The first time Kara recognized a heartbeat, it wasn’t even conscious.
One moment she was reading a book in her room when she heard Eliza’s car pull over and two heartbeats on it- before she could think about it she was excitedly whispering Alex and running down the stairs. No matter that Alex was supposed to be in National City. No matter that Eliza had come over with a friend plenty of times. She knew it was Alex before even seeing her and she was proven right once her sister’s arms were around her.
Size. Shape. Orientation. Physiology . Eliza had said after Kara told them she could distinguish Alex’s heartbeat.
The four reasons why every heart gave a different beat.
Four reasons why Kara always heard a different melody.
Alex’s heartbeat is almost rhythmic- quick and loud in Kara’s ear like the rock songs Alex is always playing.
Eliza’s heartbeat is always calm, always strong- even when Kara broke something, even in her own husband’s funeral.
J’onn’s is always too slow and always echoing too much to be considered human.
Winn’s was always a bit too rapid and irregular- maybe she should have guessed about his crush before, or told him to see a doctor.
James’ was always slow and steady, never speeding up much, just that one time- that one time they kissed and Kara heard his heart skip a beat.
Nia’s always sounding like whatever song she’s listening to- almost as if her own heart is enjoying it and decides to move along.
There’s no word to perfectly describe Lena’s heartbeat.
Melodic maybe: with all its rapid sequences when she’s in danger, adrenaline kicking in, and all its alcohol-induced slow sequences.
Catchy maybe: the way it speeds up for just one second before Lena laughs or the way it skips a beat every time she’s about to lose a game- like her heart is preparing for defeat.
But the only word that Kara thinks comes closer to describe Lena’s heart is hypnotic .
It has been hypnotic since the moment Kara walked into that office and green eyes greeted her.
It was hypnotic when she heard it beat with delight and when she heard it beat in sorrow.
It was hypnotic even now, as it slowed down and down and down, to the point it was just a lub instead of a tump. Just an echo of the blood moving- from the body to the heart, from the heart to the body, from right atrium to the right ventricle to the lungs, from the lungs to the left ventricle to the left atrium to the aorta. Lub dub. Lub dub. Lub dub. Until it stops.
There’s no dub after that last lub and Kara should have known there wasn’t going to be, all hearts beat that slow before stopping completely.
Kara should have known- there was too much blood. Too much blood and not enough time.
Too many random drones and not enough of her strength.
Too many cuts and bruises and too much blood on Lena’s body for her hands to make it stop.
There was just enough time for her to kneel beside Lena and hold her, grab her arms around her, filling her suit with blood, trying to give the woman some sort of comfort. But Lena’s face only held in place a thin line where her beautiful smiles took place and her eyebrows were curved in a frown- one that Kara couldn’t wipe away with her fingers like she had done so many times before.
“Lena,” she says, “Lena, please open your eyes.”
It was an empty plea, she knew this. The melody was long gone. She begged anyway, said her name over and over- “Please, just let me see your eyes again,” she rests her hand on Lena’s cheek and she doesn’t want to linger on how cold it feels, “come on, open your eyes.”
But Lena doesn’t open her eyes.
“Lena, please,” she tries again, “I finally found you. I never stopped looking for you. You can’t-”
She can’t even say it. She won’t.
Uttering those words would make it real and it can’t be real. It can’t. It won’t.
The blood that was leaving Lena’s body like a crimson waterfall ceased into a small cascade and formed a little pond of red blood on Lena’s stomach. Not even Kara’s hands, strong and big on top of her wound could make it stop and Kara hated herself in that moment because what are superpowers? What is the point of being the strongest being on earth, when you can’t even use them to stop the blood flooding from her body?
Her suit, the one that stands for hope, for compassion, for help- now feels like a joke as Lena’s blood turns the blue into dark crimson.
“There’s beauty in red,” Clark had told her once, when she jokingly said that he would look better in just blue and golden, “It’s the color of extremes. It’s the color of violence, danger, anger, and adventure. Those are all things I feel as Superman. But most importantly it’s the color of love and there’s no one I love more than Lois-” he put a hand on his chest, “this way, I always keep her with me.”
Maybe that is why she had chosen the same colors as him. Maybe his words sounded like that sense of belonging she had never found on earth- maybe if she had them all, the blue, the golden, the red, she’d find it too.
Or maybe it just was to fit in, make him proud of her- let him know she was proud of him and admired him. Maybe that way they’ll be more cousins that they ever were.
It doesn’t always work but even in this moment, with a heartbeatless Lena in her arms, she agrees with him- it is the color of violence, of anger. And whoever had done this to Lena deserved nothing but that.
And no one would do this to Lena except Lex.
She looks down at the woman again.
Her skin, already pale as a norm, looks so white it almost looks blue, the veins and arteries behind it standing out more than usual- pallor mortis, Alex had told a shaky Kara the first time she had seen a dead body, it’s the first stage of death, the capillaries collapse and the skin doesn’t receive a blood flow anymore.
Her hair, usually so perfectly combed in a bun, a ponytail, or flawless falling down Lena’s shoulders- now is sticky on sweat and blood. And not even Kara’s attempts to put it behind her ears, her attempts to make it better, don’t work- she just ends up staining the woman’s face with her blood-dirty hands.
Just one last time- and for the first time- Kara holds Lena’s face in between her hands and leans down, leaving a soft kiss on her forehead.
A goodbye . And I'm sorry . And I love you . And I'll miss you .
She slowly lets go of Lena’s body and leaves her on the ground. Even hurt and bloody she looks out of place in the wrecked and on fire park, the one that was full of life and in almost perfect condition when Kara found Lena- right before she was shot down, before she could even reach her.
“Nia,” she calls out from her comms, “I need you to come to Liggen Park. The one between Flint Avenue and Garnet Street.”
“On my way,” the woman’s voice sounds on her ear, “did you find Lena?”
Kara gulps and breathes out shakily, “I did.”
“Shouldn’t you stay with her?”
“She doesn’t need me anymore.”
She whispers it, she doesn’t know if Nia heard her but she turns off her comms before giving her a chance to answer and flies away.
The blood on her cape falls down to the ground as she flies above the city and it only serves to anger her more.
She’s angry. She’s so fucking angry. She’s angry at Lex. At herself. Even a little bit at Lena.
But she can’t argue with Lena anymore because Lena is-
And she was never one to fully explore her feelings so that leaves Lex.
She can do anger at Lex. She’s pretty sure she’s the master at it.
There’s a voice in her head that sounds too much like Alex’s that keeps saying stand down, Kara. Do not go in there. We got this handled.
It sounds too much like all those times Alex had said them in the last few months. All those months her and J’onn were planning the DEO coup while Kara’s only goal was to find Lena rather than stop Lex.
And Alex had tried, she had tried a lot, to get Kara to help them, get Kara to rest and not burn herself out. And part of Kara didn’t care about all the times she blew Alex off because she knew they would be fine once Lena was back and Lex was behind bars.
But after what happened a few minutes ago, Kara can only feel anger at Lex for taking that away from her- from taking that last chance at normal she could have had once Lena was back.
She watches from high up in the sky as a group of DEO agents, with Alex between them, are surrounding Lex- all guns pointed at him. She’s ten blocks away when she focuses her hearing on them. Lex is screaming, angry words accompanying the spit leaving his mouth, as he points an accusing finger to the agents. He's screaming about money and ruining lives and loyalty and shame and the Luthor name . And about how he's their boss .
The man besides Alex, one of the few that Kara only knows from this new earth, walks a step closer to Lex, gun steady as his voice. “You might be the one that gives us money Mr. Luthor but director Danvers is our leader."
Kara’s heart fills with pride, ridiculously happy that people love and respect her sister like she deserves to. She hears the small jump in Alex’s heartbeat and knows that she’s having a lot more feelings than her face is giving away- Kara knew this was what she wanted- where she belonged.
It had been hard to watch from the sides as Alex lost the DEO she loved and be forced to leave it. It had been hard to watch as she helplessly put on a vigilante suit, the one that Kara disliked the idea of so much, because she lost the best way she was able to help people.
But Kara doesn’t linger on it for long. She’s flying like a missile with an objective- fast, immobile from its target and with no chance of missing it.
She crashes into Lex hard enough to send them both to the floor but with enough resistance to not break his back against the floor. No, he deserves worse than an instant death - Kara thinks.
Around them, the DEO agents lower their guns in surprise at suddenly having Supergirl straddling Lex Luthor as she punches his face over and over again.
There’s a visible red glow in the corners of the woman’s eyes, and had it not been for the tears streaming down from them, the lasers would have melted his face long ago. She’s gasping, sobbing, raw screams leaving her mouth as she leaves punch after another to a barely conscious Lex.
“Supergirl!” Alex screams, gun trained on both of them as she steps closer to them, and with a movement of her hand she silently tells the agents to stand down until her signal, “Stop!”
The blonde stops the punching, she breathes heavily as she watches Lex slowly come to again. A smirk forms on his face when he notices his position. “This doesn’t look very heroic, does it?” he says, “Supergirl beating up a defenseless civilian.”
His words burn like if he had laced them with kryptonite, and before Kara realizes what she’s doing, her hands are around his throat as she leans closer to him, leaving a choking Lex face to face with burning eyes.
“Lena,” she says, voice heavy and dangerous, “was a defenseless civilian. And you killed her.”
Two things happen at once.
One, the DEO agents around them abruptly point their guns back to Lex, just about ready to shoot him on the spot once the signal is given.
And two, one that Kara gets very disorientated by, is the look of almost-surprise and almost-guilt that flashes on Lex’s eyes before it goes away.
“I never thought she’d kill herself, what a coward,” he says breathlessly as the hands around his neck tighten, and makes a sound with his broken nose that resembles a snort.
“She didn’t kill herself!” Kara screams, moving her hands and leaving another punch on his face, “You fucking killed her!” Another punch, this time to his stomach, “She’d still be here if it weren’t for you!”
Alex, who had stopped on her tracks with a look of sadness mixed with anger once she heard Kara’s words, was slowly walking over to them again. She cautiously put her hand on Supergirl’s moving shoulder, making her stop the constant punching to the man’s body.
“Supergirl,” she says and then lowers her voice once she kneels besides her shell-shock sister, “Kara, you have to stop. You’re gonna end up killing him.”
“He deserves it,” she says, gasping, as she moves her left hand and in so making the unconscious Lex move his upper body like a ragdoll, “he killed Lena.”
“I know he deserves it, but we need him to pay for everything else. Including Lena’s death.”
She looks from Lex’s bloody face to her sister’s worried eyes and sighs, the fight leaving her body. The pain and anguish making a place on her heart- Kara knows they’re there to stay.
Her hand holding his shirt opens and he falls to the ground with a heavy sound- she can’t seem to care how it could give him a head injury.
As four DEO agents walk closer to them, guns pointed at Lex and angry looks on their faces, Kara moves herself from on top of him and falls tiredly on her sister’s shoulder. One of them, a short one with brown eyes and dirty blonde hair, nods to Supergirl. “Lena Luthor was a hero in the shadows, and we were very lucky to have protected this world with her. She saved us more times than we can count,” he stops for a second to look at Lex with disgust and then back to the women kneeling on the floor with a small but sad smirk, “We’ll make sure he doesn’t have the best treatment.”
And just like that, as the DEO agents drag Lex away and the rest go do whatever it is you do after a coup, and Kara cries on Alex’s shoulder- the horrible and terrible truth of what happened starts to sink in.
“She’s dead, Alex,” she whispers, distraught and her voice small, “she’s dead and we couldn’t even make up- and she- she didn’t forgive me.”
Alex runs her hands through her hair, slowly and softly as she had done many times before, and shushes Kara, “She forgave you, Kara. She did.”
But her sister’s words were empty. None of them truly knew if Lena had forgiven Kara and the words weren’t more than a consolation for a sobbing kryptonian.
“You don’t know that.”
The days just… pass after that.
There’s a lot to do. A lot.
Million of things to do, like rearrange the DEO now that Alex is in charge again. Like report on the fact that Lex Luthor was in prison and Luthor Corp was on the brink of collapsing. Like fixing the park that was destroyed by the drones and Supergirl. Like taking Lena’s body to the morgue and organizing her funeral.
But the only thing Kara can bring herself to do is curl up in her couch or bed and cry, or sleep, or stay hours on hours looking at the same spot on her floor.
Everyone else took care of it. Alex and J’onn fixed the DEO. Andrea, after crying and drinking over her friend’s death, took care of the news. Nia took care of Lena’s body and made sure she was safely and carefully treated all the way to the morgue and all her time in it.
They all come and check up on her- she didn’t even bother to lock her door, knowing Alex had a key and everyone else was smart enough to find a way in or desperate enough to kick down her door.
It was Alex, of course, the one that stayed that first night with her, the one she cried herself to sleep. The night she woke up from the nightmares four different times before giving up on falling asleep. The night she threw up on her toilet on two occasions because the nightmares turned her stomach upside down. The night she refused pizza and potstickers- hugs and cuddles the only thing she had accepted.
But Alex couldn’t stay forever. She had things to do, things to fix, people to help. And Kara knew this, the same way she knew Alex wouldn’t leave until she was kicked out. So she did. And her apartment felt so much bigger and empty once she was alone.
Alex was there that first night, the same way she was there that first night she landed on earth- and Kara never has enough words to thank her.
It was Alex the one that stayed but it was Nia the first one that came.
She showed up the next day, tears streaming down her face and a bottle of vodka in her left hand. Nia, the same woman that never drank more than three glasses because she considers herself a “light weight” and hates getting black-out drunk, walks through Kara’s door as she drinks straight from the bottle before throwing herself besides the blonde on the couch.
She doesn’t say anything and Kara doesn’t either, just watches as Nia drinks and looks at nothing in particular with lost eyes. Without knowing what to do, Kara goes to the kitchen to grab the bottle of something that actually has an effect on her.
They drink in silence. Just complete silence between the women that usually can’t stop talking when they’re together- the ones that are always excited and laughing. But now there’s silence and stillness in the room that is only broken by the sound of cars and sirens in the distance.
Half way through her bottle, Nia looks at Kara- and when she looks back, she’s surprised to find anger and pain.
“You should have told me she was dead,” she says, voice low and a bit slurred. It wasn’t the words Kara was expecting.
“You should have told me she was dead,” Nia repeats, ignoring the question, “I went into that park thinking Lena was fine . I thought I was gonna go get her and take her to the tower but not- not like that ,” she chokes on a sob, “We aren’t all as strong as you, Kara. I had to carry her into the car and she was so heavy- I always joked Lena was too light and I could probably bridal carry her too but God- she was too heavy and my legs gave out a couple of times before I got her into the car.”
The woman looks away, unable to see Kara’s mouth opening and closing without finding the right words. Nia angrily wipes away her tears and that’s when Kara realizes she’s crying too- she thought she had run out of tears already.
“I fell down so many times my knees got bloody and my arms were scrapped and I didn’t even notice until I took off my suit because it was covered in Lena’s blood ,” she begins after a couple of deep breaths, “And then in the morgue-”
“You don’t have to say this Nia,” Kara interrupts, and she’s not sure if she wants to spare Nia the pain of reliving in or save herself from knowing it.
“No,” she says and looks up sadly at Kara, “I think you should hear it.” The blonde nods.
“I was three blocks away from the Tower when I realized I shouldn’t take her there but to a morgue instead. So, I took her to one and they just… took the body as if it was no one,” she says, moving her hand as if it was the gurney, “and I just sat there for hours and hours until the autopsy was done.”
“A stab wound to her liver. Three bullet wounds, one to her shoulder, one in her arm and one in her leg- coroner said they were shot from a distance so Lena was probably trying to run away. She had rope marks in her wrists and ankles.”
Kara chokes on another sob, “Why would you tell me that? I don’t need to know that-”
“But you do, Kara,” she says, grabbing her hand tightly, “you needed to know there was no way you could have saved her.”
J’onn comes the next day but before he could open his mouth, Kara is telling him to please don’t say anything and throws herself in his arms.
He stays the entire day and holds her as she cries and sobs and gasps. There’s a certain release to the fact that she can hug him as tightly as she can and knowing J’onn won’t break under her touch.
He holds her all day, only letting her go to put on Kara’s favorite movie. They watch in silence and Kara starts to feel like there’s been silence since the moment she stopped hearing Lena’s heartbeat.
“It’ll get better right?” she says half way through the movie, “After the funeral it won’t hurt as much.”
Her voice is small and unsure, a part of her already knows it won’t get better and it probably never will. J’onn’s lack of answer makes her look up, he finds him with an odd look on his face- it does nothing but make her uneasy.
He sighs, “There won’t be a funeral, Kara.”
“One of Lena’s lawyers showed up at the morgue with instructions to incinerate the body. When Nia asked about the organization of the funeral, he told her there won’t be one per Lena’s wishes.”
“But- but-” she stands up, “there has to be one.”
She’s shaking again, her breath getting smaller and smaller. J’onn has to stand up and grab her shoulders to get her to calm down. But she’s spilaring and his calming voice feels like a far away echo.
Won’t she get to say goodbye properly? With no blood dripping from Lena’s body and rubble all around them? Won’t she get to see her beautiful face one more time? Was a bloody and dirty Lena the last image she’s gonna have of her?
She doesn’t know how long it takes her to calm down but J’onn is still there as he reprets the words I’m sorry and It’ll be okay over and over again.
By the time Barry and Iris knock on her door a week later, she knows that Alex has been calling her friends to make them check up on her.
They show up with a bag full of ice cream and cautious smiles on their faces. And it does cheer Kara up, it does . She hasn’t seen them in so long, not without a lingering threat above their heads and out of their supersuits.
It was nice to hear Barry talk about the last metahuman he was able to take down after a couple of months of chasing them around. It was nice to hear Iris tell her about the corrupt CEO she’s investigating. It was amazing, to be one of the first people to know they were trying to have a baby.
But somehow, it was saddening. To feel like everyone around her had their life on the right track, making plans for the future and enjoying their friends and family- all while she feels like someone had picked up the biggest hammer they could find and smashed her entire life.
Barry and Iris don’t stay for longer than a couple of hours. They leave once the conversation, when it turns to Kara’s life, begins to stall. There’s not much to say, really. She’s currently a journalist with no desire to go to work, so she took all her saved up vacations, just to mourn the death of her best friend, who she’s not even sure was her best friend the moment she died.
Were they best friends? Those few weeks they worked together before Lena was kidnapped. Were they truly best friends? Or just friends? Or just acquaintances with the same goal?
And if they weren’t anything but acquaintances then they definitely weren’t anything more than friends.
“Found anything yet?” Kara asked as she leaned into Lena’s lab’s desk and watched the woman focused on the computer.
“Nothing new,” she answered tiredly and then looked up confused at Kara, “what are you doing here?”
The blonde raises her hand, showing a bag of Big Belly Burger. Lena smiled in response, but it wasn’t her usual smile, or her Kara smile- it was small and guarded as if she still wasn’t sure what Kara’s true reason was, or as if the burger was filled with poison.
“You should take a break,” Kara said, even though Lena was already shaking her head in answer.
“I can’t,” she said exasperated, “we need to find more information on Lex but it’s like he’s actually good on this earth or something. Years of tax fraud won’t give him the years he deserves in prison.”
“It’s a start,” the blonde moved her bag-free hand closer to Lena’s, the action almost looked like she was about to take the woman’s hand in hers, before stopping for a second and letting it rest on the table. She sighed. “he’s meant to mess up at some point.”
“It’s Lex,” Lena said, “he’s never wrong and he doesn’t mess up.”
The blonde catches Lena’s eyes. “He was wrong before,” she said, “he was wrong about you.”
Lena looks away. “What exactly was he wrong about? That I was a fool? That I lived in denial? That I’m an alcoholic? That I’m just another Luthor?” she snorted, “Because he was always right about all that.”
Kara’s heart broke at the words, and when she listened to Lena’s heartbeat, she knew, without a doubt, that the woman actually and truly believed what she just said.
“That’s not true, Lena.”
“But it is,” she sighed, “even you said it.”
“But- I- I didn’t mean it like that.” She straightens her back and leaves the bag in the table, “I mean- yes, you did kryptonite and-”
“Is this seriously what this is about?” Lena said, her voice raising, “Kryptonite? Again? I thought we were past that.”
“We were!” She screamed back and then closed her eyes rightly, breathing out slowly, “We are. It’s just- Lex has kryptonite now and he-”
“I get it,” the brunette interrupted, “this is all my fault because I know how to make kryptonite. Fine, I admit it,” she said, angry, as she stood up from her chair and walked closer to Kara, their chests almost touching, “are you happy to hear that?”
Lena was wearing one of the only heelless shoes she had and Kara was wearing her suit, which meant that Lena had to look up to see Kara in the eyes. Usually Kara would have found it adorable, how small Lena is besides her when she always looks so tall and intimidating- but now her eyes are angry and Kara can’t help but feel some anger in return.
“I’m just saying,” Kara answered, “that if you hadn’t figured it out then maybe we’d have some easier way to take down Lex. But now I can’t even get close to any of his property because it’s all laced with kryptonite.”
“I get it, Kara,” Lena said, and now, her breath so close to Kara, she finally smelled the faint whiskey on Lena, “your life would be so much easier if I had stayed in Metropolis!”
She turned away and walked over to her things, Kara following close behind her- not grabbing her hand or her arm or her elbow, they didn’t do that, touch, not anymore.
“No. Lena- that’s not what I mean at all!”
“I bet your life would be so much better if I just dropped dead.” Lena said, her voice cold and distant. Kara is too stunned to answer and in her silence, Lena’s eyes went wide- almost as if she hadn’t realized what she had said until then- before she turned away and left the lab.
Kara watched her go, unable to move from her spot. Did Lena really think that? Did she really think that when Kara had seen just how awful their lives would be without each other? Except, Lena didn’t know that. And Kara should tell her.
She ran up the lab’s stairs as quickly as she could and followed Lena’s heartbeat to two blocks away. She ran instead of flying there- she saw the odd looks a couple of people threw her way at seeing Supergirl running around for no apparent reason and at human speed, when she is normally just a blur.
And just when she finally saw the back of Lena’s head and her heartbeat sounded strong on Kara’s ear, she also saw the two black vans that pulled over next to the woman and grabbed her. The first van took off as Kara, flying, got closer and closer to them. And just when she was about to rip the door open, get Lena out of there and take her to safety- her own body gave up on her and she fell to the ground, the van getting further and further away from her as she tried to stand up.
When the second kryptonite bullet hits her, she finally feels the first. The man in the second van waved stupidly at her before they disappear the same way the first van did.
She’s only strong enough to press Alex’s signal before she passes out.
A week turns into two. Two weeks turn into a month. The months pass by as Supergirl is nowhere to be seen and Kara Danvers is just a shell of the happiness she used to carry.
She was so tempted to leave it all. Maybe take on Kal’s idea and go to a farm where she has to see no one. She would have if it wasn’t for Alex.
It wasn’t a nice nor pleasant conversation. There was screaming and tears and objects broken under Kara’s hands. But, Alex was right.
“You can’t make Kara Danvers disappear again.” she had said, softly, her throat a bit sore from the screaming match and her eyes watery, “Last time it happened, it was Lena that got you out of that deep hole of pain you were in. Do you really think she’d want you to give up because she’s gone?”
So, Kara Danvers kept going, although her steps weren’t as jumpy, her smiles weren’t as big, her articles weren’t as hopeful and her heart wasn’t as happy as it was before.
But she couldn’t do it as Supergirl. How is she supposed to get up every day, put on a suit and save people when she couldn’t save her ?
How could she put on that bloodied and ragged suit went all she sees when she looks down is Lena in her arms, dying again.
As the weeks go by, and people come in and out of Kara’s apartment, the blonde just starts to get tired and angry of all the fussing.
Alex comes and goes. She stays nights with her, especially the really bad days when the nightmares leave her breathless. She goes to Catco for lunch and drags Nia and Kelly along so Kara won’t remember most of her lunches used to be with Lena.
But Alex also has a job, and a girlfriend, and a life all of her own- and as the weeks go by, Alex’s visits get less and less frequent. Kara knows half the reason is because the DEO is draining her and the other half is because Kara keeps kicking her out- and they’re both too tired to keep fighting on whether or not Kara is fine. (The blonde says she’s fine. They both know she isn’t.)
Kelly visits her, stays with Kara from time to time. They don’t really talk but the woman took her to the park and taught her the basics of photography. How to better use the light, the flashes and the objects around her. She downloads an editing program on her computer and teaches her how to use it.
Part of Kara knew it was just a way to get her to go out more, get her to take pictures of people being happy, doing acts of kindness and see adorable puppies- and maybe, just maybe, she’ll start to feel the love and the happiness herself.
Kelly had laughed, when she jokingly told her she thought it was more James’ thing. “Who do you think he used as a model all those years before he went to Metropolis? I was bound to learn a thing or two.”
It kinda works. She leaves more. And she’s so thankful to Kelly for it. After two months she’s not bad but she’s also not great.
The pictures she captures always end up with a tint of sadness in the colors and Alex thinks she uses too many shadows instead of sunlight, but she likes it and it’s a good enough distraction to last a couple of hours.
Brainy doesn’t visit. But he keeps sending her very entertaining and heartfelt texts of “human fun facts'' that he thought Kara would enjoy. Some make her laugh. Some leave her utterly confused. Some she takes into account- especially the ones regarding food. She hugs him so tightly the day she finally sees him, no more wounds from his fight against Leviathan but a tint of sadness in his eyes, that she almost accidentally breaks one of his ribs- Thank God for techno-organic life forms.
Nia visits her, tries to take her to bars and get her drunk again- but Kara keeps refusing. So the younger woman sticks to helping her make Catco as bearble as possible. She stays with her when she finds Kara crying in an empty room and she tightly holds her hand under the table when Lena’s name gets mentioned.
Sara visits her, drags her girlfriend and “the legends” into Kara’s apartment. Well, it’s not exactly a visit- she mostly just walks thought Kara’s door begging for her help on fixing the timeline and rants for a while about a stolen fifth century artefact that has magical properties (or something like that- Kara got a distracted when Mick and Nate started to eat her snacks).
By the time they fix it, Gideon confirming the timeline intact, the whole day had passed. And when she throws herself into bed, after saying goodbye and Sara whispering a slow “I hope Supergirl helps out too next time” in her ear, she finally realizes it’s been six months since Lena’s death.
She falls asleep before she can’t roll her eyes at Alex’s and Sara’s distraction plan but not before a tear falls from her eyes.
Kate visits her, and it’s surprisingly her the one that speaks some sense into her. She’s pretty sure that wasn’t even the woman’s intention.
They were talking about Kate’s suit and the blonde mentions, with a sad smile, how much Lena would have loved to see it, probably even give her a few updates. The conversation turns to how Kate found it, how it was all black and how she painted it red. And when all Kara can see is blood every time she sees red now, she can’t understand how Kate would want it always with her.
“Red is a very symbolic color,” she explains, as she repeates her mother’s words, “It's the color of love, but it's also the color of passion, courage, war. At one point or another, we’re going to have to wrestle with all of these emotions. What defines our character is how we balance them. So keep it close to your heart.”
Kate leaves, but her words don't.
Keep it close to your heart.
She takes out her suit from the box under the bed and holds it in her hands. She hasn’t worn it since that day. She hadn't even washed it- she had tried, but the blood just stayed there and the water kept going down the drain with a reddish color. She had scrubbed the fabric for hours, trying to get it all out, but in her despair and anger, she ended up ripping the suit.
So now the suit not only had dried blood leaving patches in the cloth but it had a gash all the way from her hip to the middle of her stomach .
She softly touches the symbol on it. El mayarah. Stronger together.
“Who would’ve believed it? A Luthor and a Super, working together. I hope we can work together more in the future.”
“Without Lena to build me a Kryptonite suit, I have nothing.”
"Imagine what we could do together. A Luthor and A Super working together as a team."
“If we were partners we could change the world.”
"You're with me right?"
She puts the suit, bloodied and cut, on anyway. The slice is big and wide enough to be noticed but small enough that it doesn’t show anything but a bit of Kara’s skin. It feels weird- sticky, more like. The remains of blood cling to her body and it makes her shudder.
“It’s only for a couple of minutes,” she tells herself, “you can do it.”
She takes a deep breath and picks up the picture frame on her bedside table. It’s a simple photo of her and Lena. James had given it to her a couple of weeks after the brunette’s death, a gift- a small present to remember her by. It was clear on James too, the sadness, the pain, the anger of losing someone that was once so important to you- it wasn’t as prominent as in Kara, nor it was as paralyzing for him. But his pain was visible too and when he hugged her, she felt understood for a couple of minutes.
It was a simple picture- only Kara and Lena in it. They were in Kara’s apartment, sitting on the couch, during one of their game nights. She remembers that night. Lena was a little bit tipsy but she still managed to win at clue and figure out what Kara meant when she kept repeating the word “pillow”.
It was a simple picture but it was so beautiful. Not because the lighting was just right and James had done a perfect job at editing it.
No, it was absolutely beautiful because Lena looked so happy in it. She was laughing, hair falling in waves on her shoulders as she threw her head back. She had one hand on her belly as the other was reaching for Kara. Kara, who was looking at Lena with a smile so big that she had little wrinkles around her eyes, and her eyes, Rao she should have figured out sooner , were looking at Lena with a look that could only be described as awe and love .
Everyone deserved to see Lena like that. Happy. Laughing. Carefree. They deserved to see more than the serious and tough CEO. Lena deserved better than to be remembered like that.
People should have known she was a nerd and watched every single sci-fi movie as she complained about the inaccurate science. They should have known she liked to wear worn out sweaters and hoodies because she always thought they were warmer. They should have known her favorite pizza was with pineapple but never asked for it to save herself from the old and overused argument about whether it should go on pizza or not.
And people deserved to hear it from her. Not from old stories people told about her to get a five minute interview on TV or the third page of the Catco magazine. Not even from Kara.
But this picture, the way she looked right there, it was close enough to describe the real Lena- the one they never saw and will never see.
Her boots land softly on the empty park.
Not everyone on National City is asleep at 4am but the ones that aren’t, aren’t walking around a renovated park. Some are watching TV, some are partying, some are just unable to fall asleep. But all of them walk past this park and feel nothing.
Instead, for Kara, it takes her minutes to calm down her rapid heartbeat and her shallow breaths. There’s no evidence of what happened here months ago. In fact, the park looks so clean that it looks like it’s brand new- completely rebuilt from scratch.
The only difference, standing proudly and unmovable in the middle of it, is a statue of the atom symbol. Three oval shaped lines going around a central circle, each line had another circle in them. One had the emblem of L-corp, one had the emblem of Luthor Family Children Hospital and the last one had the emblem of the Queer Young charily Lena run. And the circle in the middle, the one bigger than the rest, had a simple but delicate engraving of planet earth.
Under the statue there was a silver plaque with black letters that said, “Lena Luthor. 1993-2020. Businesswoman, Philanthropist and Scientist. Thank you.”
The first time Kara heard about what the city had decided to do to honor Lena, she cried- a lot. And even now, as she reads the plaque over and over again.
She quietly flies away after leaving the picture below the statue. She would know later, that as people passed by and noticed the picture, they’d leave something behind later.
First it was a florist going to work that noticed it, she went to her shop and picked up a bouquet, took it back to the park and left it under Lena’s picture. Then it was the old man that liked to walk past it every morning, he left the candle he had bought for himself- after all, Miss Luthor’s hospital had saved her granddaughter. After them, a group of kids noticed it and decided to grab some more flowers from around the park and leave them there too.
And so, slowly and surely, people started to leave something too. A little candle, a couple of flowers, a couple of post-it notes with kind messages- even a little girl, no older than four, leaving one of her toys so Miss Luthor wouldn’t get bored.
Kara cried, again, when she saw the pictures. She cried when Andrea asked her to write the article about it, her eyes a little watery and her voice a little unsteady. She cried when she went back to the park and saw it all in real life. And she wished, more than anything, that Lena would have known just how much she meant to the world.
The suit is pretty similar to the other one. Full body suit with pants. But instead of her boots reaching her knees, they were more like simple boots that ended a little bit above her ankles. Instead of v shaped belt, this one was straight and wider- and while before it was mostly decoration, this one had attached to it two small boxes, one on each side of her hips, that contained the healing discs Brainy had invented- no one was dying in her arms, not again. And lastly, her cape, that used to reach to her knees, now went past that and was almost touching the floor.
But none of that were the things that stood up about the new suit. It was that the suit no longer was blue, red and golden.
The deep blue that used to cover Supergirl’s entire body was now a red so dark that it was basically black. The belt, the boots and the gloves that covered her hands were a bright silver. And the glorious red of her cape was gone and replaced with a dark, but bright, shade of green.
Finally, the big and shiny emblem that always had been proudly above her chest
was removed. Instead, there was a smaller S, painted a brighter shade of green, right above Supergirl’s heart.
The first time she wore it, people thought a new hero had showed up. Maybe someone moodier and darker like the Green Arrow they had on Star City or Batwoman on Gotham.
It took two days of whispers and talk shows discussing the new caped superhero for Kara to finally land strongly in front of a moving truck that was about to hit a restaurant. People came out of it, ready to thank the new hero, only to find Supergirl standing in front of them.
They smiled, laughed and screamed in joy at her being back- but all she was able to muster was a small smile before flying away.
Her friend’s reactions have been… as expected, truly.
Nia had stared at her, moth open, before jumping up and down from excitement and screaming about how much she likes it and how nice her new vibe is. Kara wasn’t sure what that meant but she also didn’t feel like asking.
J’onn had simply put her hand on her shoulder, gave a look to her new suit, before nodding and saying “It’s good to have you back, Supergirl.”
Kelly had hugged her, said she liked the suit- Kara was sure she was maybe the only one that truly understood why she did it. After all, Kelly had also changed part of herself when someone she loved so much died. Kelly changed her job, Kara changed her suit- and she was never one to judge anyway.
Brainy was more worried about how and where and with whom she made the suit to really care about why she did it. She couldn’t help but laugh at his offended face when she told him Kelex had made it in the fortress.
Alex had stood there, wordless, but her eyes said so much, “ I’m here for you. I’m sorry. I’m worried about you.” She looked carefully at the tainted black and the green but her eyes didn’t stop there. They stopped right on the green crest, small and almost invisible, and when she looked back at Kara, she could almost see her own pain reflected back on her sister’s eyes.
Both of them knew what such a thing meant- the last time it looked like that, Kara, high on red kryptonite, speaking about being a god and working alone. But they both knew the loneliness was coming sooner or later, whether it was going to be because Supergirl didn’t come back or because of something else- they didn’t know.
But still, Alex said nothing- she didn’t fight, she didn’t cry, she did nothing but sigh- and Kara was thankful for it, she didn’t think there was anything her sister could say that would make things better anyway.
So, being Supergirl was… lonely now. Lonelier than when she stayed in her bed looking at the ceiling and trying not to think about what she did wrong. But it’s better. She has more distractions. She’s back to her usual routine of Catco, Supergirl, Catco, DEO- even though she finds herself flying over to L-corp from time to time.
But the city is safe, and that’s what matters. Not her feelings- and she knows, she knows, Kelly had told Alex that all Kara is doing is just her way to cope, a way to run away from her pain. And yes, she shouldn’t have listened to that conversation but controlling her superhearing is hard when people talk about you .
But the city is safe, and it shouldn’t matter the sad eyes Dreamer gives her when she refuses to team up. Or the worried expression J’onn has when she sees how violent she is some of the times she’s stopping a criminal.
But the city is safe. And it will remain safe. Even if she couldn’t make sure Lena was.
She’s been doing long hours. Like, really long. Between Catco, with Andrea’s sudden interest and confidence in her talents, and Supergirl. She’s tired, even when a kryptonian that’s powered by the sun shouldn’t be tired.
Maybe that’s why she thinks she’s crazy when she first hears it.
Tu tump. Tu tump. Tu tump .
But- no. It’s not possible. But it’s right there .
Tu tump. Tu tump. Tu tump .
She takes off before she realizes it. She flies and flies as the sound gets closer and closer.
Tu tump. Tu tump. Tu tump . Tu tump. Tu tump. Tu tump .
The heart beats louder and louder and louder in her ears- Lena’s heartbeat is as strong and hypnotic as she remembered it.
She lands strongly in a crowded street. People coming and going, shouting and laughing as they walk around. The street almost feels like a carnival- the shops full of people as they walk around with cotton candy in their hands, kids running from an arcade to the other as their parents tell them to slow down.
But she doesn’t listen to any of that. She looks around frantic, trying to find the source of the Tu tump. Tu tump. Tu tump .
Lena. She has to find Lena.
She walks, runs, in the direction of Lena’s heartbeat. She’s so close, she’s alive, she’s okay.
People look at her curiously when they see Supergirl, in her new suit glory, walking around the streets of National city, desperated, almost hyperventilating and with tears in her eyes. But Kara pays them no mind, she just walks and runs, in the direction of Lena’s heart.
Lena’s heart sounds content, a little slow, but fine and happy and Kara can’t wait to see her again. She doesn’t think about how it’s impossible. How she saw Lena died. How J’onn said her body was cremated. None of it matters because Lena is right here , she can’t hear her.
Except that, when she finds herself in front of the body who holds the heartbeat, it’s not Lena she’s in front of.
The girl can’t be older than fifteen. She has braces on, her hair is a dark brown and reaches her shoulders. She’s wearing a blue t-shirt with Dreamer’s mask printed on it. And when she turns around, and sees Supergirl standing right in front of her, she opens her mouth in shock. But before she can utter a word, Kara flies away.
Three minutes and two seconds later she’s knocking on Alex’s balcony window-door. It’s a bit desperate, not enough to break it but enough to make the entire glass shake.
“Alex,” she pleads, low enough to not wake up the neighbors, “Alex! Open up.”
After a few minutes, Alex opens the door, covering her mouth from a yawn. “Kara? Is everything okay?”
“I think something is wrong with me,” she answers quickly, speaking over the end of Alex’s sentence.
“What?” she asks, suddenly alert, as she tugs Kara inside, “What do you mean? Do you feel sick?”
“I feel fine,” she says, sitting on the couch, “It’s just that I-”
She trails off and Alex, worried, takes her hand. “You what?”
“I heard Lena’s heartbeat tonight,” she whispers, looking down to her feet.
“I know, Alex,” she sighs and looks back up, desperately looking at her sister’s eyes, “I swear- I swear it was hers.”
“I believe you,” she says, eventually.
She nods, “I know you can memorize heartbeats.” Silence.
“But we both know it’s not possible, Kara,” she says, softly- as softly as she told her Lena was truly gone all those first nights.
Kara closes her eyes, two lonely tears falling. She nods again and lies down to rest her head in Alex’s lap. She should have known. She shouldn’t have given into that small silver lightning of hope- but she’s Supergirl, she’s supposed to be hopeful, right?
“Maybe I should get checked out,” Kara says eventually, “see that nothing is wrong. Just in case.”
“Of course,” Alex says. Even though they both know nothing is wrong with Kara. Even though they know all results will come back fine. Even if they know that, if there is a problem, it’s not a physical one.
She wakes up, and like every day, she feels the pain again.
She stays on the bed, lying down and looking up to the ceiling. She tries to push down the pain- big and deep breaths, in and out, just like Sam helped her through so many times. She’s not even sure they work, but she does them anyway.
The electrical clock to her right rings again, two loud beeps that last less than a second- but they let her know it’s time to get up again. They had come to the conclusion that, regardless of her pain, she should mantein a certain routine- even if the pain meant she couldn’t get out of bed some days. Even if it meant taking over an hour to get up and be able to move through the pain.
She breathes out again and a curse leaves her mouth as she sits up on the bed. She carefully takes out the IV from her arm and turns off the machine to her left. Slowly her chest starts to glow green, like always- constant, bribrant, unmovable green. But she doesn’t look down, not now- not until she knows she has to. With a bit of a struggle, she puts on a t-shirt, bigger than she was always used to- bigger that it couldn’t be considered fashionable or comfortable. Just. Bigger- big enough to cover it up.
She angles her body to the right, her feet hanging over the bed. She breathes out again but the pain is a lot again- sleep only ever brings her a bit of comfort, even when it's restless and filled with nightmares.
As she sits on the corner of her bed, she watches, just like every other morning, how her veins turn a greenish color- how it looks like a parasite calmly moving through her body: from her thighs to her knees, moving to her calf and reaching the end of her toes.
Do you know what it's like to walk into a room and your skin feels like it's going to be seared off your bones? Or like nails are running through your blood? That's what Kryptonite feels like .
She puts one foot in front of the other and stands up. The pain is a lot but it's also nothing she isn’t used to, so she keeps walking. One step in front of the other- the sweat accumulating first on her feet, then on the back of her head, then her armpits. When she reaches the thermostat, her whole body feels like it’s on fire. She turns the temperature down ten more degrees as Sam walks through the door.
She’s wearing a heavy winter coat and a red beanie over her head. She isn’t wearing gloves today and Lena can tell that she regrets it as soon as she starts to move her hands against each other to warm them up. It would be crazy for her to be wearing that when it’s not even winter in Metropolis yet, but the weather instead the room was too cold for Sam’s suit jackets and thin blouses.
She’s not sure how the woman hasn’t gotten a cold yet- changing temperatures so much, too fast, is not good for anyone. Isn’t that what old ladies say?
“Lena,” she says instead of a greeting, “what are you doing over there? We already programmed that answer to your voice.”
She knew that, obviously. She had been the one to change it. But-
“I can do it. It’s just a couple of feets.”
Sam doesn’t seem to listen to her and instead walks to her side, she puts the back of her hand on Lena’s forehead.
“You’re burning up.”
She sighs, “I’m always burning up now.”
Sam doesn’t say anything but nods- it had been hard for them. To change roles so drastically. From Sam, with Reign inside of her, as Lena’s patient, to Lena, with kryptonite in her veins and a green rock as a heart, as Sam’s patient.
“Have you done your check up yet?” She asks after helping Lena into the white chair, surrounded by many machines and computers, in the middle of the room.
“Not yet, I was just able to get up.”
She sounds annoyed, she has been annoyed for a long time. But she knows she has been annoyed because she doesn’t want to be angry, doesn’t want to be sad- she knows both of those feelings would make her spiral again. And it wasn’t good for anyone the last time she did.
They do the check up. And, of course, nothing new. Her body is the same- unhealthy, heartless. The kryptonite heart, the one Lex had implanted into her body as a sick revenge to her for betraying him.
“If you want to choose her over me, that’s fine,” he had said, his face above hers as he puts a gas mask on her mouth, “let’s see if she chooses you when your own blood is the thing she hates the most.”
They check the new heart again, the one that’s supposed to be hers- the one to replace the rock. But the Harun-El injection, just like every other one, destroys the heart at the last minute. Some had blown up in flames, some had turned into a big ice cube with the form of a heart, some had become liquid- and none of them had remained intact enough to transfer it from the glass box they were in into Lena’s body.
None were strong enough to sustain the mess Lex had done to her body. Her main arteries and veins, now shorter than they should be, all flow into a heart shaped kryptonite box in the middle of her chest. There’s no compressions from it. No heartbeats. But the “heart” was well-thought out enough to have a compression mechanism to keep the blood flowing inside her body.
It was more of a mechanical dam than a heart really, the own pressure of the blood was the one that made it move forward. But as it moved forward, it contaminated itself when it went through the kryptonite heart, and so, infecting her entire body.
They’re halfway through lunch- or Sam is halfway through lunch as Lena plays with a salad she was only able to eat less than half of- when the woman’s phone rings.
Sam says nothing. She quickly picks up the phone, reads whatever is there and answers the text. She gives a furtive look to Lena but says nothing.
“So?” she asks, “Is it done?”
Sam nods, “Lena Luthor is officially dead.”
It should feel like a win.
One of their plans worked. Assuring Supergirl and her friends wouldn’t spend more time looking for Lena. Making sure they can all move on with their lives as Lena tries to fix herself. Not giving into Lex’s plan and assuring Kara would be safe from her and what she carries.
Lex was so sure, so very sure, that Lena would go back running into Kara’s arms as soon as he let her go in that deserted area close to National City. He was so sure she’d be, once again, the one that weakens the girl of steel. He knew part of her would want to ask for their help, would want the easy solution of letting the “Super Team” fix her problems- and while she wanted that, she really did, she’d never do that to Kara. Not again. Not after traping her in kryptonite and leaving her sobbing all alone.
She went to Sam instead. Stole a burner phone and prayed her friend would answer an anonymous number. She did. And now here they are. Tense silence in the face of another failure and with no knowledge of how long Lena has left.
It doesn’t feel like a win.
It happened, just like everything else, by mistake.
Or maybe not by mistake but because of a very tired Lena and a completely asleep Sam that did not wake up the third time her phone rang. Lena doesn’t blame her- she wishes she could fall asleep on top of a desk, pass out from exhaustion after drinking three cups of coffee, just like she used to do before.
So she lets Sam sleep through the first call- the angry businessman behind it can wait an hour to know whatever it is they want to know.
But Sam sleeps through the second call and Lena worries something might have happened to Ruby- Sam wouldn’t forgive her if by letting her sleep, something had happened to her daughter. She’s still sleeping half way through the third call and Lena can’t take the increasing sound of the very loud and annoying pop song Ruby had picked for her phone.
“Hope,” she says to the roof, “activate Sam’s voice-over once I pick up her phone.”
The walk over to the table where the phone is left her breathless, and she hates- hates- how weak she feels right now. Not able to walk twenty steps from her lab chair to Sam’s without sweating heavily and almost going into cardiac arrest- well, technically, she can’t go into one. Heart that can never over work itself and all.
That's why, breathless and with a growing headache forming in her head, she picks up the phone without checking the contact.
“Sam!” It’s not Ruby’s voice on the phone. Nor her teacher. Or the school director. She wishes it was right now. “It’s so nice to hear your voice.”
“Alex,” her voice is surprised, mixed with confusion and sudden fear. Why is Alex calling Sam? Had Sam called her? Have they always kept in touch or did Sam call her about Lena behind her back?
“Hey,” the woman repeats, “how you’ve been?”
“Oh- you know,” she manages to get out, “good. I’m good.”
Alex doesn’t respond and Lena is starting to spiral and wonder what she might have done wrong- for fuck sake, not even one question right.
“Okay,” she says, unsure, “You sure you okay? You sound a little off.”
Of course she does. She sounds breathless and sick as fuck and she has never payed atention to what kinds of words Sam uses- why did she think pretending to be her was a good idea?
“I think I caught a cold,” she lies, “probably from Ruby.”
“Well, I can always check it up if you need a good doctor.” Alex says, voice checky and flirty? Do Alex and Sam flirt ? God, she did not need to know that.
She laughs awkwardly instead, “I’ll let you know.”
Silence again and then, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine,” she says, too quickly, “what about you? Why did you call?”
“Just wanted to check up on you and you know…” Alex trails off and sighs. Lena doesn’t think she has ever heard her like that, like she’s tired- exhausted- she’s way too used to drunk Alex or fighty Alex on games nights.
“Yeah, you know-” she sighs again- “Kara has been… a lot.”
“Why? Is she okay?” She says it, and then cringes at her own words because, while Sam certainly cares about Kara, she wouldn’t jump at the mere mention of her not being okay.
“She’s still closed off and very… unlike Kara. I mean, it’s been five months since Lena’s death, I thought that she’d be better by now,” Alex rambles, voice tired and exasperated, “She goes to work but you look at her and she’s literally dragging her feet- she might break the floor one day! And she does game nights from time to time but always in someone else’s apartment and she always leaves earlier. I’ve tried so many things to cheer her up and I don’t know what else to do,” she stops, and her next words feel more like an afterthought that wasn’t meant for Sam, and certainly not for Lena. “It only took her a couple of weeks when she thought Mon-El died, you know?”
All air leaves Lena’s lung and she’s sure that, if the rock of kryptonite in her chest was able to do it, her heart would have skipped a beat. She had thought, back when the idea of letting Kara think she was dead first came into her mind, that the blonde would move on rather quickly. She’d be sad, yes- there’s no way Kara, who cried for two unstoppable hours when Bambi’s mom died, wouldn’t be sad about a friend’s death (even if they weren’t really friends. More like ex friends who were trying, and failing, to build things up again).
And Alex was right. She had seen that Kara- sad and closed off over her loss. But that was her boyfriend .
She never thought she was even gonna be a blip in Kara’s gigantic list of losses.
“Sam?” Alex asks, and she knows this is the moment she should act like her friend. Sam would probably say something about giving it time and losing a friend is painful and that she should be there for Kara.
But nothing comes out of her mind except, “I- I should go. I need to go.”
“Hold on,” Alex stops her before she can end the call, “I might go over there soon, what types of lollipops do you want me to get you?”
Lollipops? Is that some kind of kinky or flirty shit they have going on? Is it some kind of code? “Uh- the green ones?”
That is, obviously, the wrong answer.
“Who the fuck are you?” Alex’s voice sounds over the phone before Lena hangs up.
“Shit,” she walks over to her sleeping friend and starts to shake her, “Sam, wake up. Wake up.”
“What’s wrong?” she asks, the back of her hand rubbing her eyes and the marks on her cheek as she suppresses a yawn.
“I think I fucked up and Alex knows something is wrong.”
“What? Why?” she suddenly sounds more awake, sitting up straighter, “You were talking to Alex?”
“I wanted to let you sleep and she called like three times and she said something about a lollipop and I didn’t answer the right way-”
“Oh. Yeah, that was a security measure back when-”
The woman tries to explain but Lena, nervous and anxious Lena- who would probably be walking back and forth if it wasn’t for the fact that she would end up exhausted for no reason- talks over her. “Also, do you and Alex flirt ? What the hell Sam, she has a girlfriend-”
“Lena, please, I flirt with everyone.”
“You don’t flirt with me.”
“I do,” she rolls her eyes, “you’re just too stupid to notice. And I’ll let you know that Kelly is a great flirt, gives me a run for my money.”
She adds, a smirk on her face and a brown slightly elevated. Yeah, Lena doesn’t want to know what that means.
The small headache is now a full on rumble on her head and Lena closes her eyes trying to hold it back. She sighs and turns to Sam, who’s looking at her with a worried expression. “Okay,” she says, not giving her friend a chance to ask about her health, “but this is still bad. What if she realizes something is wrong?”
Sam bites her lip and moves her head unsure, “And that's bad.. how?”
“If Alex knows i'm alive then Kara will know I’m alive and that can’t happen,” her voice is louder now, a little shaky too, and it makes Sam stand up and rest her hands on her shoulders.
“Lena. You have to get comfortable with the thought that she might have to know that one day.”
She’s shaking her head before Sam can finish speaking “No, she doesn't.”
Sam sighs and takes one step away from Lena, her arms folding in front of herself, her eyes a little watery, “And what if we can’t fix this? Lena, please, we need to let someone else help you or else you’ll be dead, for real this time, and I don’t want to be the one that has to explain this to Kara.”
“Then don't tell her if I die,” she says quickly, “She already thinks that. It’ll be okay.”
“Have you even seen the news lately? Supergirl isn’t around!” She throws her hand in the air, as if a sudden screen would show the lack of Supergirl, “Not even a blip in the system and you think Kara is okay when she barely gets up from her couch?”
“She’ll be fi-”
“You don't get it, don't you? They’re mourning you, Lena. All of them. Even I’m mourning you every time I have to hold Ruby as she cries herself to sleep because she thinks you’re dead. Your intentions in this are good and maybe even selfless but they’re also stupid and hurtful as fuck.”
Sam is crying. Lena is crying. There’s a lot of tears and Lena even misses for a small moment when your heart has a little pang of pain that makes you breathe out.
“I'm sorry,” she says, unsure what else to say.
Sam, naturally, just nods and wraps her in her arms, “I know, it's not all your fault.”
“I’ll think about it okay?” she whispers into her shoulder after a few minutes, “if the next one doesnt work I’ll think about calling Alex.”
Sam sighs, “Good.”
In true Lena fashion, she thinks about it- more like over thinks about it.
She thinks about the possibilities of Alex helping her. Using the woman’s knowledge on alien substances to help her cute herself. Maybe let her drag her mother along with her, maybe they’ll see something Lena doesn’t.
But what would they say? Would they want to help? Would they believe her? And how can she be sure, that when she asks them not to tell Kara, they won’t?
No, it was too dangerous. She couldn’t- wouldn’t- put Kara in danger again, so close to kryptonite again. Not when she’s the one responsible for it again.
So, in true Lena fashion, she denies all help and builds another wall around herself just to make sure Sam won’t almost-convice her again. Ignores it for weeks, lets months and months and failed after failed experiment pass by as she dodges Sam’s questions and excuses herself earlier to bed because “she’s tired.”
And she is, so, so tired- she can tell her body is starting to give up on her. Knows the nightly blood transfusions are not working as well as they used to. Knows most of her body is already infected with kryptonite to its core. And knows she has no more theories and ideas on how to fix it.
So she gets herself ready for the pending argument they’re going to have when Sam shows up in the morning when she tells her asking Alex for help might be a good idea- because both Sam and Lena know it might be too late.
Except Sam doesn’t show up.
She thinks she’s just late at first. But thirty minutes turn into three hours. The clock ticks by as Lena tries to concentrate on the heart in front of her but with every inch the clock hand moves, she gets more and more worried.
First, she tells herself Sam is in an emergency meeting- even though she normally lets her know when that happens.
Second, she tells herself maybe Ruby is sick. Or Sam is sick. Or maybe that dumb gold fish Sam got for Ruby died, or got sick. Do fish get sick?
But lunch time passes and Sam is still a no-show and Lena’s troubled enough to not even feel hungry.
She would really appreciate Sam being here to argue with her, now.
And there’s nothing she can do but wait because her body is too tired and her veins are too green for her to do anything but sit in her bed, the fresh blood moving from the machine into her arm, and a laptop in front of her as she thinks about what to do with the last two hearts they have left.
Five hearts. That was the deal. They’d try to get one of five hearts to work on Lena, if they didn’t they’d only try to find a way to stabilize the kryptonite. Or at least that’s Sam's idea- Lena doesn’t have the heart, literally or mentally, to tell her about the lethal injection hiding in a drawer.
Heart number four gave good results, really good ones, it stayed wrong. It repealed the kryptonite. It didn’t collapse. It didn’t burst into flames. It gave them hope. Three days and it remains stabilized.
Lena is cautious to say she’s...hopeful.
The heart is beating, speedy, as it remains attached to the machine. The mineral injection doesn’t have any side effects so far, the heart remains strong even when kryptonite flows through it- which made both Sam and Lena almost certain it wouldn’t give up on her if they do the transplant.
But a transplant means a doctor, their team, a space to work, the materials to work. And obviously, the assurance that they’ll never speak about who and what they operated on. There’s no way to assure that and that’s Lena’s biggest fear. If the operation goes wrong, then Lena dies and if Lena dies then they fail. Sam fails. She fails. The doctor fails.
But of course, the main object on this is the heart. And heart number four is working, the fucking mineral extracted from the deep end of a cave in the pacific ocean that now colapsed, is fucking working. The dumb idea Sam had, the one Lena was not expecting it to work- had worked. And the half a million they had spent to get the last piece of that rock from the museum hadn’t been for nothing.
The heart beats strong. Until it doesn’t.
This time isn’t ice or fire. This time is the shaking of the walls and floor that moves the machine and makes the heart end up on the floor.
Lena rises from her bed, half scared, half confused- as she disconectes herself from the transfusion machine and tries, key word on tries, to run to the heart. She’s going to pick it up, no problem. Five seconds rule right? She’s sure it applies to a human heart.
She’s close to it, she’s about to get it. Her legs drag themselves as she pushes them to move. The sweat already in all her body as well as the faint glowing green of her veins. She’s so close to it. Just maybe then more steps when the floor shakes again and her legs, her stupid kryptonite filled legs, give up on her and she falls.
Parts of the ceiling start to fall, little dusk lines that fall like snowflakes. It’s just a small crack, so little at first, and just right above the non-beating heart lying on the floor.
Lena stands on her elbows, pushes herself to move forward until she’s close enough to the heart to grab it. If she had one inside of herself right now, she’d feel that aching sensation when the heart seems to drop, because when she turns the heart around to see if it's alright- she notices the piece of glass going all the way from the back of the heart to its center.
“No, no, no” she says, as she, uselessly, takes out the piece and begs every single god she doesn’t believe in for it to only be superficial. But when she does, blood leaves it like a flood and she can’t do anything but sigh.
Fourth broken heart. Almost seems like a very literal metaphor. One for each person who broke her heart. Her mom. Andrea. Jack. Kara.
She wonders if in number five she’s the one that’s going to do the breaking. She’s sure she’s gonna break Sam’s heart when she gives up.
She’s lying on the floor, useless heart in her hands, and she’s not strong to get up- she can’t. She’s not even sure she wants to. She can only watch, and feel, as another quake shakes everything. Among everything is the last heart, sitting inside what Sam calls “little heart coolers” is heart number five- It’s on top of a cupboard, right beside the air conditioner, the coolest place in the room. And it’s moving, closer and closer to the edge, until it’s falling.
Except it doesn’t crash against the floor, doesn’t turn into another glass-stabbed heart. Instead it falls into two strong hands covered in silver gloves.
There’s something familiar about her but Lena can’t say what. The body carefully moves the box and places it on the middle of the lab table.
She turns and Lena’s mouth opens in surprise. Kara looks around the room distracted, almost as if she’s not really sure why she’s there. She can’t see Lena- and it takes the brunette a moment to realize that she can’t hear her either. What Supergirl would use as a sign of life before, her heartbeat, is gone.
Lena makes herself smaller, curls herself into the desk she’s hiding behind so she wouldn’t be found. But she can’t help but steal glances at Kara.
Kara looks different, so different. Not only in the new-suit new-haircut way. But the lines around her eyes feel more prominent and the frown on her face seems to have made a place on her forehead to stay.
She’s walking around the room, curiously observing the notes on the table and the machine on Lena’s bed. And Lena is too worried about Kara finding her that she can’t bring to ask herself what is Kara even doing here in the first place.
She curses in her mind when she starts to see the greenish on her veins. She needs to leave. If she stays in the same room as Kara, she’ll end up hurting her.
She has to give it to Lex- he truly did make her the perfect kryptonite bomb. Slowly and slowly upping her own levels of radiation tick tok tick tok until boom she’s basically a piece of kryptonite walking around.
The quakes stopped and Lena can faintly hear the sound of sirens above the basement they’re in. She drags herself more fully under the desk when she hears two sets of footsteps walking down the stairs.
“Supergirl?” Sam asks as she walks through the door, Alex walking close behind her, “What are you doing here? Come on, police are leaving already.”
Kara looks up, confused and disorientated, one of Lena’s t-shirts in her hands. “Sorry,” she says after a moment of blankly looking at Sam, “I thought I heard- nevermind.”
She sighs, and the room doesn’t fall on an uncomfortable silence because Alex speaks, “What are you doing in here, Sam? It’s freezing.”
Kara frowns, “It is?”
“Yeah,” Sam answers, awkwardly, “just some- some experiments a group is doing. Curing cancer or something like that.”
Her voice sounds too high, and uncomfortable. God bless Sam , she never was the best liar. Alex clearly seems to think that too because she walks into the room as she reads the different boards and papers around the room- she stops suddenly.
“This is the formula for kryptonite,” she says, voice stiff at the same time Kara’s shoulders tense.
“What?” Sam huffs, “No, that’s- that’s something else. Aren’t you cold, Alex? Come on, I can make us some cocoa at my house.”
The woman tries to grab Alex by her elbow, push her into not seeing the board anymore- but as soon as her fingers are in the woman, she tenses and takes out her gun, pointing it at Sam.
“Alex-” Kara tries to speak, walking closer to them from Lena’s bed.
“Who are you?” Alex asks, eyes unmoving from Sam, “What did you do to Sam?”
“I am Sam,” she pleads, voice wavering, “Alex, please, I-”
“Something is wrong. First that weird ass phone call a couple of weeks ago-”
“I was just having a bad day, it’s noth-”
“You said the wrong color.”
“Come on, Alex. I just forgot,” Sam tries to laugh it off, “silly me.”
“And what about today?” she asks, looking over at Kara for a second, telling her to not move with just one look, “We showed up here to save your life from a bomb threat and you looked at us as if this was an inconvenience.”
Sam stumbles over a sequence of I’s and Uh’s and that does nothing but make Alex more anxious as she steps closer to the woman.
“Sam,” Kara asks softly from behind the woman, “What is this place? Why do you have the kryptonite formula written on the board?”
Sam swallows loudly, “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that.”
Alex’s gun is almost on Sam’s forehead when she speaks, “What’s going on? Where’s Sam?”
“I am Sam.”
“Is this some kind of Reign again?”
“Stop.” The voice sounds loud. But it’s not Kara who says them.
Lena says, with great difficulty as she uses the little strength she has on her hands to push into the desk and stand up.
“That’s Sam,” she says, voice horse, “I can explain. Just put the gun down.”
She can’t look up. Not even when she hears Alex’s gasp. Or Sam’s relieved sigh.
Not even when she hears her name uterred like a prayer. Lena .
She looks up when she hears strong boots against the floor, watches as Kara gets closer and closer to her. Until she’s not able to move closer. Until Kara falls to the ground, suddenly in pain.
“What?” The blonde asks, gasping. Lena feels her eyes fill with tears. This was what he wanted. This was exactly what he wanted.
Lena walks backwards until she hits the wall. Alex walks closer to Kara, confused, as she helps her sister sit up on the floor. The veins on Kara’s face look greenish and she has to close her eyes to stop the tears.
“You need to leave,” she says, “please leave, Kara.”
“No!” Kara says, standing up and trying to walk closer to Lena. She’s still too far away when she has to stop, a nauseating feeling on her stomach, “You’re alive.”
Her words sound disbelieving and unsure, like she can’t wrap her mind around it. Like Lena is just a fragment of her imagination or like she’s maybe in a dream.
Lena can’t look into Kara’s eyes. Doesn’t want to find out what’s in them. Relief because she didn’t let her die? Pain because she has been grieving for nothing? Anger because she had no reason to actually grieve her? Disgust because Lena looks horrible with the grey sweatpants she’s wearing and the too big for her shirt and the green lines going throughout her body?
She looks at the rest of Kara instead. The new suit, with the little boots and the new colors- she wants to ask, she wants to ask so badly why she changed them but she’s not sure she can live with the answer.
“You cut your hair,” she says instead, looking at the smaller S on Kara’s chest, “It looks nice.”
Long gone are the bangs and her hair is cut just a little under her ear. The blonde locks now look more like a tangled mess of blonde and light brunette locks going from place to place, it seems like there is no styled hair like she used to have before. It looks really nice. Kara lets out a cuckle, a hand going to touch it, “Yeah, it was starting to get annoying when I was flying.”
“That’s nice,” Lena says again. Silence. Awkward, weird silence.
Kara can’t stop looking at Lena. Alex can’t seem to find the words, mouth opening and closing- her hand on her sister’s arm, almost as if it’s a lifeline to know this is actually happening. Sam is behind them, biting her lip and debating inside herself whether she should tell Kara to step further away, tell Lena to hook herself into the blood machine again, or maybe tell a joke to break the tension.
The silence gets broken by, instead, Kara loudly coughing. She’s twisting her body and her hands go into her stomach and Alex’s hands go straight to her shoulders to hold her still.
“You need to go,” Lena says, trying to move away, her back against the wall as she steps to the right, “you have to go. This is hurting you.”
“Kara-” Alex tries to speak but she’s stopped by Kara strongly shaking her head. She tries to step forward, closer to Lena, but her sister’s arms stop her.
“How are you alive?” she asks breathless, “You died. I saw you die.”
The blonde’s face looks greener with every second that passes, and Lena is starting to feel the pain of having moved so much in such little time- she needs another transfusion soon. The transfusions, her only relief. They had figured out, back in the first few tests, that if another machine worked as her “heart”. The brand new blood, free of kryptonite, made the aching in her entire body bearable. The only problem was that while she used it, it was all fine. But when she unhooked herself from the machine, the pain came back stronger and the kryptonite reached her entire body faster.
“Please,” she tries again, “you need to leave. It’s kryptonite.”
“Kara,” Sam speaks, “Lena needs another transfusion, she’s in pain. Just move out of the way so she can go to her bed.”
Both sisters look confused as she walks over to them and points to the other side of the room. She shares a look with Alex until the redhead starts to push Kara that way. But Kara can only look at Lena, she hasn’t taken her eyes off her- almost as if she’s scared she’ll disappear again, or drop dead (not like she knows that could be a possibility).
Sam puts her right arm around Lena and half helps half carries her back into the bed. Lena side eyes Kara once she’s sitting and is relieved to find that there’s almost no green on her face now- the space between them enough to not make Kara hurt.
Sam is grabbing the needles, one for her right arm, one for her left arm- ready to start up the machine and let the new blood go into Lena and let the kryptonite filled one leave.
“Wait,” Lena pust a hand on her arm, “give me the tablet.”
Sam gives her a confused look before complying, unsure of what Lena is going to do. She presses a couple of buttons into the device and the same forefield that was used to contain Reign shows up between Lena’s bed and the Danvers sisters.
“What? No! Lena!” She hears Kara’s voice before she sees the punches in the forcefield, “Where are you?”
“We’re still here,” she says, picking up one of the needles in Sam’s hands, “It’s fine.”
“It’s not fine, let me see you.” Kara’s voice is desperate and scared and urgent.
“Lena-” Sam whispers.
“This is as much for me as it is for her,” she hisses before her friend can finish, “the kryptonite leaving my body might infect the air and hurt her again.”
Is a lie, they both know that. They had already figured out the way to wash it away from the blood so they would be able to reuse it. Except Kara, of course, didn’t know that.
Sam gives her a look, Lena sighs. “I just don’t want her to see me like this,” she whispers.
“Oh, honey, Kara is just glad to be able to see you at all.”
The brunette rests her hand on Lena’s hair and pushes a few strands behind her ear before wiping away the tears in her cheeks, was she crying? When did she start? Has she ever stopped?
Kara’s relieved sigh when she turns the forcefield transparent is enough to feel like a small win in Lena’s book. But Kara’s frown returns to her face as soon as she tries to walk closer to Lena and instead hits a wall.
“I’m sorry,” she says, willing her voice not to break, “you really can’t get closer to me.”
“I want to.” It’s just a whisper, a small whisper Lena wishes she hadn’t heard.
“What’s going on?” Alex asks, hands on her hips. And Lena is embarrassed to say she completely forgot she was even there. Lena and Sam share a look before Sam puts both her hands up.
“You can explain this one,” she says and busies herself with the machine- not like it was working perfectly and there was literally nothing she could do.
“Lena?” Alex asks, looking at her with a raised eyebrow.
“Okay,” she sighs, “I didn’t die.”
“I watched you die,” Kara repeats her own words, walking closer to the forcefield, one hand resting on it- pushing as if maybe it’ll break and she’ll be able to touch Lena again, “you died in my arms.”
“That wasn’t me,” the sisters give her the same confused expression, “it was a shapeshifter. They needed money. I needed you to think I was dead.”
Kara says nothing, mouth opening and closing. So Alex does, “Why?”
What a question isn’t it?
Because Lex made her a monster?
Because she was going to hurt Kara?
Because she was going to set them all back from catching Lex?
Because she knew, since the moment a rock of kryptonite was put inside of her, that there was nothing they could do? And because she wanted to save Kara the pain of having hope?
She says nothing and instead she raises her t-shirt, shows the scar that goes from her right clavicle and ends somewhere behind her bra in her left boob. Shows the piece of green that stands out right between her breasts. It wasn’t as big a rock as metallo’s, but it was noticeable and it was glowing green. Always.
“A little gift from Lex,” she says as she sighs when she starts to feel the new blood pumping into her arteries.
Surprise, anger, pain- they all go through Alex’s face and Lena watches as she realizes the why- why she left, why she left them think she was dead, why she wanted Kara as far away from them. There’s a few shiny tears on her eyes but Alex doesn’t let them fall. “What’s the plan?” she asks instead.
“We already have a strong enough heart to replace the kryptonite one in Lena’s body,” Sam says, “we just-”
“We don’t,” Lena interrupts and Sam gives her a confused look, “The heart fell down during the quakes and a piece of glass went through it. It’s useless now.”
“Oh.” Sam doesn’t say anything more. Just sits up on the chair beside Lena’s bed and rests her head on her hands, smiles sadly when Alex starts talking.
“Then we can make another one. What did you use?” Alex moves to the table and picks up the first page she finds, ready to get to work, “Hey, Kara, you should go get Brainy- Kara?”
Kara’s face is unreadable. Lena has always loved how she could always tell what Kara was feeling- given, she wasn’t able to see past the lies and deceiving. But if she was a good friend, it was because she was able to know how Kara felt.
If there was a crinkle, Kara was worried. If her mouth turned more on one side, she hadn’t slept much the night before. If she kept playing with her fingers then Snapper had yelled a lot that day. If she gave Lena a double tap when she hugged her, she was content. If instead she held her tight for a couple of seconds, she was upset.
She was good at knowing Kara’s ticks as she was good at making the blonde feel better- it was always a lot of potstickers and pizza and maybe a movie and Kara was back to her happy self.
But now Kara’s expression looks almost empty. She hasn’t moved. Her hands are held tightly as fists and her jaw is clenched. She’s angry, obviously. That’s not the unreadable part.
It’s Kara’s eyes, the ones always filled with so much feeling, that looked empty right now. There’s no spark, no shine, no nothing that can tell Lena what Kara is feeling.
“Alex. Sam,” she says after a couple of seconds of silence, her eyes never moving from Lena, “can you please leave us alone for a couple of minutes?”
None of them move. It’s not until Sam, surprised at hearing Kara’s voice so cold, finally seems to understand what she asked and shuts down the forcefield long enough to walk over to Alex.
The door closes behind them with a loud bang and only Kara and Lena are left in the room. Only Lena and Kara and the space between them. The space that is too big yet not enough at the same time. Too big because Kara wants nothing more than a hug and too small because Lena wants Kara as far away from danger as possible.
None of them say anything, Lena is not sure the words will even come out. She’s only able to watch as Kara walks closer to her and rests her hand on the forcefield. In the silence of the room, the whoosh of Kara’s hand touching it feels blaring.
“Can you move?” Kara whispers. Lena nods, unsure of where the question is going. “Come here.”
The tubes attached to Lena’s arm trail after her like a cat tail, and it’s pathetic and annoying and embarrassing that Kara has to even see her like this. She wasn’t supposed to.
But Kara just looks and looks and looks at her. She looks at her eyes, her nose, her eyebrows, her mouth, her cheeks- she’s either memorizing her or making sure she’s real.
“There’s no heartbeat,” Kara says, eventually, “there’s nothing.”
“Lex took it out, put kryptonite in its place,” Lena swallows and breathes out shakily, “thought it would be the fastest and easiest way to weaken you.”
“Why did you pretend you were dead?” her voice cracking on the last word.
She can’t say it. She won’t say it. Saying it would feel too much like an admission and she won’t do that now that she can never act on it after.
“Why Lena?” she begs, and the forcefield shines brighter as she pushes her hands further into it, but it remains unbreakable, “Why would you all lie to me about something like this?”
“The irony isn't lost on me," Lena says softly, "me, lying, just to protect you, the same way you did."
“But why-” Kara insists again, and she knows, Lena knows she’ll keep asking until she gets an answer. And maybe she shouldn’t have given it to her, knowing that it’ll only hurt them both.
But she rests her hand on top of Kara’s, a wall between them even when their faces are inches apart.
“I’d rather play dead than see you and not be able to touch you.”
Kara shudders, just a small chill going all the way from her spine to her toes. But nothing can describe the actual feeling of hearing Lena say that and still not being able to wrap her hand in hers- no matter how much streght she used and how much she tried to curl her fingers into Lena’s.
“Take out the forcefield,” she says. Begs almost.
“No. The kryptonite-”
“I don’t care about the kryptonite!” Kara blows up, her voice high as she puts both her hands in the wall and tries to tear it apart- even though they both know it won’t work. “Just take it out.”
“This is exactly why I didn’t want you to know! No! The moment I take it out you’re going to be in direct contact with kryptonite.”
Lena shakes her head and Kara understands what she’s saying. She does. She knows it’ll hurt and it’ll be a bitch and maybe she’ll even lose her powers for a day. But she doesn’t care.
“Please Lena, just a minute,” she says, her hands stopping their movements and her eyes. God, Lena prefered it when they were emotionless because now they’re back to their full shinning and all it shines on them is pain .
Lena, of course, gives in. She’s never been one to deny Kara. And when strong arms wrap around her, she almost regrets not giving in earlier.
One of Kara’s arms is around her waist, holding her so tightly that Lena’s entire front is touching hers. Her other arm is right under her armpit and her hand rests softly in Lena’s hair.
Kara’s face is hidden in the crook of her neck and she’s not sure if it is because she’s crying or because she doesn’t want Lena to see the green veins on her face.
She takes comfort in the feeling of Kara’s strong arms around her and lets the sweet perfume she always wears wash over her. She lets herself think everything is okay and it's just Kara hugging her after her quarterly assasination attempt.
She stops ignoring the reality when she feels the arms around her hold her with less strength, when she sees the small growing green in the back of Kara’s neck.
She pushes her away with the little force she has on her arms and steps backwards, even when Kara protests and tries to get closer to her- only to end up messing a step and falling into Lena.
So they end up like that minutes later, they end up lying on the floor- after ten months of not seeing each other. Lena sitting on the floor with a sobbing Kara on top of her. Kara’s body lying on the floor as she kept her arms around Lena’s torso and her face resting in her thigh. Kara, who kept shaking her head when Lena told her to leave, even though the kryptonite had already rendered her powerless and she’s clearly in pain.
“No, it’s fine,” she lies again, putting one of Lena’s hairs behind her ear, “it doesn’t hurt that badly.”
“Kara,” she says, voice exasperated, “I know you’re lying.”
“It’s fine. This hurts much less than thinking you were dead.” She puts her hand on Lena’s cheek and urges her to look down to her. “I’m going to fix this,” she says, “I promise.”
“Kara, I-” have been trying. It’s all I’ve been trying. To fix this. To come back. To come back to you. But I don’t know what else to do.
“He hurt you because he wanted to hurt me,” she says, almost lost in her own thoughts, “I’ll fix it.”
“This isn’t your fault Kara,” Lena rests her hand on Kara’s neck, and she hates how both of them are tinted with green and yet none of them really wants to move.
“It kinda is,” she says lazily, her hand moving from Lena’s face to rub the side of her hip, “you should be angry at me.”
“I’m angry at Lex . And you stopped him, that’s all I wanted.”
“It wasn’t me though, that was Alex,” her eyes have so many words inside of them but she’s only able to say, “I was just looking for you.”
“You found me” Lena says, “now you have to let me go.”
“Kara, you can’t be close to me for so long. Please.”
The blonde sighs and nods as she stands up. Before leaving she grabs Lena’s face into her hands. And she knows, Lena knows, that if she had a heart right now- it’d be beating out of control.
The blonde leans down and she has to question for a fleeting second if she’s about to kiss her. She doesn’t- she does. Just not on the lips, not the kiss Lena wanted. It’s just a small touch on her forehead, Kara’s lips, dry and chapped, press against her sweaty forehead for a couple of seconds.
Not the kiss she had thought of. Not the one she wanted. Not in the situation she wanted, Lena full of kryptonite, Kara suffering because of it. Not the kiss at all. But it’s a kiss from Kara, so she’ll save it, right beside all the other ones, and she locks it up in her mind.
“So you have no idea what to do now?” Alex asks a couple of hours later, after a weak Kara called them and after they explained the medical situation at full, arms crossed in front of herself.
Lena sighs from her bed, “For the third time: no. We have no more solid theories and no, we can’t get more of the mineral.”
“What if I get it?” Kara asks, her voice trying to sound hopeful but only coming out as awkward, “I could punch through the broken debris and get it.”
“You’d probably end up collapsing the island,” Sam says and Kara defleates.
“And Harun-El doesn’t work?”
“We tried three different Harun-El combinations and none of them worked.”
No one sighs, but if the air was able to, it probably would have.
“Okay, so we could try my idea and if that doesn’t work I could call mom and we could-”
“There’s not going to be a new try Alex,” Lena interrupts. Two heads look her way instantly and she wonders if they got whiplash from it. Sam looks away.
“What do you mean?” Kara asks, cautiously.
“I mean that I won’t waste any more hearts on trying to cure myself when all we’ve been doing so far takes us nowhere.”
Kara walks closer to her, frown in place, and stops and scoffs when she remembers the forcefield, “But we’re here now. New sets of eyes and all that.”
“ I’m here now, I’m now going to let you die,” she exclaims and then whispers, “not again.”
“Don’t you get it? These are hearts!
. They could save people, people that deserve to live. While all I’ve been doing is wasting them!”
“You deserve to live too!”
“For how long?” she screams, “We don’t know the side effects this had on my body. For all we know we could waste a thousand hearts and then I'll just get cancer in a couple of months.”
Kara is speechless, Sam has tears in her eyes and Alex is the only one that isn’t looking at her like she’s crazy. She had probably thought the same thing. The redhead opens her mouth, a small Lena leaving it before she’s interrupted by the gush of air around the room.
It takes a second for all of them to register Kara had moved around. When they do, she’s gone. Along with the heart and the Harun-El.
Four day pass and Kara doesn’t return. She doesn’t answer Alex’s calls or Sam’s messages.
Lena doesn’t want to think it’s a sign, or a way for Kara to tell her what she really thinks. But maybe Kara, maybe, after she realized all the people that died when Lena got their hearts instead of them, she finally hates her. Congrats Lex, you’ve truly outdone yourself.
Kara doesn’t come back, and in the days after she leaves Lena feels worse and worse.
It started with a little fever the next day. It wasn’t so worrisome. She had had plenty of fevers since she’s had this heart. But the fever didn’t lower. And Lena feels like she’s on literal fire even when the thermostat is at seventy degrees below zero.
And she hates that she’s in more pain for Kara leaving than for her body literally starting to give up on her.
Kelly appears on the side of her bed and Lena would have jumped if she was able to because she hadn’t heard the woman walk in at all. Her bright yellow beanie, the one Lena is very sure belongs to Sam, is covering her ears and makes a little nice matching set with the bright black and orange mountain jacket she’s wearing.
“I swear, if I wasn’t in love with Alex, I’d marry Sam. Have you tried her lasagna? My god, ” she says an amused and impressed look on her, and doesn’t wait for Lena to respond before continuing, “like, seriously, I’m going to drag her back with us to Nation City so we can eat that every Sunday.”
Lena chuckles, Sam’s lasagna is really good. She laughs slowly when Kelly takes out a small plate with a piece of it on it. She walks over to Lena’s bed and sets her in a sitting position.
“I’m not really that hungry,” Lena tries again. Their three day old argument every time Kelly showed up with food for her. Kelly gives her a look and smiles when Lena just raises her eyebrows and silently starts eating.
“No signs of Kara yet,” she says before Lena can ask as she sits on the bed by her feets, “she’s coming back soon though, don’t worry.”
“I’m not worried,” she says and explains at Kelly’s confused look, “not about Kara returning. I’m worried if she’s going to find me alive when she does.”
“Come on, Kelly,” she stops her before she can give her another one of her you’re going to be okay speeches, “we have no heart, no ideas what to do and I’m getting worse. I know both of us are sane enough to admit it.”
Kelly sighs and nods. Not even the combined brains of Lena, Alex, Sam, Brainy, J’onn and Kelly had gotten them anywhere- with no heart there wasn’t much they could do. Lena had to admit though, that she had teared up the moment, a couple of hours after Kara had left, when everyone had walked through the door ready to help her. Maybe she should have called them before.
It had been tedious, the throwing ideas around between six people- all while none of them actually knew what to do. It was Alex and Lena vs J’onn and Brainy on whether or not they should use alien technology. It was Nia and Lena vs Sam and Brainy on whether or not getting a team of medics to help was a good idea.
And the arguments continued, all way into night time. They continued until Lena passed out, the fever too much for her body.
And now here they are. Day four without Kara, without heart and with no idea what to do.
Lena sighs and turns to Kelly, extending the almost empty plate to her, “I can’t eat more. Do you maybe want to call Nia? We can play her dumb game again?”
Kelly smiles and laughs. While they hadn’t been able to do much regarding her health, she had to admit her mood was slightly better. Kelly had made it better with her kind jokes and shocking Nia every time she had to see Alex, Sam and Kelly flirt with each other, all at the same time- leaving a very baffled Nia looking at Lena for answers, which she always answered with a laugh.
Nia had made it better when she read her trashy magazine with celebrity gossip and explained to her the entire plot of the bachelor so they could watch the finale together. Brainy had made it better by giving her the best chess partert she had had since forever.
They had all made it better, and if this were her last days- then she guesses they could have been worse.
Kara comes flying through the door on day six. A smile on her face and the glass box with the heart on it on her hands.
Everyone stops talking when they see her, some look confused, some look angry. But none of them is Lena and she feels a sinking feeling in her stomach when she realizes she might be already too late.
“Where’s Lena?” she asks, looking around and not finding her in the bed.
“Bathroom,” Sam says and points to the hallway.
Kara awkwardly puts the heart on the table and instantly, Brainy and Alex get closer to it to observe it better.
She walks to the door at the end of the hallway and knocks softly. “I’m almost done Sam,” Lena’s voice is muffled through the door and Kara smiles at it- six days had been six days too long without hearing it.
“It’s Kara actually.”
The door opens instantly and Kara has to push down the nauseating feeling of the kryptonite. Lena is only wearing a big shirt in which you could probably fit two Kellys and it makes Kara blush. Her hair is wet and messy, and it’s only now that Kara realizes just how skinny Lena is. Her arms look like they’re just a bone covered by skin and her thighs, who Kara used to call the best pillows for movie nights, are much more thinner than she remembers.
When she notices she’s been watching Lena like a creep, her eyes instantly go to the ceiling and remain there, “Hi.”
“ Hi? ” Lena whispers angrily, “You fuckin take off for a week and your only answer when you come back is hi ?”
“I’m- I-” Kara stumbles, “I fixed it, I told you I would.”
Her answer gives Lena a pause before she’s speaking, “You didn’t have to leave! Could have fixed it right here with us.”
“Oh what?” Kara answers angrily, “Like you did? Like you stayed?” she scoffs, “Oh, right, no, you didn’t. You just faked your death!”
“I was doing that to protect you!”
“You don’t get to decide that!”
“Yes, I do!” she screams, “I get to decide it when I’m the reason you’re in pain! Look at you! You’re three seconds from passing out and we’ve been here for less than a minute.”
Kara clenches her jaw and pushes down the need to throw up again, “I don’t care!”
“Well, I do!” Lena’s words echo in the place, and that’s when they realize everyone had heard their fight too, she sighs, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have screamed. I’m glad you’re here.”
Kara smiles, “I am too. Can I hug you? Please?” she adds at Lena’s unsure face and grabs her in her arms at her nod. She sighs and takes on the feeling for a couple of seconds before she has to step away.
“Kara?” Lena asks, stepping further away from her instead of closer. The green veins in her face are back and Lena hates, hates , how much iit affects Kara.
“It’s fine,” she breathes out and looks up smiling at her, “I have great news.”
“Yeah, I fixed it.”
“Are you sure about this?” Kara asks for probably the hundredth time.
“Yes,” Lena says, rolling her eyes.
They’re at the fortress of solitude. Just them. Just Kara and Lena. Just Lena and Kara.
Just Kara, Lena and the heart that’s about to replace Lena’s. Kara’s six days gateway she actually been here. Searching and searching through every single kryptonian file on a cure for Lena.
She had found it, forgotten along the pages about how they used to raise dragons and among the other archives Clark had deemed “unimportant”. It had taken her two to find the answer: two days to figure out they need a material equally strong as kryptonite for it to replace it. It had taken her one more day to come to the conclusion that pure diamond would work.
It had taken her two more days to make it from scratch. Burn it. Freeze it. Again and again until she had enough of it for Lena’s heart. It had taken her another day to figure out a way to infuse it with the Harun-El. And it had taken her another day of prayers to Rao as she waited for the machines to end the fusion process.
So here they are, just Kara and Lena, just Lena and Kara, in the middle of the antarctic right before Lena is about to get a diamond heart implanted.
“We can find another way if you’re not comfortable with this,” Kara says.
“I’m sure Kara,” she extends her hand and the blonde instantly takes it, “letting two kryptonian robots operate on me is gonna be a pretty cool story to tell.”
Kara laughs and looks down the metal covering Lena’s torso, the one they had quickly and sloppily had made before they came to the fortress. Kara knew it was heavy and uncomfortable for Lena, and she hated that she had to ask her to wear it. She rests her hands on it, “You won’t ever have to wear something like this again, I promise.”
“It’s okay, it’s much better than hurting you,” she says, “not gonna miss the transfusions though, do you think someone can become a hematopoietic cells addict?”
Kara laughs, “We sure are about to find out.”
They smile at each other, get lost in each others eyes- they had done this before. The lazy smiles after a joke, the soft eyes only meant for each other. They had done it before, bt it was before before.
Before shooting brothers in the chest and pulitzer ceremonies and cages of kryptonite and arguments and captivity and grief. It was all before.
“I never told you,” Lena says, “but I really like the new suit.”
Kara’s smile turns almost smug, “I’m glad. It was for you, after all.”
It was a bold statement- part of Lena knew, of course. But she never thought Kara would admit it so loudly. She thought she’d get an awkward thanks followed by a laugh, maybe.
“It’s crazy actually,” Kara continues at Lena’s stunned silence, “how much I do because of you, for you. And I don’t mean this is that weird cliche way all the movies say it.”
“I thought you loved those movies,” Lena says, and it feels so dumb to interrupt Kara when it feels like she’s about to say something life-changing.
Kara chuckles, takes Lena’s hands in her and breathes in and out, trying to calm her nerves. She finds Lena’s eyes again. “What I mean is, you’ve been so intertwined in my life for so long, I don’t even know what my life is like without you in it. You helped me become a reporter, you helped me as Supergirl more times that I can even count. And I’ve realized that there’s few things I wouldn’t do to keep the world safe. But if there’s one thing I’d let the world burn for, is you.”
“I’d never let you give up on the world just for me,” she says, almost on autopilot, almost as if she’s been asked two plus two and not as if Kara has just given her maybe the biggest love confession in her life.
“I know,” she says, “that is one of the things I love about you.”
The echo of her own drunken voice goes through her mind and she wonders if it had been such a big moment for Kara as it had been for Lena. A confession of love like a slip up of a drunk- but they both know drunks don’t lie. And Lena certainly hadn’t.
And Kara, sitting before her, hands in hers, in all her supersuit glory- is just looking at her as if she’s the one good thing in the world. The one good thing worth letting the world burn.
“I need to have you in my life,” Kara says, “one way or another. I don’t know how you feel even though I hope it’s the same as me. But you need to know that I’ve seen worlds in which you’re not by my side and I have hated every single second of them. There’s no happy ending for Kara Zor-El if Lena Luthor isn’t involved in it.”
Kara raises her hand to rest it on Lena’s cheek and she only feels her own tears when Kara wipes them away. She smiles, laughs wetly as she tries to hide her face in Kara’s palm.
She can’t help herself, obviously, when she puts her hands on Kara’s face and leans forward. Kara meets her in the middle and their lips crash into each other after days, weeks, months, years wanting to.
Kara moves her hand to the back of Lena’s neck and she plays with the short hairs in there as she kisses her. All Lena can do is try to will the kiss into saying everything she wants to say. I love you. I hope this works because I want you. I love you. I want to be with you forever because if there’s no happy ending for Kara Zor-El with no Lena Luthor then there is no hope, no nothing, for Lena Luthor without Kara Zor-El. I love you.
“You’re my heart Kara Zor-El,” she says once she’s breathless and she has to separate herself from Kara, she rests her forehead against her, “it was so very fitting that I gave it up to protect you. And it is so very fitting that you’re the one that gave it back to me.”
Kara smiles, kisses her again. “I promise, that in every single version of you out there, there'll be a me that will make sure your brilliant mind and your kind heart remain intact from getting hurt again.”
“I thought the multiverse collapsed,” Lena laughs, gently wipes Kara’s tears.
“I better keep my promise, then.”
- Four years later, Greece.
“Good morning,” a voice says on her shoulder before a kiss presses into it. The lips leave a trace of kisses behind as they get closer and closer to Lena’s. When they reach her cheek Lena pretends to be asleep and burrows her head into the pillow, Kara huffs, “You know I can tell you’re awake, heartbeat and all.”
Lena laughs and turns to Kara, let’s their naked bodies melt together as they’ve done so many times before. Lena, her back to the mattress, and Kara, on top of her and she cradles her face in her hands as if she was the most delicate and most beautiful thing she had ever seen- and, in part, that wasn’t a lie.
Lena pouts, “That’s cheating.” Kara kisses it and she has to fight back the urge to smile. She can be mad at Kara for waking her up, she can- no matter what Kelly and Sam say. “Maybe I wanted to sleep in today.”
“Lena Luthor wants to sleep in?” Kara takes her hand away from Lena’s hair and places it above her heart, “What have you done to my zhao ?”
Lena rolls her eyes and moves her head up to shut Kara up with a kiss. They get lost in it for a few minutes, the feeling of their naked bodies against each other. It had been years of this. Mornings together and falling asleep next to each other.
The first few months after Lena’s “reheartbilitation”, as Nia likes to call it, hadn’t been easy- the struggles of Lena’s body, the slow but sure way to regain back her strength. The nightmares Kara still had and all the times she had to wake Lena up to know she was real. All the times they had to talk about betrayal and hurt and trust.
Kara breaks up the kiss when Lena’s hands start to go lower than her abs. “Alex texted me, she said their plane is landing soon.”
Lena groans, “You need to stop mentioning your sister every time I’m about to get my fingers inside of you.”
Kara laughs and starts to leave kisses in Lena’s chest. She starts up right at the bottom of her scar, the one Lex had made years ago and was now only starting to look more white than burning red. She goes up to between her breasts and kisses the place where the piece of kryptonite could be seen from the outside before. She moves higher and higher until she reaches Lena’s neck, “This is my revenge for that time you pointed out Alex, Kelly and Sam might be sleeping together.”
“Worth it,” Lena whispers, and moans when Kara gently bites her, “they definitely are.” She finds the blonde’s lips again and smiles when Kara positions herself better between her legs, “I thought everyone was arriving soon.”
“They are,” she answers, distracted with Lena’s boobs.
“Maybe we should get ready."
Kara is the one to pout this time and Lena is the one to kiss it away.
“Come on,” Lena tries again, “I do not need Nia telling me to
keep it in my pants
“She says that every time,” Kara exclaims as she watches Lena get up from the bed and walk into the bathroom of the hotel room.
Kara can’t help but smile and throw herself back into the bed as she smiles like a fool to the ceiling. Because she really is here, with Lena. Together. Kara and Lena. Lena and Kara. Kara and Lena and their friends who are flying into the island Lena fucking rented for their anniversary. Because they have that now. Anniversaries. Monthly anniversaries and yearly anniversaries and all that comes from being able to spoil your girlfriend from no particular reason but because they both decided to keep fighting for their love.
“What are you so smiley about?” Lena asks, smiling at her as she exits the bathroom, face washed and hair no longer messy.
“Nothing,” Kara says, watching Lena as she picks up which clothes she’s going to wear that day, “I just have a feeling that today is going to be really great.”
Lena sends that beautiful smiles at her in her direction again and Kara is ready to just say fuck it and do it. Fuck the candles and the organized surprise. She could walk over to Lena and show her the bracelet right now.
She says nothing though- she does want to see the way Lena’s eyes will shine when she gets down on one knee surrounded by candles.