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'cause in my head (in my head I do everything right)

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Kara’s plan had been simple.

Granted, most of her plans are; Kara has always been better at figuring things out on the fly— sometimes literally— which she knows annoys her sister to no end. But not everyone can be Director of the DEO, and the most strategy Kara’s ever had to put into anything had been coordinating Cat Grant’s coffee and lunch order to coincide perfectly with her always erratic schedule. After being an assistant for someone that demanding, Kara thinks she can figure out most things without too much trouble. Not everything needs a spreadsheet after all.

There’s also the fact that this had been Mxyzptlk’s idea in the first place, and despite Kara’s initial reservations, she is really just following along. Magic and other-dimensional hijinks and all-powerful, all-knowing imps are really difficult to plan for anyways, and Kara just counts herself lucky that Mxy is here to be helpful this time.

It’s not every day that she gets a chance to fix something as important to her as what he’s offering to help fix, so Kara will take what she can get.

The offer is promising: a do-over, as Mxy had so pragmatically told her, with Lena. A chance to change things for the better between the two of them— a chance for Kara to tell her the right way, this time around. If she agrees, there will be no Lex Luthor getting in the way of things— if Kara agrees, she’ll get to do things her way.

Traveling back in time is always risky, always holds unforeseen consequences and wrinkles that can drastically alter the course of history, but the opportunity to tell Lena the truth on her own terms is too tempting for Kara to resist. She can deal with some wrinkles if it means she has the chance to somehow avoid hurting Lena irreparably. And besides, she’s Supergirl: complications kinda are a part of the gig. For Lena, she can handle them.

But then Mxy takes her to a world where she dies, and then one where Lena does, then one where all of their friends do, and finally, one where Lena is fully, completely, absolutely evil— all because of Kara choosing to tell her the truth at one point or another— and Kara starts to wonder just how much she’s willing to handle if these are the complications. These aren’t wrinkles— they’re giant rips and tears in the fabric of reality. They’re depressing and frankly terrifying to witness fully realized, and every time Mxy snaps her back to the safety of her own living room, Kara grows more exhausted by it all.

After narrowly escaping agonizing death by way of Kryptonite and her ex-best friend, Kara needs a breather. As soon as she and Mxy are back to her own, safe, familiar, intact apartment, she crawls under a blanket and groans. Mxy, shaken himself for someone who usually thrives off of chaos, sits cross-legged in front of where she’s cocooned herself. He sends bursts of magic shooting back and forth between his palms like he’s making sure his powers really have returned.

“You’re batting a thousand here,” he says, and Kara curses inside her head. She isn’t as harsh towards him as she would have been earlier, however; against all odds, Kara suspects that she and Mxy have actually formed some type of bond, some strange sense of camaraderie.

Still, Kara can still fume over the fact that Mxy is annoyingly entertained by this whole thing, by her making a mess of her own life— even if she is forming a soft spot for the imp.

“That… was the most emotionally draining experience of my life,” she says, her voice muffled by the quilt. She laughs uncomfortably. “And I’ve had some doozies.”

“Well,” he responds, effortlessly chipper. “It ain’t over till it’s over’ What do you say to another go? I mean, it can’t possibly be worse than…” Kara glares, and Mxy trails off. “Right. That was uncalled for.”

Kara sighs, rubs her hands down her face. “I don’t know, Mxy,” she says. “This is starting to feel pretty hopeless. Maybe I’ve screwed things up for good, here.”

While she frowns and stares up at the ceiling, Mxy just hums, puffing out a breath of air that knocks Kara’s bangs into her eyes. “I can see that you’re pretty broken up about this,” he observes as Kara reaches up to fix her hair with a scowl. “I knew how much you cared, but… I didn’t know anybody could care this much.”

She laughs darkly. “Yeah, well. Sometimes that just makes it hurt more in the end.”

It’s foolish to hope for Mxy to drop it, but Kara does, and he doesn’t. “This is because it’s Lena, isn’t it?” he asks. “She really is special to you. More than most.”

A vein jumps in her jaw and Kara glares, unable to fight off a sudden wave of defensiveness.

“You’re the one who’s been watching my entire life from a TV screen,” she counters. “I thought you’d know that before showing up here to help me fix things.”

“I did.” Mxy shrugs, oblivious to Kara’s rising wave of emotion. “It’s just… so, so much more obvious to witness in real life.”

“Well, she’s my best friend!” Kara argues, not sure why she feels the need to explain herself.

“Of course.”

“And she cares about me just as much. Or… she used to, at least.”

“Uh-huh. That is what made you two so gripping to watch.”

Kara sits up. “Don’t poke fun at this,” she warns. “Anything but this.”

Mxy raises his hands in the air, actually seeming regretful. “I wasn’t trying to,” he says, and with a wave of his hand, Kara’s memories begin to play again. These are from happier times, however. The times that really made Kara and Lena friends, and the moments where Kara realized just how much she cared about the other woman. “Genuinely, I know how much she means to you. Why else would I show up here and give you this chance to specifically fix things with her?”

Kara quiets down at that, and watches the screen in silence, wondering if it’s even possible to recapture what she and Lena once had, or if she was only searching for Fool’s Gold. Then, a memory catches her eye.

“There,” she gasps, sitting forwards with a jolt and pointing at the screen. Mxy, who had been upside down on the couch, falls off in his attempt to right himself and squints at the scene in confusion before something dawns on his face. “This is where I should have done it.”

“Yes,” Mxy agrees, nodding with his entire body. “Absolutely. It would make that moment even better than it already is.” He turns to her, excited, and it’s hard not to get swept up in it. “So… does that mean you want to give it one last try?”

Even as a contagious smile tugs at the corners of her mouth, Kara hesitates. “I don’t know,” she says, trying to keep her composure. “If it goes wrong again…”

“It won’t!” he interrupts, leaping to his feet, screen already paused and ready for Kara to be zapped into it. “Think about it. You’ve already seen the worst of the worst. That means this time around, you’ll know how to avoid those things! This time, maybe you and Lena don’t act quite so chummy in front of the press. This time, maybe don’t let her turn into a terrifying, heinous tyrant-”

“Hey!” Kara swats at his arm, and Mxy winces.

“Which isn’t your fault, of course. I never said it was.” Kara is unimpressed but stops trying to land a hit on him. “What I’m trying to say is that all those other worlds… they’re just practice runs! This one right here, Kara, can be perfect. You can make it exactly what you want it to be.”

Truth be told, Kara doesn’t need all that much convincing. Maybe Mxy is right, maybe it isn’t. Kara is still going to try again. Even if this just means that she’ll get to see Lena smile that way at her one last time— even if this is just a consolation prize.

She pauses just long enough to put Mxy on edge, to remind him of the gravitas that this carries for her even if this is nothing but a fun little field trip for him. “Okay,” she says, and Mxy grins from ear to ear. “One more time, deal?”

He shakes her hand with exuberance, before getting back to chattering away excitedly. “Excellent choice, Kara Zor-El! You won’t regret this one,” he crows. Kara rolls her eyes but stands up anyway, getting ready to go back in time several years. She scrutinizes the scene, working hard to bring back all the details that would flesh it out in her mind.

Mxy catches onto this, and remembering their past mistakes with Kara’s admittedly spotty memory, gets right in her face. “Are you sure you remember this correctly?” he asks like they’re rehearsing for a big monologue in a play. “There’s no sudden kryptonite poisoning coming in a few hours, or a supervillain on the loose?”

“Don’t you trust me?” Kara asks, and Mxy just snickers.

“You have a history of forgetting the big picture,” he reminds her. “And I don’t want some Deux Ex Machina to show up and make a mess of things. Other than me, of course.”

Kara just glares. “You can’t be serious.”

“Deadly, I’m afraid. I don’t want anyone else meddling”

“Mxy. Come on.”

“What?”

“It is you!” she cries out, annoyance back in full strength. She remembers that crazy, chaotic day that followed; dealing with Mon-El’s jealousy and general immaturity, and most of all, dealing with Mr. Mxyzptlk himself. “You show up that night and- and throw a wedding dress on me and generally screw things up!” Then, she groans and remembers what else happens. “Rao, and then there’s the issue of Mon-El. I don’t know if I have the emotional bandwidth to deal with him on top of all of this.”

“Oh. Oh, I see,” he replies, but he doesn’t seem as concerned about that as she is. Rather, he just summons more movie theater snacks onto her kitchen counter and settles in. “This should be interesting, then.”

“That’s it? That’s all you’ve got?”

Mxy raises his hand. “I will handle that, alright? I will keep the Daxamite out of your crosshairs for the time being and let you focus on telling Lena.” Kara nods and breathes out a sigh of relief. While she is aware that this will change history even more, she can’t find it in herself to care at the moment. “Now, have you conveniently forgotten about anything else? King Kong doesn’t attack, does he?”

“I haven’t forgotten,” Kara snips, crossing her arms. “This is after Lillian tried to frame Lena for her crimes. No one else believed in her innocence but me. I trusted her, and discovered the truth.” her face softens. “She filled my office with flowers. She said that I was her hero. Not Supergirl. Just me.”

Mxy stares at her with an unreadable expression on his face, but before Kara can comment on it, he’s disappeared back behind her, refilling his drink with a soda machine that definitely had not been there a few moments ago. “Okay,” he says, raising his Coke up in a toast. “This will be easy, then.”

“In and out,” Kara says, taking a deep breath. She knows she’s being brought back to a good memory, and happy one, but she can still feel the phantom kryptonite weakening her knees, can still remember the dark shadows making Lena’s eyes impossibly darker in that awful reality. She doesn’t want to get close to that, this time.

This time, she’s going to do things right.

The only indication that Kara gets that Mxy has sent her away is the quiet twinkle in her ears and a low, warm, achingly familiar voice filling the silence.

“It’s a good article,” Lena says, a perfect mix of teasing and proud that has always made Kara blush. Even now, after all this time, she still does. “You flatter me.”

Kara could derail the conversation now, could fly out the window and reveal her identity as suddenly as she had in that other reality. But she’s missed this— she’s missed Lena, missed seeing her in better times and still with a light in her eye, so Kara plays along for now, letting herself have this moment.

“I only wrote the truth,” she replies, still remembering every moment of this memory like the back of her hand. It’s one that she’s played for herself in the dark of the night, before, after things fell apart and she wondered how it could have gone wrong so terribly. “I’m learning to keep digging, even when all the evidence points one way.”

Lena shakes her head, and Kara can remember how she couldn’t believe that someone like Kara would remain so steadfast, despite everything. “There’s always another side,” Kara says.

“Even when it’s hard to find.”

Kara nods, genuine. “Especially when it’s hard to find.” They both chuckle, and the room falls into a comfortable silence. Kara could live in it forever if she could. “So…” she says, breaking the peace with a bashful smile and a rising blush. “My office is overflowing with flowers.”

Lena cocks her eyebrow, leans against the back of the couch. “Really?” she asks, faking surprise, and Kara’s smile grows.

“Yeah…” Kara’s own voice fills with mirth, with warmth, and she soaks in it.

The other woman begins to smile too at that, a silent admission, and Kara moves closer. “You didn’t have to do that,” she says softly.

“Yeah, I did.” Lena meets her eyes, and there’s newfound sincerity to be found. Kara can remember now how Lena had been as earnest as she was, at the start. Their relationship was something that Lena had been willing to take a chance on, with some convincing. But once she did, she put all of her chips down. Kara… Kara had just given her a losing hand.

“Supergirl told me that it was you who sent her,” Lena continues, and Kara takes a breath, knowing that the right time is just on the horizon. This is when she should have told her, had she not been so young and anxious and scared that it would somehow drive Lena away. “I don’t know how to thank you.”

“Well that’s what friends are for,” she replies, a little breathless. Her heart starts to pound, and even if she’s done this before, it always feels like the first time.

Lena chuckles, wonder clear on her face. “I’ve never had friends like you before.” After a pause, she moves closer herself on the couch, until their feet brush together on the floor. Kara swallows hard and tries not to so obviously want to be even closer. “Come to think of it, I’ve never had family like you. No one has ever stood up for me like that.”

Kara knows what comes next, she knows what to say, but it’s harder to say it, now. Now that she knows just how badly things can turn out between the two of them, how she hadn’t done what she said she would.

“Well, now you have someone who will stand up for you. Always.”

There must be enough sincerity in her tone to satisfy Lena, because Kara receives the most dazzling smile in response, though it’s small.

“Well,” she says, and Kara can’t help but lean forwards because this is it, this is her chance, “Supergirl may have saved me, but, Kara Danvers, you are my hero.”

“What if I were both?” she blurts out, and Lena’s laughter quiets down.

Behind the soft smile that’s still there, Kara can also see the confusion. “Sorry?” Lena asks with a chuckle. “What do you mean?”

“Lena,” Kara says, getting up on weak legs and hiding the shake in her hands by gripping them tightly behind her back. “What if I was also the one who saved you?”

And Lena is smart, and what’s more, she’s always been good at reading the unreadable on Kara’s face. She stands up to, her smile fading but still gentle, and she looks into Kara’s eyes with great care. “Kara?” she asks, and that’s all she has to say.

Kara reaches up to take up her glasses, dropping them without ceremony onto the couch. By the time she meets Lena’s eyes, filled with that familiar realization. “I’m Supergirl,” she breathes out, and it’s always the same, isn’t it? It always feels like the floor falls out from beneath the two of them. “I’ve always been Supergirl.”

“You’re… her? You’re Supergirl? Kara, why-?”

“I know you’re wondering why I never told you,” Kara says, butts in before Lena can even finish because she’s done this speech before, and by now, she actually knows what to say. “And at first, it was because I didn’t know you. It was never because I didn’t trust you. I think the past few days paint a pretty good picture of what I think about you.”

She reaches up and takes out her ponytail, lets her hair curl, and fall wildly around her ears. This isn’t the usual polished Supergirl, the flawless, diplomatic public figure; this is Kara as Supergirl. This is… just her— just as the woman standing in front of her holding a hand to her heart isn’t Lena Luthor, CEO and infamous sister, but just Lena.

“Lena, you’ve gotta understand… my secret is a huge part of my life. It’s an entire side of myself that most people never get to know. It’s- it’s important to me, and the people who I share it with are equally important. You’re important to me, Lena. You’re my best friend, and I care about you, and I wanted you to know all of me.”

Kara trails off, not really knowing what else to say. She can’t read the look on Lena’s face— doesn’t know how the other woman feels. She wonders if she’s managed to do something wrong this time around too.

But then Lena pitches forward and hugs her tight, and Kara… Kara melts into it. Lena has always had a way of making her feel better, and this version of her is no exception.

“I can’t believe you told me,” Lena whispers into her neck, stunned, and beyond that, touched. Kara’s heart swells at that. Lena laughs, a little disbelieving. “I can’t believe you’re Supergirl!”

“You don’t sound mad,” Kara observes, squeezing a little tighter. Lena’s wearing the same perfume she always has and it’s so, so easy for Kara to pretend this is how it’s always been between them, and can forget all about how it really happened. “You’re not angry?”

“At you? God, no!” Lena laughs again, pulls away just enough so Kara can see the way she’s beaming. “You’re absolutely incredible! Kara, I’m just… a little shocked that you trust me enough to tell me something like this, to tell you the truth. I mean, me? With our families?”

“I don’t care about your last name,” Kara answers swiftly, to which Lena’s smile falters just for a moment. And maybe Kara is acting fierce, or protective, or too earnest for Lena’s sensibilities and what she’s learned to expect of the world, but in this reality, Kara is going to make certain that Lena doesn’t feel like a villain. “You are good, and kind, and brave, and you’ve given me something that I never thought I’d find on this planet. You’re my best friend, Lena. I don’t care if your last name is Luthor or if it’s Smith. How I feel about you won’t change.”

Lena looks up at her with bright, shining eyes, and Kara realizes belatedly that it’s because they’re filled with tears. Why she has such a knack for making Lena cry during these reveals, Kara doesn’t know, but this time, they don’t seem to be quite so sad.

“Oh, shucks, please don’t cry, Lena,” Kara says anyway, because happy tears or no, she doesn’t want to see Lena shed tears over this. She brings her back into a hug and stays there as Lena takes the privacy to wipe at her eyes and take a deep breath. “I don’t want to make you cry.”

That earns a wet chuckle from Lena, and her shoulders shake because of the laughter this time, not tears. Kara supposes that it’s a step in the right direction.

“So I take it the Midwestern colloquialism isn’t part of the act, then,” she responds, back to her usual teasing, witty self. “I assumed it was all a part of your brilliant disguise— along with the glasses, of course.”

Lena’s voice is nothing but mirthful, and it makes Kara want to play along. How can she be scared of anything going wrong when Lena is smiling at her like that? “Hey,” she says they worked on you, didn’t they? And you’re an actual genius.”

In any other world, that remark might carry more bite, but this Lena just shrugs her shoulders and grins, a slight blush on her cheeks. Kara begins to smile too because things are finally settling into place. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and Lena is still looking at her like she’s everything good in the world. There is no Lex Luthor or Non Nocere or Myriad, and there certainly isn’t any heartbreak. Kara feels content. She feels like this is a homecoming a long time in the making.

(There’s a small, nagging part of her that whispers in her ear and tells her that this is almost too good to be true, but Kara ignores it. She’s busy enough as it is holding Lena close in the way that she used to. She doesn’t have time for that familiar feeling of doubt to creep in.)

When they finally pull apart, Lena is more serious— more focused, like whatever she’s going to say, she wants Kara to know that she means it.

“Thank you,” she says, meeting Kara’s eyes. “Thank you for telling me. I know it isn’t easy, trusting people— I can tell you that firsthand. It took real bravery for you to share that with me. I promise you that your secret will be safe with me.”

“I know it will be,” Kara replies, reaching down and squeezing Lena’s hand. They both lean into the gesture, both gravitate towards the other. It’s a dance, one that Kara is an expert at— and one that she’s missed doing. Just being back in Lena’s orbit is intoxicating. “Lena, you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to tell you this.”

Lena gives her a grin, and there’s a gleam in her eye that Kara hasn’t seen in so long that she doesn’t recognize it at first. But then she leans over and inspects the glasses that Kara had discarded on the ground, and Kara remembers. This is Lena at her most curious. Her most eager. Her most excited to learn and explore and ask questions about Kara.

This time around, Kara can actually give her some answers. This time around, Lena will actually get to know her best friend for all that she truly is.

“So, Kara Danvers… if that’s your real name,” Lena trails off, and when she glances over at Kara from where she’s holding the lenses up to the light, her natural predilection for science and experimentation making itself known, Kara is struck down by how green her eyes are. They aren’t as dark, or sad, or hurt in this reality, and isn’t that what Kara’s been trying to assure all along? “What now?”

Kara squeezes Lena’s hand again and smiles brightly. If this is what it feels like to have saved Lena from their own misguidance and mistakes, then Kara wants to live in this moment forever. Finally, she can do for Lena what she’s always wished she could: give her a chance— a real chance— at a fresh start here in National City. She can’t stop a giggle from escaping at the excitement of it all; this is more than just a Luthor and a Super on the same team, like in the other world. This is Kara and Lena, taking a chance and looking on in pleasant surprise at what they’ve managed to find here.

She doesn’t think that either of them had expected to find a best friend out of this.

“It’s Kara,” she answers, feeling a swell of sentiment overtake her as Lena looks on, enraptured. This is what she’d always hoped it would be like. “Kara Zor-El. And now, if you want, I’d really like to tell you my story. I want to tell you about Krypton.”

Lena squeezes her hand right back. “I would love nothing more, Kara Zor-El.”

By the time they finish talking in Lena’s office and decide to go back to Kara’s place, Kara is so happy that she’s forgotten all about Mxyzptlk and magic and everything else in the world— except for how kind, thoughtful, and wonderful Lena has been.

Telling someone about a dead world is no small feat, but with Lena, it’s so impossibly easy. She listens with care and asks questions about things that Kara hasn’t gotten to tell anyone about in a dozen or so years, and wraps her arms around Kara whenever the rush of excitement and nostalgia fades away into something more hollow, more lonely. And she knows it isn’t true, that it can’t possibly be real, but Lena— Kara swears that Lena actually understands. She understands what Krypton means to Kara now, and understands what it’s like to have the family legacy looming over your childhood, and what it’s like to miss someone so intensely that for a moment, it's like they’re really there.

Lena listens so attentively it’s like it’s her heart that’s being spilled, and so Kara keeps talking. She keeps talking well past when she’s supposed to report back to Catco, talks through Lena’s closing meetings for the day— which the other woman waves off without a care in the world— and talks until the sun has become a ruby set into the horizon of National City. Kara can’t stop talking— she doesn’t want to stop. With Lena, Kara feels like she could share every part of herself and Lena would ask to hear it again. For someone who’s been taught to hide behind a lie, it’s incredibly freeing.

When Kara’s stomach rumbles a little too noisily to be readily ignored by either of them, Lena suggests going elsewhere and ordering enough pizzas to feed an army.

“I finally know now why your diet has always defied scientific reason,” she teases, and Kara blushes— then requests that they pick up some ice cream on the walkover.

That’s how Kara finds herself in the elevator, balancing six pizza boxes in one hand and a giant cone in the other as she still talks seriously to Lena about what it was like for her, acclimating to Earth.

“The Danvers taught me how to act normal— how to appear normal,” she explains as she sneaks another bite of her cone. “I wasn’t the all-American Prom Queen, by any means, but I fit in well enough. Kept my grades as average as I could, and cheered on the soccer team when I wasn’t allowed to try out… even got asked to Homecoming. I made a few friends, I suppose, but none of them lasted, and none of them ever found out my secret.”

“I’d imagine that must have been lonely, at times,” Lena muses, and Kara gets the feeling she’s speaking from experience. “It must have been really nice to have Alex around. She’s someone who you could actually talk to, without feeling like you were being judged, or made fun of, or…”

“Or being ridiculed,” Kara finishes for her, and they share an all too knowing look. “Lex was like that too, wasn’t he? He made you feel at home.”

Lena smiles a little sadly and nods. “Lex was the only reason I ever felt glad to be a part of the Luthor family. Now… he’s the worst of them all.”

“I’m sorry. No one deserves that. Least of all you.”

“I appreciate that, Kara.” Lena heaves out the kind of heavy breath that lets Kara know that this is a subject she should bring up again, just not right now. “But enough of that,” she says, shaking her head like it’ll dispel the specter of Lex. “Tell me something else. Anything you want.”

The elevator doors open with a ding, and the two of them move forwards slowly, still huddled together. Kara hesitates for a moment as she hunts her pockets for her keys. If this world is going to work out, she needs Lena to know how dangerous it really can be to be associated with Supergirl. If Lena thought her life was dangerous before… well, Kara has seen firsthand what can happen when the two of them become a high profile power duo. She won’t have what happened in that other world happen again. She won’t let her friends die, and she certainly won’t allow Lena to be harmed because of her.

“You’ve gotta know that my life can be… chaotic,” Kara explains as they stop in front of her door. “Being an alien, being Supergirl… it’s a whole new level of weird that can take some getting used to, especially if you’re one of the Super Friends.”

Lena laughs a bit— either because Kara really just called them the Super Friends, or because she watches as Kara struggles to turn the key with her giant amount of food in tow. “Darling, I’m a Luthor. Define weird. I have a feeling I’ll be better equipped than most to handle whatever comes next.”

When Kara opens her mouth and considers the best example to explain how strange being her friend is going to become, the door opens suddenly and the two of them spill into the apartment in a heap. But before Kara can even mourn the loss of all those pizzas, they vanish in a flash of blue, and Kara remembers with a jolt what— or who, to be more precise— is behind all this.

She looks up at the same time Lena does and finds Mxy waiting patiently. He looks just as he did the first time they met, wearing the same tuxedo and everything, but when he meets Kara’s eyes, she sees more glee than usual. This isn’t the original Mxy, this is the new and improved one— and the one who now gets the chance to meddle even more directly in her life.

He sends her a knowing wink before getting into character, and Kara can barely suppress a groan as once again, he fills her apartment with flowers, candlelight, and invisible violins. A huge bouquet lands squarely in Lena’s hands who is staring at the entire scene with a look caught between surprise, confusion, and absolute wonder. Mxy will be happy to know that his showmanship is going to impress someone, at least.

“Kara Zor-El,” he announces with a flourish, getting down on one knee before turning his gaze towards Lena as well. “And… Lena Luthor! Ooh we are going to have so much fun together!”

“Kara…?” Lena questions, looking to her for a lead, but Kara is too busy having a silent staring match with Mxy to pay her any mind. When he said he’d handle it, Kara really hadn’t thought it would be like this.

Mxy barges ahead too; with a snap of his fingers the music swells, the apartment darkens, and he pulls out the same ring he’d first given her. “My name is Mxyzptlk, and I love you, Kara Zor-El. How about we make it official?”

At another snap of his fingers, Kara is in that darned wedding dress again, and even as she fumes, Lena can’t stop staring.

“You’re right,” she mutters, looking at Kara with wide eyes and what Kara thinks could be a faint blush on her cheeks. “This is… beyond weird.”

All Kara can do is let out a long-suffering groan.

After she sends Lena a quick apologetic shrug, she rounds on Mxy. “I need to talk to you.”

Mxy gives her a look that’s much too innocent. “Aren’t you going to introduce me-”

Now, Mxy!”

“Fine, fine.” With one last twirl of his fingers, Mxy puts Kara back into her well-worn sweater and chinos and holds out his elbow, inviting Kara to take him away. She does just— after sending another awkward smile Lena’s way.

“Don’t go anywhere,” she says, practically lifting Mxy off the ground in her haste. “Let me deal with this and then things will go back to normal. Well,” she stammers as Lena raises an eyebrow at Kara’s tapping feet and the bemused look on Mxy’s face, “Normalish. I’ll explain things in a minute.”

Kara really hopes that Lena says something in the affirmative because she’s dragging Mxy across the apartment and into the bathroom without another glance over her shoulder. She tosses him in face-first, then closes the door and immediately buries her face in her hands.

“You!” she whisper-yells, jabbing her finger into his tacky, gaudy dress shirt. Kara can’t believe she’s saying this, but she misses the Mxy with the unearthly amount of popcorn and doing his old-time radio impersonation. This version of him only brings back her aggravation— plus a flood of unpleasant memories. It’s hard to find him lovable in this form. “What are you doing here? How are you here? I thought you said you were going to take care of this!”

“I said that I would take care of Mon-El,” Mxy corrects, unrepentant and seemingly oblivious to the fact that she’s plotting his murder right in front of him. “Which I did,” he notes, looking far too pleased with himself. “Your former flame is now taking a rather… impromptu vacation. And before you say anything, I put him in the Bahamas, not Siberia. He’ll be just fine.”

“You did- Mon-El is- Rao, I can’t even begin to focus on that right now,” Kara says, beginning to pace. In a bathroom as small as hers, that’s no easy feat. Mxy, ever the gentleman, takes a seat in the bathtub and allows Kara to boil over from a safe distance. “Why are you here? You saw how well that went! I was doing just fine, but I can’t handle you and your- your hijinks right now!”

“I’m doing you a favor, Kara, I really am,” Mxy says, putting his hands behind his head and making himself at home. “Think about it. I had to show up at some point. Otherwise your current reality would be royally screwed over, and trust me, you don’t wanna see that.”

Kara largely ignores his point, even if she is inclined to take Mxy at his word now, at least at this point in their relationship. If Mxy wanted to lie to her, he would have already. These really are the actions of a well-meaning person— but that doesn’t mean it isn’t messing things up anyway.

“This is all very new and delicate,” she hisses, careful to keep her voice down. “And no offense, but you, in this case, are the magical equivalent of a wrecking ball-”

“If you wanted to do some renovation you could have just said so. I’ve noticed this bathroom is a little outdated-”

“-No, you’re a one-man demolition crew! And I don’t want you anywhere near my kitchen,” Kara finishes, pointing a finger at him. Mxy just shrugs and begins to spritz her perfume behind his ears. “Mxy, Lena just found out I’m Supergirl. Learning your best friend is an alien is one thing— but dealing with the existence of the Fifth Dimension is on a completely different level. I can’t have you barging in and frying her brain.”

“Relax, you,” he says in an easy drawl, only beginning to pout when Kara snatches the perfume far away from his reach. “You’re not as fun as I remember you being. If I’d wanted angst I would have paid a visit to-”

Kara holds her finger up, not wanting to hear the end of that sentence. “I am fun,” she growls, though logically she realizes that she isn’t acting the part right now. She folds her arms and huffs out a breath. “Just… tell me you have a plan. A good one. Preferably one that doesn’t involve Lena in any way.”

Mxy, who had been taking in a breath as Kara was talking, falters. “Well,” he says, his finger frozen in the air. “If you’re insistent on that last part I might need to do some reworking but-”

“Tell me what’s going to happen.”

“It’ll be simple, alright? I show up and interfere with you and your life to ensure that present-day me is still punished and sent back to you to right my wrongs in the first place. I was going to show Miss Luthor out there the time of her life, but now, if you really want, we can skip that part. All I need to do now is say my name backward, and Badda bing Badda boom, I’m gone!”

“That’s… actually not terrible,” Kara relents, feeling a weight lift off her shoulders. Friend or not, Mxy is still a loose cannon, and she hadn’t been psyched about cleaning up his mess. ‘You’ve already done enough damage to warrant you leaving?”

“Oh, yes.” Mxy begins counting on his fingers. “I tossed that insufferable Daxamite in the middle of the ocean— don’t give me that look, it was close enough to shore— and I’ve shown up at your apartment uninvited and undesired, which in my dimension is an actual crime that can be prosecuted. And there is also a… tiny situation in Florida that you may need to take care of, but compared to saving the world, it’s small potatoes. I promise.”

“Whatever,” Kara says at last, rubbing her temples but accepting it all the same. If that means getting Mxy out of her hair and getting back to Lena, she’ll fly down to Florida— no matter what the humidity does to her hair. “Okay, I can handle that.” When Mxy doesn’t move, she sends him an expectant look. “Well? Are you going to get on with it?”

Mxy sticks out his bottom lip. “You’re not going to tell me anything? I can’t get any of the gossip before I leave?”

“No,” Kara says, trying to remain stoic, but Mxy wiggles his eyebrows and Kara thinks back to just how incredible her day has been and she can’t help but let a smile slip through. “I mean- it’s good. It’s great. It’s better than anything I could have asked for.”

“That’s what I like to hear!” He rubs his hands together. “Now I’ll get out of here and pull you back, then we can snap and set this whole thing in stone-”

“Wait,” Kara interrupts, chewing at her lip. Something’s been bothering her this entire time, but she can’t quite put her finger on it. “I need to make sure nothing goes wrong.”

“And how would you like to go about that?”

“Let me take over temporarily,” Kara proposes, feeling a little more confident. Maybe if she can be there— if she can relive these moments for herself and make sure they’re perfect— then maybe this weird nagging feeling in her mind will relent. “Don’t snap just yet. Let me be there for all the important parts, so I can… steer things in the right direction.”

“A highlight reel,” Mxy muses, looking thoughtful. Then, he grins and claps his hands together. “Brilliant. You and I will watch from your couch, and when we get to a part I deem… essential, I’ll send you back in. Think of yourself as coming off the bench.”

Kara waves off yet another of his vague references with a wave. Now, this is a good plan. Maybe it isn’t quite so in and out, but Kara can adjust. She can figure out the rest on the fly.

“I’ll see you in a bit,” she says, conclusive and leaving no room for argument. Not that Mxy seems against this route they’re taking. If anything, his eyes only gleam brighter, and when he sings out his name and disappears down the drain, he’s never looked so thrilled to be banished.

Kara chooses to take that as a good sign.

She gives herself a quick glance-over in the mirror and is shocked by what she sees. She’s practically glowing, something bright and happy and hopeful shining through in her strong gaze and rosy cheeks. Kara finds that her face actually hurts from how much she’s been smiling, and she really can’t remember the last time that’s happened. And sure, she’s kind of a mess; her glasses are askew, and her ponytail is in an absolutely tragic state, and Kara catches a glimpse of a chocolate fudge stain on the sleeve of her shirt, but none of that matters. What matters is the way that her heart is swelling in her chest again and she can barely feel the ache. What matters is that in this reality, she’s gotten to tell her best friend the names of her parents.

What matters is the woman still waiting patiently for her out in the kitchen.

“Sorry…” she says, rounding the corner, but trails off when she sees Lena curled up on her couch, the lights dimmed and an old movie playing on the screen. Then, she listens to her steady, rhythmic breathing, and hears the slow pump of her heart, and Kara realizes that Lena’s fallen asleep.

Kara can’t help but smile. It’s a testament to how long of a day it’s been— how hellish of a week that this Lena has had— that not even the appeal of encountering a magical being in Kara’s apartment wasn’t even enough to keep her away any longer. Besides, how can she not smile? Lena falling asleep in her apartment is one of Kara’s favorite memories in any reality, and this one is no exception.

For a moment, that voice is back in her mind, asking her if she has any right to be there— if she has any right to see any of this and pretend for just a moment that she doesn’t remember any of what she’s done. Kara knows that there’s a reason why her Lena doesn’t sleep over at Kara’s apartment anymore, knows there’s a real chance she’ll never even set foot inside ever again. She really does. But this isn’t her Lena, and Kara isn’t entirely sure that she’s herself anymore either.

She’s had a long day too. A long past few months, filled with heartbreak and loss and guilt. Kara can give herself this one small, intimate moment, can’t she? Kara hopes so.

She decides not to overthink it. She kneels down beside the couch and lets her eyes linger on the way Lena’s got Kara’s favorite blanket wrapped tight around her, on the way she’s taken her hair out of her ponytail and it falls soft over the pillow, on the way she’s changed out of her work clothes and into some of Kara’s pajamas instead. Kara lets herself look at her best friend the way she has a million times before— and this time, the ache doesn’t feel quite so sharp. It’s the type of longing ache that Kara’s always nursed around Lena. She couldn’t name it then, and she still can’t now, but Kara doesn’t mind it— welcomes it, even.

It’s better than most things she’s felt around Lena lately.

As she gathers Lena carefully into her arms and carries her over to her bed, Kara decides that she’d be fine living with this gentle sort of pain in her chest for the rest of her life, so long as it meant moments like this. Kara believes rather firmly that some things in life are worth fighting for, and sometimes that means getting hurt.

She settles into bed right alongside Lena, allows herself to wrap an arm around her best friend’s waist. It’s so new and so familiar at the same time, and it makes kara want to fall headlong into it and surrender. It hurts, yes; Kara knows it does, and she knows it will.

But for Lena Luthor, Kara knows with certainty that she’s willing to bleed just a little.

In theory, Kara and Mxy’s plan goes off without a hitch.

It’s a good gameplan, and the two of them play their parts well. Kara goes in and protects Lena and Alex and their friends before half of the bad guys can even come up with an evil scheme in the first place. And yeah, it might be a bit unfair, Kara knowing what they’re going to do before they even do, but at the end of the day, she’s helping more people. Saving more lives. If those are the consequences of her foresight that Alex deems terrifying, then Kara can live with it.

It’s not like she doesn’t still lose. Mon-El still is forced to leave, and Reign still beats her into a coma. Agent Liberty still wreaks havoc on her life and the entire country, and he still nearly kills Kara with the kryptonite poisoning. But this time around, Lena is there, and she’s there for all of it. This time around, she knows the full story.

There’s no massive fight over Kryptonite. There’s no strained, lingering tension between Supergirl and Lena even after they shake hands and try to play nice. There’s no secret identity threat that can be dangled over her head by Lillian or Lex or anyone else. Lena knows everything, and that only makes the two of them stronger.

Kara made certain that there were no more secrets left between the two of them, or so Kara thought. Really, that’s what had made what came next even more of a shock to her system, because as it turned out, Lena had something of her own to reveal.

So, yes. It’s supposed to be quick and straightforward and relatively free of complications because that’s the whole point, after all— getting to a time where things aren’t so rocky and telling Lena the truth doesn’t feel like such an insurmountable task. With Mxy’s help, she’d even thought it might actually be easy. How was she to know she’d end up in a situation like this?

Besides, even if things had gone wildly off the rails, even if Kara had maybe actively meddled with the timeline one too many times— even if she’s still waiting for the other shoe to drop, Kara still thinks it might just be worth it. It might just be worth it because Lena is hanging out with her again without any ulterior motive hanging between them, and she gives Kara the warmest hugs again, and when she smiles over at her during one of their regular lunch dates, Kara can almost forget about how badly things fell apart between them the first time. She can almost ignore the fact that this is simply her wishful thinking, a fantasy turned reality.

This time around, things are perfect. Lena is perfect— no she’s more than perfect. Kara honestly can’t have asked for anything better.

Until Lena kisses her. Lena kisses her, and Kara realizes that there are some things that she hadn’t even thought to hope for, not even in her wildest dreams.

And Rao— Kara really needs to re-examine her feelings for her best friend.

It’s awfully unprecedented if Kara’s being honest. Sure, in this reality things are different, and the years play out in ways Kara hadn’t seen coming. She and Lena are somehow closer than they’ve ever been before, and Kara and Mon El’s relationship fizzles out well before the Daxamites invade. Lena never even dates James in the first place, and to everyone else, maybe this isn’t as unprecedented as it is to Kara. Maybe the little changes she’s been making along the way have created something that Kara had thought unimaginable. Impossible.

But it is, and out of all the small differences that this reality has offered for Kara to untangle, this one might be the hardest of all.

Lena leans in without warning one night, as they’re cleaning the dishes. For Kara’s version of dinner, that means throwing the pizza boxes into the recycling and then messing around with the soap and the bubbles as Lena actually tries to rinse off their plates.

“Have I ever told you how ridiculous you are?” Lena asks, but it’s too soft to carry any real jibe to it. Kara, who’s been busy trying to make herself a mustache out of the vanilla-scented suds, glances over at Lena with a wild grin.

She feels ridiculous. She feels silly, and goofy, and absolutely fantastic because this Lena has never even thought to hate her. Kara’s made sure of it. And what’s not to be happy about if Lena Luthor still likes her?

“Once or twice, maybe,” Kara replies, sidling closer anyway. “But you love it, though.”

Lena raises an eyebrow, her eyes following as one-half of Kara’s soap mustache droops and falls off her face completely. A little smile tugs at the corner of her mouth despite her effort to play coy and Kara feels a surge of fondness. “Is this off the record?” Lena asks, her teasing ceaseless. “Otherwise, no comment.”

“Admit it,” Kara says, still with that insufferable grin on her face.

Lena just rolls her eyes and tries to get back to the dishes. “Never.”

“Come on,” Kara whines, even pulls out one of her signature pouts that even Alex folds to at her most stubborn. When that yields no results, Kara reaches into the sink and splashes Lena. The other woman shrieks in surprise, then levels a glare over her shoulder. It holds absolutely no threat to it whatsoever, and they both know it, which is why Kara doesn’t feel all that bad. Lena is wearing one of her sweatshirts anyway.

What is a surprise, however, is when Lena splashes back. But where Kara’s was a relatively tame attack, Lena’s is an all-out assault. She throws a whole bucket’s worth of water back at Kara, and it hits her square in the face.

“Lena!” she splutters, as surprised as she is amused.

The other woman laughs and dips her hands into the sink again for emphasis, and Kara raises her hands in surrender. “Fine,” Kara says, giggling. “You win this one.”

“I usually do,” Lena responds, and when their laughter dies down, she pulls the plug in the sink and lets the water drain down. She turns and surveys the damage down to Kara, a smirk firmly stuck on her face. “Look at you. You’re a mess.”

Lena’s right. Kara’s old tee is practically soaked through, her socks are soggy, and she can’t see anything from the soap that’s completely covering her glasses. She puts her hands on her hips and pouts again, even as water drips down her nose and off her jaw. “And whose fault is that?”

“Don’t tell me Supergirl can’t handle a bit of water,” Lena needles, but then her eyes crinkle and she grabs the dish towel. “Here. Hold still,” she says, quieter now, and walks closer to Kara. “Let me take care of you.”

There’s nothing else for Kara to do but to listen. Lena’s backed her into the corner of the kitchen, and even if Kara could push her aside with a flick of her finger, she doesn’t want to leave. This moment is pleasant, and tender, and it’s soothing that aching part of Kara’s soul that still twinges every time she sees this Lena so happy and at ease.

Lena dabs at the damp parts of Kara’s collar, and trails the rag in and out of the hollow of her throat, making Kara swallow reflexively. Kara just stands there, mouth suddenly dry, as she watches Lena wipe away the water on her neck and her forehead, and wonders when the room got so hot. She wonders if Lena’s eyes have always been this green, or if her heartbeat has always been that fast, or when she decided to hold her breath like if she lets it out, some secret, sacred spell will be broken.

Lena reaches up and removes Kara’s glasses with fingers that tremble. Kara thinks about asking what’s wrong, but then Lena sets her glasses on the countertop and looks back up into Kara’s eyes with such quiet intensity that Kara suddenly couldn’t speak if her life depended on it.

“I do love you, you know,” Lena says, not much more than a whisper, and Kara knows that this isn’t about carefree teasing or long-held jokes anymore. This is about something different. Something more important. This is about something new, and yet so familiar to Kara.

“I know,” Kara murmurs back, and Lena’s eyes flick back up to her eyes before settling on Kara’s lips, watching her tongue dart out and wet them. “I love you too.”

Lena moves closer. The dish towel drops from her hand and pools around their feet, and Kara makes no move to do anything about it. “You’re my best friend, Kara.” She takes a deep, shuddering breath. “We’ve been through everything together. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I don’t want to mess that up.”

Kara blinks, reaches out and grabs Lena’s hands. She needs her to know that that’s impossible. If anyone has the potential to screw things up, it’s Kara. She’s proven that to herself time and time again.

“You could never. Not in a hundred lifetimes,” she says, and it kinda sounds like it’s a vow that she’s making to Lena. It seems more momentous than it should, with the two of them standing in a creaky, old kitchen, a towel thrown haphazardly on the floor and the sound of her neighbors walking up above their heads.

“Kara,” Lena breathes, but then she stops, and must decide that in this case, actions speak louder than words, because instead of saying another word she goes up on her tiptoes again, and raises a hand up to cup Kara’s cheek.

And before Kara can even finish marvelling at how soft Lena’s hands are, Lena surges forwards and kisses her.

Lena kisses her, and after one breathtaking moment in which everything suddenly comes into focus, where pieces appear and click together that Kara hadn’t even known existed, after the world stops spinning and then speeds up all at once, Kara kisses her back. She kisses her back enthusiastically— with abandon. Kara loops her arms around Lena’s waist and pulls her closer, shuts her eyes tight and tries not to die right there on the spot.

She hadn’t ever thought about kissing her best friend before. But gosh, now that she’s started, Kara isn’t sure she ever wants to stop. Kissing Lena Luthor feels better than anything; it feels like flying, just like Kara had told Alex about so many years ago. Kissing Lena Luthor is enough to make Kara forget, for just a moment, about the guilt that she still harbors, about the regret and the mistakes that she’d made.

This hadn’t been part of the plan. Kara realizes that this isn’t something she could have ever prepared for. This is a punch to the jaw, a blindside hit, a shot in the dark. This is something that Kara’s never felt for someone in her entire life, and she isn’t sure what to make of it.

You’re gonna know it when it hits you, Winn had told her once, when she wondered aloud how someone realizes they’re in love. It’ll be all… Wapow! He’d balled up his fist and mimed throwing a right hook, and Kara had just laughed, had just thought Winn was being his usual awkward, eager self.

Now Kara’s starting to think that maybe, Winn had been onto something, because this feels like it’s going to bruise by the morning. This moment feels like it’s going to scar, and Kara knows she won’t ever be able to forget how it’s making her feel.

When they break apart, Kara takes a second just to stare. She takes in Lena’s wide, careful eyes and the hint of a smile on her mouth, beneath the smeared lipstick. She notices the nervous rhythm to her heart, and the way that even apart, Lena stays close enough that Kara can smell her perfume. It’s an assault on the senses and it sends her into a wonderful tailspin, but when Lena clears her throat, Kara realizes that this is where she says something.

Except for when she blinks a few times and lets a dopey smile grow on her own face, all that Kara can think to say from within the pleasant haze she’s in is, “Gee, Lena, that was… golly.”

Kara blushes, and Lena laughs fully, from her belly. Her fingers travel up and thread themselves through Kara’s hair. “I’ll take that as a good thing,” Lena says with a chuckle, but with just enough of an unasked question hidden behind her amusement that Kara jumps in blindly, just to reassure her best friend.

“It is,” she says, still feeling like her head is spinning. She glances down at Lena and a breathless, astonished laugh escapes. “Lena, you- you kissed me!” she exclaims, more than a little bit in denial about the entire thing.

“I did,” she confirms, slightly bashful, and Karaa just shakes her head in amazement.

“And that must mean that… you like me? As more than a friend?”

Lena frees one of her hands from Kara’s hair to touch her jaw. It’s a light touch, barely there, but it’s enough to make Kara shiver. “That is, generally, what kissing someone implies, yes,” she smiles. She’s back to teasing, but just like always, Lena can’t hide her fondness enough for her words to actually bite.

“You like me. You like Kara Danvers?” Kara asks once more, just to make sure.

The other woman sends her the softest look Kara’s ever seen, soft enough to touch. Her hands curl into Lena’s shirt without her thinking, drawing Lena in that much closer. “Yes, Kara. I do. I have for quite some time, actually. How could I not?”

Oh. Oh. Oh no.

No matter how many different versions of Lena that Kara has seen, she isn’t ready to hear her say that. So, she does what she thinks is perfectly logical: she leans down and kisses Lena one more time, just to be sure, and then snaps herself back to her own apartment, which feels much colder now, without Lena smiling and laughing in it.

She finds Mxy on the couch, eating popcorn and looking aghast at the sight of her back here instead of where she’s paused on the screen. Kara starts pacing the length between her front door and her television, ignoring his strangled yelp when he notices her return.

“What are you doing?” he cries, throwing the bowl over his shoulder as he leaps off the couch. Thankfully, it disappears before it can spill all over her new rug, but even if it had, Kara is in too frenzied of a state to notice, much less care. “Don’t leave now-!”

“Oh, Rao, she kissed me,” Kara mutters, holding a hand up to her mouth.

“-best episode I’ve seen in awhile, I can promise you-”

“And I kissed her back-”

“That was right out of a movie-”

“Mxy, she KISSED me!” Kara yells at last, stopping her pacing to shoot the imp a wide eyed look of distress. She points a shaking finger to the screen, where she can see herself and Lena frozen in place, like a pause button. From here, she can see just how close they’re standing to each other— and she can see the stricken look in her eye. Kara doesn’t know what to do with that so she whirls around back to Mxy instead. “This- I- that wasn’t supposed to happen.”

For someone usually so chaotic, it’s shocking that Mxy has to be her voice of reason in this situation. “You wanted to see a world where you controlled the narrative, isn’t that right?” he asks, and Kara just gapes at him, her heart still beating wildly. “Well, Kara, this is one of the outcomes. I, for one, like this one more than that doomsday world we couldn’t escape but that’s just me-”

“Mxy!” Kara interrupts, grabbing him by the shoulders and holding on tight. She needs an anchor, right now, and unfortunately, he isn’t a very reliable one. “I truly don’t understand anything you’re saying! I’m- I’m freaking out right now-”

“Well I can see that, no need to tell me-”

“How could she ever like me like that?” Kara collapses into one of her armchairs, feeling too jittery to stand on her own two feet anymore. “I mean, I’m… just me. There’s so much history between us, too much bad blood-”

“...Not in this reality, remember?” Mxy comments, his face curious and unreadable, and that shuts Kara up. In the heat of the moment, the lines had started to blur for her. She’d lost track of which Lena was which and had given into the fantasy instead. “This reality is perfect. You made certain of it.”

“And so that means Lena falls wildly in love with me? That’s what makes this reality so unique?” Kara asks, grasping at straws. She’s only half-serious when she says it, but she can’t help to notice when Mxy falls curiously silent. It isn’t hard, when he’s constantly talking.

“I didn’t say unique. I said perfect.” Mxy holds up a finger and continues speaking even as Kara tries to butt in again. “Think about it. You told Lena your secret at a point where no one else trusted her. You’ve been by her side no matter what, through thick and thin. You’ve been supportive, and protective, and comforting— not to mention you’re Supergirl, for crying out loud. Half of National City’s had a crush on you at one time or another-”

“You must be joking!” Kara laughs uncomfortably.

Mxy rolls his eyes, snaps some kind of magical pie-chart into existence. Kara feels a blush rise up her ears when he points out a large section labelled in red. “I’m all-knowing, all-seeing, and I was in love with you myself,” he says, conjuring up a pointer and rapping it against the board. “You really think I wasn’t going to scope out the competition?”

“That’s besides the point,” Kara tries, flustered. “Lena is different.”

“How?”

Kara sputters, feels like she’s a bike that’s been tipped over abruptly, her wheels still fruitlessly spinning. “She’s- she’s Lena!” When Mxy doesn’t seem to catch on, she waves her hands vaguely in the air. “She is… unbelievably special.”

“So are you, Kara. And in a timeline like this one, what’s not to fall for?” Mxy claps his hands and the television resumes playing, with Kara watching it happen, this time, instead of experiencing it herself. She watches her and Lena stand there in the kitchen, still holding each other and speaking in hushed tones. Even if it is her life, Kara feels like she’s intruding on something. This feels like something she shouldn’t get to watch— feels like she doesn’t deserve to see this.

The view of the kitchen changes so Kara can catch a glimpse of her own face, and it’s like she can barely recognize it. That Kara is positively glowing— a wide smile growing on her face as she swings Lena’s hands back and forth between their two bodies. Kara can’t remember the last time she felt that happy.

(Kara had always said that she wouldn’t be able to tell when she fell in love. But here, now, she gets to see it for herself, gets to see something indescribable pass over her own face— and Kara knows that this is what it looks like. She is absolutely head over heels, and Kara wonders why that realization makes her chest ache.)

“I kissed her back,” she whispers, more to herself than anyone else, but Mxy hears it anyway and perks up, looking… proud of her? Kara isn’t really sure what to make of Mxy right now, just knows that he’s incredibly invested in how this plays out.

“You did!” he practically sings, disappearing with a poof and reappearing at her shoulder clapping her on the back and giving her some type of medal. Kara’s eyes widen when she realizes that it's Olympic gold— prays that Mxy hasn’t stolen this from someone important. “A pleasant surprise, for sure, but I always knew you had it in you!” He ruffles her hair like she’d just won the state championship or something, and poofs out of reach when Kara tries to bat his hand away.

“Please, can we focus?” She doesn’t understand how he can be so glib, so flippant about the fact that in this reality, Kara’s best friend is in love with her. How in this reality, it seems like Kara might just feel the same way.

(Kara doesn’t need the lingering thoughts that keep rising to her head that wonder if it isn’t just this universe that she’s fallen for Lena. Not right now, and not ever. There are some thoughts that Kara just can’t afford to have without getting herself hurt in the process.)

“On what?” Mxy asks, still leaned in close to the screen. He’s been practically cooing at the two of them on the screen, a hand held to his heart like he’s watching his favorite soap opera, not Kara’s very real, high-stakes life. “Because this feels pretty important to watch in my humble opinion…”

Kara does the only thing she can to divert his attention back to the matter at hand: she gets up and stands directly in front of the television, unmoving despite the imp’s complaints. She crosses her arms, and narrows her eyes, and channels every bit of her Supergirl persona, even if she is wearing slippers and had been biting her nails only a few moments ago.

“Show me what happens next,” she says, her mind working hard to put this into perspective. If she stays out here, and just watches what happens next— without any meddling, or intervention, or tampering— then, she can see what happens next knowing it’s simply a natural progression.

By then, maybe Kara will have seen enough to know what to make of this strange feeling making itself at home in her bones. Maybe she can rationalize away why kissing Lena is something Kara can’t stop thinking about.

“Why didn’t you just say so? We can watch the domino effect of your little smooch from right here. Oh, the next part is my favorite.” Mxy claps his hands with glee, looking like a schoolboy who’s just been given early recess. The popcorn reappears, and a giant slushie is suddenly in her hands, and Mxy has thrown on some 3-D glasses. “Can’t forget about the snacks,” he says when Kara shoots him a skeptical gaze. With a wave of his hand, the film reels start spinning again, and Kara settles in to watch.

And yeah, she drinks most of the slushie. She does consider her and Mxy to be… friends by now, and she has to admit that he picked out her favorite flavor combination. Who is Kara to deny herself a cherry-blueberry treat? Even superheroes can indulge every once in a while.

If Lena had been a fixture in Kara’s life before, she is a constant presence now. Kara watches as they go from spending most days together to nearly every day— from frequent but short lunch dates and impromptu visits to eating dinner together every night and spending weekends with the both of them lounging on Kara’s couch, her finishing up articles or verifying sources while Lena sends out emails at an inhuman pace which Kara teases her relentlessly for.

They tell Alex, and are greeted with a tight hug and muttered jokes about it being better late than never that they finally got together. They tell their friends, and are greeted by either elated congratulations or fond jeering— and in Nia’s case, a homemade cake. “I’m just so happy for you two,” she squeals, grabbing both of their hands and jumping up and down. “You’re just perfect for each other, you know?” she says, and Kara sinks down further into her seat.

Months fly by when you’re watching them through a screen with the aid of a little magic, Kara learns, but that doesn’t mean she forgets about what she sees. She notices the small things, the most, like how much more Lena smiles when the two of them are together, how much louder and sure her own laugh is. Kara glues her eyes to the screen and sees it all: the lazy Sunday mornings spent in bed, the long walks down by the pier, the way Lena beats everyone easily at Game Night, like it’s a sure thing, yet lets Kara lean in and kiss her for good luck before every round anyway. She notices how everything falls into place in a way it never has before.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t hiccups along the way. Kara and Lena still lead busy lives that come with plenty of danger, and because Kara remembers the other realities, where they get hurt or die or lose everything— lose one another— she clenches her jaw and waits for something equally awful to happen. Because no one can be this happy, right? Especially not Kara.

There’s a day where Lena is held hostage and only manages to use her watch and call for Supergirl in the nick of time. And then there’s when Kara blows out her powers and gets stranded out in the desert, fighting off the elements and waiting for Lena and the DEO to find and rescue her. There are countless moments like that— explosions and kidnappings and brutal fights and general high stakes missions where Kara thinks that’ll be it. One of them won’t get there in time, and they’ll lose the other, except this time, in this reality, that loss will cut impossibly deep. Deeper than Kara ever could have imagined.

But that never happens. The shoe never drops. The seemingly inevitable disaster that Kara’s convinced herself is on the horizon never takes place, and she’s left watching herself be happy, even as she’s torn up about it.

(She knows, by now, how much they care for each other. She can see it in the way Lena sits by her bed and waits many long, sleepless hours for Kara to wake up from a fight. She can tell because of how she holds Lena to her chest after a particularly dangerous attempt on her life. There’s a look on her face that would be unreadable to anyone but herself because Kara knows what that look means. It’s the way she looks when she wakes up from a nightmare about Krypton. It means that to Kara, losing Lena would be like losing her world all over again.)

And honestly, this isn’t really all that different than how they were before Kara’s secret got out. Sure, there was definitely less kissing, and hand holding, and blatantly obvious flirting, but still Kara knows just how close this reality is to her original because of the way they look at eachother. This Kara looks at this Lena in the exact same way that she always has, and if this Kara is hopelessly, happily in love, then…

“Oh Rao,” she whispers, mostly to herself, but she doesn’t mistake the knowing look Mxy gives her for anything but the condemnation that it is. It tells her that maybe people have been picking this up long before it was even an inkling in her mind. It tells her that for some people, this revelation is anything but.

And the uneasy part of her heart tells her that Kara might have always felt that way.

By the time her and Mxy get to a three month anniversary celebrated by breakfast in bed— initiated by Kara, of course— the imp seems bored. No, more restless, or overeager. Like he’s shown Kara his finest handiwork and is still waiting for a stamp of approval.

“There you have it,” he crows, smiling broadly. “Seems like a pretty good reality to me. You get to date Lena Luthor, and she gets to date Supergirl, and you both can raise a symbolic middle finger to Lex Luthor by being in love for the rest of time.”

Kara says nothing, still watching the screen, studying the relaxed way that Kara is lounging on her own version of the chair Kara’s occupying. She watches herself smile and bite her lip and text her girlfriend without a care in the world, and feels awfully conflicted for someone who’s found the best version of reality she could.

“Say the word, and I can make this permanent with a couple claps,” Mxy says again, raising his hands as if to demonstrate, and Kara finally whirls around.

“No,” she says, then sighs. She rubs her temples and asks herself why she isn’t leaping at the chance to live in this world forever.

“Sorry?” Mxy says, and for someone who loves to tell Kara about how he’s all-knowing, Mxy certainly seems caught off guard by Kara’s firmness. “What in Zook’s name are you talking about?”

“I can’t,” Kara says. She waves her hand at the screen, at the peace found there. How can she explain to someone who can do anything with a snap of his fingers that this doesn’t feel earned? “Mxy, this doesn’t feel right to me.”

“Well, I can make it even better,” Mxy offers, forges ahead without Kara’s approval. “What, do you want a new kitchen?” He waves his hands and suddenly, Kara’s old pans have been replaced by shining new ones, a marble countertop to boot. “Or… how about a better view?” The scene from Kara’s window changes until she can see the tops of National City’s skyscrapers. “Ooh, I know! I know you love the bangs, but how about some highlights too!” Kara glances to the screen to see herself wearing a very different hairstyle.

Mxy may have a point about the highlights. Kara does like the way the sunlights glances off of them. But, as for everything else…

“No, Mxy,” she says, a stilted laugh coming from her throat as she waves her own hands in the air. Somehow, Mxy actually listens, and Kara’s apartment returns to normal. “I don’t want any of that.”

“Hmm, I suppose you’re right,” he says, scratching his chin. Kara actually believes that he’s caught onto her hesitation for a moment, but she frowns when she sees his face light up again. “Your girlfriend could have done all of those things for you anyway.”

“Not what I meant,” Kara tries but she knows it’s too late. At this point, Mxy is on a roll, and Kara is just going to have to ride it out.

“How about a new superpower?” he asks, and Kara can’t stop herself from letting out a frustrated groan. “I mean, you’ve already got most of them, but, let me see what I’ve got cooking up in here.” He taps against his skull with an excited gleam to his eye. “Us fifth-dimensional beings are known for our creativity.”

“This isn’t necessary-”

“Teleportation? That’s been done. I’d let you time travel, but I don’t want you stepping on my toes and stealing my gig.” Mxy walks a tight circle around Kara, brow furrowed. “Your Dreamer friend already has the whole precognition thing down. Wait! What about…” He hits his hands on his thighs like a drumroll. “Talking to fish!”

Kara frowns, completely unimpressed. She says nothing and she doesn’t have to; even Mxy seems to realize that that particular idea of his is a bad one.

“Okay, okay,” he concedes, his hands held up placatingly. “I admit it’s a little rough around the edges, but if you’d just take it out for a test run…”

Kara takes a split-second to imagine herself having a serious conversation with a dolphin, and that’s enough to bring her back to reality. How they went so far astray from the issue of an alternate reality is beyond her, but she needs Mxy to stop talking long enough for her to get a word in.

She raises her hands in front of his face and claps hard. There isn’t enough oomph behind it to do any more damage than blowing the curtains and rattling the table, but it’s enough to momentarily stun Mxy into silence. Kara winces as he digs a finger into his ear, trying to stop it from ringing. She actually has grown pretty fond of him, as loathe as she is to admit it, and she hopes this doesn’t ruin his mood. Believe it or not, Kara thinks Mxy is actually doing this with the best of intentions, however obtuse he is about it.

“I don’t need a new power,” she says after inhaling slowly, trying to reclaim some sense of control. “And I don’t want a cool kitchen or a penthouse view or any of that. I know you’re just trying to help me, but…”

“But?...”

“To be honest, I don’t know what I want,” Kara admits at last, pinching her nose and fighting off a headache that’s coming on. “But I don’t think you can snap your fingers and give it to me.”

He laughs, giving her a weird look. “Maybe you’ve hit your head one too many times, Supergirl. I’m magic, remember? I can make sure you get anything in the universe.”

“Magic can’t be forced, Mxy,” Kara says, softer now. “It isn’t some safety net that I can depend on. That’s not how things work here.”

Mxy quiets down himself, looking confused. “Oh,” he says, sitting slowly back down onto the couch. “Fifth-Dimensional law clearly states that I’m supposed to come here and help give you whatever you want, to right my wrongs and bury the hatchet, so to speak.” He turns to her, his knee bouncing nervously. “You’re telling me that it’s impossible for me to do that?”

“No- listen.” Kara sits next to him with a huff but makes sure she’s sincere. “You have done so much for me today. And I know you genuinely want to help me. It’s just… this reality that you’ve given me…” Kara gestures to the screen. “It’s so perfect. But I’m just not sure it’s what I need.”

Suddenly, they’re surrounded by a dozen heavy, large, leather-bound books. Mxy plucks the nearest volume from where it had appeared balancing on Kara’s head and opens it, replacing his 3-D glasses with a pair of readers. They’re clearly old and well-worn, and they somehow endear Kara more to him, even if a stack of books tilt dangerously and end up breaking her lamp.

“What are you doing?” she asks as a few more books are flung her way as Mxy tears his way through them.

“Reading,” he says, scoffs as if it were obvious. Kara rolls her eyes and picks up a book herself. It’s volume number 4072 of interdimensional law, and Kara snaps it shut just as fast. “I can’t find anything in here about that,” he mutters.

“About what?”

Mxy closes his own book, glances over like Kara’s a pop quiz he hadn’t been ready for. “I’m supposed to give you what you want,” he explains. “There’s absolutely zilch in here about what you need, whatever that means.”

“That’s because most of the time, what we want and what we need are very different things,” Kara responds, doing her best to explain something she can’t put into words. “It’s the things we choose to sacrifice— or to sacrifice for.”

For her, the difference between want and need, desire and duty, dreams and reality has always been instinctual. Internal. It’s always gone hand in hand with the oath she made to herself by becoming Supergirl, and it’s rare that Kara’s ever strayed from the responsibilities that come with the commitment she made to this world.

Sometimes, that’s meant giving up on what she wants, or never finding what she needs. This time around, Kara wants to make an exception for Lena’s sake. Lena always has been one of the few things Kara’s been willing to make the exception for, after all.

Mxy pauses for a moment, and Kara thinks that by some miracle he’s actually understood. But then he clicks his tongue, frowns, and pages through another book. “I have absolutely no idea what that’s supposed to mean,” he tells her plainly, throwing that book aside too. “What any of this means, if I’m being honest.” He turns to her and Kara can actually see that there’s genuine bafflement in his eyes. “Why would you turn down something like this? I mean, I’ve shown you things you didn’t even realize you wished for. This is a world where you fall in love with your best friend… and it actually works out!”

Kara opens her mouth, ready to argue, but then closes it, losing steam. She has to ask herself if this is really the right decision.

After all, she can’t have asked for a better timeline, butterfly effect and all. Sure, some supervillains showed up at different times, and her sister started dating Kelly a few weeks later than she originally did, and Snapper Carr is unfortunately back to being a pain in her ass at Catco, but the biggest change that’s happened is her relationship with Lena. At this point, Kara can’t live in such denial that she doesn’t realize how much her and Lena have changed things for the better.

There’s no real point in telling herself that she isn’t in love with Lena when she so clearly is. In fact, Kara realizes that she’s fallen for Lena long ago, before things soured and decayed, before they ended up on opposite sides. Kara is coming to the understanding that maybe she’s loved Lena from the moment she met her, which is what makes this so hard for her to swallow.

She could have had this. She could have had all of this— can have this. But Kara can’t escape that voice in her head telling her that this reality is nothing but a cop-out. It’s wishful thinking, and it certainly isn’t what she deserves.

“You have done all the things you said you would— and I’m grateful for that. I really am,” she says, a little bittersweet. She can’t get how content Lena was in that reality out of her head; she can’t stop thinking about how happy that made her feel. “But this- this isn’t right. I can’t just move on with my life knowing that I had to force it to be perfect in every way. Even if this is the only world that Lena… feels the way I do.”

Mxy tilts his head. “Okay… then what?”

Kara lets out a breath. “I’m… not sure,” she admits, looking down at her hands. Then an idea strikes her and she meets his eyes again with newfound clarity. “Let me go back in there and talk to her,” she says, gesturing at the television. That version of her is still smiling softly down at her phone, forgetting all about the food she put in the oven a few hours ago. Not that Kara can judge; that is her, technically, and she’s definitely done the same thing before.

He laughs.

“What on earth for?”

Kara purses her lips. “I need to tell her the truth,” she says, pushing herself up off the couch. “Or, this version of the truth. She deserves to know. This world is just… some new lie I’ve been hiding behind. I haven’t learned my lesson at all— unless I change that right now.”

“WHAT? Why would you do that?” Mxy says, protesting weakly, but he scrambles to his feet when Kara stands up, shoulders high. “This is the one good world, remember? I know you. You’re gonna swoop in and… and mess it all up!”

Kara raises an eyebrow. “This is supposed to be all about helping me, right?” Mxy scoffs and throws his hands into the air, but Kara knows she’s caught him between a rock and a hard place. “I think this will be helpful. Which means that technically, you’re court mandated to do this.”

Mxy crosses his arms and glares.

“You really had to play that card, huh,” he says, and Kara just shrugs, only halfway apologetic. He grumbles to himself for a few seconds, but Kara can tell when he caves. “Fine,” he gripes. “I will allow you to go ruin my masterpiece.”

“Great!” Kara mostly ignores him. She rolls her shoulders and bounces on the balls of her feet, ready to be zapped away. “Okay, now do the thing.”

“Do you even know what you’re going to say to her?” Mxy asks, raising his hand as slowly as possible. When Kara shoots him a look he sighs and prepares his fingers to snap. “Besides some version of your usual impassioned, melodramatic speech?”

“No idea!” Kara responds, forcing herself to stay positive. Even if she is about to go do who knows how much damage to the one fleeting, healthy relationship she’s had with Lena in weeks. “Hopefully it’ll come to me when the time comes.”She sighs, and meets Mxy’s eyes with some degree of vulnerability. “I’ll ask for her advice. Lena will know what to do.”

Mxy just shakes his head, but his features soften, and Kara thinks she can recognize some hint of sympathy behind his anguished, offended expression. “It’s your funeral.”

He snaps his fingers, and colors and sounds swirl around her, and suddenly Kara is back on her couch, but in a very different reality, burning food and all.

Kara breathes out a long, nervous sigh. She’s back in this perfect, wonderful, dream of a world.

Now all she has to do is wait for Lena to show up so she can tear it all down.

After so many tries, Kara would think that she’d be better at telling Lena the truth.

It’s a little like ripping off a bandage, she knows. It’s taking a deep breath, plunging into icy cold water, and getting the oxygen punched out of you anyway. It’s picking a destination and walking forward without looking back once. Kara knows this.

But Rao, Lena makes it so hard.

And it certainly isn’t a conscious decision on the other woman’s part. Lena is none the wiser when she knocks on the door, when she sweeps through the doorway with her purse and her coat thrown over her arm and a private, doting smile reserved only for Kara. It feels intimate to the point of being overwhelming, especially since Kara is used to seeing that smile through the screen. Up close, she’s reminded how devastatingly beautiful Lena is. She’s reminded why she’s so scared to do anything to make that smile fade.

Kara knows that nothing can last forever. She just wants this vision of Lena to linger for as long as possible.

“I need to tell you something,” Kara says, breaking at last. She practically chokes the words out— is already wringing her hands together in anticipation— and when Lena looks over at her with a raised brow, it feels just like all the other times. This feels like the beginning of the end. Over and over again, Kara’s told Lena her secrets, and now, in this one world where it didn’t turn out so bad, where Kara actually found what she’d been hoping for, she’s going to ruin it again. Just like all the others.

It kinda makes Kara wonder if anything she loves will ever end without disaster.

“Of course, darling,” Lena replies automatically, resolutely. Despite her calm, Kara can see her tense as well. They both seem to realize something’s coming. “Though, if it’s about dinner, I already know. Your freeze breath doesn’t get rid of the smell of smoke, and I can tell a lost cause when I see one.”

“Not about the lasagna,” Kara mutters weakly. She plops down on the couch with clammy hands, and Lena follows close behind, sitting down with all the grace and poise and control that Kara is currently lacking. She gives Kara some room to breathe, but still leans toward her; it’s implicit trust, and it only serves to make Kara feel worse.

She knows this isn’t her Lena— knows there’s been enough of her own meddling and a generous helping of 5th-dimensional magic to ensure that this has never been her Lena— but timeline scrambling aside, it certainly feels real to Kara. And for this Lena, it is real, as real as anything else in this world. Because of that, Kara can’t help but feel like she’s about to ruin yet another Lena’s life— and all because she wants to tell the truth.

Kara just wants to stop living in a dream, no matter how blissful this one is. The only problem is getting the guts to wake up herself.

“We can order takeout, though,” she says, keeps on rambling and ducking under the task at hand. Anything to keep that fond look in Lena’s eye for a moment longer. “We’ve got those menus on the fridge, or there’s that new place you’ve been dying to try.”

While Kara knows Lena’s caught onto what she’s doing, Lena indulges her avoidance anyway, moving across the couch and closer to Kara with a playful smile and a smoldering look that makes Kara choke on air. “The one with all the kale? I remember you swearing to never eat that again, yes or no?”

“Well,” Kara says, a blush beginning to bloom on her neck. Lena’s effectively trapped her on the couch, both with the heat in her eyes and with the way she’s bracketed her arm across Kara’s body. “If it makes you happy, I can reconsider-”

Lena cuts her off with a soft kiss, grinning into it as Kara’s words are swallowed up. Kara can’t help the way her body reacts to it; she’s still kissing Lena after all, and even if she’s about to tell her that this isn’t even their real timeline, she closes her eyes and kisses back anyways. She trails her fingers up and down Lena’s spine and tries to take solace in this warm, uncomplicated, fleeting moment. She knows it will be one of the last that they’ll share.

After another drawn-out moment, Lena sits back down with a shining gleam in her eye. She reaches over and wipes a bit of lipstick from the corner of Kara’s mouth, and gives one last comforting squeeze to Kara’s thigh.

“I appreciate the gesture,” Lena says, still smiling, but her words turn serious. “But I can tell when you’re nervous and trying to change the subject. Kara, it’s just me. You can tell me what’s wrong, whatever it is.”

“You won’t like it,” Kara admits, putting her hand over where Lena’s still rests on her leg. She looks over with wide eyes, needing Lena to understand that she never meant for this to spin out of control in the way that it did. “I just really don’t want to hurt you.”

Kara can see the way her words hit, can see the way Lena swallows down her own nerves before they can reach the surface. “Kara, just tell me what’s bothering you,” she says slowly, with the slightest tremor. “We can figure out the rest together.”

There’s nowhere else to run. So, Kara takes a deep breath and tells Lena everything.

It’s a long story— convoluted and messy and Kara knows she isn’t telling it in a precise or organized fashion. But she knows the implications, however long-winded, get across, because at some point Lena jerks her hand away from Kara’s and her stare of perplexion transforms into something much more foreboding. Kara doesn’t know what’s going on in Lena’s head— and is too scared to stop talking long enough to allow Lena to get in a word of her own— but she knows it isn’t good. This isn’t good at all.

She can’t look Lena in the eye when she tells her about the original nature of their relationship— can hardly bear to explain to this woman that her entire reality was never all that real or natural to begin with. This Lena has brought Kara a kind of happiness she never even thought to seek out, has helped Kara realize the depths of her feelings for her best friend, has been a part of a dream brought to life, and here Kara is breaking her heart because of it.

Eventually, when there’s nothing left to say, Kara trails off. All of these different realities and all of these different Lena’s listening across from her have taught Kara when she’s said her piece; she’s confessed her guilt, explained what she can to her best ability, and has gone off on a half-dozen tangents. Now, Kara knows that it’s up to the woman sitting shell-shocked across from her to decide what happens next.

“I am so sorry, Lena. So sorry,” Kara says, and she wonders if those words will ever get easier to say because everytime it feels like she’s ripping out her own heart and throwing it into the fire alongside Lena’s.

Despite her pale face and trembling lip and something tremendous and pained burning behind her eyes, Lena says nothing. She just sits there in silence, staring down at her fingers. Kara panics— because Lena Luthor is rarely at a loss for words, and she’s starting to think that maybe revealing every single part of the truth, Mxyzptlk included, may have been a poor choice.

“Say something,” Kara says, pleading. She doesn’t even know if Lena is more upset or angry, and it feels like she has no real footing anymore. No, it feels like she’s pitched herself off the mountain entirely, and needs Lena to tell her how hard and how fast she’s going to hit the ground.

“I’m thinking,” Lena says slowly, voice purposefully blank. “This is… rather hard to process.”

“I know it is,” Kara agrees, burying her head into her hands. Rao, she should have made a chart, or written it all out, or at least should have rehearsed what she was going to say before just blurting it out. “Let me help,” she tries. “I can help. You must have questions.”

Lena glances up, her eyes guarded. “I do, actually,” she answers, voice still measured. Kara perks up at the invitation to help despite that, and moves closer before realizing that she’s in no position to offer Lena comfort anymore.

“Anything. I won’t lie.”

“Why’d you do it?” Lena asks, and out of anything she could have said, Kara isn’t expecting that.

“Why... did I do it?” Kara repeats, just making sure. Lena crosses her arms, frowns, and sends Kara a piercing look, but she isn’t as stunned as Kara expected.

“From what I understand, a 5th-dimensional creature with an abundance of magic, few ethical qualms, and a consuming need to make amends with you showed up at your door and offered you a chance to change anything. The same one who interrupted things between us that first night after you told me you were Supergirl,” Lena says methodically, and Kara nods. “And in your… original timeline, we were nothing more to each other than?”

“Best friends,” Kara interjects quickly, needing her to understand how much she means to her in any reality. “We were best friends.”

Lena sends her a look that isn’t all that convinced by Kara’s definition of their relationship. “So why, out of a million missed opportunities and mistakes you could have fixed, did you choose to alter the space-time continuum for your best friend?”

(It sounds exactly like what Alex had said to her, when she’d challenged Kara as to why she was prepared to change history for one friendship, and Kara is still searching for a good answer.)

Kara gapes at the loaded implication hidden behind what should be a simple question. ‘I- well, it’s… it’s more complicated than it seems,” she says, reaching up and scratching the back of her neck. It’s a nervous habit, one she knows this Lena is well aware of, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Lena leans closer, her voice barely disguising its ice. “Which part, Kara?” she asks. “The magic, or the fact that we were nothing more to each other than friends?”

Kara grimaces, slumps further down into the couch. “I mean, I-”

“What I want to know, Kara, is if you fell in love with me- ” Lena raises a hand to her own heart, and her unaffected mask drops for just a moment. Kara catches a glimpse of just how much this has hurt her. “Or if every version of you has always loved every version of me.”

Kara feels her own heart squeeze, but now she knows what it’s trying to tell her. This is a question she knows how to answer now. “I think I’ve always loved you,” she says. Flashes of her Lena come to mind. Really, Lena has always been hers, no matter when or how or why Kara chose to tell her the truth. In all those realities, Lena’s pull over Kara had been a constant. “Every part of you, good and bad.”

Incredibly enough, Lena softens at the words. When she looks up, Kara finds misery in her eyes, but no real bitterness. Lena actually seems content with the answer Kara gave her, even if it still hurt to hear. “I understand, then,” she says, and Kara gapes over at her.

“You do?” she asks.

“Of course.” Lena gives her a sad smile, shrugging her shoulders. “You love me enough to change the entire world. I’d do the same thing for you.”

They sit there in silence for a moment, Kara marveling over her words. She's so used to seeing anger when it comes to Lena— to dealing with coldness and cutting cruelty and the sweeping actions of a person who's been betrayed one time too many— that she forgot how easily Lena came to forgive when it came to her. When it came to Kara, Lena always seemed to find a reason to love her despite her mistakes.

Kara’s realizing that she never really gave her Lena a chance to do that. Not a good one, anyway.

“When did you finally tell her?” Lena asks, breaking their odd sense of peace.

Kara closes her eyes, feeling that old shame curl just as strong in her stomach as it had the very first time she’d realized how badly she’d hurt Lena, standing there in the Fortress of Solitude. “I didn’t,” she admits. “Lex did.”

The revelation registers across Lena’s features like a slap to the face; she recoils and looks at Kara with a newfound sense of fury. It’s out of a sense of protection towards herself, Kara figures, even if this Lena isn’t the one she did something that awful to. “I see,” she says, cold again, but Kara is beyond trying to defend herself for it.

“Yeah,” she says simply, because neither of them needs to elaborate on the fact that Lex Luthor being the one to tell Lena that Kara was Supergirl is the worst way it could have gone.

“And I— she— hurt you right back, didn’t she?”

Again, Kara thinks back to the Fortress, and the Kryptonite, and the anguished twist to Lena’s face as she screamed and cried and told Kara how long she’d really known the truth, a betrayal of its own. Then she remembers how Myriad had looked, clutched in her hands. She remembers pleading with Lena through her mother’s hologram, remembers almost confessing something immense right then and there, can remember telling anyone who would listen that they couldn’t treat Lena like a villain, not again-

Kara remembers looking at old pictures of them together later that night, all alone and surrounded by the realization that it was all her fault.

She remembers wondering how she could ever have been so careless.

“She was in so much pain,” Kara says. “She was just like you when you first came to National City. Determined to do things by herself, without the risk of someone else hurting her. I was the only person she’d let slip through the cracks, so when she found out- she was alone. I did exactly what she was most afraid of me doing. I just… should have realized it sooner.”

“And of course it was you,” Lena says. She seems mournful for this version of herself she’ll never meet, and to Kara’s surprise, sympathetic towards her as well. “Out of anyone in the world who could make me do something truly terrible, it would be you.” Lena stares at her, intense, and Kara gets the feeling that she’s talking about something more than just her own feelings. “Love makes us do crazy things sometimes.”

“I thought that maybe I could change things by going back and telling you sooner,” Kara says. “I thought I could spare us both the heartache. But instead I only made things worse— I only made you worse.”

Lena says nothing. A shadow crosses her face, and Kara recognizes the fear that comes with it. It’s the same look she’s seen Lena wear a thousand times— trying to wrestle with her family’s past, trying to believe that she was nothing like them. Trying to fight off fears that inevitably, she’s become just as terrible as them.

(The funny thing is, even when Lena crossed the line— even when she crossed pages upon pages of lines and painted Kara into a corner and demanded that she decided then and there what she thought of her— Kara had never seen Lena as a villain. And maybe she should have. Maybe that was the safest mindset to have when it came to protecting the world and keeping the interests of the greater good above her own, but Kara couldn’t. She’d never been able to be so selfless when it came to Lena.)

“You say you saw several timelines,” Lena says, still troubled by something. “That one, where I was Metallo, where I ruled with an iron fist-”

“That was a poor choice of words,” Kara interrupts with a wince.

Lena silences her with a look. “How many more of those could there be?”

Kara sighs. It’s only natural for Lena to wonder about her potential for evil, especially with her last name, but that doesn’t mean she wants to tell this Lena about all of the bad things her other selves did. “I don’t know,” she answers honestly. “The possibilities are endless, and not just for our Earth. I met an evil overlord version of myself who came from a world where the Nazis won World War Two. She interrupted a friend’s wedding day and was… unpleasant, to say the least.”

“Kara,” Lena says gently, an unspoken request to leave that story for some other time.

“The point is,” she continues, getting back on track. “There are worlds where I’m evil, and there are worlds where you are. There could be somewhere where we both are.” Lena shudders at the thought, and Kara can’t blame her. They’ve accomplished so much working together that the idea of the two of them both on the side of evil is rightly scary. “Everyone has potential to do terrible things inside of them. I’ve learned that what matters is that we recognize that we’re not all good or all bad, but a bit of both. All you can do is try to do better everyday.”

Lena doesn’t seem convinced, so Kara keeps talking. She needs her to know that that reality was a fluke— that once again, it was because Kara hadn’t been there when she should have been.

“Do you want to know why that Lena was so twisted?” she asks, and after a moment, Lena inclines her head, inviting her to continue. “Mxy asked if I wanted to see a world where the two of us never even met.” She lets out a breath through her nose, remembering how disillusioned she’d felt, after failure after failure, like she was cursed. “And I agreed. I thought that maybe you’d be better off if you’d stayed far away from me. Maybe, you wouldn’t end up so hurt.”

Lena laughs, but it comes out as more of a scoff. But she moves closer anyway, lets their feet brush up against each other as they both sit in their own world. “I take it that wasn’t the case?” she guesses, and Kara’s confirmation comes with a grim smile.

“It was a wasteland,” she says. “National City was destroyed. All of our friends were these… empty shells of their former selves, and you…” Kara can’t stop the way her voice trembles when she recalls how desolate she’d felt when she saw nothing but hate on that other Lena’s face. That blank, crushed, unrecognizable look had hurt worse than the Kryptonite. “I hadn’t been there to save you. I let you crash in that helicopter and let your mother experiment on you and let you become this monster that you never should have been.”

Kara is brought back to that night, the Catco offices illuminated in eerie red lighting and cast in pitch black shadows. The way she’d walked with unsteady feet and no one to hold onto because she just knew that whatever version of Lena that she’d find wasn’t one she could endure seeing without being completely consumed with despair. She didn’t want to see a Lena who didn’t recognize her, didn’t want to see just how much pain she could cause. She’d known then, with growing certainty, that Lena wasn’t someone she could win against. If she came to blows against her, Kara would be the one to lose no matter what.

“Even when I saw what you’d become, I still loved you,” Kara whispers. “I loved you despite everything that you might have been. You were… so lost. So sad. And I refused to fight you. I couldn’t have brought myself to do it. Because… fighting you would have been just like watching you die in my arms, and I’d rather lose everything than do it again.”

“That’s a dangerous thing to say,” Lena responds after a moment, but when she closes the distance and takes Kara’s hands in both of her own, and reaches up to wipe away a tear on Kara’s cheek, Kara knows she understands that love, for the two of them, always feels a little like dying. Always feels a little like the end of the world.

“Maybe. But it’s the truth. I’d do anything for you. Wonderful or terrible.”

“And what are you going to do now?” Lena asks, her face too pinched to be calm yet too smooth to be restless. She’s going to follow along with whatever Kara decides to do, Kara realizes, and that sudden awareness gives her pause.

“Why aren’t you more upset?” Kara asks, her curiosity getting the best of her.

Lena seems to mull it over for a moment. Perhaps she isn’t sure herself why she isn’t having more of an extreme reaction to this news. “Because,” she says at last, looking certain. “Part of me always knew this was too good to be true. You were… perfect. You were more than what I deserved.”

“That isn’t true,” Kara tries, her voice soft, but Lena silences her with a wave of her hand and a kind smile.

“You’re sweet. But nobody deserves something this perfect. Not unless they fight to create it for themselves.”Lena shrugs. “Besides. I never wanted a version of you who did everything perfectly right. I only ever wanted the real you, the one who has flaws and makes mistakes and who could hurt me. That’s all part of falling in love.”

Kara stares, a little dumbstruck by what Lena said. “I always thought that this is what you wanted,” she says, and it feels like she’s seeing Lena in a new light. “I thought if I could change the ugly parts of myself, if I could make sure I didn’t hurt you in the ways I did before, you’d be happiest. Why would you choose anything different?”

“Because, Kara,” Lena says, and she’s laughing again, so close to how she used to that Kara feels it turn tangible in the air. “We don’t get to choose who we fall in love with. It just… happens, sometimes. I don’t know why. And from the time I’ve spent with you, I’ve learned enough to know that there’s nothing to do but embrace it, and hope it doesn’t sting too badly.” She takes a deep breath, and stares at Kara carefully. “I think you need to go back.”

“What?” Kara says, but somehow, she’s not all that surprised. Lena’s always been more selfless than she’s ever let on, and Kara had a feeling she’d do something like this. No, what Kara can’t believe is the amount of conviction in Lena’s voice. “Lena, you need to understand,” she says. “I can stay here, if that’s what makes you happy. I don’t want to hurt you more than I already have.”

Lena places a hand on her shoulder, and Kara can’t stop herself from leaning into it. She feels terribly sad, all of the sudden, feels like she’s losing control even if she knows she isn’t.

“Sometimes, things need to come to an end,” she says, and the tears in her eyes match Kara’s. “You made me… so happy. But it’s time for us to move on.”

“Lena,” Kara tries, but finds that she can’t get any other words out of her mouth. Lena just smiles at her mournfully.

“Darling,” she says softly, resting their foreheads together. “It’s the right thing to do. I know that, and so do you. Otherwise you never would have told me the truth.”

Even if she knows Lena is right, Kara grits her teeth and shakes her head. “But I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she admits, feels more tears start to fall and chokes down a sob when Lena ever so gently wipes them away. “Lena, I don’t know what’s going to happen to you. I can’t- I can’t handle losing you another time.”

“Who says you’re going to lose me?” Lena tilts Kara’s chin up and meets her eyes. They’re both crying, but somehow Lena is smiling too, as fondly as ever. Like this hasn’t diminished her love for Kara in the slightest. “No matter the reality, we’re still the same two souls, aren’t we?”

“Yeah,” Kara whispers, unable to keep the ache out of her voice.

“Well then, we won’t really be going anywhere, will we?” Lena says. “You said that you’ve always loved me, in every version of the universe. Kara, I love you too. You’re always going to wrap around my heart in any reality. I swear to you that my feelings won’t change even if everything else does.”

Kara chuckles bitterly, buries her face in Lena’s shoulder. “You haven’t been there,” she says. “You don’t know how badly I’ve hurt you.”

“Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, the reason that I’m so hurt is because I loved you so much that it tore me up inside?” Lena asks, making Kara’s breath hitch. “Who’s to say that your Lena isn’t just trying to make up for a broken heart?”

They sit in silence for a minute or two. Even if Kara is lost in her own thoughts, she doesn’t miss the urgency in the way Lena is stroking her back, or cradling her head to her neck. This Lena is brave— but that doesn’t mean she isn’t also terrified. Neither of them want this to end, although it must.

“How do I fix it?” Kara asks her, closing her eyes and trying to soak up these last few moments of warmth. The both of them know that their time is fleeting, and Lena’s hands begin to shake. “Can you ever forgive me?”

“I hope so,” Lena answers. She heaves out a broken, soft breath, and kisses Kara’s hairline over and over again. “God, I hope so. Just, tell her the truth. The complete truth. Sometimes, forgiveness takes a little push. You need to stay, and wait, and catch her when she comes down.”

“I will,” Kara vows. “I’m always going to be there for you.”

“Even if she hates you for it,” Lena persists, her grip around Kara’s neck tightening as if in emphasis. “Especially if she hates you for it. If she’s anything like me, that sort of pain is intoxicating. Addicting. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. You’re going to have to fight for me to come back to you.”

“Okay.” Kara actually smiles, puffs out her chest like she would if she were Supergirl right now. It jostles Lena from where she’s curled herself up, and the two of them laugh quietly, tearfully, one last time. “I can do that.”

“Okay,” Lena whispers back. Just like that, their time is up.

Kara stands up, and Lena does too. Her eyes are red, and her cheeks are tear stained, and Kara can remember all the other Lenas that looked just like this. But this time around, Kara tries to draw strength from it, because Lena loves her, and she loves Lena, and now Kara knows that nothing across the universe could change that. Sometimes that meant getting hurt. But if it meant getting Lena back, it might just be worth it.

Kara gives her one last sad, hopeful smile before raising her hand to get out of there, but then Lena rushes forwards. She throws her arms around Kara’s neck and kisses her with an intensity that Kara hadn’t even known was possible. It’s frantic, and messy, but it also conveys everything that the two of them felt for each other. It gives Kara hope that this won’t be the end of their time together.

When they break apart, Lena clears her throat. Even as her world is ending, she manages to give Kara a look that sweeps her off her feet. “For luck,” she says, though Kara doesn’t need an explanation. “And something to remember me by.”

“I love you,” Kara blurts out. She prays to Rao up amongst the stars that this isn’t the last time she’ll get to say that to Lena.

“I know.” Lena pushes a strand of Kara’s hair back behind her ear, then takes a step back. Her eyes sparkle, and Kara never wants to forget how breathtaking she is in this moment. “Now go get ‘em, Supergirl.”

How Kara hadn’t known she was in love with this woman is completely beyond her at this point. “I’ll see you soon.” She nods, gives what she hopes is a confident, sideways grin, and snaps her fingers.

As this world dissolves away, Kara tries to hold onto the ghost-like warmth of that Lena’s fingertips, her lipstick on her cheek. It’s a reminder to have faith, and to take a leap every once in a while.

When she reconvenes with Mxy, the imp looks strangely resigned to something.

“Yeesh,” he says, blowing his nose hard with a handkerchief. “That was painful to watch, even for you. And I’ve watched you screw up half a dozen timelines now.”

It shouldn’t be funny, but Kara can’t help but laugh anyway. “I appreciate the vote of confidence, Mxy,” she says with a lingering chuckle, one that he seems mystified by.

“Are you sure you don’t wanna spin the wheel and try once more?” he asks, already standing up, fingers ready to whisk Kara off somewhere entirely new.

It’s tempting. It’s tempting even if Kara did just leave the most perfect version of her life that she could think of. But this time around, Kara knows she won’t. This time around, Kara feels certain about what she really wants— and what she really needs.

“No,” she says. “Absolutely not.” When she leans forward on the couch, it’s with a sense of purpose this time. “I realize now that it doesn’t matter when I tell Lena the truth. There will always be consequences. Some good, and some bad, but always huge.”

“Uh-huh,” Mxy says, and Kara knows he’s doing his best to be understanding, but he can’t keep the disappointment out of his eyes. Kara recognizes this type of dejection. He feels like he’s failed her, while Kara knows that Mxy has actually helped her realize something that’s been in front of her all this time.

“And I can’t always just snap my problems away,” Kara continues. “Instead I need to learn to live with them.” Kara taps an erratic pattern with her palms into the couch cushion, feeling more nervous and excited and determined than she’s been since all of this first went down between her and Lena.

“Oh. Oh boy. Okay… ” Mxy begins to pace around her living room, actually looking a little concerned. Kara feels a burst of fondness when she realizes that he’s concerned for her. This imp, who used to only care about himself and his desires and was willing to reshape the entire universe to get his way, is now worried about her.

Maybe they’ve both managed to help each other out.

“Look, Mxy,” she says with a sigh, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. “I know it didn’t turn out the way we expected, but you… you really did help me.” The smile is impossible to hide now, and Kara stands up to squeeze his shoulder. “You helped me realize how I really felt about Lena. Without you, I could have been in denial for the rest of my life. And now… I know what I have to do. Thanks to you.”

Mxy actually turns bashful, blushing scarlet and staring down at his shoes. “I suppose I did help in starting the love story of a generation, so, that is rather impressive.”

Kara scoffs, shaking her head. “I don’t know about starting it, but yeah. I realize now how much she’s always meant to me.” She rummages in her back pocket and after a moment, presents the tape recorder he’d given her way back when to him with a flourish and a twinkle in her eye. “Now, go. Be free.”

“Ah,” he says, still blushing. Chuckling, he grabs the recorder, turns it over in his hands.

“Use your magic to do… whatever it is you do,” Kara laughs, then turns serious, raising an eyebrow and crossing her arms. “Just don’t get in too much trouble. I don’t want to have to bail you out anywhere, alright? Especially not in some other dimension.”

“You’d really do that for me?” he asks, pausing from where he’d been polishing the tape and looking up with wide eyes.

Kara smiles again, a kind one this time. “Yeah, I would,” she says genuinely. “You’re my friend.”

“Oh, I- wow.” Mxy tucks the device away and clears his throat, trying to seem dignified. “Thank you.” His shoulders straighten, and he stands tall, but he also avoids Kara’s eyes, still shy. “And I should say, uh… before I met you, I was- I was pretty lonely. And from that pain, I would… force myself onto people, into their lives.”

Kara gives him an encouraging smile, and Mxy looks down at his shoes. For someone so dramatic and over-the-top, he’s modest and subdued now. It makes it really seem like they’re just to people mending things over, not an alien and a magical imp. Everyone makes mistakes, Kara realizes, even the people that can erase them with a snap of their fingers.

“But, um… out there with you today, saving the world, I felt like- I felt like maybe I was liked, just for being me,” he continues, meeting her eyes. He shakes his head and smiles breathlessly, like he still can’t quite believe it. “I felt like I had friends.”

“You don’t have to feel so lonely anymore,” Kara says with a smile, and Mxy nods.

“I know that,” he says. Then his eyes turn serious, and he looks at Kara with newfound intensity. “And it’s true, what you said. That magic… can’t be forced. It has to be found.” This time it’s Kara who stares at the ground, feeling shy herself. She knows exactly who he’s talking about. “And believe me, Kara. I think you’ve got something pretty magical here yourself. You didn’t even need me to help you find it.”

“I’m proud of you, Mxy,” Kara says in answer. For someone so irresponsible and wild, Mxy did turn out to be pretty wise. “Thanks for everything.”

They share one last moment, smiling at each other warmly, before Mxy winks at steps away. “You’re welcome,” he says, his usual showmanship back, and blue magic begins to swirl around his feet. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Mardi Gras in the ‘80s...” Kara blinks, and suddenly Mxy is wearing breeches and a waistcoat, but his neck is covered in brightly covered beads. It’s a bizarre clash of eras and styles, and Kara blinks once more to make sure she isn’t imagining things. “The 1780s.”

She laughs, full and bright and joyful. Despite the things she knows she has to do, and no matter how nervous she is to do them, right here in this moment, Kara feels light— no matter how heavy her shoulders. “Don’t ever change,” she tells him, shaking her head.

“The same goes for you,” Mxy replies, waving what looked like a jeweled staff in her general direction. “Now, don’t you have something to go do?” He spins away before Kara can reply, dissolving before her eyes. “Go get the girl!” is the last thing she hears, before Mr. Mxyzptlk vanishes with a twinkle, leaving behind a bit of magic in the air and a heap of buttery popcorn in his wake.

Kara gives herself a moment to turn around and inspect her apartment, sighing softly to herself. There’s one of the tapes that Mxy had brought, poking out from her TV stand, and curious, Kara goes to pick it up. It’s titled The One Where Lena Decides to Work With Lex, and Kara stomach drops, her hand breaking the tape into fragments.

Maybe she should be furious. Maybe she should be frustrated, or disappointed, or even sad, but instead this just strengthens her resolve. She’d promised Lena once that she’d always be there for her, no matter what, and as of late Kara had let that promise slip away like all the others. She’d limped away to lick her wounds and forgot about the vow she’d made to fight by Lena’s side. Sometimes, that means fighting to save her from herself. Kara knows that even if her and Lena never get that happy ending that she got a glimpse of, even if Kara gets her heart broken in the process, she’s going to keep this one promise.

She sees a particular ivory tower shining in the distance, and knows that it’s time. Mxy is right. She needs to do her best to get Lena back, so Kara leaps into the air and heads off into the night sky to do exactly that.

Despite the fact that Kara had counted on it being the case, when she hovers in front of Lena’s balcony and sees the other woman awake and idly making a pot of tea, Kara is still surprised to see her. Not because of the late hour— Lena’s always been nocturnal both by habit and by sheer force of will— but because it feels like it’s been ages since Kara’s seen her.

This is the real Lena. Her Lena. They belong to each other in this world, have forged the other through their flaws and their mistakes, and Kara finally realizes now that that’s why she cares about this woman so much. Just because neither of them are perfect doesn’t mean they aren’t deserving of a little forgiveness, or a second chance.

Kara’s willing to fight for this Lena in ways she hadn’t understood until now. All she can hope is that Lena can somehow understand too.

Lena knows she’s there. Kara can tell by the way her shoulders tense, the way she can see Lena setting her jaw even with her back turned. She’s stubborn, and sullen, and Kara knows that she won’t be getting any real charity from her tonight. This is the state of their relationship in this world— but no matter how wide and deep of a chasm, Kara takes faith in the fact that it feels genuine. Even if it cuts, and burns, and Kara chokes on the hurt feelings between the two of them, at least this is their own doing. At least her and Lena both are responsible for this, both in the past and what they can decide to do about it now.

Not needing to be gentle about her entrance, her feet brush down and land solidly on the balcony. Kara isn’t sure what to think about the doors already being wide open. She knows it isn’t an open invitation, not when Lena looks so clearly on edge with her being there. It would be wishful thinking to wonder if maybe Lena had been hoping Kara would show up. But then again, the two of them have always been linked in a rather unexplainable way. Maybe Lena had a feeling she’d see Kara tonight, and maybe some part of her left the balcony unlocked, just in case.

In the end it doesn’t matter. An open door is better than a locked one, and it means that Kara can see the hesitation on Lena’s face just as Lena can see it on hers.

Lena leaves the kettle on her stovetop, sets down her teabag, and sighs. “Let me guess,” she says, as Kara stands frozen outside. “You’re here to tell me once again that I should forgive you.”

It’s a sharp blow, right off the bat, and Lena smiles humorlessly as she makes her way around the counter, facing Kara in what she must assume is an act of defiance. A better stance to fight in, maybe, but Kara really isn’t here to fight.

Her joints still ache from the kryptonite that the other Lena had mercilessly sent her way. Kara doesn’t want to fight at all, not against Lena, anyway. She’s had enough of that today.

Kara says nothing, and Lena’s eyes narrow. She continues to walk forwards. “Or, maybe that I shouldn’t be working with my brother?” Kara knows she should say something, knows that her standing here silent feels more damning, feels purposeless, but she’s speechless. She’s missed this Lena, poison and all, because this is who she’s fallen in love with.

Lena sneers, and Kara’s throat bobs. “Come now, Supergirl. Surely you have something to say to me,” she says. “I know how much you love to make excuses.”

(What really hurts is that Lena never calls her Kara anymore. A year ago, that was all she was to Lena. Really, Lena was one of the last few who she was allowed to be just Kara around. There was no expectation to be anything more than some ordinary girl who’d become enamored with her best friend, and that’s what Kara misses the most.)

“Not this time,” she says at last, her voice steady by some miracle.

Lena raises an eyebrow, and Kara continues.

“I recognize that I made a mistake by hiding my identity from you for so long.” Kara’s voice is slow, careful, monotonous. She needs to make sure she says the things she needs to before she breaks, needs to set the stage and get everything out in the open before she can put herself out there for Lena. “But the past is the past, and I can’t change it. Believe me, I can’t.” Her voice lowers. “Forgive me or not, that’s your choice. Just like it’s your choice to work with Lex. I’m done trying to force my desires and my expectations on you. That isn’t fair, and it isn’t right.”

Kara thinks she sees surprise register when Lena’s eyes widen ever so slightly, but it’s gone the moment her face smoothes back out to marble, and Kara wonders if she even saw anything at all.

“Then why are you here?” Lena asks, chin jutting out, but even with the accompanying scowl Kara knows better. She’s got Lena’s attention now, at least briefly. If she wants to say her piece, this is the time.

“To tell you the truth. The whole truth,” Kara says, walking finally walking inside. Lena scoffs, readies her comeback, but she also falters at their proximity. Kara’s heart tightens when she realizes just how unused the two of them are to being around each other, wonders how it all went wrong so quickly, but holds her head high.

“You’ve got some nerve, saying that to me,” Lena grits out, but anything else she might have wanted to say seems to die on her tongue. She just stands there in silence instead, letting her unspoken anger waft over the both of them

“I know,” Kara responds simply.

Lena’s eyes flash, and she crosses her arms. Kara forces herself not to do the same, wants to be open to Lena and her feelings in every way she can be. “You’re telling me that after everything, you still have more secrets to hide behind?” She chuckles, though it brings no levity to the room. “I really didn’t know you at all, huh.”

Kara swallows hard and lets that last comment glance off of her, shakes it off. She could spend hours trying to justify herself to Lena, to try and go on the defensive and beg and plead for mercy, for understanding, for something. But that’s been played out between the two of them, and Kara knows it’s grown stale. She needs to square her shoulders and do exactly what she said she would.

“It’s no secret. Not really.” Something indescribable and sweeping overtakes her voice; she hears it, Lena hears it, and neither of them know what to make of it. Kara’s never felt this way when she’s told Lena the truth. Perhaps it’s because this is more than just her identity— this is her heart. This is her showing Lena where she’s most vulnerable and giving her the opportunity to hurt her there, if she decides to. “It’s just something that took me a while to realize myself.”

Lena doesn’t give a response at first, just stands there. Her hands twitch, like she wants something to hold onto, and just like the last version of Lena that Kara confronted, she seems to know what’s coming. Maybe not the specifics of it— just that it will have severe consequences.

“Say what you want,” she says, the slight shake in her voice at the end the only indication that she’s invested at all in what’s coming next. “You really can’t make things any worse.”

“I love you,” Kara says, her voice cracking from the intensity of it.

Lena reels back on instinct, and she can’t keep up her stoic mask anymore; Kara has said that to her hundreds of times before— but this time, they both know it’s different.

Still, her walls are back up, and Lena tries to deflect. “Of course you do,” she replies, dismissive. “Just not so much that you wouldn’t betray me.”

“I’m in love with you, Lena,” Kara tries again, and this time, it lands the way it’s supposed to.

For lack of a better word, Lena takes it poorly.

She stares at Kara for a full minute in complete silence, her face paler than Kara’s ever seen it, her heart pounding. The kettle boils over and shrieks in the silence, but Lena doesn’t even flinch, rooted to the spot. Kara doesn’t think she’d move even if her penthouse was burning down.

Her breath begins to tremble, begins to trip over itself and come out in quick huffs, and Kara— Kara feels caught between headlights. She stays frozen in place too, admittedly calmer than the other woman, and keeps her gaze firmly down at the ground by Lena’s feet. She isn’t so sure she wants to see the emotions dancing across Lena’s face right now.

Suddenly, Kara can’t wait in silence any longer. Her boldness has all but left her, sucked away into the vacuum that’s been created between her and Lena, but still she forces herself to speak again, as if she hasn’t just said the most damning thing of all.

There is no recovering from this, and there’s certainly no way to take it back. Kara can’t save face, or smooth things over, or run away. She has to take a breath, no matter how hard her heart is pounding, and move forward.

If Lena won’t say anything, then Kara will.

“And, um, I really didn’t realize it until today,” she says, and her voice sounds distant compared to the ringing in her ears. “But then Mxy showed up, and he- he… well, I guess you two haven’t formally met. He’s from the Fifth Dimension, and he’s magic, and he tried to get me to marry him a few years back… the point is, he offered his help,” Kara explains, knowing that none of this is necessary yet being unable to stop. “He gave me a chance to go back in time and fix anything in the world. To undo any mistake I’d ever made… and I chose to change what happened between us.”

Kara thinks about taking a step forward, but decides against it. Though she hasn’t mustered up the courage to meet her eyes yet, she can tell that Lena’s rattled just by her body language. She doesn’t want to scare her off. Lena has every right to turn and walk away and never speak to Kara again— Kara knows that— but she refuses to just drop something like a declaration of love without explanation.

She chooses to pace between her spot on the floor and the balcony instead, the cool breeze settling her stomach somewhat.

“I thought I could make things better. I thought I could go back and rewrite history, to prevent things knowing what happens next.” She shrugs, feeling more than a little helpless under Lena’s burning gaze. “At least, that’s what I told Alex and J’onn. They needed to believe that it was for a noble purpose, to save the world. But deep down, I just wanted my best friend back. How was I supposed to ignore a chance to create a world where I’d never hurt you, and you’d never hurt me?”

Kara thinks she sees Lena flinch out of the corner of her eye, and realizes belatedly that this was exactly what Lena had been trying to do. “Non Nocere,” Kara echoes, her voice taut. “Do no harm, right? Believe me or not, Lena, but know this: I wanted exactly what you did. You shouldn’t have used Myriad.” Kara can’t stop herself from snapping a bit at the memory of her best friend holding something that had brought Kara such pain, but takes a breath. “But even then, I understood. I was sick of all the pain and the guilt and the anger too, and Mxy offered me a way to just… snap it away.”

Lena still says nothing. Kara’s cape catches in the wind, and she wishes she wasn’t doing this as Supergirl. Because really, Lena had never belonged to Supergirl in the same way that she had to Kara Danvers. It was Kara Danvers who had fallen in love with her first.

“So, I agreed,” she continues. “It wasn’t easy, at first, even with his help. I still messed up over and over again. One of us still ended up hurt. Usually, it was both of us. But then, eventually, I actually did it.” She sighs softly, because now it’s time to tell Lena about the timeline where they both ended up happy. Now, she has to explain why she chose to ruin it anyway. “Neither of us got hurt, and the world hadn’t ended, and no one wound up dead. I couldn’t believe it. It was actually… a dream come true, and being with you again— just getting to be your best friend again— it reminded me that I wasn’t so alone. I thought that I’d finally found what I wanted.”

She takes a moment to gather her thoughts, trying to decide how to describe the moment everything changed. Kara knows what’s coming next, and decides to keep it simple.

“Then, you kissed me,” Kara says, and Lena lets out a quiet gasp. It’s the biggest reaction she’s had this whole time. “And I kissed you back.”

“Kara,” Lena says, and it sounds pleading, sounds like a warning, and Kara wants to stop, wants to read desperately into every bit of emotion that Lena had just let slip. But she finds herself too afraid to do that, is too far down this path to stop talking now, and so she plows ahead.

“It had always been in front of me. This whole time,” Kara says quietly, meeting Lena’s eyes at last. Something sharp and intense passes between them, but Lena still looks so hurt, so shaken, so lost. Maybe neither of them were ready for this, even if they both knew it would come. “But I didn’t understand until I kissed you back, just how badly I’d always wanted to.”

“Kara,” Lena’s voice says again, barely above a whisper now.

“Please, Lena. You can hate me if you want. But please, please, just… let me say this. I really am trying to be honest now.” Now that she’s started, Kara can’t look away from Lena’s eyes, can’t rip herself away from just how green they are, how they glisten behind unshed tears.

“The truth is, I fell in love with you a long time ago. And that only makes what I did to you worse, but the truth is, I think that’s why I lied for you for so long. It was easier to be dishonest and pretend that I wasn’t scared to death of letting you all the way in. There’s a reason why it hurt so badly when things fell apart between us. I didn’t just lose a friend. The truth is, Lena, there’s a reason why I agreed to change our entire universe just to have a chance of getting you back, and it wasn’t selfless.” Kara closes her eyes for just a moment, remembers all of these different Lena’s— every shade of smile, every single look in their eyes, all of the joy and the anger and the tragedy— and sees it all in Lena now. She wonders what Lena sees when she looks at her. “I wanted a chance to change the ending. I couldn’t let you just slip away.”

There’s silence, when she finishes. All Kara can hear is her deep, panting breaths, her pounding heart, and Lena’s hitting against her ribcage with equal ferocity to her own. It’s how Kara knows that Lena isn’t as cold or as unfeeling as she’s been trying hard to convince Kara that she is. And who knows? Kara studies the marble of Lena’s face, can see the cracks by her trembling jaw and tear-filled eyes, and wonders if Lena’s struggling to convince herself of that too.

This part is the hardest. Kara knows that whatever happens next, she can handle, even if it’s Lena turning her back on her for the final time. Kara’s always been able to stomach certainty. No, what she hates is the waiting— hates the bated breath and the seconds that creep by like sludge and the feeling of teetering over some great precipice that she can’t see the bottom of. What Kara can’t stand is the unknown; she hasn’t liked it since she was put in that pod, and she doesn’t like it now, trying to decipher the shadows that line Lena’s face.

Just as she’s about to draw in a breath to say something else, anything else, Lena clears her throat.

“I can’t stop thinking about you,” she says, quiet and ragged, but in the silence it sounds like a gunshot, and Kara jolts at it. “All day, and all night. I just sit in the dark and replay every moment in my head, and wonder why it had to go so wrong. Why you couldn’t have been different from everyone else. And then, I start to wonder if it’s been me all along. If I’ve always been the poison that rots away at everything around me.”

All at once, the hardened exterior that Lena had worked so diligently to build back up around herself is gone, and Kara can see the vulnerability and the sadness and the heartbreak clear as day on her face. Lena must realize her slip— or perhaps she’s simply too exhausted to put on a mask anymore— because she won’t meet Kara’s eyes.

“You are not poison,” Kara says carefully. She doesn’t know if Lena wants her words, right now— doesn’t know if Lena will ever believe them to be genuine ever again, but she needs to try. “Lena, it isn’t you. I should have been different. I wish I’d been different.”

She wishes there was some way to right herself, to figure out which way was up and which was down because seeing Lena like this, so honest and awful and full of doubt— it makes Kara’s head spin.

The moonlight makes the look on Lena’s face even more starkly beautiful, even more gut-wrenchingly lonely. It makes Kara even more sad.

“If you really love me, if you’re really seeing things clearly now…” It sounds like Lena can barely will herself to say the words. She shudders, and Kara sighs, and then Lena shakes her head. Their eyes meet, and a shiver runs down Kara’s spine. “Surely you must realize how I feel about you too. You must know by now that I feel the same.”

Suddenly, it comes to Kara’s attention that Lena has begun to cry. She hardly makes a sound, and her shoulders barely even shake, but there— Kara can see the tears, watches them follow along her jawline, watches them shine in the night, constellations in the sky.

“I was in love with you too, Kara. Do you even realize how badly that broke my heart?”

Dimly, Kara realizes that she’s crying too. Maybe she’s been crying this entire time.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asks, and her heart wrings itself out on the floor because she knows why not.

“Same reason you never told me you were Supergirl,” Lena says, attempting fruitlessly to blink away the rest of her tears. “Once I said it, it would be real. I didn’t want to get hurt again.”

They both know that didn’t come true.

“Lena,” she says, keening. “Lena, I am so sorry. I-”

“I know you are,” Lena says, but it doesn’t bring the comfort that Kara so wishes it would. “And I broke your heart too. How are we to call that love?”

“Because that’s what love is, sometimes,” Kara answers, feeling off-balance and short of breath and lost out at sea. Hearing Lena admit her feelings so plainly, so defeatedly, like she doesn’t see it as something to hope for but something to dread, knocks the breath out of Kara’s lungs. “Love doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes, or we don’t ever hurt each other. It just means that you try your best not to.”

Lena scoffs, wipes furiously at her eyes. “A nice sentiment. But they’re just empty words.”

“They don’t have to be.”

“There’s no going back from what happened.” Lena crosses her arms and sends Kara what might have been intended to be a glare, but it just looks dejected instead. Desperate, like Lena doesn’t know what to say or do or feel anymore. Kara knows how much Lena hates feeling lost like that. “Unless, of course, you’d stayed in that reality where everything was good-”

“I won’t change the past just to relieve my guilt,” Kara interjects stubbornly.

“Why not?”

“What, you want me to create a world where you don’t even exist?” Kara asks. “Where everything is good and dandy but it’s all fake?”

Lena narrows her eyes. “Yes. Maybe I do.”

“Why on Earth would you want-”

“Because then I wouldn’t feel like this!” Lena cries, pushing her fingers hard against her sternum. When she meets Kara’s eyes, hers are all fire and tears and fury. “Then I wouldn’t be where I’ve found myself now, with no friends but my brother, with the entire world thinking I’m wonderful except for the few people who used to matter. Maybe I’m tired of being seen as the bad guy, Kara! Maybe I want to wake up in a world that makes sense again.”

Kara says nothing, eyes wide and mouth open. They haven’t been this open with each other since that day in the Fortress of Solitude, where Lena had cut Kara so deeply with only a few words. She’s just cut Kara again, but it’s different this time. This time, it’s because Lena has started to see herself as the villain too.

“You aren’t a villain, Lena,” Kara says, with all of the strength and conviction and faith that she should have had months and years ago, back when she should have made certain that Lena knew that. “And you’re not alone. Please don’t feel like you’re either one of those things just because of what I’ve done.”

Lena takes a step forward, mouth twisted into something between a grimace and a snarl. “Yeah, well, I’m sure that fantasy world you built didn’t involve me working with my brother or-”

“You don’t have to work with him, Lena.” Kara stands her ground even as she says something she knows Lena doesn’t want her to say. “Lex is a bully, and he’s cruel, and he’s manipulating you for his own sadistic amusement. Your brother always lies to you-”

Lena interrupts with deadly precision, her voice low. “He didn’t lie about you, Kara.” Kara swallows hard, and Lena goes for the kill. “Actually, he was pretty spot on. And he called me a fool for loving you, which, thus far, has been proven to be true.”

“Maybe he is telling you the truth sometimes. And maybe loving me is a waste of time. That’s up to you to decide. But Lena, it doesn’t have to be this way.”

”All the worlds you could have made, and you still chose this one?” Lena asks her. Most of her fight is gone, and to be honest, Kara’s is too. She’ll always fight for Lena, until her last breath if she has to— but fighting with her, against her, is different. Kara doesn’t have the heart for it. “It may not have to be this way, but it is There’s nothing to be done about it now.”

“Yes there is,” Kara replies, and compared to the quiet defeat in Lena’s, Kara’s voice is sure and strong. “There’s always something. You and I don’t have to exist like this for the rest of our lives. And I know that you may never forgive me. I know that. But if that means that you can still move on and find some sense of peace, then it will be worth it to me. I’d rather lose you like that than to your brother.”

Lena stares at her for a long time, completely silent. Kara wonders what she’s thinking, how she sees Kara now. Is this whole thing only more tragic in her eyes now? More cruel? Or does she hold too much bitterness towards what Kara did to her for her to see this as anything but one last pitiful display from Supergirl?

Kara doesn’t know, and she finds that for the first time in a while, she doesn’t want to read Lena’s mind. If her and Lena are ever going to share a bond like that ever again, it will because they earn it, not because they’re desperate to reclaim the past.

“Do you really think I haven’t forgiven you for what you did?” Lena asks at last, and her voice is too quiet for Kara to recognize the emotion behind it. All she knows is that it’s something strong, and sweeping, and her heartbeat picks up because of it.

She stares back carefully, feeling more than ever like she’s walking on a floor that could fall through at any moment.

“That’s what I’m most afraid of,’ she admits. “It’s selfish, but I- you were the most important person that I’d found here. I didn’t want to lose you then, and I’m still terrified of it now.”

The other woman keeps staring. Kara finds herself entranced, unable to look away either. “Us Luthors, we’re not the forgiving type,” Lena starts, and Kara’s heart begins to sink. “We hold grudges, and cut people out, and turn the people who hurt us into nothing more than an unfortunate lesson learned.”

Lena takes a step closer, and something in her face flickers, then crumbles altogether. “But I’ve never been all that good at being a Luthor,” she continues. “And when it comes to you… how could I not forgive you?”

“You… you’re serious?” Kara asks, trying to stop her world from collapsing in on itself to this one moment. She can’t help but flashback to the time when she’d really thought that things were going to turn out okay between the two of them after the Pulitzer party— or at least, when she’d really wanted to believe they were. A part of her wonders if this isn’t another trick, some new way for Lena to enact her revenge.

But that isn’t who Lena is, and Kara knows when she’s being genuine. Kara knows when Lena means what she says. She can’t believe it, and it seems like Lena can’t either, because she just shrugs and looks down at the floor.

“I think I forgave you the moment you told me who you really were,” she confesses. “I thought it was a secret you’d never tell me. I thought I’d have to force it out of you, reveal it to the entire world just to get you to tell the truth for once.” Lena pauses for a moment, takes a breath. Kara isn’t sure what the glimmer in Lena’s eyes means, doesn’t know if she’s imagined it all in the first place. “But then… then you just, blurted it out. On one of the most important days of your life, where you knew I could ruin your life in an instant. It was genuine, and that was the last thing I’d been expecting from you.”

Lena just shakes her head, displeasure clear on her face as she leads them through past memories. Kara thinks she sees regret in the way Lena purses her lips, in the way she stares hard down at the floor.

“The worst part is that in the end, it was me who couldn’t let go. Even when I knew I’d forgiven you, I couldn’t stop myself from doing all of this. I was too stubborn and too proud and in a sad way, too willing to be just like Lex. I thought that my blood and my family were better excuses for the way I was feeling than love because at the end of the day, Kara, you broke my heart, and that made me want to do terrible things. I’d resigned myself to this for the rest of my life.”

“And… what about now?” Kara dares to ask.

Lena just chuckles, and when she looks back up Kara finds that the anger is gone. Now, only the hurt remains. Lena’s eyes have always been sad— Kara noticed it all through their friendship— but she knows now that this time, it’s because of her. Because of them.

“I don’t know, Kara,” she says, wrapping her arms right around her stomach. “You always manage to change things. I just don’t know anymore.”

“We could start again,” Kara says, and when Lena closes her eyes and starts to scoff, starts to shut Kara down and push her away and go back to her self-imposed isolation, Kara closes the gap and reaches for her hand. “We love each other. That’s something, isn’t it?”

Lena doesn’t move away, and hearing the pleading in Kara’s voice, she finally looks up. But she’s still so unsure, still so wounded— still so scared. Kara can’t blame her, because right now, she feels the exact same way.

“We do. But just because that’s true doesn’t mean it won’t end up in disaster despite it all,” she whispers, and Lena’s right.

Loving each other is a risk. It’s a liability. It’s the reason that the both of them have been hurt in the past and Kara knows that it very well might be the reason they get hurt in the future. Kara’s learned the hard way that they can’t erase what happened, and there’s no guarantee that doing this won’t make things worse.

But this is Lena. This is Kara’s best friend, the one she’s laughed with and cried with and fought for. This is still the same sharp, smart woman Kara first met in that office all those years ago, when the sun felt like it shone brighter and this new, fascinating person brought Kara the start of something that she now holds most dear.

Kara lets out a shaking breath and reaches up with her other hand, tucking a strand of hair behind Lena’s ear. The other woman sighs at the contact, and it’s so obvious that they miss each other. It’s so obvious that doing this— digging trenches on opposite sides of a war, sending cold, vacant glances and painful words over like bombardments— is so much worse.

She doesn’t know what Lena is thinking, but Kara is going to get hurt again, she’d take the blows much easier knowing that at least they tried.

“What if it isn’t?” Kara asks, and when Lena looks up at her, something collapses in the depths of her sad green eyes. “It’s your choice, Lena. I’m always going to love you. I’m yours, if that’s what you want.”

If this is what surrender feels like, Kara doesn’t mind it so much. Maybe because it’s Lena that she’s giving herself over to— maybe it doesn’t always feel like an act of love.

Still, blissful or not, Kara’s heart still falls when Lena says nothing.

She nods her head, blinking back tears, and drops Lena’s hand when the silence drags on too long. For both of their sakes, Kara can handle this with dignity. She’s Supergirl, after all, has been beaten and bruised and punched into a coma; surely a broken heart is something she can take on too. “I’m sorry,” she says one last time, because if this is really it, she wants Lena to know that she cares. That she’ll always care. “I’ll go.”

Kara turns towards the open balcony, and bends her knees, and can already feel the rush of the cold air on her face, the cacophony of traffic and people that is so loud, so overwhelming— but won’t be enough to drown this out. The numbing wind and all of National City won’t stop Kara from hearing her own heart shatter up high in the air.

Then, it’s Lena who grabs her hand.

She surges forwards and spins Kara back around towards her, and Kara watches as something swells between them and climbs higher and higher. Lena is breathing hard, and there’s a rushing in Kara’s ears, and her feet seem bolted to the floor. All she can do is stay frozen where she is, and search Lena’s face for something to hold onto, because this feels like something that’s going to sweep her off her feet.

Lena’s eyes are blazing, and Kara can’t help but stare, open-mouthed. “I don’t want you to go,” Lena blurts out, and it’s like she’s saying it with her entire being. Kara feels the intensity behind the words more than she hears them. “Kara, please don’t go.”

And then, before Kara can say anything, Lena takes the few paces between them and kisses her.

It’s so similar to the other Lena who kissed her and yet so achingly, wonderfully different. Lena doesn’t kiss her as gently as she did in the other reality; this time around, it’s more desperate, more aware of the fact that this could all very well crumble in front of her eyes. This kiss is a thousand different bittersweet memories wrapped into one searing embrace, and this time, when Kara wraps her arms around Lena’s waist and pulls her close— so, so close— she knows how hopelessly, wildly, deeply in love with her she is.

Even when they break apart for air, gasping for breath and staring at each other with glassy, wide eyes, Kara can’t let go. She hugs Lena instead, burying her head into her shoulder. Lena must be able to feel the way Kara is trembling, must be able to feel the wetness against her neck, but when she threads her fingers through Kara’s hair and keeps her there, Kara knows that Lena doesn’t want to leave Kara’s arms just yet either.

“I…” Lena swallows hard and combs her fingers carefully through Kara’s windswept hair. “I wanted to know what that felt like.”

“And?” Kara asks, still out of breath. Lena actually laughs quietly.

“It was somehow better than everything I’d ever wanted it to be.”

The corner of Kara’s mouth quirks up, and Lena shivers. “I know the feeling.”

Kara knows that soon enough, this moment will end. This is a fleeting moment of respite amidst the long, hard, cracked road that they will have to walk along to get to someplace better. But Lena kissing her, Lena holding her softly now, is a good thing. It reminds Kara that while they aren’t the same people as before, they still love each other.

For now, this is enough. For Kara, who’s seen it all, who’s gone to the ends of the earth for this woman in her arms and who will go there again and again, as many times as is needed until they can learn to love each other in the right way— for her, this is another reason to hope.

She’s sure of it now. Some day, they’ll be okay. And while it may not be tomorrow, or next week, or even months from now, someday, they’ll come back to each other fully. And yeah, maybe it won’t be the same— maybe they’ll never recapture what they had before it all fell apart. But something fluttering in her heart tells Kara that just because it’ll be different, it doesn’t mean it won’t be even better.

She remembers what she’d told Mxy earlier, about what she wanted versus what she really needed. This Lena, giving her a careful, nervous, maybe even hopeful smile now, is both of those things. This Lena is like coming home after a long journey away, the lights finally back on, the fire finally lit in the hearth once more. It’s a small flame, sure, but Kara will watch over it. She’ll make sure that it grows.

It’s time that her and Lena find their way back to each other.

Mxy’s plan might not have worked out exactly the way he’d hoped it would, but for Kara, it still ended up being worth it.

And as for magic, well. Kara has all the magic she could ever need right here in front of her.

“What now?” This time, when Lena asks, it’s not as hopeless, not quite so tragic. There’s still lingering sadness between the two of them, sure, but this time, Kara can see things clearer. If she squints hard enough—and lets her hope that her convictions won’t end up being false— she can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the two of them.

It seems really nice.

“Now,” she says, pulling away and resting their foreheads together. “Now, we go back to the start. We try again.” She smiles for real this time, and tilts her head, taking a step away from Lena and then holding out her hand. “My name is Kara Zor-El. And it’s also Kara Danvers, and it’s also Supergirl. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

Lena looks down at her outstretched palm and gives her a small smile too. It’s the youngest Kara’s seen Lena in what feels like years, like they’re actually turning back the clock. Doing things the right way, this time— without forgetting what they had to lose to get there.

She grabs Kara’s hand gracefully, and shakes it. Then, she links their fingers together and steps delicately back into Kara’s space, holding her gaze.

“Lena Luthor. I hope this isn’t the last time we talk.”

Tears spring to Kara’s eyes without warning, but as her smile grows, she finds she doesn’t feel quite so sad when it comes to Lena anymore. She’s just as stunned, just as overwhelmed, just as taken by this woman as she had been the first time they’d met, but now she knows where their story could end up. Where it will end up. This really does feel like the start of something new. With any luck, it’ll be something amazing.

They both smile, and Kara nods her head, squeezing Lena’s hand. “I hope not either.”