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This Love

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Sam is surprised to see Lena already in the office when she arrives the next day.

 

“Hey, um, good morning?” She says, surprised by her friend’s early morning arrival “I thought you would be in after seeing your in-laws off this morning.”

 

Once Alex, Eliza, and Gracie had returned from the park the day before, Lena put her façade back up, and spent the rest of the day with Kara and her family. This meant that she never followed through on calling Sam and talking about the events that had happened that morning. Instead, Lena was left with keeping them to herself for the time being.

 

Today, after a rather restless night of sleep, Lena was up and out the door early, eager to avoid any prolonged goodbyes or a worried Kara. She caught Eliza, who has always been an early riser, and wished her well, before she left for work. She did leave Kara a note on the bedside nightstand, letting her know she went into work early to start getting caught up on things with Sam.

 

Lena greets Sam with a small smile as she places a second cup of coffee into view.

 

“My hero,” Sam says as she swooped over to pick it up.

 

“I figured Kara and Gracie could send them off before Gracie goes to school. And I could get caught up here,” Lena says, staring down at some paperwork.

 

Sam makes her way over to the couch, pulling out some files from her bag as she does. “Uh huh. And what about you and Kara?”

 

Lena’s eyes glance up though her head stays down. “What about us, Sam?”

 

Sam gives Lena a gentle, understanding smile. “She texted me this morning, saying you and her… had an incident yesterday. And that she is worried about you. She asked me to check in on you.”

 

Lena’s jaw tightens before she forces herself to relax, taking in a deep breath and letting it slowly. She sets down her pen and leans back in her chair, her hand squeezing the bridge of her nose as her eyes close. Sam sits and waits patiently for Lena to start talking.

 

Eyes still closed, Lena finally starts to talk, sharing her stream of consciousness with Sam. “I just want to be through this part already, Sam. I want to be happy and excited to see my… wife… to see Kara. I want to not be bombarded by thoughts about… well what if the next major crisis occurs… or when the next world ending event comes around and she goes all hero… all self-sacrificing… or what if she faces off with someone worse than Lex… what if they actually manage to kill her… what if she decides to let her powers go and she becomes human and something bad happens to her… I just… all of these thoughts…”

 

“Hey, Lena, hey, look at me.” When Lena opens her eyes, Sam is standing right beside her. Sam reaches out and takes Lena’s hands in her own. “You are going to be ok. You and I both know that this is your head’s way of trying to protect you, of trying to keep you from getting hurt again. It’s trying to convince you that this is too dangerous.”

 

Lena meets Sam’s eyes as she explains to Lena what her own mind is doing. She knows Sam is right. Her life has taught her that people only hurt her, use her. It took Kara, Alex, Sam, … among others much later in her life to teach her that she can be loved. And that sometimes, even those that love us can hurt us the most. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve forgiveness. Where would she be now if her and Kara hadn’t forgiven each other all those years ago? She would have never gotten to have more than a friendship with Kara. She would have never had Gracie. She might have never gotten to move back to Metropolis and reconnected with Sam in this way.

 

Yes, her childhood, her teenager years, her early adult years, they were full of pain. But they also had moments of joy and of love. And from the moment Kara walked into her life all those years ago, she had so much more joy in her life. All their lunches and spin classes and game nights. Each time they took her brother down. All the bonding. And then, when they became partners, finally confronting the underlying feelings both had felt for years, that underlined their friendship and their falling out – that moment and the two years that followed were some of the happiness times in Lena’s life. Her heart was so full. She never thought she could be that happy, that she, a Luthor, deserved such happiness. If Lena was being honest, she had thought the Luthor name was cursed.

 

The longer Kara was gone, the more that thought haunted her. That perhaps she was cursed as a Luthor.

 

But she had Gracie – a bright shining spot in her life. She was inquisitive, clumsy, and funny. Her laugh could light up a room. She reminded Lena of Kara, but not in a bad way. It didn’t make Lena sad. On the contrary, it made Lena happy, made her warm. She loved knowing that she created Gracie, with Kara. That the love between her, a Luthor, and Kara, a Super, created this wonderful, bright child. Gracie was a reminder to Lena that she wasn’t cursed.

 

As all of these thoughts race through Lena’s mind, she gives Sam a gracious smile. “Thank you, Sam. For being here. For reminding me of just how lucky I am. Of how loved I am.”

 

Sam smirks. “I hadn’t even gotten to that part of my big speech.”

 

Lena chuckles. “You didn’t have to. That’s how good you are.”

 

Sam gives Lena a hug. As she pulls away, she asks, “How else can I help?”

 

Lena takes a deep breath. “Could you and Ruby watch Gracie tonight? I think, after all the craziness with Clark and everything, and then the family visit, that Kara and I just need some time alone.”

 

“Of course, whatever you need.”

 

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Kara was nervous. She didn’t know what to expect. All she got was a text from Sam that morning that said Lena was ok. A short while later, she got a text from Lena, saying that Sam would pick Gracie up from school and that Lena wants Kara to meet her at an address she wasn’t familiar with that evening. When Kara tried to ask her what it was. Lena simply replied with “You’ll see.”

 

Kara might have had to fight to ask her if it was her own apartment. Because, being married to a millionaire meant Lena could have easily just… bought an entire complex, you know, if she wanted to. Kara was concerned that maybe she overstepped by texting Sam. She was anxious when she woke up, only to find a note from Lena, telling her she had gone into work early. She knew Lena was in a tough, dark, vulnerable place right now. And she wanted to be there for her. But she also didn’t want to push too hard. So yes, maybe Lena was about to show Kara to her own apartment because she realized she did want space.

 

After Alex and Eliza left, it took everything in Kara not to panic, given this train of thought. Instead, she focused on other things. That morning, it meant catching up on all the worldly events she missed in the past seven years. She needed a break from the Lena videos, though she knew she was almost finished with them. She wanted a distraction. So instead, she was going through archived news websites to catch up on the major news headlines from the past seven years.

 

She saw several of her hero companions helping out at major catastrophes. She saw the headlines for Superman’s return. She saw when Lcorp made major headlines for their huge technology advancements and for when they moved their main headquarters back to Metropolis. She saw a news snippet here and there on Cat Grant and all her grandness in politics as an advisor to the president and other world leaders. And through it all, some of it made Kara smile while other parts made her sad. She saw the ten-year memorial service to the death of Oliver Queen, which really hit her hard. A picture of all her fellow heroes were there, including Dreamer, who had joined the team in her absence. Kara stared at the photo for a long time before finally picking up her phone. Before leaving, Alex had programmed in several new numbers. Before she could over think it, Kara hit the call button.

 

“Hello, this is Nia Nal.”

 

“Hey Nia… It’ Kara.”

 

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As Kara arrived at the address that evening, her heart was racing. The building appeared to be some kind of warehouse. She wondered if maybe perhaps it was another kind of lab. Kara was beginning to also wonder about exactly how many properties Lcorp actually had in the city. She made her way up to the front of the building just to see another car pulling up to a stop. Lena smiled at her as the door opened and she stepped out.

 

“Hi Darling,” she greeted Kara. Kara smiled warmly, her nervousness being somewhat abated given such a sweet greeting. Lena led Kara up to the front door and opened a panel on the side. She entered a series of digits in the keypad and then looked over at Kara, who was smirking.

 

“That’s my Earth birthday.”

 

Lena rolled her eyes as the locks on the door could be heard unlatching. She reached over and opened the doors, pulling the door open and holding it for Kara. “After you,” Lena said with a sincere smile.

 

Kara walked in with a curious look on her face. It was dark as they entered. “Lee, what exactly is this place?”

 

As she asked, she heard Lena walk off to the side behind her and start turning on several switches. As she did, several lights started to turn on and light up the giant area around them. As Kara took in the space, she gasped.

 

“Lena. You didn’t.”

 

Lena stepped up next to Kara, smiling proudly. “Oh, but I did.”

 

“How? When? Why?” Kara continues to stare on in amazement as she makes her way slowly forward into the building. It is huge and has several different areas for different types of training. Kara can see a sparring room set up with red sun lamps and a med bay area with yellow sun lamps. She can see some punching bags and punching blocks of stone. She can see huge weights for lifting that are marked, getting heavier and heavier in weight. There is an area with a machine that shoots flying discs out for target practice for her heat vision.

 

Lena couldn’t help the beaming smile on her face. “You might recall we had a similar training facility set up for you in National City. It wasn’t difficult to procure the parts and put together a new one here in Metropolis. I know what you said about being Supergirl and I know you haven’t made up your mind about the antidote and your powers. But you need a place you can go that is just yours, a place that you can work out, in peace, using or not using powers, without worrying about any prying eyes. A place that you can go to so you can process any emotions you have when you need to get them out. And you need a place that has the stamina to take it. So, here it is. Only you and I know the passcode to the door. It is the only entrance to the building. I have synced Hope to this building so she can completely black out the windows whenever you are here training, so no one can see inside. Oh and there are no cameras. So it will just be you. I promise.”

 

Lena finishes as she is engulfed in a hug. “I don’t even know what to say Lena. Thank you so much for this. I had no idea you were even doing this, putting this together, all while dealing with me being back… I just… you keep watching out for me. I don’t understand how you do it.”

 

As Kara pulls back from the hug, Lena cups her face in her hands. “You might recall, even when I was mad at Supergirl for not trusting me, I was building her tech to protect her from kryptonite. I guess I just like to process things this way.”

 

Kara smiles and blushes, staring at Lena, wanting to kiss her, but suppressing the urge. She knows after yesterday that Lena is still struggling with exactly where her own boundaries in the relationship are, so she doesn’t want to confuse her even more.

 

“Well, thank you again, Lena. I really appreciate it,” Kara says instead.

 

Lena smiles, finally letting go of Kara’s face. “Well, Sam has Gracie for the night. I thought we could go out for dinner, just the two of us, and talk.”

 

Kara tries to hide the spike in her anxiety when Lena mentions talking. “Yeah, food sounds great.”

 

As they make their way into Lena’s car, Kara’s foot betrays her anxiety, bounding up and down. “Kara, is something wrong?” Lena asks, putting a hand on top of Kara’s bouncing leg.

 

Kara bites her lip. After a pause, she decides on avoiding whatever it is that Lena wants to talk about for now, and instead focus on the other big event from that day. “Um… I talked to Nia today.”

 

Lena’s eyes go wide. “You did? That’s amazing Kara. How is she doing?”

 

Kara forces a smile as she tells Lena how Nia and Brainy are doing as National City’s main heroes. And how they are training the newest recruits to take over so they can start a family.

 

“That’s amazing. I’m so happy for them,” Lena says with a smile. “I’m sorry I lost touch with them after I moved. It was just… hard to keep up with everyone.”

 

Kara squeezes Lena’s hand. “She knows. She gets it… we… we talked about it a little… it… it was good for me. I realized how much guilt I have been carrying around. Not just with letting you down… but letting everyone down too… I guess I didn’t want to face that.”

 

This time it was Lena’s turn to comfort Kara with a gentle squeeze. “Hey, they get it. Nia, Brainy, everyone gets it. They understand.”

 

Kara half-smiles. “Yeah, she told me as much. If anything, me being gone really gave Nia a chance, both at Catco and as Dreamer, to step out from behind my shadow, and make a name for herself. So, I suppose it worked out for her in the long run.”

 

“Kara, you know that isn’t what she meant, right? She would have wanted you there by her side, every step of the way. She never felt like she was in your shadow. Her relationship with you is nothing like your relationship with Clark.”

 

Kara grimaces. Somehow Lena knew, without Kara having to say it, exactly where a lot of Kara’s issues were stemming from. Kara lets out a deep breath as she looks out the window, a frown on her face as the crinkle on her forehead forms. “Clark left me… he abandoned me… and then he abandoned my family when he came back… and when I came out as Supergirl… I struggled so much to not be in his shadow… I guess I was just concerned that Nia would feel the same way… I trained her… I mentored her… both as a superhero and as a reporter… and then I just abandoned her for seven years…”

 

Lena pulls Kara in for a hug, seeing Kara’s eye fill with tears. As they pull away, Lena gently wipes away the tears on Kara’s cheeks. “Now, you listen here, Kara Danvers. What happened with you and everyone in your life is astronomically different from what happened between you and Clark. You didn’t choose to be gone this long. You did not pawn off any of us onto someone else just so you could live the life that you wanted to be living, while saying that it was to protect them. You didn’t do that. When you finally got back, the first thing you did was seek out your family and try to make it right. You’re… you’re still trying to make it right Kara.”

 

It hits Lena, in that moment, with the last statement that comes out of her mouth. Kara is here. She is back. Something Lena has been dreaming about for years. And since she has gotten back, the only thing she has been trying to do, is be here, with her and with Gracie, together, as a family. She has been respectful of the boundaries Lena has set. She has been patient. She has been kind. She has been Kara, her Kara, despite everything that has happened to her, to them. She is still here, trying to fix things, to make it right by owning up to her own mistakes.  

 

Kara nods firmly to Lena’s statement as her eyes well up with more tears. She closes her eyes and lets them fall.

 

A moment of silence passes between the two women as they feel the car come to a stop. Lena looks over at Kara, who finally opens here eyes. “We don’t have to go out for dinner. I can have our driver take us home and we can order in.”

 

Kara gives Lena a small, gracious smile. “No, it’s ok. I… I want to do this. Let’s go enjoy dinner.” Lena smiles widely and nods.

 

Kara and Lena engage in small talk throughout dinner. Lena tells Kara all about most recent projects at Lcorp, about what she was getting caught up with at work today with Sam. Kara finishes telling Lena about her conversation with Nia.

 

“Yeah, she even mentioned how she saw me and Clark on the news.”

 

Lena smirks, eyebrow in the air. “Oh?”

 

“Yeah, she asked me if he got a lecture with his beatdown actually,” Kara says with a laugh.

 

Lena chuckles. “You know, I did wonder the same considering his carefully constructed apology to me upon your return to the penthouse.”

 

Kara shrugged innocently. “I mean, there might have been a little bit of yelling going on about how the Luthor name doesn’t deserve you. Nothing I haven’t said before.”

 

“Is that so?” Lena prods, glad to see Kara opening up again.

 

Kara uses her fork to push around the last couple bites of food on her plate as she thinks about Lena’s words. “Well… I might have also gone off on him about a lot of things. I was… very mad.”

 

Lena’s playful tone is gone as she responds, reaching her hand across the table. “I’m glad you were finally honest with him, Kara. You deserved so much more from him. You still do.”

 

Kara has a sad, dejected smile on her face as she responds, “Thanks Lee,”

 

Lena can tell there is something else there, something unsaid. She gentle rubs the top of Kara’s hand to draw her attention. As Kara looks up from her plate into Lena’s eyes, Lena asks softly. “Is there something else?”

 

“I just… I’m sorry for how I left. I let the urgency radiating off Winn and Mon El dictate my behavior. I should have paid more attention to what was going on. I should have paused. I should have taken the time to think it through. I was always so gung ho about fighting the fight, about making the big play, the big sacrifice for everyone… I can’t keep doing that…”

 

“Kara.”

 

“No, please, let me finish,” Kara says, interrupting Lena, who acquiesces. Kara takes a breath and then continues. “I’ve thought a lot about this, especially after talking to Nia today. And what I’ve realized is that it isn’t worth being a hero and saving the world if I don’t have the people that I love with me along the way. I mean, the whole reason I even revealed myself is because Alex was going to die.”

 

Kara pauses after that and looks away. Lena bites her lip, waiting for Kara to continue. She sees Kara’s chest fill as she takes in a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly before she finally looks back at Lena, who gives her a small encouraging smile. “What I’m trying to say is, I’ve been rethinking and reevaluating this whole superhero thing. Powers or no powers, there are plenty of ways that I can help people. What’s more important is how I treat my family. And there were so many better ways I could have handled things the day I left for the future. I wanted you to know that I recognize that, that I am learning from that, and I’ll do better moving forward.”

 

Lena is so taken aback by Kara’s heartfelt apology and promise, she is speechless. Kara smiles sheepishly. “I… I know that was a lot, sorry Lee.”

 

That seemed to snap Lena out of her trance. “No, no, please don’t do that. Your first apology, about when you left… that… I mean, it was a lot, but… but don’t apologize for it. I… thank you… thank you for saying it. I just needed a moment to process it, that’s all.”

 

Kara half-smiles. “Of course, we can talk about it more, whenever you like, if you want to.”

 

Lena returns the smile. “Well, how about some dessert for now?” Lena asks, trying to lighten the mood.

 

Kara chuckles. “Sounds wonderful.”

 

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Once they get home, Lena and Kara make their way to the kitchen, where Lena opens a fresh bottle of wine.

 

“So, what now?” Kara asks, unsure of the plans post-dinner. She is feeling slightly nervous given her intense monologue at dinner.

 

Lena offers Kara a glass of wine, which she gladly takes. The two women make their way over to the couch, though Kara can tell Lena now seems a little apprehensive. She remembers Lena mentioning Lena wanting to talk and her own anxiety suddenly spikes even more.

 

“I talked to Sam today,” Lena says after an awkward silence.

 

“Oh?” Kara manages to say over her thundering heart.

 

“Yes. Apparently, someone texted her to check up on me,” Lena says with a smirk as she stares intently at Kara.

 

Kara’s cheeks redden as she drops her head and starts rambling an explanation. “Yeah… I was worried about you after what happened yesterday… but I didn’t want to push so I thought it would be better if Sam talked to you instead…”

 

Lena cuts Kara off to save her. “Kara, Darling, this is me saying thank you.”

 

“What?” Kara says, baffled.

 

Lena takes Kara’s hand in her own, interlocking their fingers. “Thank you, for caring enough to ask my friend to check on me. Thank you for reminding me what it feels like to be loved.”

 

“Loving you is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.” Kara’s eyes go wide at her own admission as Lena looks up at her. Green eyes full of disbelief.

 

“Kara, need I remind you how… difficult our history has been? How much it took for us to even get to a point that we were together?”

 

Kara shakes her head with a chuckle. “What I mean is that I loved you for so long before I even realized it, I think in part because it was just that easy. Our friendship was easy for me, the connection was almost instant. I felt drawn into your orbit and I didn’t know why but I also didn’t care to stop it. We were Kara and Lena. The only time it got complicated was when other people got involved.”

 

Lena eyes Kara as she makes the face she always does when she is deep in thought. “Hm. You really think so?” She asks Kara as she continues to ponder Kara’s words.

 

Kara smiles. “Oh, absolutely. I mean, I knew from the beginning who you were, what was in your heart. Which is why I would so adamantly defend you, even when I only knew you for a few months.”

 

This brought a smile to Lena’s face. “Well, I’m glad to know you think loving me is easy, especially considering how unlovable I used to view myself.”

 

“But not anymore, right Lee?” Kara asks, just to make sure, a determined look on her face.

 

“That’s right. I might occasionally need reminded of that. But yes, I know that now.”

 

“Lena,” Kara says gingerly before pulling Lena’s hand up and kissing the back of it. “I promise I’m here to remind you of that, every day. Anytime you need it, I’m here.”

 

Lena blushes and smiles. She stares into Kara’s eyes lovingly for a moment. And then it hits her. She knows what she has to do.  “Wait here, Darling. I’ll be right back.”

 

She leaves Kara sitting on the couch, slightly confused by the awkward interruption to their deep, vulnerable, and intimate conversation. But she does as Lena asks and she waits.

 

She doesn’t have to wait long, as Lena reappears a few minutes later. She sits back down next to Kara, a strange smile on her face that Kara can’t quite decipher.

 

“You told me to do this when I felt like it was the right time. And I think it’s the right time.”

 

Lena holds out the small rectangular box and Kara’s breath hitches in her chest. Lena opens the box to reveal the two wedding bands. Kara remembers the day they finally finished designing them. They knew they wouldn’t be ready for the wedding day, but that was fine. They had the Kryptonian bracelets for the ceremony. The rings were more of a formality for them to wear so that other people would know they were married after the fact. The bracelets were what was important for the actual ceremony. Even so, Kara and Lena wanted the rings to be special. So, they spent several days laboring over designs and finally deciding on two that would match. Lena had them custom made with a rare earth metal in case Kara ever had to fight as Supergirl with it on. That way it wouldn’t get damaged. This was another reason it wouldn’t come before the wedding.

 

Kara stared down at them, the two gold bands. They had Kryptonian symbols on them signifying friendship, loyalty, and love. On the inside, their initials were engraved in English and in Kryptonian.

 

“Lena, are you sure?” Kara asks, still in shock in the moment.

 

Lena smiles softly. “Yes, Kara, I’m sure. I realized today, after what happened yesterday and after talking to Sam that part of what is holding me back is my fear. That fear is keeping me walled up and away, to keep me safe. But it is also keeping me from moving forward with my life, from keeping me from living my life, fully. Is this a risk? Yes. But loving you, Kara Danvers, has been and always will be the greatest risk and greatest reward of my life. And it would do me a great honor if you would make it even more official by wearing this wedding band, in addition to the Kryptonian wedding bracelet you are already wearing.”

 

By the end of Lena’s little speech, Kara is crying tears of joy. She scoops Lena into a hug, momentarily forgetting about the rings. “Yes, absolutely yes. I love you, Lena.”

 

As they pull away, Lena gentle puts her hands on Kara’s face. “And I love you, Kara.” Lena bends forward and kisses Kara. It’s warm, gentle, and loving.

 

After she pulls away, Lena retrieves the box and offers Kara her ring, slowly sliding it on her finger. Lena smiles widely as Kara does the same. Kara pulls Lena in for another hug after that and the two quickly find themselves simply cuddling on the couch together, holding each other.

 

They lay like that, curled up in one another for a short while, in silence before Kara finally asks,

“Now what, Lee?”

 

Lena smiles into Kara’s chest before she looks up into blue eyes with a bit of a mischievous grin. “Well, Gracie is staying the night at Sam’s. So, we do have the place to ourselves tonight.”

 

“Oh? Does that mean you want to… you know?” Kara asks, her apparent shyness around sex apparently coming back in full force very suddenly as her cheeks blush crimson.

 

Lena smirks further, arching her brow this time. “Don’t you think it is about time we consummate the marriage, you know, officially?”

 

Hearing the playful tone in Lena’s voice, helps Kara’s own nervousness. She bites her lip before responding, “Oh, you and I both know we never stood a chance at waiting until vows were exchanged.”

 

Lena chuckles once before replying, “Four years of flirting and sexual tension with your best friend will do that.”

 

As Kara goes to reply, she is cut off by Lena kissing her. This time though, the kiss is hard, passionate, and wanting. Kara happily loses the verbal battle and kisses back.