The first time they met –
Kara did not know what she was signing up for. Okay, well, she did know what she was signing up for, but she didn't actually know. When Lena Luthor walked into the room, Kara almost forgot all her training to be aware of her surroundings and cautious with everyone, even with her client.
Daughter of a Major and a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps, along with a sister who was a designated First Lieutenant, Kara wasn't exactly a stranger to the duty of having to protect a charge. In fact, Kara herself was on her way of getting promoted to First Lieutenant before she was honorably discharged for protecting a secured informant from Afghanistan. But that's the thing; she was used to protecting people like highly dangerous warlords and classified informants; she was used to holding a heavy duty weapon in her arms at all times; she was used to being dressed in an armor that weighed ten thousand pounds.
She wasn't used to this monkey suit of a button-up shirt, blazer, and a pair of slim jeans. She wasn't used to the lightweight feel of the Beretta M9 strapped in her holster. She wasn't used to the comfortable cushions and the tea that tasted like they were imported from China. She wasn't used to offering her protective services to a commercial figure.
When she came back to National City, the first thing Maggie suggested was to join her private security company, and Kara did not like the idea at all. She just wanted to bury herself in her pillows and forget about the reason she was even home in the first place.
"Listen, people like you and me, we can't go back to being civilized like those people out there and pretend like everything is okay in the world. You need something. And I'm offering you something," Maggie lectured after announcing that her sister had instructed her to look after the blonde so she wouldn't sink deep into her own darkness.
And now, with her first charge, Kara was of half the mind to reject the client and resign, except Maggie was always hounding her ass like an annoying fly. Kara didn't know who Lena was, but from her three-hour long Google search, she concluded that Lena Luthor was an uptight, spoiled, and jaded bitch.
She carried that notion with her to the top floor of the L-Corp building, which was only reinforced by the absence of the woman she was supposed to protect in her own office, and then she had that image completely demolished to ruins when the doors finally opened to reveal Lena.
"You must be Kara," she said with what seemed like a genuinely apologetic grimace on her face. "I am very sorry that I'm late. I got a little too carried away at the children's hospital, you see."
The former Marine could only blink. Children's hospital. The CEO was late because she was spending with sick children. How the hell was Kara supposed to be angry at her for that? So she just nodded and took Lena's proffered hand, "Um, yes, I'm Kara."
Lena then smiled. And Kara was surprised her entire organ system didn't just fail right there. "Don't worry, Kara. I'm not difficult to protect."
Kara smiled stiffly. Judging by how she did not want to let Lena's hand go at all, she was sure that Lena was wrong.
The first time she gave her shoulder –
The secretary had warned her – goodheartedly with a smile for some bizarre reason –all about the random sleeping habits of the woman inside the office. She mentioned the blanket and pillows that she had stored under her desk in case her employer needed it. She mentioned the coffee maker sitting on the bar that never stopped brewing coffee. She mentioned the tendency to forget to sleep and that other people slept.
Kara was well and duly warned, but this was just ridiculous.
"Kara, you can go home," Lena said when Kara sighed for the nineteenth time in two hours.
The blonde scoffed. "I obviously can't," she complained, gesturing at Lena who was showing no sign of going home. Her feet were killing her and she wanted to take her blazer off. "You know, I've been your bodyguard for a week and I've never been to your place."
The raven haired woman looked up from her laptop at Kara with a teasing smile. "If I didn't know any better, I would think that you want to see my place for other purposes."
Kara's eyes widened. "Uh – I – no! I just – okay, look, normal people sleep."
One of the things that Kara learned about Lena was that she was very flirtatious, which Kara took as her Libran nature, but that tendency of her charge had always driven Kara speechless. She yearned for the day when she could retort easily without feeling as if she was intruding.
Lena chuckled. "You can sleep on the couch if you're tired. It won't be your first time." Yes, because Kara had been spending the past week sleeping on the couch as Lena worked. The third time she did it, she was starting to think that Lena was a robot and not just human. She was also starting to miss her own bed.
"That's not it and you know it," Kara said with frustration. "Naps are not sleep, Miss Luthor."
Lena rolled her eyes. "I've told you to –"
"I'll start calling you Lena when you start going home," Kara cut her off. It wasn't much of an ultimatum, but it was the only one she could think of.
"I can still work from home, you know."
The blonde scratched her forehead. "Well then, I should start sleeping on the couch at your place," she replied. When Lena started staring at her incredulously, Kara just raised her brows in defiance. "It is in my job description to ensure that your wellbeing is maintained."
"I'm pretty sure the context is my physical being."
"I have the liberty to take it out of context."
"You're being ridiculous."
"Pot, meet kettle."
When Lena had said that protecting her would be easy, Kara had thought she was wrong. And that notion was right. Lena was going to kill herself before Kara would even have the chance to actually jump in front of a bullet for her.
The CEO only sighed, looked back to her laptop, typed something, and then finally, shut it off. "Fine, I'll go home and get some sleep tonight," she said.
Kara didn't miss the 'tonight', which indicated that Lena was just going to keep going back to her old habit tomorrow night. But she would take what she could get for now, if only for the chance to actually change into some honest-to-goodness pajamas and sleep in her own bed. She nodded enthusiastically in approval and dutifully followed Lena out of her office.
After ten minutes in the car, there was weight resting on her shoulder, and Kara let the woman nap, resisting the urge to wrap her arm around her client to give her warmth.
The first time she realized that she could be weak –
Lillian Luthor was the epitome of everything she hated in a person – let alone a woman. Vile, biased, uncaring, cruel, just downright cold.
"If your brother hadn't chosen to take a vacation, the company would be soaring at this moment," was the first thing she heard when she entered Lena's office, fully expecting just Lena alone.
Kara stood, frozen in place at the door as she stared at the two figures facing each other on the opposite sides of Lena's desk. The CEO usually exuded an essence of power just with her presence, and more so when she sat behind that desk of her. But this time, Lena simply looked…helpless and that look in her eyes was just something that Kara did not ever want to see again.
A twinge of anger sparked in her chest at the very sight before her. She had heard her fair share about Lillian Luthor, but there was always a space where she gave the Luthor matriarch the benefit of the doubt. After all, a mother couldn't be that unkind to her own child. Safe to say that the benefit was blown away along with the initial distaste she carried towards the woman she was supposed to protect.
Lena took notice of her entry and unlike the other times when she would offer Kara a friendly smile, she just nodded at her curtly. "Kara, morning."
Okay, this was bad.
When Lillian turned around, Kara was struck by the similarities between them. Wasn't Lena adopted?
Lena stood up, but Lillian stayed seated. That woman was, instead, looking Kara over, a lack of expression on her face, but Kara could feel the judgement wafting over in heavy waves. The blonde gripped the doorknob tighter, resisting from marching up to the matriarch to give her a piece of her mind. She waited for Lena's call.
"This is my mother, Lillian," Lena introduced, her jaw tightly clenched as she gestured at the woman sitting in front of her desk. "Mother, this is Kara Danvers, my head of security."
Kara nodded in acknowledgement. "Nice to meet you, Mrs Luthor," she said. Nope. Not nice at all, and she hadn't even actually spoken to the woman.
Lillian only hummed and turned back to her daughter. "Lena, if you would, I'd like to continue speaking with you alone."
The blonde didn't want to leave, but she was still an employee, and Lena was still in charge here, despite what Lillian must be thinking. Her glare softened to sympathy when she watched the way Lena's hands were clasped tightly at her stomach. If she was asked to stay, then she would. Who the hell cared what Lillian wanted?
"Kara, can you wait outside?" Lena said.
She deflated. She stared at Lena for a moment longer, taking in the fragility that was just vibrating in Lena. A sigh escaped her lips, and then she nodded before she retreated, closing the door behind her. Jess was seated at her desk, biting her lip, looking at Kara as she seethed at her shoes.
"Miss Luthor's guilty pleasure is fish and chips," Jess offered.
Kara looked up at Jess. The secretary was worried too, judging by the way her fingers were fidgeting on her keyboard and the tapping of her foot on the carpeted floor. And then Kara nodded, heading towards the elevator as she dialed Maggie's number.
"Maggie, what are the best fish and chips in the city?"
The first time they fought –
It was a press conference. Lena was sitting at the long table at the front of the room, and Kara was standing by the sidelines, her eyes covering every inch of the room to look for any sign of agitation.
She tried her best not to be distracted by Lena. The woman just looked so entirely regal and powerful up there on the stage, answering questions succinctly and with diplomacy. And she was so very beautiful. Honestly, how did she not realize that before?
There was nothing initially. Everyone was listening to Lena, asking questions, and being their pompous selves. It was when the press conference neared its end that everything went to shit.
The alarms installed in Kara started ringing when a man stood up amidst the crowd, dressed in a hoodie and a pair of ratty jeans. She took slow steps towards him, whispering her suspicions into her earpiece to the rest of the security detail so they would be warned. When he reached into his hoodie pocket, she quickened into a run.
Just when he drew out the gun, she tackled him to the ground, attacked by a flurry of chairs of people. But she didn't give them care, only struggling to wrestle the gun from the man. It took a few tries, but he was untrained, so she finally got it out of his hand and pointed it back towards him.
There were screams and running, but she stayed focused on him, panting and glaring and so angry.
Two hours later, with the man escorted to the police station and herself looked over by the paramedics, she found Lena in her dressing room, casually removing her makeup. Her nonchalance disappeared immediately when she caught Kara in the reflection of the mirror. She stood up, spinning around.
"Kara, are you okay?"
The bodyguard stood there, staring at Lena, taking in all the unblemished parts of her before she leaned back against the door, sighing in relief. Lena was unharmed. Everything was good. She scratched her forehead and nodded to herself in reassurance. Lena was okay.
"You shouldn't have done that," Lena then said.
Kara's eyes snapped up to her. "Someone just tried to point a gun at you," she said, gritting her teeth, the anger hadn't dissipated entirely. To be honest, she wanted to stomp over to the police station and grab the man to give him a piece of her wrath.
How dare he.
"It wouldn't be the first time."
"That's why you hired me."
"I –" Lena swallowed, clenching her jaw. "You could have been hurt."
"It's a part of my job." Kara frowned, staring at the woman in front of her. She was almost killed. She could have died. And here she was, removing her makeup and worrying about her bodyguard, as if the fact that her life could have just been taken wasn't that big of a deal. "Why are you being so…casual about this?"
Lena blinked, meeting her eyes. "Like I said, it's not the first time."
"If I was a minute late –"
"I don't want other people hurt at my expense."
Kara scoffed. "Then why did you hire me in the first place?" she finally bellowed, pushing away from the door.
In the back of her mind, she knew that this wasn't just her protective instincts coming into play. This was her unable to accept that she could have lost her charge – her friend, whom she cared deeply about. This was her unable to understand how Lena could care for her when it should be the other way around. But she pushed that way. She had been pushing that away since that time when she brought the woman fish and chips, and Lena had sighed thankfully, devouring the food in twenty minutes.
A jar of worms that she refused to open.
"My brother made me. Otherwise, I wouldn't have."
The blonde curled her fingers into fists. She licked her lips. "Well then, I'm glad he did," she said, her tone low with frustration. "Because I swear to god, Lena, you are not dying under my watch."
The first time she realized she caught feelings –
She hated these things.
"I hate these things."
Kara blinked. A man standing on her left, bald and bored. She blinked again. Oh shit, it's Lex Luthor. Lena had mentioned that he might show up, but she didn't think he would actually show up. He was on a vacation after all.
"What?" she said dumbly.
He shrugged, lifting a glass of champagne to his lips with one hand while gesturing at the ballroom with another. "These – all the schmoozing and fake laughing and fake liking. I hate them," he clarified. He sighed with a desperate smile, shaking his head.
She cleared her throat, nodding. "Yeah, I get it," she replied.
"I believe you are Kara Danvers," he called her out after giving her a long look, his lips twisting into a genuine smile.
She nodded. "And you're Lex Luthor." He offered a hand, which she shook. "Lena told me you're on vacation."
He raised his brows. "Lena, huh?" Her eyes widened. Before she could launch into a wave of sputters and stammers, he rescued her with, "I just happened to be in town. Wanted to know how my sister is holding up." She frowned at him. And here she thought he was just a mean brother who didn't want the responsibilities of a multimillion company and did not care about his sister's wellbeing. "I suppose I have you to thank for that."
"You hired me," she reminded.
He chuckled. "I had to."
She inclined her head in agreement, casting her gaze across the room and easily finding Lena talking to someone. It was apparent from the strain on her cheeks that she wasn't actually enjoying the conversation. "You did," she commented, remembering the last time someone tried to draw a gun on the woman and her reaction to it.
"This sister of mine, she cares too much about other people and too little about herself," Lex remarked with a hint of frustration and adoration. "It's the one thing I hate and love about her."
Kara could only smile, because she could relate. There wasn't much of Lena to hate, but this one thing, it just brought out the most conflicting emotions in her. The things to love about Lena, on the other hand, Kara couldn't count them if she had ten hands.
"Ah," Lex drawled.
Lex had an enigmatic smile tugging on his lips. "You didn't know."
"Didn't know what?"
The man hummed, drinking his champagne again. Kara was of half the mind to grab it out of his hand and make him tell her. "Well, I suppose I really don't have to worry about her from now on," he remarked, nodding at her and then making his way through the crowd.
She looked after him for a few seconds before returning her gaze to the woman they were discussing before. Lena found her within seconds, winking at her with an exaggerated smile. And Kara had to chuckle.
These people, they only knew Lena as the CEO of one of the most successful corporations in the country, ruthless and firm. But she knew that Lena wasn't just that. Lena Luthor was a woman who loved fish and chips, cared about her employees, wanted to save as much of the world as she could, and talked in her sleep.
And Kara loved her.
Well damn, guess the can of worms was open now.
The first time her sister met her –
She was pretty sure this was against the rules. But Alex was on leave for a month and she made it bring your sister to work month, somehow. And Maggie – because she was whipped – approved it.
Lena was in the lab on the first day Alex came with her. And leave it to the two nerds to start talking about biology and physics and mechanism and all the jargons that Kara did not know. In the end, Kara had to bring them dinner and coffees because they were so deep in discussion that they forgot the time.
"I like her," Alex said when they went back to Kara's apartment after sending Lena home.
"Yeah, I could see that," Kara grumbled.
Don't get her wrong. She loved her sister. She loved that her sister got along so well with Lena. But since that time she talked to Lex and opened the can of worms, she found herself wanting to talk to Lena all the time, and Alex took that away from her today. She didn't hate her sister for that, per se. She just wanted to talk to Lena.
Alex, instead of being taken aback by her sister's grumpiness, only smirked. "Kara Danvers, are you jealous?"
The redhead hummed, joining Kara on the couch and taking one cushion to hug to her chest. "Right."
"I'm pretty sure being in a relationship with your boss is forbidden."
"I'm not in a –"
"But you love her," Alex cut in, raising her brows, daring Kara to refute it. And Kara could never lie to her sister, or anyone, to be honest. So Kara deflated, burying her face in her cushion as she groaned aloud. "She's nice and smart. I approve."
"There's nothing for you to approve of."
"I was kidding, you know. It's not exactly a rule."
Kara lifted her eyes. "It's an unspoken one," she retorted. "Besides, she doesn't feel the same way."
Alex narrowed her eyes. "I wouldn't be too sure about that."
Kara frowned. "What are you talking about?"
Her sister shrugged. "She wouldn't stop gushing about you."
Kara's eyes widened. She laughed nervously. "Nope, I don't believe you."
"Hey." Her sister moved across the couch to be next to her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "I really like her."
The blonde sighed. "Yeah, you're not the only one."
The first time they said 'I love you' –
One year spent with Lena Luthor, and Kara couldn't get enough of her. It wasn't exactly her fault that Lena was intelligent, humorous, caring, flirtatious, and too much for Kara's bisexual ass to handle. It also didn't take much for Kara to admit that if she could spend the rest of her life protecting Lena – even if they weren't together – she would take that deal any day.
All this year, she had been doing everything she could to protect Lena, even taking a bullet for her when they were at the airport and some guy just decided to show up with a gun. She remembered waking up to find Lena sleeping with her head on Kara's stomach, and then making Alex delete the photo she had taken of it after sending it to Kara.
Loving Lena was something else entirely. It was reminding her to sleep and eat. It was standing up to Lillian Luthor after she had had enough of the woman's utter cruelty towards her daughter. It was sitting beside Lena while she experienced panic attacks. It was relating to Lex Luthor whenever he came by and complained about Lena's complete lack of care for her own wellbeing. It was inviting Lena for game nights whenever Alex was on leave. It was basking in Lena's presence and quietly watching out for her.
Kara was just one street away from the L-Corp building, picking up bagels for both of them, when she heard the explosion. Her eyes widened, her heart panged against her chest, and she abandoned the bagels and the cash to take off in a run towards the tall building, fearing for the worst. When she looked up, there was smoke wafting from the top floor, and her heart dropped to her stomach.
"Fuck," she whispered.
She ran into the building, ignoring the people rushing past her. The elevator wasn't working, so she took to the stairs. For a second, she was grateful for all the physique training she had to do while she was in the Marines; she wouldn't have made it to the top floor in thirty minutes otherwise. Still, thirty minutes too long.
Jess wasn't at her desk, but the entire floor was in shambles. There was debris and papers and hanging lights and it was everything she was afraid of. She rushed into the office, maneuvering through the concrete and ashes, trying to see through the smoke and fire.
"Lena?" she called out. "Lena, answer me!"
With each second of silence, she grew more and more scared. And then she noticed a pair of legs jutting out from behind the bar. Those were the heels that Lena was wearing. Her mind went blank and she just ran in that direction.
"Oh my god, Lena!" she screamed when she saw the figure lying prone across the floor, a concrete slab flat crushed right on top of her right arm and her skin blemished with gashes and wounds.
She knelt by Lena, ignoring the smoke she was inevitably inhaling, just concentrated on the unconscious woman. Unwittingly, she began to cry, and it wasn't because of the smoke. She patted Lena's face. "Hey, Lena, hey, can you hear me?" When Lena didn't respond, her chest clenched with unbridled pain. "Don't do this to me, Lena. Please."
She didn't know how, but she managed to lift the heavy slab and remove it. Carefully, she slid her arms under Lena, making sure to not jostle her too much. And then she ran towards the stairs, taking two steps at a time. She just needed to get Lena out of here.
"You're not dying, okay? You're not dying. I am not letting you die. There's so much I have to tell you. You're not dying," she chanted as she hurried out of the building, spotting the ambulance immediately and running towards them. "Please, you have to help her! Please!" she pleaded.
She wasn't exactly clear what happened next. But when Alex and Maggie found her, she was sitting on the bench outside the operating room, pale and shaking, her head buried in her hands as she muttered words of plea.
She failed at the one thing she had sworn to do.
"She'll get through this, Kara," Alex said.
Kara flinched away from Alex's touch, leaping to her feet and pacing the floor.
"It's not your fault."
The blonde stopped in her tracks. "I can't – It's – Alex."
Alex nodded in understanding. "I know."
She couldn't lose Lena. She just – she could not lose Lena.
It was hours later when Lena was finally out of surgery and she was allowed to see her, and Kara wanted to get out as soon as she saw the state Lena was in – wrapped up in bandages and hanging onto her life. There were certainly going to be scars, and Kara had done so much to keep those scars away.
"Talk to her. She'll hear you," Alex told her.
So Kara talked. For days.
"Hey, it's Kara. Please wake up."
"Wake up, okay?"
"I can't lose you, Lena, please."
"I promise I'll eat whatever kale you want me to eat. Just wake up."
"I don't – You can't be so mean to me."
"Come one; wake up!"
She talked and talked and talked for more than a month, and Lena refused to wake up from her coma. Every day, she went home, wanting to beat herself up for allowing this happen. Every day, she recorded all the shows Lena loved, knowing that she would want to binge watch them she woke up. Every day, she woke up with a new vigor, convinced that Lena would wake up.
One Tuesday, she sat herself in the chair she had occupied for the last month and took Lena's hand.
"I love you, you know. I've loved you for so long. You're just…I love everything about you. And I don't care if you don't love me back. I'm happy just being by your side. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you from this. I'm so sorry. But please, wake up. Wake up and hate me. Wake up and punish me. Please just wake up and let me see those eyes of yours. I can't bear to lose you, because I just love you. I love you."
She lowered her head and leaned her forehead against their clasped hands, soaking the bed sheet with her tears. And then – and then the hand she was holding tightened its hold on hers. She lifted her head in an alarming speed, staring at Lena.
And then the woman was finally opening her eyes, allowing Kara access to those beautiful green eyes that she had been entranced with for the most part of the last year.
"Lena," she whispered, shooting up to her feet as she looked down at the woman she loved with all her heart. "You're awake."
Lena groaned a little and then mustered a smile. "I love you too," she whispered, her voice laden with sleep and pain.
Kara smiled. "Yeah?"
The CEO nodded. "Yeah."
Kara laughed, reaching out with her free hand to cup Lena's cheek. "Thank you for waking up."
"What can I say? You love me."
Kara only nodded. "I do. I love you."