The shooting is hardly anything for Supergirl to even bother with; just a few masked thugs with wild eyes and non-alien weaponry. It takes Kara a grand total of maybe three minutes to round them up and deposit them outside the nearest precinct, and she exchanges a friendly wave with the officers who take over from there before they're out of sight.
She left the sirens for last because... well, because there were sirens; as clear a sign as any that whatever was going on, someone was already on it. The explosion she hears without even needing her super-senses, though? That gives her a burst of speed that has Mach 1 nipping at the tips of her fingers, and she'd push harder if she didn't also have to think about things like low flight and the amount of windows she could potentially shatter.
At least her second stop is close enough that she arrives in a matter of seconds, because the sight that meets her makes it clear that those three minutes and change were three minutes too much.
The site of the fire is a commercial building. Dated but in use, and she hovers a few stories above its highest point as she scans it thoroughly; vaguely aware of the sirens, the flashes of red and blue, the yells of the firemen and the steps they're taking to both evacuate the burning building, and to keep the fire from spreading to the neighboring ones. The explosion, she notes with a squint, seems to have happened in the basement where the ancient – for Earth – heating system has its roots.
Or had, at this point.
Gas-fueled. A glance tells her that the firemen have taken care of cutting off the flow, which is probably why only the basement and first few floors show signs of the blast. She can spot a good handful of structural issues from it, though, as well as pinpoint several figures still huddled inside; trapped by the heat and a dozen other factors even as ladders are raised and hoses continue spraying.
It's clear that the fire is more likely to be an accident than an actual attack. That, however, doesn't make it one iota less dangerous, and Kara does an extensive series of rapid-fire calculations on the locations of the survivors, the respective amounts of danger they're in and which ones are the hardest to get to; all the while painfully aware of pajama- or robe-clad citizens being rousted from their homes in the newer residential buildings at the edges of the flames.
“All of them.” She doesn't consciously reach out with her hearing, but Lena's voice still comes through; loud and clear over the soft tread of bare feet. “Yes. The old commercial district to the south.”
Kara grins in reaction, pushes back against thin air and launches herself into the blaze.
Kissing Lena Luthor quickly shoots its way to the very top of Kara's list of favorite things to do. Lying to her about her dual identities, however, only drops lower with every hint breezed over and every understanding look avoided. At this point, she is roughly 99.8% sure that Lena knows exactly why she's often either late to show up or early to rush out, and Kara has toed the line to telling her several times already.
She has also chickened out every single time, of course, but she tries not to think about that. It only makes it harder for her to work up the nerve again.
Instead, she gives herself a very long, very firm mental pep talk as she walks down the crowded street toward L-Corp. She's meeting Lena for lunch, and while Kara can't exactly tell her in the middle of wherever they're going today, she can probably talk her into sitting down with her for bit after; hopefully in a more private location.
She isn't surprised to subconsciously zero in on the sound of Lena's voice from a good two blocks away. Her hearing developed this weird auto-tune function all on its own long enough ago for her to have gotten used to it, so all Kara does is smile to herself and pick up her pace as much as she can get away with. That is, at least, still quite a decent clip to move at, so it doesn't take long before she can see Lena too; pacing back and forth along the front of L-Corp – early, as always – with a phone held to her ear and a faint frown on her face.
Productive, also as always. Kara's head cants as she notes the agitation in the lines of Lena’s shoulders, and she takes a few seconds to wonder if maybe she could also talk her into a post-lunch donut.
Until something else catches her attention.
It's Kara who sees the car tearing down the street, but it's Supergirl who practically rips the air itself apart from sheer speed; who catches Lena's widening eyes before catching her around the waist, pushing off with enough force to crack the sidewalk and launching them both into the air in blur of concrete dust and confusion. It's her heat vision that blows the car's tires in calculated bursts; pushing it away from the crowd and across the road between braking, swerving vehicles, into a building site where the bomb it carries explodes in a rush of fire and hot, stinking air while the screams begin.
“Christ,” Lena breathes by her cheek, and while Kara hears her, she also hears more explosions; her head twisting this way and that to pinpoint their locations, and a hard breath of anger-laden frustration spilling from her lips as the DEO channel crackles to life.
“Stay here,” she asks when she deposits Lena so, so carefully on her office balcony, and only just keeps herself from touching or kissing her in ways that Kara can and Supergirl shouldn't. “Please.”
Lena nods, clearly shaken but holding up, and Kara wishes she could stay with her in either form but still steps back and is already over the balcony railing when Lena's voice stops her.
“K--” The mid-air spin happens with her heart lodged in her throat, but Lena's face freezes until Kara's entire body aches for the indecision she sees there, which finally softens into resigned acceptance. “Can you ask Kara to come by? If you see her.”
She nods and presses her nails into her palms until it stings, and feels Lena's eyes on her until she's out of sight.
The next several hours are little more than a blur. Of moving, fighting, pain and exhaustion until it stops; until Supergirl and the DEO save the day again, and the attackers are rounded up and locked away. Kara, meanwhile, is firmly relocated to the nearest sunbed, and Alex sits just out of reach and mutters at her tablet until she can start fussing properly.
“Lena knows,” Kara offers into the otherwise silent, empty room, and hears her sister stop breathing for a moment.
“You told her?”
That makes her smile proudly; just a little. “Didn't need to.”
“But you want to.”
It's not a question, clearly, but Kara turns her head enough that she can look over anyway. “Yeah,” she admits, and watches Alex set her tablet down and straighten in her seat. “It's pretty much a formality at this point.”
“Confirming it is still another story,” Alex cautions, and Kara gets that – she really does – but she's so tired of needing to make up excuses; tired of lying and of indirectly forcing Lena to keep up her own pretense when it's only becoming increasingly obvious that she already knows the truth.
“I trust her.”
Alex snorts. “I doubt you'd be dating her if you didn't,” she points out wryly, and smirks when Kara first startles bodily, and then flushes all the way up to the tips of her ears. “Sorry, was that a secret?”
“Well... no?” But it isn't something she has actually told Alex – or anyone, for that matter – both because it's new and exhilarating and a little bit frightening in all the best ways, and because as much as she herself trusts and believes in Lena, she's also aware that she's still one of very few. “Not really. But--”
There's a slow, heavy exhale stirring the air. “-- you've never really heard me say anything nice about her.”
“... yeah.” She closes her stinging eyes, and swallows against a tight throat while shame curls hot and heavy in her chest. “That.”
“Kara.” There's a low creak when Alex rises, followed by the soft sound of approaching footsteps. “I don't trust Lena Luthor.” The sunbed clicks off and opens. “I'm sorry, but I don't.”
And hearing that hurts more than she was prepared for; enough that there's a rush of pain followed by a hot flash of righteous anger, and Kara tenses – ready to surge up and argue till the end of time if that's what it takes – until a light, familiar touch to her sternum stops her.
“But I do trust your judgment.” Her sister is standing by her side – jaw tense but eyes soft – and when Kara blows out a hard, shaky breath and blinks ten times in two seconds, Alex's fingers wipe gently at the skin below her eyes like they have so many times before. “I'm also willing to believe that you probably know her better.”
Kara laughs – half-choked and trembling, but she laughs – and then catches her sister's hand and holds it as tightly as she dares. “She's amazing, Alex,” she promises, and smiles until her cheeks ache from it. “She's just-- she's so amazing.”
“To deserve you, she'd better be.” Alex crouches down until she can settle an arm across the sunbed's edge and rest her chin on it. “So bring her over sometime, yeah?” Kara lets her twine their fingers, and watches her lips twitch into a grin. “I wanna properly meet the woman that my sweet little sister was actually ready to fight me over.”
She doesn't lose the blush from that one until she's almost back to L-Corp, and it probably would’ve taken longer than that if she wasn't still in costume and her chosen method of transport didn't have the cool evening air whipping at her cheeks. It's late enough that almost the entire building is dark when she gets there, but Lena's office is still lit up – lamps and screens both - and Kara comes to slow stop a few bodylengths from the balcony to simply watch her.
Lena is pacing again. She has been for a while, going by the actual line that Kara can see in the carpet. Her heels sit abandoned by the side of her desk, and her attention shifts regularly from the tablet in her hands to the screen on her wall to the phone on her desk and back. Her blazer is slung over a chair with uncommon carelessness, her hair down and the sleeves of her silk blouse pushed up past her elbows, and Kara hates how worried she looks as the news channel keeps looping, but loves the fact that she listened.
She didn't outright need Alex's blessing to tell Lena – not really; not like that – but she's still grateful to have it. It bolsters her enough to let her land on the balcony with her usual ease, and to tap the window in order to announce herself before she pushes the door open.
And oh, the look on Lena's face when she sees her; the way she softens in an instant and then has to rapidly compose herself. It is at once the most painful, beautiful thing in the world to watch, and Kara has to bite hard at the inside of her lip to keep from literally flying across the room.
99.8 officially just became 100.
“Supergirl,” Lena greets in an impressively steady voice; pulling her shoulders back and cocking her head. “Not that I mind the visit, but I'm not sure what I can do for you?”
Kara shrugs, and feels what has to be at least a million butterflies beat their wings against the walls of her stomach. “You asked me to come by,” she says simply; not bothering to pitch her voice that little bit lower, nor to hold herself that fraction more upright as she approaches.
“Did I?” Lena watches her closely while her fingers curl a little tighter around the edges of the tablet, and then – bless her – wets her lips and offers an out. “I think what I requested was that you ask Kara to.”
“Like I said.” Gently, she takes the tablet and sets it aside; captures Lena's hands with her own and listens to her breathing catch while the skin around those eyes tightens and relaxes and tightens again. “You asked me to come by.”
And with that, the Lena Luthor that the world at large sees becomes the Lena Luthor that maybe only Kara really knows. The one that softens at the edges and closes her eyes, that breathes deep and swallows hard and slumps her shoulders, that curls one hand around Kara's so tightly and yet so carefully, and – with the other – cradles her face and draws her in until their foreheads are touching and they're breathing the same air.
“Thank you.” It's a bare whisper on the tail end of a long exhale, and Kara strokes her thumb across the back of the hand she holds and hears Lena's racing heart slowly start to settle. “You--” She stops herself there and puffs a laugh; straightening a little and slipping her fingers into Kara's hair with a wry sort of smile. “Well. I was going to say that you have no idea how hard it was to keep that up, but--”
“Please don't remind me,” Kara groans; both in agreement, and because Lena's nails are scratching at her scalp which is totally her weak spot and absolutely not fair. “I wish I'd told you when you first started hinting.”
“So you did notice,” comes the light needling - along with a smirk at Kara's narrow look because honestly, she's not that dense – and there's a long, peaceful moment of them simply watching each other until Lena sobers. “Why didn't you?”
“Tell you earlier?”
And Kara sighs, because isn't that the $64.000 question? “You're already in danger way too often,” she explains – or tries to – more as a hoarse whisper than anything else. “And that--” A brief pause when she has to clear her throat and Lena's mouth tightens in sympathy. “You wouldn't exactly be any less at risk if you ended up being linked to, well--” She gestures to the symbol on her chest. “-- me. Especially not like that.”
“You can't let fear rule you, Kara.” Lena's voice is gentle. “Not even on behalf of others.”
“I know.” She glances down at their entwined fingers, and takes a moment to suck her lower lip between her teeth. “I just-- kind of forgot for a while. I, um...” When she lifts her gaze again, that look is waiting for her; the one that makes her organs play leapfrog and her throat grow tight. “I worry a lot, you know? About the people I really care about.”
“Yeah.” Lena blows the word out more than she says it, but manages a tremulous smile. “I think that's something we have in common.”
Kara pulls her in because she has to; all but burrows into those arms because some very deep, very vital part of her needs to feel with every sense that Lena is safe . She needs to feel the warmth of Lena's body against her own, the softness of skin against her cheek and hairs between her fingers. She needs to listen to the push-and-pull of her breathing, the slightly staccato beat of her heart and the rush of blood in her veins; needs to press a kiss to the skin behind a nearby ear and inhale until she can pick up and identify all the respective scents that combine to simply mean Lena .
It's a whirling, wonderful, terrifying feeling, and Kara guesses from the way that Lena curls into her in return that maybe she needs it, too.
“I'm sorry,” she murmurs against the spot she kissed. “For not telling you sooner, and for all the times I'm going to make you worry from now on.”
There's a semi-breathless little laugh against the crook of her shoulder. “You're forgiven,” comes the answer. “Retroactively and in advance. Now.” Kara lets herself be nudged backwards until Lena is holding her at arm's length and surveying her critically. “Are you alright?”
“Peachy,” she promises, and smirks at the look she gets in return. “Haven't you heard? I'm the Girl of Steel.”
“You're a dork, is what you are,” is the exasperated reply, and Kara just barely manages to laugh before she's sinking into a kiss that makes her thank her lucky stars for the fact that she takes longer than most to run out of air. And... well, for Lena in general.
But that kind of goes without saying.