to herself than to Lena before she stepped forward and took Lena’s hands in her own. She squeezed them lightly until Lena, who had dipped her head to the floor unable to face the sheer emotion being expressed on Kara’s face, lifted her gaze back to Kara. “I figured… I thought… you just didn’t feel the same way… but you didn’t think I meant it.”
She meant it? The same way Lena meant it?
I had just spent hours imagining saying it to Kara and now here was my ch-, “I love you, Kara.”
Wow, go me.
Kara blinked in shock, her mouth dropping open slightly.
Make sure she doesn’t misinter-, “I’m in love with you, Kara.”
Okay, at least let me finish the thought before you speak.
“You’re- You’re- You’re in...” Kara stuttered.
“Yes.” Lena affirmed as she stepped right into the blushing blonde’s personal space. “And I should have said it to you when we were watching ‘The Lion King’.”
Kara smiled. And there’s the sun.
Lena took a deep breath before leaning forward and brushing her lips against those lips she adored. Lena explored every last bit of Kara’s lips, loving every little sound she could draw out from them. Lena pulled away tugging Kara’s bottom lip gently as she did so.
Kara’s eyes fluttered open to reveal that twinkle Lena loved.
“Don’t think for a second this means I’m not still mad about you leaving the hospital.” Kara whispered.
Lena cocked an eyebrow, “I know.” Lena then pecked Kara’s lips once more before breathing out a quiet request, “Say it again.”
Kara looked confused for a few seconds before realisation dawned and she smiled shyly, “I love you, Lena.”