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Kara was dazed. The chair beneath her was too hard, its edge dug into the back of her thighs. It felt like the table under her arms had claws that were ripping at her skin. The air in the room seemed to have dissipated and she could feel a deep pain as her lungs grasped for any trace of the much-needed concoction. Kara Danvers was frozen in place with shock.

“Ms. Danvers? Do you understand what I’m saying?” An uneasy detective by the name of Massey was sitting across the table from her. He looked very concerned at her state of being. “Your fiancée has been killed in a head-on collision,” he repeated.

Kara’s eyes narrowed, laser focused on the detective. “That’s not possible,” she whispered, hands shaking as she adjusted her glasses and attempted to tuck some blonde strands behind her ear. But Detective Massey’s words started to register in her brain, thawing out the shock. Tears appeared at the brims of her eyes and threatened to topple down her cheeks.

Massey opened the file lying on the table between them and cleared his throat, “I’m afraid that it is true, Ms. Danvers. The accident occurred just after 15:00 at the intersection of 12th and Elwood. Ms. Luthor was rushed to National City Memorial Hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.” He stopped here and looked back at her. But the disbelief on her face must have urged him to keep going. “The car was identified as belonging to Ms. Luthor,” he continued, “and the identification records in the car confirmed her identity.”

Kara’s mouth grew tight and thin before her response exploded. “It’s 6:30 now!” She covered her mouth before the rest spewed out angrily. Trying to find some composure, she continued. “Why did it take so long to notify me? Why wasn’t I informed when she got to the hospital? I just don’t–,” Kara choked out, composure gone, tears finally falling free from their pools. The sob that came forth was foreign, raw. “She had her driver pick her up this morning like she does every morning for work! She didn’t take the car! She never takes the car!”

“Perhaps,” Massey had clearly not done this very often, informing victims’ families. He looked like a kindergartener bumbling about, trying to make it in an adult conversation, “she came back for it? Maybe used it for an errand?” Obviously, he did not know Ms. Lena Luthor, CEO of L-Corp, the world’s leading conglomerate, who had more assistants to run her errands for her than there were detectives in National City. Massey attempted to continue, “I know this is hard– ”

“Kara?!” a voice called out from the entryway of the apartment.

Kara leaped from her chair, nearly toppling over the table and the awkward Detective Massey, and met her sister, Alex, and Alex’s girlfriend, Maggie, halfway through the living room. Kara collapsed into her sister’s outstretched arms at the sight of Alex’s knowing face, violent sobs overtaking every ounce of her body. Alex sagged under the weight of Kara and it took her and Maggie both to get the crying blonde safely to the floor without hurting Alex or the hardwood below them.

Detective Massey came toward the three women, file in hand, grateful for the interruption. Taking note of Maggie, one of the senior detectives in the city, he nodded. “Sawyer.”

“Massey.” Maggie gave a sad smile, “I’ll take it from here. You’re free to go.”

Massey tapped the file against his hand, unsure if he really should leave. But one more glance at Kara must have sold him. “You got it, Sawyer.” He handed Maggie the file and stopped short of the inconsolable Kara, curled in Alex’s arms. “Ms. Danvers I am very, very sorry for your loss.” He attempted a small, comforting smile to Alex, before showing himself out of the apartment.

Alex looked up at Maggie with pleading eyes. “Help me get her to the bedroom, please.”

It took all of Alex and Maggie’s strength to get the weeping Kara into the bedroom. Alex immediately climbed into the bed next to her sister and began kissing her hair, murmuring her support in the younger girl’s ear. Soon Alex’s own tears were dripping down to mix with those of her sister’s.

Maggie joined them on the other side of Kara, cocooning the poor girl from the world. She gently rubbed Kara’s back with one hand and reached over to run her fingers through her girlfriend’s hair, unsure of how to console two Danvers at once.

“She’s gone,” Kara cried over and over. It took an hour of this mantra before Kara was dragged into haunted dreams of Massey’s words and Lena’s face.

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The next several days bled together for Kara as she disassociated from time. She sometimes woke to darkness and the near silence of the apartment, Alex’s soft breathing, and steady heartbeat the only indications that the world was still around her. Other times she woke to sunlight, too bright and, for the first time in her life, too cruel to her eyes. After waking, she would often lay wherever she was, whether it was the bed, the couch, and even once the floor of Lena’s closet, listening to the sounds of Alex’s presence, or whoever was staying with her. Kara barely noted who was with her most of the time. Sometimes it was one of her best friends, Winn or James, and occasionally it was Maggie. Once she could have sworn she heard J’onn moving about the apartment, though how he found the time off from the DEO she did not know.

Alex was a Godsend, though Kara was not in the mindset to comprehend. Alex made all of the funeral arrangements, worked with the lawyers at L-Corp on Lena’s estate, and assisted the police as they wrapped up their investigation. It was Alex that picked the stunning white granite tombstone, one very fitting of Lena’s tastes in life. Alex had also made sure that Lena’s elegance was represented by the plumeria flower arrangements that were to be in the church and at the gravesite. She worked with Jess, Lena’s secretary, and the L-Corp board to keep the company functioning until a successor could be appointed. She filled out Kara’s time off requests at CatCo and took care of the grocery shopping. But most importantly she took care of Kara. Forced her to eat, washed her hair, held her as she cried herself into a restless sleep every night. Most days she sat on the couch and simply provided Kara with her presence.

Kara had taken to sitting out on the terrace when she was awake. This place more than anywhere else in their home, except perhaps the bedroom, reminded her of Lena, who preferred the outdoor setting given her extensive time working inside during the day. Kara would fold herself up, arms wrapped around her legs and chin resting on her knees, and just stare out over the city. But she never saw the city she had come to neglect since the accident. She only saw visions of Lena. The way Lena’s eyes would briefly widen in shock before softening when Kara whispered ‘I love you’, the smile, reserved only for her, as Lena bent down to kiss a sleepy Kara every morning. Kara sat through sunshine and rain, sometimes through the whole night, never noticing the city’s lights come and go or the sounds of life still going on in the world. Kara could only see Lena, could only hear her. Sometimes Kara found herself glancing to the seat next to her because she could feel Lena there. But instead of finding the brunette curled up in her favorite beige sweater with science journal articles spread across her lap, the seat was always empty. Kara rarely registered the two or three times a day Alex would drag her back inside and beg her to eat, to say something. When she found herself at the dining room table or on a stool at the kitchen bar, Kara took to eating two or three bites with a sip or two of water to appease her sister before returning to the terrace to continue her thoughts of Lena.

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James was right; things had changed. Kara had known, although the revelation was slow, that the real attraction to James was that he knew her superhero identity and that he was already such a huge part of her life. Add that to the fact that he was a great guy and very attractive, the ease at which he could fold right in was enticing. But when Kara started to feel like she might be settling rather than actually falling in love, it made her nervous and uneasy. She had not settled for just being Kara Danvers – she had finally embraced her superhero identity and finally felt like she had more meaning to her life. A much more complicated life as both Kara Danvers and Supergirl, but still more fulfilling. So why settle for what could be the most important thing in her life? And why make such an important decision right when she needed to make yet another critical life choice for her career? No, Kara knew that it was not the time for a relationship, especially a forced one at that.

Granted, what happened in the following months was not any less complicated. Falling in love with Lena Luthor was actually the most complicated thing she could have done. First a Luthor and then the most powerful CEO in the world, Kara was very much in the deep end. And yet it had been the easiest thing for Kara to embrace. Easier than choosing to be Supergirl. Lena was a gravitational force all in herself and Kara, in all her clumsy glory, was unable to resist. It was not truly love-at-first-sight. Sure, the second Ms. Luthor had walked through the L-Corp waiting area, Kara had been taken aback at how beautiful the long-haired brunette was. Powerful, elegant, enchanting. Greenish-blue eyes, a color unlike anything Kara had ever seen in the entire universe. A sexy smile that was somehow welcoming yet intimidating, as if there was a secret behind those lips that Lena was just dying to let you in on. But it was the intellect and poise that came out as Lena quipped with Clark over the Venture explosion that sent waves of wanting down Kara’s spine where they crashed somewhere deep within her, deeper than any other feeling she had experienced.

‘Some steel under that Kansas wheat,’ Lena’s voice as strong and graceful as her appearance. Even Clark had blushed.

No, Kara had never been under anyone’s spell like this before.

Kara knew that it was possible for Kryptonians to have soul mates. It was the closest thing to a fairy tale on Krypton. She remembered the stories told to her as a child of how only a few lucky members of their race ever experienced the soul mate bond, how her mother had said that the connection between bonded soul mates was stronger than that of a planet’s pull on its moons. So when Kara and Clark had left Lena’s office that afternoon, Kara was startled by this new feeling in her chest, like a line had been cast and its hook had found her heart. Was she one of the lucky few?

Two more failed assassination attempts on Lena kept Kara in the CEO’s orbit. Then, Lena’s open door policy for Kara, the only reporter in the world with that privilege, further increased their interactions. Interviews turned into lunches, lunches became so long that they transitioned into drinks, which often turned into dinners. Text conversations became longer and more personal, off the record of course. Hands that once returned politely to their respective owners after accidental brushes now lingered, caressed. Blankets were shared during movie nights on Kara’s couch where legs and feet intertwined. It was not uncommon for one of their heads to rest on the other’s shoulders while sharing a bottle of wine on Lena’s terrace.

Kara became painfully aware that the tugging in her heart only abated when she was with Lena and this knowledge scared her more than anything. Not only did this new tugging seem to ebb and flow as Kara moved in and out of Lena’s presence, but her powers also seem to mutate. Alex had always likened Kara’s super hearing ability to facial recognition in humans. ‘Some people are great with faces,’ Alex had once informed Kara. ‘They can remember a face from anywhere and easily put a name with it.’ Kara instead did this with heartbeats and the longer she spent with someone the more that person’s heartbeat ingrained itself in her brain. And Lena’s heartbeat, just as everyone else’s, became etched in Kara. But it became louder, stronger in Kara’s ears the more time they spent together, unlike any other heartbeat in Kara’s life. Eventually, Kara could hear Lena’s heartbeat, miles away, without an ounce of effort. Once, Kara had flown halfway around the world to test the connection and, sure enough, as she floated over the lights of some European city, Lena’s heartbeat continued to steadily thump in Kara’s ears.

Having no one to tell, Kara silently fell further in love with Lena. She knew that none of her friends or family would approve of her feelings. And this fact tore at her loyalty. She never liked lying to Alex and therefore avoided it at all costs. But keeping her sister at bay on this was nearly too much. Kara had started to tell Alex several times but was always stopped by the memories of the things those around her said about Lena.

‘Lex’s sister,’ Clark had snarled out when they had learned the identity of the missing passenger from the Venture.

‘The Luthors are good liars, I mean, they ARE sociopaths, so, yeah, be careful,’ Winn had warned once when Kara had informed him she was going to do yet another interview with the CEO.

‘She’s as determined and risky as her brother,’ Alex spat in distaste of Lena’s stubbornness after the renaming debacle for L-Corp.

‘Nothing good has ever, or will ever, come from the Luthor family,’ James stated as he reminisced about his and Clark’s struggles to bring down Lex one night at their favorite bar.

Every snide comment and eye roll thrown at Kara when she attempted to defend Lena felt worse than Kryptonite. It broke her heart to see and hear the living proof of the struggles Lena often spoke of to Kara.

‘You’re my only friend in National City.’ Lena’s smile was bright but her eyes reflected the sadness from within.

No one had any idea of the warmth in Lena’s soul and no one would even give her the chance to show them. Kara, therefore, kept her silence. She vowed to do everything in her power to love this woman, even if it was just as a friend. Because, Rao, this woman deserved to be loved. Kara happily took up every invitation Lena extended, surprised the brunette with flower or lunch deliveries on the days Kara knew were complicated and demanding (and Lena marveled at how Kara always knew). She acted as a sounding board when Lena was struggling with a new idea, let her vent out her frustrations of trying to lead in a male-dominated business world. But Kara always kept her true feelings for Lena hidden, too afraid to lose what they had made for themselves.

It was during one of Lena’s night-on-the-terrace invitations that their relationship did change, but at Lena’s doing. As Kara was regaling one of her recent, clumsier moments, one that had ended with Snapper covered in a CatCo employee’s birthday cake, Lena had kissed her. Kara had been too busy laughing at herself, awkwardly adjusting her glasses, to notice Lena lean in and cover Kara’s lips with her own. The kiss was tentative and brief but it lit every nerve in Kara’s body. As Lena pulled back slightly, Kara could not help the disgruntled whine at their parting.

“I take it that was welcomed?” Lena whispered, pressing her forehead against Kara’s, a small but satisfied smirk growing on her face.

“Very welcomed. Like sooooo very welcomed.” Kara leaned in and returned the kiss, this one more intimate, longer.

It had been very difficult leaving Lena that night with only kisses. The hook in Kara’s heart strained harder with every step away from Lena’s apartment she took. Back at her own apartment, as she struggled to find sleep, Kara worried that their kissing was a product of the wine Lena and she had shared and wondered if in the morning Lena would have either forgotten or worse, regretted their intimacy. But Kara found a gorgeous Lena at her doorstep the next morning. A Lena who sweetly kissed her lips, as if she had been doing it for years, before strutting into Kara’s apartment carrying a box of the blonde’s favorite sticky buns.

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It was not until the morning of the funeral that Kara, at last, spoke as she rose from the kitchen bar, her bowl of cereal left untouched.

“Alex?” It was barely more than a whisper but it was enough to startle the older sibling as she cleaned up the evidence of her own breakfast.

Alex quickly turned, her surprise of the first real sign of life from her sister evident. “Yes, sweetheart?”

“Thank you for…everything.” It was low and soft, filled with sadness and guilt.

Alex took Kara into her arms, hugging her tightly. “I love you, Kara. I’m going to take care of you, we’ll keep taking it one day at a time. It’s going to be okay.”

The funeral was short but did justice to Lena and her life. Kara’s heart swelled at the sight of the full cathedral – an indication that Lena was more liked than the brunette ever thought was possible. The priest delivered an elegant eulogy, most likely written by someone from L-Corp. Kara thought it was satisfactory although there was so much more beauty to Lena that only Kara knew. If only she could stand and say those things to these people who never had the chance to really know Lena. The gravesite service was short and tastefully done as well. Kara was thankful for Alex and Maggie, who shook the hands of each mourner as they passed by the coffin to pay their last respects, because she was once again lost to the world, too caught up in her visions of Lena.

As the last few guests made their way back up the grassy slope toward the gravel lane of cars, Alex asked Kara if she was ready to return home.

“Can I have a minute?” Kara looked up at her sister, eyes beginning to water.

“Of course, sweetheart, take your time,” Alex kissed Kara’s cheek. “We’ll just be up by the car whenever you are ready.”

For the first time in a dozen years Kara felt truly alone as she stood and stared at the finality that was Lena’s coffin. And it wrecked her.

************************************************************************************

“Why are you making me watch this?” The tears would not stop. No matter how hard she willed them to obey, they fell in a constant stream down her cheeks. She saw the man in the driver seat glare at her in the rearview mirror, his disgust for her tears etched in his snarl. “Please, can we go now? I can’t watch this…I can’t,” a strangled sob broke free.

She surveyed the distant scene across the cemetery lawn from where they were parked. Her heart broke over and over as she looked out at the mourners, so many of them, returning to their vehicles. But it was the sight of the one who chose to stay behind that nearly killed her, the one who stood there so alone as if she was the last living soul on the planet. She heard the other man, the one in the passenger seat, turn and felt his hand reach out to cover her own, and it took everything for her not to recoil in disgust. Glancing up, she found eyes so different from her own inspecting her. Eyes black and evil, as if they belonged to the devil himself. She swallowed hard and tried once more, “Please?”

“I don’t know if I’ve made my point yet, dear sister.” He squeezed her hand before letting go and turning back to gaze out the front, off toward the city. “I am sorry I had to do this, Lena,” he replied. “On one hand, if you had let my assassins do their work, you wouldn’t have been put in this situation.” Lex sighed in semi-annoyance. “But on the other hand, perhaps your stubbornness will have its uses.” He turned to face her once more. “I need you, Lena. More specifically, I need your brain. And that is not easy for me to admit.” He gestured across to the few people left from the funeral that were still standing on the small road. “Do this and we keep all of them safe, the world safe. Do this for me,” he glanced out the window to the lone figure standing at the grave, “and I may let you return to your little reporter.”

Lena wiped the tears from her face but more fell along the soaked paths down her cheeks as she looked back out the window at Kara’s slumped figure standing alone in front of the grave, arms wrapped around her middle as though she was literally trying to hold herself together, shoulders quaking with every cry. Lena took a deep breath and straightened in her seat. “I’ll do it.”