Lena has always been good at giving advice. She gives it out freely, gladly, to anyone from friends to complete strangers. They come to her and ask and she offers solutions without hesitation.
But she’s also been very good at ignoring her own advice. At lying to herself. Pretending. It seems to come naturally to her—pushing things down, out of sight, so she doesn’t have to think about them, doesn’t have to feel them. She has used this approach for as long as she can remember. Because it’s easier. Because it means she can focus on her work, on being excellent instead of having to deal with such annoying things as feelings or emotions.
Never mind the fact that she knows it’s neither healthy nor sustainable. Never mind that she told Brainy as much less than two hours ago.
“You can’t put your emotions into little boxes. They’ll eat away at you until there’s nothing left.”
Well, fuck her own good advice.
She needs these boxes. She needs them because, otherwise, she will fall apart. She’ll lose control. And she can’t do that—she refuses to do that.
Without the boxes, she won’t be able to think about anything other than the fact that her best friend is missing and that she can’t save her. She doesn’t know how. It’s an entirely new and utterly terrifying feeling.
She keeps tossing and turning at night, mind going a mile a minute trying to figure out a way to get her back, but she keeps coming up empty. It almost consumes her, the loss, the overwhelming emptiness.
She can’t bear it. Tries to shove it down, away, into her neat little boxes but it spills out and taints everything.
And every day the Kara-shaped hole in her heart weighs heavier, hurts deeper. But she can’t think about it, not really. She doesn’t let herself consider why it hurts so much, why she can’t breathe when she considers the possibility that she might never see the other woman again.
Because thinking about Kara means thinking about her feelings for Kara which means acknowledging that there’s more there than just friendship which means owning up to the fact that she’s in love with the blonde which means recognizing that she has romantic feelings for another woman which means admitting that she is…
She is a Luthor and Luthors aren’t—they aren’t like that.
Luthors don’t kiss Andrea Rojas in sixth grade. Luthors don’t have a drunken college hook up with Nina Sherman. Luthors don’t fall for Kara Danvers, of all people.
Her whole life has been a perfectly crafted house of cards, built on a foundation of denial, of pretending. Nothing but an ignus fatuus. An existence in a glass cage—a closet—of her own design.
She is not sure how much longer she can keep up the charade.
She’s tired. So, so tired. Tired to the bone from years of hiding her true feelings just to be what others want her to be. To get Lillian’s approval, Lex’s support. All she has ever wanted is to be loved. Without ifs and buts. Without reservations.
As long as she’s a Luthor, that will never happen, she knows that now.
So what choice does she have, exactly?
Lex is smug—as per usual—and although he is maybe the one person in the family who doesn’t despise her for her indiscretions, there is so much else that he has done to her. So much pain he has inflicted. On her. On the world.
She wants to stop him—needs to stop him—but she doesn’t have any fight left in her, not when her best friend, the person who means most to her in this world, is gone. Not when she is still hiding who she really is.
So maybe it’s time to be selfish. Time to finally be herself.
If she has to give up everything she has built, everything she has worked so hard for in order to be free—to be happy—then so be it. She’ll build it again. She’ll build it better, somewhere where Lex can’t get to it; she’ll build it in a way he can’t destroy.
She’ll build it on a foundation of truth and honesty. She’ll build it for the woman she loves. She’ll build it for herself.
For 11-year-old Lena, who doesn’t understand why kissing girls is wrong. For 19-year-old Lena, who is trying so hard not to be attracted to women. For 27-year-old Lena, who is a lesbian.
“I do hate you. I just love me more.”