Not for the first time, Kara despaired of human frailty. She was sitting by a hospital bed in the DEO yet again, worrying about someone dear to her. Except this time it was her close friend, Lena Luthor, and the injury wasn't due to alien interference.
Lillian Luthor, still at large, had hired someone to assassinate her daughter.
It had only been a gun, and while Lena's shoulder and breast were going to be -very- sore for some time to come, she would live. She was stable. She was fine. She simply hadn't -woken up- yet.
Kara hated herself for not being there. She'd been tied up with alien nonsense, and J'onn wasn't ruling out that the DEO had been set up so Supergirl would be unavailable when the attempt on Lena's life occurred. And the DEO was where Lena had asked to go before she passed out.
Kara watched the vitals monitor, the steady if slow pulse and the oxygen sats normal. Thankfully, it didn't beep every so often like they always showed on television. She might have smashed it if she'd had to put up with that. She checked the IV pump. The fluids bag still had plenty left and the PCA pump still whirred every so often as it released, giving Lena enough pain medication that she wouldn't be in agony, but not enough to keep her anesthetized.
Kara kicked off her red boots. The super suit was comfy, no doubt about that, but she was done with shoes for awhile. And she wasn't going -anywhere-. She hadn't even had to argue with J'onn about it. He’d simply nodded and told Kara in his quiet way that they would handle it.
She'd flown into a rage when the aliens were contained and Winn was suddenly in her ear babbling about the attack. She was there before he'd finished what he was saying, but was only in time to pick Lena up off the ground where she'd fallen, swirling her cape around the injured woman to hide her.
"Kara, you came," Lena said weakly, hanging onto her shoulder with her good hand.
"You're going to be okay," Kara said, intense gaze boring holes into Lena's soul. "I've got you."
"Take me to the DEO? I'll be safe there," Lena asked.
Kara nodded and pulled her close, clutching Lena’s body desperately to hers, anything to stop the crimson flow. She shot up and away from the bodyguards, gawkers, and EMTs trying to get through. She had to keep Lena away from all of them. All of them. The only thought remaining in her mind: get Lena to Alex.
The surgery was rough. She'd spent most of the waiting with either her fists clenched or her arms crossed, letting Winn try and distract her with anything he could think of.
"Hey, Kara?" Winn's voice was soft.
"Yeah, Winn?" Kara sighed.
"Remember when you told me you weren't a lesbian?"
Kara swiveled her head towards Winn slowly. "And?"
Winn looked at her knowingly. "You said that before you met Lena."
Kara rolled her eyes, letting her head thunk back against the wall. "She's my closest girl friend outside of Alex."
"Girlfriend? I think I heard someone say Lena was their girlfriend," Winn teased.
"It isn't like that." Kara didn't have the energy to get defensive. Not with Lena's life in the balance.
"You know we all decided that your middle name was 'Oblivious' about a month ago, right?"
Kara narrowed her eyes. "Who's 'we all'?"
"Everyone who's been watching the eyes you give Lena at Game Night when you think she isn't looking. And everyone who's been watching the eyes Lena gives -you- when you aren't looking."
Kara thumped the chair's armrest with a fist, lightly enough that she didn't break it. "The Superfriends jump to conclusions faster than I can fly."
"You -love- her. I can see it in your eyes, and so can everybody else," Winn pressed. "Whether you've admitted it before now or not."
Kara pinched the bridge of her nose. "You're exhausting, Winn."
"Give yourself a minute to think about it, that's all I'm saying," Winn replied, getting up from his chair to get back to work.
Kara took the minute. She'd always wanted to get closer to Lena, from the first meeting. Something about her had captivated Kara. The beauty, the grace, the effortless charm she exuded while there was still so much hurt simmering under the surface. Her brother had gone insane and her mother was always a cold bitch. Lena opened up about a few things during her childhood to Kara, and she savoured the fact that Lena trusted her that much even as she wanted to smash Lillian Luthor's smug face into a thousand pieces. Medusa had brought them closer, and the Metallo/Cyborg Superman incident had served to cement their bond fully. There was no going back. Kara trusted Lena completely. It’d taken her a bit longer to disclose the secret of Supergirl, but Lena had only laughed and said "I've known for a while." And then Lena, -Lena- of all people, had pulled Kara into a warm hug. It had never been like that. Lena always let Kara initiate the hug, or held her arms out to check for rejection first. This one, however, was different in more than one way.
And then it finally hit Kara in the face. She loved Lena. Might actually be -in- love with her. -Oh shit...-
She dragged the chair she’d been sitting on closer to the bed, plopping back into it and pulling her knees up to her chest. "Wake up, Lena. Please. I need you."
Lena had been swimming in a red haze of pain for far too long. She had no concept of time. There was nothing but red everywhere she looked. Then, suddenly, she saw a lightening of the red off to one side, and she headed for it. It grew lighter and lighter, until--
Kara was dozing, holding onto Lena's hand as lightly as she could, but her super senses picked up on Lena's accelerating heartbeat. She jerked awake. "Lena?!"
Lena let out a cry. She felt nothing but searing pain. But she opened her eyes, and her first sight was of Kara, her lovely Kara, gazing down at her with worried blue eyes.
"Lena, does it hurt?" Kara didn't know how to work the pain pump. She debated frying it for a second, but decided that was a bad idea.
"Oh god, Kara, yes..." Lena sobbed. Her hand gripped Kara's tightly.
"They're coming," Kara assured Lena, bringing her other hand over to caress Lena's face. "They're coming."
Alex damn near -pole vaulted- into the room. "She's awake?" One quick glance at Lena's tears and Alex reached for the pump. "Give me a second, Lena, give me a second." She yelled at someone out of Lena and Kara's vision. "I need an IV bolus -now-, where is it?!"
"Hang on, Lena," Kara told her, still stroking her face. "Look at me, focus on me."
Lena gulped and nodded, trying to stop crying. But it felt like no pain she'd ever experienced before. Still, she looked up into Kara's eyes and focused on the worry and hurt in them and...wait...was that love? Lena bit her lip. -No, I'm reading too far into this.- She was addled from the pain, that had to be it. And sweet -jesus- was she ever on fire, radiating out from her shoulder. But Kara. She had to focus on Kara while they worked to help her. Blue eyes. So beautiful. She held the gaze even as her body shuddered against the pain.
Alex gave the morphine bolus, adjusting the pump for a higher but still safe setting after. Now that Lena was conscious, they could give her more. "You're going to be fine, Lena. It'll take effect in a second. Just hang on."
As the pain receded, Lena slumped back against the bed, but didn't let go of Kara's hand. "Oh..."
"Yeah, that asshole got you good," Kara said softly. "Not just a scratch."
"Such language out of -you-," Lena replied. "And 'tis merely a flesh wound," she continued, a slight British accent creeping in.
Alex snorted. "Never would have taken you for a Python fan."
"Come on, -everyone- loves that movie."
"At the risk of spiking your heart rate, Kara's never seen it."
"What?!" Lena shot an affronted glance at her friend.
"I didn't want to see another Camelot story," Kara protested weakly.
"I need a TV in here, stat," Lena quipped.
"I'm sure we can arrange that. Is your pain gone?" Alex asked.
"Not gone, but I can handle it now," Lena replied.
Alex nodded. "If it starts to get bad again, don't wait. Just call. Okay?"
Lena nodded. "Okay."
"She -means- that, Lena," Kara said, sitting on the edge of Lena's bed, their hands still clasped. "You need to get better as quickly as possible and if you're in pain your body can't devote all of its resources to healing."
Lena chuckled. "Yes, -dear-."
"You worried us," Kara said. "You've been out for three days."
Lena curled her lip. "Really? -That- long?"
"Yeah. The surgery to remove the bullet was brutal, but you've been stable. Just not awake."
Lena sighed. "I'm sorry. I know I worried you."
"I'm just angry that I wasn't there to take that stupid thing -for- you," Kara ground out. "I'm upset because I didn't -save- you."
"Not even Supergirl can be in two places at once," Lena said. "That's how she planned it, I'm sure."
Kara growled. "I've never wanted to -kill- anyone in my life. Until three days ago."
Lena squeezed Kara's hand as best she could. "Don't lose who you are because of me. Please?"
Kara looked down into Lena's eyes, huge and green and pleading. "I don't like when someone tries to hurt my friends." She said it simply, no stress on any particular word, yet Lena knew this was a vow to destroy her mother.
"Don't murder her," Lena whispered. "Don't kill for me."
Kara sighed. "She tried to murder -you-."
"You're better than she is. So am I. Please." Lena tried to rub her thumb across the back of Kara's hand.
Kara inhaled sharply. She thought about it for a long moment, looking down into Lena's eyes, feeling the tiny caress. "Fine," she said, exhaling. "Fine."
"Throwing her down a black hole in prison, now," Lena said.
"Can I freeze breath her first?"
"That's not nice, Kara."
"She tried to murder you."
"Two wrongs don't make a right."
Kara huffed. "Will you -please- let me have my empty threats in peace?"
"You're Supergirl. They're not empty."
Kara realized that Lena was smirking at her, a very normal and quite frankly wonderful impression, and she laughed. "Lena Luthor, what am I going to do with you?"
"I'd say you could do anything you want, but I'm stuck here in bed." Lena's eyes widened as she realized what she'd -said-.
It was Kara's turn to smirk. If legitimately threatening to kill Lena's mother had this sort of effect, maybe she ought to do it more often. She could hear how Lena's heart sped up. -That wasn't just playful. I'm done being oblivious.- She brought two fingers of her free hand to her lips and kissed them. Then she leaned over and gently pressed them against Lena's.
Lena kissed the fingers across her lips quickly, before she could take it back. Her heart thumped like an approaching freight train and she knew Kara could hear it.
Kara made a slow and careful show of slipping her fingers into one of the pockets on her cape, "saving" the kiss. "You -are- stuck in bed, as you say," she said lazily.
Lena decided at that second that she absolutely -adored- the happy smirk on Kara's face. The way Kara regarded her, with love and satisfaction, was officially priceless. This definitely wasn't clumsy, stammering Kara Danvers. Nor was it Supergirl. Lena had finally unmasked the elusive Kara Zor-El, and she couldn't say she was complaining.
"So, how about that movie?" Kara asked her.
Lena smiled, but then exhaustion hit her like a mack truck.
Kara saw Lena's body sag slightly. "Does it hurt?"
"Not really. I'm just tired."
Kara moved off the bed slowly and got back into her chair. Their hands still clasped each other. "Why don't you nap, then. I'll be right here."
"You have to go save the world," Lena protested sleepily.
"Nope. Not unless it's really critical." Kara smiled. "Like, I don't know, the woman I love getting shot by a crazed assassin."
Lena felt her heart skip a beat. "I'm not that important."
"You are to me. You have been. You have to know that." Kara took her free hand and rubbed gently on the top of Lena's wrist, one of the few spaces on her arms that were free of IV-induced bruises.
"I love you too, Kara," Lena managed to say before sleep overtook her.