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the in-between of figment and reality

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The first tell was the body next to her. The second was the warmth. Her bed was never warm these days. The first two things had already clued her in that there was something off. Off was an understatement. She’s certain she passed out on her office floor clutching a bottle of alcohol and Jess was going to kill her in the morning. So, how the fuck-

The longer she stays there, eyes closed, feeling the breathing of a stranger, the more she’s convinced she’s suffered from amnesia. 

Beyond scared she opens her eyes, hoping, praying that she didn’t bring home some idiot from a cheap lesbian bar. Her eyes land on blonde hair and an all too familiar set of defined shoulders and Lena lets out a gasp of surprise. She sobers up, jerks upright. Jolting the pair of arms wrapped around her waist and making her companion wake abruptly. 

“Lena- Wha- Why’re you awake?”

“Kara-” That was all she was capable of as of the moment, because Kara was sitting up and flicking on the bedside lamp, letting Lena glimpse the small clock on the nightstand that read 4: 00 a.m. 

Kara’s voice was all raspy and sleep-laden and she was looking at Lena with concern. She was looking at Lena like they’ve done this all the time. And they did. 

Once. 

She remembers jerking awake screaming from nightmares and Kara holding her; remembers waking up to Kara’s screams and holding her. 

But this-

This wasn’t right. 

“Did you have a nightmare?” She asks, crinkle forming. And Lena just stares and stares and-

“Kara, this isn’t real.”

“What? Oh, baby, come here. That dream must’ve really done a number on you, huh?” Kara coos and she gathers Lena in her arms. Lena can do nothing but melt and follow Kara’s movements, her mind is still reeling. 

Trying to decipher the events that had led here. This wasn’t real. This-

A tremble shakes the bed. Lena’s heart rate ticks up, Kara seems to have heard because she’s tightening her embrace and more words come out of her lips, but Lena doesn’t hear a word of it.

“I’m here, you’re safe. I’m here.” 

Lena finally finds her voice and she slowly tries to extricate herself from Kara. She can feel her hesitating to let her go. 

“This isn’t real,” She repeats and Kara is ready to protest, “Please, Kara. Please listen to me?”

She nods. Kara was never one to deny Lena anything, anyway. Lena sighs a breath of relief. 

“Thank you. Uh- I think this isn’t real, Kara. I think I’m inside a Black Mercy induced dream.”

And as if it heard a cue, the bed and the rest of the room vibrates as if ashamed of being called-out so easily. 

“No, no, no. You aren’t. You’re real. I’m real, You-” Kara is scrambling for words, “Look- Here, feel this?” Kara frantically grabs her hand and presses it to her own chest, “Can you feel it? This is real. Don’t say it isn-”

Lena feels like sobbing, because it does feel real. The strong beats underneath her palm thundering through her very soul. It feels so so so fucking real. She’s never wanted something to be real as bad as this. She wants to believe, because Kara is looking at her with those baby blue eyes and she wants to say that ‘Yes, I believe it real. We’re real.’

She can’t.

“Kara, the bed is trembling. Can you feel it? This isn't real. You’re in my head.”

It was brutal. She watches Kara’s face fall. She retracts her hand back. 

“How are you so sure that this isn’t real?”

The question was asked with so much fear. 

“Because,” she starts shaky but certain, “I hurt you, Kara. And that is the one thing that I can never forget.”

It was true. She can never forget the way Kara crumpled to her feet. Can’t forget the way the Girl of Steel broke by Lena’s hands. Can’t forget the tear-stricken face. 

Can’t forget the pleas. 

“Don’t do this, Lena. Please, come on. Please, stay. Don’t leave. Not you, please I can’t-”

“Oh.”

The silence was deafening. She can’t look at Kara as she processes everything. So she takes the time to survey the room. And God, every inch of the room screams how much they’ve stitched their lives with the other. 

There were books haphazardly stacked in one corner, a painting easel in the other, Kara’s cape shining in the dim light of the lamp, Lena’s old MIT sweatshirt at the foot of the bed. 

A wedding portrait. They were married here. Fuck. 

Lena chances a glance at her left hand and not only does she find a ring but also a matching gold bracelet. A Kryptonian mating band. Now, she notices that Kara’s ring was worn on her neck next to her Mother’s necklace Lena supposes she wears it underneath the Super suit and a matching bracelet sitting on her left wrist. 

“I’m sorry,” Lena says ‘for everything.’ she wants to add but she remembers this isn’t her Kara. She doesn’t have a Kara. She doesn’t have any part of Kara. Not anymore.

“What are you sorry for? If anyone could figure out they were inside a parasite induced dream, it would be you.  You’re a genius but you’re dumb for apologizing. You should reject the fantasy now, Lena. You’ll die.”

Damn it, even here. 

Even here Lena is still hurting her and Kara still wants to save her. 

The tears finally fall. The sobs come next. 

“Oh, Lena. Come here. It’s okay. I’m here,”

“I- I know, I’ll die but God, Kara, I want to stay here. I- You’re my everything, you know?”

“I know, Lena. I’ve always known. You don’t have to die because I’ll always know. You need to get out of here now,” She whispers against Lena’s temple and Lena takes the time to breathe her in. God, even the scent smells real. 

“Y-you’re right. I should go, but-” Lena doesn’t know how to ask for what she wants. That was what her therapist had said the first time she booked an appointment.

“But what?”

“Tell me about our life here first?” At that Kara pulls away a bit to look into her eyes; gauging if this is really what Lena wants. 

It is, it’s what she wants but more than that it’s what she needs. The reassurance that somewhere out there, there was a world in which they made each other happy. That in a universe out there--whether real or not--the both of them had a taste of a happy ending.

“Okay, okay yeah. But first, promise me you’ll get out of here as fast as you can, once we’re done?” 

She was never one to deny Lena Luthor anything, remember? She was more than happy to recount the entirety of their love story to her.

“Thank you.” And Lena can’t help but press a soft kiss to Kara’s cheek. 

“Where do you want to start?”

“Do we have a dog?”

“Krypto,” Kara says with a shy smile as if she knows that Lena would laugh at the goofy sentimental name choice, “And a cat, Streaky Jr., you don’t allow pets in the bedroom so,”

“I’m impressed we have the time for pets,” Lena whispers as she shifts closer to Kara in the bed. Heart now beating in a steady calm rhythm, gone was the panic earlier, now replaced by a sense of security, no matter how false it is. 

“Well, you decided to distribute most of the workload to Jess--who you promoted to board member by the way, and to Sam. And since, Wednesday is my first day as Editor-in-Chief, my schedule’s not as busy as it was.”

It was nice to hear that. The way they have obviously chosen to grow into themselves together. She was glad that in her perfect world she hadn’t forgotten about Jess and Sam.

“Oh, and also you spend most of your days in our home lab with Jack anyway. So, the pets get plenty of love.”

“Jacky’s alive here?”

“Yeah, you reversed the nanotech matrix. You saved him.”

And the crying fest begins anew. 

“I miss him, so much.”

“I’m sorry.”

Lena doesn’t have to explain her reaction, Kara knows how to read her anyway.

At the reminder of Jack, Lena finds the courage to ask a question she’s never thought she would want to ask.

“What about Lex and Lillian?”

“Well, your brother’s probably drunk in an L-Corp gala somewhere and Lillian’s probably plotting about how she’s going to insult my next article-”

So, she still has her brother and it seems like Lillian’s not much of a xenophobe as she is in reality but she senses that she still is a bad mother with the way Kara talks.

“When did we get married?”

“Two years after we first met. We had two, actually.”

“I’m guessing I insisted on a Kryptonian wedding and you insisted on a human one?”

She knows that one, because she’s been thinking about it. Well, at least she was before everything went to shit. She wanted to give Kara a Kryptonian ceremony. She had wanted to show her that Lena would be honored to share everything Kara’s world had to offer.

“Are we-” she hesitated, “Are we happy, Kara?”

She wasted no time in answering, “The happiest. You make me the happiest soul alive in this universe and in any universe.”

Fresh tears fall down the side of her face and Kara wipes them away before speaking, “Can I ask you a question?”

“Well, I guess it’s only fair.” Lena sniffles and prepares her mind for what she knows will be an emotionally-charged exchange not that this has been an easy conversation thus far.

“Out there, are you happy?”

Lena’s air is stolen from her. Well, she doesn’t know how to answer that one. 

“Sometimes,” she whispers. She’s not happy most of the time but sometimes she is.

Sometimes, Ruby calls her to tell her about a science project or sometimes Nia sends her meme even though she hasn’t been to Game Nights for almost a year now, sometimes Brainy takes her out for a drink and she feels like she’s got a little brother to call her own. 

So yeah, sometimes. Because the thought of perpetual happiness without Kara in her life is impossible. 

“Only sometimes?” Kara asks, brow furrowing.

“Yeah, only sometimes. Not like it matters, anyway.”

“Well, of course it matters! Your happiness matters!” Kara exclaims, old habits die hard what can she say?

But then Kara takes a turn from defensive to curious again, “Am I happy? Out there? I mean?” 

“I- I have no idea.”

Lena waits for the answer to sink in to Kara. 

“What? What do you mean you have no idea?”

“Remember when I said I hurt you?” 

Kara gives her a nod.

“Well, I haven’t seen you for a long time. I’ve been avoiding you. Normally people tend to not seek out their exes, you know.” 

She’s trying to keep it lighthearted. She’s trying not to let this Kara see how much she craves her presence, how much she wishes she could see Kara again. Don’t get her wrong, Supergirl is plastered every minute on the news, but- 

That’s not who she wants to see. 

“She’s miserable,” Kara answers point-blank leaving no room for argument, “If you’ve been avoiding me, I’d be miserable.”

That has Lena speechless. 

Because miserable would be an understatement of how things had been ever since they ended things. 

Ever since Lena ended things. 

“I don’t like not being with you, you know?” Kara states as if Lena doesn’t feel the same.

“I- I don’t like that either.”

“I know.”

She has to go. Lena knows she has to go but Kara is looking at her so sincerely and she can feel the love and she knows this is nothing but an intricate trap formed by an alien parasite slowly killing her. She has to go but-

“Lena!” 

The both of them are startled and four eyes immediately land to-

Kara?! No, not Kara. Supergirl.

“Supergirl,” She says; surprise coloring her voice. She didn’t know Supergirl would go in and save her. Hell, she didn’t even know how she found her. But then again, she’s tried solving the puzzle that is Kara Zor-El but had never been able to piece it together. 

Supergirl takes a look at her doppelganger in bed with Lena; a scene so familiar to her. A scene she’s replayed again and again in her head. A scene that was once their reality then a memory and now an illusion. She takes a step closer.

“Lena, we have to go, please. Please believe me, this isnt-” 

“-real,” Lena finishes for her and Supegirl looks stunned, “I know, Supergirl. I know how to reject my own fantasy. I’ve had plenty of practice, after all.”

She aims for sarcasm, because fucking fucking hell, how the fuck does anybody expect her to function if there were two Kara’s in front of her?

That was asking for too much. 

Beside her, Kara had gone silent. It seems like she knows what comes next. She knows what Supergirl intends to do. They’re the same person after all. 

“It’s okay,” Lena hears Kara say and she breaks away from the hero’s gaze to find Kara looking at her with those eyes again.

“It’s okay, Lena,” She repeats, “It’s okay, Supergirl’s here. You’re gonna be safe. Stay safe for me, yeah?”

“Lena we have to go. Now,” Supergirl commands from the other side of the room. 

“Okay, yeah,” She whispers then she turns to Supergirl, “Just give me a chance to say goodbye, please?”

Supergirl stares at her for a moment then at Kara then she gives them both a nod and turns back to give them privacy.

“Last question?”

“Hit me.”

“What’s your surname?”

“Luthor.”

Fuck. She shouldn’t feel this surprised but damn, hearing Kara confirm it? Lena doesn’t know how to feel about that. She doesn’t know how to feel about all of this. 

“Just like you promised.”

“Just like I promised.” 

The words are echoed back to her and Lena hates the way she’s noticed how stiff Supergirl’s posture had become in her periphery. Ignores the fact that Supergirl has superhearing. 

“Thank you for indulging me, Kara.”

“Always.”

"Goodbye, darling.”

And then everything faded to black.