Books were Lena’s thing. She had walls lined with them in her office and in her apartment. They secretly littered every crook and crevice of her home. They made her home, a home. Kara secretly believed that the books Lena displayed were more of an insight into Lena than anything else. Everyone else was just too blind by her name to see it.
On the forefront and the surface, in the communal spaces and the open places, her shelves were lined with non-fiction books. Science textbooks lined the walls of her office, close to her lab in case of emergency. These ones; they were pristine, unread and untouched. They were an image projected outwards of innocent information yet to be tapped. They mostly hadn’t been read. Lena didn’t need them. She’d read them all already. The copies she had read lay elsewhere.
They were the second layer. They lay in the communal spaces of her home, surrounding the TV that had been mounted to the wall. Still projecting that image of cool intelligence and genius, just a slightly more worn one. The textbooks were battered, bruised and dog-eared but in every way, they were better than the ones in her office. They had Lena’s notes, highlights and annotations all over them. Kara had flicked through a few. In some of the textbooks, seventeen-year-old Lena had taken a red sharpie and crossed out whole sections with a note saying it was wrong. You could always tell where that part was. The correct maths laid out neatly on a page torn from a notebook, would fall out of the textbook and show you exactly why. One of the textbooks. One Kara wanted to preserve forever (Even if Lena hated it the most) was an old one of Lex’s.
That was the first textbook Lena got her hands and that red sharpie on when she was just six. She had corrected some of the maths in his 7th Grade Maths textbook. Lex had then corrected her on the same page. His grown-up scrawl a stark contrast to her over-sized, messy (but correct) numbers. She had corrected him again, pointing out his apparently obvious mistakes according to the note that lined the bottom of the page. Kara could hear a six-year-old Lena saying the words It’s obvious and easy, you’re just stupid but not to a thirteen-year-old Lex. Least of all could she imagine his written reply of I guess, your right, genius . It was the first time that Kara really understood Lena’s turmoil of working with Lex. He was her brother. He may not be anymore but at some point, he was the boy who wrote I guess, your right, genius (and took Lena’s reply of your grammar’s terrible in his stride).
Those textbooks said something but the books in her home office, the third layer, they said so much more. No more textbooks. These were Lena’s old notebooks and binders lining one wall and her favourite non-fiction (non-science) books lining the other. The old notebooks and binders were cool. They said something but they were mainly just notes from school, project ideas, half-worked out equations and problems with some notes between friends and to-do lists that had been forgotten about mixed in.
Kara loved the non-fiction (non-science) books more. Books on feminism, equality, sex, sexuality and gender, race and religion, history, politics and economics. Each of them had a huge story behind them. Each one hidden from Lillian or stolen from her and defaced with (according to Lillian) Lena’s abhorrent, disgusting, vile and despicable liberal ideas that clearly came from some kind of connection to an idiocracy .
One of Lena’s favourites there were six copies of. A copy of A Vindication of the Rights of the Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft. Each looked a little different. The first was from 2004 when Lena was eleven. Each page had different notes on feminism. Dates on rights that had been won and points about how it was relevant. Highlighter and pen covered every inch. It’s what led Lena to a new copy in 2008 when she was fifteen. This was quickly made Lena’s as well, new ideas, not dates anymore. This time her ideas and opinions developed and aged by the four years of being a teenager. More about men and women’s bodies, on gender as a construct, on women being objectified. On feeling alone in her science and maths advanced tracks.
Another came when she was seventeen and another at nineteen. One more at twenty-three, a note at the front of this one, Lena, Good luck on your first day. Another milestone, another copy. Sam . From when she took over L-Corp. Each of them had been into Lena’s own book too. Kara had no idea how they survived, she suspected Lex had something to do with it. If Kara agreed with Lex on one thing it would be that those books deserved to be saved.
The sixth copy, that was precious and not just because, according to google, it might be worth upward of $4.5 million. It was a first edition of the book. Kept in a glass case to be displayed, never touched but there. A gift to Lena from Lionel on her twelfth birthday as an apology for not being there, for none of her family being there. They hadn’t bothered to visit her at boarding school. But the expense only came because he also ran out of time to call her the whole week. The present had even been late. Lena had quietly confessed she’d rather had seen him. But the book was the last contact she’d ever had with him before he died. So it sat on the shelf in its place, with a note slipped into the false bottom, I’m so sorry, Lena. I have a business trip to Seattle soon, I am going to come and see you then. I love you. Dad.
The best books were the ones Lena enjoyed. They lined the walls of her bedroom and the spare room and were stacked up where shoes should be in her closet. They were Lena. Romances, thrillers, dramas, dystopians. Every conceivable book was there. Her current read was always on her bedside table. Her favourites on the shelf near her bed, the next liked ones went on the shelf opposite her bed and the third-most liked into the spare room. The worst ones were thrown in the closet. Kara had been working her way through them in that order, a pattern and system only interrupted by Lena having one Kara she had mentioned, thought of or had just read and thought it was imperative Kara should read it.
Kara had reached the closet books when everything imploded. She missed having a book on her bedside table and the little notes Lena would put inside the books from the Lena Library (a name Kara had given it as a joke and something Lena had kept up). She missed it all. She missed Lena most. But after they had beaten Lex and Lillian (again), Lena had asked Kara to give her some more time to figure it all out. Kara had decided to respect that.
Except she did one thing first. She dropped off a book at Lena’s apartment. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. She knew for a fact Lena hadn’t read it and when she had read it the first person she wanted to run to and talk about it with was Lena. But Lena wasn’t there. So she wrote a note inside and slipped it through Lena’s door.
On loan from the El Library (the alliteration works better for you).
Please return to Kara Zor-El Danvers if you want to talk.
Recommended listening with Taylor Swift’s Folklore.
It was a long-shot. But she did it anyway. Her real name was thrown in as a sign to Lena she trusted her. She didn’t expect a reply. But she did get one. One month later, slipped through her apartment door. A note had been written on the first page.
Zor-El suits you :)
And like that, they were back. The first brunch should have been awkward but instead, after two minutes of tiptoeing around each other Lena had made a joke about the title of the book being ‘straight-bait’. Then they were back. Except something had changed. Lena was a little jumpier and would choke on nothing and clam up whenever Kara referred to them as friends.
“Maybe it’s because she doesn’t want to be my friend,” Kara had confessed to Alex, Kelly and Nia at a random girls night Lena hadn’t been able to make because of her weekly late meetings. Normally, they didn’t clash with girls night but girls night had been moved on account of Valentine’s Day.
“Of course, it’s because of that,” Nia had replied, shaking her head. Kara had instantly panicked while Kelly had hissed ‘Nia’ and Alex had burst out in a string of confusion that almost narrated Kara’s thoughts.
“Nia didn’t mean like that,” Kelly had spoken over Alex, the hand that had been holding her wine glass, moving to Alex’s thigh in a grounding touch. “She meant Lena’s in love with you,”.
“Exactly,” Alex had agreed before looking at Nia confused, “But that means they’re still friends,”.
“No not love as in platonic,” Nia had put her wineglass down and looked both of the Danvers Sisters in the eye, “As in Lena’s in love with you,” she had put emphasis on the ‘in’, raising an eyebrow.
“Like she wants to be more than friends,” Kelly had supplied.
“Best friends again?” Kara had asked.
Kelly had just sighed and shook her head, moving out of Alex’s arms a little so she could lean forward and look Kara in the eye more, “Did you ever reread that book after Lena returned it?” she had asked.
“No. I never had time,” Kara had shrugged, going to change the subject back to her problem but Kelly had stopped her with a sincere look.
“You should,” she advised her seriously. Kara had sighed and leaned back against the chair, nodding her head in response. Girls night had gone on with Nia talking about whatever grand gesture she thought Brainy might be planning for Valentine’s Day.
The word nagged her mind for the next few days, till the day before Valentine’s when Supergirl business was quiet and she had some free time. She had been trying to finish an article but she kept getting distracted by the book staring at her from her shelves. After thirty minutes of next-to-no productivity and no focus, she resigned herself to the fact she wouldn’t finish the article and grabbed the book.
She lazily flipped through the pages looking for a clue as to what Kelly meant, what Kelly wanted her to see till she finally saw it, the yellow highlighter. Two quotes.
I love you.
All I’ve ever wanted is to be truly yours.
Kara checked it a hundred times. What did Lena even mean? Was she talking about Kara? Kara read the words again and again until they were all she could think. I love you. All I’ve ever wanted is to be truly yours. The words echoed around her mind, bouncing off the four walls and stopping her from thinking any coherent thought. She wanted Lena to be talking about her.
She thought about calling Alex or Kelly or Nia but something inside her shut it down. This was her and Lena. Instead, she went and found the random orange highlighter that Lena had given her once and took it to the book.
I love you too.
Those were the words she highlighted. Simple and easy. She flew it over to Lena’s balcony straight away. Knocking and leaving it outside the door before she disappeared. She couldn’t breathe, she was too nervous to go back home so she just flew through the skies above the city. The cover of night and the height of her flight allowing her the luxury of not bothering to change into her super suit. Though she was a little scared of a plane seeing a Supergirl-esque woman with her hair in a messy bun wearing sweatpants and a plain white t-shirt. But she figured that she’d been fine.
Everything was fine. She concluded that as she stopped her flight, resting in the sky above the city and watching all the lights below, all the people were so busy. It was quiet and calm where Kara was. It was nice. Until that sound reached Kara’s ears. The one sound she never wanted to hear. Lena’s watch.
She burst into Lena’s apartment a second later at top speed, landing and almost denting Lena’s floor and she looked around for the danger. Instead, it was just Lena in a red jumper that covered her hands and a pair of jeans, looking casual in a way other people rarely had the luxury of seeing her.
“That’s for emergencies,” she told Lena, indicating the watch that Lena had dropped onto the counter.
“I know,” Lena held up the book in her other hand and showed Kara the page she held it open on. Kara floated down to the ground, although she wasn’t quite aware of the fact she was flying in the first place. “This is an emergency,” she smiled.
“What?” Kara asked, looking around again for any danger, scanning the room with her x-ray vision.
“No,” Lena breathed, walking closer to Kara, reaching out a hand so she cupped Kara’s chin and moving it so Kara faced her. Her breath hitched in her throat as her eyes met Lena’s. Blue meeting green. The earth meeting the ocean. Lena had stepped closer to her that there were just centimetres between them. Her breath was heavy, ghosting over Kara’s lips as she looked up at her, just a little. “Not like that,” she whispered.
“What’s it like then?” Kara asked, looking over at the book. Had she upset Lena? Had she misinterpreted what Lena was saying? Did she do something wrong? Was she going to lose her, again? Kara’s breath quickened as she held Lena’s gaze. She couldn’t lose her.
“Did you mean it?” Lena asked, holding up the book again.
“Of course,” Kara smiled. Kara would be an idiot not to love Lena. Not only was she beautiful but she was a genius with the best personality. She always made Kara laugh and made her feel accepted, best of all, she felt like home.
“You love me?” Lena asked again, her hand hadn’t left Kara’s chin and Kara didn’t want it to so it was reluctantly that Kara threaded their fingers together and pressed a kiss to the back of Lena’s hand and brought their hands down so they joined between them. Kara took a step closer so everything was Lena. She was everything Kara saw. Her shampoo was all she smelt. Her hand in Kara’s was all Kara felt and her breath was all Kara breathed. She was so close that Lena was everything and everything was naturally perfect.
“I am in love with you, Lena Luthor,” Kara whispered.
Lena looked up at her through hooded lips, a smile tugging her lips upwards and lighting her eyes up with the power of a million galaxies. “I am in love with you too, Kara Zor-El Danvers,” Lena whispered, her gaze holding Kara’s. Her eyes stayed firmly on Kara’s.
Kara tried to keep her eyes on Lena’s too and thank Rao she did because she watched as Lena’s eyes darted down to her lips for just a second and how Lena sucked in a breath and a tongue darted out to wet her lips. Apart from that Lena didn’t break eye contact. Kara was the one slowly tilting her head slightly to one side as she still held Lena’s gaze but then it wasn’t just Kara who started to slowly close the gap between them. Kara stopped just before their lips finally met, checking it was okay. Lena closed the gap and Kara’s eyes slipped shut as their lips finally touched.
The first kiss was hesitant, both of them afraid that either might pull away but neither of them did. Instead, they both felt the electricity course through them and a book dropped to the floor as they both pulled away. One look, one final check. A quick smile and then the second kiss.
The second kiss was a little more sure of itself. Kara’s free hand reached out and found Lena’s hip and pulled her closer. Lena’s free hand threaded into Kara’s hair and pulled her lips more firmly against Lena’s but their hands stayed joined and threaded together the whole time until Lena ran out of breath and pulled away panting.
“You’re superhuman, that’s unfair,” she whispered with a laugh, pressing their foreheads together.
Kara laughed and just pressed another kiss to Lena’s lips. “I love you,” she smiled.
“I love you too,” Lena whispered. Kara couldn’t wipe the smile off her own face as she studied Lena’s smiling one. It was the kind of smile that constantly tugged in an uncontrolled effort to smile more, the kind of free of restraint and so full of happiness.
“Though I also kind of hate you,” Lena broke the silence and the smile disappeared.
“Why?” Kara asked, fear filling her. Had Lena still not forgiven her?
“Our first date anniversary is going to have to be Valentine’s day which means I have one less day to spoil you on,” Lena smiled, the hand threaded in Kara’s hair moving so it cupped Kara’s face, a thumb running over Kara’s cheek.
They still had time to have a first date today. Kara looked over Lena’s shoulder at the watch. Seven-thirty. She looked back at Lena with a smile. “Have you eaten?” she asked.
“No,” Lena smiled, “I was- Kara!” Lena cut herself off as Kara sped away. She could hear her panicking as she landed by the grocery store. She just needed a few things. One other stop at her apartment and she had everything. She went back and laid it out as fast as she could. Tablecloth, candles, wine glasses and plates. She could order in whatever Lena wanted. The last touch flowers and then she slowed down. Flowers in hand as she lit the candles.
“Wha-” Lena looked over at Kara, “I- Ummm Kara- What?”.
“Merits of superspeed,” Kara smiled, holding out the flowers, “We could order in,”.
Lena's face split in a smile again as she took the flowers from Kara’s hands. “Well then, we have no choice but to get potstickers,” she laughed lightly, shaking her head in disbelief as she looked them both up and down. She then pushed up onto her tiptoes and pressed a kiss to Kara’s lips. “I’m going to put these in water,” she whispered, walking into the kitchen area as Kara followed her, grabbing the vase from where Lena kept it on the top shelf.
“You know,” Lena smiled as she filled the vase up with water, “I would chip my tooth on a TV set kissing it if you ever won an award and I wasn’t there,”. Lena referenced the book and Evelyn chipping her tooth when Celia won her Oscar, unable to be there in person because of the attitudes toward queer people.
“If it were up to me, you’d always be there,” Kara promised.