Work Header

the in-between of figment and reality

Chapter Text

She comes to with a pounding in her head and the feeling of something being lifted off her chest. 


In seconds, her whole body feels lighter. The next thing she registers is a hand in hers. When she stirs, the hand around her tightens and she hears Brainy’s voice, “Director—”

The moment she opens her eyes, she is met with Alex Danvers; a stethoscope slung around her neck and a small flashlight on hand. In her periphery she confirms that it was indeed Brainy, holding her hand. 

“Lena, Lena, look at me. You’re at the DEO, you’re safe, you-”

“Alex, I know the drill, this is—  what? My 91st time now?” She says dryly as her hand slowly slips out of Brainy’s and her fingers massage her temples; eyes clenched shut. Alex visibly relaxes in relief, “Good. Thank fuck your sarcasm’s still intact,” she says, “But I still have to check you, alright?”

Lena nods and she guesses Kara most likely had harassed her sister just to get her hooked in. If Alex mumbling “-so damn stubborn all the damn time…” under her breath was any indication. 

She’s well aware of the other person in the bed next to hers. The one, that is now also starting to stir into consciousness. Lena had just noticed that J’onn and Nia are in the room as well, near Kara’s bedside. 

She wants to ask how she got here, how Kara found her, how the fuck did a Black Mercy get her? But everything is spinning and her coherence is slowly devolving to exhaustion. Her brain was pushed to its limits with that illusion. 

Which makes panic flare in the back of her head thinking about how Kara had seen her ideal world. 

A world, that her mind had fucking decided should center around her ex. Her ex who just happens to be a superhero. A superhero that pulled her out of her own delusions. 

Oh God, Lena thinks she’s going to throw-up. Alex takes one look at her face and immediately shoves an empty sterile container to her. She dry-heaves unto the bucket as Brainy rubs her back and holds her hair. 

“Fuck,” she whispers as Alex hands her a tissue to wipe her face. “Your vitals are fine. Your brain activity spiked for a few seconds there. But you got out at just the last minute-”

“What the fuck happened, Alex?”

She asks as she tries to sort out all her feelings long enough for Alex to give her a full explanation. 

But it isn’t Alex who answers her. 

“I found you.”

The three words are bullets flying across the room directly shot at Lena.

“Unconscious. On the floor. Black Mercy attached to your chest.That’s what fucking happened.”

Kara sounds like shit.

Was her first thought when she heard Kara speak. She guesses she looks like shit as well, but Lena can’t be certain. Her back was to her as Nia removes the wiring still wrapped around her. Her voice was firm, but Lena knew better. She knows Kara; knows she never really swears; knows when and where Kara uses the Supergirl voice. When she’s scared and she doesn’t want anybody to know. 

“Your pulse was so weak. I- I could barely hear it.”

This second statement is in contrast to Supergirl’s venom. This time words catch in her throat and Lena is fucking thankful that Kara’s back was to her. Because she knows she can’t handle those eyes. But before she could answer, Alex starts to speak, eyes briefly darting to Kara.

Lena doesn’t know whether she should be thankful for the interruption or not. 

“Which is why,” Alex cuts in and making sure to stress her next words, checking that Lena is listening, “I need you to stay here till we find out who did this. And as your doctor I’m saying you need at least 12 hours of rest.”

“What? No, somebody give me my phone. I need to call Jess,” she protests and Alex looks like she’s about to give Lena a piece of her mi—

“Are you kidding me right now? I found you on the floor, thinking you were dead, pulled you out of a parasitic trap and you want to go back to L-Corp? To what? Get killed again?”

This time, Kara’s two steps away from her bed and fuming. It makes Lena..feel.. things.

“I have to call Jess—”

“Do you not get it? I spend my days trying so hard not to listen,” She grits out, “ To not to check in on you every single second of every day and then the one time—” Kara’s conviction crumbles, voice breaking, eyes shining.

 “And then,” she falters, voice heavy with emotion and tries to control herself,  “-the one time, the one fucking time I decide to break my own rule, what do I hear? I hear nothing, Lena.”

The last part is a whisper. She’s shaking and all eyes are on them now.

“Do you know why? Because your heart-rate was so slow that I couldn’t pick up on it.”

Kara looks like she’s two inches away from imploding. Lena’s heart is pounding and the room falls silent and it feels like it’s just the two of them in the room having a staredown. 

“I— I’m sorry. I—”

I didn’t know. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to care. I’m sorry. 

“Thank you for saving me,” she voices out instead in that calm methodical way she uses when talking in the lab. Amazed at how she sounded because she herself is also less than two inches away from a complete meltdown. 

Kara’s shoulders visibly sag as she holds back tears. Lena knows she should probably say more but... she doesn’t really know what to say. 

She was still processing everything. 

It was so vivid that Lena was half-expecting to see a ring on her finger once she looks down, a stubborn part of her brain insisting that there’s a matching one in a chain around Kara’s neck.

Before Kara can say another emotional heavy statement, Lena turns to Alex instead, “Fine,” she says, agreeing to Alex’s previous order. 

“But I can’t stay here for 12 hours. And also, I need my phone, my tablet and my assistant. I’m helping in the investigation,” she says leaving no room for argument.

Alex looks like she might agree but Kara speaks up again.

“No, no. No, you’re not going near that investigation and you’re staying the 12 hours here,” Kara grunts out, jaw-clenched as Lena looks at her with sharp eyes. 

“You have no right to decide that for me—”

“Not to mention we have to tal— “

They both spit at each other at the same time.

“We have nothing to talk about,” Lena objects and she knows how much of a lie that is, but Kara just won’t fucking back down. 

“Nothing?! You’re calling this nothing?! You’re calling the fact that your ideal world was us married , nothing? You’re telling me—” she trails off and scoffs, pinches the bridge of her nose in disbelief, “You’re unbelievable-”

That was what she meant when she said Kara was two inches away from imploding.


J’onn’s voice seem to bring the both of them back to reality and Lena notices how heavy the air in the room has become, how Nia is standing stiffly at the side, how Alex’s eyes keep flicking between the both of them

“That’s quite enough from the both of you,” J’onn says and Kara whips around to face him, Lena was scared that she was going to deck J’onn for interrupting but Alex also intervenes. 

“J’onn’s right.” She puts a hand on her sister’s shoulder turning her away from J’onn. Looks like she had the same train of thought as Lena. 

“My patient needs her rest. So, all of you get out,” at which Nia nods at her with a sympathetic smile and then Brainy is hugging her whispering, “I’m glad you’re okay.” before leaving the room as well. 

“And that means you too,” Alex emphasizes at Kara, who looks like she’s going to shoot lasers out of her eyes at her sister for suggesting such an incredulous notion. 

But Kara takes a breath, gives Alex a hard look to which Alex merely raises a brow in challenge before taking a step back and speeding out of the room, not sparing Lena another glance. 

Once everyone is gone, Lena collapses back on the bed, letting out a heavy sigh. 

“She changed the timeline, you know. And reality too, I guess. Or at least she tried to.”


“Before you two became a thing, before beating Leviathan,” Alex recounts,  “She tried to change the timeline to save your friendship.”

“I’m sorry- What?”

She’s sure she looks pretty absurd with the look on her face right now. Kara did what? Kara did that? How did she not know that? How did she not know Kara literally teared apart at space and time just for her? 

“She struck a bargain with a Fifth-Dimensional imp so she can fix everything. Said she’d rather change reality than face the possibility of having to fight you.”

For a moment she feels she’s going to throw-up again. But then again, after what the both of them just went through, Lena’s not surprised. God knows the lengths she would go through for Kara.  

It feels even more visceral now, not to mention it was Alex who told her. 

“I don’t know what the hell happened between the two of you, but God, Lena she hasn’t been the same since. And I don’t really want to know what kind of bullshit the Black Mercy put you through, but I think both of you could really use their best friend right now.”

Alex sits at the side of her bed, putting a hand atop hers for a moment.

“Just think about it, while you rest,” Alex tells her, squeezes her hand and gets up again. 

“You can’t just tell me those kinds of things and expect me to rest,” Lena retorts, making Alex turn her head back to her. 

She’s glad that Alex doesn’t seem to pick sides. When the break-up happened she was expecting the DEO Director to turn up at her front step with a taser and point canons for breaking her sister’s heart. But Lena was surprised when Kelly turned up instead, telling her that Alex is with Kara, so she’s getting Kelly for the night.

The couple didn’t get anything from Kara or Lena that night, despite their various attempts at coaxing the truth out. The night was sobbed away or in Lena’s case, drank the night away; chugged enough wine that Kelly had forcefully pried the bottle from her hands. 

“Look, Lena, The two of you are really overdue for a talk.”

Alex's words bring her back to reality. She pulls a tablet out and Lena’s work phone is retrieved from her pocket. 

“So, talk,” Alex enunciates as she hands over the devices. 

“Because I am locking you here. No going to L-Corp, no trying to escape with Jess and no overworking till midnight. You get to call your assistant, tell her what happened and then you rest. That’s an order, got it?”

“Got it,” Lena grits out rolling her eyes, hiding the fact that she’s beyond warmed by the gesture. Alex merely shakes her head at her before stepping out. The door slides close behind her and Lena is finally left alone with her thoughts.

Alex has a point. Alex has a great point, her mind screams.

But.. .not ready, is an understatement. She is not ready to talk to Kara about the break-up, much less about why her Black Mercy induced dream is an overtly domestic version of their love story. 

She decides to file it under ‘Things For Later’ which is probably a bad idea. Her therapist would most likely tell her that. Then again, she doesn’t really think she’d be seeing her therapist any time soon. 

How does one unpack a whole alien parasite attack on your psyche in one session, anyway?

Alex finds her stood before ruined slabs of concrete. 

“Any updates?”

“We’re skip-tracing all employees from L-Corp between the graveyard shift and the morning shift.”

“Good, I have a feeling it was an inside job.”

Alex lets out an audible sigh. 

“Something you wanna say?” She says as cement crumbles under her fists and dust particles rain over her red boots. 

“Talk to her. “

Kara snorts. 

“You say that as if I haven’t tried talking.”

Alex puts a hand on her shoulder stopping her from launching another punch. 

Really talk to her this time,” her sister stresses the words in that classic Alex Danvers’ ‘I’m-serious-so-you-better-fucking-listen’ way. 

She lets the words sit in the forefront of her mind, shoulders dropping, fists and arms following suit. 

“We were married,” She whispers and it takes two seconds for it to register to Alex before she steps closer, an ‘Oh, Kara.’ slipping past her lips. 

“We were married and happy. So happy. It felt so real, Alex, it felt so re—” 

Sobs choke her and Alex closes the gap and she lets herself be tugged in a tight, tight hug. Alex rubs comforting circles on her back as Kara’s chest heaves and tears pour. 

The thing about it was, she didn’t even spend more than one minute in that fantasy world, yet her brain acts as if she’s lived that life. As if she didn’t drop smack right in the middle of a stranger’s bedroom and the first thing she saw was a doppelganger of herself and her ex. In bed. Together. 

It was as if everything came to her in one terrifying moment of clarity. Boots in the corner. Cape haphazardly slung. Lena’s work laptop. Chew toys for dogs. Scattered Science books, then— 

Golden rings, on a finger, in a chain.

Mating bands around wrists.

Wedding portrait. Weddin— 

It all hits her at once faster than a whiplash and harder than a superpowered punch; knocking the  wind out of her lungs, until she realizes she was gasping. 

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

“Real. I know-”

“What’s your surname?”


Promised. Promised. Promised. 


Alex squeezes tighter and Kara is pulled back from the depths. 

Her sister lets her go and steps back a bit to cup her face in her hands; snotty nose, sniffles and all. 

“Hey, look at me. That wasn’t real. And I know how bad you want it to be real. But Kara, nothing will happen if the both of you keep pulling away from each other. Someone needs to take the plunge.”

“She doesn’t want me, Alex. She ended things.”

Alex takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, shakes her head and then lets it all out in one go. 

“Kara. I don’t really wanna say this to your face while you’re sobbing over me. But,” Alex lets out an exasperated sigh with a shake of her head and then lets out,  “ Good fuck , that is the most stupid thing to come out of your mouth. I don’t know how to stress this enough but... her ideal world is the two of you playing house . What more do you need? She wants you.”

“But she-” 

Alex holds a finger up to stop her from talking. 

“Nope. No. Listen to me, you are being an idiot. Well, Lena is too. But we’re talking about you right now, so… again, you are being an idiot. Just— Talk to her, Kara. How many times do I have to say that?”

Kara goes from sobbing to shocked to skeptical in the few seconds that Alex was speaking. 

“I- I don’t know, Alex.”

“Kara, she wants you. She’s just scared.”

“Scared of what?”

“You won’t find out if you don’t talk to her.”

Well, that was a great response. 

Alex is hoping that it’s great enough of a response to convince her sister.

There’s a blue lump on the side of her bed. 

A blue lump with blonde hair?

Lena rubs the sleepiness off and slowly sits.

Kara, it was Kara. 

Kara was asleep, back hunched, head pillowed on folded arms on the side of her bed.

Lena immediately realizes the uncomfortable position she is in, not to mention the cape that is now roughly bundled at the back of the plastic chair. 

She carefully lays a hand on Kara’s shoulder and shakes her softly. 

“Hey, Kara, wake up, hey,” Lena mutters quietly. 

“Wha- Lena?” Kara startles awake and shoots up from her position.

“I- you looked like you were gonna have a back ache so I-uh,” Lena was grasping for words in that usual way she does when Kara’s around. 

“Here.” She pats the space next to her, “Come on, sit here, climb in. We uh- you’re right, we should talk, might as well do it while we’re both comfy, right?”

She attempts at lighthearted conversation, she already knows the next few minutes are going to be the most emotionally draining moments of her— their life. 

Kara hesitates a bit, before nodding and wordlessly hoisting herself on the bed. 

“So, do uh- do you wanna start or should I?”

Again, she was grasping for words. 

“Go ahead,” Kara says barely above a whisper, Lena was kind of hoping Kara would go first but well, here goes nothing. 

“Thank you for coming to get me, I wasn’t expecting you to come,” Lena confesses, she really was surprised when Kara—the real Kara— showed up to rescue her. 

“I’ll always save you, you know that,” Kara butts in, as if what Lena had said was the most ridiculous thing ever. She guesses it is, to Kara’s ears. She did promise always after all. 

“Yeah, I know I just— for a moment there I just thought...well, nevermind what I thought honestly-”

“You thought what? That I don’t care about you anymore? That I won’t fly off the moment I sensed you were in danger?”

Well, she’s on fire today. 

“It’s not like that, you know that,” Lena protests but Kara interrupts again.

“It is like that. You thought just because we’re over I don’t give a shit about you anymore. You of all people, know I can’t—” Kara cuts herself off as if in pain, “I’ll always save you, Lena. Together or not. I care about you,” Kara utters, turning her head to meet Lena’s eyes before facing in front again. 

Lena feels like care is a placeholder for something both of them aren’t capable of saying at present. 

She doesn’t dwell on it too much because Kara is saying something again. 

“I think…” She begins with a voice full of an emotion Lena can’t name (read: don’t want to name.)

“I care about you a little too much and that...”

Lena holds in a breath. 

“And that scares you doesn’t it?” Kara states and she looks at her again but this time Lena’s cheeks are wet. 

Kara puts a hand on hers and squeezes and the gesture pulls words from Lena’s throat. 

“You wanted everything so fast, Kara,” she whispers, not really trusting to increase the volume of her voice lest it shakes. 

“You were telling me all these grand plans of settling down and staying together and I was still having a hard time telling you I love you’ and-” her voice breaks, “And even though, you kept saying it was okay, that you were just thinking out loud, I saw how hurt you were whenever I hesitated.”

Lena’s mind briefly flashes to all those nights spent with Kara, beside her and just feeling this massive fucking pressure of living up to what Kara wants. Shy I love you’s and fear, just so much fucking fear...and insecuritie; screaming at her that she isn’t what’s good for Kara. 

“I- I couldn’t give you what you wanted and I just kept thinking was it me you really wanted? Or was it this domestic bliss that you’ve conjured in your head? Something you can have with somebody else. And it just kept spiraling from there. Thinking somebody better can give you what you want, somebody who’s not tainted, somebody who you can be proud of, somebody who won’t feel so fucking scared of saying ‘I love you’.”

She was aware she was one breath away from sobbing and when Kara moved closer and softly said, “Oh Lena,”

The dam burst. 

“Oh, baby, come here, I’m sorry. Rao, I’m so sorry, I- I didn’t know I made you feel that way, I’m sorry,” Kara murmurs to her as she cups Lena’s cheek and uses her thumb to wipe tears. 

Lena’s eyes were so green at the moment and Kara has to remind herself that they still have a long way to go for tonight. 

“Look at me, I’m sorry I didn’t know, I’m sorry you felt pressured but Lena, there is nobody else I want. You are the one I want, hell I’m pretty sure every me out there in the multiverse is looking for their own Lena right now. You are the best I could ever have.”

The words hit Lena and it just makes her sob harder. Kara fully turns her body to the side to gather Lena in her arms and lets her sob into her neck. 

“I- I left because I thought I couldn’t be enough, I didn’t want to. But everything was happening so fast and you wanted so many things and I couldn’t give it to you and I felt like such a fucking failure,” Lena sobs out, words slightly muffled with how hard Kara is pressing into her. 

“Lena you are not a failure oh, come here. Listen to me, you’re not a failure, you’re not supposed to build your world around me okay? You do it for yourself. You are brilliant. You are not a failure and I am so so sorry that I made you feel that way.”

Kara rubs circles on her back and squeezes around her every so often. It feels like forever that they stayed that way. Kara whispering, “Shh, breathe, breathe with me,” and Lena sniffling into Kara and Kara just wrapping all around her and calming her. When Lena’s sobs start to subside and she feels confident enough in her ability to speak she slowly breaks away from Kara. 

“I’ve been going to therapy,” she begins, “It helped...a lot. Helped clear out a lot of things f-for me. And I think,” She pauses, “Kara, I- I also think you need it more than I do.”

At that Kara’s face scrunches up in confusion. 

“How so?”

“Remember when I told you you wanted so much so fast?”

Kara gives her a nod. 

“I think you were trying to run, darling.”

She knew she should be focusing on what Lena was trying to tell her but she can’t help the little flutter of her heart at the pet name. 

“Run? Run from what?”

“Kara,” Lena starts, unsure about how she should really go about all this.

“You went through hell and back trying to fix the universe, you watched another home of yours get erased from existence. And not to mention that before and during all of that, the two of us were fighting. And then to make things worse at the end of it all, you get ejected into a universe you barely know with my brother as its savior.”

Lena lays out all the facts methodically, slowly, carefully but just blunt enough to make Kara realize that all that trauma should not just be brushed aside.

“You went through a lot.”

A lot, doesn’t even begin to describe the enormity of everything the both of them went through. But Lena supposes they can unpack that another time. There’s a pause and Lena watches Kara take a breath.

“Kara, I think you jumped into a relationship with me because it made you feel good. It made you forget about all the recent hardships you just went through. And I guess maybe I did too, you know? We both just wanted to feel some crumb of peace, but God, did we go about it the wrong way.”

Lena watches her words sink in, how Kara stops, blinks slowly only to take a sudden breath as tears slowly track down her face. 

“I- No. I didn’t. No, you’re wro- Lena, I-” Kara fails to tie together a sentence as tears start to fall down. It’s easy when everything else is in your head, when you can replay memories and cover them in filters made by your own brain, but when someone else puts it on the screen for you? That’s a different matter altogether. Nobody had shown Kara the severity of her trauma before and now it’s taking its toll.

“Oh, Kara. Come here, come here,” Lena coos, this time it was her pulling Kara in. Kara melts into her and Lena feels the telltale signs of heavy sobs come through. 

“I don’t know- I-”

“Shh, it’s okay, Kara, it’s okay.” 

She lets Kara fall apart in front of her. She knows those tears are oceans of their own, those drops carry the memory of a fallen planet, an entire culture, stories, people, loved ones. Every drop is a person Supergirl had failed to save, another universe, another home. Every drop is every lie she ever told Lena and all of the pain there was when she was gone. 

“I’m sorry, Lena, I’m sorry.”

She can’t beg forgiveness from an extinct race or a wiped out universe but Lena? She could still have Lena. 

Alex finds them curled tightly together in the Med Bay come morning. She kind of wants to cry in relief at the sight. 

Finally, fucking finally. 

She doesn’t have the heart to bother them so she grabs them an extra blanket and tucks both in, exiting with a small smile to her lips. 


They both wake up to the sound of laughter, the perpetrators— a couple of low-rank agents— stop in the tracks at the sight of a dishevelled Supergirl, scowling madly at them with one Lena Luthor tucked in her arms. 

“Uh- sorry, we’ll just uh-” 

The agents bolt out of the room immediately, letting Kara slump back into the pillow. 

“Hi,” Lena croaks out with a rough voice, eyes puffy from last night. 

Snippets from last night immediately flashing in Kara’s brain. 

Kara holding Lena. 

Lena holding Kara

Teary apologies

Catching-up on each other.

Talking till yawns interrupted their words. 


More kissing. 

More kiss-

You get the picture. 

“Good morning,” Kara replies with a shy smile. 

“Is scaring agents one of Supergirl’s many talents?” Lena teases, as Kara scoffs fully turning unto her side to face Lena, hand casually brushing a stray strand of her on Lena’s face

“Serves them right for just walking in-” Kara stops mid-sentence, fingers freezing and her eyes turn hesitant, “Sorry, is this okay?”

Because even though last night had happened even though they’ve talked until words could no longer name the depth of their feelings and they turned to silence instead, Kara is still unsure. Hesitant. Wary of giving too much too soon or asking for too much too soon.

But the most difficult part is over and they both realize this as the sun from outside filter through the many wide windows of the DEO, as Lena’s next words ring about in the warmth of the morning.

“Kara, it’s okay,” Lena answers her, catching Kara’s frozen hand and leaning into the touch, pressing closer to Kara’s face, noses touching, lips a breath apart. 

“In fact, it’s very much okay.”



The first tell was the lack of a body next to her. The second was the freezing cold. Her bed was almost never cold these days. She’s grown used to sharing her bed with a Kryptonian heater, and so, to wake up from a nightmare alone in bed was now an unusual occurrence. Unusual nough to make her panic. 

She sits up, disoriented from her nightmare. Lena groggily registers a low melodic humming crackling from the baby monitor on her nightstand. 

“Kara,” she whispers into the quiet of the room, “Please come back to me.” 

The humming from the monitor begins to sound distant as it gets louder to Lena’s ears; drifting nearer and nearer to the bedroom. 

The door opens and Kara strolls in, messy bun, sleepy voice and all. In her arms a squirming, kicking, sniffling, very much awake bundle fits.

“She doesn’t want to sleep, I tried everythi-” Kara whines and then stops as she takes in Lena’s racing heartbeat, shaking lips and shining eyes. 

“Oh no, did you have a nightmare? I’m sorry, I-”

“It’s okay, Kara. Just— Come here? Please?”

Kara shuffles quickly towards the bed; Lena lifts the comforter, making room, the bed dipping as her wife climbs in.

“You okay?” she asks, once she’s settled down next to Lena. She continues rocking her arms as an attempt to get their daughter to sleep for the nth time tonight. Her wife doesn’t still doesn’t answer her, although she doesn’t miss how Lena slightly calms at her presence.

“Lena, hey, you with me?”


“I’m here, I’m here.”

“Thi- this is real, right?”

Because sometimes, there are nights where dreams feel all too real and pain comes rearing at you as if it all happened yesterday. Because after all these years, Lena still carries fear inside of her; fear that none of this is real, fhat Kara doesn’t really love her, that she’ll never be good enough, that she’ll be abandoned again. Fear that all of this is just a figment of her imagination. 

“Oh, Lena. Come here, I’m going to pass her unto you alright?” 

Lena’s eyes snap up to hers for a minute in hesitation but she finds herself slowly nodding. Kara wouldn’t give their daughter over if she isn’t sure Lena could handle it. She slowly transfers their child to Lena’s arms. 

“Do you feel her warmth?” 


“Do you feel her weight?”

“She’s real, Lena. I’m real,” Kara says as she wraps her arms around them, cradling her wife and child close. 

“She’s getting heavy.”

“Yeah, yeah that she is. This is real, Lena.”

“Here,” she gently puts a pillow beneath Lena’s arms for support as she slowly grabs one hand and puts it right over her heart. 

“Feel this? Can you feel it?” Lena does, Lena can and she nods and it’s real and Kara’s heartbeats are steady under her palm; each beat an echo of Lena’s name she’s certain of that, because she’s pretty sure her heartbeats are all echoes of Kara’s name. 

“This is real.”