The weeks after the Daxamite invasion went by like a blur. Lena didn’t see the hours passing by and didn’t even notice she was spending all her days inside L-Corp, not that anyone was surprised, especially herself. National City was safe, the Earth was protected and for days all that the press could write about was the Luthor who prevented mass enslavement.
Lena was supposed to feel good, even relieved, but the sensation that she had become the same as Lex or Lilian was still in her thoughts. What made her different from them? Yes, she had stopped the plans of an insane alien but how many Daxamites died in the process? Besides, isn't that basically her family’s slogan? It was becoming exhausting to dwell on this guilt and her health showed how concerning that was.
Kara. What would she say to her best friend? What excuse or argument solid enough could Lena have to explain that Mike had to leave? Obviously, Supergirl, most likely, had already talked to the reporter and it was probably best this way, the city’s hero had more grip and emotional wisdom to tell the whole city. Not that it made the pain in her chest any better, that now and then made her cry in the bathroom late at night, sure that she had destroyed her best friend’s happiness, and consequently, her only friend.
How would things be from now on?
The blonde wouldn’t answer her calls or texts, and when she did, the excuses were as strange as they could be. Kara was avoiding her, it was crystal clear. Once again she had failed something she loved; Once again she is alone. The situation itself wasn’t the issue, to be honest, being raised as a Luthor gives you a PhD in loneliness. Who was she trying to fool, it was expected that someday she would let Kara down with some attitude or decision that she was bound to make.
Her nights turned day at the same speed she finished a bottle of wine. Her meals were cereal bars and the salad bowl Jess always made sure to buy during lunchtime. If it wasn’t for her secretary, Lena would probably be much worse. Truth is that the Luthor was already suffering, feeling intense headache, nausea, and loss of appetite, along with some smells that became much more intolerable.
On the day before, the CEO led a group of investors that came to meet the new mechanics’ lab, it was supposed to be something pleasant, after all, that was one of her favorite sectors, where many projects were being made and also where interns, just as young as herself, were building a better future. As she arrived at the place, a strong, sweet, and disgusting smell hit her nostrils and the nausea was instantaneous. Without any time to think, her only way out was to run to the bathroom and vomit all the poor lunch she had had.
The low blood pressure bothered her, the headaches were unstable, coming and going, making her nervous and impatient. She wasn’t able to eat what she wanted and was even less able to predict what was causing this sickness. Lena was never someone that kept the medical consults up to date. Now and then, Jess reminded her of an appointment with the ophthalmologist because she had always complained about pain in her eyes or with the dermatologist that did an excellent job with her issue with acne in her teenage years and always asked her to pass by and check-up. No. A CEO should put her responsibilities first, even if that meant putting the company’s priorities in front of her own. It was what Lionel had taught her and what Lilian kept repeating.
Another morning came and once more her breakfast, composed with a cup of coffee, some french toasts, were all thrown up, down the bathroom sink. She couldn’t say if it was stress, her carelessness with herself or if her frustrations and anguish were the ones making her sick. It pained her to look at the cellphone screen and see that Kara, once again, had not responded. What would her best friend think about her anyway? Obviously, nothing good. The Luthor blamed herself for being so naive, for letting herself cling to such a trivial feeling and trusting Rhea so soon. What was she thinking? That every one that got into her life was like Kara? Pure, innocent and were trying to make the world a better place? Now, because of her, her best friend hated her, the world couldn’t decide to make Lena Luthor a hero or just another insane psychopath like Lex and many families that shouldn’t have to suffer due to her stupidity, ended up dying.
Lena didn’t know how many daxamites were bad or not, which ones were there because they wanted to be there, or were forced, it was impossible to know. During a few times, the blonde decided to open up, (usually, because Mike had been a complete asshole, in her opinion) she had learned more about Daxam, about their politics and beliefs. To be honest, she hated that someone so kind and good like Kara was with someone so hollow and petty like Mon-El. But it wasn’t any of her business, she couldn’t interfere or give any advice, because then she wouldn’t be impartial or truthful. And the truth was she had feelings for her best friend, feeling she swore to never tell.
With only memory flashes of her kidnapping ordered by the daxamite queen, her stomach rolled and once again an impulse to vomit crawled to her body, but now all that it was coming out was her bile along with gastric juice. Alcoholic drinks weren’t making her sick, yet, something she was very grateful for, and the only cereal bar flavor she was able to swallow was oat and strawberry. She didn’t try and taste other foods, there was no time for testing and at some point, this sickness would end and everything would go back to normal. The fear, distress, and the feeling of treason would go away, and if they wouldn’t, Lena would move on doing what knew best: ignore it.
Just like she was ignoring the fact that her best friend stopped showing up.
During her childhood, people rarely made sure to stay, offer comfort, and give affection. Her relationships were shallow, whether they were with family or lovers. In school, her friendships were composed of essay groups and the chess team, nothing more than that. She didn't have her yearbook signed by anyone but the biology teacher; she also didn’t go to any “goodbye High School” party. She still remembers very well how Lilian woke her up on the day of her graduation and told her she was leaving for a trip and wasn’t sure when she was coming back. Lionel was already in another country and Lex had left months before for college.
It hurt her, at the time, having to go through all these phases by herself, congratulating herself and telling herself she had done her best, even though believing that, maybe if she tried harder, perhaps Lilian would pay attention. But losing Kara? That was a constant fear. Lena didn’t know anything about friendships or the rules that surround this kind of relationship, she always deprived herself of some kind of intimacies and invasion of her personal space. Privacy and intimacy were intertwined and she was going to keep them like that. However, the reporter was able to break this emotional barrier that the CEO had so greatly built, not in a rude or brute way, but with warm smiles and her incredibly beautiful, almost utopic way of seeing the world. Losing her was always something that haunts her, she just didn’t expect it was going to be this soon.
But no one stayed. No one ever stays.
“Miss Luthor.” Jess went into the office with the same posture as usual “I’ve brought the scheme for the next meeting and wanted to let you know that your schedule for next month has already been organized.” Lena smiled in approval and took the brown folder off her hands.
“Thank you,” she answered politely, “cancel the two-thirty teleconference for me, I have to go to a pharmacy and wait for this migraine to vanish.”
“You haven’t been very well lately, Miss Luthor,” the other woman carefully said. “You're paler than usual. Is there something wrong?”
Wrong? She thought to herself in silence. What more could be wrong in her life? The fact that she was almost forced to marry her best friend’s boyfriend, the fact that an insane and psychotic alien might have her DNA or the fact that Kara doesn’t want to ever see her again? She laughed to herself with all the inquiries. Nothing was wrong, in fact, it was all very right. When did her life have the plot of a romantic comedy and all the troubles were solved in an instant, like magic? Never. Chaos was her reality, losses, and fear. Now that was the plot of her days
“It’s probably nothing, just stress,” she tried to smile, knowing she wasn’t convincing a single soul with that but fuck it. She didn’t need an interrogation about her health. “Soon it will pass, I just need a break for the afternoon.”
“As you wish, Miss Luthor,” she didn’t insist, “call me if you need anything else.”
After hearing the door clicking, she sighed, nervous and tired. That was something wrong with her body and the certainty of that came from the fact that she lived in it for twenty five years. She could be careless with her medical consults but she didn’t need an expert to tell her that her headaches, nausea, and loss of appetite were, perhaps, a more concerning situation than she thought. Lena got up, served herself another glass of whiskey, and walked toward the bathroom to stare at herself from the mirror. Terrible, that was the exact word to describe her appearance. She didn’t think of herself as a splendid woman in terms of beauty, but she did like to consider herself an attractive woman, pretty with some exquisite features.
She took a deep breath and drank the liquid from the glass all at once, feeling her throat burn and stared at herself one more time. The eyebags, exhaustion, and paleness were more and more visible. Hell. If she didn’t take care of herself everyone would notice that the CEO was ill and that was by far something she wanted. Being a woman already made her a target of comments about her mental and emotional capacity and stability, being sick would only generate more of those unbearable comments. She knelt down looking for any medication but all she found was toilet paper and a little box with an extra toothbrush, floss, and tampons.
She sighed. It was really necessary to leave the company and go home, it was the least she had to do. Sacrifice a whole afternoon of work because she couldn’t even keep herself physically well. Great, that was all she needed. She got up with some difficulty and dizziness suddenly took her weakened body. Many black spots appeared on her sight and Lena held down harshly on the sink marble. Damn it, she wasn’t feeling any good. After closing the small door, and out of context thought came to mind: tampons.
How long had it been since the last time she got her period? Before the Luthor used to take the pills, check the dates, and take care of her intimate health, but now she could barely remember when was the last time she had to use a tampon. Has she got her period in the last six weeks? What about last month and the month before that? God, she didn’t remember. A sudden panic invaded her heart and breathing became very hard. Calm, she had to stay calm. She couldn’t… could she? No. Definitely not. She didn’t even have any sexual relationships with men in the last five months. It wasn’t possible.
Quickly, she ran back to the desk and grabbed her purse, putting whatever she could and taking some documents to analyze later. She let the secretary know she had to leave for an emergency and asked her to reschedule all her appointments. Called the driver, that was on stand by in the underground parking lot. She had to answer the doubt, to urgently prove herself that she was wrong and none of that was true. Lena wished to be mistaken, this time she didn’t mind. Trying not to cry through the way, the Luthor proceeded to the closest pharmacy and bought all the pregnancy tests possible.
Rhea couldn’t have done that.
Positive. Eleven positive tests.
Staring at the wall had become natural now. Her body ached for being in the same position, her back and ass. She didn’t know how long she had been locked in her bathroom, sitting on the floor with another stick in her hands. Positive. The eleventh one was supposed to be her last hope, the one that would disprove all the other and would calm down all the nerves and hormones. At what time had she started crying? She no longer remembered. The anger, anguish, and despair came in that exact order. But nothing came out of her mouth, not even a simple scream or a painful whine. Her nightmares seemed far from an end, she felt stupid for thinking one day they would go away.
She remembered how it felt to wake up in a place unknown to her, where she didn’t know if she would make out alive or married to a misogynistic, sexist, in favor of slavery, alien. She would do anything to protect who she loved, would take the same decisions over and over as many times as she had to, but who would she protect? Who would act for her soul, of her fears and feelings? Why was it so useless and childish to wish for someone that cared enough to tell her there wasn’t a need for being so selfless. There was never someone that asked her to not sacrifice herself. Not that it would change anything or make her give up, but a needy and selfish part of her yearned to listen to something like “don’t do that, I need you.”
Ironically she laughed at herself
“Don’t be naive,” she murmured to the empty walls, “no one ever stays.”
Getting pregnant was the last thing she wanted in her life, at least not independently. Being a mother wasn’t in her plans, after all, what did she know about being one? Lilian was a terrible example and her biological mother was dead, she didn’t even remember what she was like. Or what her name was. So what was the objective of having a baby? Why did life enjoy toying with her like that? Pregnant, oh God! And what would this child expect from her? Besides, if she were to ratiocinate like a normal person, she knew who the father was. Shit…
She couldn’t be pregnant with the biggest asshole of that planet. A guy that wasn’t even among them. Kara… what would she say to her friend if at some point she answered her calls? What about her feelings? Once again, acid and warm tears running down her face, making her stomach roll with disgust and bitterness. She never wished so bad for a day to end and that in the morning after this was all a big and confusing nightmare.
However, that wasn’t what happened.
“Won’t you answer it?” Alex asked her sister who stared at the screen. A name constantly flashed on it, Lena Luthor. Kara stared at her, sad eyes surrounded by a dark shadow, showing how hard this had also been for her, and shook her head, denying. “She has been calling at least thrice a day, Kara. For weeks.”
“And you think I don’t know that?” Her hoarse and tired voice echoed through the room. “But you expect me to answer and say what? Lena probably hates me by now, she must be so angry…” She sighed, beyond exhausted.
“Is this still about Mon-El?” She carefully asked. The redhead had been studying her sister’s behavior for the past six weeks, since the boy was kicked out of the planet, literally “You think Lena is guilty?”
“No, Alex, of course not,” she sighed. She’d never put that weight on her best friend’s back. “It’s just that sometimes I… I just keep thinking if I did the right thing, I’d feel worse than I do now if Mon-El… anyway. I just want things to be okay.”
“Did you love him?” They were both alone in some DEO office, Supergirl was working nonstop, trying to avoid her own thoughts.
“I don’t know…” she said it out loud for the first time. “I guess I liked the idea I created of him, and also because he reminded me of Krypton, it was like not being…”
“Yes...” she felt bad for admitting it in front of her sister, “I thought I loved him, I mean… I guess I did but I’m not sure. Giving up on him hurt but at the same time, it was so… easy? I had to decide and I just did,” she sadly looked at Alex. “I just want to let this go… I’m worried about Lena and I have been thinking only about her.”
“Do you think she has found out yet?” J’onn came into the room and found the duo talking. “How do you think Lena will react?”
“You’re asking a lot of difficult questions, Alex.” She snorted, and smiled at the alien as he sat in front of them, “I don’t know anything about pregnancies.”
“About that,” J’onn spoke gravely, “I need you to tell me exactly what you heard before rescuing Lena and Mon-El.”
Kara sighed, she had repeated that story at least fifteen times that week.
“Rhea was talking about an insemination she had done, to make sure Daxam had an heir,” she explained, “she told me how she had lied to her son and Lena, blackmailed them and, even if her plans didn’t work out, she could still come back and take the child.” Now it was the worrying part that was troubling Supergirl’s sleep, “but then Rhea was enraged because, after analyzing the DNA used to combine with Lena’s, she realized it wasn’t Mon-El’s but,” she coughed, nervous, “...mine.”
“So Lena is pregnant with your child,” Alex repeated.
“Exactly,” Kara confirmed, “so… what will we do?”
The blonde looked at J’onn, concerned with what he would say.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to have an alien child inside the Luthor family,” Alex didn’t react but Kara felt her heart race. “We don’t know the potential of that, with what powers they can have, they could be a weapon. One that I don’t want to be in the wrong hands.”
“Weapon?” Kara raised her voice, “we’re talking about a child, my child, she then lowered her voice a bit, “you’re not thinking of taking this child away from Lena, are you?”
“As romantic as this sound, we're talking about a possible threat and…”
“Threat? Romantic?” She laughed in disbelief and got up. “You think this is romantic? My best friend’s body was violated! I have been watching her every day and taking care of her every night, feeling like garbage for seeing her drown herself in work and sleepless nights,” she emphasized angrily. “We’re talking about a mother that didn’t even have a choice, about a child that we don’t know what will be like. We’re talking about my kid and I won’t allow a whole department to make Lena feel worse, or make her feel like a Luthor.”
“Kara, calm down…” Alex got up and touched the blonde’s shoulder, who moved away quickly
“I am calm,” she stared at both of them. “I’m going to tell her and fix this.”
“And how do you expect to do this without compromising yourself,” J’onn asked, still serious, “do you think you can tell her without exposing the whole truth?”
“I don’t know,” she answered, sincere. “But I won’t leave her alone. This is mine and only mine decision.”
Two days had gone by since the “discovery” and she hadn’t left her house. She knew her work was pilling up and that Jess was probably dealing with all the stockholders, shareholders, and investors alone, and they would soon begin to speculate the motives behind her misconduct. Fuck it, she thought. Fuck all of them, all the manipulative media and also Kara Danvers.
She was exhausted and hungry. She hadn't eaten anything substantial since she had thrown all her tests away. The wine was her loyal companion, making her forget her own name, unable to see the days go by. But in the morning, just like the other five and a half weeks, she woke up nauseous and threw up again.
Kara had looked for the friends in L-Corp, tried to call but it went straight to the voicemail. No battery. There was only one place where Lena could be and the blonde wasn’t that intimate to her apartment, they almost didn’t meet there, because Lena always preferred going to her friend’s flat and just staying over there. It was more welcoming and warm, it looked less like an office and it had the sweet smell of her friend. Her favorite place in the whole world. But Kara decided she wouldn’t waste any more time, she needed to help Lena, no matter what happened.
She flew around the area before going down to greet the doorman, smiling and leaving a bag with his favorite sandwich. She went up all the floors to the rooftop and took a deep breath before knocking. But then it came to her: what if Lena didn’t want to let anyone in? Well, she had to give it a shot. As she prepared to knock, she heard a thud on the floor which made her heart race in despair. Using her heat vision she melted the lock and went in, immediately searching for her friend.
After going into the bathroom, she found Lena almost passed out on the floor, shaking in cold and pale. Her instinct took place and in no time Kara was carrying her friend back to bed and laying down beside her. Her body was thinner, haggard, and a cold sweat covering her forehead. Kara felt like the worst coward and selfish woman on Earth, mentally punishing herself for leaving Lena alone, for not coming over before and stopping her to continue this self-destruction.
She waited a few minutes, as Lena was getting some of the colors in her face back. The breathing stabilized, the sweat was decreasing and her eyes blinked a couple of times before completely opening up. Lena analyzed where she was and, after noticing warm arms surrounding her, she moved away, scared.
“Hey, it’s okay…” she comforted her in a sweet and slow voice. “It’s me, everything is alright.”
“Kara?” The painful and surprised expression made Kara’s heart sink in her chest.
“I know you’re probably angry at me and… I know I don’t have an excuse and…” she sighed, “maybe… Jess called and I was worried, I know I ghosted you… I don’t…” she immediately stopped after hearing a sob echo through the room. She felt the need to cry as well.
“I thought… I thought you were angry at me…” she sobbed again, the tears ran freely down her face and her chest ached.
“No, Lena, of course not,” the blonde pulled the friend in her arms, hugging her in a protective and caring way. Lena braced her waist strongly, not caring if they were or not crossing a line inside that friendship.
Kara didn’t mind and pulled her even closer, with her own tears running down. She kissed her friend’s dark hair, trying to say she was there and that she wouldn’t leave. How could she think that ghosting and avoiding her was the best choice? Lena was strong, though, and knew how to take care of herself, but she was also fragile.
“What are you doing?” She asked in trepidation as Kara moved to reach her phone?
“Shhh, you don’t have to worry, I’m not leaving”. She smiled, “I’m calling Jess to tell her I’m here, you think she can handle things there by herself?” Lena nodded, “good.”
In a few instants, the younger Danvers notified the secretary and also texted Alex, making it known that was going to spend the whole day out. She would only leave if Earth was invaded again. She left the phone on the nightstand and went back to hugging Lena.
“Sleep,” she whispered, “when you wake up, I’ll be here.”
“Do you promise?”
“I promise.” She smiled to hide the pain she felt seeing Lena afraid. She slept within minutes and Kara swore to herself she would do whatever she could to keep her safe.
After sleeping for about half an hour, Kara got up, letting Lena rest for more time. In silence, she walked to the kitchen, going through all the cabinets and drawers in a search for food. She wanted to cook a meal for the friend, even though her cooking skills didn’t reach farther than pancakes and cheese sandwiches. Something had got to give. But the problem was there nothing inside the fridge besides water, an old peach juice can and some vegetables. In the cabinets, just a few cereal bars and some expired pasta.
She sighed, confused, how could someone with so much money not spend it all in food? It felt like a sin, such a waste. Still thinking about what she would do, the blonde decided to clean up the apartment. She took out the trash, the wine bottles spread around just like the papers on the room’s central table. She organized some books, going through their pages, and threw away all the spoiled food. After finishing, she called Lena’s favorite restaurant and ordered everything the knew the Luthor liked.
A moment after she hangs up, steps were heard in the hallway and Lena appeared by the door.
"I thought you had left" she murmured, still sleepy. Her messy hair was falling on her flattened face and she was wearing a shirt too large for her shoulders.
"No, I was just… distracting myself" she smiled with honesty "I also ordered food."
"I’m not hungry" she walked to the balcony and Kara poured some water for her
"know you’re not" she sat down "but you need to eat something to get better"
"I’m fine" she lied "I’ll be fine"
The silence was all it was heard for a while and the Luthor used that moment to analyze the woman in front of her. She always thought it was mesmerizing the way shone brighter than the sun for everyone around her, the happy and warm way she dealt with life an with the people she loved. But standing there, so close and still, she could notice some changes. She recognized every train in her best friend, she had learned and memorized all of them. Kara was a bit dismal too, with a trace of many sleepless nights underneath her eyes, their blue color was dimmer.
She sighed. It wasn’t fair to be hard on her, it wasn’t easy for neither of them.
"Kara, about what happened…" she spoke without raising her head "I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for things to go this way, for you to suffer. I’m sorry about Mike."
"Lena, it wasn’t your fault" she reached for the other woman’s hand over the balcony "It wasn’t your decision, Supergirl told me… a lot" she restricted her words.
"I imagine she did" she exhaled "Either way, I still feel bad about it."
"You don’t have to feel bad" she reassured "I’m not angry at you or anything like that. It was a dangerous situation for all of us, Mon-El had to leave for his own good and I… well…" she fidgeted with her fingers "I’m still learning how to understand what I felt or thought I felt, our relationship was complicated… I think" she smiles, uncertain.
"There’s something you should know" Lena spoke, changing her tone "something that may make you hate me but I have to say it."
"Let me speak" she said, taking a deep breath "please…"
"Okay" she nodded, knowing what was coming, even though she didn’t think it was going to be so soon.
"Supergirl probably already told you about what Rhea wanted and how she tried to force me to marry your boyfriend or ex boyfriend - she chose her words carefully - the thing is… I’m pregnant" she looked at her friend, searching for a reaction "I didn’t sleep with your boyfriend, I would never do something like that. Somehow Rhea had samples of our DNAs and used them for some kind of insemination."
"Er… okay" it was what she managed to say, Kara already knew the truth, but how could she tell Lena she didn’t mind that she was pregnant with her boyfriend? "right…"
"Did you hear what I just said?" she asked arching her eyebrows
"Yes, I did" she confirmed "but I also have to tell you something and I have to…" the bell rang, interrupting her "our food!" she exclaimed, excited "first, we’ll eat and then… then we can continue."
And so it was. Kara organized the table, separating the plates and that both ate calmly, chatting about lighter topics and about what the blonde had been up to those last weeks. She told her about the bastard Snapper was being, telling her to rewrite the article about the invasion more than three times and demanding impatiently an exclusive with Lena Luthor, the woman who helped to save the day, but could have hidden intentions. Kara warned him she wouldn’t bother her friend, who thanked her mentally while eating. Mysteriously, her stomach didn’t reject the pasta, but only the thought of a salad made her sick.
After finishing, the CEO felt the need to bring the subject again.
"I’m not keeping this child" she spoke suddenly, taking Kara by surprise. The blonde almost spilled her water
"You… wh-what?" she cleaned her lips and left the glass aside. What does she mean? She thought in silence.
"I don’t want to be a mom, Kara" she confessed "I don’t… I have never…" that was just half truthful. And the blonde felt the doubt inside that sentence. "I’m not getting an abortion, that’s not it. But I’m looking up the process of secretive adoption."
"Lena" she reached for her hand and intertwined their fingers "you don’t have to make this decision right now."
"Yes, but not now" she repeated kindly. Lena agreed silently and yawned, her eyes starting to get heavy. "go lay down, I’ll clean up. You need to rest."
"You..." she wasn’t brave enough to ask. What if she slept and then Kara left? When would she come back? Would she come back?
"I’ll be waiting here" smiling in relief she walked back to bed, her body grateful for finally having something nutritive and solid inside the stomach.
The younger Danvers sighed and tried no to dwell on those words in her conscience and sub-conscience. Lena didn’t want to be a mother, therefore she wasn’t keeping the child, it wouldn't stay with her. This small confession saddened the blonde’s heart, even hurting it a bit. She couldn’t leave her child in an orphanage, defenseless against any person or couple that wanted it. She couldn’t bear to lose someone who was 50% her, someone that could have her eyes or smile. Or Lena’s smile, she thought. After washing the dishes, she decided she wouldn’t comment on that subject that day, leaving it to Supergirl deal with and tell the truth.
And the truth was that the baby didn’t have a father, but two mothers.