“We don’t need to be here,” Lena sits, wooden and upright.
Her legs are crossed, her foot kicked out from the confines of the bland, beige chair. She can feel the slight rub of her calves, skin to skin. She could probably crack open a coconut between them with the way she’s tensing. She’s uncomfortable, her belt tight as it passes too cramped across the hinge of her waist. She’s breaking in new heels, too, and the feeling in the upper pad of her foot is just short of agony.
Maybe she’d be more comfortable if she’d dressed, well, more comfortably. What do you wear to meet a therapist, anyway? She’s never been sure. Is it like a date?
We don’t need to be here.
“Millions of couples experience problems every day,” the woman assures Lena benignly. A vanilla cream tapioca kind of voice.
Lena’s not against therapy. She’s been in and out of it half her life. She’s had helpful conversations and insightful directives. She’s also had whole sessions where she didn’t speak a word, counting the seconds. (Those were the therapists chosen by her mother.) It’s just that—she and Kara don’t need to be here. Their relationship had always been—had always felt nothing short of perfect.
Has*, Lena thinks. It is perfect.
In her periphery, she watches Kara fidget, look out the window, look at the clock, then direct her attention back to the therapist.
“What do you two do for a living?” the therapist asks conversationally, and it really starts to feel like the bumbling beginning of a blind date.
“She’s a reporter,” Lena answers perfunctory. “I work in finance. We both travel a lot.”
“And is that a problem?”
“No, it’s perfect.”
“Uh huh,” Kara replies noncommittally.
There’s an awkward beat.
“On a scale from one to ten, how happy are you as a couple?” the woman continues, fountain pen in hand.
“Eight,” Lena answers quick and precise.
“Is this… ten being perfectly happy and one being totally miserable… or?”
“Just respond instinctively,” the therapist coaxes.
Kara looks nothing close to coaxed. She side eyes Lena.
“And how often do you have sex?” the question comes like a whip crack (and not the sexy kind) in the otherwise quiet room. Lena wants to interpret it in an annoying Cosmopolitan quiz kind of way, but she doesn’t and the answering silence is painful.
“I don’t understand,” she finally says.
“How about this week?”
The silence endures.
“Including the weekend?” Kara attempts to deflect.
The woman breathes, writes something down. Lena has half a mind to get up and peer over her notebook, but she’s also not sure if she’ll like what she finds.
“Do you think you need to be here, Kara?” the woman asks, eyes up again, and Lena tenses.
Kara smiles slow as molasses, ever the charmer. Her hands open and close, appeasing.
“There’s nothing wrong with a little checkup,” she admits, and Lena almost wilts. She’s right, of course, but it still smarts. She wants them to be perfect. They’ve always been perfect.
Things escalate too easily, too quickly for Lena’s thesis statement to hold.
“I get one bin in the garage. One,” Kara holds up a solitary finger as if this fully elucidates her point.
“And it’s filled with bottles. Bottles,” Lena counters with exasperation. “She hoards things. I found dryer sheets stuffed behind her side of the bed.”
Kara leaves piles, too, all around the house. She leaves her laundry right next to the hamper. Next to it, not inside it. On the floor. Lena doesn’t think she asks for much, but she’d like a reasonable explanation for why her wife can’t take what must equate to three seconds to put her clothes out of sight.
“She wouldn’t leave the house to get more eggs when a recipe called for two,” Kara retorts with the reflexes of a fast draw in a western shootout. “She tried to convince me that one was okay.”
“There’s reasonable scientific evidence that suggests—”
“She went into my tool shed,” Kara blows past her. “One of the only places she lets me have in my own home, and she changed my flag from National City to Metropolis University.”
Lena stays quiet for a moment. Kara had fumed endlessly over that. She’d called it ‘high treason.’
“I thought it’d be funny,” she shrugs.
“It wasn’t funny.”
Lena shakes her head, picking lint hard from the arm of the chair.
“She buys me ice cream and then eats it.”
“When she combs her hair out, she leaves it all over the floor. It clogs our vacuum.”
“I’m surprised you can vacuum through all of your piles,” Lena rapid fires back.
Kara opens her mouth to reply, but the therapist intervenes.
“Let’s pivot to a new subject. How did you two meet?”
Kara sighs, deflating.
“Five years ago—”
“Six,” Lena corrects.
Kara doesn’t look at her, but Lena can still hear her teeth grind. After listening to it for just over six years, she’d know that sound anywhere.
“Five or six years ago,” Kara concedes.
Five or six years ago had been a lifetime. They were different. Spontaneous. They’d met in Bogota, Colombia when the ambassador had been shot. There were sirens wailing, and every time a different bomb went off, dust shook from the rafters of the ceiling, glinting like stardust in the orange dying sun of the day.
Lena had returned to their hotel in the chaos, yelling at an official in disjointed Spanish, and she’d seen Kara. Time stopped. She had seen Kara, and Kara had seen her. Blonde, muscled, and holy, Kara was poised against the bar, and her bay blue eyes tracked over Lena’s body as tangibly as a pair of hands.
They pretended to be travelling together, and Kara waved off the hounding policemen who were arresting unaccompanied Americans. Later, they took tequila shots and toasted to ‘dodging bullets.’ There was dancing and rain and thunder. Lena always strips when she drinks tequila, and that night had been no exception. She found herself in Kara’s lap, tongue in her mouth after the fourth round. Kara had worn a flowing dress, and Lena could still remember the noises she’d made when she’d skinned it back like the peel of a fresh cut orange.
In the morning, the hotel staff had fled, but Kara still brought breakfast on a neatly organized tray.
“I had to milk a goat to get it,” she’d smiled.
She’d been so funny. And charming. She’d tucked a plucked flower behind Lena’s ear before she kissed her, tasting of bitter coffee and feeling as willowy as the silk curtains that flowed around them.
“—then we were married within six weeks,” Lena tunes in to the tail end of Kara’s explanation.
She’s always been defensive of that fact. Everyone had told them it was too soon, and she’ll be damned if they say that’s why they’re in therapy now.
“It wasn’t an impulsive decision,” Lena heads off any of the therapist’s budding conclusions. “It was an easy one. I think everything through, Kara can tell you that.”
Lena hazards a glance at Kara then, and her wife looks back at her with those same cove blue eyes from five or six years ago.
Later, alone, Lena will tell the therapist.
“Everyone loves Kara. She has this way—this way of making you feel so close to her. It’s so warm in her attention, but lately… I’ve been cold. There’s this huge space between us, and it just keep filling up with everything we don’t say to each other.”
“What don’t you say to each other?”
Lena falters, not trusting herself to speak.
“How honest are you with her?”
“Pretty honest,” she says, then recalibrates. “I have little secrets. Everybody has secrets.”
It’s cold the week before Christmas. There’s a frost on the windows, a light layer of snow on the grass. Between them, they spend a small fortune each month on a crew of people to keep their house looking immaculate, and it does, but there are still little details Lena notices. When she sweeps a finger pad across the wall, it comes back with dust. The banister on the stairwell doesn’t properly shine. Inconceivably, there’s a bulb out on their house Christmas lights. They were only put up last week.
Her fury at these imperfections has never made Lena feel more like Lillian Luthor, and it’s salt in an open wound, an added insult to injury.
I’m becoming my mother.
She stands in front of their walk-in closet mirror and stares at herself, a black dress hugging her frame. She’s sprayed her high end perfume, she’s donned her now broken in heels. Her hair is up in a tight bun and her lips painted in a signature red.
She resembles her biological mother in nearly every regard, but looking at herself reflected in the glass, her pursed lips, her sea washed glass green eyes, the sculpted brows, something is still so distinctly Lillian, and it has Lena in a sour mood before the party even starts.
She grumbles and does one last check of the second floor. In the house, linens are folded, sheets tucked into corners. Surfaces are tidy and angles flawlessly aligned. Even Kara’s messy office looks less of a natural disaster and more of a comfy retreat. That door is closed, no one will see that room (unless she finds Alex there again, drunk and ‘looking for a bathroom’ while she guiltily holds an unopened bottle of Lena’s 30 year scotch), but it’s still a relief. Stepping down to the first floor, there are baubles in red, green, and gold. There are three Christmas trees. Glossy wrapped presents. Lit candles on the table. It smells like a goddamn gingerbread house.
Not that Kara cares.
Lena’s wife is currently situated in front of the TV, watching a replay of some parade, fingers wrapped around a low ABV beer. She coos to herself over a large Garfield float.
“Aw, it’s so cute,” she says to Alex, who stands near to her, distractedly checking out Sam’s ass for the fourth or seventh time that evening as Lena’s best friend makes egg nog in the kitchen.
If Lena had to guess the arc of the night, Kara and Alex will pair off to be reclusive somewhere outside while Sam gravitates to Lena. They’ll both crush a bottle of wine. She’ll barely speak to Kara, and they’ll retire to bed in silence.
“What did you think about Dr. Westmeyer?” Lena will ask the darkness.
“Weird questions,” Kara will reply. “I’m not crazy about it.”
Lena sighs, wrenched from the calculated scenario and back into real time. She answers the door when the low bell notes sound.
“Hello neighbor!” a too bright face exclaims at her, and Lena leads the nameless couple inside.
She knows Kara hates parties. Her wife would rather be alone, comfortable on the couch, Lena’s feet draped over her legs as she rubbed her calves. It’s their favorite activity, that is, when they’re both at home. Lately, Kara’s in bed less and less if Lena’s at home at all.
Lena’s about three glasses of red wine and an hour into the party when her preconceived script deviates from plan. She hears the melodic laugh of her wife and notices for the first time that Kara’s not on her phone hiding in one of their four guest bathrooms but laughing instead at that dumb idiot Mike Matthews, one of her ‘finance’ colleagues.
“No mistletoe?” he asks like a buffoon, and Kara graces him with a humoring smile. “That’s a lovely dress.”
Lena crosses to the kitchen under the guise of making drinks and cutting more brie, when in reality she’s angling for a better vantage point like a surveilling FBI agent. She checks briefly for Alex, hoping she’ll interfere, but the other Danvers is a hopeless lost cause, drunkenly crowding Sam by their fireplace.
“You come into the city often?” she asks Sam, a slight slur to her voice. Lena’s pretty sure she’s flexing. “I’ve got a great record collection. You could come over some time.”
A record collection? Is this 1974? It’s ham handed, but Lena can’t fault her for shooting her shot.
“How do you stay so fit in the winter?” Lena tunes back into Mike right as he reaches to pinch at the bare, taut skin of Kara’s bicep.
Lena nearly cuts her finger off. The blade whirls dangerously, flashing as she absently twirls it. Remembering herself, she puts it down flat before anyone sees.
“Clean body, clean soul,” Kara replies.
“You must not have any vices,” he smiles, and there’s egg nog in his beard. It’s unbecoming.
“So, how’d you make out last quarter?” Kara casually changes the subject. It’s still far too accommodating.
“Not bad, up 13%. How about you?”
“Oh, I’ve got all my money buried under the tool shed.”
They both laugh, and Lena endures the indignity of having to watch Kara and Mike both drag from their beers at the same time.
She’s fluent in body language. She’s well versed in social mirroring. Lena thinks hard about the various ways in which she could kill him, and she wouldn’t be surprised if her sudden flare of anger has left a metaphysical imprint on this portion of the kitchen. A ‘cold spot,’ like the ghost hunters say.
Instead, she settles on poisoning Mike’s drink with eye drops from her purse and makes her way over.
“I could manage your account if you want, teach you all about—”
“Refills?” she interrupts with two drinks in hand.
Mike eagerly accepts, immediately taking a large swig. Kara accepts hers, too, eyes lingering on Lena for a moment. Lena walks away without another word, depositing their bottles in the recycling bin. She arranges the ingredients of a martini at the wet bar, she’s no longer in a red wine mood.
“Hi babe,” Kara whispers near her ear.
Lena turns, she can feel the warmth of Kara’s body heat like a soothing balm. She kisses her on the cheek, wiping the lipstick away with a thumb after. She takes a sip of her drink, her eyes cool and level.
“Enjoying yourself, sweetheart?”
Kara nods, glancing at Lena’s lips as she wets them with her tongue, catching a hint of escaped vermouth. She crushes the olive between her teeth and swallows.
“What do you think of the new curtains?” Lena motions with the martini to the living area.
Kara glances at the slate grey curtains with nothing less than apathy.
“I thought we were going to wait.”
“If you don’t like them, we can take them back,” Lena answers, borderline acidic.
“Fine, I don’t like them.”
“You’ll get used to them.”
Kara smiles slightly at the challenge. Then, she steps into Lena’s space. Lena doesn’t back down, back flat against the marble counter top of the bar. She watches, nonchalant as Kara circles her waist with her arms, hands palming and pushing through Lena’s dress just north of appropriate. Her fingers, always deft and precise, immediately detect the lacy pair of underwear beneath.
Lena’s breath hitches. She’d forgotten to change, honestly. She’d left them on after a mission, and sure, maybe she’d even done it for a thrill. Because nothing about this house is thrilling. It’s crafted, it’s magazine ready, and it’s got brand new curtains. But it’s a shell. A cover. It might as well be made of papier-mâché.
Kara runs her hand across Lena’s ass again, and Lena squeezes her arm, a gasp only barely bit back.
“Is this for me?” Kara purrs.
“Not anymore,” Lena answers, and she holds her gaze for a beat before pointedly removing Kara’s hands from her ass, her waist.
Kara pouts, still lingering close. Lena holds her wrists between them, like a cuffed prisoner, before she drops them with a huff.
“Why do you let him flirt with you?” she jibes. “Why do you play dumb?”
“Play dumb?” Kara’s brows furrow. “With who, Mike?”
“I’m in finance, Kara, and he offered to manage your account. That’s insulting. And your money is not in the shed.”
“What would you like me to do?” Kara places her hands on her hips. It strikes Lena as eerily familiar. “Punch him in the throat?”
“That’s a start,” Lena gruffs, swallowing the rest of her martini.
“I don’t even know why you’re mad, Lena. You invited him. I didn’t even want to have a party.”
That’s always Kara’s go to; everything that upsets Lena, Kara didn’t even want to do it. And it annoys her, too, that she doesn’t entirely know why she does things any more. Paltry competition. To show off to the neighbors she hates.
She’s not even this person. She hates this cover.
Lena pushes off of the bar and out into the kitchen with an eye roll for a goodbye. She perseveres not to look back. She’s not going to do it. Not this time.
She looks back as she rounds the island, and Kara’s wearing that adorable kicked puppy expression. Lena can’t help the tiny tinge of guilt she feels.
But it’s soon alleviated by the satisfying sound of vomit in the nearby guest bathroom.
Lena’s tucked into bed with her eye mask on by the time she hears Kara drunkenly stumble into their master suite. She, Alex, and Sam had closed down the party after their guests started trickling out, and Lena can already tell Alex was smoking those disgusting cigars by the cedar box stench that clings to Kara as she changes.
Lena doesn’t move, choosing instead to feign sleep, but she doesn’t quite manage the charade when Kara slides under the sheets and sidles up to her back, molding her body around Lena’s. She can’t help the way she hums in the back of her throat as Kara presses a radiator heat warmed hand under her tank top and over her naked stomach and ribs.
Kara’s breath is loud and hot in her ear, something that never fails to arouse Lena.
“y’awake?” she mumbles.
Lena doesn’t respond. She knows she could deny her. She could continue to unreasonably punish her wife, but it feels too good and her anger too petty to make Kara stop. Plus, her body answers for her anyway when Kara meaningfully squeezes her ass, and she arches from the mattress, chasing the touch. Her wife interprets it for the affirmative reply that it is and tugs the eye mask from Lena’s face. Kara slips further under the comforter, angling Lena flat against the bed and pressing down, her hips cradled between Lena’s legs.
The weight is delicious, and Kara’s lips meet hers with a languid firmness. Lena wraps her arms around Kara’s back, feeling for the unyielding muscle there. It’s a fact that Lena’s always marveled at; Kara’s absurdly ripped for a reporter. She claims to use the CatCo gym, but Lena’s never seen it. Kara sweating, cheeks red and chest heaving? She needs to add that to her schedule.
A reminder to tell Jess in the morning.
But for now there are other things to attend to as Kara plunders her mouth with a hot tongue. Lena can taste the alcohol there, but it’s sweet and intoxicating on Kara’s breath. Lena’s hand grips the back of her neck, fingers playing with the baby soft hairs there before Kara begins to roll her hips in earnest. It elicits a compromising moan.
“You smell so good,” Kara pulls back to gaze at Lena’s fluttering eyelashes, her wet, puffy lips.
She happens to look down between their bodies, too, and her lips curl into a smirk. Lena knows why. She’s still wearing the black, lacy pair. She didn’t change.
“I knew they were for me,” Kara murmurs, playing with the waistband and teasing. Lena feels herself flood, and she impatiently tugs Kara back down to her mouth, nipping her lip none too aggressively.
Kara strips her easily of the lace without breaking contact, but right when she’s set to claim what’s hers, a sharp, shrill ring cuts through the air. It’s Kara’s work cell, and Lena covers her face and groans.
“I have to go,” Kara unnecessarily tells her.
She pulls herself from the bed, and Lena wonders if this is revenge for earlier; working her up and leaving her uncomfortably wet. She’ll have to add malicious edging to the list of complaints for Dr. Westmeyer.
“You’re drunk,” Lena sighs. “They can’t possibly expect you to work.”
“I’m not that drunk.”
Lena’s answering silence is judgment enough.
“You can ask Alex,” Kara qualifies.
Lena thinks Alex Danvers is probably dead to the world at this point, but she doesn’t question her further. Unsatisfied, she pulls the comforter back up to her chin and reaches for her eye mask. She hears the telltale sounds of Kara redressing. A zip, a pulled on boot.
“I liked your dress tonight,” Kara tells her, and Lena glances at her wife, haloed beautifully by the light of the open door. “It was nice.”
Lena nods, not sure what else to say. Kara leaves, and their black cat, Coal, wanders into the room with a ruffling meow. Lena turns onto her side, and he rubs against her prone hand, slung carelessly over the edge of the bed. She scratches between his ears.
As he jumps up and they get settled, she feels something weird between her pillow and the headboard.
She pulls out a dryer sheet.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Ekingston bribed me with art to write a second chapter. Everyone say thank you, Easter. Also, she ate a testicle.
My tags for this chapter: tapeworms, background AgentReign, nice biceps, Vienna sausages, teenaged insolence, and knife kinks
“So, part two.”
“Part two,” Kara repeats, drumming her hands on the top of her thighs.
“Only this time you came back alone,” Dr. Westmayer allows the statement to swell expectantly in the air between them. Kara doesn’t address it.
“Why did you come back?”
Kara takes a breath, her muscles coiling.
“I’m not sure,” she answers, eyes downcast. The carpet is a shade of pea green that distinctly reminds her of public school cafeteria food.
“I—I love my wife,” she focuses on instead. “I want her to be happy. I want good things for her.”
She looks up.
“But there are times,” she grits through her teeth, and she’s not even sure how to finish the rest of the sentence.
Kara thinks of Lena reading scientific journals, finance reports, and business proposals at all hours of the night. In bed. She thinks of asking her to turn off the bedside light,
“Honey, could you—?”
“Five more minutes.”
She thinks of Lena’s cooking; a plate of unceremonious green coupled with a slab of unnaturally white chicken. Lena claims turkey bacon is a thing. It’s not. Sometimes Lena will even pass Kara a kale smoothie before breakfast in the morning, oblivious to the fact that it puts a damper on Kara’s entire day at the outset. Kale is not a type of smoothie, and no matter how much Kara lobbies for it, there’s never pizza or Chinese or meatball subs for dinner.
“Can you blame me for wanting you to live forever, darling?” Lena always guilt trips her, but Kara is going to live forever. And she’d rather live that time without kale.
Her hands unconsciously grip the arms of the chair. A hint of extra force, and they’d tear straight through.
There’s a cleared throat, and Kara suddenly comes back to herself, seated in the office and faced with the questioning, tilted head of Dr. Westmayer. She stalls, averting her gaze. Her shirt is misbuttoned under her sweater vest. Is that a spot of blood at the hem?
She covers it with her hand.
“Lena wants this to work. I want this to work, too,” she determines.
“Do you two talk often?” the therapist asks, and it feels like the sex question. Loaded, somehow.
Today? This week? On the weekend?
The silence returns, thick like pulp. She slides her clammy hands against her slacks.
“Can you elaborate?” the doctor encourages, indicating with her pen.
Kara sighs, remembering Lena in their last session, her fingers spidered together, her posture compact, her ponytail tight. She thinks of the river of silence that flows between them, sometimes trickling, sometimes flooding.
“People—” she starts, almost amending ‘people’ to Alex. “People think that because we don’t talk very much that we don’t understand each other, but that’s not the case. Sometimes, Lena and I understand each other perfectly.”
“Most times,” Kara confirms.
It’s surprising but true. Language had never been easy, not for Kara and not for Kara and Lena, but a memory flashes back to five (or six) years ago, of Lena in Colombia standing from a chipped plastic chair, hand outstretched and beckoning.
“So, she speaks,” Lena had commented playfully. “But does she dance?”
That’s when Kara had realized that their words didn’t matter so much. With Lena’s hands shaping over her stomach like molding clay, it didn’t matter that she was stuck in Bogota, her powers blown out with no back up. She was solely focused on the angel white glow of Lena’s skin, the raven black lustre of her hair. Her lips were parted and eyes shrouded in the lowlight, looking down and watching the movement of their bodies. Then, Lena’s eyes had glanced up and held her firm with a tiger’s gaze.
They’d never needed to speak, not really.
“But other times…” Kara concedes unwillingly, motioning with a hand. “I have no idea what she’s thinking, what she wants. It’s like she’s a thousand miles away.”
“Hm,” the doctor makes a note. “Are you familiar with love languages?”
“Love languages?” Kara asks, careful to keep her expression blank and free from judgment.
Kara wakes early the next morning and dresses in a crisp white robe cinched at the waist. Lena had bought them a matching, monogrammed set for their anniversary, and beforehand she’d asked,
“Do you want lined plush or terry cloth microfiber?”
Kara hadn’t known the difference. She still doesn’t.
When she makes it downstairs and outside, the sun is just rising, casting an amorphous blue light over their front lawn. The dew is still wet on the grass as she pads down their front walkway. Her slippers are shaped like bear claws (she’d gotten them at a Yellowstone gift shop), and she gazes vacantly at the perfectly cured concrete.
“This might be someone’s first impression of our home,” Lena had hummed over her tea, supervising the contractors like a hawk.
Kara’s not sure who would be looking at the concrete. Although… she is right now.
Lena’s usually right.
At the end of the path, she steps out onto the sidewalk and reaches down to pick up this morning’s newspaper. There’s beaded droplets of water on the slicked blue plastic, and Kara wonders if it rained. Or if their idiot neighbor left their sprinklers on again.
Her head whips around paranoid, but she’s alone on the street. It’s 6 AM, and it’s quiet. Resigned, she glances back down at the paper, holding it with uncertainty.
Most days, she doesn’t even read it. She separates the financial section for Lena and recycles the rest before the unread evidence can damn her. Why? She subscribes mainly out of guilt. And for her cover. She’s a ‘reporter’ after all, shouldn’t she be reading the news? Shouldn’t she like reading?
She sighs, hauling the paper inside. She just has to accept that it’s a bygone hobby that used to relax her. Ground her. It used to make her feel more human. Normal.
To be normal, she thinks.
She’d craved it with her heart and soul. With her therapists, with the other students at school, even when she still doesn’t recognize certain Sesame Street references. But the appearance of normal? She has that in spades with Lena as they brush their teeth next to each other at their custom side by side sinks, when Lena’s Sonicair is so loud in Kara’s yellow sun enhanced ears, she can feel it vibrating in her molars. She has all the faux normalcy she could ask for when Lena reads an ad aloud as she grabs a banana in the kitchen.
“0% APR til March, huh.”
But the truth of the matter is that Lena is just another stranger beside her.
“Dinner’s at 7,” she tells Kara as they’re both getting into their separate cars, matching BMW’s in black and white. Lena had insisted.
“I’ll be there—here,” Kara fumbles.
“Don’t forget,” Lena reminds her softly, green eyes slanted her direction as she adjusts a pearly earring in her right ear.
It’s another moment where Lena’s eyes reflect the gaping distance between them. The fact that she feels the need to remind Kara twice is irritating, but Kara can’t quite find the will to fault her when Lena looks so beautiful. She’s out of place in the pedestrian setting of their messy detached garage. Velvet soft and clean. Immaculately put together.
Sometimes, it’s unreal that they’re married. Kara doesn’t know how she got so lucky.
Even when Lena cuts Kara off in their own driveway a minute later, forcing them to both slam their brakes.
“Sorry, sweetheart,” she hears Lena say in her car, waving an exaggerated apology into the rearview mirror.
Kara motions for her wife to go first, sighing heavily and looking up at their flawless two story home. Her eyes catch on the shutters.
Those shutters had cost sixteen thousand dollars. Another argument they’d had with their eyes and not their words, but Kara had caved because Lena’s usually right. Lena can tell her the exact price of every item in their house. She knows what compound interest is. She works in finance and has embossed black, pressed business cards like American Psycho.
That’s a movie Kara has seen, at least. It’s when she decided she didn’t like chain saws.
But Kara could relate to the idea of a monster wearing a human mask. She watches Lena depart down the driveway, and there’s that twinge of inauthenticity within her. It becomes more acute when she gets the call to drop by the DEO, and she has to slip off her wedding ring entirely.
It’s unusual, Kara thinks. Kal handles both Metropolis and National City, but sometimes he needs back up. What do the papers call her again?
Right. A sidekick. The unseen Super.
It stings, but Kara’s never wanted to take on a bigger role. It would make her already hectic and busy life even more hectic and busy, and there’s no way she’d be able to hide it from Cat Grant. Just this morning, she’d had to say she had a tape worm just to get out of an editor’s meeting.
“It better be crowning,” Cat had texted back.
Not to mention, Lena. Her wife is too smart. She’ll smell Kara’s breath after a kiss, eyes lingering on her mouth, and get this curious, parceling look about her.
Forget being a full time Superhero.
Kara makes a pit stop and manages to consume four meatball sandwiches by the time she lands on the DEO entry balcony. A sub wrapper flutters to her red, gleaming boots, and Alex is already waiting there, hand on her hip.
“Jesus Christ,” she comments, sounding hungover. The aviators and the black coffee in her hand are also a dead giveaway. She points at the wrapper. “Is that why you’re late?”
“I can’t eat what I want at home,” Kara shrugs.
“Well, wipe your face, you look like an animal.”
Kara starts to use the sleeve of her Super suit before she thinks better of it. Instead, she super speeds to the nearest bathroom, and she’s back before Alex can blink a bloodshot eye.
“Much better,” Alex approves.
Kara follows her sister across the shiny main floor, and they cease familiar conversation. Alex is the only one who knows about Kara Danvers or that Supergirl even maintains a human identity. The world at large assumes she lives in that ice cube Kal calls a fortress up North.
“There’s trouble in the desert, they need you,” Alex passes Kara a manila folder.
Kara flips through it with mild interest.
“The boy in blue is off planet.”
That’s news to her. Kara pulls a face, but her sister merely shrugs as they move into a debrief room. It’s only then that Alex takes off her sunglasses and winces into the harsh fluorescent lights.
“We have a priority one, and we need Super expertise,” Director Henshaw greets them.
“So I hear,” Kara replies flatly, and Alex steps on her toe. She doesn’t feel it.
Director Henshaw ignores her and clicks a remote, illuminating the table with a holographic display. A man glows there, smile awkward and slightly tense, haircut reminiscent of the boys that fumbled to ask Kara out in the 8th grade.
“The target’s name is Winn Schott aka The Tank.”
“The Tank?” Alex repeats, skeptical.
“More like the Toy.”
Henshaw levels Kara with a serious look, and Kara shifts, sitting up straighter.
“He is a direct threat to the DEO,” he emphasizes. “And he needs to be placed in alien containment. The FBI is making an air to ground transfer ten miles north of the Mexican border. Make sure the target does not change hands.”
Kara gazes at the hologram unimpressed. Henshaw’s tone is exactly why she doesn’t like it here. They treat her like a peon. It almost makes living in Kal’s shadow worth it when it insulates her from government blowhards like this. Let her cousin have have his highly publicized war with the Luthors and leave her alone to drink her wife’s terrible Kale smoothies.
Which reminds her.
Kara nods and stands without another word. Alex shadows her out of the room and lingers when Kara stops to plunder the DEO vending machine.
“We should plan a sister’s night,” Alex says quietly in Kryptonese.
Kara lifts the machine fully off of the ground, shaking it until several bags of chips and chocolate bars dislodge from the metal railings.
“I’ll ask Lena,” she grunts, placing the machine back on the ground and reaching inside to collect her bounty. She can feel Alex’s glower.
“Want to use my cell?” Alex switches to English, so a curse word must be incoming. “Make sure she thinks it’s okay? Maybe ask if you can wipe your ass while you’re at it?”
There it is.
“Stay a day late on the mission,” Alex pleads, slipping a Snickers out of Kara’s hand and peeling back the wrapper. Kara narrows her eyes at the trespass.
“Tell her you’re travelling for work. She won’t know the difference.”
“Lie to my wife?”
“Not your wife, Kara,” and Kara knows Alex is splitting linguistic hairs. Not her wife by Krypton’s standards, maybe, but definitely her Earth wife.
Alex has never liked Lena.
“And besides,” her sister continues, chewing her chocolate. “What’s marriage if not a little benign manipulation?”
“Let’s talk about your mother,” Dr. Westmayer prods.
“No,” Lena answers.
Lena’s always preferred blades. She loves the color. The dispassionate grey. The cold, prismatic shine of silver. There’s something comforting in the idea of stainless, too. It bears no history, no past beyond the present. Guns are so blunt. And dirty. A gun would trace you right back to every misdeed you’d ever committed.
But not blades.
They’re small and economic. Blades don’t make a sound. And people never knew when you stabbed them. It feels like a punch. They realize it later, and there’s always a delayed response, a recoiling disbelief and shock. No one ever expects to bleed out.
Lena chooses a favored few that morning, selecting from a hidden compartment from under her jewelry box. She checks on her wife after because Kara’s taking a veritable millennia to get the paper. Lena watches her from a slit in their bedroom window, and Kara’s just staring blankly down at the rolled up print.
What is she thinking? Lena wonders. Their idiot neighbor probably left the sprinklers on again.
Lena closes the blinds and secrets the knives over her person; her thigh, her ankle, the fleshy side of her right hip. She’s good with her left, but the training to keep her right hand free is too ingrained.
Right, it is.
With a robotic efficiency, she moves into their spacious walk-in closet and picks out a simple black turtleneck and skirt. She appraises herself in the mirror, deciding to add a pair of pearl earrings to soften her overall appearance. She looks like a contract killer, and it’s a little on the nose.
Either way, Kara doesn’t notice (what does she notice?), and Lena nearly bulldozes her in their driveway.
“Sorry, sweetheart,” she waves, and Kara lets her pass, but her eyes are downright resentful.
She doesn’t know why Kara cares, anyway, unless it’s interrupting her secret eating schedule. Every day, Kara eats from four to fourteen burgers, and Lena pretends not to know. She can always smell it on her breath, and she sees the wrappers furtively stuffed into Kara’s side door.
Can you blame her for wanting her beautiful wife to live forever?
Lena’s apologetic act drops the second she pulls onto the street and out of sight, and it’s not long before she’s being full body scanned downtown, a security measure her mother insisted on at her high rise loft office.
Speaking of her mother.
“We have a new assignment,” a video clicks onto the screen behind her.
Lena groans out loud. She hasn’t even had a full cup of coffee yet, and she feels her face slip immediately into what Lillian refers to as her ‘teenaged insolence.’
“I need you to handle it personally,” Lillian tells her without overture.
“Winn Schott. We need this quick, clean, and contained, Lena. No mistakes.”
“Yes, mother,” Lena breathes with detachment. The video clicks off, and Lena drops her arms, shaking her shoulders out as she prepares to exit the scanning chamber.
When the doors slide open, she pops down the stairs.
“Ladies,” she greets, pointedly looking for one face in particular.
Mike looks up from his desk and stiffens. She smiles.
“The grenade launchers are here,” Jess tells her at the foot of the stairs, and they walk together to Lena’s desk. “Silver stars, the new tranquilizer darts.”
“And the flash grenades?”
“Boxed in the back.”
“Excellent,” Lena answers “Order ten more.”
Lena drops off her bag and makes her way to the debriefing area at the center of the wide open space. She’s always liked this office. It’s four walls of impersonal glass and waxed concrete. It has clean geometrical lines. Her team makes a habit of only wearing black suits. She enjoys the aesthetic.
Except for one.
“Lena, I have to ask,” she sees Mike sidle up in her periphery, and she rolls her eyes. “Did you poison my beer?”
“I don’t know, Mike,” Lena answers acidly. “Did you pinch my wife’s bicep?”
“Oh please, she’s just a cover,” he dismisses, and Lena turns to face him.
“So, you think she’s fair game then?”
“I’m just saying, does it matter if your fake wife is fake faithful?”
Lena takes a step closer, and Mike visibly swallows. To his credit, he doesn’t step back, and that’s all that stops her from round house kicking him from the room.
“First of all, the only reason you were even invited to my Christmas party was to appease my mother,” she snaps. “We both know you’re her mole.”
“I’m not—I’m not her mole!” Mike begins to stammer, but Lena cuts him off with a raised finger.
“And secondly, you had strict instructions to legitimize my job, not hit on my wife and undermine our marriage in front of a room full of guests.”
“But you think poisoning me is totally fine?” he accuses back, posing his hands on his hips.
Lena shrugs, an innocent eye brow raised.
“I did no such thing,” she takes a seat at the debriefing table.
Annoyingly, Mike plops down right next to her, and Lena presses her heel onto the base of his chair, rolling him as far as she can reach.
“We could share,” he suggests from four feet away.
“Why don’t you go make me a coffee?” she holds out an empty mug. He groans and takes it.
It’s the one saving grace of her mother’s stupid spy. Lena’s allowed to make him do whatever she wants. He does the cooking, the dry cleaning, their laundry, cleans their toilets, but she’s not allowed to fire him. A Lillian directive. A personal punishment for being caught in her secret lab, experimenting with synthetic kryptonite.
Now, she has a new secret lab. And Mike.
She frowns. She needs to check and make sure he hasn’t stolen any of Kara’s underwear.
“Here you go, princess,” he returns with a steaming hot mug.
“Drink it,” she tells him.
He pauses, clearly confused.
“To make sure it doesn’t have any, say,” she pauses for theatrical effect. “Eye drops in it?”
He scowls at her.
“Good morning everyone,” Sam greets, sweeping into the debrief area. She flicks on several of the screens behind them, and immediately the white-washed face of what must be a male kindergarten teacher appears on screen.
“Target’s name is Winn Schott alias the Tank,” she tells them.
“Are you serious?” Lena asks.
Mike makes a show of drinking the coffee next to her and tries to pass it to Lena. She doesn’t take it.
“Wipe your mouth off of the edge.”
“Children.” Sam reprimands, and Lena swivels back to look at her. “Are we done?”
Lena nods, and Sam motions back to the screens, flicking over a map.
“The only point of vulnerability is just south of the border. We’ll have one chance to strike. We need to leave today, so Lena, you’ll have to take the jet.”
Lena sighs, jotting down a few notes as Sam continues to give the mission details. The assignment is fairly straightforward, though, and Lena’s not quite sure why someone else can’t handle it. Either way, she corners Sam over a box of donuts at their breakfast nook.
“So,” she starts conspiratorially. “What was with you and Kara’s sister at my Christmas party?”
“Lena,” Sam chides, elongating her name and opting for a custard filled éclair.
“It’s nothing,” Sam scrunches her nose. “I mean, she’s FBI.”
“So, star-crossed lovers,” Lena declares.
Sam sighs, looking misty-eyed for a moment.
“She has really nice arms,” she admits with a whine. “It must run in the family.”
Lena hums in agreement, thinking fondly of Kara’s arms. The reverie is interrupted, however, when Sam’s phone pings.
“It’s your mother,” she excuses herself, and Lena only manages one bite of a sugar donut before Mike is back in her line of sight.
“Look, Matthews,” Lena warns. “I’ve met my limit for today. Go bother someone else.”
“Your coffee?” he motions to the same cup, nonplussed.
“Oh, I didn’t really want one,” she smiles saccharine sweet and pushes past him.
It’s the little joys in life.
It’s a short trip to the border using the Luthor pilotless jet. She doesn’t even get five pages into her new engineering journal before she’s deboarding with a small army of heavy, black cases. Traveling for a family of five is just one of the many perks of the job.
And murder as well as potentially dying.
Which doesn’t necessarily bother Lena. She’s not the type to get squeamish about eating meat. She gnaws it down to the grit of the bone. And it helps that her job’s not all killing and abduction. It’s not always messy. Most of her work for Lillian is corporate espionage. Forgery. Surveillance. Hacking. Stealing. And even when it’s bloodier, she’s never completed a hit where they didn’t deserve it ten times over. The ones who don’t… well, she finds another way.
She’s got government contacts. Just because she’s from a family of xenocidal psychopaths doesn’t mean she’s cut from the same cloth.
After debarking, reaching the target zone is toiling. The air is dry and parching in the back of her throat. It’s dusty. She’s always hated the desert. Heat rashes and sand in your ass? Pass. She painstakingly sets the charges as the green dot moves closer down the winding, empty road.
“Send the jet home,” she commands over her comms when she’s finished.
She posts up in a shanty up in the short foothills of the nearby mountain. It has no roof, and the metal walls look dangerously rusted. If Lena slips and gets so much as a shallow paper cut, it’s a mathematical certainty she’ll need five Tetanus shots.
So, she moves carefully around the abandoned hut, setting up her laptop until it’s whirring silently, green text flowing on a black screen. She whips out her enhanced binoculars to scan the vacant horizon.
“Wow, look, more desert,” Mike comments in Lena’s ear.
“Speak again, Matthews, and it’ll be arsenic next time.”
The line goes silent.
“Sam, are we green?” Lena directs to her actually qualified and competent colleague.
“We’re up and running,” Sam confirms. “And perimeter is armed.”
Lena takes a sip of water, checks the Rolex watch on her right hand.
That’s when she hears it, something akin to a sonic boom. She whips her binoculars around, searching for the source. A few clicks away, sand kicks up high in a wide circle, and Lena can just make out a figure, someone who looks awfully red and blue.
Superman, Lena nearly chokes. But then the sand settles and she spots the glossy, straw blonde curls and trim narrow waist of a woman.
And biceps. Nicely toned, fatally large biceps.
Supergirl, she corrects. But… no one ever sees her. It’s like spotting a snow leopard in the wild.
The shock of it has Lena slow to react, but after a few seconds she nearly karate chops herself in the throat trying to turn on her heart rate inhibitor. She also slams her hand onto the keyboard of her laptop to activate the x-ray vision and sound dampening field around the shack.
At the sound, Supergirl’s head twists in her direction, and Lena falls to the floor. She watches her from the video monitor on her laptop, watches as Supergirl takes a few calculated steps towards the shack, her eyes scanning. Lena’s heart is deafening in her ears.
Anyone but a Luthor would be absolutely fucked in this scenario.
As it is, Lena’s not sure if she’ll make it out unscathed. There’s protocol for encountering a Super in the field, but she’s never needed it. She always stocks kryptonite ammunition at the urging of her paranoid mother, but not in a million years did she think she’d be reaching for it and fitting a monochrome bullet into her rifle chamber.
“You getting this?” she whispers into her comms even though it’s clear the Super doesn’t see or hear anything. She’s ignoring the shack now, digging for something in her suit.
There’s a long, static-y silence.
“Is she a threat?”
“What the fuck is she even doing here?” Lena curses to no one in particular.
She leans in close to stare at the video feed. Supergirl has taken out a cell phone, of all things, and snaps a picture of neighboring cloud. She coos at it after.
Then, even more unthinkably, Supergirl stows the phone and pulls out a can of Vienna sausages from god knows where and rips open the can. She begins to eat the unseemly rolls of processed meat, chewing loudly.
“Is she—is she eating?” Sam asks in Lena’s ear, but then adds more urgently, “Target is moving towards the zone, countdown initiated.”
“It’s too late,” Sam urges. “She’s threatening the mission, subdue her.”
“But I—fuck,” Lena curses loudly again, grinding her teeth. She lays flat on her stomach, positioning the rifle butt into her shoulder. She noses the barrel through a rotted hole in the wood and takes aim at the Super’s chest.
Supergirl tilts her head oddly, like a golden retriever.
“There’s someone here,” she says.
Lena fires. The Super whirls too fast, hand up, and catches the bullet. She holds it out, a captured trophy.
“Nice try,” she says smugly and crushes it.
When crushed, however, it explodes into kryptonite mist, and Lena smirks.
That wasn’t so hard.
Supergirl coughs wildly, green veins erupting over her face, but her eyes roar to life. They open and burn a dangerous magnesium white. Lena’s smirk drops.
“Shit,” she hisses, dropping the rifle and rolling herself flat against the back wall.
Lasers cut and arc through the metal like a white hot knife, wild and blind. Pieces of the rusty wall fall apart around her.
“Lena, the convoy is almost in position,” she hears, hands clapped over her head, but one of the lasers fries the laptop and suddenly, explosions are rocking the desert floor.
Early detonation, Lena thinks, holding on for dear life as the shack shakes and burns acridly around her.
“We missed the target,” Sam shouts over the chaos. “They’re retreating.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Lena gruffs. She has bigger problems.
She kicks the metal from her body to see Supergirl’s recovered from her kryptonite coughing fit and now rearing back to fly. Lena pops a kryptonite laced grenade, and in less than two pulses, Supergirl’s there inside the shack as the grenade blows up in her face.
But Lena’s already pressed her watch and disappeared into the purple haze of a portal.
Follow me on Tumblr/Twitter @hrwinter for occassional aesthetics, fan art, and annoying show commentary!
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Lena's on fire. Kara's got splinters. They meet in the middle.
additional chapter tags: lena's skin is only a little singed to her uniform, sexy shock knife, lena thinks supergirl is hot, kara thinks lena is Very Rude, mommy issues
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Lena. What an unpleasant surprise,” Lena finds herself gazing into the glacial, bottle green eyes of her mother. Lillian’s seated at her desk, and she looks down at Lena over the top of a pair of chic reading glasses.
“You look a mess.”
“Mother?” Lena asks confusedly, balled protectively on the floor. She hasn’t used the portal in months, maybe years (she’s never liked the idea of transdimensional travel), and Lex usually determines the location.
Is she at LuthorCorp? In Lillian’s office? Is something burning?
“I could’ve been in a meeting,” Lillian chides, turning back to her computer with indifference.
Lena groans, rolling onto her back.
“Sorry, I didn’t have time to phone an appointment in—”
“Fire,” Lillian interrupts, glancing quickly at her.
“I’m fired?” Lena asks, immediately on the defensive.
“You’re on fire,” her mother explains with a casual point of her forefinger, eyes back on her computer screen.
Lena glances down, and the sleeve of her thick field operative suit is, in fact, on fire. Lena gasps and bats her arm repeatedly against her middle section.
“Put it out, my god, before you spoil the carpet,” Lillian unhelpfully directs, and by the time Lena’s snuffed out the flames, she’s smoldering and furious.
She glares at her mother.
“It’s New Zealand wool,” Lillian clarifies. “Darling, you know how hard it is to import.”
Lena squeezes her eyes closed, calling on every ounce of her training. The comment is provoking on a level only her mother has ever been capable of achieving. It has layers. It’s stuck up, snobby, and New England (everything Lena has tried and failed not to become.) It reminds Lena of how unyielding she can be to Kara about the expensive upholstery and curtains in their own home (a failure in her marriage.) And last, it makes Lena feel like overpriced carpet fibers are more valuable than she is, like she’s some sort of poorly trained animal who’s just soiled the floor (a failure as a daughter.)
“Now that we’re done with theatrics,” Lillian sets aside her documents and puts her computer to sleep (so, now Lena is dramatic, too.) She heaves a weary sigh and levels Lena with a firm gaze, hand fisted under her chin.
“Dare I ask how the mission went?”
“The FBI secured the package,” Lena grumbles, clothing still smoking as she sits sullen on the carpet, burns be damned. “The window is closed.”
“I told you we couldn’t afford any mistakes.”
Lena glances back up at Lillian, eyes narrowed.
“It was a Super, mother.”
“I don’t care if it was the Dalai Llama,” Lillian snaps back. “We don’t leave witnesses.”
Lena scoffs, moving to stand. She brushes charred metal from her suit with her gloved hands, and Lillian’s eyes track the movement like a hunting lioness in the tall grass.
“You want me to kill Supergirl?” Lena asks incredulous, eyebrows raised and hands on her hips. Just the simple movement hurts.
God, she’s sore. It feels like Supergirl bruised her entire body. Her suit’s black, so it’s hard to see where the blood is, but she can smell it.
“If she ID’d you,” Lillian interlaces her fingers, still looking for all the world like a cloak-and-dagger Bond villain. “You’re as good as dead.”
“She didn’t ID me—”
“You’re sure?” Lillian cocks her head. “A Super with the ability to hear and memorize a heartbeat? A Super with x-ray vision? A Super close enough to singe your clothes to your skin with just her eyes?”
Lena feels her face pinch in anger.
“I had my heartbeat dampener on. She didn’t see me. And my skin is only,” Lena waves her hand in front of her face, “a little singed to my clothes—”
“Take care of it,” Lillian cuts her off in a firm command.
Lena steps forward, and Lillian doesn’t give an inch, still as stone.
“Lex has been at it for ten years,” Lena says slowly in a quiet snarl, “and you want me to dispatch a Kryptonian at the snap of your fingers?”
“Well, you did always say you were smarter than Lex,” Lillian smirks. She pauses a moment, clearly savoring a check mate. “Haven’t you, darling?”
Lena clenches her jaw. Of course Lillian would dangle the idea of besting that psychopathic narcissist like a carrot on a stick, and it’s almost tempting enough to have Lena chomping at the bit.
But she’s not an idiot.
That woman she met today was a Super, an evolved alien species, a Kryptonian. Lena might have a warehouse full of Kryptonite, but even she doesn’t feel particularly confident (or stupid) enough to roll the dice and take her chances. They may share DNA, but Lena distinctly does not share in her brother’s misguided quest to prove his superiority.
In fact, that’s how she knows she’s smarter than him.
“You have 48 hours,” Lillian’s face drops back into the cold mask of contempt. She waves in dismissal.
“Oh, only 48?” Lena mocks, turning on her heel. “So generous.”
“Something tells me you’ll need it,” Lillian quips back, and Lena grinds her teeth.
This was all… just… so like her stepmother. Setting Lena to an impossible task, leaving her unprepared, and then criticizing her after an inevitable failure. She wouldn’t put it past her mother to criticize her even in the event of her death, in her eulogy. Not that anyone knew she existed. Not that anyone would come.
Because Lena Kieran wasn’t a Luthor. Lena Kieran was a Luthor bastard, a Luthor lapdog. The muscle, the dispensable pawn doing the grunt work. She’d beaten Lex at chess by the time she was 6, but here she was, cleaning up his messes.
Lex Luthor. The alleged genius. The Man of Tomorrow.
If she were him, maybe she’d have a choice in the matter regarding Supergirl. But she’s not, and she doesn’t.
She grinds her teeth again, and at this rate, she’ll need to see her dentist about a mouth guard. She can already tell she’ll be wolfing down seven Benadryl tonight just to sleep.
“So nice to see you,” Lena bids farewell, intentionally scuffing the burned black rubber soles of her boots across the carpet as she leaves.
When she reaches for the door, however, she finds a newly hung portrait of Lillian, fastened like a colossus to the wall. It features an antique green background and in the foreground sits her mother. Her stark, judgmental eyes. Her perfectly coifed Connecticut hair. She wears a dour and disappointed expression. They got that right. A pearl necklace accents her neck, dropping into a pink dress that actually has white frills.
“Another one, mother? Really? Was fifteen portraits not the stopping point?”
“Oh, you condescend,” Lillian clicks her tongue. “The real question is when you will get that vanilla wafer of a wife to sit for one.”
Another statement that irritates Lena in her skin, her muscle, her very bone marrow. One, Kara’s not a wafer, she’s quite solidly built. And two, Lena may be a lot of things, a killer, an impersonator, a thief, even a snob, but getting self-portraits of herself and her spouse hung in every atrium, lobby, and foyer is where she draws the line.
“I would rather die,” Lena states factually.
Lillian smiles. It’s unnerving.
“Careful,” she tsks. “You may just get your wish.”
When Lena storms back into her office an hour later, her entire team is there waiting anxiously with their mouths open, like she’s just slipped a nipple at a charity gala. But instead she’s bleeding, requires stitches, and sports a second degree burn on her arm.
“Lena—” Jess rushes to her, stitching essentials and balm in hand, always prepared.
Lena stops her with a look.
“Get me that tape.”
Jess eyes her wounds nervously, but otherwise nods and hurries off. The rest of the room waits for their instructions, dead silent. Even Mike has shut up for once.
“We have a new target,” Lena starts, sweeping towards the debrief table and snapping up the remote. “And this comes from the big boss.”
She clicks a few times, and the one blurry, grainy photo that exists anywhere on the internet of Supergirl pops up.
“You’re kidding,” Sam says in a whisper, her eyebrows raised.
“No,” Lena replies darkly. “And we only have 48 hours.”
“That’s—that’s impossible. What’re we supposed to do?”
“We have to take care of it,” Lena echoes the words of her mother. “Clean the scene.”
But Sam remains unconvinced, arms crossing in front of her chest.
“We’re supposed to eliminate Supergirl?”
Lena sighs, throwing the remote down.
“Those are the marching orders,” she barks back. “Let’s just start with—known weaknesses, where she goes, who she is.”
“What do you mean, ‘who she is?’” Mike finally finds his voice, a chafe to Lena’s very fresh wounds. “She’s not anyone. She’s an alien.”
“Yes, thank you, Sherlock Holmes,” Lena snaps. “Well spotted. As our resident expert, you can start by personally organizing and cataloguing all of our kryptonite weapons.”
Mike grouches towards the exit, but before he leaves, she can pick up the first few notes of his whistling, and she briefly indulges a graphic fantasy of crushing his windpipe.
“The rest of you," she recenters herself back on task. "My brother has long suspected Superman has an alias. A human alter ego. Get me that tape.”
Kara’s not out for long. Not that she’d know. She’s never been out, per say. She’s never taken a kryptonite grenade to the face, much less kryptonite in general. But she’s still waking up by the time she can hear the beat of the helicopter wings. It’s Alex, she’s sure. She’s up enough to feel the shrapnel pushing itself out of her skin where the sun touches it. Her powers are out of whack, but she surveys the destroyed shack as best she can, a pins and needles pain shooting throughout her entire body like knives flaying skin.
She crawls across the floor until she can stand, and when she finally manages to pull herself up using a charred wooden post as a handrail, she can see a squad of unmarked military personnel jumping out of a black helicopter. In a uniform line, they rush their way up the hillside like obedient ants.
Wincing, Kara sweeps her gaze over the wreckage, looking for anything, any clue that could tell her what very rude person just dropped a grenade like a parting party favor gift and then straight up portal’d to safety. Halfway across the burning floor, her eyes land on a fried laptop.
Kara snatches it up just as Alex bursts in, ripping her helmet off.
“What the fuck?”
It’s embarrassing getting back to the DEO. Kara can’t fly, and it’s a cramped flight. She takes the place of one of the operatives, and Alex literally leaves him in the middle of the desert looking like a baby animal from one of those Planet Earth documentaries, lost and abandoned.
“Priorities,” she tells Kara.
Kara avoids the awkward looks of the other men and women as they take off. It smells like gasoline. It’s torturously loud. She hates this. She loves flying. She hasn’t blown out her powers since, well, five or six years ago, and she picks uncomfortably at the remaining shrapnel in her skin, gripping the charred remains of the laptop to her chest like a fire blackened childhood security blanket.
“Just leave it,” Alex stops Kara’s nervous fidgeting. “We’ll get it out when we land.”
This is how Kara comes to find herself face to face with needle nose pliers that have no business being that long and a serious expression on her sister’s face. This is how Alex looks when she’s about to decimate Kara’s last battleship.
“Ready?” she asks and doesn’t give time for Kara to answer.
Alex yanks hard, and Kara cries out. Her sister drops the bloody piece of shrapnel into a tray of rubbing alcohol.
“You’re lucky,” Alex tells her, angling to grip another piece buried in Kara’s shoulder. “These weren’t intended to be lethal. There was a small dispersal of kryptonite when they exploded, but it’s not laced in the metal. It cleared in the air. Otherwise, you’d be dead.”
She’s not sure what to say to that. She doesn’t feel lucky. Alex yanks again, and Kara bites it back this time.
“You get a look at the guy who did this?” Alex asks in a growl, and Kara winces when she tugs the next piece of metal out.
“130 pounds, tops,” she grits, breathing heavy. “And I—I’m not even sure it was a him.”
Alex rolls her chair around to look Kara in the eyes.
“A woman did this to you?”
Kara nods. “A professional.”
“Obviously, she used kryptonite,” Alex shakes her head. “Who even has access to that?”
Alex sighs, glancing back down to Kara’s arms and side. She focuses on a shard lodged in Kara’s wrist.
“That limits the suspect pool,” she pulls it out deftly. Kara shudders. “Definitely someone working with a Luthor.”
Kara’s brows knit further. She’s pretty sure she hasn’t stopped furrowing since she woke up with grenade fragments in her cheeks.
“You get anything else other than weight class? Heartbeat, smell, anything?”
“Laptop,” Kara says, still clutching it to her chest.
“Yes, I can see that,” Alex glances at it warily. “Want to hand your little buddy over and get it analyzed?”
Kara doesn’t trust anything in the hands of the DEO.
“No,” Kara repeats, belatedly realizing how awkward it sounds. “I mean, we have better tech at the Fortress. It’ll be faster?”
Rao, why did she lilt that like a question? It must be the kryptonite. She’s off her game.
Alex looks naturally distrustful. She always knows when Kara’s lying.
“Anything else you saw about this lady killer?”
“She left through a portal,” Alex uses the distraction to pull another piece out, and Kara seizes. “It was purple.”
Alex takes a pause, tongs held to her head like she’s thinking.
“A transmat portal?”
“Was it a watch?”
“I don’t know, maybe”
Alex’s face darkens. “Only Lex uses that.”
“Well, it wasn’t Lex.”
“It wasn’t him.”
Alex puts the tongs down with a metal clang on the medical tray and watches Kara carefully.
“What about the mother? Was it Lillian?”
“No,” Kara sighs.
“How do you know? There aren’t any other Luthors,” Alex says like Kara doesn’t already know that.
The silence that follows is long.
It’s just… there’s more. She doesn’t want to tell Alex, but she’d heard a heartbeat for a split second. Right when she’d first landed. It had been familiar, too, it had almost sounded like—
“Did this mystery female Luthor recognize you?” Alex asks gripping the pliers again and taking hold of the last big piece of shrapnel in Kara’s neck.
“I—” Kara falters. She wants to say no. But if she had heard the heartbeat, then the woman had plenty of time to watch her from a distance. “I’m not sure.”
“Kara,” Alex immediately chastises. “She might have had video. Facial recognition. If she heard your voice, if she’s as high tech as she sounds—”
“I’ll take care of it,” Kara grits. “I’ll find her, okay?”
Alex nods and wrenches the piece out. Kara represses a scream.
Her body pushes the rest of the grenade fragments out like stubborn splinters while she lays annoyed and humiliated under a sun lamp for a few hours. Most of the cuts on her face and neck close up. It’s slower than normal to heal, and she’s still hobbling on her way to Brainy’s Emporium. Her powers are going in and out. Sound keeps hitting her in ear splitting waves, and she can’t speed or fly. She’d left her car at Catco, and it’s crappy taking the bus.
It takes forever.
When she finally gets there, she drops the mutilated laptop onto Brainy’s desk without preamble.
“What am I supposed to do with this?” Brainy asks in a perfect monotone, pulling out a crispy keyboard letter ‘q’ and dropping it onto his desk with disdain.
“Did you,” he gestures at the bubbling and curled metal, “cook a camp fire out of it?”
It’s a moment where she’s not sure if he’s being sarcastic or literal. Brainy’s a little odd, a fellow alien whose discretion she can trust, but he’s definitely not on the adept side of passing for human.
“Look, it has sentimental value, okay?”
“To you?” he prods.
Kara smiles, forced.
“I’m trying to return it to its owner.”
“A good Samaritan, I take it,” he deadpans, and she’s still not sure if he’s making fun of her. He has a way of delivering everything like an Amazon Alexa.
Kara sits down, anyway, while Brainy disassembles the scorched parts.
“Upgraded ram module,” he talks to himself. “Shipped from China.”
It takes some time, enough that Kara starts tinkering with little things she finds around the shop. An alien-looking light source. A cube with strange runes on it. A small-looking Earth planet within a bottle.
She picks that last one up and inspects it more closely. It looks really realistic.
“Don’t touch that,” Brainy says without looking up, and Kara puts it down quickly. “I’ve got something.”
Kara wanders back over to him, rounding his chair to look over his shoulders at the plain black screen with red and green coding text.
“No name, just a billing address,” he turns the screen towards her.
“570 Lexington Avenue, Suite A 5003 New York,” he reads aloud, and Kara jilts.
He glances up.
“Do you know it?”
Lena’s been staring at the video feed of Supergirl for the past thirty minutes, and it’s put her in such a foul mood she’s bitten two pens in half. There’s not a drug high strong enough to cure her irritation. Not an IV of caffeine. Not a glass of scotch with a Xanax chaser. Not even the slightly burned pot brownies she and Kara consumed once on a Caribbean vacation.
She can feel a tension headache forming. Maybe if she started an elaborate rumor about Mike she’d feel better. Or searched his desk for a lock of Kara’s hair, planting it there if she doesn’t find one.
She grumbles, playing back the video feed.
Supergirl catches the kryptonite bullet in the air with an absurd amount of ease, a cockiness that would be attractive were it not for the fact that her alien eye lasers singed Lena’s skin a little to her uniform seconds later.
“Nice try,” she taunts.
Lena plays it back.
Lena watches it over and over. Supergirl’s looking at the camera, so Lena has the full benefit of capturing the perfect clean edge of her teeth, the cupid’s bow of her lips, the frosty winter essence of her ice blue eyes. They’re all in perfect high definition quality as she says,
There’s an irritatingly familiar cadence to her smugness. It’s annoying. It grits like something in Lena’s teeth. It’s like she’s heard it before, but that just seems…
She presses a finger hard enough to her temple that it could be a hammer strike.
“Go make some coffee,” she dismisses the two other women analyzing the video next to her. They trade looks with one another that Lena summarily ignores.
She’s got something here. She just… doesn’t want anyone else looking at this video. She has a hunch, a hunch she doesn’t even fully understand. It’s a hunch that there’s something here to hide.
Lena goes further back in the reel, to when Supergirl lands in a cloud of dust.
Why was she even there? Why she did show up a few minutes before the caravan was scheduled to arrive? Was she on the same mission? Why would she care about the Tank aka some bedhead haired munchkin?
Supergirl takes out her phone in the video (Supergirl has a cell phone???), and she coos at her cloud photo. It’s so… it’s like…
Lena suddenly and distinctly remembers the concept of disequilibrium, when information is new and doesn’t fit into an existing schema. There are theories the Native Americans couldn’t see ships on the horizon because the idea of a floating vessel was too foreign. Their brains rejected it.
That’s how Lena feels now seeing Supergirl coo at a cloud photo. Her brain wants to black space the sight of it.
She taps the playback.
“Mmmmmmm,” Supergirl hums, lilting up.
It’s endearing and so very human. It’s a sound Lena can tell she’s done a hundred times looking at cat videos. She definitely has a civilian identity. But why? Who would want to pretend to be human when you were Super? When you were so much more?
She replays the feed. Supergirl opens the circular can, bored and waiting. She pops a Vienna sausage into her mouth.
Lena slams her finger on the pause button.
She forces her eyes closed in a full body wince. She imagines something she doesn’t want to imagine. Supergirl with glasses covering those blindingly blue eyes. Recognizably blue eyes. Supergirl with that pretty, blonde hair up in a ponytail. Supergirl’s arms, those biceps bare. Skin revealed.
Popping a Vienna sausage into her mouth in Lena’s kitchen. Lena in her own kitchen watching Mike pinch Kara’s bicep.
Kara Danvers. Her wife. Supergirl.
Lena jumps when the office phone rings, hard enough that her knee slams into the underside of the desk.
“Fuck,” she curses. It’s a bruise on top of a bruise. Her heart rate has skyrocketed.
“It’s your wife,” Jess calls to her, and Lena glances up sharply filled with a kind of paranoia only Lillian Luthor could relate to.
Kara may have laughed. Or vomited. She doesn’t remember. All she knows is that she made it out of the shop with the fragments of the laptop in hand and a stern warning to Brainy to delete all the evidence.
She takes the bus further downtown in kind of fugue state. She practically falls out of the Plexiglas doors at her stop.
How had she never been here before? Why? Not even a fly by? Not even a single suspicious question in five years? What kind of idiot was she?
She’s inside the golden lobby before she has time to properly think it through. She immediately finds a building floor map, tracking her finger across the screen until she finds Suite A. She reads it even though she already knows what it’s going to say.
Lena Danvers Financial 5003
Lena Danvers, CEO Suite A 5003
“Rao’s shining light,” Kara curses to herself in Kryptonian. She picks up her phone and dials Lena’s office.
The photo that Kara has assigned to Lena’s contact info pops up on her phone screen while the call rings. Kara took it at their favorite restaurant. It highlight’s Lena’s kissable pink lips. The mossy green of her eyes. Skin pale and gossamer.
But in this new lighting, she looks like a perfect trap, a woman expressly designed to deceive her.
“Hi Kara,” Jess greets her warmly on the other line.
“Hi Jess, I was just wondering, what time is dinner?” Kara’s voice comes out high and a little wobbly.
“Just a second,” she hears Jess pull the phone away from her mouth, she muffles the question to Lena, who must be nearby.
“Dinner’s at 7,” Lena answers in the background. Kara wants to be comforted by the sound of her voice, but she’s not.
“Dinner’s at 7,” Jess repeats to her.
“Right, right. It always is.”
Kara stress eats a large pizza on the way home. She can’t help it. She goes to her favorite place, an inconspicuous spot just north of downtown. She likes it because they don’t ask questions about how a seemingly slim human woman eats a lumberjack’s meal five times a day. They don’t try to pin her picture on the wall with sauce all over her face. They just give her the box, and she leaves.
But, for once, she actually has to drive her car to and from home. She usually just carries it, but her body still itches all over from the healing cuts and her powers aren’t quite returned. It makes her nervous to go home.
Going home to Lena. Going home to Lena (Luthor?)
When she pulls into the driveway, Kara checks the windows first for any signs of danger. She’s not even sure what she’s looking for. A Gatling gun? A bazooka? An interdimensional wormhole?
But she finds nothing, just the picture perfect view of their back entertaining patio, their boring Pottery Barn styled living room. Those stupid new curtains.
She takes a deep breath and enters through the back door, and it’s uncomfortably quiet in the house. Maybe it always is, but there’s the lingering smell of a cooked meal. Meat, maybe? Pot roast, her favorite?
“Hi babe,” Lena appears out of nowhere, scaring Kara nearly half to death. She jumps back, but Lena only smiles a bit wolfishly.
“As always,” Kara answers having quickly recovered her dignity, standing straight.
“Not always,” Lena snipes a little, and that feels more familiar.
She pulls Kara into a hug regardless, pressing cheek to cheek. Lena smells good. The texture of her blouse is silky and expensive. Her cheek is warm. Kara thinks of the invisible blonde hairs that exist all over Lena’s face. She used to think of Lena as her furry little Earth creature. Her furry little murderous Earth creature.
Kara discreetly palms her body, checking for weapons. Lena seems clean and hums slightly in enjoyment at Kara’s petting. It throws Kara off.
“Are you cooking?” she asks when Lena pulls away.
Lena nods, toweling her hands off at the sink.
“That’s a nice surprise.”
“I hope so,” Lena answers, and her voice is deep, her smile coy.
No, Kara tries to tell her body firmly. Do not react.
“You’re home early,” Lena comments conversationally.
“I missed you,” Kara says, stepping closer, hands to Lena’s waist again.
She breathes Lena’s intoxicating scent in more fully. She’s close enough to detect the hint of gunpowder, but it’s gone before she can fully focus on it. She curses internally at her inability to use her x-ray vision to check for bandages, weapons.
Lena, for her part, doesn’t betray an ounce of discomfort. She doesn’t shrink from Kara’s touch. She doesn’t look afraid. Her heartbeat is calm. In fact, she smiles at Kara from under her thick black lashes and leans into her touch.
“Aw,” she says, cute. “I missed you too.”
She squeezes Kara’s hands at her waist before handing her a glass of champagne with a strawberry in it. It’s from their crystal glassware collection.
“Shall we? Dinner’s in the dining room.”
Maybe nothing’s wrong, Kara thinks as she takes the glass. Maybe it’s in her head. Her own wife? Trying to kill her with kryptonite? Maybe Brainy got the address wrong.
Lena leaves the kitchen, and Kara absently checks the room for flowers. She’d learned early on that flowers had meaning and the carefully selected vases around their house reflected Lena’s current disposition like a cheap mall mood ring.
Looking around, there’s marigolds, lilies, and roses in the living room, the kitchen, the wet bar. It’s subtle, but they’re everywhere. Which is, again, odd. Kara’s pretty sure those all mean death.
Plus, there’s Drain-o on the counter near the sink. She wonders if her still recovering body can withstand being burned from the inside out. She thinks probably not, so she throws the champagne into a house plant.
In the dining room, Kara finds a formal set up appropriate for a five star restaurant. Lena has their anniversary china out. All of the silverware is sterling. The tall candles are lit.
“I thought you only brought these out for special occasions,” Kara comments, setting her empty glass near her seat at the table.
“This is a special occasion,” Lena answers easily, but it triggers warning bells.
Kara reaches to remove her glasses, beginning to feel a very distinct need to search Lena and the room (even if her powers are off), but Lena’s there in a flash stopping her with a hand to Kara’s wrist.
“I don’t want you to be blind, darling,” her wife says, the picture of care and concern, and Kara falters.
“Right?” Lena adds, and Kara gets the sense that she’s being teased by a world class professional. Lena smirks ever so slightly and plucks the strawberry out of Kara’s empty champagne glass. She eats it with a coquettish smile.
So, not poison, Kara thinks, and keeps the glasses on. She sits with a tight smile.
“Pot roast, my favorite,” she observes.
Lena hums in acknowledgement and cuts the buttery parmesan bread with a military grade efficiency. Kara almost can’t look away from how good Lena is with the thick-bladed bread knife. Had she always been like that? Kara especially wonders when Lena switches to a carving knife and makes incredibly short work of the pot roast.
“So, how was work today?” Kara asks with a touch of unease.
“We had a little trouble with a commission,” Lena answers after a pause.
She comes around to Kara’s side of the table with a plate of oven baked kale.
“Double booking with another firm,” she explains, and it feels laden with implication. “Kale?”
Kara doesn’t even want kale in her eye line.
“No, thank you.”
“Here, have some,” she loads Kara’s plate up with another meaningful smile. Kara feels her eyes narrow, feels the desire to pin Lena to the nearest vertical surface and strip search her.
But she stays settled, and Lena seats herself across from Kara. She drinks from her generously poured glass of red wine, and Kara can see the stain of it on her full lips.
“Well, I hope everything works out,” Kara reaches for her own glass of red wine, hoping in her powerless state it might actually affect her.
“It hasn’t yet, but it will,” Lena says with a hint of happy foreboding.
They eat in silence, staring at each other. Kara swallows, and it’s so quiet in the dining room, she’s convinced it echoes.
“How was CatCo?” Lena finally asks, still smiling in that cat who ate the canary kind of way.
“We had a few problems ourselves,” Kara answers, noticing Lena’s nearly empty glass. She stands, reaching for the bottle of red wine. “Some facts didn’t add up.”
While she’s pouring Lena’s wine, she looks down at her wrist. Lena wears an expensive Rolex, and Kara doesn’t have a memory of giving it to her. Had she always had it? Looking closer, it has a number of strange numeric symbols and watch hands. It certainly doesn’t read the time.
The following sequence of events happens so slowly, it could be a frame by frame sports replay. Kara sets down Lena’s glass of wine near her left hand and brushes the top of the watch, subtly pressing. A bright purple portal opens up behind them as Lena’s eyes go wide. She takes a large gasp, Kara hears her insides (ribs, bones, muscle) expand. She begins to stand, heartbeat racing, but Kara squeezes with just enough super strength that the watch shatters, and the portal flickers out.
Then, an electric current with enough volts to take down an elephant courses through Kara’s body. She falls to the floor, spasming and thrashing, and the bottle of wine in her other hand goes flying in a beautiful, football Hail Mary, shooting Pinot Noir all over their expensive Persian rug and oil painting of the River Thames. Lena stands there above Kara, some sort of glowing blue knife clutched in her fist (a shock knife?) with the surprise and fear of everything that just transpired in the last few seconds plastered all over her face.
She flees from the room.
When Kara can finally move, she hears tires screeching from the driveway.
“Lena!” she calls out, scrambling to her feet.
“So stupid, stupid, stupid,” Lena hisses to herself in the answering and judgmental silence of her BMW. She grips the wheel, shrieking around the corner at the end of their street.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” she continues to rant.
She should’ve taken off the watch. She shouldn’t have even gone home. She could’ve just left Kara. Called in a missile strike or something. Why did she go to dinner at all?
She flies another corner, and her eye catches a movement in the bushes. She whips her head fast, and she sees a feminine blur running through the sprinklers of one of their neighbor’s lawns. She hits the accelerator.
But it doesn’t matter. At the end of the block, Kara bursts through a white picket fence, and her eye lasers activate, shooting two perfect laser beam holes clean through Lena’s front windshield. They miss her by inches.
Lena slams her breaks, coming to a stop, her mouth agape. She stares at Kara, who comes running and winded to stand in the middle of the street. She could’ve killed Lena, and Lena’s not sure she’s EVER been this furious with her wife.
“No, no, no,” Kara holds her hands up. “Accident.”
“Oh yeah?” Lena says to herself, revving the engine.
“Just wait a second,” Kara warns, and maybe it’s the movement of both her hands going to her waist.
Because she looks like Supergirl.
“Let’s not get carried away.”
But it’s too late. Lena hits the gas.
“Hey, hey, hey—” Kara tries to stop her, but she smacks right into the front bumper of Lena’s car, cracking the windshield and rolling up the glass.
“You’re overreacting!” she shouts from the hood, taking hold.
Lena tries to swerve her off, but it doesn’t work. Instead, Kara climbs to the top of the car and kicks out the rear window in a spray of glass over the black leather seats.
“Our therapist said nonverbal is our love language,” Kara shimmies herself into the car, and now Lena really wants to kill her.
So, she unclicks her seat belt and rolls from the vehicle as it careens towards a sharp turn, towards the forest. Lena hits the pavement hard, oil slicked and road stained. She looks up to see Kara pressed up against the back windshield.
“But we need to talk!”
The car busts through the metal medium with a screech. It pitches forward into the tree line and down and over a steep decline.
Hi! Follow me on twitter/tumblr @hrwinter for a weird dvd art edit. Let me know what you thought of my love Lillian. Just really want to climb that like a tree.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Chapter tags: lena's drunk, accidental kryptonite cannons, kara hates the skirt, inconvenient attraction
Kara knocks on the door with so much exasperation, she hears a crack in the frame.
So, her strength works now, but not when she’d needed it to tear off a flimsy car door? That’s just great.
There’s a responding loud cursing and shuffling on the other side, but eventually Alex’s brown eye appears in the slit of the barely open door. The door is reinforced steel, and there’s two concealed cameras on both ends of the hallway, but despite that, there are still six different chains of various thickness criss-crossing Alex’s downturned frown.
“What the hell happened to you?”
“My wife.” Kara gruffs.
Alex tediously unlatches all of her security measures. There’s a computerized beeping and a metallic sounding slider. Then, the door is open, and Kara shuffles inside.
“You have dirt all over your face,” Alex says, plucking an errant leaf out of Kara’s hair.
“She tried to kill me.”
Alex raises her eyebrows. “Who?”
Alex grimaces and goes straight to the cabinet above the gas range (where she keeps her hard liquor.)
Kara spares a few glances around the apartment while Alex prepares the drinks. It has the slate grey trappings of a military bunker. The banal white walls hide bulletproof concrete. It’s spartan in decoration, but there’s one area where Alex absolutely didn’t skimp. With her x-ray vision, Kara can spot at least thirty-six different weapons. There’s a .38 special in a box of raisin bran on the kitchen counter, a shotgun in the pantry, and was that a guided missile launcher in the bedroom closet?
Alex shoves a drink into her hand.
“It’s alien, that fruity kind that you like.”
Kara takes a grumbling drink, and they sit at the rickety breakfast table.
“Maggie tried to kill me, too,” Alex takes a sip of her own whiskey over ice. Her voice has a manic quality to it. “It was going great. We were just fine, then wham, she wasn’t happy. She didn’t want kids. I used to beat myself up about it, but now I’m dating all the time—”
“No,” Kara interrupts, cutting her off. “She actually tried to kill me. She trapped me inside her stupid BMW, you know, the one that matches mine? She rolled out of the driver’s side door and left me to die when the car crashed into a ditch.”
Alex gapes back at her.
“She’s the other player. The other—” Kara can barely say it, “—Luthor. The laptop, it was hers. I tracked it back to her office where the name plate said she’s Lena freaking Danvers of ‘Lena Danvers Financial,’” Kara finishes in air quotes.
A tense silence follows. Kara can hear the ice in Alex’s drink melting. She can hear the tendons in her sister’s face contracting.
“You need to bring her in,” Alex warns. “I can give you a day or two tops before I have to report it to the DEO.”
Kara presses her hands over her face. They’re black and blue, still bruised from the crash. She’s pretty sure her index finger is broken, but it’ll heal when her powers are back in full swing.
“She knows you’re Supergirl?” Alex asks, clinical.
Kara nods, hands still covering her eyes.
“Do you have any idea who she is?”
Kara shakes her head.
“I’ll look into it,” her sister promises.
Kara presses her non broken finger tips over her temples. Sure, her marriage hadn’t been perfect, but it had made Kara feel grounded and human. Kara Danvers with her beautiful wife, nice house, and cute cat… it’s an even bigger fantasy than she’d thought. A dream worthy of a white picket fence and one and a half children. A dream shattered.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Alex says, making tenuous eye contact as Kara pulls her hands away. “If she lied about that, what else did she lie about?”
“I tried to talk to her, but she wouldn’t listen.”
“Why would she?” Alex questions, leaning back in her cheap plastic chair, drink cradled in her palm like a potted succulent. “The jig is up. This whole thing was probably planned from the beginning. Operation Supergirl. A six year stake out to get information on a Super. She definitely works with the Luthors.”
Kara stares into her fruity drink, dark and broody. Maybe she’d been naïve, but she hadn’t wanted to consider that. What if Lena had met Kara in Bogota on purpose? What if Lex had intentionally sent her when Kara was at her weakest and most vulnerable?
A plan executed flawlessly. That was very Lena.
Kara’s glass cracks in half.
“Hey!” Alex snaps it away from her.
“I’ll buy you another one,” Kara mumbles as Alex wipes up the mess with a paper towel.
Then, she thinks, how? She and Lena share finances. Lena could wipe out Kara’s accounts. She could easily guess any of her security questions for the accounts they don’t share. Nothing is safe.
“Oh God, Alex,” she groans. “This is a nightmare. She could tell everyone who I am. They’d know who you are, too, even Eliza. Everyone who’s close to me is in danger.”
Alex reaches across the table, stills Kara with a hand.
“You need to bring her in, Kara. ASAP. We need to figure out what she knows, who she knows. Who she is, even.”
Kara grumbles louder, eyes still squeezed shut. She stands suddenly, hand pulling from Alex’s.
“I’m going to bed.”
“Don’t you think you should go out and find her?” Alex waves towards the door.
“My powers,” Kara sighs heavily. “They’re still blown. I accidentally used them earlier with Lena, and I’m not sure if I can fly.”
“What did you use in front of Lena?” Alex asks with another frown.
“I lasered her windshield.”
If the twitch at the corner of Alex’s mouth is any indication, she’s just repressed a smirk.
“Okay, well, I’ll set up the sun bed,” she says instead, standing. “And do you know how many times I’ve been audited by the city government for electricity usage?”
She holds up three fingers.
Sun beds aren’t comfortable, like trying to sleep in a tanning bed microwave, but Kara doesn’t have much of a choice. She’ll face Lena tomorrow, fully charged. Lena who is so well-versed in shock knives, kryptonite grenades, bullets, and poison.
She groans to herself, turning on her side. Her wife, an assassin. Her wife, a liar.
But still. Kara doesn’t want to do it. She doesn’t want to take Lena to the DEO. This isn’t how she imagined Lena would learn she was Supergirl, although Kara did know she was never destined to react well. Once, Lena had been mad at Kara for something she’d done in a dream for a whole month. Something she’d done in a dream. For a whole month.
She’d just never thought Lena was hiding something, too.
Operation Supergirl, she thinks again with a full body ache.
Lena, a plant. A covert operative. Was everything fake? Every kiss, every hug, every jibe at Kara’s messy clothes piles. Maybe the desert had been on purpose. Maybe after therapy and all the poorly hidden dryer sheets, Lena had finally snapped. Maybe her wife really had meant to kill her.
Kara needed a pillow in this sun bed, just to have something to scream into.
Alex was going to be so infinitely smug. She’d always thought Kara and Lena weren’t a good match. She’d called Lena too stubborn, too competitive, too brutally candid in the way she felt about others. Personally, Kara had thought they’d shared a little bit too much in common.
“I knew Maggie for two and a half years before I asked her to marry me,” Alex had huffed when Kara had first told her about Lena. They’d been boxing in a kryptonite-lit sparring room, and her fists were raised to protect her face.
“You have to have a foundation of friendship. The other stuff fades.”
“She’s smart, sexy, spontaneous, complicated,” Kara landed a few throws, dodged another. Alex tried to fake her out by stepping closer and backing off. “She’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Honey catches flies,” Alex gruffed like some sort of hallmark card. She managed a glancing blow to Kara’s arm, and Kara grabbed lightning fast, grappling Alex into a backwards chokehold.
“I give it six months tops,” Alex sputtered, neck veins strained and fingers scrabbling uselessly at Kara’s arm.
“I asked her to marry me,” Kara panted, struggling to contain a still wriggling Alex.
Alex’s head whipped around. “What?”
Without giving her time to answer, Alex elbowed Kara viciously in the stomach and tore herself free from Kara’s grasp. Kara can still remember the next few blows landing like a phantom pain in her midsection. She covers it now, protectively in the sun bed.
Maybe it had been a mistake.
Lena, blonde everywhere but her head. Her arms, her face, her upper thighs. Lena, who could seem so soft and vulnerable. Lena, who stretches out like a cat in the morning, pins Kara with those hooded, Venus fly trap eyes.
Kara doesn’t want to bring her in. Kara can’t fight her, not for real. She can’t forget seeing Lena for the first time. It had been like—it had been—
“Don’t break that sun bed, Kara,” Alex yells from the other room, and Kara unclenches her hands from around the metal sidings.
It was just—nothing had made sense before Lena. And now nothing made sense again.
Lena’s drunk. And despite an alcohol induced medical grade numbness, she’s annoyingly still in pain. She mentally catalogues her injuries over the last 24 hours; a second degree burn, bruised ribs, a shoulder laceration, a minor concussion, and a certain blackened and bleeding ego.
She takes another swig straight from the bottle. She swallows twice.
It’s funny how she knows the exact number of minutes it’ll take for the shot to kick in. It’s twelve. She’s taken four, and she can feel their blurry warmth taking cumulative effect as the minutes slowly tick past. Lena’s laid out across the floor, inside of a metal, sloping part of the office that’s surely meant to be ornamental, not designed for a Victorian woman style episode, like she’s swooned on a love seat in the antechamber. But she can’t be bothered to look proper, not right now. She’s rolled up inside the sculpture like a taquito, a kolache, a pig in a blanket.
She takes another drink.
A disembodied thought about how Lillian would chastise her for drinking $300 scotch from the bottle manifests in her mind (“What are we, unevolved apes?”), but her mother isn’t fucking here, is she?
Then, there’s the click of heels and an elevator ding. Lena’s first intoxicated thought is that she’s somehow summoned Lillian directly with her guilty thoughts, and she sends the scotch flying in a panic. Nearly a third of it spills across the shiny sheet metal before she manages to cling the bottle tightly to her chest, a shield.
“Lena, I—” Samantha Arias starts upon seeing her boss lying there in a $50 reeking puddle of booze in the middle of the modern art.
“I saw activity at the office, and I was worried, so I came over to check, but are you—?” she motions at her prone form, “sleeping—drinking in there?”
Lena sloppily nods, waving her hand out over the mess.
“Look, I made a metaphor.”
“What—what happened?” Sam struggles to process the scene, pulling up a rolling chair and peering at Lena in the dark, night lit hues of the office.
“My wife,” Lena growls. “Kara is Supergirl.”
Sam only stares before tensely interlacing her fingers.
“No, that can’t be.”
“Yes,” Lena answers with an inelegant nod, sucking in another mouthful of scotch.
“That’s—not possible,” Sam stutters with a second shake of her head. “She’s a reporter. I did a full background investigation on her before you two got married.”
“Her sister is in the FBI, it could’ve been faked. Or maybe she works for an organization even more clandestine,” Lena stares at the rebar in the ceiling.
Sam sighs heavily.
“Are you absolutely sure?”
“She eye-lasered my BMW.”
“God, Lena,” Sam whispers, slipping from the chair to the floor like she’s joining Lena during a temper tantrum on the playground.
Lena doesn’t bother to raise her head in acknowledgement, at least not until Sam reaches for her bottle. Reluctantly, Lena allows her best friend to pry it free from her grasp.
“I always wanted to taste this,” Sam murmurs.
Lena had been keeping the overpriced scotch in her desk for a special occasion. Sam drinks from it, savoring and looking thoughtful.
“Do you think she knew who you were? The whole time?”
“Your mother is going to kill you.”
There’s a stretch of fraught, eternal silence. Lena can hear Sam’s pretty navy blue nails tapping the outside of the glass.
“Here’s the upside,” Sam says. She always has an upside. “Kara’s only a cover, right?”
“Right,” Lena agrees although her heart skips a beat, an absolute betrayal. She tells it to shut the fuck up.
“You don’t need her any more. Your cover is blown. So, we’ll eliminate her.”
Lena side eyes Sam.
“You called that impossible this afternoon.”
Sam steels herself, breathing deep.
“That was before. We didn’t know Supergirl. We know Kara. Kara is—” she falters. “Flawed. She has weaknesses.”
Lena can’t quite look at Sam. She knows, yes, Supergirl has weaknesses. She’s just not sure how she feels about exploiting them now.
Sensing Lena needs a more thorough pep talk, Sam continues.
“It doesn’t matter that she’s a Kryptonian, and your brother’s never managed it. You’re better than him, and no one is better at this than you. When it’s all over, we can disappear and regroup.”
“I don’t want to be known as the Luthor who killed a Super,” Lena admits, and Sam sighs again.
“Your mother will see that nothing short of treason. It’s either you or her.”
Lena doesn’t move, doesn’t respond.
“Let’s take it one day at a time,” she pats Lena weakly on the shoulder. She passes the bottle back. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
When the office is silent again, Lena lays back down on the floor, hands clasped over her chest. The metal is a cool relief on the back of her legs, and she remembers suddenly she’d taken her pants off earlier because she’d felt hot. Sam had seen her that way.
Oh well. Add interoffice lack of professionalism to her recent list of growing grievances.
Rather than changing, she lays there, pantsless, and thinks about the last six years. She thinks about their stupid marriage. Kara had always made her feel warm and safe, wrapped up in a sinewy embrace. Kara was desperately tactile, an open book level of genuine. Kara had generally given Lena everything she’d ever wanted since day one of their relationship.
Why fake that? Had it been a tactic? Had Lena been that blind?
Even thinking that Kara might’ve purposefully married her for information, that she doesn’t really love her, it invokes a terrible kind of itchiness within Lena. A certain wetness behind the eyes. She recognizes it for the wretched feeling that it is, but she hasn’t cried since 1994, since witnessing Mufasa die in the Lion King, and she will not be crying today.
Sam was right. Kara had just been a cover.
The perfect cover. Stable. Confident. Attractive. Supportive. She didn’t ask questions. But Lena must’ve known on a subconscious level. She’d never played anything safe. She’d never been attracted to bland and boring. On a level, she must’ve been able to smell the danger all over Kara, and she’d been taking desperate lungfuls of it ever since.
And it’s royally bitten her in the ass.
Kara being Supergirl… it’s going to destroy her, Lena thinks as her vision blurs and unfocuses. Her life was built around her work. Her entire identity had been kept under lock and key. She was raised separately from the legitimate Lex. Her records were expunged and sealed. It had all been performative, down to the last letter, so that she could play the goon for Lillian.
If she didn’t kill Kara, she’d be hunted to the very ends of the Earth by her own family. The secrets she possessed about the Luthors were too dangerous. She’d go out with a whimper and not a bang. Everything would be ruined.
“You don’t love her,” she tells herself. “You don’t love her.”
The next morning, Lena brings a veritable swat team to clear out their house.
She’s wearing all black and a pair of dark, designer sunglasses. She has a headache, and she’s feeling particularly uncopacetic about the world, but she’s also relying on the fact Kara is still recovering in whatever government agency hellhole she hails from. She feels safe to assume she won’t be back home any time soon.
Lena throws open their stately, white painted front door, revealing her meticulously designed living space. It’s award winning, every item handpicked to fit the blueprint of her grander master plan. She’d made a tea sandwich of a man cry when she’d beaten him out for the Rococo clock sitting in the hall. It’s a shame. A masterpiece they’re about to douse in gasoline.
She sighs. She’d made another metaphor.
Behind her, Sam rallies the troops.
“Okay, ladies, let’s go! Check pockets, receipts, matchbooks, you know the drill.”
While her staff fans out behind her, Lena trails around directionless, overseeing their work. She makes her way upstairs. She’d conveniently left Mike out of the entire operation, sending him on some errand to northern Siberia, for all she knows. She just can’t let her mother get wind of the fact she’d not only married but had her back repeatedly blown out by Supergirl.
Lex would blow a gasket if he knew. It’s equally satisfying and nauseating.
She rounds the corner to find one of her younger employees ripping the stuffing out of a teddy bear, going absolutely ape shit on it with a buck knife. She’d won that at a fair for Kara. It’s cheap and nostalgic, it shouldn’t mean anything to her, but it does somehow.
She keeps moving.
In the master suite, four women are huddled around a big screen television, watching a video with concentrated expressions.
“What is this?” Lena says fast, quiet. It’s obvious that it’s a video from their wedding.
“Research,” Eve answers blankly. “Background on the target.”
Lena glances at it. She can hear the soft sweet voice of Kara delivering her vows. Kara looks so happy. There are actual tears in her eyes.
What the fuck. Lena wants to set the room on fire.
“This room is wrapped,” she snaps the remote out of Eve’s hands, and they all hurry from the room. Lena clicks off the TV before she’s forced to bear witness to their wedding kiss.
Everything was a lie. And everything had already been a lie.
It makes her blood boil. She chucks the remote onto the bed. Their house in shambles, excellence trashed, it’s like looking at their marriage broken down to its parts. It’s not pretty.
Coal watches her histrionic episode from the doorframe with an appropriate, catlike disinterest. Lena scoops him up, petting his velvet soft head and makes sure Sam is comfortable watching him while all this absolute bullshit plays out.
Sam agrees, setting out to find his carrier.
Lena continues out to the front garbage can, stuffing the gutted teddy bear inside like he’s done her a personal wrong.
“What’s going on Mrs. Danvers?” a group of passing girls inquire, curiously watching the parade of women exit and enter the house, loading and unloading items from an unmarked black van.
“Garden party, girls,” Lena tells them.
“Oohhh,” they respond in knowing unison.
“Lena,” Sam calls, and Lena looks up. “You should see this.”
When Kara wakes, it’s mid-morning. Her hands and fingers are healed. The cuts and bruises are gone. She’s revitalized for the first time in a full 24 hours, and then, she remembers Lena. Her morning vigor fades, and she throws open the sun bed, clenches her fists, and speeds to the kitchen. She’s opening the balcony door (it takes a moment to work out all of the locks) when Alex’s voice rings out from behind her.
“Up, up, and away, Supergirl,” she encourages, lips curled around the edge of a cute mug with cats on it.
Kara smiles back. She springs into the sky, sucking in a gale of fresh morning air. She swerves, zipping through National City skyscrapers, and makes for their home in the quiet suburbs.
When she lands on the back lawn, things are quiet. Too quiet. She takes a long look around, but nothing appears out of the ordinary. It’s immaculate, same as always, but… it’s almost too clean. Professionally cleaned. There’s not a speck of dirt on the back pathway, and Kara can just make out the scent of several unfamiliar smells. Humans. Women. And a number of them.
She crosses slowly to the back door and peaks inside. There’s no one there. Nothing is out of place. It’s staged. Like everything Lena does.
As a final measure, she checks the house for Coal, sweeping her x-ray vision across their home. Their cat is nowhere to be seen, and Kara knows Lena would never leave him behind if she’d left. But why would she come to the house, presumably search it, and then attempt to make it look unsearched?
It dawns on Kara. She turns slowly to look at the tool shed. In a heartbeat, she’s there, feeling for the hidden trap door, halfway down the fold out chrome stairs.
Gone. All of it. Gone.
It’s a hard blow to the chest. Her stockpile of human things: bottles of all shapes and colors, broken glasses, a lifetime supply of used dryer sheets, Lena’s old hairbands, Christmas lights, McDonald’s promotional paper monopoly boards, a metric ton of old pennies, enough mini M&M tubes to build an Egyptian pyramid.
(Mini M&M’s were so cute, especially fisting them one hundred at a time into her mouth.
Don’t get distracted, Kara.)
Lena had taken everything. All the things Kara had kept and meticulously collected (not hoarded.)
And more importantly.
Lena’s taken her backup Super suit. She’d stored the other at the DEO after the desert, and she couldn’t go back there without arousing suspicion. And she didn’t even like that suit. It had the skirt. She hates the skirt.
Lena took her pants! Kara punches the wall, leaving a sizable dent in the cold rolled steel.
Oh, it’s on.
Lena’s typing away on her phone at the office while Sam doles out the marching orders.
“We need to check audio scans, credit cards, civilian frequencies, the works. We need to find out where she’s hiding.”
Lena sighs, pressing send on her message. She doesn’t think Kara’s ‘hiding’ per say. Kara never avoided a fight. She’s just never been very good at them. She’s easily flustered. She compromises quickly. She likes harmony.
Lena’s phone trills, interrupting her thoughts, and she looks down. She experiences the unique discomfort of seeing her mother’s image light up her cell background. She wavers over the red decline and green answer buttons before taking a breath as if it’s her last.
“Lena,” Lillian already sounds disappointed. “Where is Mike Matthews?”
“The moon, I hope.”
There’s a deeply unimpressed silence.
“You know the rules,” Lillian’s voice comes crisp through the speaker.
“I don’t need a babysitter, mother.”
“He’s reporting back to your office now—”
But Lena snaps.
“Does the punishment really fit the crime? I experimented with kryptonite one time—”
“He wasn’t assigned to you because of the kryptonite, Lena,” Lillian sharply interrupts her. “And you know that.”
Lena snaps her jaw shut, goes quiet. She can practically see Lillian leaning forward over thinly steepled fingers.
“We received intelligence that you’ve been conspiring with the government, which I’m sure you’re aware. And now this embarrassment with Supergirl? It doesn’t look good. Your outlook is grim.”
Lena hates it when her mother refers to her like some sort of evolving natural disaster. A typhoon poised to wipe out unsuspecting communities. Nonetheless, she sits up straighter, free hand pressed knuckles white against her desk top.
“You know the odds better than anyone,” Lillian continues dangerously. “You have less than 18 hours. Tick, tock.”
The line goes dead.
Lena places her phone down flat and at a distance. She tries to think, calm her racing heart, but Eve is already speaking.
“Uh, Lena,” Eve chirps tentatively from behind her. What fresh hell. Lena swivels to look at her.
“I think I found her.”
“Here. She’s here.”
Every screen in the office suddenly clicks over to a camera angle centered on a hovering figure. Supergirl is motionless, drifting at a safe distance from the building.
“X-ray cloaking is up?”
“So, she already knew we’d be here.”
“Well, your name is on the building map,” Sam states sardonically.
Lena rolls her eyes.
“Everyone evacuate, plan C.”
The office explodes into a flurry of activity; shredding documents, drilling laptop motherboards, burning excess devices. In the chaos, Sam makes her way over to Lena’s side.
“I’m staying,” she says, holstering a gun with glowing green ammunition. Lena inhales at the sight of it. It begins to register that in a few short minutes, they might actually attempt to kill Supergirl. Kara.
The office line rings. Jess glances up, burning file in hand, and Lena nods a confirmation.
“Lena Danvers Financial,” Jess answers, voice bubbly. She presses the button for speaker phone.
“Put Lena on,” Kara demands loudly in a no nonsense tone.
Lena glances again at the hovering figure on the screens, a cell phone now pressed to her cheek. Kara floats in the air wearing a slimming, black fitted suit, blonde hair wind blown. Lena’s rarely seen her this way; resolved, jaw clenched, head down and aggressive. She hates to admit that Kara looks kind of…. hot. With the bearing of a military drill sergeant and the body of yoga instructor, it’s doing ungodly things to her libido.
God damn her weakness for a good looking blonde.
“I thought I told you not to bother me at the office, honey,” Lena replies, feeling snarky and defensive of the rising blush on her cheeks.
“You need to come with me,” Kara commands, and it doesn’t help. At all.
“And give you all of National City?” Lena answers in a sneer. “I don’t think so. Can’t a Super terrorize some other city?”
Kara scoffs, and her mannerisms finally strike Lena as familiar.
“Terrorize?!” she challenges. “You—you took my things.”
There it is. Kara’s never been good in arguments.
“We didn’t have a pre-nup, darling, consider it half.”
Kara’s jaw clenches harder, and Lena crosses her legs, clearing her throat. She motions to her staff to get the fuck out.
“And, wow, when I called you a hoarder, I didn’t know the half of it, did I?” Lena tries to stall for a few minutes longer. “Do you really refer to that basement of garbage as your ‘things?’”
Lena still can’t quite believe it. Imagine her surprise when instead of finding alien weaponry, currency, and passports, she discovers an advanced nuclear bunker filled with her old hair bands.
“It’s not garbage!”
“You lied to our therapist.”
“I’m not hoarding, Lena, I’m collecting.”
“A collection implies value.”
“You took my suit.”
“You look better in black, anyway, sweetie,” Lena mocks. She really can’t stop herself from using every pet name imaginable.
Kara grumbles, loud and petulant. Lena can see her fists clench.
“Why the dryer sheets, Kara?” Lena pushes it a step further.
“Enough!” Kara barks, and Lena feels it in her bones. The spark of heat threatens to morph fully into a blaze as Kara hovers closer.
“Come with me, or I’m coming in there.”
“Over my dead body. Or yours.”
“I will come in there, Lena,” she hears Kara threaten, but it wavers slightly, almost like she’s trying to convince herself. Lena calls the bluff.
“No, you won’t.”
“You have no idea who I am,” Kara warns. “You have no idea what I’m capable of.”
“Back at ya, baby,” Lena replies, glib, but the self-satisfied smirk falls right off her face when she hears a number of alarms ring throughout the office.
“The cannons have armed,” Sam tells her. She’s bent over, typing furiously at a laptop, and a screen pops up on their biggest HDTV. There’s a charge bar and a countdown.
“What cannons?!” Lena whisper hisses at her.
They don’t have any fucking cannons.
“10-9-8,” the countdown continues.
“What is that, Lena?” Kara asks, still on the line. Lena quickly glances at her, taking in the pinch of her mouth, the furrow of concern in her eyebrows.
“Turn them off,” she tells Sam in no uncertain terms.
“Lena,” Kara whispers over the intercom.
Lena scrambles over to Jess’ empty desk and slams her finger on the receiver, effectively hanging up the call.
“Turn them off, Sam!”
“They’re locked!” Sam yells back. “Your mother must’ve had these installed without our knowledge. I can’t override them.”
Fucking Mike Matthews, Lena thinks in a rage. She pushes Sam out of the way, scrambling to hack the code, to do it herself, but it’s of no use.
“2-1,” the machine trills.
Lena glances up in a panic-stricken terror. She sees Kara still floating there confusedly, her wife, the same woman that kissed and hugged her before bed. The woman who brought her flowers, showered her with attention, listened to her stupid dreams. Kara who ritually ate a warm muffin with a glass of chocolate milk while watching The Incredible Dr. Pol.
Then, the cannons fire, and Kara falls out of the sky like a beautiful winged creature.
Lena throws the computer, smashing it against a nearby wall.
I'm sorry about the cliffhanger, but I'm not that sorry. Next update to come soon! Follow me @hrwinter on Tumblr/Twitter for AWESOME edits, manips, and more.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
absolutely nothing interesting happens this chapter.
m rating warning for the .01% who are not here for smut.
Lena sits at the table alone. There’s a charming hum to the restaurant, not too loud, not too quiet, a steady tinkling of delicate utensils and plate ware. She holds an untouched glass of champagne carelessly in one hand, loose and slanted at an angle.
She’d picked out the black dress for tonight, the one Kara had always liked, had always had a bit of a struggle with conversation when she wore it, the one with the leg slit and the risqué v-cut. She’d looked devastating in the standup mirror at home, the only flaw to her ensemble being the cracked and nonfunctioning Rolex draped across her left wrist.
She’s still pissed about that. The groveling it’s going take to get her brother to fix the portal. She could just stop wearing it, she doesn’t even use the goddamn thing, but is it such a crime to not want things to change?
The sentiment makes something pinch bitterly in her chest. For distraction, she glances around. She looks, but she doesn’t really see.
There are elegant flower arrangements, tall stems with white buds on each of the tables, not quite fragrant enough to scent. There are older couples dancing, careful to hit the right steps. A sparkling, crystal chandelier glitters above them, casting everyone in an amber shine. Flowy, silky drapes rustle near the windows, lined by walls of bronzed metal.
She and Kara had gotten engaged here six years ago. Kara had been a blushing, stuttering, positive mess.
Of course Lena had known it was coming, she’d found the ring days prior, rifling through Kara’s things in her apartment (a snooping Luthor past time), but it’s still pleasant to remember her that way, how taken she’d seemed with Lena. The nervous laughter, the averted gaze, the jazz tempo of her constant foot tap beneath the table. Lena was pretty sure she’d sweat through her shirt.
“Will you marry me?” she’d asked, rife with nerves while the black box was open and offered between them. She’d tried to cover her face, but Lena had dragged the hand away. She hated when Kara attempted to hide the baby blue of her eyes. It was a senseless tragedy.
Plus, Lena wanted her full attention, wanted to catalogue every detail of anxiousness, excitement, and embarrassment as it manifested over Kara’s delicate, pretty features. She’d wanted to savor the moment, the warm juice of a freshly bitten peach flowing freely on the lap of her tongue.
Was it strange for her to want to enjoy that kind of power over someone, their world in the palm of her hand, sparkling and diamond-shaped? Even for a little bit? Usually, Lena’s relish edged on a brand of sadism, she might’ve drug it out with someone else. But not that night.
“Yes,” she’d told her after only a few paltry seconds.
It was unlike her, but Kara had possessed her in so many novel ways already, had teased out a kind of cashmere softness to Lena that had been previously nonexistent. Kara had been different. Genuine. Sincere. Agenda-free.
Or so she’d thought.
Lena feels something wet on her cheeks. This time, she doesn’t bother to stop, to hide it. She simply wipes the tears away. She takes a large drink of her champagne and rubs an ear, feeling for the platinum studs Kara had given her.
Before she can make for a second drink and drain the glass, however, a hand settles over hers, covering it with ease.
“Madame,” a voice says, bending close to her ear and refilling her champagne.
Lena stares down at the hand on hers. She’d absolutely rack the waiter who touched her without consent if she hadn’t already known that hand by sight, smell, feel, taste, and sound.
Lena’s hands, of course, were large. Large hands made for quick reloads, easy knife throws, swift work with wires. Kara’s, though, were larger. When Lena had allowed her a close comparison, she could see her fingers were millimeters longer than her own, but she would never admit it. She didn’t want to lose. She’d maintain that her hands were bigger until the day she died.
Which may be forthcoming.
Lena waits for Kara to pass into her line of sight.
“I thought about a number of opening lines for this moment,” her wife (ex-wife?) breathes, rounding the table, and Lena sees her for the first time.
Her blonde hair is down in waves. She’s not wearing glasses. Her shoulders look broad in her tailored black suit jacket, and it’s open to reveal a starched white button down, tucked neatly into the waist of black slacks. Her lipstick is a sultry maroon.
Lena lifts an eyebrow. Kara certainly doesn’t appear to be on the brink of death. She doesn’t even look that grievously injured. All Lena can feel is tranquilizing relief, but on the outside, she forces an air of cool detachment. She plays that tricky emotion of being happy her lying wife is alive close to the chest.
“You shot me in the heart. You’ve got me in your sights. Is that kryptonite in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me—?”
“What did you settle on?” Lena cuts off what is surely another sixteen more of these excruciating puns.
There’s a pause, and Kara’s joking eyes go solemn. Dead. She smiles again, but this time it’s mirthless.
“I want a divorce.”
“I like it,” Lena lifts her glass. She takes a sip of her freshly poured champagne. It’s sweet. “You proposed to me here, so it has agreeable symmetry.”
“May I sit?” Kara lingers by the chair opposite hers.
Kara pulls out the chair and sits, smoothing a napkin over her lap. Lena narrows her eyes. It’s the type of open defiance that infuriates her, normally has her reaching for a weapon. But not now. It might have something to do with how good Kara looks. There’s a reason, after all, that Lena slept with her on the very first night she met her.
Her body can’t be blamed for that.
“Champagne?” the returning waiter asks, looking intrigued to find Kara across from Lena.
“Champagne is for celebrating,” Kara answers with a meaningful glance. “I’ll have a martini.”
The waiter nods, retreating with haste. Meanwhile, Kara doesn’t mark his departure, her eyes tracking over Lena’s outfit, her face first, the earrings, then lower. Lena experiences a heated rush of that same satisfaction, the thrill of being Kara’s point of attention, of her desire.
“I like the dress.”
“I’m in mourning,” Lena corrects.
They continue to gaze silently at each other, boxers across the ring, while Lena recalibrates herself emotionally to the fact that Kara is still alive. To the fact that despite reporting success to her mother, her mission is, in fact, incomplete.
Which means she only has a few hours until Lillian sends in the cavalry. She wonders if Lillian already knows. She must, what with Kara out in the open like this. Her cover is blown to shit after the confrontation at the office.
“What do you want, Kara?”
“I’m not sure,” Kara muses, drumming her fingers on the tabletop. The word large springs unbidden and unhelpfully into Lena’s mind.
“You want me dead,” Kara continues. “And I’m less and less concerned for your wellbeing.”
“So,” Lena places her glass gingerly on the table, runs a finger over the rim while she indiscreetly palms the small gun on her lead lined inner thigh holster. It’s loaded with kryptonite bullets. Always a precaution.
Kara glances down like she knows exactly what Lena’s doing.
“What do we do?”
Kara stands suddenly, extending the very same hand Lena’s been preoccupied with.
“Dance with me.”
“You don’t dance,” Lena stays seated. She remembers it distinctly from Bogota, the sloppy steps, the total lack of rhythm. Even at their wedding, Kara had been stiff as a board.
Kara takes two steps forward and pulls Lena unwillingly to her feet. Her touch is firm but pliant. Lena leaves the gun where it is.
“That was just part of my cover.”
“Was sloth part of it too?”
Kara ignores the jibe, dragging Lena towards the dance floor. As soon as they’re stood on the glossy mahogany floor, Kara wraps a possessive arm around Lena’s waist. She sweeps her into a practiced whirl, bringing their bodies close. They’re nose to nose, nearly lip to lip as they step in unison. Lena’s skill is in large part due to her cotillion training, and Kara’s is… who knows.
Hers had been a world filled with public schools and awkward fumblings, but her bearing now is more regal, confident, nothing left to hide. Lena tries to ignore the renewed and hateful betrayal her body is trying to communicate to her.
“You think this story is going to have a happy ending?” Lena asks airily.
Kara twirls her, this time with a little extra force. The hand at the base of Lena’s spine presses, and Lena arches into it. It dips below, indiscreetly palming over Lena’s dress, her ass, looking for weapons.
She doesn’t find anything. Ever the amateur.
“Satisfied?” Lena smirks as they resume their steps.
That wipes the smirk off her face. Annoyed, she allows her hand to slip, thief quick into Kara’s suit jacket. She feels for something solid. What she pulls out, however, is an extra-large Slim Jim.
“What the fuck is this?” she holds it in front of Kara’s face.
Kara shrugs, and Lena throws it towards a neighboring table, startling an elderly couple.
“Why do you eat garbage?”
“Why do you cook garbage?” Kara takes her by surprise, dipping her.
This time when Kara gropes her, she’s successful, finding the gun strapped to Lena’s inner thigh. She hoists Lena’s leg high, and Lena hooks an arm around her neck for balance, breathing hot onto Kara’s parted mouth. She can’t help the hitch in her breath, even while Kara throws the gun haphazardly over her shoulder, somehow perfectly aimed through an open second story window.
It reminds Lena that she’s dealing with Supergirl, the strongest being on the planet. She’s practically dancing in the arms of a junkyard automobile crusher.
At least her inexplicably perfect abs now makes sense.
Stop thinking about that, Lena stumbles slightly when Kara lets her leg fall, when Kara indiscreetly runs her hand up the length of the dress’s slit, fingers edging at the naked skin beneath.
“Why is it I’m the alien,” Kara comments, “and you’re the one who’s bad at dancing?”
“I’m not bad at dancing,” Lena snipes, still infernally close to Kara’s face. “Maybe you’re bad at leading.”
Swift as a debutante, Lena repositions their bodies, her arm around Kara’s waist, her hand wrapped under Kara’ palm. Newly aligned, she leads Kara with firm and precise movements. It must look ridiculous given that Kara is taller.
“My leading never bothered you before.”
“Just part of my cover, honey. I’m flexible.”
Kara grumbles, but it borders on a growl. Lena tries not to let the noise affect her. She definitely doesn’t think of the noises Kara makes during sex.
“How is it you controlled your strength after all these years?” Lena asks curiously, intent on diverting that particular train of thought. It doesn’t work. “How did you hide your powers?”
“Self-restraint, ever heard of it?”
“I’m employing quite a bit right now,” Lena glowers. “Not to kill you, that is.”
Kara’s eyes crawl back over her body, surely using x-ray vision.
“And how are you planning to do that? I’m Supergirl.”
Lena says nothing. She literally hates hearing that word roll out of Kara’s mouth.
“Has anyone ever told you your bark is bigger than your bite?” Kara continues to prod.
“No one who’s lived to talk about it.”
Kara hums, palm pressed warm against the back of Lena’s neck, fingers flirting under the fabric at her shoulder. There are good touches and bad touches, touches from an enemy and from a lover, but Lena’s beginning to forget the difference with Kara.
Abruptly, Kara stops, stoops to one knee and removes a blade pressed to Lena’s ankle, tucked into her heel. She casts the knife upwards, lodging it into the ceiling.
“Took you long enough, darling,” Lena goads, dipping her hand into Kara’s back pocket and producing a warm cheddar cheese stick.
“This is disgusting,” she condemns. “How much food do you have on you?”
“Why do you think our marriage failed?”
“Because we were leading separate lives? All the lying?” Lena sighs, resigned. She takes Kara on yet another expert turn around the floor.
“I have a theory.”
Kara pauses their movements, hand grasped tight in Lena’s.
“You killed us.”
“You approached our marriage like a job,” Kara continues. “Something to be recon’ed, planned, and executed.”
“And you avoided it.”
Lena senses she’s successfully struck a nerve as Kara’s brows pinch, her shoulders go taut. But Lena’s right.
Everything about Kara has always been a flight response. Had she been older or younger than Superman? Had she seen Krypton die? How hard had it been to acclimate to Earth? It would explain the ineffable collection of human objects. Was it an attempt to understand, relate?
Lena checks herself. Empathizing wouldn’t help.
“What do you care if I was just a cover?” Kara snaps, anger and hurt all rolled into one.
“Who said you were just a cover?” Lena bites back.
They hold each other’s gaze again, unblinking, testing for weaknesses, more lies. Lena can feel the squeeze of Kara’s fingers dug into the flesh of her upper arms. It’s so painfully familiar, Kara’s touch, that Lena experiences the very inconvenient urge to cry again.
Why are you stalling? Lena calls herself out. She doesn’t want this to end.
“Kara you are and have always been,” she pushes her off, “such a fucking tease.”
Palm pressed to her eye, she heads for the upstairs bathroom.
“There’s no exit up there, Lena,” Kara calls after her, but she lets her go.
Maybe it’s curiosity, a fascination with learning the machinations of this new Lena. Maybe it’s the panther black of her let down, cascading hair or the fresh painted Cadillac red of her lips. Or maybe it’s because she’s never seen Lena cry, and it’s doing something terrible and poisonous to her stomach.
Be cold, Kara thinks. She’s a liar. She tried to kill you.
Never in a thousand years would Kara have thought that Lena would actually fire those cannons. Of course, she’d prepared for an unwelcome chance encounter with kryptonite. She’d worn a prototype shield on her chest, not quite ready for field exposure. It was toast now, obviously, but it had worked. A few hours of sun absorption, and Kara was back to full strength.
Physically, at least.
Emotionally? Psychologically? Her own wife had tried to kill her. Again.
It forced Kara to consider the very real, very likely possibility that Lena was beyond redemption. That Kara would have to apprehend her and leave her to rot in some solitary jail cell in the bowels of the DEO.
Or worse. Kill her.
But now, Lena had seemed sad. Soft. Soulful. She’d said she was in mourning, and she hadn’t confirmed whether she’d even known Kara’s real identity or not. And rushing off to the bathroom? It’s so uncharacteristic.
Something about the whole thing doesn’t feel right.
Which is why the shouts of women exiting the bathroom and then the loud bomb blast that rocks the restaurant floor shouldn’t surprise her, but it still does.
Lena, Kara rolls her eyes.
Everyone starts screaming, rushing for the exit. Kara makes her way determinedly to the foot of the stairs, shouldering past scrambling employees. She uses her x-ray vision, and luckily, no one seems hurt, just a few wayward fires.
She can’t hear Lena’s heartbeat, however. No one’s upstairs. She might have escaped.
“Shit,” Kara curses quietly, head wheeling around.
She spots Lena suddenly at the exit, her cold glare, stark green eyes. She hadn’t been there before, there’s no way Kara could’ve missed her, but before she can react, Lena turns into the crowd. Kara tries to push her way through the chaotic, panicking patrons, but she can’t do it without publically using her powers.
When finally she’s outside and free from the group panic, Kara cranes her neck to look for Lena, but she’s nowhere to be seen.
“You’re tickin’,” an older man standing casually on the sidewalk pokes her in the arm. He blows smoke from his cigarette.
“What?” Kara asks distractedly, and then she hears it, too.
In an instant, blowing her cover be damned, she’s above the city and hurling the small bomb into the clouds. The explosion is huge for such a tiny little package, a bright orange firework in the night sky. She hovers there, breathing heavily, red-faced as she takes out her phone.
How the hell did she miss those bombs? Where had Lena hidden them in such a tight dress?
“That’s the third time you’ve tried to kill me,” she accuses hotly. She can just pick up the ambient sounds of Lena driving.
“You seem just fine.”
“You didn’t know that.”
“Oh, come on that was just a little bomb,” Lena purrs over the receiver.
“I’m going home, and I’m going to burn everything I ever bought you.”
“I’ll race you there, baby.”
Lena hangs up on her. It makes Kara’s blood boil over, and she just sits there in the sky, every memory of Lena flashing through her mind on a rolodex, every kiss, every dance, every argument. Kara’s seen the shapes of so many other women, but none are quite like this one.
Not three minutes have passed before she’s calling her back, listening to Lena’s soft breath on the other end.
“The first time we met,” Kara begins, “what was your first thought?”
There’s a long pause where Kara knows Lena must be thinking, scheming. Like always.
“Why? What was yours?” she predictably dodges the question.
Kara sees Lena in her mind then, face cool and controlled, heart rate even. Lena thinks the mastery of her tells makes her less easy to read, but it doesn’t. Quite the opposite, really.
“I thought you looked like Christmas morning,” Kara admits, and the other line is quiet.
“So how about it, Lena?”
“I thought—” Lena sighs big, the sound wet. “I thought you were the most beautiful Kryptonian I’d ever seen.”
Kara sinks a few feet in the sky. A shadow passes over her mind, heavy with rain.
So, she had known Kara was Supergirl.
“So, it was all business? From the go?”
“Cold hard math,” Lena replies.
Lena patiently lies in wait in their stately Victorian home, prone and on her stomach at the top of the staircase. She’s bathed in the glow of the red sun bulbs she’d installed when they’d cleared out the house. She knew they’d sap Kara of her powers, effectively turning her human. The only question is whether her wife will be dumb enough to come home alone.
It’s a simple choice, Lena thinks. It’s why she lied to her. This doesn’t need to be messy or complicated. Kara can just leave Lena’s retrieval to the government, let other people take her in. It’d be safer for Kara. Smarter. Impersonal.
But that isn’t her wife.
She can hear Kara bumbling (alone, sigh) to quietly break into their bolted back door. She hears glass shatter that would alert even the most incompetent operative.
Lena sighs. It had been a fool’s errand to hope Kara would make this easy.
So, she readjusts the shotgun butt on her shoulder, situates herself more comfortably, and listens to Kara creeping around like a bull in a china shop. It’ll only be seconds until her wife comes unsuspectingly around the edge of the foyer hall and gets a buckshot to the face.
Lena’s pretty sure she can pull the trigger. She’s incensed she even has to ask herself the question.
She’s a liar, she chants in her mind.
Fortunately, Kara chooses that moment of indecision to knock into their antique and overpriced decorative dresser. A tea cup goes smashing to the floor, and Lena swivels, waiting just a moment too long before blasting a crater right through the pristine wall and wooden framing. The sound is deafening, but there’s a satisfying crunch of wood, paper, and drywall as they fall broken to the floor.
“You still alive, baby?” she calls out.
“Really, Lena?” Kara’s voice floats pretty, albeit fairly maligned, through the perfectly circular hole. “Red sun bulbs?”
“Does that hurt your feelings?” Lena goads. “You Supers never like an even ground, do you—”
But Kara whirls around the corner, chucking a silver tea tray with Frisbee precision. It curves up like a fucking Matrix bullet and collides with the muzzle of the shotgun in front of her eyes, and Lena’s next round goes awry, hits their textured ceiling instead of Kara. It rains Extra White paint (that’s the name that had been on the can) dust down over their heads.
Lena shakes it off, bringing the barrel level to Kara again who is already half-way up the stairs, taking two at a time. Lena fires a third blast, but Kara ducks with a considerably inhuman alacrity for someone who is supposed to be robbed of their powers. She’s on top of Lena before she can press her finger to the trigger for a fourth time.
“It’s fine, they don’t bother me,” Kara pants in a husk, breath hot as she rips off Lena’s heartbeat dampener, the metal device at the hollow of her throat.
“That’s better,” she says to herself.
Lena should be disgruntled to find that Kara is still so strong and fast as fuck, but instead it burns a different flame within her.
“I don’t need powers to beat you,” Kara feels the need to push her advantage.
It’s a mistake.
Lena bends her knee between them, finding leverage against Kara’s chest. Kara looks momentarily concerned, as she should, before Lena catapults her callously back down the stairs. She takes aim during the ensuing crash, standing.
“This nonverbal enough for ya’?”
She fires, but Kara pivots with a kind of catlike reflex that allows her to land on both feet. She rolls into the kitchen as the blast blows cotton candy holes through the front door.
Kara certainly had nine lives.
Groaning, Lena casts the empty shotgun to the side, too impatient to reload, and switches to the assault rifle slung over her back. She stalks her wife into the kitchen and open fires the second she’s around the corner, before she can even take measure of the scene. Kara’s thrown open the refrigerator door, acting as a shield, and the bullets spray the stainless steel in a barrage of popcorn-shaped dents. It’s loud. The destruction is all-encompassing, absolutely demolishing their kitchen.
In the chaos, Kara manages to hurl and lodge a butter knife right into the sights of Lena’s weapon, forcing her to stop and wedge it out.
“You’re making a mess,” Kara tsks in the brief, ensuing quiet. She’s hiding behind the island.
“Well, we know you’re not going to clean it up,” Lena counters, raising her weapon.
“This doesn’t have to be so hard, Lena,” Kara quickly adds, and Lena hesitates. “Just come with me to the DEO.”
Lena squeezes the trigger, angling down and attempting to shoot Kara from over the island. She ends up scattering fire all over the back wall, glasses and cabinets exploding. She ruins their mosaic backsplash tiles.
“So, you can lock me up? Not happening,” Lena tells her during reload.
“You sure you know how to use that thing?” Kara taunts. “Your aim’s as bad as your cooking, honey.”
Lena snarls, even as she hears Kara doing something, maybe reaching into the side of the oven burners, ripping out tubes.
It’s too late when she fires. It only just occurs to her after the explosion that Kara’s pulled the gas line in the range, and the spark inside of the rifle chamber lights up the air like New Year’s Eve.
The force of it blows her back into the hallway, slamming Lena partially through the wall there, the gun clattering across the floor.
Her ears rings, her eyes caught on the huge, dancing flames, wild and orange and monstrous. Kara bursts through them like an avenging angel, knocking Lena back to the ground for a second time. She strips the hand gun Lena’s pulled from her side, unloading and breaking it down with a boot camp proficiency. Just before she finishes, however, Lena punches her hard in the solar plexus, and follows it with a swift jab to the throat.
Kara splutters and chokes in surprise. Lena shoves her off, scrambling to her feet, but Kara takes her roughly by the ankle.
“Come on,” she croaks, throaty and winded, crawling zombie focused across the floor.
Lena swiftly kicks her with her free foot, but it’s difficult to dislodge Kara. She’s climbing up Lena’s leg like a forest sapling, constricting anaconda strong around her middle. Lena spins, delivers another blow to her midsection with an elbow, but Kara grapples her into a choke hold. Her primary strategy seems to be to disarm Lena, crush her into compliance.
That’s a weakness.
Lena wriggles, searching for leverage.
“Come to daddy,” Kara has the fucking nerve to say, whisper close to her ear.
That ignites her. Lena jumps, both feet flat on the opposite wall, and springs herself back, up and over Kara’s head. They stay tethered, though, and Lena uses the momentum to bring Kara down to the floor in a world class wrestling slam.
The resulting shudder of impact quakes through the floor boards. Kara groans.
Lena clambers back up and into the living room, huffing slightly, limping a little, as she reaches for another gun. But it’s like she’s fighting a fucking Octopus because Kara’s somehow right behind her, snaring her waist again and hefting her backwards. Lena kicks off the dining room table, manages to break free, and begins raining blows over Kara’s face and head in earnest. Left hooks, right, jabs, and crosses. Kara protects herself with raised forearms. When Lena aims a kick to her ribs, she side steps, taking Lena’s leg and lifting her clear from the floor. She slams her onto the table, pressed tight between her thighs, dress slid up.
It’s more malicious edging, as far as Lena’s concerned.
Kara tries to pin her flat to the surface, but Lena grabs the flower vase from the middle of the table and breaks it over her head.
“Agh!” Kara shouts, but her grip only lessens by degrees.
Lena holds a broken ceramic piece, but Kara’s got her by the wrist before she can think to use it. Her free hand swipes across Lena’s collar again as she struggles to get her into a hold.
It accidentally activates the image inducer Lena had worn to escape the restaurant. Lena’s face suddenly switches to a stranger and then, smirking, she presses the button again and it becomes Kara’s.
“Huh?” Kara stares at the reflection of herself.
Lena head butts her (it feels like head butting a solid steel drum), and Kara staggers backward.
“What’s wrong, don’t want to kiss yourself, baby?” Lena mocks, which is likely a tad overconfident for someone who’s just given themselves a concussion. Her vision swims.
Kara recovers quickly as Lena slides back onto her feet, blocking blow after blow, side stepping and feinting. After a few chess move strokes of brilliance, she manages to destabilize Lena enough to rip the inducer clear from her skin. The skin goes, too, and she’s pretty sure she’s bleeding. So is her nose. Unfortunately for Kara, however, it gives Lena an opening to pin her down onto the table, face first, Lena pressed behind her.
“I’ve always wondered,” Lena huffs near her ear, sweat dripping from the exertion of keeping Kara down. “Is it difficult to beg on your knees in that short skirt?”
Kara manages to take both Lena’s legs out, and she topples to the Persian rug.
“You’d know all about begging, Lena,” she lords over her.
Lena has the sword from her heel pulled out in an instant.
“That—can’t be practical,” Kara judges, but she certainly jumps back when Lena slashes the air where her nose had just been.
Kara swipes up a silver candle stick and parries the swings as Lena rises back to her feet. She even has a hand behind her back, balanced with a professional fencer’s familiarity.
What the fuck? Lena thinks.
She carves the saber particularly hard, and Kara’s candle stick cracks in half where it strikes. It sparks a fleeting white. But Kara quickly swivels, picking up one of the heavy oak chairs like it weighs nothing at all and comes at Lena, legs first.
She traps Lena against the wall, the four chair legs immobilizing her arms to her sides. She tries to push back, but it’s too heavy. Kara is too strong.
“Do you give up yet?” her wife grumbles, plucking the sword out of Lena’s hand and chucking it into the corner of the room.
“Hope, activate the nanites,” Lena commands.
Immediately, a swarm of chrome and silver floods the room. Kara swats at the flying discs like gnats at first, but soon she’s overwhelmed. She staggers back, chair falling, and Lena goes for the gun, finally, strapped under the table. As she raises it, however, Kara grabs the muzzle and wrenches it out of her grasp for what feels like the 30th time that night.
Lena’s not sure what’s more annoying; the fact that Kara won’t raise a finger to hurt her or that Lena can’t for the life of her subdue one, powerless Kryptonian.
Enough fucking around.
She pushes Kara back by the shoulders, stands straight, and the Lexo suit materializes over her forearm, gauntlet glowing green and engaged.
She still has the gun, Lena considers. She could raise it. Fire at Lena.
Kara doesn’t. She drops the gun to the floor, even as the Nanites crawl systematically up her legs, covering her like Siafu in the African desert.
“You’re not taking me in,” Lena warns her, weapon still aimed.
She tries to keep the waver out of her voice as green veins spider across Kara’s face from the Kryptonite. She looks ill. And it’s ruining Lena to even witness it.
“You’re going to have to kill me, so pick up the gun.”
“I can’t,” Kara replies simply.
“Come on,” Lena grunts.
“No. I won’t.”
Kara doesn’t answer.
“My mother will kill me if you don’t. Then, she’ll hunt you down, your sister. Everyone we’ve ever met.”
Lena nods, and Kara considers this new information, trembling slightly. The nanites are up to her chest.
“You are not like your mother,” she settles on.
“What do you know?” Lena snaps, the green glow of the kryptonite weapon gleaming over Kara’s pale face. Her wife is bleeding from her hair line. There’s a black smudge, a fingerprint on her inner arm. Her blonde hair is wild, matted in places with perspiration.
She still looks so beautiful. Lena still hesitates.
“She is cold and dangerous,” Kara whispers. “You are smart, Lena, and too good.”
“I’m just another Luthor to you.”
“If you want to kill me, you can,” Kara resigns herself, smiling weak with a small shrug.
Lena’s brain doesn’t process the words the way her body and heart do.
Do it, the voice of her mother compels her.
And maybe that’s the breaking point. Fuck her mother.
“Hope, deactivate,” she whispers, and the nanites fall away from Kara like dead flies. Her arm still shakes, though, from the effort of keeping the gauntlet raised.
Kara springs forward without hesitation and slaps Lena’s weapon out of the way. She kisses Lena, as reflexive as breathing, cupping both cheeks in her hands.
Kara tastes like gunpowder, musky sweat, and a little bit of natural gas. The dust that had collected between the studs in their walls. Plaster and kindled wood. Lena’s kissed Kara so many times at this point, she knows the types. Soft. Short. Sweet. Heavy. This one is closer to when Kara had come back from the bathroom to find a man beside Lena and attempting to negotiate buying her a drink. It’s staking a claim, needy and impatient and territorial. Lena snakes her tongue further into Kara’s mouth, eager to sample more.
Their arms are intertwined tight, and it’s such a physical relief to drop the act of trying to kill her wife, Lena settles into it like sand on the ocean floor. The Lexosuit folds back into her Rolex as if it can read emotional cues, and she’s biting Kara’s lip hard enough to draw blood.
I’m yours, she hears again, but Lena doesn’t want Kara beheaded like a trophy to mount on her wall. She wants her beneath her and above her.
Kara lifts her back onto the dining table, a wish fulfilled. She hooks one of Lena’s legs around her hip, her grip delectably firm. Lena glances down to find a deep scar in the wood near Kara’s planted left hand, maybe from the sword, but it doesn’t matter. She feverishly unbuttons Kara’s shirt, the same one that had looked so clean and white and starched at dinner. It has a culinary art display of stains on it, likely from the refrigerator. There’s a watermelon red, an orange juice yellow. Lena leaves lipstick on the collar while Kara has her dress pushed up to her waist, staring down.
Of course, Lena’s wearing lingerie.
“This is,” Kara stutters, voice hoarse, a finger running along the lace, “overkill.”
“Use your powers,” Lena breathes a hasty demand.
Kara grunts and rips the underwear clear from her body. Lena whines, the image of the forceful display altogether too much to bear. She also thinks to tell Jess that the red sun bulbs obviously need tweaking, even if this is working out in her favor.
Kara’s attention is trained downwards, fingers fanning out over Lena’s thighs, her ass, hauling her infinitely closer. But, for Lena’s part, she’s already wet and gasping for breath.
“How long have you been ready for me?” Kara noses at her neck.
Too long, Lena thinks.
She clutches at Kara, twisting the fabric of her shirt, and presses her bare foot against the glass of an adjacent mid-century dresser. There’s Fabergé eggs in there somewhere, and she hears one fall and crack when she imbalances the dresser with a sharp push of her heel.
“Lena,” Kara growls against her lips, punctuates the sentence by sliding two fingers inside of her, easy as pie. She curls them.
Kara swallows Lena’s resulting moan in a kiss, her hips rocking behind the hot drive of her fingers. Lena whimpers and clutches her around the biceps, relief and anticipation filling her up.
“You looked good in this suit,” she says against her lips, palming over Kara’s now open and fully unbuttoned shirt.
Lena unhooks her bra with a deft hand, strips it out from underneath. She crushes Kara’s sternum to her face, breathing deep. Her wife smells sweet and animal strong. Lena’s tongue is out before she’s even partially aware of it and running against Kara’s collar bone to taste, sliding into to the divet there.
“Fuck, Lena,” Kara moans.
Lena looks up, licks the velvet smooth seam of Kara’s lips, which are red and riven. She takes a fist of Kara’s hair and jerks back, exposing her throat.
Kara goes faster, frenzied, free hand roaming to Lena’s breast and plucking at it through the material of the dress. While Lena’s eyes are tilted up, Kara’s eyes are tilted down and watching the piston of her own movements, blonde eyelashes fluttering, hypnotized by the sight of how their bodies fit together.
“You know this dress drives me crazy,” she pants hard with every thrust.
Lena gets loud, sound after sound ripped from her. She splays bonelessly onto her back, staining walnut in every which way, legs spread, lifting her ass. Kara immediately hoists the leg higher to her shoulder and drops down to add her mouth into the mix.
It draws a sound from Lena that’s altogether undignified for the dining room.
Why hadn’t they done this before?
It’s been awhile, and Lena’s missed it. Sloppy and wet and rushed. Kara’s hot tongue between her legs. Lena fists her hair again and pulls.
“Kara!” she moans, reduced to base coherence.
When Lena opens her hand, though, Kara moves to roughly push her tousled hair out of her face, and Lena thinks to give her a hair tie when,
Oh. Maybe that’s why she keeps them.
She can’t help but moan at the thought, mesmerized by the bob of Kara’s head, the brief lancet blue of her eye as they connect.
It’s the eyes that do it for Lena, in the end, and she comes like a freight train, ripped from the tracks and hurtling into an annihilation that is both warmth and thrumming pleasure.
She’s not sure how long she stays sprawled on the table top until Kara hoists her back into her arms, capturing her mouth in another feral kiss.
“Again,” Kara huffs.
And Lena comes again, thighs shaking and biting the elegant column of Kara’s perfect throat.
There’s quiet after, and Lena is somehow both sated and exhausted. She’s drained from the fight, from the sex, from the last heinous forty-eight hours, but with eyes half-closed Lena runs the pad of her finger over the tiny, baby soft hairs on Kara’s cheek, her thumb at the corner of her mouth. Kara’s kiss-swollen lips come back wet, parting at the touch. She looks at Kara firm, eyes hooded.
“Get me the strap-on.”
Kara hums in agreement and lifts Lena fully into both arms. She carries her up the stairs, half of which are caved in. There’s a hole where their hallway floor ought to be, but Kara leaps over it with a gazelle grace.
With little preamble, Kara has the strap in her hand, dug out from the closet, and her eyebrows up in question. Lena thanks every god it wasn’t a victim of the downstairs explosion while she’s fastening it onto herself and shortly relieving Kara of the rest of her clothes.
“Were you thinking of this downstairs?” she murmurs, pushing Kara face down into the mattress of their master suite.
Kara doesn’t attempt an answer, just a disembodied groan into the bedding. Lena’s well aware, either way, as she slips her hand down, gliding her fingers through the wet heat she finds. Kara bucks forward at the slippery friction over her clit, and Lena bites lightly at her shoulder, sucks less lightly. She leaves a mark, red and off purple.
“No wonder you never wanted hickeys,” she observes with a hand on Kara’s waist, her lips brushing over the frizzy hairs at the back of her neck, fingers charting the pebbled bones of her spine.
She takes a moment to enjoy the view. The hard lines of Kara’s muscled back, the geometric wings of her shoulder blades, the outward sweep of her waist. Kara’s hair is still down, mopped over her face, and Lena can watch every single flex, squeeze.
She presses inside of Kara with the head of the dildo. She jogs her hips, testing the resistance, and Kara moans, back arched.
Lena bends, kisses an earlobe and purrs,
“Who’s your daddy now?”
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
y'all, here begins a somewhat massive deviation from the plot of the movie. please point out my plot holes if you see/think of them! i just thought it was lame that it literally ends with a shootout of a million random dudes in riot gear. BORING! NOT FOR OUR GIRLS! LEX WORLD TAKEOVER THWARTED OR NOTHING. (also, please appreciate lex will literally only have one scene in this fic, unlike the circus that's happening on the show.)
Kara runs her hands through Lena’s hair, over and over. She unravels the curls, scratches at the white of her scalp. She shapes it like water, a free flowing stream. It had become frizzy and kinked during the fight, tangled with sweat, and Kara tames it patiently back into its thick, silky natural state.
“Mmm,” Lena hums appreciatively.
She sits atop Kara’s thighs, Kara herself is sat at the end of their bed. Lena’s still naked, basking in a kind of summer sundown glow. Her already pale skin looks even more ethereally white. Although, in places she’s still warm to the touch, splotched pink and red. Her eyes are a little puffy, too, sagging slightly with fatigue. Kara frees a hand and runs it over the round of one of her shoulders, up the cord of tendons in her neck.
Lena groans slightly, sculpted in her palms. Her bottom lip protrudes, pouty and supple, and Kara can’t resist the urge to take it between her teeth again, kissing Lena.
“Hi stranger,” Lena rears back after a moment, speaking against Kara’s lips. The tone of it, the scratchy, husky quality of her voice reminds Kara of the other noises she’d made, raspy and pulled from deep within.
Lena’s eyes flutter and focus on Kara, a permeating green. She holds a limp hand between their bodies.
“I’m not sure if we’ve been properly introduced,” she continues with a slight smirk. “I’m Lena Luthor.”
“Lena Luthor,” Kara repeats quietly, clasping Lena’s hand. “Kara Zor-El.”
Lena squeezes back.
Kara can tell it’s both an ending and a new beginning. She’s had plenty of those. Her life on Krypton had to end for her life on Earth to begin, and she could feel this, too, like a supernova. Their former life, their lies exploding outward and onward, reforming and restructuring into this new truth she’d share with Lena. Even their life in Bogota had begun with bombs, gun shots, and kisses that tasted like tequila and bitter coffee in the light of a new morning.
This isn’t so different.
“Are you okay?” she asks, tucking a black tendril of hair back behind Lena’s ear, eyebrows pinched in concern. There’s a bruise near her wife’s temple, a few more scattered over her body.
“I tried to kill you, and you’re asking if I’m okay?” Lena points out, self-deprecating. She runs a finger over a cut at Kara’s hair line. It stings a little, but Kara doesn’t flinch.
“You didn’t, not really,” Kara replies, even though she’d personally had her doubts when Lena’s kryptonite Lexosuit had been trained at her face.
Calling the bluff had been a calculated bet. The whole fight had seemed like a dead give away from the beginning. Lena didn’t do anything in half measures, not the entire time Kara had known her. When she’d come home and the house wasn’t razed to the ground, she’d known Lena’s heart wasn’t actually in it. She’d seen her wife dress down grown men without batting an eyelash, and she’d kill Kara in a heartbeat if she’d really wanted to. But she didn’t.
Lena searches Kara’s face, something always a bit scary and too intelligent in that gaze. Sexy but dangerous. With her green eyes and sharp edges, Lena is a kind of contained kryptonite.
“So, are you related to the Man of Steel?”
“Are you younger?”
“Older, technically. Why do you ask?” Kara presses the question to the jutting bone of Lena’s clavicle.
“Just wondering if we were both bratty youngest children,” she jokes, but Kara doesn’t get the sense that’s the real reason.
Maybe after so many years, obfuscating the truth has become too second nature.
In an effort to break bad habits, Kara leaves the half-lie for the moment, trailing kisses up Lena’s jaw and squeezing the fleshy part of her hip. Lena’s clearly partial to the attention, nuzzling Kara’s face lightly with hers.
“I think it’s obvious one of us isn’t,” Kara eventually answers, dipping her tongue lasciviously into the spot just behind Lena’s ear, a spot that’s always been particularly sensitive. Lena moans.
This is honestly Kara’s favorite part. Even after five or six years, this is why she deals with the acting out, the sometimes outright hypocrisy. It’s why she’d fielded blow after blow in their fancy living room. Nothing could be accomplished if Lena was in that state, rip firing hot. She didn’t listen. She’s the opposite of cold rolled steel, most malleable and open to compromise after she’d cooled.
Then, Kara gets the true prize, the real victory. The soft Lena, the flexible Lena, the plump fruit of a cracked open nut. Seeing her free of ego, stripped bare and hair down, that was a test worthy of completion. Lena had a way of giving herself over entirely in sex, too, fluent physically in a conversation that they always struggled having with words. She apologized. She murmured that she loved Kara, over and over. She listened.
It was a good conversation, and no one spoke it like they did.
“Only child then?” Lena purrs, feather down.
“Until Alex, yes,” Kara smiles against her cheek. “How’d you know?”
“Spoiled,” she teases.
Kara squeezes again at Lena’s hip, and she catches her eye, mouth parted, lips wet.
Kara nearly laughs, it’s not what she expected, but she smiles, nodding. “Me too.”
Lena slips off of her lap then, and Kara stands. Sore, she stretches, locking her wrists overhead. She digs around for sleep shorts from their fallen dresser, drawers bent and askew on the floor, clothes wild and spilled into piles. She glances up to find Lena buttoning herself up in her discarded white dress shirt. She looks good, standing there pantsless and in Kara’s clothes. The allure of it is unyielding.
Kara distractedly grabs at a plain t-shirt and pulls it over her head. When Lena offers a hand, she accepts, and they step carefully down the stairs.
“Watch out,” Lena warns to the glass, the scorched part of the floorboards. She balances, ballerina steady against the bannister, and fishes up their Wellington rain boots from near the door. They slide them on and crunch through the broken foyer.
“That left hook of yours is a thing of beauty,” Kara comments when they enter the kitchen, and Lena smiles in that same teasing way of hers.
Kara searches for an intact cup from within their cupboard. She doesn’t find any (Lena had really done a number on their cabinets with that automatic rifle,) so she settles instead for one that has a partially undamaged rim. The refrigerator hangs open off of a broken hinge, and Kara reaches inside and pours Lena a glass of orange juice while she herself drinks directly from the gallon of milk.
Lena only glares a little.
“Been waiting your whole life to finally have an excuse to do that?” she asks, droll.
Kara nods, passing her the glass, and Lena shakes her head, smiling over the edge of her cup.
“That vacation in Aspen, you left early. Why?”
It takes Kara a moment to recall.
“I was helping Kal in Metropolis with a Kandorian.”
“God, I remember that. I wanted to be there,” Lena sighs whimsically, placing her glass on the cracked and chipped granite of their island. She finds cut watermelon in a Tupperware bowl near her foot on the floor, and she pries the lid off.
“Lex wouldn’t let me near that fight,” she says, taking a bite.
Kara smiles wryly. How much had they hidden from each other? How much had they actually had in common? It feels nice to finally share, like sanitizing a wound.
“Our third anniversary,” Kara starts, taking a piece of the watermelon for herself. The juice is sweet, and it nearly runs down her chin when she bites down. Lena watches her catch it with her tongue and a finger.
“You didn’t hear Alex arrive at our house in a helicopter?”
“No,” Lena answers slowly and then, “oh,” she snaps to herself. “Percussion grenades. I was partially deaf that night.”
“What?” Kara frowns, taking a possessive step closer. “Partially deaf? What other injuries don’t I know about?”
Lena makes a face as if there are too many to remember, and Kara frowns further.
“Bruised kidneys, retinal scarring,” Lena lists off. She holds up her left hand. “I can’t feel anything in these three fingers.”
“Thank Rao it’s your left,” Kara jokes, more of a reflex than anything. She’s a little bothered by the fact that anyone has hurt Lena. She should’ve been there.
Lena lightly nudges Kara’s shoulder.
“Rao?” Lena asks.
“The sun from my system.”
Lena’s eyes glitter, like she’s taking a mental note and bookmarking a subject for later.
“Why the dryer sheets, Kara?” she asks instead, and Kara smiles a little ruefully. She toys with a shard of broken glass on the counter, a bit loathsome to discuss it.
“I feel stupid about it now.”
“Don’t,” Lena encourages earnestly, and the sincerity in her eyes is persuasive enough that Kara actually considers it.
She looks away, spins the shard of glass in a circle again.
“I started collecting them when I was younger, I guess, when I first came to Earth,” she begins, voice quiet. “Not many people know about it, but our sense of smell is pretty Super, too. And there are so many smells on Earth. Some good but most unpleasant.”
Lena’s expression is intent and listening.
“It was hard for me,” Kara shrugs. “Eliza tried to help me focus when I was having—hm, bad days,” she lingers, not sure how to best frame her tantrums, freak outs, the yelling. “She did laundry on the weekend, and those were always nice and lazy afternoons. She’d ask me to fold clothes, and it was one of the only times I felt, I don’t know, like I was a part of something. On Krypton, spending time with family was sacred, we had so many rituals. It structured our time. And laundry and folding was the closest I had to that for a while. I’m not sure Eliza meant it that way, but it helped. The smell still reminds me of family. It’s comforting.”
“That’s really sweet,” Lena says after a moment, reaching out to squeeze Kara’s hand. Like usual, her fingers are soft, calloused in places. Lena had always told her it was from lifting weights, but now Kara knows better.
“Though that does little to explain why you never do the laundry, honey,” Lena ribs.
Kara barks out a laugh.
“Uh huh,” Lena replies, eyebrow raised and skeptical. Kara pulls her close, cutting off any further accusations with a kiss.
Lena’s hands wind into her hair, her lips impossibly soft. Kara takes hold of her waist again, only just settling into a mindset of finding the nearest vertical surface when a bevy of smoke grenades are lobbed through the front windows.
They jump apart at the sound of more shattering glass, just in time to find yellow gas filling the entry hall. They drop to the floor, heads bowed beneath the laser sights of guns aimed through the kitchen windows, and crouched, they hurry down the hall.
Lena seizes Kara’s hand, bringing them to a stop behind two large columns. She rushes out several military hand signals, commanding Kara to go outside, use her powers. Kara answers with a no, gesturing wildly to the stupid red sun bulbs. Lena shakes her head, demanding to ‘go get my guns from upstairs.’ Kara forcefully replies ‘no, stay inside,’ but Lena shakes her head and repeats herself. Kara begins to formulate a response, but Lena interrupts, distinctly signing the word fuck (who knew Lena was fluent in ASL expletives), and Kara rolls her eyes. This is getting them nowhere.
Instead, she takes Lena by the wrist and pulls her down the basement stairs to their right. At the bottom, Lena immediately flies to the work bench, spilling a bag of what was supposed to be bird seed across the table, but instead uncovers two concealed handguns.
“My mother’s goons,” she explains, gesturing to the ceiling with the muzzle of one of the guns. She loads it quickly while the loud sounds of boots reverberate above them. “I was given forty-eight hours to take you out.”
“Same more or less,” Kara admits. “Where’s their trust?”
“What do you expect?” Lena lilts, that same dangerous eyebrow raised, and Kara’s once again (and inconveniently) reminded of how attractive she is.
She also takes her point. Kara’s not sure if anyone in the world would want a Luthor and Super working together. It’s too powerful an alliance.
Lena offers her the other gun, grip first, as if to fully illustrate the point, but Kara shakes her head.
“Really? You’re a Girl Scout, too?”
“Well, I don’t usually need them, but I can’t use my powers thanks to someone.”
“Well, what are you going to fight with then?” Lena ignores the jibe, instantly defensive. That’s five (or six) years of marriage for you.
Regardless, Kara doesn’t get a chance to answer. The basement door blasts off its hinges. Lena takes aim, but it’s only a robot rolling onto the top of the stair platform.
“What is that?” Kara asks just as it drops a grenade from its little mechanical arm.
It’s an asshole, apparently.
The grenade ping pong bounces down the stairs, and Kara lunges for it when it hits ground level. She kicks it towards the… back-up fuel tank.
“Fuck,” Lena grabs Kara by the arm.
They rush up the basement egress and burst out through the wooden doors. Kara can already hear the rapid ping of gunfire ripping across the lawn, and she tries to cover her head, but it’s a secondary concern. The house explodes behind them.
The force of it hurls them both a dozen feet, and it’s the least fun Kara’s ever had while airborne. She covers Lena when they land, but she’s blinded. The explosion is positively deafening.
When feeling returns to her, she finds they’re both buried under debris. She kicks off a piece of those overpriced shutters and pulls a block of home siding off of Lena, who groans loudly. Kara stumbles to her feet, helping Lena up and running her hands over her sides to make sure she’s not hurt.
“My house, I’ll fucking kill them,” Lena hisses through gritted teeth.
Yeah, she’s fine.
Kara spares a glance back behind them then, slipping a bit in her black rubber Wellington’s. All she sees is a fire rising over the remains of their custom-made, tailored home. It’s orange-yellow and charred black. A light fixture falls from the second floor, smashing into the rubble.
“We were going to have to remodel, anyway…”
Lena grumbles and tries to stamp out a small fire on the toe side of her boot. The sun is just rising, and Kara feels it tickle over her skin.
“Can you fly?”
“Mini-van,” Lena directs tersely, pointing across the street to their neighbor’s house.
They move slowly at first, careful to avoid burning bits of wood and siding, but eventually they cross the front lawn, Kara furtively glancing around. So far, the explosion seems to have taken care of the first wave of attackers, but she doesn’t hear any sirens, no police or firefighters. The Luthors have clearly pulled some strings.
When they approach the garage, Lena smashes the window of the side door with an elbow and much too familiarity. She reaches inside and unlocks the knob.
“Do you have a lot of practice with breaking and entering?” Kara judges, watching.
Lena shrugs. “Tricks of the trade.”
She crosses the garage and throws open the driver’s side door of the minivan, which is thankfully unlocked. She quickly checks cup holders, consoles, and glove compartments while Kara rounds to the passenger side.
“What exactly is the trade?”
“No keys,” Lena ignores her at first, dropping below the dash. A moment later, the engine roars to life, hotwired.
Kara simply gapes at her, staring at Lena through the opposite window.
“I was never in the peace corps,” Lena admits suddenly.
“What? No,” Kara mourns, climbing into the passenger seat. “I really liked that about you.”
“Maybe this honesty thing isn’t such a good idea then,” Lena mutters under her breath, pressing the button and waiting for the garage door to rise.
Kara exhales a heavy breath. They need honesty for this thing to work, and it has to be two-way.
“At National City University, I studied Art History, not Journalism.”
Lena freezes, her hand gripping the stick shift.
“Art?” she repeats with a disgusted curl to her lip.
“History,” Kara corrects. “It’s reputable.”
“No,” Lena shakes her head, twisting around to reverse. “That’s even worse.”
As soon as she hits the accelerator, however, there’s bullet fire. Kara ducks forward to shield her head, and Lena floors it, nailing the shooter with the corner of the back fender. His body goes ragdoll flying into the bushes, and Lena briefly parks, pats him down, and steals his weapons.
When she’s back in the car, Kara’s gazing at her critically again.
“Sorry,” Lena shrugs, half-hearted.
“Maybe he’ll be fine,” Kara turns to face the front as Lena reverses fully out of the long driveway.
By the time they’re getting on the highway, however, Kara’s done a few quick calculations in her head.
“Are you an assassin?”
Her wife tenses, knuckles audibly cracking over the steering wheel.
“How many people have you killed, Lena?”
“Only bad ones?”
“There was a question mark at the end of that,” Kara announces. “I could hear it.”
“That’s not a number.”
“I’ve been around the block, Kara,” Lena finally concedes in an irritable huff, and Kara frowns. “What, you’ve never killed anyone?”
“I try not to,” Kara answers because obviously she has, but it’s not like she did it for sport or gain. It’s been accidental or unavoidable. “The people that you killed, did they deserve it?”
“They were bad, Kara, the worst,” Lena answers with certainty. “But I won’t pretend I’m a saint. I won’t say I haven’t made mistakes or that I don’t have regrets.”
She pauses with a short breath. Her green eyes are frostily focused on the road.
“My family—they’re some of the most conniving, most murderous people in the world. I’ve tried hard not to be like them, to level the playing field, but my brother is an expert at knowing how to back me into a corner. I haven’t—I haven’t always had a choice.”
Kara doesn’t like to imagine the manifestations of that scenario, of how Lena might’ve been manipulated and used since the day she was born.
“Thank you for being honest,” Kara reaches to hold her hand. Lena nods almost imperceptibly, squeezing back, and Kara wonders if she’s ever talked to anyone about her family. She doesn’t want to grill her, though, not yet at least. They can get into the moral gray area of her actions later.
“Since we’re being truthful, I have to tell you,” Kara attempts to pivot the conversation, hoping for something of a lighter tone. Lena side-eyes her warily.
“I’ve never really liked your cooking.”
Lena rolls her eyes in response, but Kara can tell she’d almost laughed.
“It’s just not your gift,” Kara adds with a shrug.
“Baby, I’ve never cooked a day in my life,” Lena supplies, smug. “My employees do all of that. Even that idiot Mike, you know, the asshole you let flirt with you at our Christmas party?”
“I did not—no! Wait! You’ve never cooked for me?” Kara exclaims, and Lena continues on smirking, shifting into another lane on the highway.
“Web of lies,” Kara proclaims, reaching into her boxers to procure a comfort stick of cheese. She munches on it loudly, and Lena double takes.
“Are you—are you eating? Where, when did you even get that?”
“In the kitchen.”
“I’ve been with you all morning!” Lena cries out. “Be honest, how much do you eat in a given day?”
Kara grimaces before taking another bite.
“Six, seven thousand calories?” she says, mouth partially full.
Lena stares at her, eyes flicking to and from the road.
“Okay, fine, it’s more like ten thousand,” Kara relents.
“Ten thousand calories,” Lena restates. “And you just, look like that?” she indicates up and down Kara’s body.
“Yeah,” Kara answers, inhaling the rest of the cheese stick. “Aren’t you glad it won’t kill me now?”
Lena grumbles, glancing up into the rearview mirror.
“We’ve got company,” she snarls, and Kara swivels around to see three slick black BMW’s, tailing them and picking up speed.
Lena picks up a gun from the cup holder and holds it out to Kara to take, but Kara ignores her, shielding her head again when there’s more gunfire. Lena swerves to avoid it, but the the rear window of the minivan fractures into shattering glass. Metal screeches as the shooters empty their clips into the back of the car.
“Use the gun, Kara!” Lena demands, offering it once again, but Kara still won’t take it.
“Can’t you just drive evasively?” she shouts over the now roaring wind rushing in from the blown out window.
“Bullets penetrate metal, sweetheart!”
Kara sighs, clambering into the back seat. On her way, she makes sure to press her butt obnoxiously into the side of Lena’s face for emphasis. Lena slaps at it while Kara scrambles on hands and knees until she can reach the back handle, swinging up the back door. She picks up the spare tire and heaves it right at their closest pursuer. It annihilates the front windshield and the car veers off, crashing into the median.
“You think they’re okay?” Lena shouts over the noise in what Kara is assuming a sarcastic fashion.
“Crash technology is really good now!” Kara barks back, but another car quickly rushes in behind the fallen one.
“Sorry, Nancy,” Kara mumbles as she hurls a week’s worth of hanging dry cleaning onto the hood and window of the car.
It provides a small distraction as the driver swerves, but they still manage to pull up right beside them. Kara bends back, opening both side doors of the mini-van with the click of a button, and as soon as a man emerges from the passenger window gun raised, Kara pulls him clear from the car and pushes him through the other side. She watches him hit the pavement and roll towards the shoulder.
He’ll probably be fine.
“These doors are really handy!” she exclaims to Lena just before another car slams into the bumper, pitching Kara into the front passenger seat, ass first and onto the dash. Lena hits the accelerator, driving even faster while trying to avoid the two remaining cars.
Kara squeezes her eyes shut, all limbs like a spider on its back as she stares at Lena.
“I have to tell you,” she speaks lowly, almost hoping Lena won’t hear it. “I was engaged once before.”
Lena slams the breaks, and one of the pursuing vehicles goes slamming into the rear again. During the collision, Kara rolls off the dash and into the seat, and Lena swats all over her body (and not softly.)
“What’s wrong with you?” Kara cries out, trying to evade the blows.
“You’re what’s wrong with me! How could you do that?!”
“It was before we met, and I didn’t know what it meant!” Kara defends in a yelp. “Earth courting rituals are so confusing!”
“Oh, that makes it better!” Lena keeps slapping her shoulder.
In an effort to avoid her, Kara goes crawling into the back.
“Who is she?!” Lena’s yells over the wind.
“It was a he.”
“WHAT?” Lena looks murderous in the rearview mirror, eyes lancing. “Name and social.”
Kara shakes her head, making her way to the vehicle lodged and stuck on their back bumper. She snatches up a golf iron from a bag tucked into the corner of the trunk and balances herself, stepping out onto the hood right as a shooter pops through the sun roof with an Uzi.
She swings, nailing the guy across the cheek before he can squeeze the trigger. His body whips to the side, and Kara reaches forward, pulling the pin of a flash grenade clipped to his belt.
“Go! Go!” she shouts to Lena, falling to the floor and taking cover.
Lena floors it, and the car falls off the fender of the minivan. Kara watches the white flash, and the resulting crash into the highway wall.
“I can’t believe you,” Lena mutters, not looking at her and still mad.
“You’re being a bit hypocritical,” Kara replies, breathing hard. “It’s not like you’re some beacon of truth.”
There’s a charged silence despite the loud racket of the highway. Kara crawls back to the front.
“You haven’t slept with anyone else, have you?” Lena asks, quiet.
“No. Have you?”
Lena sighs, relieved.
“Good. Also, my real mother died when I was five. I’m Irish and an orphan.”
“Rao,” Kara curses. When it rains, it pours. “Who gave you away at our wedding?”
Kara groans again.
“I told you I saw your dad on TV, I told you!”
“I know, I know,” Lena gripes.
Kara’s fingers itch suddenly, and she tests it by shredding the metal hand rest off of the car door with just her fingernails.
“I’m strong again!” she cries out, exultant.
Then, a bullet pings right off the side of her ear, and she and Lena stare at it, smashed flat inside the cup holder.
“And invincible, that’s lucky!”
Lena practically growls at the guy that just tried to kill Kara, whipping up the gun.
“No murder, Lena!”
But Lena’s eyes go wide, and Kara turns in time to see a pair of men standing from the sun roof and taking aim with a rocket launcher.
In a flash, Kara rips fully through the passenger side door, and she’s flying with Lena bridal style carried in her arms. From above, they can see the car explode into ash and twisted metal.
“Do you think Nancy and Tom had insurance?” Kara asks hopefully.
“I sure hope so,” Lena comments, turning to face Kara, arms wrapped around her neck.
Their faces are close, and they’re sharing the same breath. The sky behind them is a tiffany blue with crisp cotton candy clouds. The air feels brisk and refreshing.
Kara’s just about to tell Lena how beautiful she is, how happy she is finally make some progress in their marriage when—
“My hair is naturally blonde.”
Kara shakes her head.
“We’re going to have to re-do every conversation we’ve ever had,” she sighs, floating closer to the city. “I can’t believe I brought my real, adoptive parents to our wedding.”
It’s been a long day, and Lena hasn’t slept at all. She hasn’t had a cup of coffee, she hasn’t showered. Suffice to say, she isn’t adequately prepared to deal with Kara’s abrasive sister first thing in the morning. But that’s exactly what she’s doing moments after being flown across the city by one of the world’s most famous, reclusive aliens and being placed gingerly on the roof of a somewhat dingy apartment building (there are bars on the windows.)
But this is her life now, she thinks.
“Kara, what the FUCK?” Alex bellows, throwing open the door of her apartment before they’ve even made it halfway down the hall.
“Get inside! What are you doing out here in the open—oh no. No, no, no, no, no,” Alex stops the second she sees Lena, wagging a patronizing finger at her like she’s a toddler who’s just dragged sharpie across a freshly painted wall.
“Alex—” Kara protests, but the finger turns on her next.
“No!” she heads her sister off, and Kara’s jaw snaps shut. “I figured out who she is! That’s Lena Luthor!”
“She already knows,” Lena informs her casually, secretly thrilled at having stolen Alex’s thunder.
Alex closes her eyes, calling on every inch of her patience, and turns her attention back to Kara.
“You haven’t been answering your phone,” she states matter of fact.
“I—,” Kara falters, “broke it.”
More like blew it up into microscopic particles along with the rest of Lena’s painstakingly selected antiquity.
“The DEO has put out a warrant for your arrest.”
Kara’s said that word at least sixteen times since 5 AM this morning. Alex merely waves her hand, inviting Kara inside, but when Lena moves to follow, she lifts an arm, barring the door.
“What is this, a sewing circle? You,” Alex points back at the hallway, “are staying outside.”
Lena watches Kara’s entire expression go dark, her hands fisting, but luckily for Alex, none of that is necessary.
“The lights are bright in the fall,” Lena recites, making sure Alex is looking at her. She doesn’t want to miss a moment of her reaction.
It doesn’t disappoint. Alex’s eyes go comically wide, her body motionless but for the rapid pulse at the base of her neck. If anything, she looks impossibly angrier in her total stillness, and it makes Lena want to laugh. For the sake of Alex’s dignity and in the interest of not getting punched in the face, she doesn’t.
Alex takes a long, dry swallow.
“What did you just say?”
“Tonight they shine,” Lena continues.
“Oh, fuck,” Alex garbles behind a pressed hand, pushing hard against her face as if she might be able to wipe herself from existence.
Lena remains committed to task, however, and waits patiently for the answering code. She threads her fingers together with a smugness only Lillian could rival.
“Alpha phi delta,” Alex mutters as if the words cost her a premium.
“Zeta gamma theta,” Lena replies, it costing her nothing at all.
“What is happening?” Kara demands, butting into the space between them.
“You have to protect me, so let me inside,” Lena urges Alex instead of answering her wife.
“Shit,” Alex draws her hand back from the door, looking entirely defeated as she stalks into her apartment. Lena follows Alex, and Kara follows Lena.
“What is happening!” Kara repeats again at full volume.
“Lena’s a government informant,” Alex answers her sister with a sigh of the highest caliber, drawing open a cabinet and reaching for a bottle of scotch. It’s not even 9 in the morning, but it sounds like a great idea to Lena.
Kara looks to Lena for confirmation, and she smiles, shrugging nonchalant. Alex appears to catch the action in her periphery, and she slams her glass down with a crack in the flimsy kitchen counter that does not bode well for its overall viability.
“Of all people,” Alex whirls to glare at her. “Did it have to be you?”
“I’m sorry, shouldn’t you be thanking me?” Lena raises her eyebrow, and Alex’s answering expression implies she has no intention of doing so in her next one hundred lives.
“Pour me one of those,” Lena requests when Alex raises the glass to her mouth. She stops to glare.
“Come on,” Lena coaxes. “We’re colleagues, can’t we celebrate? We’ve been working together for years.”
“This is—,” Alex grumbles, snatching up a second glass. “You’ve made things so much more complicated, Luthor.”
Normally, Lena might loathe being referred to by her actual surname, but in this case it’s a pleasant relief. It’s nice to be fully known for once by her, well… family.
“Sad you can’t just lock me up and throw away the key?” she sasses instead.
Alex passes her a glass with barely a sliver of scotch in it and seriously nods her head. Lena chuckles and takes a testing sip. While it’s cheaper than she’s accustomed to, not nearly possessing the most sophisticated of flavours, it’ll do.
“So, Lena’s a double agent,” Kara’s catching up, thoughtful and leaning against the long counter.
“She made you the kryptonite suit.”
“You did?” Kara turns to Lena, impressed. Lena shrugs again, playing coy, and Kara smiles.
“Gross, don’t act like that’s a turn on,” Alex interrupts their mooning. “Can I remind you that she tried to kill you with her car?”
“I did not! That was—” Lena hesitates, somewhat embarrassed to be remembering it. “I knew she had her powers.”
“But you shot me with kryptonite canons,” Kara points out. “After giving me a shield? That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I didn’t know about the canons,” Lena defends. “My mother ambushed me. And even if I did, I’d have gone along with it anyway to keep my cover.”
Kara’s eyebrows remain furrowed.
“Look, I sent you the shield because I realized Lex or Lillian might use kryptonite against you after your cover had been blown. And that was when I was furious with you. You two really know how to thank a girl for saving your life, by the way.”
Alex remains unfazed, sipping her scotch with practiced indifference while Kara sighs, breathes deep.
“Thank you, Lena,” she says sincerely, and Lena’s dour veneer thaws a little.
Kara turns back to her sister.
“How bad is it?” she asks, eyebrows threaded in cute consternation. Lena marvels at the fact she finds it cute even though she knows Kara’s capable of crushing a piece of charcoal into the Hope Diamond.
“It’s not good, Kara.”
“They blew up my house, they shot at my wife,” Kara goes from cute to gruff, her voice suddenly all growl and steel wool. It’s giving Lena’s loins whiplash, and she crosses her legs a little. “What do we do?”
Alex considers the predicament, an unconvincing tilt to her head.
“Well, Lena’s fucked either way, sorry Lena,” she says with a half glance in her direction. Lena just takes another sip of scotch. “I mean, I could try to explain to the DEO who she is, but we’re still looking at a lengthy investigation.”
“In which I will be involuntarily incarcerated.”
“That’s right,” Alex confirms. “And even then if they determine innocence, we’ve got a disappearance scenario on our hands. A whole new identity, new state. No way you’re staying with her, Kara.”
“And that still doesn’t change the fact that someone not only blew both of your covers but they also knew you were married.”
“And sent us on the same mission,” Lena adds.
“Which, by the way, no one told me about,” Alex presses a finger to her temple. “So, I’m being left out of the loop by my own organization and there’s a mole in our midst.”
The three of them stand there in the kitchen, thoughtful. Kara raises her hands to her sides, her elbows pointed, biceps flexed. Supergirl, Lena thinks, and that’s when she realizes it.
“Mike,” she curses. “I knew I should’ve poisoned him properly.”
“Mike?” Alex asks, baffled.
Kara’s head snaps up. “Poisoned him?”
“That neckbeard at your holiday party? Oh my god,” Alex slaps her forehead. “I was drunk and—”
“Distracted,” Lena supplies, remembering Alex falling all over herself for Sam. “Are you going to show me your record collection?”
She gazes around the apartment.
“Shut up,” Alex holds up a hand in warning. “Anyway, I knew he looked familiar. He wears a disguise, but I’ve seen him at the DEO, some low level scrub that always makes way too much hopeful eye contact with Kara.”
“That’s the one,” Lena remarks with a wrinkled nose. She can almost smell the phantom scent of his overly applied after shave.
“Who?” Kara asks, confused.
“Find him,” Alex directs to Lena. “Get him to squeal.”
“With his testimony, we may have enough to take down Lillian and Lex directly.”
“So, how do we find a rat in a city as big as this one?” Lena muses, ferried once again in Kara’s arms and floating above the city. She could get used to this beefy, tailored transportation service.
Kara focuses, dialing in her super hearing.
“You’re not sure where he lives?”
“Well, I can try to listen for his voice,” Kara tilts her head, the very portrait of a golden retriever. “But I’m not sure if I can filter through all the noise.”
They drift past the communications needle of the CatCo building. Lena vaguely wonders what Kara’s told Cat Grant. If Lex has slipped her secret identity to the papers yet or if he’s waiting to exploit that for some other nefarious reason.
“Can you think of anything else?”
Lena sighs. Having to parse through the putrid reservoir of facts she’s involuntarily absorbed about Mike Matthews is akin to evaluating her refrigerator and trying to estimate which of her meats and vegetables have gone sour.
It’s probably not going to be helpful to volunteer that his typical bowel movement is around 2 PM.
“He always does this really, really annoying whistle when he’s happy,” Lena sighs and then, hating herself and her near eidetic memory for sounds, she mimics it.
Kara closes her eyes, fixing her concentration on some point Lena can’t determine. She expects they’ll be there for another ten, twenty, thirty minutes, as long as it takes, but after about forty-five seconds, she says,
“I’ve got it,” and braces Lena’s neck, whipping her cape to cover and swaddle her like a baby.
It’s good because Lena’s never flown outside of an airplane at five hundred miles per hour. She’s pretty sure she just survived a human tolerance NASA test. Maybe she even blacked out a little. The sun is blinding when Kara pulls her cape from her face, and her wife is pointing determinedly at a wall.
“I’m going to break through this,” Kara rears back, and Lena just barely has the presence of mind to press a hindering hand to her chest.
“Maybe it’s best not to alert every single person on the block that you’re here,” she croaks, still catching her breath.
Kara pauses, evaluating.
“Didn’t the DEO teach you anything about subtlety?”
Kara looks like she’s never heard of the word in her life, and Lena huffs.
“Let’s just go in through the roof again. I’m sure my mother has spies everywhere.”
“You’re awfully paranoid,” Kara counters, but she listens, dropping them both on the roof. Lena staggers around like a newborn calf. She doesn’t think she likes flying any more.
“Well, you’re awfully hot headed. Has anyone told you that?”
“Once or twice,” Kara smiles, looking handsomely windswept in her Super suit, blonde hair curling too naturally and perfect. They’d picked up the suit up from Lena’s safe house before looking for Mike.
“My pants!” Kara had shouted.
It was cute. And ridiculous.
After Lena finds her land legs, Kara approaches the roof entrance and rips the lock off the door like it’s Swiss cheese. So much for an evidence trail. They head a few floors down, and Kara pauses at a nondescript apartment door, nothing you’d ever think to look at twice.
“He lives here?”
“This is where the whistling is coming from. I think he’s in the bath.”
“He’s in the what—never mind, do you see anything else with your x-ray vision? Any extra security?”
“Now quietly,” Lena instructs, motioning toward the handle, but Kara still pulls it clean out of the door, the polished metal dangling worthlessly in her hand.
Lena stares down at it, nonplussed. Kara tries to fit it clumsily back into the splintered opening.
“Just leave it,” Lena barges into the apartment.
She staggers to a stop, struck by what she sees. The living area is decorated far more opulent (and insane) than Lena’s ever seen. There are fake emeralds, diamonds, sapphires glued all over the walls, creating an unusual sort of mosaic. Bright and gaudy curtains block out the early morning light. Every piece of furniture is a different, terrible color. She’s never seen such clashing, dissimilar styles all in one place. There’s an array of folded silks sitting on an actual gold leather couch.
Who buys stuff like this? Who decorates this way?
All at once, it nags at Lena, reminds her of Kara’s little hoarder bunker. God, what if Mike’s not human?
Shaking herself out of it, Lena catches a chord of irritating whistling that’s clearly emanating from the bathroom. She sighs. This fucker really is in the bath.
“He might be an alien, so keep an eye on him,” she mutters to Kara, who is gazing around the apartment with total bewilderment.
“This place reminds me of somewhere.”
“Come on,” she drags her to the bathroom, kicking open the door.
When he catches sight of them, Mike screams, high-pitched. There’s an inhuman blur, a whirlwind of cosmetics and lotions flying from the vanity, but Kara already has him by the neck, dragging him back to the bath. She hurls him back into the water.
“Stay,” she commands.
Bubbles fly into the air while the water sloshes violently from rim to rim. Bath salts spill upturned onto the floor, and one headphone still hangs out of Mike’s ear while he tries to rub water out of his eyes.
“Does he have a bio tracker?”
Kara scans him quickly.
“No and nothing mechanical. He’s just… naked.”
Mike seems to get a grip at that point, eyes flicking between Lena and Kara, hair sticking straight up in places. He adopts what he clearly thinks is a winning smile.
“Want to take me out of the bath again?” he winks at Kara.
Lena picks up the plunger next to the toilet and hits him with it. He barely flinches, about to smirk, when she positions the rubber suction cup over his face. He yowls like a wet cat, splashing soapy water all over Lena’s black track suit, before Kara pulls it away.
“What did I tell you about hitting on my wife?”
“Geez, you have no sense of humor,” he gargles.
“We’re not here to laugh,” Lena sits on the edge of the tub. “Why aren’t you in hiding? Did Lillian not give you instructions?”
“I don’t do everything she says.”
Lena blinks slowly at him.
“It’s my day off. I’m treating myself. I have two jobs. I’m lying constantly. I’m stressed out! It’s a human thing, look it up.”
“So, you weren’t hiding and you’re not being tracked.”
Mike shakes his head.
“That’s just incompetent. It’s tradecraft 101 to disappear after a mission.”
“I guess I skipped that day,” he snarks back. “Just like you skipped the day about not marrying the enemy.”
Lena raises the plunger again, but Kara catches it, flinty eyes directed to Mike.
“Talk.” She growls.
There’s a lengthy pause, Mike weighing his chances, considering his options.
“Can I get a soda?” he finally asks, hands open and fingers spread. “Or a juice? I’m really thirsty—”
“We don’t have time for this,” Lena rolls her eyes, releasing the plunger into Kara’s hand. Instead, she retrieves the baby truth seeker from her utility bag, wiggling and oily. She slaps it onto Mike’s arm.
“Ew!” he immediately shouts, trying to jump out of the bath again. Kara holds him down. “What is that? It’s so slimy!”
“Why are you working for Lillian?”
“My pod crashed here,” Mike rushes out, almost like he can’t help it. “She threatened to kill me until she realized I was yellow sun enhanced. Not as cool as you, of course,” he simpers to Kara.
“Wrap it up,” Lena snaps her fingers.
“Fine. She was suspicious that you were passing information to the government. She said she’d let me live if I could infiltrate the DEO, get her anything useful. So, I do it and of course, I occasionally see Supergirl there with the assistant director. Then, I see them both again at your Christmas party.”
Lena groans. Her mother had encouraged that stupid party, too.
“I wasn’t sure if it was really her at first, but Lillian told me to sell out your real identity to my superiors at the DEO. Tell them a Luthor is married to Supergirl. That Supergirl might be a traitor.”
Kara nearly snaps the plunger in two.
“I planted the idea to send you both on the same mission to test your loyalty. You both failed, and now no one is on your side.”
“I should’ve killed you at my Christmas party.”
Mike’s eyes bulge.
“What could my mother possibly give an alien, especially one with sun-enhanced powers? You could do whatever you want.”
“I’ve never had a job before,” Mike shrugs. “It’s fun. She gives me paper money, and I can buy all sorts of Earth rocks. They even bumped me up to a desk job. It’s pretty cool, actually.”
“Why are you yellow-sun enhanced? What planet are you from?” Kara asks, reserved.
“I’m from Daxam,” he tells her, smiling again in that nauseating way.
“Daxam,” Kara glowers, and it mollifies Lena a little.
“I was a prince, you know,” he leans back in the bath, smug. “If my pod had crashed somewhere else, we could’ve been together.”
“Let me hit him again,” Lena beseeches.
“I slaved over dinner and you thought it was so good, right? You loved it?”
“Which one? The chicken?” Kara asks, crossing her arms.
“I hated the chicken.”
Mike deflates, flicks at the water with his finger.
“They’re planning something big. And soon.”
“Save it for the DEO,” Kara tells him, and Lena digs out their new burner phone, typing out a message for an ‘anonymous’ tip to send to Alex.
Mike gazes at Kara with an unhealthy reverence. “Who do you think is stronger? A Daxamite or a Kryptonian?”
Kara briefly glances at him. “Me.”
“Want to arm wrestle?” he asks, painfully transparent. He hopefully holds up his arm on the side of the bath tub, and Lena reaches for the plunger again.
come yell at me on tumblr/twitter @hrwinter! i loved the manip for this one.