Work Header

if equal affection cannot be (let the more loving one be me)

Work Text:

Alex's hands were on autopilot. That's what she has to do if she doesn't want her agents to see their director break down in front of them. She has to work emotionless, detached; pretend that her sister isn't the one fighting for her life on the operating table.

In the background she hears Brainy list off everything she has to know; diagnosis, possible treatment, survival rate...

She vaguely catches the words, "Director, I believe Lena Luthor—"

The moment Alex hears the name Luthor, she stops, looks at Brainy and then asks,

"You telling me, I should let Lena Luthor in—"

But a voice cuts her off. Apparently, Lena was already in.

"Alex, I love her."

She whips her head and she doesn't see Lena. This isn't Lena. This is a desperate, pleading woman; green eyes heavy with emotion, body stiff and posture defensive.


"I'm in love with your sister, and if that isn't reason enough to trust me to do this, then I don't know what else you want."

Alex froze. She was in love with Kara, of course. Christ it was so obvious all this time. Why hadn't Alex realized till now?

She was too busy trying to figure it all out; she almost misses Lena's entire detailed plan of action. If you ask Alex about it now, she wouldn't be able to tell you what the hell Lena said, only that it was so fucking risky that Alex didn't know how she made the next words come out of her mouth.

"Yeah, okay. Yeah. Do it, Luthor."

Maybe it was the fact that this was their only option. Or maybe it was Brainy's statistics. Maybe, it was Alex finally seeing someone loving her sister as fiercely as her. That she was willing to lay bare her heart to a person she knows doesn't trust her.

Lena knows that Alex was just making sure she doesn't have ulterior motives. She knew it wasn't necessary to blurt out her secret like that, but they were running out of time and she desperately needs Alex to trust her to do this.

The next time Alex and Lena were alone together again, they were both sitting vigil by Kara’s side.

“I’m sorry.”

It was so quiet in the DEO’s Med Bay that Lena almost missed it. It was unexpected to say the least. The apology was the last thing Lena was expecting Alex to say. She was gearing for a confrontation, a rant or possibly maybe even a threat of ‘Stay away from Kara.’ but an apology?

“I should’ve let you help, immediately. I should’ve trusted you.”

“You should’ve.”

“I was scared that you were--”

“Going to hurt her, again?”


It was understandable. Maybe she didn’t really deserve Alex’s trust. She did hurt Kara after all, but God, she didn’t deserve to be shunned away after helping them with Leviathan. Alex could’ve put more trust in Kara’s judgement. 

“I’m sorry. Truly.”

“I know.”

They were quiet again, with nothing but the constant beeps of every machine in the Med Bay and the quiet breaths from the woman laid next to them. Alex’s eyes were trained on the floor while her hand was wrapped in Kara’s right. Lena was memorizing Kara’s face, with Kara’s left hand in hers. If only Kara could see them now. 

Every now and then, from the corner of her eye, she could see Alex observing her. But the moment Lena tilts her head to chance a glance at Alex, the floor seems to have caught all the red-head’s attention again; careful in not giving away her curiosity.

“Just ask. I know you want to.”

Alex was quick in hiding how she felt for being called out. There was a moment’s hesitation, as if she wasn’t sure whether she had the right to Lena’s story, especially after everything. 

“Alex, just ask.”

Well, okay, then.

“Since when?”

Since...forever, Lena wants to answer. She isn’t even sure herself when it had started, sometimes it feels like she just woke up one day and it was as if she couldn’t breathe without Kara around. But she could tell you when she started admitting it to herself. When boxes didn’t cut it anymore, when alcohol didn’t cut it anymore, when bringing nameless women to her penthouse didn’t cut it anymore. It wasn’t even a special night, they weren’t even together when it happened.


“I knew you’d still be up.”

“Mm, yeah. Just finishing a couple of stuff, why’d you call?”

“Nothing, I didn’t get to see you today, wanted to hear your voice, wanna hear about your day.”

Nobody had ever taken the time to tell her that before. Nobody telling her they wanted to at least hear her voice because they didn’t get a glimpse of her that day. Nobody calling for no reason but to hear her talk about another boring mundane day. Nobody made her feel as if anecdotes about L-Corp’s conference meetings were the most interesting thing in the world. Nobody, till Kara that is.

That was the night Lena couldn’t take it anymore. Her heart didn’t want another day of denial. And so, on an ordinary night in November, Lena Luthor finally accepted she was in love with Kara Danvers. And she couldn’t change that fact even if she tried. 

“I don’t even remember, to be honest,” she tells Alex truthfully, she already knows Lena’s deepest darkest secret, might as well give her the full extent of it. 

“Maybe ever since we first met or during Lillian’s trial, I don’t even know. It’s just-” she pauses, thinking, trying to contain everything all at once. This was the first time she was telling another soul about this. She was bound to stutter. Not to mention the person she was confiding in, was Kara’s sister of all people. 

“Just that one day I woke up and suddenly she was all there was. And when I look back on it, it feels like there wasn’t a day that I wasn’t in love with her.”

Alex was silent just looking at her with this kind of gaze that feels like she’s tearing into Lena’s soul. 

“That’s why you lashed out.”

Lena wants to chuckle at that. “lash out” was an understatement. She nearly mind controlled the world and Alex describes it as “lashing out”. Although maybe that’s just the effect of having grown-up with an alien for a sister. 

Having friends who almost successfully hacked humanity’s consciousness is just another typical Tuesday to Alex Danvers.

“You were heartbroken.”

She was. 

But it was more than just heartbreak. Heartbroken was what she felt when Andrea betrayed her. Heartbroken was what she felt when Jack died. Heartbroken was finding out her brother was gone. What Kara inflicted on her was more than just heartbreak. But she doesn’t think Alex would get that so she says, “Yeah. Heartbroken.”

“I’m sorry,” Alex repeats, “For giving up on you, for trying to kill you, for playing a role in Kara’s deception. I know this apology is nothing but I-”

“It’s not nothing, Alex. It’s- This is a start,” Lena cuts in, Alex looks like she was on the verge of a massive breakdown. The weight of the past few weeks, finally catching up. Alex finally looks up and meets her eyes when she hears Lena say that. They trade off a sincere smile and a silent agreement passes between them. 

The both of them have a long way to go when it comes to forgiveness and reconciliation. Years and years of working together with a covert agency only to find out that their director has been lying to her, was not an easy thing to deal with.

They’ve much to unpack and even more to talk about. But this? This moment right now? 

This is a start. 

Alex Danvers and Lena Luthor find themselves together again on a Game Night. 

A Game Night in which William Dey is trying so hard to woo Kara and is currently failing spectacularly at it. Lena supposes she should enjoy the man making a fool of himself, if only to contain the painful flashes of hurt in her chest.  

Hurt that flares up at the thought of Kara finding someone else. Which—now that she thinks about it—was inevitable anyway. See, whenever Lena takes the time to dissect and digest what had happened to her and Kara, it always comes out in two parts. 

The Before and the After.

And whatever hope Lena had harbored throughout the entirety of their Before is completely diminished by the After.

Too much had happened. 

“God, why did it have to be another grown man? Why couldn’t she just brought home a cute girl instead?”

“What? What are you talking about?” 

“Kara, of course."

That answer had Lena baffled, a cute girl? Why would Kara— 

“She’s straight why would she— “

Alex gives her a look and then, “Kara’s pan.”

“What? No, she isn’t,” Lena blubbers out, Kara’s- No, no she's not. Because she would know if her best friend liked women. She would know her best friend’s sexuality, she’s the best friend for fuck’s sake.

“Kara’s not straight, she’s pan. She grew up in Kryp— “

When Alex gets to that part of the sentence, realization dawns about them both.

Kara grew up in Krypton. Which means Kara wasn’t exposed to how humans view sexuality and love. Kara’s a pansexual Kryptonian who gives her sister grief regarding the men she brings home. 

But, Lena didn’t know that. Lena didn’t know any of that because Kara lied and Alex lied and every single person in this room had lied to her.  

The Before and After make themselves even more pronounced in Lena’s mind.

The second Game Night isn’t much different from the first. 

She’d stay close to Brainy all night but Nia seems intent on having him all to herself so Lena gets up and makes her way to the kitchen. There was a brief moment, where she blamed herself for Brainy almost dying, for Nia almost losing the person she loves, if Lena had just— 

“I don’t understand you.”

Before her thoughts could get any deeper, Alex's words jolt her back to reality.

“Sorry, what?”

The two of them were leaning against Kara’s kitchen counter, the laughter from the living room a dim background noise. Alex raises her bottle in a slight gesture to point at Kara and William in the middle of the room. 

“I don’t understand you,” Alex repeats and Lena waits for her to continue, “You tell me all that lovey-dovey crap about my sister and come Game Night, I see him.”  

Alex makes a noise that was between a snort and a scoff. So, it seems the sister still disapproves. 

“Make it make sense, Luthor,” She finishes as she takes a swig of her beer. 

Lena parts her lips then finds herself closing them half a second later, contemplating what to say. 

“Alex, people like me—” she takes a breath, she doesn’t meet Alex’s eyes, keeping her eyes focused on the chaos happening a few steps away from them, instead.

“People like me, we— I don’t get to keep people like Kara Danvers in my life.”

Lena leaves Alex with those words.

She plasters a smile on her face, tamping down whatever swirling emotion screaming inside her. 

“Lena! Come here! Quick, I need you!” Kara shouts as she sees her approaching, Brainy and William were crushing her in whatever video game  was playing on the TV. 

She could feel Alex’s eyes trained on her back. 


“I’m here, Kara."


She wants to say. 


I’ll always be here. 


—she doesn’t.


“Going there.”

The words were thrown at her without preamble. Lena raises her brow at Nia, failing to understand what the young woman just said to her. 

They were quietly enjoying a rare peace at their table for tonight’s gala. Nia was here with Kara as CatCo’s media representative. Nia suddenly materialized beside her and Lena let her stay, they were slowly growing close again. What with Lena spending more and more time with Brainy, Nia and her were bound to heal soon. 

“Sorry, what are you saying?” Lena asks, turning fully to Nia. 

“Her and him," Nia turns her head to a pair dancing on the dance floor, "-if they're getting serious,” she elaborates, tone cautious around Lena.

Lena follows her line of sight, as if she hadn’t been following that blonde figure for the past 2 hours. She’s got both arms on his shoulders and both his arms on her waist. White wine won’t be enough for tonight, it seems. 

Nia’s words are finally registering to her.

“The answer is going there, if they’re getting serious. It’s going there,” Nia answers Lena’s unspoken question. 

“Hm, is it?”

“Yeah,” Nia confirms and the single syllable is salt on an open wound.

“Or at least, that’s what she tells me. Says he’s good for her. Stable.”

“Stable,” Lena echoes, tasting the word on her tongue. Stable, something Kara needs, something a hero can turn to, something she can lean on, something that Lena’s life is not and will never be.

“That’s  a good thing, isn’t it? She of all people deserves to be happy, after all.”

She feels a warm hand on her own. 

“You do too, you know?”

Yeah, white wine definitely isn’t going to be enough. 



Alex was the first to know. 

She wasn’t supposed to know, but Jess had let it slip and now Alex Danvers knows. 

“It’s going to break her heart, you know that.”

Bold of her to assume it wasn’t going to break Lena’s heart too. 

“She’ll be fine,” Lena says, meeting Alex’s eyes. Kara is going to be fine. She’s got Alex and Nia and J’onn and the whole damn city to make her fine. Fuck, she even has William fucking Dey to make her fine. 

“Her superhearing doesn’t cover other continents,” Alex states as if that piece of information was supposed to make sense to Lena. 

“She listens,” Alex says, “Everyday. Everywhere. No matter the time, no matter where she is. She listens to heartbeats.”

Ah, now it makes sense. 

The ‘your’ is left unspoken. 

“L-Corp needs to expand, after what Lex did. National City is fine but the company took hits on an international scale. I need to be there, Alex.”


“I’m the CEO.”

"You’re running, is what you are.”

A beat. 

“When?” Alex asks in the second stretch of silence. 

“In a month.”

“Fuck,” the red-head sighs out pinching the bridge of her nose, “Are you even going to tell her?”

“I’m planning to,” She admits. And she is, she really is. 

She’s planning to tell Kara that she was going to be halfway around the world  less than 30 days from now. She’s been planning how to tell her and Alex Danvers wasn’t supposed to know. But now she does. And because of that, now there’s a hairline fracture in Lena’s otherwise firm decision. 

“She’s going to ask you to stay, she’s going to— damn it, Lena, you’re acting as if you don’t know Kara.”

“She’s going to be fine,” Lena says again, maybe to assure Alex, maybe to assure herself, either way the both of them find the statement hard to believe. 

“You didn’t even try.”

Lena wants to deck Alex for that statement. Oh, because she tried, she did. How she had tried, again and again, more and more, each and every time. Until there wasn’t even any her leftt, it was all just Kara and Kara and Kara and then all that turned to lies and lies and lies and hurt and pain that felt greater than the both of them. 

She can’t punch Alex Danvers in the face but she sure as hell could obliterate her. 

“I did, Alex. I fucking did. You do not get to tell me I didn’t. You don’t get to tell me I didn’t fight for her when I fucking killed my own brother for her. Twice. Let’s not even mention that during the first time, I didn’t even know who the fuck she really was.”

For the first time, Alex sees why everyone else believes Lena Luthor is a ticking bomb.

“So, no. You don’t get to fucking tell me that I didn’t try. When all this time that’s what I’ve been doing.”



Lena’s beyond drunk when she tells Kara she’s leaving National City for good. 

She wakes up in Kara’s bed with no recollection about the night prior and certainly doesn’t have a single clue as to why her best friend’s eyes are bloodshot from...crying???

Lena asks. 

Kara doesn’t tell her why. 

Lena lets it pass. 



Alex almost tears her door down the moment she confronts Lena. 

“You absolute fucking idiot!!!”

“What the hell, Alex? What the fuck is your problem?”

Oh, Lena cannot forget how Alex tells her what the fuck her exact problem is.

“Fuck,” is the only thing she can whisper into the night once Alex is done speaking 

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she chants to the beat of her pounding heart and her reeling mind. 

“Fuck is right,” Alex spits out,  “Now, get your ass to Kara’s or I swear to God, Lena I will tranq you and I will drag you there myself.”



“I told Alex and Alex just looked at me with this face. There was this look on her face—  As if it isn’t news to her. As if she knew. Because she did. She knew, she knew before I did. I didn’t even get a proper conversation. You said it because you were drunk and you— you didn’t even remember...”

Lena didn’t know what to expect when she drove here at 11 pm at night. Alex dragged her out of her place and made her come here. Now that she thinks about it, she probably should have made a plan amidst those fifteen minutes on the road. Kara clearly wasn’t expecting her. Well, she’s not alone in that one. 

She entered the door, opened her mouth, closed them, wrung her hands, unwrung them, put them in her pockets, only to remember she didn’t have pockets, wrung them again and then Kara had spoken. 

It was the sobs that did her in. 

“You’re leaving— how could you— I— Lena, I can’t please don’t—” 

And now she’s holding a shaking Kara in her arms; rapidly dissolving into heaving sobs and incoherent pleas. 

“Kara, hey, hey, you have to breathe,” Lena soothes, as she tries to tilt Kara’s head to face her. “Come on, you have to breathe, you’re hyperventilating, Kara, look at me,” she keeps her voice soft and calm. Frankly, she doesn’t even know how she did that, since she’s near hyperventilation herself. 

Kara finally listens to her, takes a shaky shaky breath and utters, “O-okay,” and Lena makes her count between breaths as arms wrap around Kara tighter and tighter. 

When Kara’s sobs slowly become little sniffles and hiccups, Lena finally speaks. 

“Jess slipped up. I was going to tell you first, but Jess didn’t know that Alex was in my office when she asked for living arrangements to be set up in London, she—”

At the mention of living arrangements Kara seems to tense, as if slowly realizing that Lena had been working to make this concrete. That if she were planning for furniture and rooms and apartments then it really was real. She really was going to lose her. 

“She told me to tell you. And I was,” Lena admits, “—going to tell you, but I- I fucked up and I got drunk and I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry that that was how you found out,” she finishes and Kara’s face remains pressed to her body and she waits for a reply.

But Kara refuses to answer her.

“Kara,” she starts, “Kara, why didn’t you tell me though? That morning, when I asked you? Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I was afraid th-that you were going to confirm it.”

Lena felt more than heard. The entire upper right of her shirt is wet with Kara’s tears, now. 

“I- I needed to not think about it for a while, but I couldn’t get it out of my head, the thought of you, just— leaving. I couldn’t- So, I called Alex and then she—”

And then she confirmed it and Kara went into a downward spiral that scared her sister shitless. 

“I’m sorry, Kara. I’m so sorry,” she whispers against her forehead as she tries to blink back her own tears. 

“Please, Lena. Please stay, please.”

This is what everybody meant when they say they hate when Alex is right. 

“Kara, I need to— L-Corp is—”

“I just got you back, Lena.”


“I just got you back, please, please. Lena please,” Kara pleads with her and Lena feels trapped. 

If she stays here, it will be an endless cycle of watching and waiting as Kara’s life grows and hers would forever just stay there, remain stationary. Always just the best friend, just the person who she eats lunch with, just one of the favorites, just someone she loves but never falls in love with. If she stays here it would be another lifetime of wanting something she could never have. If she stays here, you get to keep Kara.

“I love you.”


What? What?! She loves— Kara loves— what?

“I love you, please, Lena, I’m in love with you. You’re my home, you’re— It’ll be Krypton all over again, please. Losing you would be Krypton all over again, stay with me, Lena please,” Kara says fervently, finally having the courage to cup Lena’s face and gaze into her eyes.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see it before. I’m sorry I didn’t say it, didn’t show it, I’m sorry please, tell me it’s not too late, Lena, tell me it’s not too late.”

Lena is the personification of the cliche line‘beyond speechless’.

She’s waited for this moment for years and now, she can’t say a word. 

And the next thing that comes out of her mouth is something stupid. 

“But William—”


“Nia said-”

“Lena, look at me whatever the hell it is Nia said, whatever the hell I thought about William, it was me being stupid and in denial and Rao, I love you okay? I love you so much, I couldn’t even bear the thought of you leaving. It didn’t even occur to me that I could fly and visit you, all I could think about was not having you close, not having you over every other night, not getting to wake up next to you, not getting to eat lunch with you, not getting to hear your laugh, not getting to hear your heartbeat, not getting the chance to tell you, I love you.”

It was Lena’s turn to sob. 

“Kara— I— I love you too, God, you don’t know how much I love you. It— I love you’s aren’t enough, Kara, they’re not—”

As if reading her mind Kara says, “Kiss me?”

And she does.

I love you’s will never be enough but this? This colliding of lips? This lung gasping, oxygen-stealing, earth-shattering act of kissing, Kara?

Lena thinks, yes this is enough. For now it would be enough. 

“Tell me you’ll stay,” Kara breathes, eyes closed, forehead pressed to Lena’s. 

“I’m staying, I’ll stay as long as you’ll have me.”

Alex’s hands were on autopilot. That’s what she has to do. If she doesn’t want to fuck this up. She was a doctor for the love of God, not a damn goldsmith. 

“Alex, I love her.”

She hears and fights the urge to roll her eyes.  Of course, Lena would pull a dramatic stunt for asking her blessing, even though they all know she really doesn't need anybody's blessing. She slowly lifts her head and she doesn’t see Lena. This isn’t Lena. This is a nervous wreck of a woman about to ask the person she loves to marry her. 

“I’m in love with your sister and I-” 

“Look, Luthor I know. That’s why we’re doing this remember? You don’t have to ask for my blessing, Kara will marry you in a heartbeat. And also, in case you haven't noticed, inside everyone else’s brains you’re already married, anyway,” Alex tells her all matter of factly and Lena sighs a breath of relief. Ridiculous, really, as if Alex disapproving would stop Kara from marrying Lena. Nothing could stop the two of them, the world had tried and look at how it failed. 

“Thank you,” Lena replies fidgeting with the ends of her lab coat, “for saying that, and for sticking with me and hitting our heads when we act like idiots all these years. I- I don’t think we would get here without you.”

Alex almost tears at that, but she won’t. She can’t. She’s not going to let Lena Luthor ruin her handiwork with a bunch of sappy words. 

“You know, it was here, when it happened,” Alex reminisces, “The moment you told me you loved Kara, it was in this very lab and I was scared to death to lose my sister and you came in and you told me you loved her and that was the moment I knew. You were the one. Kara would choose you over and over again because you’d choose her too, again and again.”

“I can’t believe you still remember that.”

“Pft, ‘course I do! Now, let me work on your mating bands in peace and I’ll call you when it’s time to put the trackers and wiring in, okay?”

It was Lena's idea to create Kryptonian mating bands for Kara. But of course, it wouldn't be Lena Luthor if she didn't want it reinforced with tracking bugs and an emergency alarm. Alex and her had been working on it for quite some time now, with a bit of help from Clark Kent and a rare supply of Kryptonian Nth metal from Argo City, they're finally close to finishing the two golden bracelets.

“Okay. Thank you again, Alex,” Lena mutters and she gives Alex a small kiss to the shoulder; the only body part not covered in heat-proof gear she could reach.

“Hey,” Kara greets her with a kiss and she leans in to her touch once Kara wraps an arm around her waist; both standing in silence for a while, National City laid out stretched before them. 

Balconies were their thing. What can she say?

“You gonna tell me, now?” Kara asks still looking at the setting sun on the horizon.

“What are you talking about?”

“Oh, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You and Alex keep sneaking off and disappearing, I would track you but I have a feeling it's got to do with me," At that Lena raises her brow and says, "Pretty presumptuous of you, don't you think?"

Kara just rolls her eyes, ignores the interruption and continues, "-don’t really wanna ruin it.”

“Then, I’m not saying anything,” 

“Oh, come on, just a hint, please?”

“Darling, no. I promise you it will be worth it.”

“I know," Kara states, "You Lena Luthor, are always and will always be worth the wait.”

And it was. 

It was worth the wait. Worth the pain, worth the years and years of learning and forgiving and...therapy. Oh, God, the therapy. But Lena wouldn't have it any other way. 

The wedding was quiet even though none of them were expecting that. Everyone had their supersuits underneath the chiffon dresses and the tuxes. That was just how they roll and Lena's a part of it now. 

Alex stood beside the two of them at the ceremony, handing over the bands which made Kara gasp upon seeing the El insignia and the delicate Kryptonian scripture. 

They hyphenated, even though it means their kids would have a mouthful to say during their first day of preschool. 

Lena bought them a house in National City and Metropolis and...Midvale. 

Kara built her a house in Argo City.

They adopted a dog. Then a cat. 

Lena insisted on their kids inheriting Kryptonian names, if it meant allowing a part of Kara-one she thought was long dead-to live on, even if it were only their family who would know the names. 

They went to Nia's and Brainy's wedding side by side, their daughters as flower girls and if Kara saw Lena crying when Brainy said his vows, she didn't tell. 

And when Supergirl hung her cape, National City bid her farewell with the utmost gratitude.

It was time for the Girl of Steel to come home to the World Saving Genius...


-and there she would stay.