Kara was about to head home, tired after a long day at CatCo and hours of patrolling the city, when she froze in midair. It took her a moment to realize what was wrong, why her heart was suddenly pounding in her ears. Because it wasn’t her heartbeat- it was Lena’s. The young Luthor had been attacked so many times that when Kara realized she had somehow already memorized Lena’s heartbeat she’d stayed tuned in (partly so she would be alerted if Lena was attacked, and partly to assure herself the woman was actually still alive). If Lena’s heart was pounding this hard… she was in danger.
Kara spun around and raced towards Lena’s apartment. She went so fast she broke the sound barrier. Seconds later and miles closer, she paused for a moment to assess the situation:
One of Lena’s windows had been busted, and inside her apartment Kara could see three black-clad figures. One was trying to break into Lena’s wall safe by shooting it with a gun that definitely hadn’t come from Earth, another was recklessly throwing folders out of a filing cabinet as they searched for… something, and the third-
The third had Lena pinned to the wall with a hand clamped around her throat.
“Get the hell away from her!” Kara yelled, hurtling through the broken window. She bypassed the first two people (humans- she could tell by their heartbeats) and nearly rammed into the third. She didn’t give the man a chance to do as she’d said, instead reaching out in a flash and grabbing his wrist, easily crushing his bones when she didn’t bother to regulate her strength.
The man screamed and cradled his broken wrist to his chest as soon as Kara released him, stumbling back when he recognized Supergirl.
Lena slumped forward, gasping for air as her heart continued to try to pound its way out of her chest, and Kara stepped between her and the assailant, scooping the younger woman into her arms and flying back out the window at a speed she usually didn’t use when carrying humans, worried one of the attackers may shoot at her and hurt Lena more.
Kara only slowed down when she was out of sight of the penthouse, hidden from view by several tall buildings. Lena had locked her arms around Kara’s shoulders and was clinging to her, forehead pressed into the crook of Kara’s neck as she took deep, shuddering breaths. Her heartbeat had begun to slow, but the brunette’s entire body was still trembling. Kara desperately wanted to comfort Lena, but she knew that the only one the CEO might let try to help her was Kara Danvers, not Supergirl. So Supergirl needed to hurry up and catch the bad guys so Kara could get to Lena.
Kara touched down on a nearby rooftop, annoyed at herself for not having told Lena already so that the damn suit wasn’t an issue.
“Lena, I’m gonna need to leave you here for a few minutes so I can go st-”
“No!” Lena yelped. She clung even tighter when Kara started to put her down. “No no no no no, please don’t leave me right now, please.” Her voice was panicked and Kara could tell it had hurt her throat to speak even that much. The heroine felt a warm wetness on her neck and realized Lena was crying. “Please, Kara,” Lena whispered, voice breaking on Kara’s name.
So. Lena knew she was Supergirl then.
“Okay,” Kara said softly. “Okay, Lena, I won’t leave you, I promise. I do need to set you down long enough to contact Alex and have her send a team to your apartment, though, alright?” She felt Lena nod and carefully set her down, winding one of her arms around the woman’s waist and hugging her close when Lena didn’t loosen her hold. Kara used her free hand to turn her comm on, squinting as she looked through the buildings to check on the attackers. They were still in Lena’s apartment. Good.
“There are three men, humans, ransacking Lena’s apartment. They’re all armed, but only one has an alien weapon,” Kara explained quickly.
“Shit. Where’s Lena?”
“I’ve got Lena, we’re on a roof about a mile away. I need you to send a team to her apartment to arrest the men. If you hurry you can still catch them. And if they get away, I’ll hunt them down later,” Kara growled, doing her best to tamp down the dark, angry feeling clawing at her stomach. She heard the muffled sound of Alex yelling for Bravo Team to get to Lena Luthor’s penthouse, and Kara turned slightly to press her cheek against the side of Lena’s head in an effort to remind herself that she needed to stay with Lena and not zoom back to her apartment with blazing eyes and unrestrained fists.
Kara was usually able to remain calm when she was Supergirl, to put up a professional front and bottle up her anger to deal with later. But right now she was holding her best friend as she shook with silent sobs that were no doubt causing her throat even more pain, and Kara had the fierce urge to go destroy those responsible. The only reason she hadn’t was Lena begging her not to leave her.
“I sent a team, they’ll handle it. Is Lena okay?”
“I need the rest of the night off. Tomorrow too. Can you ask J’onn to fill in for me?” Kara asked stiffly, not answering Alex’s question (though she figured what she did say was answer enough).
“No problem, Supergirl. Just… take care of her, okay?”
“Will do. Thanks, sis,” Kara said softly. She disconnected her comm and wrapped her arm around Lena, finally giving her a proper hug. “Shhh, shh, you’re okay, I’ve got you,” Kara whispered, beginning to stroke Lena’s hair. “I’m not gonna let them anywhere near you, I promise. Shhh, it’s alright baby girl, you’re okay. You’re safe now, it’s okay.” She pressed a fleeting kiss to Lena’s hair as she continued trying to calm her.
After awhile, Lena pulled away enough to meet Kara’s eyes, her own red and teary as she struggled to calm down, her cheeks blotchy and wet from crying. Kara kept one arm around her waist and used her other hand to cradle the back of Lena’s head.
“Just breathe with me, Lena.” Kara began taking exaggerated breaths and Lena mimicked her for several minutes, her heart finally slowing to its normal rhythm. “That’s it, good girl,” Kara said softly. She moved the hand at the back of Lena’s head forward and cupped her cheek, mustering up a small smile when Lena instinctively leaned into her touch. “See? You’re okay. I’ve got you.” Kara’s thumb gently swiped away a stray tear, and when she leaned forward and pressed a soft, lingering kiss to Lena’s forehead the brunette’s eyes fluttered closed.
Kara eventually pulled away, wanting to use her x-ray vision to make sure Lena was okay. She couldn’t bring herself to let go of her entirely, though, so she ended up holding her at an arm’s length, grasping Lena’s upper arms as she scanned her head to toe. Her only serious injury seemed to be the bruise that had already formed around her neck, and Kara breathed a small sigh of relief as she pulled Lena forward into another hug.
“You’re okay,” Kara whispered again, though this time it was more for herself than for Lena. “I got there in time, thank Rao.” Kara held Lena as tightly as she dared, and she knew that had she been human Lena’s responding embrace would have bordered on painful. Eventually Kara pulled away again, though not before dropping a quick kiss to the crown of Lena’s head. “Okay then,” Kara said, taking a deep breath as Lena watched her curiously. “Is it okay if I take you to my apartment?”
Lena gave her a double thumbs up and Kara snorted, prompting Lena to raise an eyebrow and point to her throat.
“Sorry, right, I know. Just didn’t peg you as a thumbs up person. Maybe awkward finger guns,” Kara mumbled, doing the move herself and grinning when Lena rolled her eyes.
Kara scooped Lena into her arms, cradling her to her chest as she began the journey to her apartment, mindful now of Lena’s fear of flying since she wasn’t anticipating any midair attacks. She was still on high alert though, so she heard the DEO agents’ brief scuffle with the men as they exited Lena’s home, and one man’s cry of pain when he was cuffed. Kara couldn’t help but smirk at that, and Lena, who had apparently decided staring at Kara’s face was preferable to the view from their flight, tapped her cheek in question.
“Hmm? Oh, why am I smirk- er, smiling?” Kara asked. Lena raised her eyebrows expectantly. “The agents Alex sent just arrested the guys. And, uh, well, I didn’t exactly try to control my strength earlier, so when they cuffed the guy who was strangling you…” Kara trailed off as her smirk grew, her eyes glinting dangerously. “Well, judging by the sound he made, handcuffs don’t feel too good on a broken wrist.” He should be glad Kara had snapped his wrist instead of his spine.
Lena’s eyes widened, and for a moment Kara was worried she’d try to speak despite the pain she was already in, but in the end she pressed a quick kiss to Kara’s cheek and leaned her head against Kara’s shoulder, keeping her eyes closed for the rest of the flight.
Once they had made it into Kara’s apartment, Kara set Lena down on her bed and one small blast of wind later she was standing in front of the brunette, an open bottle of pain pills in one hand and a full glass of water in the other. Lena took both items with a grateful smile, and by the time she’d swallowed a pill, wincing, Kara was back in front of her, this time holding out a selection of her comfiest clothes. Lena chose the NCU sweatshirt and a pair of black shorts, and as she changed into them, leaving her expensive work clothes in a messy pile at the foot of Kara’s bed, Kara was hurrying around her kitchen. When Lena wandered over she found a tea towel, a baggie of crushed ice, and two bowls of plain chocolate ice cream sitting on the table, Kara leaning against the counter and looking at her phone. She looked up and slipped the phone into her pocket when Lena walked over to her, a warm smile on her face.
“Alex texted to tell me they have the guys in holding cells at the DEO, and that she’s gonna question them herself. Since all of that’s taken care of, I was thinking maybe we could watch a movie or something and try to numb your throat inside and out since pain pills take awhile to kick in. Sound good?” Kara gave Lena a hopeful look and bounced happily when the younger woman smiled and gave her… awkward finger guns. Kara laughed and pulled her into another hug before using her super speed to transfer everything to the low table by the couch and reappearing a second later to carefully pick Lena up again, hovering less than an inch off the floor as she flew them over to the couch.
Lena tapped Kara’s shoulder on the way and shot a significant glance from Kara to the floor and back, and Kara shrugged.
“It’s one thing to hear your heartbeat and know you’re okay; it’s another to hear your heartbeat and feel you, warm and alive and safe in my arms,” Kara mumbled, her face flushing. Lena looked a little surprised, but when Kara situated them on the couch so that Lena was sitting between her legs, her back leaning against Kara’s front, she just settled against her comfortably and handed Kara her ice cream.
With the tea towel wrapped around the ice and carefully tied at the back of Lena’s neck to hold the ice in place, Kara handed Lena the remote and they both settled back, eating ice cream and watching Lena’s choice of show: Killing Eve.
One and a half episodes later the ice cream was long gone, a tea towel and two empty bowls sitting abandoned on the table, one with a small baggie half filled with water and ice. Lena’s head was resting against Kara’s shoulder, and Kara’s arms were wrapped securely around the brunette’s waist as she tried to follow the plot of the show. Was it supposed to be some kind of dark love story??? Queer Romeo and Juliet with a healthy dose of assassins?
Eventually Kara gave up focusing on the show and closed her eyes, allowing her heightened senses to focus on Lena instead. She felt warm and soft in Kara’s arms, and the Kryptonian could feel each strong thud of Lena’s heart, could hear her quiet breaths and the blood rushing through her veins. She could smell the floral scent of Lena’s shampoo, and even though Lena was wearing Kara’s clothes she could still make out the smell she could only really classify as Lena. She was here, she was alive, she was safe.
The dark feelings Kara had been keeping at bay since she’d heard Lena’s heart race in fear finally melted away under the swell of warmth she felt with Lena safe in her arms.
“Khap :zhao rrip,” Kara mumbled. She didn’t even realize she’d spoken until Lena paused the show, turning her head to give Kara a confused look, her brow furrowed.
What does that mean? Lena mouthed.
Kara’s eyes widened and her face flushed. Oh Rao. She’d said it out loud. Now was not the time for a declaration of love!
Kara? Lena frowned at her, and Kara bit her lip.
“I, uh… I didn’t mean to say that,” Kara blurted. Then she realized how that could come across and backtracked, sputtering. “I mean, I definitely meant it! Just- now’s really not the time- I was gonna tell you when I told you I’m Supergirl but I guess you figured that out already, sorry about that by the way, but right now you’re hurt and you need me to be your b- best friend, not… not…” Kara trailed off and screwed her eyes shut, wondering how it was possible for her to ramble so awkwardly when she literally got paid to write succinct, informative articles for a living. Rao.
Lena tapped her cheek, presumably wanting Kara to open her eyes so she could mouth another question, but Kara squeezed her eyes shut even tighter and clamped her lips together, shaking her head. Lena heaved a frustrated sigh after a long moment of silence.
“Kara,” Lena whispered, her voice a quiet croak. Kara’s eyes flashed open and met Lena’s intense gaze. “What does… that mean?”
“Now’s really not the time…”
“Don’t care. Tell me.” Lena narrowed her eyes and set her jaw, and Kara deflated.
“Khap :zhao rrip,” Kara repeated. “I love you.”
Lena didn’t look shocked or disgusted like Kara had feared she might. She looked… confused. Right. English had a thousand words for the same thing but ‘love’ was meant to cover a thousand different things all on its own. What was with this planet?
“We had different words for love on Krypton,” Kara admitted quietly, her eyes falling from Lena’s and focusing on the dark bruise around her throat as she thought back to the rush of anger she’d felt upon realizing Lena was being harmed. “Familial love is ukiem. Love for a friend or pet is shovuh, and :zhao is,” Kara paused and took a deep breath, reaching up and ghosting her fingers over the bruise even as she let her love drown out the ugly emotions. “:Zhao is romantic love. So when I say I love you, I also mean I’m in love with you, is how a human would specify, I guess.”
When Kara finally managed to raise her eyes to Lena’s face, she saw the look of shock she’d been expecting, though there didn’t seem to be any disgust at least. Lena’s blue-green eyes were wide and frantically searching Kara’s face, her mouth slightly agape as she took in what Kara had said.
“It’s okay if you don’t feel the same. If you feel shovuh, or- or even ukiem, instead of :zhao,” Kara said softly, a sad smile on her face. “I realized how I felt a long time ago, but I’ll be whatever you need me to be.” Kara used the hand hovering near Lena’s neck to reach up and brush some hair behind her ear, pressing a soft kiss to her hairline as she did so. “I shall be whatever you wish me to be, my love.”
Kara pulled away and met Lena’s eyes once more, not surprised to see that the younger woman seemed to have already come to a decision (though the decision itself did, in fact, surprise her).
“Khap :zhao rrip,” Lena whispered, her voice still a little off even as she managed to pronounce the words perfectly.
Kara was pretty sure her heart stopped at hearing the flowing Kryptonese fall from Lena’s lips. She was so surprised it took her several moments to register the actual words.
“R- really? Y- you don’t have to answer now… I don’t wanna take advantage of you when you’re hurting, or- mmfff!” Lena had grasped her jaw and turned her face to the side, and despite the awkward angle, the warmth of Lena’s lips against her own effectively managed to shut Kara up while also getting Lena’s point across.
It was a brief, chaste kiss, but when Lena pulled away and settled back against Kara, pressing play on the remote, Kara couldn’t stop smiling. She grabbed the blanket off the back of the couch and tucked it around Lena and herself for the added cuddle power and pulled Lena flush against her, gently nuzzling the side of Lena’s neck untouched by the bruising before pressing a soft kiss beneath her ear. Lena whimpered quietly, a sound she had definitely not meant to make judging by the embarrassed uptick in her heartbeat.
“Kara,” Lena whispered, a warning note to her tone.
“I know, baby girl,” Kara replied softly, biting back a smile. “You need rest and relaxation. But when you feel better I’d like to take you on a date?”
Kara expected Lena to whisper a reply since the pain meds seemed to have kicked in, but instead she caught movement in her peripheral and laughed quietly when she realized Lena was giving her a double thumbs up.