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Deadly Beautiful

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She woke up as she did each morning to a cold stone floor on the bottoms of her feet and the cold stone walls around her. A servant had left her morning tea; still piping hot right outside of her bedroom door on a tray. She groaned as she realized what day it was and all that it would entail.

Lena brought her tea to her vanity as she waited to wake up enough to be able to start her day. She nibbled at the biscuits on her tray. Lena hoped they would settle her stomach. The ordeal had yet to begin but she already felt sick. There was nothing else in her world disturbed her in this way.

The Games were mandatory. Even as the Crown Princess, Lex Luthor did not allow his sister and as yet only heir to miss out on the yearly gladiator tournaments. He said she needed to see the displays of strength of the people of his country and their captives. Lena despised the violence, especially towards the innocents, and the people who had never asked to be there. If she ever became queen, she was determined to do away with the practice.

Lena decided to dress accordingly, she turned to her wardrobe, and feeling like a petulant teenager; searched for the most dour dress she owned.

“My lady?” a servant asked from the doorway, her head only barely peeking around the side. Maggie knew as well anyone how Lena hated these events. “His Highness the King requires your presence to discuss the days...erm...celebrations.”

“Thank you, Maggie. You know you may always speak freely in my presence.” Lena reminded her. “You can trust me, and please call me Lena when we are alone together. We have discussed this, my friend.”

“Yes my lady, I mean Lena. His Highness has a meal to break your fast prepared, when you care to join him. He is in one of his moods, so you may want to hurry along with your preparations, lady.” Maggie advised and shut the door behind her as she backed out.

Lena rolled her eyes. Her brother seemed to be intent to push her to the very edge lately. Lena felt lucky to have developed such a vice-grip upon her temper or she might have gotten herself into some real trouble early on.

Lena finished getting ready and padded down the hall through the maze-like corridors of her home. For those who had not spent the majority of their young lives in the castle, it was quite easy to get lost.

“You beckon and I arrive, my brother king.” Lena said to Lex Luthor, who sat at the head of the banquet table which was set for two. He was dressed just as finely as always in a royal blue fitted suit, embroidered with rich golden threads. It brought out his ice-cold blue eyes. In accordance with his outfit, Lex wore a sapphire encrusted golden circlet on his otherwise bare brow. Lena knew better than anyone else in the kingdom how angry any mention of her brother’s baldness could make him. The king was famous for his temper.

“You have always been reliable in that at least, my sister.” Lex answered her haltingly. He was glowering at her choice in garmentation, exactly as Lena had expected him to. She suppressed a grin at the realization.

Lena had to rebel under her brother’s thumb. It was well known at least within those large stone walls, that the tyrant of a king had a deep cruel streak. If Lena had not learned as a younger woman she might have been ‘removed’ from the line of succession long ago. Still, she often stifled in her position and did just the smallest of things to irk Lex. The staff usually got a good kick out of it.

“Thank you, Your Highness. I am glad to be here for you to rely upon.” Lena dipped into a respectable curtsy before taking her seat. Only the barest hint of cheek was evident in her tone. Only when she saw Lex begin to eat, did she begin to pick from her own plate.

“Is that really what you intend to wear, Lena? I know you surely have something that will set you apart from the background. If you insist upon pulling these stunts, we will not ever find you a husband.” Lex groaned.

“You know, I am really okay with that.” Lena shrugged it off.

“Be sure to change anyway.” Lex commanded. “Preferably something in blue. We must at least present ourselves as a united front. This kingdom needs stability now more than anything else, little sister and I need you at my side more than ever.”

It would have almost sounded okay if you did not know how to read between the lines.. When it came to Lex, everything was about establishing his dominance and this in particular was to demonstrate his control over his sister; right down to the color of the gown she would wear.

Lena growled under her breath at the command and low enough that Lex could not hear. She would have to come up with something else to get him back for this. The king waved his hand at her in dismissal. She took the plate of fruits and cheeses with her for good measure.

Lena slammed the chamber door behind her and watched Maggie jump nearly completely out of her skin.

“He sent you to change before you could leave?” Maggie asked knowingly.

“Bald bastard will not let me have anything. He even demanded that I wear blue.” Lena growled as Maggie unlaced her.

“Do you want me to get the really bad blue one out of the back? If you are lucky it may ruin and we will not be able to salvage it after. It would take care of two birds with one stone.” Maggie suggested as she let the material fall to the floor to pick up later.

“You are a brilliant little woman, Maggie Sawyer.” Lena said in a tone of surprise that drew a smirk to the small handmaid's face.

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“I live to serve you, my lady.” Maggie said, and she meant it in equal measures teasing and earnest. Lena did not know what she would do without her best friend in the castle. Lex had taken Sam away from her and sent her to another household as soon as he had come into power when he had realised exactly how much the other woman had meant to her.

Lena loved her brother and did her best to respect her king, but she hated Lex Luthor so much more than she could have ever imagined back when they had been children. He was a despicable man and treated those around him as though they were nothing to him, and they probably were. Lena figured she was probably nothing to him as well. She hated the part of herself that still craved his approval and she hated the part of herself that insisted she must continue to love him...and as king...he should never have been allowed to rise to power.

Lex Luthor was a tyrant. He allowed anything so long as it fed into the kingdom’s coffers. Human trafficking, slavery, drug trade were all considered admissible. When he presented himself to the people, he was charismatic and admirable, but his methods in the council and inside of the council and the castle were despicable and dirty. Anyone who was paying attention could see it. “Much better.” he said when she presented herself to him again. “I appreciate the, um, sparkles. It is good to see you finally taking my advice to heart. Someone might finally begin to take notice of you, you know.”

“Thank you, my king.” Lena grumbled. The book she had hidden between the corset and the outer skirt dug sharply into her waist, but she did not mind because it let her know it was there. Lena could not help the small glimmer of victory beginning to grow in her stomach. It felt kind of petulant but she could not hold it back. She caught the look Maggie shot at her and the corner of her mouth tilted up in response. Lena was more grateful to her than she could have ever expected.

Lena took her seat with Lex Luthor in the highest box, slightly behind and to the left of him. While he was distracted greeting those who begged his favor, she slipped the book free and held it close, as though it were the most important thing in the world. Books were an endangered species since Lex had come to power. He was terrified of an educated populous resulting in the possibility his people could turn against him.

Lena half hoped the people would rise up in rebellion one day. She was not particularly inclined towards taking the crown herself and knew that it would probably end in her own demise but their subjects really did not deserve what Lex was putting them through. Her brother was a sick and vicious man. It was evident from the state of his concubines when he tired of them.

Lena shook off the thoughts to turn her attention to the stadium, at least until the games began. The parades and marches were nice to watch. In fact, it almost seemed fun for a little while. Lena liked to see the animals while they were still healthy, strong and cared for, and the fighters were smiling in greeting.

She was too high above to make good eye-contact, but none of them were paying her the slightest of attentions anyway. Everyone looked to Lex. Each set of warriors; beginners, intermediates, and the champions; the pairs of warriors with their animals, stopped before them and presented themselves to the royal family. Lena stood as she knew she was supposed to and waved alongside of her brother; faking her best smile.

Lex leaned in to whisper in her ear. “I have heard good things about this girl; the one with the red and blue armband.” His tone was conspiratorial, and pretty rare for him. Lena’s eyes followed his long finger.

The gladiators stood in perfect rows, as was customary. Each of them was beautifully built and muscular almost to an extreme. Lena felt soft in comparison. The warriors did not wear armor and mail like the army did. Lex had explained to her once it was because the gladiators needed more flexibility to be able to move more easily.

The woman Lex had pointed out wore even less than the others. She was only geared in leather bracers, greaves and a breastplate. She glowered menacingly at the ground in front of her as the captain of the group directed some kind of flowery speech at Lex. Lena appreciated that the woman did not attempt to fake any kind of enthusiasm as many of the others did.

She was too far away to make eye contact with or to even make out any of the details of her face. Lena could see strength radiating off of the other woman in waves nonetheless. Lena could appreciate it. She aspired to gain such confidence one day. Lex could strike fear into the hearts of the people around him with just a look, and Lena got a distinct feeling no one ever disrespected the woman down on the sand. Lena did not feel anywhere near as respected as either of them.

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Maggie had told Lena more than once how much of a better, more compassionate ruler she would be in comparison to her brother. Lena had learned from watching their father and Lex be terrible leaders. Maggie was really the only person she knew who had ever instilled any confidence in her. Lena respected Maggie’s opinion above that of anyone else. She wished more than anything she could do something to help her friend. Maggie was a servant and they had to keep their friendship essentially a secret for Maggie’s protection, but that did not mean it was any less real.

Lex dismissed the rows of gladiators to prepare for their group and individual bouts. Lena ground her teeth in response as she retrieved her book and took her seat. She was not sure she could bear to watch the rest of the tournament. Lena hated the sight of blood and was not a fan of violence either. She wanted to be anywhere but there.

 

Lena did her best to block out the sounds of the swords clashing and the people screaming. What made her even more sick was the fact people were cheering on the violence. Maggie did her best to reach forward when no one else paid any attention. She was darkly used to these tourneys and other such events. Unlike Lena she was made to pay attention. It became totally normalized to her. In some ways she had even become invested in a few of the fighters. She had watched the fighter Lena had been checking out come up from the bottom rankings.

Maggie could definitely see the appeal. Even from that far off, the gladiator was incredibly attractive. When she stepped out onto the field, Maggie gestured for Lena to pay attention. Maggie knew that watching the games was hard on Lena but she felt like she knew where Lex was heading with his comments. She knew Lena needed to see what was about to happen.

“Her name is Kara. I have watched her come up from the bottom rankings and put an end to every other fighter to put up a fight.” Maggie whispered from where she was seated directly behind Lena.

“Do you have a crush on her or something?” Lena asked, teasingly. She was one of the very few people in the castle who knew Maggie preferred women. It was well known in regards to the Crown Princess, but it was also well known it was forbidden to speak ill of the royalty. Lena hated the idea it would be possible for someone to start a mob because of who she loved. It was the only time Lena appreciated her brother cracking down on the kingdom’s freedom of speech. She was not inclined towards losing her head anytime soon. “I would not blame you, Mags. Even from this distance she is stunning.”

“No crush on my end but you may want to keep an eye on your end.” Maggie scoffed as a slight smirk started to tug at her lips. “She is not someone for you to be taking an interest in romantically, Kara’s a gladiator and you do not even know what kind of issues a fling like that could pose.”

“I have never even met the woman, Mags. Do not worry yourself. There is no need to jump to any sudden conclusions. ”

“I know, my lady. It is just that I also know your weakness for the pretty blondes.” Maggie said, tugging lightly at a lock of Lena’s long raven black hair.”

“I have no such weaknesses.” Lena hissed under her breath, with an undertone of embarrassment in her voice.

“Well that is a ton of bull and you know it. Your brother might be too blind to see, but we both know you will never willingly choose one of the tall dark and handsome men Lex Luthor had been pushing onto you. He acknowledges and even supports your sexuality but has never bothered to get to know you well enough to see you would never be able to survive living with someone you did not love. I can not understand why he has never presented you with a female suitor, I can think of several candidates off the top of my head.” Maggie grumbled, whispering so as not to draw the attention of Lex Luthor.

“Yes, but if I am to wed someone, I would really appreciate the chance to know them beforehand. I will not marry without first having love. It is the only issue I ever plan to put my foot down on. You know I have not met Kara Danvers either.” Lena laughed, barely under her breath. “I will watch and cheer her on if it is going to make you feel better.”

“Okay then, Lena. If it makes you sick or you feel as though it would be too much for you to handle, then that is really okay too.” Maggie said, suddenly worried she was asking too much of the other woman.

“It is really quite brave of her to keep the long hair, is it not?” Lex said with a raise of his brows, a lot more loudly than Lena felt was strictly necessary. “That is an amazing shade of gold, despite the danger it poses. I hope it does not cause her more trouble just because she is vain.”

“I do not believe it to be vanity, brother. I believe it to be a statement, a visual representation of the fact she can do all of this; she can be strong and she can fight without letting go of her femininity.” Lena said, clenching her jaw. She knew as soon as the words she would pay for them at a later date. Maggie reached forward and squeezed Lena’s shoulder in encouragement. She knew what a risk Lena had taken, even if it had not been completely purposeful.

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Kara strode confidently across the sand to stand across from her opponent. An attendant wheeled over a cart and offered both of them a wide arrangement of weapons. Kara chose a short sword called a gladius and whipped it through the air a few times to check its balance and stability. Sabotage was a factor in some of the big name matches. Betting on the Games was a commonplace occurrence.

Lex encouraged gambling and would participate more often than not. Lena did not know how she felt about the gambling thing since she did not know where the vast majority of the money ended up.

A bell rang somewhere in the distance, drawing Lena’s attention back. The two women circled one another wanly. Lena’s breath caught in her chest and held; almost painfully. Tensions in the arena were higher than anything Lena had ever felt before. It was well known how skilled Kara was, but the other gladiator had a near impossible height advantage of twelve inches at least. Lena was terrified for both fighters. Her anxiety was a bit too vocal though, an audible gasp escaping.

“You know Lena, one day that little mouth of yours is going to get you into more trouble than you will be able to get yourself out of.” Lex said in his most dangerous tone of voice. His not so veiled threat only adding to the amount of tension building up in Lena’s body.

Kara’s sword only narrowly deflected her opponent’s away from her flank. Lena squeaked audibly and jumped in her seat. The clash was louder than Lena expected. Sure, Lena had been to these matches before but she had not ever allowed herself to immerse herself in watching one of the matches. She honestly did not know how she was supposed to react.

“If it seems like my sister might be getting hysterical, please take her elsewhere, Ms.Sawyer.” Lex added after the squeak.

“Yes sire, I will be sure to do that.” Maggie said in a neutral and completely emotionless voice. It gave Lena chills everytime she heard her best and only friend speak that way. It did not sound like the Maggie she knew and loved so it scared her a little bit.

The blades clashed repeatedly and sparks flew, bringing Lena’s attention back to the powerful blonde and the way Kara’s muscles moved underneath her skin. The gladiator was graceful even when fighting for her life. Lena felt like she was watching a dance as opposed to a battle.

“She is beautiful.” Lena muttered under her breath, where not even Maggie could hear her. She could already hear all of the I told you so’s.

This sure as hell was not love. Lena knew she was just more than a little enamored, but almost immediately she had wanted to get to know the blonde fighter whose very skin seemed to deflect the steel of the blade as though her flesh was metal as well. Lena wished she had some kind of book on the other woman to learn all there was to know. She knew her curiosity would only deepen when she got to meet Kara; if she ever got to meet Kara. Lena felt like maybe she would be more starstruck than the other woman … and Lena was the princess of the kingdom.

At the sight of first blood, Lena had to turn away. It was only for a moment, then another clash of blades brought her right back in. She stopped breathing for the remainder of the battle. Lena felt sick at the way Kara’s opponent began to slow down. Blood trickled down the larger woman’s flank and seeped into the leather of her gear and cloth of her clothing. The winner was already quite evident. Kara grew more serious then, and began to slash for the more vulnerable places not covered by her leather armor.

Lena saw the blade bite furiously into the other woman’s shoulder and stick there. Kara put a foot in the middle of her opponent’s chest and shoved; kicking the other woman off of her gladius. Blood sprayed and Lena visibly flinched once more, much to Lex’s amusement. Lena ignored him and returned her attention to the last moments of the fight. Kara wrenched the other woman’s blade out of her grip and threw it to the side, far out of reach. Though her opponent was not dead, Kara slammed the blade into the sand and turned to look to Lex for him to end the match.

He stood at the edge of the balcony and looked down over them all. His face went dead cold and his voice flat. “Finish it.” he commanded. It was how nearly every single one of Kara’s fights finished, Maggie would tell her later. Kara did not want the blood of those innocent people on her hands.

Her head bowed and eyes lowered as she pulled the gladius out of the sand and cleaned it on her breeches. She knelt by the other woman and said a few words very softly before Kara gave the other woman a hand up just to her knees, her head bowed and ready for whatever was going to come next.

Lena could not bring herself to watch what she knew was going to happen. The resulting cheers made her suddenly feel more sick than she could hold back. Maggie took her hand and led her down the hall in a hurry.

“Deep breaths, my lady.” Maggie advised. “I know it was hard.”

“Yeah, if I threw up Lex would never let me hear the end of it would he?” Lena said, her pale skin even lighter than usual. Maggie thought she seemed a bit green around the edges as well.

“It is best not to then, is it not?” Maggie recommended hesitantly.

“Do not worry. I probably will not.” Lena said as she pushed up onto her feet and leaned against the wall. “I am just glad Kara made it. I hate she had to kill the woman especially when she put up her best fight and should have been allowed to heal and try again. I hate this, I really do.”

“I know sweetie, I do, but from the position you are in now, there is not anything you can do.” Maggie said morosely. She knew how much this stark reality pained Lena. The Princess was not hardened like a lot of the other nobility in the kingdom. She was as tough as nails but her heart was still tender. Maggie loved that about her. Lena would make a wonderful queen one day if they were at all lucky.

“How did you like her, little sister?” Lex asked when Lena returned to her seat feeling a bit better.

“She is strong as all get out and hot as hell to boot. I guess I like her alright.” Lena said, her cheeks pinking up as she stared down at her feet in mild embarrassment.

“I had thought even you must be impressed by her talents..” Lex said knowingly. “She is a force to be reckoned with and I have got plans for her later on.”

A knot formed in Lena’s throat at the words. She hated the tone of his voice and had too many ideas of what her brother could mean. Lena knew too much, about his proclivities and the way his men looked afterwards. She did not want that poor gladiator woman anywhere near her brother. Kara Danvers had enough of her own problems to deal with.

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Lena hid her face in her book for the remainder of the festivities until she was told she had to look up. When looking up finally became possible, she paid only the barest amount of attention to the end proceedings. For the duration of the final speech, she stood by her brother and did her best to appear as amiable as possible. She was much too close to him and it made her miserable. Lena did not even realize she was trembling until Maggie grabbed her hand and squeezed it behind their skirts. She waved and smiled until she felt her face may freeze that way. It was almost a relief to sit and listen to Lex drone on for an hour or so.

Maggie had to nudge her to draw her attention once more.

“Are we leaving?” Lena asked in a mildly groggy tone of voice.

“No, but he has just called Kara back out. You will need to hear this.” Maggie said, sitting up at attention and fully alert.

“What? What is going on?” Lena asked, jamming the book back into her skirts and looking around. Kara looked equally nervous but still stoic. Lena respected Kara’s ability to stare up at the king with her chin up and her spine straight. All-in-all Kara seemed beautifully defiant.

“As some of you may know, threats against the royal family have been made by neighboring kingdoms. I have but one heir; my beloved sister and the Crown Princess, Lena. Her protection is my highest priority and in that vein, Kara, I am freeing you from the life of tournaments. You will come to the castle and guard my sister.” Lex asked, his tone leaving no room for objections.

“As you wish, sire.” Kara nodded in forced acceptance and placed a fist over her heart before bowing. Lena did not know what was going to come next, but she knew for certain nothing was ever going to be the same.

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The rest of the evening went by in a blur. Lena was swept into her carriage, but not until she had been certain to drag the hems of her skirts through every questionable puddle she could find. Maggie chuckled audibly and covered it with coughs more than once. She often had trouble holding back laughter being in the direct employ of Lena Luthor. It was not even so much that she tried to be funny as it all came much too naturally to her. Lena hated that dress more than any other gift her brother had gifted her over the years. Lex thought he was funny, but would always subsequently force her to use them in public. The princess was creative in the ways she got back at him with those such gifts.

Lex had stayed back to work out prices with the head of the stadium for Kara’s contract. Though he had described it publically almost as though it were some kind of job offer, Kara would be an indentured servant to the Luthor household. The staff only made it out dead, disgraced or snuck out by Lena, Maggie, and a few of their choice allies.

There was a distinct possibility if Lex were to find out Lena facilitated the escape of these poor souls, he would have her put to death, sole heir or not. The matter was kept completely quiet, never allowing anyone outside of the small group privy to the risky affair. Her friends never sold her out, but they did spread the word to other castle staff to go to her if they were ever in trouble.

“The master beckons again, my lady.” Maggie advised. “He seems a mite too pleased with himself this time in my opinion.”

“Does he have Kara with him?” Lena asked nervously, drying her palms on the scarlet dress she had changed into as soon as they had gotten home.

“Yes, lady.” Maggie answered. “We should get down there before he angers.”

“Of course, Ms.Sawyer. I will be right behind you the whole way.” Lena stood and smoothed her skirts out, hip-checking Maggie on her way in an attempt to break the tension. Lena and Maggie knew Kara’s close presence could endanger more than just their normal routine.

“You are ridiculous.” Maggie hissed, walking just behind Lena as was her formal place.

“You love me anyway.” Lena stage-whispered back.

“I hate that you are not wrong.” Maggie replied and Lena could almost physically feel Maggie rolling her eyes.

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“Little sister, come and meet your gift.” Lex said just as Lena came around the corner.

He had changed attire as well, and his brow was bare. In placement of a crown, he wore his signet ring and an over-sized wedding band set with a glittering emerald, only a shade brighter than Lena’s eyes. It was as good as any crown to their people after having witnessed a wedding between the state and the king shortly after his coronation. Even in her youth, Lena had despised those public frivolities.

“A...uhm, a lovely gift she is indeed.” Lena replied as the blood rushed to her cheeks. Speaking of another human being in this manner made her sick to her stomach. Lena hoped Kara could read in her eyes that she did not believe the gladiator to be a simple present bought and given.

“I wanted to get you something… or someone as beautiful as you, but infinitely more useful.” Lex said in a casual tone, as though he was not crushing her with his words. “Maybe you will develop some kind of work ethic being around her.”

The only time she saw a change in Kara’s facial expression was when Lex threw the barb and the blonde seemed semi-sympathetic. Lena was pleased to see Kara’s facial features were just as attractive up close as the rest of her. Her blue eyes resembled the clearest sapphires, betraying no more emotion than the stones themselves. Lena nervously smoothed her skirts as she looked the gladiator over.

Despite the many battles she had been through in the day, she appeared relatively unharmed. Kara was bruised but triumphant.

“So, why exactly did you buy me a gladiator, Your Highness?” Lena asked awkwardly in an attempt to keep her staring from being so evident. She did not want to insult Kara or make her brother angry. “Not that I am complaining….she is lovely.”

“She is to protect you and keep an eye on you. You are not worth a specific detail for your protection, especially when I do not know who I can and can not trust. I certainly was not going to go out and find a young woman to be trained for your companionship and corruption. This seemed like the next best option.” Lex said as though it were the most natural conclusion.

“Thank you, my king. I will treasure her each day she is with me. You are most gracious, sire.” Lena said with a half-curtsy. Her eyes were cast downwards but she could still feel Lex and Kara’s blue gazes on her.

“You may escort her to your chambers and get to know her, then. You will certainly be spending a lot of time together from now on.” Lex said with a glimmer of disgust in his eyes. “Remember she is yours now. You will be fully responsible for her.”

“I will show you the way if you would be so kind as to follow me, Ms.Kara, ” Maggie offered when she realized her best friend had gone speechless with rage. Her face and tone were neutral in the presence of the king, but there was an underlying warning to her tone only Lena would catch.

A council meeting that Lena was not privy to was imminent so they would have some privacy at least for a short while. If she were to enjoy any privacy now that she had a glorified babysitter. Lena wanted to believe Kara would be a new friend or companion but she had no idea what Lex had on Kara or what he had threatened her with. Lena would have to figure out Kara’s allegiance first. If they really were going to be together 24/7 she would have to win the other woman over first and foremost.

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“I watched your bout today. You fought well.” Lena complimented haltingly as the three women stepped into her quarters.

Kara stood at attention by the door like just about every soldier Lena had ever seen. She really hoped the other woman was not going to turn out to be totally dull. Lena needed more people to talk to. The only person she could converse with while truly being herself was Maggie. Lena Luthor led a particular kind of lonely life.

“Maggie, uhm, would you be able to get the adjoining room off my chambers unlocked if at all possible?” Lena asked. “Pretty please and cross my heart?”

“As you wish, my lady.” Maggie said with a very coquette-ish look. She curtsied in her most sarcastically formal manner.

“You are not like any other princesses, are you?” Kara asked softly with a deep sense of confusion echoing in her voice.

“I am less of a spoiled brat and more of an actual human if that is what you mean.” Lena said in a casual tone. “As long as it is just the two of us or Maggie is in here, you can relax a bit. We are not half as stiff or stuffy as my brother.”

“Is...is this a test of some sort?” Kara looked confused and scared then. “I was not aware of any tests.”

“No Kara. It is nothing like that. You said it yourself, I am not like other princesses.” Lena stood and padded over to Kara and took her hands. “You are safe with me. I make no promises in regards to my brother, the king, but as long as you are in your own chambers or mine you may speak freely and do as you like.”

“As you say, my lady.” Kara said with a half-bow. She seemed quite skeptical, but then again Lena really could not blame her.

However, Lena did not pity her. Kara was too strong for any pity Lena had to offer, it would be disrespectful of her bravery and many triumphs. She had nothing but the utmost respect for the blonde gladiator.

“You will come to believe me, of this truth I have no doubt.” Lena said with a shrug as Maggie opened the door that adjoined Lena’s room to Kara’s. It seemed almost wrong to have someone who was not Sam in the room, but she felt as though it were a change Sam would approve of if she knew.

“It was very stiff from disuse, but it will serve its purpose.” the small Latina woman said. “I have requested some of the other staff to assist me in preparing the room for you, Ms.Kara. Would you like to see it now? If there is anything else you may require, my lady will requisition it for you.”

Kara followed Maggie curiously, poking her head into the other room before fully following them into the room. She looked twice at Lena to be sure it was okay. The princess gestured for her to go on before returning her attention to the book she had neglected. It was very hard to focus on reading an old Gaelic text when her own personal guardswoman was next door and in all likelihood a trap. Lena felt oddly bolstered, having Kara Danvers one wall over and the adjoining room full again. She felt as though she could handle anything.

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Lena tossed the book back into her pillows and leaned against the doorframe.

“So, is there anything I can get you? Are you hungry, thirsty, in need of a change of clothing?” Lena asked. She wanted to do something to help but felt totally useless.

“Oh, she will definitely need a wardrobe overhaul. I have seen what she has brought and it is unacceptable for the court, especially by your standards, my lady.” Maggie said in an almost teasing tone, taking special note of how Kara looked down and blushed.

“I am thinking reds and blues for formal attire. White shirts would look amazing with that golden brown skin tone. We will need to be sure to have plenty of hair ties available as well, and brushes as well. Can you think of anything else, Kara?” Lena asked as she looked at the other woman appraisingly.

“If I am to serve as your protection detail, my lady, I would prefer to remain in breeches as opposed to skirts such as yours if you would pardon my saying so?” Kara spoke carefully as though she were afraid to ask anything of Lena.

“Did you bring your own weaponry? Can I find anything else for you?” Lena asked, wishing she could somehow put the blonde at ease.

“I usually prefer the gladius to most other weaponry when I am given the choice, but I am competent in the use of a great variety, my lady. I was not allowed to bring any with me from the stadium, as none technically belonged to me. I have no rights to any belongings, lady.” Kara said lowly; without looking up at the other women.

“Tomorrow I will escort you to the armory and you may have your pick of our stores.” Lena said firmly. “You may take as much or as little as you like.”

“L-Lady?” Kara asked in a tone of confusion.

“I do not believe that any person should be allowed to own another. For as long as you are in my service you will be taken care of as though you were any other employee of the house. As long as Lex or one of his spies does not catch us being too friendly, it will be okay.” Lena said, her green eyes staring steadily into Kara’s brilliant blues. “We could be friends, Kara. When my brothers asks you to report on me, I am not going to ask you to lie. There are things I would like you to leave out, of course, but you will not have to lie. You can tell him I do not plot against him and I do not intend to usurp him. I am not party to any schemes against his throne. While I may not approve all he does and I may not enjoy his company, I am complicit in no treason.”

“No matter how he may deserve it.” Maggie muttered when Lena finished.

Kara’s eyes widened in response to Lena’s words and she visibly started at Maggie’s addition.

“H-how did you know?” Kara asked, her brows knitting together nervously. “Why would you let me in if you knew his Highness sent me to spy upon you?”

“I make a conscious choice to trust people, Kara.” Lena said as she set down the pen she had used to write down the shopping list she had been making for Kara. “I have nothing to hide from my brother, except how I detest his methods and his attitude towards his people and his position, and how I make friends of my servants. There are a few other things I would prefer he not know, but I am not a threat to him, no matter what he may think.”

Kara did not quite know what to think of this princess she was meant to serve. She was beautiful and regal in a magnificent way. Lena Luthor was clearly brave and opinionated. She actually bothered to ask Kara questions as opposed to making a declaration and expecting them to be followed. Kara had not ever met anyone like her before.

Chapter Text

There were ridiculous knots in Kara’s hair, the three women soon discovered. Lena and Maggie were introducing the newcomer to their nightly bathtime ritual of hair grooming. The castle’s bath-house was open air and fancier than anything Kara had ever seen in her life. It had three large pools of crystal clear water and small dishes with soaps and shampoos around the sides.

Maggie had tended to Lena’s long, raven black hair for the past five years with oils and lotions that left it soft and for the most part, tangle free. Kara’s had had no such kindnesses. All of them were in need of relaxation after having finished setting up Kara’s bedroom. Maggie had tended to Lena’s hair for the night and offered to give Kara a hand as well. Lena sat down with them after sliding into her dressing robe. The royalty sitting with commoners drew some unwanted attention almost immediately.

 

“I have never seen hair like yours before, Ms.Kara.” Maggie said softly in an attempt to distract the other woman from all of the eyes on her.

“You have never met a blonde before?” Kara asked. “And please, just call me Kara, Ms.Sawyer.”

“Then I will have to be Maggie to you, and yes you silly girl I have met blondes before, but never with hair quite as long and thick as yours…” she said in a tone of mild amusement. “ or with quite so many tangles. My lady, if you would be a dear and pass me the pick. This might end up taking a while.”

“I do not want to be of any trouble, I can take care of this tonight, myself. I will be okay.” Kara said, pulling her towel up to cover herself a bit more securely.

“How about you take the left side and I will take the right?” Lena offered. “It will all get done somewhat faster that way.”

Maggie nodded and accepted the pick as Lena took the brush and sat down behind Kara on a small seat. She took her half of the hair and started from the ends before working her way up. She did her best not to stare where she was not supposed to be looking. Kara stayed quiet, listening to the two women behind her talking as she enjoyed the feeling of their hands in her hair. She leaned into it and barely noticed when they had finished the brushing, Maggie had left and Lena began to massage her hair oils into Kara’s scalp.

“How are you feeling thus far, Kara?” Lena asked as she ran a towel across the tops of Kara’s scarred shoulders to clean up the remnants of the oils. “I know this is a sudden change and there are lots of new people to meet and adjust to. However, I have a feeling you will be okay.”

“I have not decided yet. I know you have told me the truth about the king; I have seen his cruelty firsthand during the Games on more than one occasion and… he has made ‘special requests’ of the gladiators, and they do not always come back.” Kara said. “I do know I will serve you, my lady and protect you at all costs, even if the cost is my own life.”

“I do not want you to die for me. I do not buy into any of that nonsense.” Lena said with a growl that worked to gentle the look in Kara’s brilliant blue eyes. Her brow was furrowed, but she was deadly serious.

“I am attempting to pledge my fealty to you, my lady, and you are not making it particularly easy.” Kara complained, adjusting her towel as she took a knee on the cold tile floors and tapped her closed fist against her heart.

“Well, technically you are supposed to swear fealty to my brother and there is supposed to be a big formal ceremony, but this will do for now.” Lena said with a smirk, trying not to look down her clear view of Kara’s cleavage. This was not the time, the place or even the girl.

“You are still the strangest princess I had never expected to meet. Being your bodyguard is going to be so much more interesting than life as a gladiator.”

“I can not argue with that.” Lena shrugged and offered Kara her hand to stand up. “Welcome to the family, Kara Danvers. Speaking of, do you have one? A family that is.”

“A sister is all I have left. She is not really around at the moment.” Kara said blandly as they headed into the changing rooms to put on their sleeping clothes. Lena detected an undertone of something else in Kara’s voice she could not quite put her finger on. All Lena knew the tone made her uneasy.

“Is that all?” Lena asked. “My own experiences with siblings have not all been positive, as you may have noticed.”

“Alex is amazing. She has always been there for me, without fail. After I was sold into the gladiator life she took me in and taught me everything I know.” Kara said and admiration was plainly written all over her face. It was plain to see that the younger woman adored her sibling. Lena wondered what a bond like theirs felt like.

“My brother and I have not ever been close.” Lena said. “ He has not always been the Lex we know now, but he was never kind. He was always brilliant but never just or fair.”

“Not much of a brother at all, it seems.” Kara said sympathetically.

“My brother is a lot of things, Kara. He is the king of a nation, a brilliant tactician, and a natural born leader, but he is not wise, just or at all caring by any stretch of the imagination.” Lena’s voice was cold and distant, as though she were reflecting on memories that disturbed her.

Kara could not help but wonder what those memories might hold. Nothing in the palace was anything like Kara had imagined. She was prepared to fight and die for this intriguing and complicated princess after only one day of knowing her. Kara thought maybe she could even be friends with these women. It seemed momentarily possible she had finally found a home.

Kara could not wholly put her faith in any of them yet. She was suspicious of everyone and everything around her as though the very ground beneath her feet could betray her at any moment. For the first time in a long time, however, Kara Danvers had hope and in a way, that meant she had everything. She was eager to see tomorrow and Kara could not remember the last time she looked forward to a new day. When Lena dropped her off at her room, the princess’s eyes glazed over in memory again, but this time it was a rather sad look. Kara sensed the woman’s emotions but knew not the cause of the melancholy.

“Good night then, my lady and have sweet dreams. I will see you in the morning.” Kara half-bowed at the waist before shutting the door behind her, in an attempt to express gratitude and respect.

Lena gave the younger woman a half-smile and caught a glimpse of something else in reply to her smile in Kara’s eyes. Kara was not Sam, was not anything like Sam in fact, but it was good to have someone in the room next door again. Having the space occupied made Lena feel a little less alone.

Lena and Kara slept soundly the whole night through.

Chapter Text

Kara Danvers looked like a kid in a candy store and it made Lena’s heart warm. Of course, in this instance, the candy was sharp weapons and the kid was a tall blonde gladiator, with a jawline that could slice avocados and muscles like some kind of bronzed sculpture. The younger woman seemed so pleased by this simple gesture Lena did not know whether to laugh or to cry. She decided she would find something special for Kara, one day, for only Kara to have.

Kara mentioned the night before that she did not have any right to personal possessions, and it made Lena sick.

“I want you to know, whichever you choose, it will be yours to keep. It will be yours for as long as you are here with me and it will be yours to take with you when you go as well.” Lena promised, placing a hand on Kara’s shoulder.

“You can not promise me something like that, my lady.” Kara disbelievingly.

“I can and I have, Kara.” Lena said, gently guiding Kara to turn and look at her. “It is like I said before. Things with me; being here will be different and after five years I will see to it that my brother releases you… unless you want to stay here, in that case, I will pay you a wage like any other freedman.”

Kara continued to stare in shock, unsure of what to say.

“That one.” she finally choked out hoarsely.

“What?” asked Lena who had gotten distracted and stopped following along.

“This gladius is the most similar to the one I am used to using.” Kara lifted the blade easily from its place on the rack and balanced the weapon along the flat of her hand.

“You want to go out into the yard and give it a test run?” Lena offered, retrieving the set of knives, the dagger, and a care and keeping of kit Kara had also gathered. She nodded enthusiastically and half-skipped out of the door, her weapon in hand. Lena just shook her head, not knowing what to think.

She opened the gate for her guard and took a seat on an empty bench to observe. Maggie had done well with Kara’s day-to-day clothing options. The white linen shirt hugged her shoulders perfectly and the breeches left enough room for movement while still accenting her toned muscles.

It quickly became evident Kara knew what she was doing, though she had never been taught. She went through varying patterns with the gladius, slowly at first, as though she were getting used to the way it felt in her hand. Once she sped up, Lena could hear the sound of the short sword tearing through the air. Just like when she had had an actual opponent, Kara looked as though she were dancing. Lena though the movements nearly more beautiful than the many dances she had seen. She had never watched anyone perform in that way.

“It is magnificent, is it not? Next to no formal training, and have only seen two or three of the forms we teach our own men, but I swear she could bring down any one of our best men if given the opportunity.” a voice startled Lena, who had been completely transfixed.

“Uncle J’onn?! You were not supposed to come home for another fortnight! What are you doing here?!” Lena asked, turning and jumping to hug him with a squeal, startling Kara into halting mid-swing.

“Early this morning. News of your ‘gift’ traveled even to me in the east. I was suspicious so I ran home to see if it was true for myself.” J’onn chuckled as Lena squeezed him about the ribcage. “I know you must hate it, or at least hate all it stands for. It could have been worse, though. You could be the black bastard younger son as opposed to the overlooked but protected Crown sister.”

Kara stood just behind Lena apprehensively. She did not know or even recognize the man Lena seemed so friendly with. He appeared trustworthy enough, but Kara knew better than to trust appearances. Lena turned to Kara suddenly and gestured for her to join them.

“J’onn this is Kara Danvers, my new bodyguard slash companion. Kara, this is my uncle, the lord J’onn Jones.” Lena introduced them politely.

“It is good to meet you, Kara. I have seen you fight more than once. You are quite the rare talent.” J’onn bent at the waist and kissed the back of her hand. Kara blushed scarlet and her eyes widened in shock.

“Thank you, sir. You are something of a legend to us, yourself.” Kara said with an earnest smile at the compliment.

“Neither of you are at all impressed by me?!” Lena asked.

“Only always, my dear.” J’onn said with a smile pulling her in against his chest and kissing the top of the princess’s head. “You are the sweetest and strongest young lady I never thought I would have the privilege of helping to raise.”

“He is quite the charmer, my uncle.” Lena directed to Kara with a half-smile.

“I can tell,” Kara chuckled. “and I am beginning to think charm may run in the family.” she added with a shrug.

J’onn laughed long and hard at that. His eyes crinkled up at the edges and his teeth shown white against his dark skin in the scalding sunlight.

“I like her, my little lady. She is a good one.” he nodded approvingly at Kara and laughed some more.

“I think she might be.” Lena replied, turning to Kara, “How do you like the sword? Does it feel good, is it balanced, fits in your hand correctly?”

“All of the above. I love it, my lady, thank you.” Kara answered with a smile that put the sun to shame in its wake. Lena decided then and there she would do almost anything to see her smile like that again.

Lena really could not tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing yet. She only knew the feeling rising in her chest was building steadily.

Chapter Text

In the following weeks, the two fell into an easy routine. Kara realized Lena was the only one who considered Kara worthy of attention. No one in the palace even seemed to notice her. Kara was for the most part okay with that, though. Being invisible made guarding Lena much simpler.

Kara had learned Lena preferred a simple kind of life, for the most part, devoid of any threats. The princess took her breakfast in her room alone each morning unless her brother had requested her presence. After breakfast was Lena’s walk through the garden, out in the open within plain view of the gods and everyone. Kara could not keep eyes everywhere when the two women were so exposed.

Depending on the weather, they would also take lunch and tea amongst whichever flowers Lena preferred that day. If the weather did not permit a walk, Lena would spend that portion of her day in the royal library with her books and master, learning all she could about a great variety of subjects. Kara really respected Lena’s love of learning. She would have been well within her rights to just sit around and enjoy her wealth like any other simpering member of the royalty. Instead, she used what she had to create an opportunity for bettering herself.

Kara had also discovered Lena wanted to know everything there was to know about everything she could get her hands on languages, histories, and sciences. Her curiosity enveloped Kara’s history as well. Lena had questioned the younger woman about her hometown, her travels, and life as a gladiator. She had been more than understanding when some of the stories had just been too hard to tell.

“Kara, it is time for your fitting. I am having your formal wardrobe put together today, remember?” Lena called through the open door that connected the rooms. “We scheduled it for right after tea in the library with enough time for a nap in between.”

They were relaxing after tea on a cool autumn day that had kept them inside with the braziers all burning. Kara was in her usual position of dozing in a chair with a book she had been pretending to read.

“My lady, you have enough clothes for me. In fact, I am sure these are the nicest I have ever owned.” Kara objected, sitting up and massaging her eyes with the heels of her hands.

“I know you feel that way, but when court resumes for the winter season you will need formal wear or you will draw attention to the both of us, and I know how you hate to stick out.” Lena argued. “Besides, does everyone not love to dress up every now and again?”

“The way your style of pretty clothes fit is rather counter-productive to your protection, my lady, and your safety is my highest priority.” Kara replied, moving to lean against the door jam, her arms crossed over her chest. Lena had discovered over the course of their time together thus far that Kara would do this when she did not approve of something Lena was doing or wanted to do. It was also very distracting because Kara Danvers had amazing arms and shoulders and the ways she stood showed both of those assets off well. Lena found herself clenching her jaw and holding her breath in response.

“We are having a fitting, Kara so the clothes will fit the way you want them to fit. You do not even have to wear a dress if you do not want to. I am perfectly okay with trousers that will allow you to move comfortably and naturally.” Lena explained, giving Kara her own personal version of ‘The Look’.

“Agree to disagree, but I am sure we will work out a compromise… you know, I love compromising now. I never got to compromise before I came here to live with you, it was all orders and punching people.” Kara said with a grin that reached all of the ways up to her brilliant blue eyes.

Kara sighed heavily before opening the door and holding it for Lena as she left the room. “Sometimes things feel almost too perfect for me here, you know? Like I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“You know I will do everything in my power to protect you, Kara. There is not much I can do about where you were before the palace but you are in my care for the time being and I consider that to be a responsibility of the highest order. I want you to understand that.” Lena explained with her most serious tone and a level gaze. Kara was not sure whether she was more shocked or touched by Lena’s words.

“I am pretty sure that I am the one who is supposed to be protecting you, Ms.Luthor.” Kara said pointedly.

“You are, but you also remember what His Royal Highness said the day you were brought home: You are an extension of me in the court. Everything you do is a reflection upon me.” Lena said, her tone still serious, but comforting a way that was completely unfamiliar to Kara.

It seemed it was not only Kara who took advantage of being overlooked to observe and understand the way the people around her tick. Kara was not sure of how she felt about being understood so well, yet. There was a potential for danger there.

“I promise to do my absolute best to never bring any shame upon your good name then, my lady.” Kara jokingly dropped into an awful curtsy.

“We will definitely have to work on that.” Lena scoffed. “You know what would be very useful in protecting my good name? Clothes. We have to make sure you look good and none of your outfits will clash with mine.”

Lena grinned at Kara as though she had won some kind of battle of wits the former gladiator had not known she was participating in. Green eyes glittered with triumph and intelligence, crinkling up at the edges in a way that only happened when Lena was truly happy. Kara had seen plenty of the princess’s fake smiles when she dealt with simpering lords and ladies who always seemed to want something. She was glad to be the one to bring it to Lena’s face. Maybe too glad.

Chapter Text

Kara looked more anxious than Lena would have liked for her to. She shifted her weight from foot to foot from her place in the center of the room, hating her lack of a vantage point. What made it worse that her back was to the door. Lena was behind her as well, which made her feel as though she were neglecting her duties. Kara's jaw clenched rhythmically, timed to her stressed out thoughts.

"Please, do try to be still, Ms.Danvers. The more you move around, the longer this will take." the seamstress, M'gann M'orzz instructed.

Kara stood in her breast band and boy shorts on a raised platform hemmed in by a half-circle of mirrors. If it had not been for those, Kara might have insisted upon Lena being in her line of sight. WIth them, Kara could at least keep one eye on her charge. With all of the pins stuck in her, Kara felt very stuck.

Lena appreciated her view more than she felt she rightly should. She could see every muscle in Kara's back flex when the other woman moved. Lena analyzed the patterns of scarring across the sun-bronzed skin and wondered where they may have come from. She wondered what they might feel like under her fingers. Lena had to cut off her train of thought before it took her further than she could come back from.

"So, would you rather start with a dress or more of a suit styled outfit?" M'gann asked, holding up the materials she was considering for each.

Lena joined her and Kara visibly relaxed a bit when she was in her direct line of sight again. The princess ran her hands over the different materials almost reverently. She took a roll of the blue cloth up and held it up to compare against Kara's skin tone, squinting almost comically as she thought.

"This one would really make her eyes pop, I think. It would do well for a suit jacket and pants or a dress. What do you think, Kara?" Lena asked, stepping up to let Kara feel it as well, fighting to manage where her eyes kept trailing off to.

"It is beautiful." Kara replied breathily, amazement shining plainly in her eyes. "I have never felt anything so soft before."

M'gann chuckled to herself as they admired Kara's innocent astonishment.

"You had some concerns in regards to your freedom of movement, correct, Ms.Danvers?" M'gann asked as Lena returned the material to her. "Would you prefer pants to skirts?"
"If it would not be too much trouble, Ms.M'orzz." Kara answered, her cheeks blushing up when she caught the way Lena's eyes were raking her body.

 

"It is no trouble at all. It might even be fun to do something different from the usual sparkly type of dresses." M'gann joked. "No offense to my lady, of course."

"None taken. You know the popular styles are not to my personal tastes." Lena shrugged in response. "I am not a big fan of these kinds of parties either."

"Would you like me to sneak one of your many books in for you, my lady?" Kara asked as she had begun to make a habit of. It had become one of her duties in a way because she wore breeches and it was easier to hide the novel underneath her shirt or jacket.

"I wish, but there will be many eyes on the two of us at this ball, Kara. We will have to be on our very best behavior." Lena said seriously as M'gann began to gather her supplies and get to work on the outfit. "I will likely be accosted by suitors and swept around the dance floor for hours on end making pointless and irritating conversation."

"You know some ladies would kill to be in your position, Highness." M'gann teased. "They dream about the beautiful dresses, the dancing, and the intrigue of court life you were born into. Am I wrong, Ms.Danvers? You certainly knew a girl like that when you were young."

"It is very true, my lady. Girls look up to you as the picture of grace, class, and sophistication that a woman should be. Especially the younger noble women." Kara explained patiently, her smile soft and caring. "Do not worry though, none of them would feel that way anymore if they actually knew you."

"I will take that as a compliment then, Kara." Lena scoffed in amusement. "If you are trying to insult me, you are failing miserably. I would not ever want to be the kind of person they are thinking of anyways. It sounds terribly boring."

"I think you are the best kind of princess, Lena. You are better, kinder, and smarter than I ever would have imagined." Kara replied. "The strangest and best kind of nobility. You could actually end up making a difference in this kingdom and the rest of them should all be taking note."

Kara's eyes were so earnest when she spoke that Lena felt a pang in her chest at the compliment. M'gann's eyes widened in surprise, she made a mental note to check in with Maggie to see what was going on between the two women to see if she should be concerned. There was a danger here, even if she was the only one who could see it.

Chapter Text

or the one where they were too content and happy so something had to happen

“I do not think I have cared very much for this experience.” Kara said softly as she and Lena returned to their rooms for dinner. “It felt like being back at the stadiums for them to look at, as though I were a piece of meat to be used however they liked.”

“You do not ever have to do it again, then. Kara, if you had told me how it was making you feel I would have pulled you out of there, immediately.” Lena said earnestly, her eyes widening in shock.

“I thought you wanted me to look pretty for the party because I am your responsibility. If I were to look bad it would reflect poorly on you, would it not?” Kara asked, seemingly stunned to see that Lena cared. She hated the younger woman still seemed surprised every time someone was kind to her. Kara mistrusted almost everyone who was not the princess. Even Maggie was still on thin ice.

“Yes, how you look is going to reflect on me and is my responsibility as well, but so is your health and comfort. We protect one another, Kara. That is the deal from now on.” Lena cupped Kara’s cheek in one hand.

“I can get behind that.” Kara said with a nod. “You will protect me politically and socially, etcetera; while I protect you physically.” she worked it out aloud.

“Yeah, that is probably going to be just a bit harder for the two of us from here on out.” Lena said as they resumed their walk back to their quarters. “Court season is about to begin and the two of us will be surrounded by nobility and their ilk that we know little to nothing about. I am going to be accosted by suitors and forced to host parties. You will have a lot of studying to do over the next few weeks. There are crests to learn to identify, politics to learn, and most importantly, manners fit for the court.”

“That all really sounds like my own personal brand of hell.” Kara said, her expression seeming taken aback and mildly amused. “You may enjoy your books, histories and dead languages, my lady, but I am a whole other type of person.”

Lena could not help but to grin back at her as Kara moved to hold the door to Lena’s room open with a sloppy but grand flourish. As soon as the princess began to cross the threshold, Kara caught a flash of movement out of the corner of one eye. She pushed Lena out of the way with her shoulder; knocking the princess to the floor and out of harm’s way. The dagger intended for Lena slid with a sick thud into the taut muscle of Kara’s shoulder. She bellowed in pain and grabbed the attacker by his ears, using his momentum to slam her knee into his torso.

The impact wrenched her shoulder painfully, but Lena pushed through, yanking the knife free and slicing through the assassin’s throat in one smooth movement, before letting him drop onto the stone floor. She held one hand over her wound to put a damper on the bleeding as she stepped into the room again to look for any other potential threats. Kara cleared Lena’s room and her own before returning to her charge.

“Lena, my lady, are you hurt? Are you okay?” Kara asked before dropping to her knees heavily beside of the princess, her legs no longer strong enough to hold her up.

“Yes, I am fine. I am safe.” Lena reassured her. “You are not though.... actually you are losing a lot of blood. GUARDS! You need a doctor.”

“I am okay. I am not leaving you. I have had worse, believe me.” Kara said as she propped herself up into a sitting position against the cold stone wall with a sharp wince. The steady thumping of boots on the stone floor alerted them to the arrival of the guards as Lena pressed her handkerchief into the injury to attempt to staunch the bleeding.

“I do not care if you have had worse or not, Kara. I want you to be okay. I definitely do not want you to be getting yourself injured n the line of duty for me. Even if you are meant to be protecting me.” Lena said as she finger-combed sweaty blonde hair out of her protector’s face.

“We should get her to the doc, okay?” one of the guards said, trying to peel the princess away from Kara.

“Get your hands off of me.” Lena growled at him. “I go where she does.”

“Keep people on her at all times, boys. We do not know when or if someone will make another attempt on the princess’s life. If one hair on her head is disturbed while I am not there to do anything about it, I will rip you all limb from limb.” Kara threatened, despite her sweating profusely and being helped on her feet between two very awed men.

All three of the men that Kara’s pained blue eyes had been staring down seemed sufficiently cowed despite her injuries. Lena knew they recognized Kara and were aware of her very specific skill set. If anything were to harm her, Lena knew Kara would make good on her threats. She had every confidence she would remain perfectly safe so long as Kara was the one in charge of her care.

“Someone needs to clean this up and it is not going to be me.” Lena gestured coldly to the dead man on her bedroom floor. “He was wearing one of our uniforms. Someone go and get my brother. This was an inside job.”

Chapter Text

The castle guard ran a full sweep of the palace on the king’s orders. When he arrived to the doctor’s work-room, he pulled an amazing rendition of his ‘concerned about my sister’ act. Kara could see none of the emotion ever managed to touch his eyes. He paid her a cursory visit to receive a retelling of events from her perspective. She told it play-by-play in her most neutral and emotionless voice, possible, humbly prepared to accept whatever punishment the king thought appropriate.

“My sister’s story matches up, though she told it in a light much more flattering to you.” he said with a light sneer, dusting his hands off as though even just being by her bedside somehow made him feel unclean. Lex Luthor swept out of the room without a goodbye or any thanks.

The wound was not as serious as it had initially come across. It was not as deep as the amount of bleeding had suggested, only requiring a handful of stitches. Kara had been banned from any training with the injured arm for fear of tearing the stitches loose. She listened carefully to the physician’s orders with a practiced ear. Kara had experience with similar injuries from her fighting days. They were hard to come back from, but it wasn’t impossible.

As soon as her wound was dressed, Kara sat up with a grunt and re-tied her breast-band more securely with a wince. “Hold on . Hold on and I’ll help you with that.” Lena stopped her as Kara started to pull on the ruined shirt. The blonde visibly brightened and relaxed when she saw Lena enter the room, Maggie hot on her heels.

“You’re okay? You’re safe and unharmed?” Kara asked, jumping to her feet, one hand holding her dressing in place. She barely betrayed a wince as the women rushed to help her back to the cot.

“Of course I’m okay; you’re the one who was stabbed, love. It’s taken me forever to get them to let me come and see you.” Lena said, sitting gently beside of the other woman and tenderly tracing the barrier of cloth over the wound with with one finger. She mistook Kara’s breath catching in her chest as pain and jerked back, though Kara’s eyes would have betrayed her, had Lena been paying attention.

“I’m fine, my lady,” Kara said, edgining away from the princess slightly. “I only regret I did not recognize the presence of an intruder earlier. Things could have been handled much more smoothly if I had been on my game.”

“What do you mean?! You were brilliant, Kara. You saved my life.” Lena protested.

“Yes, ma’am but I had to hurt you in the process and that was unacceptable.” blue eyes were deadly serious and intense, despite her pain.

“Don’t call me ma’am, Kara. You protected me, you did your job, and now we need to take care of you.” Lena said as she gently helped Kara to slide into her shirt, working it carefully over her injured arm.

“If that hadn’t been so nice, I would have thought you sounded like an actual princess, my lady.” Kara scoffed. “I don’t know if I like it when you sound like one.”

“You’re my hero, Kara. I owe you my life. You’ve got to let us take care of you now, at least for a little while. Do you think you want to get clean and go to bed? Would you be able to make it to the bath-house?” Lena asked as she pulled the shirt the rest of the way down, taking note of the bruises. They were swirling shades of blue and green Kara probably didn’t even notice when compared with her shoulder injury.

“Will you do my hair again?” Kara asked, a blush rising into her cheeks.

“Of course I will. Your shoulder probably couldn’t take the stress of reaching back there.” Lena said with a smile that didn’t reach her eyes.

Kara stood shakily.

“I’ll go fetch you some clean clothes and a hairband. The princess will hopefully keep you from doing anything the doctor wouldn’t approve of.” Maggie said, giving Kara one of her most withering looks.

“I will make sure she doesn’t get herself into any trouble.” Lena promised.

“And I will make sure that no more trouble finds the princess.” Kara added, cradling her arm against her chest.

“I’m beginning to think the two of you might be trouble together.” Maggie snorted, but left the two to get into it anyways.

“We don’t mean to be.” Lena grumbled to herself.

“She acts like I got myself stabbed on purpose.” Kara murmured in agreement. “I’ve got scars on my scars, so I don’t really go looking for them anymore. Unless it’s strictly necessary.”

“Did you used to?” Lena asked, looking at Kara earnestly. “Go looking for scars, that is.”

“I didn’t exactly stay out of trouble, as Maggie would have said. Alex, my sister, was a handful when she was younger. I used to follow her around like a lost puppy and discovered a love of fighting. That’s how I ended up in the stadiums. The Danvers family loved me but couldn’t handle how angry I was and I was another mouth to feed. I was a burden, so I left.” Kara shrugged it off, as though the hurt wasn’t still plain on her face.

“I’m so sorry, Kara. Everyone deserves the chance to grow up in a home where they feel loved and accepted unconditionally. After losing your birth parents the way you did; it’s completely understandable for you to have been angry.” Lena said comfortingly, resting one hand on Kara’s good shoulder as they headed slowly down the hall, two men a respectful distance behind them in case someone else tried something. Lena chafed at the feeling of being watched, but Kara had insisted. They left the guards at the door to the bath-house.

“You know, I felt alone as a kid, until Alex, but I think I have a real home here now.” Kara said with a half-smile.

Chapter Text

When Maggie got to the bath-house with fresh clothes and bandages, she felt as though she were intruding on a moment.

Lena was mid-giggle and Kara was smiling a bit tiredly but with a hint of triumph at having brought the look to the princess’ face. She watched for a while more,her heart aching on behalf of the two women. Lena continued to work a comb through Kara’s long blonde hair as the other woman washed with her good hand, being careful to keep her bandage dry. Maggie hated to bother them when they were like this, those moments were so rare.

“Clean clothes and some dressing changes. The master said you were experienced enough to handle them yourself?” Maggie asked as she joined them.

“I am.” Kara said with a nod, her face falling a bit. “Shoulder injuries are one of the worst, but nothing I can not handle. Have our people found the co-conspirators who assisted the assassin into Lena’s room, yet?”

Maggie and Lena were both surprised by the question.

“What do you mean? I had assumed he was working alone.” Lena asked with alarm in her voice.

“While that is a possibility, it is highly unlikely. Someone had to have provided him with one of our uniforms, no one matching his description worked in the palace. You were correct in calling it an inside job, my lady, just not in the way you thought.” Maggie told her. “To answer your question, Kara, His Highness is having the vast majority o f the staff questioned about how he could have gotten as close as he did. They say he is in a true rage about his and you are being lauded as a hero the the kingdom. At the rate the story is spreading you will soon be as legendary a figure as Lord J’onn.”

Kara scoffed at that. “I”m no hero. Anyone else in my position would have done the same.”

Maggie and Lena glanced to one another incredulously. “No, my dear, no one in your position would have been able to do as you did.” Maggie argued.

“Especially with that knife poking out of them.” Lena added. “You saved my life and more than proved your worth as my guard and as my friend. I owe you a life debt.” Lena took one of Kara’s hands in her own and kissed the backs of her her scarred knuckles. The warrior visibly blanched, unsure of how to react.

“You do not owe me anything at all. I would have protected you whether or not your brother had bought me. It is what any decent person would have done.” Kara blushed hard and shrugged off the compliment.

“Your definition of a decent person sets a very high bar, my friend.” Maggie said with a soft chuckle. “I doubt many would meet up to it.”

“I have no doubts you would have done the same thing, Maggie.” Kara argued with a ‘take no prisoners’ expression.

“Well… yeah, but I am not a fair comparison.” Maggie seemed surprised by Kara’s words and just as bashful as the other woman had been.

“It feels pretty wonderful to know I have the two best women I could ever ask for on my side in the kingdom.” Lena said with a warm smile.

“Yes, however, I am going to have to duck out and see if your rooms have been set to rights, lady.” Maggie cleared her throat and headed out. “I am very glad you will both be okay.”

“We will see you shortly, then. Thank you for everything, Maggie.” Lena called after the little woman.

“I hate that you got hurt at all, my lady.” Kara said in a soft tone of voice Lena could not quite identify. One calloused thumb brushed gently over a light purple bruise blooming over the edge of Lena’s jawline.

Kara’s brow furrowed deeply when Lena leaned into her hand subtly. The breath caught in her chest and sank heavily like a stone. Lena’s gaze held Kara’s prisoner and drew her in.

“You have only been here a few months, but I already can not imagine what life would be like without you in it, Kara.” Lena said softly. “Please, try harder to keep yourself from getting killed. I do not think I would be able to bear it.”

“I promise to try harder but my choice will always be you when it comes down to the wire.” Kara’s voice was hoarse and her heart raced, pounding painfully inside of her chest. She could not bear to meet Lena’s earnest gaze for a moment longer, but somehow the idea of looking away seemed worse.

“I suppose it would be asking too much.” Lena broke the silence that had begun to drag on for too long. She pulled away from Kara who immediately missed the contact. Lena blinked away whatever it was that must have momentarily possessed her. “Shall I help you dress?”

Kara could not find her voice, so she nodded dumbly in response. Her thoughts spiraled away without her control. Lena took her hand and helped her to her feet. The princess had lovely hands, Kara noticed, long fingers perfectly suited to the pianoforte and well-manicured. She followed in silence as she worked to regulate her breathing again.

Chapter Text

“So, do you think this Lena and Kara thing is going to be a problem?” Maggie asked M’gann as she watched the older woman work. The embroidery work she was doing on Lena’s dress was beyond anything Maggie had ever seen before.

“Based off of what I saw during Ms.Danvers’ fitting, it is a definite maybe. The two of them have been getting closer but I could not say for sure if it is a real problem yet. We should just keep an eye on them for a while.” M’gann advised without looking up from her careful work on the skirt.

“We have to do better this time. I will have a word with the princess. You remember what happened with Sam.” Maggie said softly. “It took such a long time for the Lena to come back from that and I do not want anything to happen to Kara, either, I have gotten rather attached to the new girl. You know that for all of Lena’s toughness, she still has a tender heart.”

“I know… I want them to be happy as well, but I do not know if they would ever be able to have that together here.” M’gann replied her voice breaking a little as she stood to her full height, turning to face Maggie with a sad smile.

“You also know full well Lena will not ever leave. Not for anyone. She is just as married to the kingdom as her brother. Our poor princess feels beholden to her people.” Maggie’s voice held a hint of pride, despite how much she wanted better for her friend.

“Well, whatever is going on between them, no one can ever know. We can not allow another Sam problem.” M’gann’s voice was serious. “I doubt Lena would be able to come back from that a second time.”

“I know and I will do better this go-around.” Maggie promised. “They do not even know what they are to one another and I doubt Kara would ever make a move, despite her feelings. She seems terrified someone will try to make her leave. The little one still sees herself as less than.”

“You know the effect Lena has on people.” M’gann reminded her.

“That I do.” Maggie scoffed. “I would not be half of who I am without her.”

“Exactly. Who knows what Kara could become under her influence.” M’gann replied. “Are you ready to get the work for our night done?”

-----/////-----

Despite the guards having already checked the rooms quite thoroughly, Kara insisted on running her own sweep before allowing Lena to go in. The princess was exasperated, but humored the other woman nonetheless. She did not want Kara to feel any less capable due to her injury. The princess fell into her bed, more tired than she would have ever expected after their day.

“Are you going to bed, my lady?” Kara asked, standing in the joint doorway, her palm held over her injury.

“I might read for a moment beforehand. Why do you ask?” Lena replied, working to undo her skirt.

“I just wanted to be sure everything was well in here. You do not need anything? I know today can not have been easy for you.” Kara’s words were measured as she assisted the princess as best she could. Lena had already dismissed Maggie for the night.

“It is alright. I can take this from here.” Lena said with a half-smile. She took a seat at her vanity and began to brush out her long dark hair. Kara started to head into her own room, but the princess grabbed her by the wrist before she could. “I, uhm, I do not want you to leave, Kara. Stay, please, I do not think I can be alone tonight. Just wait with me until I fall asleep, please.”

Lena looked more vulnerable than Kara had ever seen her before as she stared up into her face with wide eyes and pink cheeks. She immediately decided that she did not like seeing Lena like this, with none of her usual confidence and casual grace. She hated the fact that Lena seemed scared to ask her. Kara was meant to protect her. She did not care about the form that protection took.

“Of course. I will stay with you however long you would like for me to. Just allow me to get changed and I will be right back.” Kara said with her softest smile, taking the hand that had grabbed hers and gently replacing it in the princess’ lap. If she lingered a moment too long, neither of them acknowledged it.

Kara left the door open just a crack, enough to hear if anything were to happen and still grant them both privacy. She grabbed her gladius to bring with her and lifted it with her left hand, hating how clumsy it felt. Her right could not begin to take the weight. Frustrated, Kara tossed it onto her bed. Something dislodged from her pillow and she cursed under her breath. The necklace had not been there when she had gotten up that morning. Kara picked it up and let it dangle from her fingers.

The emblem was diamond-shaped, with an ‘S’ shape encased within. Before they had passed, it had been the chest of the Zor-El family. Kara had gifted the necklace to her sister before trading herself to the gladiator’s life. Underneath her pillow, Kara also discovered a sketch-book and a charcoal pencil. No one else would have gifted her these things. Alex had found her.

Kara shuddered and gasped, replacing pencil and book underneath her pillow. The necklace, she looped over her throat and pulled a clean sleeping shift on. Kara’s breaths came in short gasps momentarily before she gathered herself and took a seat beside of Lena’s bed quietly; arranging her sword across her lap and leaning back against the wall.

“You are not sitting in the floor all night. Get up here, you goof.” Lena scoffed. “Just to sleep, do not worry your pretty head.”

Chapter Text

Kara kicked off her shoes and laid down on the covers so there was a barrier between them. She set her sword beside of the bed where she could reach it easily. Kara never actually intended to go to sleep when she came into the room. Lena’s head fell onto Kara’s shoulder an hour in and rested comfortably and she was so warm against her Kara could not help but lean back in. She fell asleep with one hand on her sword hilt and the other tangled with Lena’s.

When Kara woke up, her sword was still in her hand but Lena was wrapped around her from behind. The princess’ chin was hooked over her shoulder, her nose buried in long blonde hair. Kara’s hand was flat against her own stomach, with Lena’s over it, still laced with Kara’s as well. The former gladiator froze. She was terrified that if she moved, Lena would wake. Kara’s breath caught in her chest.

Kara buried her face in her pillow and closed her eyes as tightly as she could. She wanted to memorize everything about this moment. Kara could feel every rise and fall of Lena’s chest against her back in time with each breath. Lena was sleeping heavily, her expression peaceful in a way she never looked when she was awake. Kara closed her eyes and enjoyed the moment until Lena woke for breakfast.

The princess brushed Kara’s hair out of her face gently as blue eyes fluttered open.

“Good morning, my lady. Did you sleep well?” Kara asked, pretending to have only just woken up as well.

“Yes, thanks to you. I was rather surprised you slept at all. How does your shoulder feel?” Lena asked, propping her face up, on one hand, to look down into Kara’s face.

“It could be better and it could be worse. It is not the worst injury I have ever had, but it is definitely in the top ten.” Kara said thoughtfully with a wince as she tried to rotate it. “I am not going to be worth my salt as a guard for a few weeks at least.”

“I think you are worth so much more than anyone could ever pay for you. One can not put a price on a human life.” Lena insisted. “Besides, you can fight left-handed, right?”

“Yeah, but it is a lot harder and I would definitely not be my most skilled.” Kara shrugged it off. “It is like I am only half as good and I do not want you to ever be at risk because I am at fifty percent.”

“Your fifty percent is twice as good as anyone else’s one hundred.” Lena scoffed. “I have the utmost faith in you.”

“I will do everything within my power to live up to your belief in me.” Kara swore, getting out of the bed and hefting her sword in her left hand.

Lena watched Kara, sitting up against her headboard for a better view. She moved slowly and went through the first handful steps of her first form. Lena could see it was a bit more stilted and awkward feeling than when Kara was at full strength, but she was still graceful and powerful beyond anything she had ever seen before. She had no doubt Kara could take anyone who came after her, even when fighting left-handed. Lena watched with rapt attention, completely absorbed in the way Kara was moving. It pained her not to be able to help the other woman.

“At this point, I do not think I could ever be disappointed by you.” Lena said with a gentle smile. Kara turned back to face her and sheathed her sword, replacing it beside of the bed. She curled one hand around her pendant and squeezed, hating the fact it felt like she was lying.Kara hated it more than she ever possibly thought she would.

Lena could see the pain behind Kara’s eyes as she clutched at her shirt, she dismissed it and turned away to give the other woman some privacy. Lena knew she ought to have brought in another guard of some kind, even just to keep the pressure off of Kara, but hated even the mere idea of another pair of eyes on her. She liked the way her life worked now.

“I am going to have to work on this. I can not work for you like I am now, at least not as effectively as I should be able to.” Kara said through gritted teeth.

“I will set something up for you, then. Maybe my uncle would be willing. He seemed quite taken with you. You can learn all you will need to for court as well with him.” Lena considered as Maggie knocked and let herself into the room.

“Thank you, my lady.” Kara said awkwardly. “I will go and get cleaned up then.”

Maggie closed the door to its usual crack and whirled around on the princess.

“Did she spend the night?!” she asked with none of her usual decorum.

“Yes, but it is not like you are thinking. All we did was sleep. I was concerned about further threats.” Lena blushed a deep shade of pink.

“My lady, you know how this looks. You have to understand my concern.” Maggie stared her down sternly as she helped Lena to get dressed. “Kara Danvers is a wonderful young woman and I know how you like to… fix people, but your station and your brother would never allow that to happen.

“I know, Maggie. Sam was all of the lesson I ever needed. It can never be, I understand.” the princess seemed truly crestfallen but Maggie knew it had to happen.

Chapter Text

Kara clenched her jaw and pulled the pendant out of her shirt to look it over. She could not believe the fact it was really here, and that somehow, Alex had managed to get it to her. Tears welled up in her eyes; she did not know how she was supposed to feel. If her sister were to attempt a ‘rescue’ Kara did not know if she would leave with her or not. Kara loved her sister more than anything else in her life but the palace, life with Lena and Maggie, it had become her home.

She gave herself to the count of ten to gather herself. It took a couple of gasps and a swipe at her eyes with the back of her hands, before she managed it. Kara replaced the pendant under her shirt and breast-band before beginning the now arduous task of getting ready for her day. When Maggie popped her head into the room to check on her, she was fighting to change the bandage on her shoulder.

“You do not have to do that on your own, Kara. This is why you have friends.” Maggie smacked the back of her hand and took the gauze and wrap from her to bind the wound herself. “Between you and my lady, we have enough stubbornness for an entire team of mules.”

“I am going to take that as a compliment.” Kara decided aloud. Maggie rolled her eyes in exasperation, but the glimmer of humor in her dark eyes betrayed her.

“You should. You are everything I could have ever asked for in a protector for Lena.” Maggie said as she helped Kara into a clean shirt and pants. The handmaiden even went so far as to tie her boots, much to Kara’s amazement.

“No one has ever done so much for me before.” Kara said softly. “My sister used to handle my dressings for me and all of my other treatments, but no one ever cared… “

The blonde trailed off and Maggie could tell there was something different, the former gladiator was not wholly present in the conversation.

“Do not get too used to it. I am only doing this until you can do it yourself.” Maggie shrugged as she watched Kara fasten her gladius on the opposite hip from where it usually was. Kara gave it a few practice draws and offered Maggie a half-smile.

“I am all good. Thank you for everything.” blue eyes sparkled and perfectly white teeth gleamed. Maggie felt her heart melt somewhat. She could not believe that this human embodiment of sunshine could hurt a fly… except for having seen it first-hand. In Maggie’s opinion, being so beautiful and so charming made her all that much more dangerous.

“You are very welcome. You had best go meet the lady, lord and His Highness in the hall for breakfast.” Maggie sent Kara on her way and sighed heavily, unsure of what more she could do for the two women.

-----/////-----

“Thank you for your patience, my lady. Maggie very kindly helped me to get ready.” Kara said with a greeting smile. “Your injury seems much better after some rest.”

Lena and Kara spoke quietly until they reached the banquet hall where the king and J’onn waited.

“Good morning, your Highness, my lord uncle.” Lena said with a shallow curtsy befitting her station as Crown Princess.

Kara placed a fist over her heart, no matter how it hurt and bowed deeply from the waist without another word.

“Little sister, have a seat. It is good to see you are well. Your woman seems to have bounced back some over-night as well.” Lex said, though his tone suggested the opposite. Kara had to wonder if he had hoped her injury had taken her in her sleep. It was more than possible and happened to more than one of her fellows in the stadium barracks.

“Kara is a good and faithful servant. She has surpassed every expectation I ever had when you brought her home for me, my liege. I have no doubt she will continue to do so, injury or no injury.” Lena’s tone was neutral but firm and Kara saw something she did not appreciate flash behind the king’s eyes in response. Nothing about her injury made her any less alert. Kara cleared her throat lowly.

“Sire, I would not do that if I were you. Those gladiator types can be quite wild.” J’onn said lowly, his tone thick with dire warnings.

“Hm. You may be right.” Lex said softly and set his knife back on the table.

Lena was amazed to see that Kara’s expression had not changed once. Then she caught the slightest glimpse of silver sailing past her face, followed by the solid thumping sound of steel sticking into wood. She snapped around to see her guard had only taken the slightest of steps to the left and allowed the weapon to pass by her as though it were nothing.

With her good hand, Kara pulled it from the wall and juggled it up and down, blade over handle. Holding it by the blade, she flicked her wrist and sent it back, over the king’s head to land right between the eyes of the stuffed boar hanging over the wall behind him.

Without waiting to see it stick, Kara stepped back into her place. J’onn laughed heartily at the look on Lex’s face as Lena feigned a coughing fit to disguise her laughter. Kara continued to remain neutral.

“I did warn you, sire.” J’onn said with a shrug. “I am half-surprised she did not scalp you, nephew.”

“You have not seen her in action the way I have, Lex. She seems pretty and innocent but she can be a force worth reckoning with when angered.” Lena added, still eating.

“I have half of a mind to have her tried for treason.” Lex growled. He seemed to gather himself shortly. “I guess you are correct though, Uncle. Creatures like her do not know any better, do they?”

Lena clenched her fists and bit the inside of her cheek at that. There was truly no way that the three of them would be able to continue living together under these circumstances. Someone or something was going to have to break.

Chapter Text

“You cannot be pulling stunts like that, Kara. He could have you killed for it. If my uncle had not covered for you…” Lena grabbed Kara’s arm in a bruising hold and dragged her into an empty room, eyes burning with anger.

“I had to, Lena. He would not have any respect for me otherwise.” Kara said stubbornly. She stared Lena down evenly. “That knife he threw was less than an inch from your face. My job is to protect you even if it is your own brother I am having to protect you from.”

“Your job is to not get your own dumbass killed.” Lena hissed. In the back of her mind she was proud of Kara for fighting back; against her brother and against herself. She would never tell the other woman that, though.

“I am pretty sure it is not.” Kara scoffed.

“It is because I said so.” Lena retorted. “You serve me and I am the princess.”

“Oh my gods, you are exactly like a ten-year-old.” Kara said as she rolled her eyes.

“Says the girl who basically just used ‘he started it’ to excuse picking a fight with the ruler of this entire nation.” Lena replied. She took a deep breath to attempt to steady herself again. Kara only then realized Lena was trembling. She softened some and pulled her in against her chest without thinking about it first.

“I am sorry for having frightened you and I am sorry for losing my temper.” Kara apologized as she waited for Lena to calm, ignoring the persistent ache in her arm. “I will do my best to keep your feelings in mind from now on. I am not used to having people concerned about me, but that is no excuse.”

“Thank you. I do not want anything to happen to you.” Lena said as she relaxed against Kara, her arms making their away Kara’s waist, her face resting on her good shoulder, Kara’s chin resting softly on top of her head. She felt protected in those strong arms. “I really do not think I could cope with losing anyone else.”

“I will do my best to make sure you do not ever have to. However, if anyone were to try and hurt you, I want you to know my first move will always be to put myself between you and the blade. First and foremost, I am your protector, your first line of defense.” Kara's voice was soft but Lena loved the way she could hear it rumble inside of her chest.

“I think I can deal with that.” Lena answered, pulling away from Kara after another squeeze. “Do not think that this means I am not angry with you anymore. You have your first lesson with my uncle this morning. Meet him in the yard in half an hour. Try not to pick any other fights with the nobility until then.”

Kara did her best to hide her grin but failed as Lena headed off to her lessons in the royal library. She straightened her shirt out where Lena had rumpled it, courted to ten, and headed out after her.

-----/////-----

Lord J’onn was even less of what Kara expected out of nobility than the princess had been. He laughed a lot, and loudly, though he could be stern. He smiled with his whole face and even when he was being firm with her, he was kind. Kara wished she had had someone like him in her life when she had first moved into the barracks at the stadium. Even now, he was exactly what she needed.

“No, no, imagine in here-” he pointed at Kara’s head with one finger. “What your opponent will do next, then feel your next move in here-” he tapped squarely over Kara’s heart with the tips of two fingers. “before you move. It all has to come from your heart.”

“Yes, my lord.” Kara answered, resetting to their original position. She and J’onn had been at this for the past hour and her shirt was soaked through with sweat. Her shoulder throbbed and exhaustion dragged at her arms.

They were sparring with practice swords in their non-dominant hands at half the speed an actual fight would take place in. J’onn had told her he believed every fighter worth their salt ought to be able to fight with both hands equally well. She had never met anyone who delighted in a good fight the way Lord J’onn J’onzz did. He talked even as Kara threw everything she had at him, batting her away as though she were nothing. Kara had never fought or even practiced with someone who was this much better than her before. She did not know if she liked it yet. Finally, he disarmed her and knocked her back into the dirt for the fifth time in a row.

“You are doing well, better than I did when I first started to train my left hand. Mostly I would recommend you begin to specifically strengthen this arm, but you will have to do so without further harming your injured shoulder. That is most important.” J’onn said defensively. “You are a wonderful warrior, Kara. I have not had this much fun in the yard in a long time.”

“You know sire, I do not think I have ever met anyone quite like you before.” Kara said nervously. “The way you fight… it is almost as though you are having fun.” she said as she sat on the bench and took a long drink of water.

“I do have fun. When you are fighting, but not fighting for your life, it is more like a mental game of chess. You are trying to get three steps ahead in your mind at all times.”

“I will keep all of this in mind, sire.” Kara said with a grin.

“Be aware, even when you are not in a fight, young miss. You cannot be pulling alpha female stunts like that with the fucking king.” J’onn said with a tone of respectful scolding. “I have discussed you with him and he filled me in on the situation beforehand. Your sister is in a precarious position and I know you do not want to make things worse for her. My nephew can be cruel and I know he will do whatever it takes to keep you and your princess under her thumb.”

“I will do better.” Kara said, seeming crestfallen. “You will not tell Lena, will you?”

“Of course not. That is not my story to tell. Did you get the present she had me deliver for you?” he asked.

Chapter Text

Lena could very clearly see Kara felt a lot more confident, though significantly more tired as well when they met up again for lunch. She was concerned Kara might even fall asleep while they were eating.

“Did you learn a lot?” Lena asked her as she sipped her tea.

“Enough to leave me sore all over.” Kara groaned, sitting with perfect posture despite her pain. Lena could see more than one welt developing across her good arm… or used to be considered her good arm. She debated for a moment whether or not it would be appropriate to give her lord uncle a scolding for the bruising. “How about you, my lady?”

“I have been going over the way different farmers and their crops impact our economy.” Lena said, her eyes lighting up as she began to fill Kara in on everything she had gone over. She found it captivating, the way Lena talked about things most would have found incredibly boring. Kara could not enjoy Lena’s ramblings, however, because J’onn’s words continued to echo in the back of her mind.

Kara had not gotten the chance to ask her tutor what he had meant by his words about her sister at the end of their session. Alex Danvers had always been something of a handful, but she was brilliant as well. The two of those facts put together had left her as a dangerous member of their small town, though all she had really ever wanted to do was help people. Kara wished she had better been able to protect Alex so she could have been who she was meant to be. She would do better this time she knew.

It was one of the only times Kara had not been around to keep an eye on her older sister. Someone had put her sister in position to be framed for a murder, and before she was able to do a thing about it, Alex had been arrested and dragged away. Now somehow, her sister knew where Kara was and how to get her family crest pendant to her. Though a lord no less. She did not know how to feel.

Lena had no been talking for a long minute but Kara did not seem to have noticed. SHe was instead staring off into space with a concerned expression. Kara was usually sunny and bright as opposed to how perturbed she seemed right then. Lena sat back and waited for the moment to be over as opposed to bringing up the fact Kara was no longer paying any attention to her. She wanted to ask what was wrong but Kara kept thinking back to what Maggie had said about Sam and how she didn’t want the same thing to happen to Kara.

Lena knew for sure that something was very off with Kara and had been for a while now. It seemed as though it had begun around the same time as Kara had sustained her injury or maybe when they had spent the night together. Lena had not thought about whether or not the experience would make Kara uncomfortable. It did not explain everything but Lena felt as though it had to hold some truth. Maybe in some ways, Kara’s confidence or ego or something had been damaged after she had been stabbed.

“Oh, sorry, Lena. I got a bit distracted for a moment there. You were saying?” Kara said with a short shake of her head when she realized how she had been spaced out.

“It is alright, I know you must be exhausted.” Lena’s tone was kind and understanding as the blonde massaged at her eyes with the heels of her hands.

“I am okay, really. You know I am not going to leave you alone under any circumstances.” Kara scoffed.

“Especially when I am only just getting any good with my left hand. If anyone thinks you are vulnerable because of my injury then they have something else coming to them.” Kara’s grin was so charming and forced it broke Lena’s heart a little.

“Maybe we should go and take a nap for a few hours. After having worked so hard, you should really rest your injuries. You will be useless to me if you wear yourself down to the bone.” Lena teased not unkindly. She stood and offered Kara her hand despite the action being somewhat against protocol.

Lena led Kara back to their rooms and waited for her guard to do another sweep of the rooms. Kara insisted upon it now, usually in tandem with a posted guard at the door in the hall. The princess accepted it graciously but was concerned for Kara. As much as the blonde hated to let Lena out of her sight, it made Lena nervous as well. She never felt quite as safe with anyone else.

“You will be safe for the time being, my lady. Go ahead and get settled, I will be right in.” Kara said softly. Lena gave Kara a look but did as she was told. The blonde slumped against the wall in almost exactly the same spot where she had fallen when stabbed. Kara took deep breaths and attempted to settle her racing heartbeat. For some reason, she wanted desperately to tell Lena everything., but knew for sure she never could. It took her a minute to pull herself together but quickly put on a brave face.

“Would you like me to help you into a nightgown?” Lena asked, already wearing her own.

“If you do not mind.” Kara said almost shyly. Lena followed her into the adjoining room and took note of the wince and slight sheen of cold sweat across her face. She slid the soft blue material over Kara’s head as gently as possible. Kara had bled through her bandage and her skin was clammy to the touch. Lena could see a faint outline of every muscle in her abdomen, shoulders, and back.

While she was more than mildly impressed and very attracted to her guard, Lena was also very worried that the blonde might be pushing herself too hard. WIthout scolding or nagging, no matter how much she wanted to, Lena peeled away the dressing, cleaned the wound and placed a new bandage on it. Kara slid into a clean nightgown and into bed before Lena even left the room.

Chapter Text

Kara did not manage to sleep for very long. After everything she had seen and been through, her dreams were not exactly peaceful. Kara did not ever seem to sleep for more than four or four and a half hours at a time. She could not help but remember all of the people she had lost, and all of the people she had caused others to lose. Kara was beyond guilt about those she had killed in the stadium, every fight was fair, but she could not help but think of those in the stands having to watch their loved ones die.

It was those faces that woke her each morning before the sun had even begun to rise.
Kara took a seat at the small writing desk in the corner, where she and Lena would write her weekly reports to Lex. She pulled out her notebook and a stick of charcoal. She simply gazed at the blank sheet, without contemplating what she would do; allowing the sketch to take her wherever it might want to go. Kara truly lost herself when she was drawing.

Her mind went blank or sank into itself or something and she felt at peace in those rare moments. She lost all sense of time and her ears were alert only for Lena. It was a side-effect of having taken on Lena as a friend and as someone to protect. The princess had changed everything for Kara and she did not know if she appreciated it. Kara did know she would do anything for the other woman. Anything at all.

She did not know if Lena realized or not, and she really needed to take a step back emotionally. Kara was getting too close and could not allow herself to start wanting something she could never have. It was too much of a risk.

Kara easily heard the soft rise and fall of Lena’s breathing through the opened door, or maybe she was imagining it. It was not until she heard the princess stirring that she realized she had drawn Lena without being consciously aware. In the sketch, Lena’s dark hair was splayed out behind her across the pillows as the thin nightgown barely did anything to keep her covered. Kara groaned abashedly, mad at herself for having allowed things to get this far. She closed the notebook, put away the stick of charcoal, and replaced it underneath her pillow.

“Are you up?” Lena asked from the doorway in a whisper.

“Yeah, I could not sleep very well.” Kara said as she did her best to dress on her own.

She was tired of needing others’ help to put her clothes on. Kara was just generally tired of being at less than one hundred percent. She pulled her belt and sheath tight around her waist, still on the opposite side for the time being. When she stood up again, she remembered just how sore she was. Kara wanted nothing more than to be able to fight like she was meant to, in order to protect the princess.

“I can understand after all we went through together this week, but in my case at least, having you next door is a true comfort to me.” Lena’s voice was sweet but also concerned. “I wish I could help you in some way.”

“I am glad to be able to put you at ease, my lady.” Kara replied in an even tone. She laced her boots and knocked to see if Lena was decent.

“Are you ready for dinner or is there something else you would like to do?” she asked.

“I was thinking I could perhaps review the noble families with you before we retire for dinner. We are running rather short on time before the court season begins.” Lena said hopefully, unsure of what was going on with the beautiful but sad blonde woman.

“Yeah, we can do that. Your Lord Uncle has been beating them into me pretty well.” Kara chuckled.

“He has not been too harsh with you has he?” the princess asked, her eyebrow raised in consternation as though she would give J’onn J'onzz a piece of her mind if he had been anything less than gentle and kind.

“Nothing like that. So far, this is what has worked the best for me?” Kara said sheepishly. “It sounds odd, but he tests me on everything as we spar and it all stays in my mind better that way.”

“I understand that. Different people use different methods to learn. Maybe the movement helps you.” Lena shrugged as she sat with her books at the small table in her room.

Kara gave her a half-smile and sat down across from her, more self-conscious than she had been before. Book knowledge had never been her strong suit. It made her incredibly uncomfortable to be faced with her own lack of education. It was one of her few true regrets, not that she had ever had anyone to encourage her to learn or really do anything on her own. Kara had dragged herself through the trenches and into the spotlight.

Lena could visibly see Kara squash her insecurities and settle into work out the nobility’s drama on paper. There were a lot of stories that Kara did not expect and the way that Lena told them made her laugh out loud more than once. The study sessions were not helping her with distancing herself at all but somehow, Kara did not really mind.

Chapter Text

“The Lady Lucy Lane is sister to… ?” J’onn J’onzz bellowed as Kara did everything in her power to fend off the attacks of the young man she was sparring with. The swords were still steel but the edges were blunted. They hurt like a bitch anyway.

Kara grunted as she parried his wild strikes. She wracked her brain, attempting to come up with the answers, even as she tried to predict Winn’s next moves. He was not half the fighter Kara was at full strength, but about even when she worked with her left hand. Kara discovered she rather liked the young man. He was sweet and funny, the real kind of friend material if Kara were willing to give him a chance.

Kara, however, was more preoccupied with her lessons and trying to stay away from Lena; emotionally at least. It was not going as well as she would have liked.

“Lois Lane, also a lady and daughter to Baron Lane… oof, a quill and a sword crossed on a blue field.” Kara grunted out her answers as Winn continued to attack her mercilessly.

Kara’s training felt very similar to torture but she was getting much stronger. Her right arm was healing rapidly and her range of motion had greatly improved as well. Kara dressed and was very nearly ready to wash by herself, her new goals in life. She was having about as much luck learning all the noble families.

J’onn observed watchfully as Kara continued wracking her brain over his question and fighting Winn Schott. He was a good kid and J’onn thought he might be good for the young woman. She needed people in her life who were not Lena and Maggie. Winn was at least slightly closer in age to her. Kara was handling just about everything he could throw at her like a champion. J’onn was ten times more impressed by her than he ever expected.

“The lady Lois Lane is married to…?” he shouted over the clanging din of training soldiers. Kara had knocked all of them on their asses at least once.

“She is married into the Kent family.” Kara shouted back just as Winn closed in to try to get under her guard.

“I need a name, young lady.” J’onn added with a chuckle. “It was a nice try, though. If you are not careful, young man, she is really going to get you.”

“Uh, Kent? Clark Kent?” Kara asked, choking on the hard ‘K’s with her teeth gritted. People had been known to bite off their own tongues at times in battle.

“Okay, you can be done now. I think we can call that one a draw.” J’onn said, his eyes amused but mouth serious. “You have improved a lot, Ms.Danvers, and Mr.Schott, you continue to successfully hold your own.”

Kara turned and shook her opponent’s hand respectfully. “You are a fair opponent, Winn Schott. You do your family proud.” she always said something along those lines to him after one of their bouts and he always seemed surprised. The young man seemed to be in awe of her.

“You do me proud as well, Ms.Kara.” Lena called over the crowd of spectators who were observing.

“Thank you, my lady.” Kara replied with a stiff bow, pulling up the hem of her shirt to wipe at her forehead. Lena could hear a collective gasp at the sight. She understood the feeling quite well. It never failed to impress. Deep inside, however, Lena felt a distinct sense of possessiveness towards Kara.

“Your strength training exercises have proven effective. If you continue to improve in the manner you have, you will be nearly as good with your left as your right. Your stitches were removed weekend last, correct?” J’onn asked as he accompanied Kara towards the changing rooms.

“Yes, my lord.” Kara answered. “The doctor said it should be fully healed within a fortnight.”

“If you are so far along, then I would like to see you at full speed, as though you meant it.” said another imposing voice from the sidelines. Kara and J’onn turned to look for who had spoken and a low rumble spread throughout the crowd.

“Your Highness.” Kara greeted the king; bowing low from the waist. Her body had adjusted well to the training and was stronger now even than when she had come to live at the palace. “Who would you have me spar then, my king?”

“Someone equal to your own current strength, I think. My own skills are quite rusty, but I could do with the exercise.” Lex Luthor hopped smoothly over the low fence which separated the courtyards from the training yards.

The king was clearly fit, but no one had expected this. Kara swallowed heavily. She drew the dulled version of her gladius and tossed it from her right hand to her left experimentally. Her eyes followed his movements as he removed his crown and handed it reverently to an attendant. The king removed his overcoat and undershirt, leaving his torso wholly naked. Kara was glad to be far enough away he could not hear her scoff.

Lena and J’onn had warned her repercussions would come from her actions, but Kara never thought she might get to have this much fun earning those repercussions.

Chapter Text

“Uhm, am I supposed to take off my shirt as well?” Kara asked J’onn, looking mildly uncomfortable but not willing to wholly reject the idea.

“I would not think so. I want you to know if I could find a way to get you out of this, I would. If I could take your place, I would. However, I have the utmost confidence in your ability to find a way out of this...my lady.” He murmured kindly, his eyes steady on hers and full of meaning. Kara started at the way he spoke to her as though she were royalty. “Whether you win this bout or lose Kara, he will be the winner either way.”

Kara nodded seriously in reply, observing everything Lex Luthor did. While it may have seemed she was merely nervous or intimidated by the imminent fight, she was actually doing her best to quickly analyze the way he moved. Kara rotated her shoulders in an attempt to loosen herself up. She had never thought to take any particular note of the way the king moved before. The best way to win was to know your opponent, besides the work she put in on her own time, her training and her experience. Kara had studied the vast majority of her opponents as they trained before ever hitting the sand with them.

Kara’s eyes locked with Lena’s from across the yard as the other woman radiated concern. She nodded, doing her best to convey confidence as she did so. Kara felt almost calm about the fight but wondered about the possible political ramifications. She knew there was no way this would end well for her. It was clear she had been set up.

Politics were more in Lena’s wheelhouse and the princess had promised her protection and Kara trusted her to do what she could on her behalf.

“My king, are you ready?” J’onn asked his nephew, whose face was set like stone in preparation for the fight. Kara could see only the slightest amount of anxiety behind his eyes.

Lex nodded and accepted the dulled practice blade one of the attendants offered him. The king clearly thought he was capable of winning or that Kara would throw the fight on his behalf. She knew him to be wrong on all counts. He whipped the blade through the air in front of him a few times and Kara rolled her eyes in exasperation. It seemed he would do most of her work for her.

“I am ready whenever he is.” Kara said with a slight shrug. She feigned impenetrable confidence with ease, feeling as though if Lex were to continue acting like he had this in the bag she would win this easily.

“I believe in you, kid.” J’onn said softly, patting her on the back before he crossed the grass to say a few words to his nephew. His confidence in her made her feel as though she could do anything.

Kara closed her eyes for a moment, willing her heart rate to calm and her thoughts to stop racing. Despite her attempts to close out the rest of the world, Kara could feel all of the eyes on her. It was one of the worst parts of her time as a gladiator. She despised the feeling of them all watching her and waiting on the edge of their seats for her to get hurt or worse. These crowds gathered for blood like vultures and were never satisfied until they saw it flowing into the sand. The only exception Kara was certain of was Lena and maybe J’onn.

Kara removed her sheath and gestured for Winn to come over and assist in retying her greaves. “Tell the princess not to watch, especially if things begin to head south for me.” Her voice was serious as she stared straight into his eyes. Winn was more than a little threatened by her. He pulled the laces tight and nodded.

“Yes, ma’am. I know you will come out of this right as rain. Not to sound treasonous but my bets will all be on you.” his grin encouraged her much more than she had thought it would.

“Thank you, Winn. Keep an eye on the princess for me, please.” Kara clapped him on the back and sent him on his way. She rotated the now familiar practice sword in her hand around and around, looking for the sweet spot before finding her place in the center of the field, her back to Lena. Kara did not know if she would be able to do this while seeing the concern and fear in Lena’s eyes.

“You may just be a stupid piece of muscle I bought, but even you should have known better than to throw a weapon at me.” Lex said darkly as he came to face her.

“You, sir, should really stop underestimating the women in your life. I may be spying for you, but your sister would obviously be ten times the monarch you are, even I know this. At least she gives a shit.” Kara scoffed, refusing to let his digs get to her. His taunts were a childish attempt to get into her head and the former gladiator was much too experienced to fall for those kinds of tricks.

“Kara Danvers, you know what I have on you. You would be wise to let this end the way it was always meant to end.” Lex hissed under his breath before coming at her with a wild attack towards her midriff.

Kara jumped back and to the side, easily deflecting his blade.

“I have done all you have asked of me since you brought me into this life I did not ask for and you have done nothing but attack me since. I no longer believe my sister is in your custody, and thus I have nothing to lose.” Kara spoke evenly as their blades crossed and she planted a solid kick in his chest to emphasize her point. “Now, back the fuck up off of me and the princess before you find yourself seriously hurting.” Kara backhanded him with her hilt and he fell. She thrust her blade point down into the dirt beside of the king’s head, turned and walked away.

Chapter Text

“You do not listen to a damn word I say, do you?!” J’onn bellowed, following the princess’ guard into her changing room. “Not only did you humiliate the king of this realm again; this time you gathered an audience first.”

“I listened to you, my lord. I just did not take your advice.” Kara replied, groaning slightly as she changed.

“I knew you were reckless, but I did not know you were an idiot to boot.” J’onn groaned from the doorway, his back to her.

“Alex is not in the castle dungeons, J’onn.” Kara said as evenly as she possibly could with her heart in her throat. “You have told me as much. In that case, my sister is safe and the king has nothing on me. I am free to escape and do as I please.”

“Nothing on you?!” J’onn said with a dark scoff. “He has Lena. He has the country and the throne. There is next to nothing he can not do and you have basically just declared war on him. Find me when you are dressed. I will collect my niece and meet you at M’gann’s in an hour.” he stomped away as Kara finally began to deflate and weigh the consequences of her actions.

“M’gann’s? Why would we meet up at M’gann’s?” she asked herself, pulling her belt tight without pausing as she quickly dressed. Kara had so many more questions than she did answers, but she knew for sure she was not sticking around to discover an answer for them.

Adrenaline still coursed through her veins. Kara felt ready to fight again, no matter how tired she was. The combination of anxiety and the rush of the fight flooded her system. She felt almost as though she could take on anything and anyone Lex Luthor had to throw at her. Especially to protect the princess.

With her sword in hand, Kara stretched her head around and glanced into the hallway to check for guards before ducking out and carefully heading towards the princess’ quarter. She replaced the weapon smoothly, feeling almost at one hundred percent, and none of the soreness she had become used to since her injuries.

Kara moved quickly and quietly, doing her best to avoid every guard, but she knew she would not be able to remain undetected. She knew they would be around every corner and they were all looking for her with the worst kind of intentions. Kara only barely made it into her room without being caught. In only a matter of moments, she shoved all of her possessions into a bag and hefted it over her shoulder. She ducked into Lena’s room and added the other woman’s most precious books into her bag before heading down to M’gann’s workroom to meet the others.

Her path was blocked halfway down the hall by a guard she did not recognize. Kara sheathed her sword again, noting the twinge in her shoulder at the weight and turning the belt onto her other hip. Without noticing, she had buckled it onto her left hip as though her right shoulder had been at one hundred percent. She was amazed her arm had held out as well as it had for as long it had. Kara stepped into view as bold as brass, waiting for the boy to react. He could not have been more than twenty years old.

“Ms.Danvers, His Majesty has requested your presence in the throne room.” he said, looking simultaneously stern and intimidated by her.

“Yeah, I do not think that is going to happen, little fellow.” Kara scoffed, giving him her best stare down.

“I will give you this one opportunity to just turn around and walk away. No one has to know you let me go.”

He questioned her offer for a moment but shook it off. WIth a hand that clearly shook, he drew his weapon. She sighed in exasperation and gestured for him to come at her.

“Are you not going to defend yourself?” he asked in a voice that trembled as well.

“Yes, but if I drew, I would probably kill you and I do not want to do that. You are just following orders; you do not have to die. ” Kara shrugged and gestured again for him to make his move.

He charged her headlong; using the last remnants of his bravery. She sidestepped him easily and grabbed his collar, knocking his feet out from under him and bashing his face in with her knee.

“You gave it a shot, buddy.” Kara shrugged and straightened out her shirt. She continued stubbornly down the corridor. If all of the guards were as easy to handle as that one, it would not take her as long to get where she was going she thought.

Kara cleared her blade in its sheath and checked her gear as she walked steadily down the path. She was more confident and anxious now than she had been jittery before. Suddenly the plain fact that Lex would most certainly have her executed if he got his hands on her became clear. Kara knew she could not allow herself to be taken. She would rather fall in battle than have her sad bloody head roll to the dirt in front of a crowd.

Really her pride kept Kara from accepting that particular vision of her demise. And Kara had come to realize Lena would never acquiesce to planning for Kara’s inevitable death. Mustering her new found literacy, she detailed her wishes in a letter and trusted Lord J’onn to share it with Lena when the time came.

Chapter Text

Kara headed into the workshop with a sigh of relief. Tears welled in her eyes as she saw Lena across the room. J’onn had delivered. She dropped the bag with their things onto a table and crossed the room in three steps, not noticing anything or anyone else. Lena gasped when she saw Kara, clearly relieved. She melted against the blonde woman as Kara wrapped her arms around her.

“You are bleeding!” Lena said with a voice full of concern when after a long moment Kara finally let her go.

“Yeah, I ran into some opposition on my way here, but I stopped and got some of our things. Now, what is this meeting about?” Kara asked, more confused than she cared to admit. Easily, as though she had been meant to, Lena tucked herself underneath Kara’s arm.

J’onn guided the tired warrior to sit down and Maggie rushed over to treat the various minor injuries. Lena held onto her shoulder gently, maybe just as a reminder they were both still there or just for comfort, Kara did not know, but she definitely did not mind.

“Everyone in this room has secrets.” J’onn announced gravely. “Until now, those secrets have served their purpose in the best interests of our kingdom and our princess. Now, however, they are more of a liability than an asset. We all have to be honest.”

Eyes throughout the room widened and the members of the small party eyed one another nervously.

“Would you like to get us started, Ms.Danvers?” J’onn gestured to the dais and offered her the floor.

“Not particularly, my lord, but I get the feeling I do not exactly have a choice in the matter, do I?” Kara grumbled as Maggie checked over her latest injury and continued to fuss over her. “If you are offering me an out I would really appreciate it.”

“What is he talking about, Kara?” Lena asked, looking concerned and more than a little hurt. “Have you been hiding something?”

“A few things, actually and I do not know how my lord knows… unless, did you get Alex to tell you?” Kara asked, halfway glaring at J’onn. He nodded in response, though he was impressed she had guessed the source of his information.

“Alex, as in… Alex, your sister?” Lena asked, trying to fit together all of the pieces she was hearing.

“The key, in this case, would be she is my adopted sister, Alex. The Danvers family took me in after I lost my birth family at thirteen years old.” Kara’s voice was sad and deadly serious. “My birth parents knew if it was ever discovered I survived the fire that took them and my home, I would be in grave danger. You see, I am not exactly who I led you all to believe.”

“My true last name is Zor-El. Clark Kent is in fact, my cousin and I am the daughter of Alura and Zor-El and if they knew I was alive I would be killed because I am the heir to their throne. My uncle Non has laid claim to my throne and has no knowledge of the fact I still live. My adoptive parents only knew I had been a member of that family, not their daughter, until I told the sister, Alex Danvers. She did not… she did not exactly take the news well.”

Kara’s voice was choked and hoarse with emotion as she finished telling her story. Every eye was on her, but for once she did not seem to mind. Instead, Kara continued to stare at her own feet, relieved to have gotten those secrets off of her chest but afraid of how her friends would react. Her parent kingdom of Krypton had been an enemy of the Luther kingdom since long before she was born. A large part of why the House of El had hidden her with the Danvers family was based upon this reality. It was the one place no one would ever think to look for her. Kara lifted her pendant out from its hiding place under her shirt and placed the item gently in Lena’s hand.

“The night after we were attacked, I found this on my pillow with a few other things that could only have been from Alex. Lord J’onn, Now it is your turn to share.” she said, giving him a pointed look.

J’onn bowed his head and with a resigned, yet determined tone he began to tell his tale. “For a long time, I have been known as the champion of the king. First to my half-brother Lionel, and then to my nephew, Alexander. This placed me in a position where no one would ever question my authority or my loyalty. The lesser known of my duties was as the king’s spymaster. For a long time now, I have heard whispers of an uprising and a forgotten princess, who would one day rise up and take back her throne. My first thoughts were naturally of my niece, for I too had long assumed the Zor-El line had been wiped out. after your home was razed to the ground.” J’onn seemed almost sheepish, glancing at Kara when admitting his error. “In all honesty, Lena would have had my full support if that had been the case. Lex has become a monster” he admitted. “Upon my investigations, however, I found young Alexandra Danvers, in chains in the king’s dungeons. She had that same pendant around her neck and a truly unbelievable story to tell.”

“When I said my sister did not exactly take the news well, I really was not kidding.” Kara said with a blush. “I did my best to keep her under control but she started picking fights with anyone who was willing and trying to convince me to march back into Krypton and demand the Kryptonian throne back. Alex had always been angry. She truly loves me and would have been my one-woman army had I asked, but she had dreams as well and I took up a lot of the space meant for her when I came into their lives. She went through a lot and I have not been there for her as much as I should have been.”

“Oh my god, I have fought you.” Winn groaned. “You are a princess and I have hit you.”

“I am no true princess, Winn Schott. What are you really doing here, anyway?” Kara laughed him off. No one gave him time to answer though, they all talked over the poor young lord a lot.

“Anyway, Alex told me of Kara’s plight and I arranged for her to be released and then I had the idea of returning the necklace to the lady. I had no idea your brother had arranged for the lady Lena’s assassination upon the same day. Luckily, Lady Kara is more than capable of protecting you, even with a blade lodged in her shoulder.” J’onn chuckled. “I believe all that is left is yours to tell, my dear Lena”

“Yes well, I am guilty of hiding a few things as well. Kara, namely your predecessor, Sam.”

Chapter Text

“There was another guard before me? You have never mentioned them before.” Kara turned to look Lena in the eyes.

“Sam was not my bodyguard. She was my companion and a childhood friend. Her parents are nobles, the Arias family. Sam was sent to live with us when she was only five years old, as a ward of the royal family. I can barely remember life before her.” Lena began her explanation, feeling nervous now that she was the one being watched.

”Sam and I were nearly inseparable for most of our lives and the young prince Lex never paid us much mind. When we got older, however, he became jealous of our closeness. When Lex wanted someone, he took them and no one asked any questions about it. Lex wanted Sam but she was not even slightly interested. When he found out later Sam was, ehm, more interested in me than in him; he managed to have her sent back to her family’s land, where they are much more conservative than here in the capitol. I never saw her again, but the rumors are… awful.”

Lena’s voice betrayed her heartbreak and Kara wished desperately for another chance with Lena’s brother in the training yards. He would not have gotten up if she had kicked him after hearing the princess’s story.

“Sam has always been my weak spot. He was her means to control me, in much the same way he probably used Alex to control you.” Lena admitted.

“However, she did inspire us and the princess to start our own small revolution here in the palace.” M’gann added, gesturing to herself and Maggie.

“Using a trap door that was already hidden within this room and a small extension to the underlying tunnels, we have been helping Lex’s victims out of the castle quickly, quietly and alive.” Lena explained. “I expect this will be the way the two of us will escape as well.” Lena added gesturing to a rug Kara assumed hid the passage.

“I am sorry you are going to have to leave like this because of me.” Kara said, realizing how deeply her actions were affecting all of the people around her. She hated to be the one to cause anyone else such trouble.

“Kara, all of us knew it would come to this eventually.” J’onn said comfortingly. “Lena and I have discussed this outcome at length. Everyone here is present because we want to be of assistance to the two of you.”

“Even Winn?” Kara asked, giving the young man one of her most withering looks.

“Yes, even the young lord Schott. There was no way I was going to send the two of you out on your own and Winn has always been my most trusted Lieutenant.” J’onn scoffed.

“Him?” Kara asked as though it were laughable. “I could kick his ass with both of my arms tied behind my back and you want him to protect us?!... no offense Winn.”

“Offense taken.” he grumbled.

“No matter how skilled you may be, you cannot always protect Lena on your own. At some point, you will need help. When that happens, Mr.Schott will be there to help out.” J’onn said, giving Kara a knowing look.

“He may come along then.” Kara said, smirking at her friend, but secretly glad her friend would be there as well. She had never had many friends before and was loathe to let this one go before she knew if he could truly trust him.

“I told you I would protect you politically and I was not able to hold up my end of the bargain. If I can be used against you, I have to be removed from the equation. I will be safer with you than in this castle anyways.” Lena shrugged. “Anyway, I spend way too much time here. It will be nice to get out and see more of the kingdom. I have always wanted to but it has never been allowed. Lex always said it was too dangerous.”

Kara smiled softly back at Lena but her eyes were still filled with concern. She could not believe the princess would be willing to give up so much for her. She swore to herself at that moment she would get it all back for Lena Luthor one day, even if it were the last thing she ever did. Kara had her own kingdom she may reclaim one day, if she were lucky, though she had never had any true interest in ruling. Lena would be a true queen one day; the kind of queen the people deserved.

“Before you go, I would like a word, Kara.” J’onn said, gesturing to the young woman and pulling her aside. “You must keep the princess safe. I truly believe you are our greatest hope for keeping the true heir to the Lutheran throne alive to reclaim the throne that should be hers. Once we have her where she is meant to be, we can start looking to the Kryptonians. Alex has made that a part of our bargain.”

“I do not know anything about any bargains but you have my word I will do all in my power to protect our princess, Lord J’onn.” Kara promised, blue eyes steady and determined. He had never realized exactly how deeply they pierced a person.

“It is just J’onn to you, please.” he laughed. “You do technically outrank me.”

She hefted a bag J’onn offered over her shoulder and passed the one from their rooms to Winn with a smirk at the idea of making him haul Lena’s books along and pulled the rug back to reveal the trapdoor that would lead them to freedom.

Chapter Text

“Do you know where we are supposed to be heading?” Kara asked the others.

“There is a small town to the north of the capital, just outside the wall. We send a lot of the people we help out there. The innkeeper is sympathetic to our cause. J’onn spoke to her and she will take us in until we figure out next steps.” Lena answered her as they crept through the tunnels.

Kara was in the lead, one hand flat on the right wall to keep track of turns and their position. It was dark enough she could not see any more than two feet ahead of them at any given point. She was uncomfortable leading without all of the facts but felt as though she did not have much of a choice. It was unfamiliar territory when she had only just begun adjusting to life in the palace. Her job was getting nothing but harder.

Lena was trying hard to be okay with everything that was happening. It had been a very long time since she had been allowed to leave the palace. At this point, the mere idea was terrifying. She trusted Kara beyond a shadow of a doubt to get her through whatever may come next. However, her friend and her guard had been through a lot that day and Lena knew she had to be exhausted. She resolved to keep a close eye on Kara until they reached someplace they could rest safely.

Kara kept an eye behind her. Winn had the tail end of their little train. She did not quite trust him to fight and die for Lena yet. At least not in the way she would be willing to. She was so tired, she knew she needed him, but she did not quite understand him, yet.

“Do we need to set up camp and rest for a while?” Winn asked, seeing how Kara shifted the nearly over-packed bag from shoulder to shoulder, but never showed how uncomfortable she was. Kara had clearly long ago learned how to disguise her pain.

“I am perfectly fine. I could go all night like this.” Kara grumbled, though her exhaustion was plain in her voice.

“Well, maybe I could not.” Lena lied smoothly. “I am not exactly in the same fighting shape you are in.”

“As long as it is you doing the asking.” Kara agreed finally. “Half an hour at the most, just up around the next bend. I want the high ground if we are being followed.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Winn agreed a smile in his voice. He had started the ball rolling and Lena had known just what to do to seal the deal. Kara would never have allowed herself to stop moving because of her own exhaustion, but if she thought Lena was even slightly uncomfortable, she was willing to drop everything for the princess.

Winn was impressed, infatuated and intimidated. He had been working with Kara Danvers for around a month and had quickly realized ‘quit’ was not in her vocabulary. Winn respected her for it. She was strong and held a deep sense of justice. Despite the violence and unfairness in her life thus far, Kara had held on to her kindness and gentility. He was amazed by her.

Kara seemed fine. She dropped the bag with some degree of relief. Her shoulders were on fire, but it was the good ‘hard work’ kind of pain, and not the recently stabbed kind, so she was okay enduring. Kara looked over at Lena and smiled softly. Kara felt as though everything would be alright so long as she was with Lena, and she was successfully keeping her princess safe.

-----/////-----

Winn had offered to take watch while Kara and Lena took a quick nap. Kara was leaning against a wall, her head tilted back and mouth hanging open, Lena was stretched out on a blanket, her head in Kara’s lap, under one of the blonde’s arms protectively slung across her middle.

Winn had never met two women more dedicated to one another. It was plain to see Kara felt as though she owed the princess and would do almost anything for her. He could not quite put his finger on how Lena was feeling lately but she seemed to adore Kara. Winn could understand why quite easily. It would have been harder to not see how amazing the former gladiator was. He had decided a while back not to insert himself into their relationship though; they would figure out where they were inevitably heading on their own terms.

Winn knew the girls would be focused on keeping an eye out for one another. While they did that, he would watch their backs. If his family were to ever find out he had turned against the crown like this, they would disown him for sure. But what he had seen working for Lord J’onn and amongst the people had proven to him the kingdom needed new leadership. He believed Lord J’onn when he said it should be Lena. If all went as they hoped, their group could change the tides for two countries and would make life better for thousands of people.

The thumping boots overhead told him the king’s men still searched fruitlessly for them and he almost laughed at how well things had gone. He had enjoyed the look Lex Luthor’s face too much when Kara had kicked him into the dirt. He hoped against hope he might get an opportunity to do the same thing one day. Winn had daydreamed more than once about punching his king in the nose. That would be one of the most satisfying experiences on earth.

Chapter Text

Kara woke up before Lena, as per usual. The princess seemed content, a tight grip on Kara’s arm which was snug around her middle. She was clinging as though it were a life-line, much to Winn’s apparent amusement. Kara did not want to wake Lena just yet so she continued to rest against the wall and began to stroke Lena’s hair softly. From the way Lena settled the gesture must have been at least a little soothing.

Winn gave her a look and shook his head softly. Kara ducked her head in an attempt to hide her blush but knew he could see through her anyway. She knew she had been caught in a more tender and vulnerable moment than she would have cared to, but he seemed accepting. Kara decided to ignore her embarrassment. She was going to have to get used to his being with them sooner or later.

Kara gave him the nod and a half-shrug in return. She attempted a smile back but was not quite sure the sentiment reflected properly. Winn nodded back, his lip quirking up as well. Kara was not sure if anyone had a real smile in them at the moment. She hoped to change that for them all soon.

Lena stirred only a short time later, turning her face into Kara’s abdomen as she stretched. No matter how many blankets Kara had laid out for her, Lena had grown up on the best mattresses money could buy, and the cold and hard ground was miserable in comparison. How spoiled the princess had been very rarely showed through her impeccable manners and curious personality. After such an uncomfortable nap, however, it became quite clear. Lena Luthor was grumpy and Kara found it quite amusing.

“Even after my nap, my back hurts so bad I do not know how far I will be able to travel.” Lena complained.

“If I had been able to bring your bed with me, my lady, rest assured I would have.” Kara replied in her most patient tone.

“You are patronizing me, Kara, and I do not appreciate it.” Lena grumbled.

“I offer my sincerest apologies, princess. I meant nothing but to express my concern.” Kara’s tone was sugary sweet and Winn wondered if Kara’s tone might provoke Lena to attack.

“You are a princess too. You should really stop using the title we share as an insult.”

“I would never insult my lady.” Kara pretended to have been hurt by the remark and won an actual chuckle from Winn.

“You think she is funny now, do you?” Lena huffed. “You would not think so if it were your back aching. At least you do not have to walk in these horrific pinching shoes and skirts.” Kara snorted at her comments.

“You could have just told me, Lena. I have a change of clothes for you in the things Lord J’onn packed for you.” Kara stopped suddenly and rummaged through the large sack she had continued to carry as though it did not weigh anything. “Just so you know, I have not been anyone’s princess in fifteen years. All I know of life at court is what I have learned from you.”

“There are worse you could have learned from, I guess.” Lena said with a blush and gestured for the other two to turn and allow her to change with some degree of modesty.

“I am decent and covered, but I feel kind of naked. I understand why you insist upon wearing these now. You are right, they are quite freeing.” Lena laughed and kicked her legs out and around, getting used to the way breeches felt.

Kara and Winn could not help but to grin at the princess’ amazement.

“I felt much the same way the first time I put them on. I assure you the novelty will wear away eventually. Being able to breathe and move around freely is a gift most take for granted.” Kara said kindly before stuffing the discarded dress and slippers into a crevice within the stone walls where hopefully no passers-by would notice for a long time to come.

“I have never thought of that before.” said Winn as Lena knelt to tie the short boots Kara had dug up from the bag as well.

“Of course you never have.” Lena replied. “We make it look effortless and making it look effortless would take a lot of, well, effort; sometimes from an entire team of people.”

“That is actually rather frightening.” Winn said looking curious and a little horrified. “Would it be rude of me to ask you to explain further?” he asked.

Lena seemed to be happy to tell Winn all he wanted to know about proper women’s attire and was very patient with his many questions when Kara would have long since lost her temper. She dusted off the knees of her breeches and gestured for them to follow once more so as not to interrupt and allowed them to chat in peace until they reached the end of the tunnel.

Chapter Text

Winn took the lead when it became clear Kara had no idea of where they were going. Kara used her time to fuss over Lena, making sure the cowl would keep her face covered well enough to keep her from being recognized. The likelihood was slim, but the possibility set all of their teeth on edge. Lena had not been allowed to go out among her people for a long while, but all royalty’s faces were hard forgotten.

Lena had cheered up somewhat by the time they had trudged to the inn but was still exhausted. Kara was not sure if she had ever been so grateful to see a fire burning in a hearth before. She called for a stop before anyone could enter the small building. Ever wary, Kara wanted to be the first in, enabling her to put her own body between her princess and potential danger. Kara was not about to let her newly revealed status change their relationship. She had shut down any talk of lessening her duty to Lena immediately the few times a grumpy Lena had attempted to pick a fight.

“All seems to be well, milady.” Kara told them after giving the space a thorough look over. The hearth seemed very inviting after the dark and cold tunnels, so the women allowed Winn to attend to their accommodations as they went to warm by the fire.

“There were only two rooms available. I assumed the two of you might be content to share?” he checked with them, placing their key in Kara’s hand.

“I am sure we will manage. Thank you, Winn.” Lena replied with a tired smile. “We will see you in the morning.”

Lena’s words were clearly a dismissal, and not a kind one at that. Kara resolved to discuss speaking more like a commoner with Lena later. Kara feared overcoming a lifetime of privilege might take some practice and considerable effort. The rest of Lena’s regal bearing could be overlooked if no one paid close attention or knew what to look for. For now, however, all Kara craved was a warm bed and a good night’s rest.

“Would you like to retire for the night?” Kara asks nervously, ready to get Lena out of the public’s view as soon as possible.

“That sounds lovely.” Lena said with a slight smile of relief. “I do believe more people have been looking at you than at me. We should have taken your notoriety into account and done more to disguise you as well.”

“We will do better on the morrow.” Kara said sheepishly. She had never much considered how well known she may be, probably due to her own lack of pride in her history as someone who killed for coin. “They likely only notice the passing resemblance and do not know my face. I do not know how anyone could. If I need a disguise, I could always cut my hair. It is my most recognizable feature.”

“That is not necessary.” Lena argued much too quickly. “I mean to say, you are probably right. I may just be being paranoid. Your hair is much too beautiful to be sacrificed so rashly.”

Kara blushes a deep shade of pink at that, and self-consciously tucks a deep gold lock of hair behind her ear. She stares down at her feet, unable to come up with anything to say in response. Lena had never seen Kara look more girl-ish than she did at that moment. It almost seemed as though she was trying to hide her face. Lena thought she was entirely adorable. Lena could not tell what Kara thought of the exchange.

Lena knew she was blushing as well, as Kara checked their room number and took Lena’s hand to lead her up to their small bedroom. The room was nothing like she was used to, but better than sleeping on the ground in the tunnels. They were nearly silent as they changed for bed. Kara stretched her shoulder and grimaced at the stiffness. She laid the gladius Lena had gifted her reverently beside of the bed and slid a throwing knife between the mattress and bed-frame within easy reach.

“Do not even think of rolling out those blankets. We have shared a bed before without any trouble. You are sore and stiff enough as it is and we are all relying on you. I need you in top shape.” Lena ordered her firmly.

“As you wish, my lady.” Kara replied with a half grin, almost mockingly. Lena took the small jab at least a little better than she had the rest of Kara’s teasing.

“You have to quit calling me that.” Lena said as Kara set the rest of their things to the side. “Not only are we actually of equal rank, we are both trying to pass as civilians. The both of us need to stop being so formal with one another.”

Kara stared hesitantly at the bed. She felt awkward about their sleeping arrangements tonight and she did not know why.

“You are right. I will try to do better as well...Lena.” she replied, still not making any moves to get into the bed. Her words sounded slightly forced as she remained glued to the floor. Lena turned the bed down and Kara realized Lena was doing her best to work through the absurdity of the situation as well. The least she could do was be as willing as the other woman. The small mattress barely fits them both. There was only one pillow and no matter how they rearranged, their feet and legs brushed. When the pair finally settled, Lena’s cold feet were tucked under Kara’s calves and both women had been reduced to helpless giggles.

“ I feel as though we will eventually make our way through all this, do you not?” Lena asked her.

“Yes, I do. If we can figure how to fit in this tiny bed, we can do anything.” Kara laughed back and turned to kiss Lena’s brow gently because the moment just felt right.

Chapter Text

When Lena woke up, Kara was still asleep. Never in the months Lena had known Kara, had she still been asleep when Lena had awoken. Kara’s deep sleep was a testament to all the previous day had taken out of her. Kara had spent the night with one hand curled loosely around one of Lena’s wrists as though she were afraid the other woman would disappear during the night. It was still there when Lena awoke, warm if somewhat heavy.

Kara had kept them moving at a quick pace the day before with only the barest amount of time allowed for breaks. The urgency seemed to be harder on her than the rest of them, however. Her shoulder clearly pained her, no matter how hard she tried to disguise the ache. By the time it became obvious the strain had become unbearable, they had come to the end of the tunnel and Winn took over as the guide to the inn. Kara lagged slightly behind the group as her body required. Kara was stronger than anyone Lena knew, but Kara was not taking care of herself the way Lena thought she should.

While she cared about everyone else, Kara Danvers/Zor-El never seemed to care much for herself. Lena sensed this was a conscious decision. Over the course of the past few months, Lena had realized more went on in the blonde’s mind than she let on.
Kara had an incredibly quick mind. She knew people saw her as all brawn and no brains, continually crushing the problems in front of her instead of solving them. Underestimation which she turned to her own advantage.

Lena settled back into the bed and leaned against Kara, deciding to keep a much closer eye on her. Her own legs were still sore from their flight through the tunnels. She could not begin to guess how Kara’s already abused shoulder felt. The joint had been put through more than its fair share of hardship as of late.

Lena closed her eyes and allowed her mind to drift as she pretended to still be asleep. Everything had been moving so quickly the past day she had not begun to process it all. She had been run out of her home, the only one she had ever known and watched as her friend fought her tyrant of a brother. Lena had learned the same friend had been hiding her true identity since her brother appointed the champion as her personal guard. Kara was, in fact, the heir to the Kryptonian throne… the same Krypton Lena had been raised to hate her whole life.

Peace had only come between their kingdoms in recent years, since Kara’s uncle, the Lord Non, had become king. Lena did not remember much about his predecessors and had known nothing of their daughter. The fire that had destroyed the original Kryptonian palace in Argos City, however, had been legendary. The tales told of a blaze so huge border towns in Luther could feel the heat.

Rumors of foul play had abounded but all Lena’s father Lionel had cared about was that Non was much more readily corrupted. Knowing what she did now, Lena wondered distantly if her father had played a part in the murder of Kara’s parents. The mere thought of such ruthlessness made her sick.

Under other circumstances, Lena wondered if she and Kara could have been friends earlier in life. As two young princesses, they might have grown up as companions and played together in much the same way she had with Sam Arias. If Kara had been able to grow up without having suffered such losses, would she be anything like the woman Lena knew today? She groaned at her own thoughts. She was driving herself mad.

The Kara of today had found her way into Lena’s life and she was just grateful she had her. In all likelihood, without her, Lena would have been killed in the assassination attempt. Lena took deep steadying breaths in an attempt to relax back to her sleepy headspace. Her nose was met with the scent of grass and leather that enveloped Kara. Heat radiated off the woman beside of her as though she had absorbed every ray of sunshine lucky enough to warm her tan skin.

Lena focused on Kara’s scent of leather and warm grass, the way their feet tangled together, and the warmth pressed against her; softly she fell asleep once more.

------//////----

“Lena, I managed to sneak your mug of tea upstairs, because I know you can be kind of mean without it, but you really must come down if you intend to break your fast this morning,” Kara said as she sat down on the bed beside of the sleeping woman with a kind and gentle smile, made softer by the warm glow of the sunlight streaming through the window.

Lena blinked her heavy eyes as she looked up at Kara. The other woman looked like an angel, as Lena cleared her bleary vision.

“I am not as spoiled as you think I am.” she said, put off by Kara’s comments, and general niceness.

“You are exactly as spoiled as I think you are, and if you are going to blend in amongst the townsfolk, you are going to have to manage.” Kara chuckled, placing the mug in Lena’s hand as she spoke. When their eyes met, she wondered if Kara’s had always scrunched at the corners when she was laughing or if that were new somehow. It had the strange effect of making sapphire blue eyes sparkle and Lena’s stomach twist into uncomfortable knots at the same time.

Chapter Text

Winn, Lena, and Kara sat alone at the end of one of the long, bench style tables.

“Where are we going to head next?” Kara asked quietly enough no one would overhear. “We certainly are not sticking around this close to the capital are we?”

“J’onn gave me the directions to rendezvous with the other members of the resistance. It’s about two days’ walk from here. I will gather the remainder of the supplies we need and we can set out. I would really prefer to put as much ground between the two of you and the castle as possible as soon as possible.” Winn answered, looking almost sheepish.

Lena nearly immediately began to pelt the young man with questions as Kara leaned back to think. She wasn’t sure she wanted Lena to be anywhere near some kind of resistance. Kara was more than willing to participate on the princess’ behalf but resistance led to violence and Lena wasn’t a fighter. She was skeptical but didn’t have a better plan. Kara decided to suss it out anyhow. Once she was there she would better be able to figure out how she wished to proceed.

Her concern had to have been somewhat plain on her face because soon she found Lena’s hand covering her knee comfortingly. It surprised Kara a bit. Lately, Lena had been more distant than usual. It wasn’t Kara’s place… or it previously had not been Kara’s place to question it, so she had backed away as well; taking her cues from the raven-haired princess. No matter how much she may have disliked it. At the time it had seemed to be for the best. Now that there were no secrets between them, who knew what could happen.

Walking in the daylight was entirely preferable to the tunnels, the small party quickly found. With the sun shining down on them, the birds singing, and the leaves changing colors, the experience was actually enjoyable at times. Kara had good company and conversation to pass the time, though she never allowed herself to be anything less than alert for danger. Kara found herself smiling more than she could remember having done in a long time. When Winn began to sing happily to himself, she found it hard not to join in, and Lena realized she had never heard her sing before.

Lena turned from where they were walking and looked back at Kara, a smile forming on her face. It warmed the blonde woman’s heart just as much as the sun did. Whatever had been holding her back seemed to melt away. For the first time, the two women felt as though they truly had hope again. She felt as though things would actually turn out to be okay. When Lena reached back, Kara took her hand.

Lena’s hand felt impossibly soft, her long fingers curling against Kara’s own. She would never have imagined ending up in this position. In essence, she had been freed from the bound life of a gladiator, sworn her allegiance to the princess of another country and befriended that same woman all within a handful of months. Lena knew who she was, truly knew and still seemed to care about her. She hadn’t run or sent her away, or tried to make Kara’s fight her own as some had. Instead, she had taken Kara as she was and accepted her.

Lena saw Kara as a woman and as a friend. When she took Kara in, she thought of strength and loyalty and a sense of nobility that had nothing to do with who her parents had been. Lena enjoyed learning more about Kara, she appreciated each new fact as though it were a puzzle piece to fit into her mental image of the other girl. She would be brutal in a fight, but Lena had also seen her lift children and play with them as gently as any nursemaid. Kara despised being made to sit down and study anything, but when the two of them would talk, she said things so wise and beyond her twenty-five years that Lena would want to run inside and write her words down. Every time they would spend time together, Kara would show her something new and Lena would be in awe of her once more.

She felt Kara’s callouses brush against her palms and could see scars shine in the light on the backs of her hands and across her knuckles. Lena knew how they got there, even if she didn’t know the individual stories to go with each injury. It didn’t come easily to her; the marriage of the idea of Kara the warrior, who had killed and fought and been stained with the blood of opponents in the ring, who had killed the assassin sent by Lex, her brother, and the idea of the Kara who could sing with Winn and hold Lena at night when the nightmares came… expecting nothing in return.

Lena did not fit the two women together well, but when she walked beside of Kara and could see the scars on her hands and could look up into that joy-filled face, she felt as though maybe she understood a little better. Lena thought it was barely a scratch on her surface, it was astounding when she reflected on the hell Kara had been through. Now, Lena had a new image to mesh with the others. Kara had grown up a princess, the same as Lena had.

She had been in another kingdom, not two weeks trek away almost at exactly the same time she had, in the little poofy dresses and the sparkly tiaras. Kara was as much an heir as she was. It did not seem like all of that ought to add up to the woman whose hand she held. Kara the princess, the sister, the gladiator and warrior, the friend and protector. Kara who had taken a knife for her like it was nothing. Kara, the woman Lena had begun to love.

Chapter Text

Kara heard the boots thumping on the path before she saw the soldiers. She had the sound of their marching ingrained in her mind from the many hours she had spent in the training grounds. It had to be at least three men. They were close; far too close for her to be comfortable with. Before they had any chances to recognize any members of the part, Kara used the hand of Lena’s she already held to pull the woman in front her and between herself and Winn.

Lena cried out a little and spun to face Kara in response. Her hand not currently in Kara’s possession flew up to the warrior’s shoulder to steady herself. Lena found herself quickly captivated by the steady and serious blue eyes. Kara’s other arm shot out quickly to pull Winn in, but instead of pulling him into their embrace, she grasps his shoulder and shoves him into the dirt at her feet.

Confusion is plain in Lena’s eyes and Winn lets out a series of muffled curses as she eats dust and dirt. The force sends the nasty stuff into his eyes, nose, and mouth.

Kara releases him now that she has him where she wants him and pushes Lena’s face into her shoulder and chest. She begins to yell and cuss at Winn, though she calls him by a false name Lena does not recognize, everything muffled by the way Kara was squashing her head and hair. Kara, still protecting Lena, feigns a kick at Winn’s exposed side. He seems to catch on to what was going on then and cried out in impressively faked pain. Lena was incredibly confused but continued to cling to Kara as though the other woman were her life-line.

Kara’s panic had begun to subside mildly as the small group of men passed with a chuckle and seemingly no care for whatever drama the three unknown figure had going on. She continued until they were out of sight and earshot. When they were gone, she released Lena’s head and wrapped both arms around the dark-haired girl’s waist and shoulders loosely, no longer squeezing but embracing her lightly instead. Kara gasped for quick breaths as she attempted to reassure herself once more that all was well.

Winn stood to his feet, once again the odd man out. He could not quite figure out where to look as he wiped the blood away from the small scrape on his chin. To his surprise, Kara looked up and grabbed his shoulder, squeezing it lightly. He met her eyes and she mouthed a silent ‘thank you’ to him. Winn nodded to her, no explanation or conversation necessary.

When everyone seemed to have recovered somewhat, Lena forced herself to pull away.

“I feel like I have missed something. I knew we were almost seen, but why was all of this charade necessary?” she asked, feeling put out at not having been a part of the plan. Lena was not a fan of surprises.

“You are easily one of the most recognizable faces in all the land. I had to hide you, and I needed to do so quickly. Those were King’s men and would have known you and the Young Lord Schott here as well and it would have looked odd for me to be standing here, holding the both of you. With him on the ground, and you against my chest, we had a narrative I could play out. It all came together quite easily from there.” Kara’s face seemed worn and tired, though concern still glittered in her eyes. Lena could also tell she was rather proud of herself and her quick thinking as well.

“It was quite brilliant, really. Just by the look on her face, after I looked up and saw their boots coming towards us, I could tell what she was getting at. Plus, if this scars, I could come out looking quite dashing, do you not think?” Winn wiggled his eyebrows, acting almost as though the whole thing had been one fun adventure.

“You played your part fantastically.” Kara praised him as a grin spread across her face as well. “If the lordship does not end up working out, you have a future with an actor’s troupe.”

Lena was rather disgusted by their excitement.

“You know this will not work a second time. One of you might actually get hurt, or Kara will not be quick enough on her feet. Any number of terrible things could happen, we could not say. We need a better plan, or disguises or something. More importantly, we should get moving.” she tried to be patient, but the way familiar way the two were acting now got under her skin. The shock had passed and Lena was left with the truth that they were the subject of a kingdom-wide man-hunt.

Kara and Winn sobered at that. The young man cleared his throat, shoved his hands into his pockets and took the lead once more. Lena felt the slightest hint of guilt and followed, arms crossed over her chest. She could not bring herself to even look at Kara.

Lena could not place where the sudden surge of anger and meanness had come from. Maybe it had been the camaraderie between Winn and Kara or the adoring puppy look he had given the blonde. Worse, it could have been the fact that for a split second, Lena had thought Kara had been about to kiss her, and Lena had wanted her to.

Chapter Text

Kara was concerned. Lena had been jumping from sullen and angry to sweet and kind on a dime lately. She was not sure of how to handle the mood swings and the uncertainty left her on edge. Kara wanted to help more than anything, but Lena did not seem open to it. In fact, she seemed particularly angry with Kara for some reason. Lena could be standoffish and cool for a long period of time and Kara was totally exasperated.

“If my super clever plan was so terrible, what would you suggest we do better?” Kara growled at her after a series of barbs and passive-aggressive comments.

“Maybe let me in on the plans next time?! Maybe just kill the bastards instead of letting them carry on their merry way?” Lena scoffed, her voice rising in pitch.

“We needed your reaction to be genuine, Lena.” Kara said in a nearly patronizing soothing tone. “I will not kill more people just because they are an inconvenience to you. Just because I have killed in the past… I do not consider myself to be a killer.”

Her eyes became downcast and at that, even Winn slowed nearly to a stop. Kara’s voice had gone cold and distant. The former gladiator had stopped in her tracks and was staring absently down at her own hands. It was as though she had never seen her own fingers before that moment.

“There has been no lack of blood on my hands. My family all died, and yet I live. The simple fact of my identity has led Alex to give up her life to the pursuit of my return to the throne that is rightfully mine. When I sold myself into the gladiator life it was in the hopes of paying Alex’s debts and repaying the Danvers family for supporting me.

I can only hope I was somewhat successful. I took lives, but every battle I fought was fair and honest. I carry no guilt in regards to my killing there. My conscience is clear in that regard, though I will carry those memories with me always.” Kara spoke simply and for the first time, Lena was able to detect a hint of an accent she was clearly too emotional to cover up. It was distinctly Kryptonian. Her voice was cold and distant, but the princess was no longer sure she would want to hear the underlying emotion there. Lena's heart broke for the unfair amount of pain Kara carried.

“You are in no way to blame for your parents’ deaths and are now only responsible for carrying on their memories. Alex Danvers made her own choices and is responsible for her own actions as well, no matter the revelation of your identity.” Lena argued, grabbing both of Kara’s hands in her own tightly, to the point it hurt a bit.

“I know that in my mind, but my heart has trouble believing.” Kara says softly and visibly shakes off whatever fog had overtaken her mind. She forces a smile and leans into Winn as he returns to her side. However, her eyes never leave Lena. “I just know these are not the hands of that the little girl who fled Krypton.”

Winn loved Kara, he really did but despised the emotional speeches he knew were imminent. He muttered something about setting up camp and fled as quickly as he could. Neither of the women acknowledged him or even appeared to take notice of his departure.

“Kara, I love your hands.” Lena said as she turned them palm up on top of her own. “These are the hands that protected me, were painstakingly gentle when you would take care of me, and I know you would sacrifice almost anything in a heartbeat before hurting me with them.”

Kara swallowed hard as Lena spoke, blinking away tears hurriedly. She could not come up with an argument. Lena seemed at a loss for words as well, clearly warring internally with herself.

“I would not trade your hands for anything.” she seemed to decide upon finally and stepped into Kara’s arms, winding her own about Kara’s waist.

“Yours either, Lena.” Kara replied softly. There was not anything left for her to say either, except the certain set of words she had been holding back for a long time now. They were thick and heavy on her tongue, warring with her at every step and turn. Lena fought a similar battle until they finally parted to help make camp.

When the three rolled out blankets as night fell, Lena reached for Kara’s hand before either of them fell asleep. She kissed Kara’s palm almost reverently, callouses rough against Lena’s soft lips. The blonde was careful to memorize the moment. It would be the times like this she would reflect on to get her through every future trial.

Chapter Text

This morning, Kara woke up at her natural time; just as the sun had begun to rise. Lena was plainly still in the grasp of a deep sleep and she could easily hear Winn snoring through the thin walls. Kara carefully extricated herself from underneath Lena and stretched out her sore muscles. She had so many feelings she needed to sort through. Her mind was so incredibly muddled it felt almost like a fog had settled over her.

Kara stretched as she had been taught by her doctor and began to move through her forms as the sun rose. When Lena and Winn woke, it was to Kara’s silhouette moving gracefully with enough power to fill five people. Sweat had begun to bead across her forehead. Her sword reflected the light of the sun and their banked fire in flashes. Lena and Winn found they could not tear their eyes from her. Kara had not noticed them as they watched.

Damn…” Winn muttered lowly, almost as though the word had been pulled out of him against his will.

“She is truly stunning.” Lena said softly, her voice almost reverent. The smell of tea heating on a stone reached her nose and drew her attention. Kara had evidently left it with her in mind. “Gods, do I love that woman.”

Winn’s eyebrows shot up, just as Lena realized what it was she had just said.

“I, uhm, I… mean that in the most platonic manner possible?” Lena attempts to backtrack, the lie plainly a poor one.

“I know what you really mean and I understand. I feel like it would be harder to not love her.” Winn’s voice is soft and betrays a lot to her. He is oddly kind at that moment and Lena realizes she actually knows next to nothing about him. She truly believes in his loyalty to her and to their cause, though, no matter Kara’s former suspicions.

The trio broke their fast and drank their tea without much more conversation after Kara greeted them. After the previous day’s misadventures, it was hard to regain the optimism they once had, though Lena seemed to be leaning into her a bit more. Something had brought them closer and neither of them minded. In fact, even Winn and Kara were more friendly with one another. Lena assumed it was some sort of warrior’s bond she was not quite capable of understanding.

They broke camp in a companionable silence. When Kara stood, Lena realized her gladius had changed sides on her hips once more. Kara noticed Lena’s noticing and grinned at her proudly. Lena pointed it out to Winn and they congratulated her on being completely healed. Kara drew and whipped the gladius around her head a few times and Lena was unable to discern a difference in the movements from the first time she had seen Kara with one.

Morale had taken a significant boost even just from that small amount of good news. Kara and Lena shared a handful of smiles, looks, and laughs as they finished packing and headed back to the main path. They had come to a smaller and less traveled path Winn announced would take them to their destination. Kara felt a distinct sense of recognition, though she could not quite place it. It left her with a feeling of disconcertion she could not shake.

“Are we getting close?” Lena asked, her voice bordering on petulant. Despite their practice sessions, Kara had not been able to completely quell Lena’s inner spoiled princess. Luckily, Kara found her utterly adorable even when acting rather childish.

“It should be just past the next two ridges.” Winn answered. Lena had asked the question at least once every hour and a half. He had done quite well to maintain his patience with her thus far, though Kara noted he had begun to grind his teeth.

Kara continued to question how she knew this place as they passed through a small community in the fief between plantations/farms/ranches. It was some distant memory Kara had to have repressed earlier on in her life. She wracked her brain but could not come up with anything.

“I swear I have to have been here before.” Kara said for what had to be at least the third time, only to be met by the collective groans of her companions. They could see the small village Winn had pointed out to them. A wagon passed them on the other side of the dirt road. Something about the wheels, the sounds it made, and the way it bounced reminded her of riding in one. “Oh! It is that Midvale! Alex and I used to spend a lot of time here as youths. Eliza and Jeremiah did their business here and we would just wander around. I sold myself into the gladiator service here.”

“Oh, wow. That just got really dark, really quickly.” said Winn with a raised eyebrow and a grimace. As they entered the town’s radius, Kara heard her name called loudly and Alex Danvers exited the town’s main local tavern.

Chapter Text

“Oh, my gods.” Kara gasped, stumbling backward a ways.

“Is that?” Winn asked, as the shock registered with him as well.

“I think it is.” Lena whispered back to him with an equal level of surprise.

“Alex? Is that you?!” Kara yelled back. Without waiting for a reply she dropped everything she was holding and ran to the auburn-haired woman in the distance with open arms.

“Ok, Kara. Baby sister, you are crushing me.” Alex chuckled in a pained voice after being squashed and spun around in circles.

“Gods, have I missed you.” Kara loosened her grip and mumbled into her older sister’s shoulder.

“I doubt you have missed me half as much as I have missed you. It has been far too long since we have seen one another. You were much too far away when I saw you at the stadiums.” Alex replied, backing away and holding Kara at arm’s length. “You have grown… broader, since the last time I saw you.”

“Yes, well, the stick thin girls do no make it in the pits, Alex.” Kara laughed at that as her sister poked and prodded at Kara’s bicep.

“I can understand that.” Alex chuckled. “The added muscle suits you well and will serve you often in the coming days. Welcome to the revolution, Kara Zor-El.”

Kara nodded seriously and waved the other members of her party forward.

“Am I to gather you had prior warning of our imminent arrival?” Kara asked. “You seemed to be expecting us.”

“I did receive notice from a particular lord who spoke in glowing words of your prowess. Am I to understand you threw yourself between an assassin and your charge over there? I do not remember you being quite this reckless.” Alex had to smirk at her younger sibling. “It was only six years ago when you sold yourself into the life and left me with a bag full of money and the promise of a monthly payday… minus one sister.”

“Shall I introduce, Lena Luthor and the Young Lord Schott? Friends, this is my elder and best sister, Alexandra Danvers.” Kara said in her most formal of tones.

“Princess? My Lord.” Alex greets them, sweeping into a low bow with her most dashing of smiles. “I was informed recently two more members of our small club are shortly behind you. M’gann and Maggie had to flee shortly after you. Suspicions fell upon the two of them after your ‘mysterious disappearance’. It is being painted as though Lena were kidnapped and Kara and Winn fell in her defence.”

“Oh, of course, he is. I am not surprised in the least.” Lena rolled her eyes and groaned in disgust.

“I am not dead, the last I checked.” Kara said, raising her eyebrows. “Are you dead, Winn?”

“I do not believe so, Kara.” He replied in an overly enthusiastic tone. “I feel just as alive as ever.”

Alex and Lena got a good laugh out of that one. Winn nudged Kara’s shoulder with his own as Lena found herself once again unable to look away from Kara. Winn noticed, and he wanted Kara to notice as well. It went right over her head. Kara only saw Lena’s smile and felt incredible pride at having been able to bring it to her face.

“Come along inside. I am sure the three of you must be exhausted from your journey and in need of a good long rest. I will have baths prepared and beds made up for you. God knows at least my poor sister is in desperate need of a wash, I do not know about the rest of you.”

The group laughed at that and headed into the pub inn. Kara headed up the stairs and dropped all of their bags into the bedroom Alex pointed out. Kara caught Alex by the arm before allowing her to head back down the stairs. Alex turned back to face her just as Kara slipped the pendant off of her next. She grabbed her sister’s hand and placed the necklace in it.

“When I presented this to you, I intended for it to remain in your possession indefinitely. My blood may not be your blood, but you will always be my sister, no matter the distance or the time between us.” Kara told her softly, but with all of the steel she had built up in years of fighting for her life in the sands of the Coliseum. “Do not ever give this up to anyone ever again, you hear me?”

Alex Danvers looked up thoroughly ashamed. She picked it up and hung it around her neck once more, in the same place it had rested for the past six years. Her cheeks were pink with embarrassment and shame. She stroked the edges with one finger and allowed it to rest once more at her chest.

“I swear, I will never allow it to part from me again.” Alex replied with tears in her eyes before throwing her arms around her sister’s neck once more.

Chapter Text

“So, this is the legendary sister, Alex Danvers.” Lena murmured to Kara when they all gathered for dinner in the tavern on the ground floor of the inn. “I never imagined she would be here.”

“Me either. I missed her more than I thought possible.” Kara replied, her eyes misting over. “After I lost everything, I found solace in as long as I had Alex, I still felt as though I had a semblance of a family. For a time, she was everything to me. My whole world in one little, incredibly reckless, person.”

“I am glad you have her back, though she is not quite what I expected her to be.” Lena reached under the table to grasp Kara’s hand as Alex led the tavern in a toast to her sister, filled with the kind expletives Lena had only heard out of soldiers and sailors. The blood rushed to Kara’s cheeks and Lena laughed. “I think I like her.”

Music struck up and the two women saw a jovial and probably inebriated Winn singing with the small group of musicians, ale splashing out of the tankard. Kara laughed too when Lena pointed it out. People began to pair up and dance, pushing the tables to the sides of the room to form a dance-floor. Alex took a turn with most everyone in the room, even allowing Kara and Winn to swing her around a few times. The two princesses kept coming back to one another, however.

Lena felt the most comfortable next to Kara. Everyone was having good and rowdy fun with one another but Lena was not used to dances like this. It was all so informal and individuals yelled across the room to one another or tucked into dark corners to be alone. It was disconcerting until she found those earnest blue eyes looking in her own once more.

“Dance with me.” said Kara, taking Lena’s hands and tugging her into the sea of bodies.

It was a lot easier for Lena without the wide hoop skirts and the strict court rules of where you could and could not touch. Like this, she could lose herself in the music and trust Kara’s warm hands to guide her through the unfamiliar steps. As she was whipped around the lights blurred and contented warmth spread through her. Lena had to wonder if all peasants got to have nights like this if the rest of the nobility knew what they had been missing. She loved this feeling.

Kara laughed with joy, one hand steady on the small of Lena’s back, the other gently holding Lena’s hand as Kara guided her across the makeshift dance floor. Their feet moved effortlessly in tandem. Lena’s eyes were closed as though she were enraptured by the moment and the warm drink flowing through her veins. Black hair floated behind her. When her green eyes met Kara’s, the blonde felt as though she were the one who had been swept away.

Kara’s hands traveled up and down Lena’s back as they slowed down, chests heaving against one another, and their cheeks flushed. Lena leaned against her, Kara taking almost her whole weight as though it were nothing. She pressed her forehead to Kara’s, giggling lightly and sounding young and free. Kara thought Lena this happy was easily the most wonderful thing she had ever seen.

Lena’s arms looped around Kara’s neck as they stared breathlessly into one another’s eyes. Her heart pounded in her chest. Kara swiped her thumb gently over Lena’s cheeks. Lena’s eyes flicked from soft pink lips to Kara’s eyes and back again. She shuddered once, her lip pulled between her teeth. Before she could second-guess herself again, Lena pressed forward and softly molded her lips against Kara’s.

Lena backed away after only a moment, allowing Kara a moment to process, though she did not move her arms from around Kara’s neck.

“Damn.” Kara whispered lowly, staring wide-eyed and breathless at Lena.

“Damn?” Lena chuckled, not sure of what Kara meant but pretty sure it could not be all bad.

“Damn.” Kara affirmed, nodding solemnly as she kissed her again, this time being firm and loving in response to Lena, given she was no longer completely taken by surprise.

When they finally parted, it was to applause from the surrounding crowd. Kara felt wholly overwhelmed away by the moment. She reached down and lifted her princess by the waist and swung her around in circles; laughing from deep in her stomach. Lena chuckled as well, giddy from all of the commotion, the kisses, and the dancing.

“This is kind of a perfect moment, is it not?” Lena asked.

In response, Kara kissed her once more.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure about this?” Alex asked her sister after most of the party-goers had retired for the night and Lena had gone blushing up to bed.

“Am I sure about what?” Kara asked, as though she did not know to what Alex was referring. She knew, she just did not want to have this conversation when she was so relaxed and happy.

“You and the princess. You don’t think there is a conflict of interest there?” Alex asked, her face still, sober and tired. “One day you may yet want to reclaim Krypton for your own in the name of your family. Would not a relationship with the heir or queen of Luthor be an issue? Your own people may even view it as a betrayal of a sort.”

Kara had had the same thought before and pondered it for what felt like ages. She had wanted this relationship for much longer than she cared to admit. Her heart and mind had been at war over the predicament since shortly after she had pledged herself to the princess.

“I can not worry about Krypton right now. They are my people and I care for them always, but I am in no financial or political shape to stake my claim at the moment. First, I must help Lena to take back her place, and if we are lucky, we might even be able to depose Lex Luthor himself. When we have everything else settled, we can take another look at me and at my throne.” Kara said carefully, her heart heavy.

“I will hold you to that. You are my sister and my favorite person in the world. I intend to see you back where you belong.” Alex said firmly. Kara could kind of understand her. If their positions were reversed she would likely feel the same way.

“Good to know I will always have you by my side and watching my back.” Kara rested her head on her sister’s shoulder, enjoying the quiet company of someone she had missed sorely for many years. Alex did not know how to respond to Kara’s words, so she said nothing at all. Instead, she simply picked up one of her hands and laced her fingers through Kara’s. Alex kissed Kara’s temple and breathed shakily for a moment, her heart heavy with emotion.

“Get going now. Your pretty little princess will be upset if she wakes up without you.” Alex teased. “Do not think I did not notice which bedroom you came out of this morning.”

“Big sister, you had best remember I am more than capable of handling you in a fight now.” Kara grinned, sitting up and shoving Alex playfully.

“Really now? I will take you on.” Alex’s eyes glitter with the thrill of a challenge. “Tomorrow at midday.”

Kara feigns shock. “Alright then. I will be looking forward to it, but do not come crying to me when you find yourself looking up at the sky with a knot on your head.” she offers her hand to her sister and they shake on it.

“ You just might be getting too big for your britches.” Alex was as sharp as ever, making a grab to pull her sister’s pants down the way she had when they were kids.

Kara laughed at the attempt and skipped away easily.

“I will see you in the morning, Alex. Prepare to have your ass kicked.” Kara advised and blew the elder Danvers sibling a kiss on her way up the rickety wooden staircase.

When Kara entered the room she shared with Lena, she found the princess passed out asleep on top of their bed, still dressed with her mouth hanging open. She chuckled softly to herself as she worked to get Lena’s shoes off and the covers out from under her. Lena barely stirred as Kara did all of this. Her bleary eyes blinked a few times, but as soon as she caught a glimpse of Kara she would smile contentedly and settle back into her pillow. Kara loved that she had a soothing effect on the woman she loved.

“Scooch over.” Kara hissed after changing into her sleepwear and sliding into the bed beside of Lena.

Instead of doing as she was asked, Lena turned and rested on Kara’s torso, her face hidden in one strong (and healed) shoulder. Within moments, she was asleep again and Kara was quite stuck. Kara could not imagine wanting to be anywhere else ever again. She ran a hand through long dark hair and did her best to sleep as well. Deep in the back of her mind, Kara had a feeling the fight tomorrow with Alex Danvers was not the only one she needed to be rested for.

Something was coming, that much was for sure and Kara felt like she could almost taste it. So long as she had her princess, her sister, and her best friend beside her, she felt ready for anything.

Chapter Text

Kara wore one of the white linen shirts Lena had made for her and breeches, resting with her face tilted up towards the sunshine as she waited for her sister. Lena noticed she almost basked in it. Kara glowed in the light; reminiscent of an angel. Her heart ached at the sight. No throne, title, or crown could compare to having Kara Danvers by her side.
“Are you ready?” Lena asked, breaking Kara out of her reverie.

“Ready and absolutely confident. Alex has no idea what she has coming.“ Kara flashed Lena a cocky grin. It was blinding and left her heart skipping a beat.

“You do not really know what she has been up to these past few years, either… just like Alex does not know what you have been through, love. Bear that in mind as you go forward. Now, turn around and allow me to put your hair up. I found you something new and interesting that may prove to be of some use to you in the future.” Lena’s grin was new and wicked. Kara noticed the new attitude with delight.
Lena dragged a barrel over gestured for Kara to take a seat. With gentle and extremely careful fingers, Lena stood behind her hero and began to braid spikes into Kara’s long blonde hair.

“Oh, you are right, these will be fun.” Kara snickered, her fingers dancing over the pointed edges. “A bit much for use on my sister. Still, it would be a fun surprise if she tried to grab me.” Kara could feel them, hanging heavily in her hair, and shook the braid back and forth a bit. She chuckled happily to herself.

“I know you are excited, but still… you know I worry. Please be careful.” Lena put her hands on Kara’s shoulders and looked her squarely in the eyes.

Kara’s gaze flickered between Lena’s eyes and Lena’s lips. A small smile pulled at the blonde’s mouth in response. Kara’s adoration was leaking out of her pores. Lena had some small idea of how Kara felt about her, but her former guard knew deep down the other woman might never understand the true depth of her devotion. Lena only knew she was unendingly lucky to have Kara in her life and would do anything within her power to keep her there.

“I will do my best. Just remember, no matter how bad it looks, this is my sister and she would never intentionally injure me. Alex and I have been through a lot together. She has never let me down before. I am sure she will not start now.” Kara leaned forward and pressed her forehead to Lena’s for a long moment and Lena grinned back softly.

Kara tilted slowly to meet Lena’s lips. She gave the princess time enough to back away if she wanted. Lena did not.

“Well, if you have to do this make me proud. Show your sister why you are the best of the best.” Lena said when they parted.

“Because I have you. That is why, my lady.” Kara told her, backing away and cracking her knuckles.

Lena blushed bright red and turned away to help set up the small ring out in the street for the siblings’ fight. She was not a fan of what was about to happen but knew it was important to Kara for some reason, so she was going to support the other woman.

“Alright, what is going on here?” asked a familiar voice as a small group of people began to gather around.

“This does not look like any kind of revolution headquarters I have ever heard of.” another, equally familiar voice chimed in.

“M’gann! Maggie! I have missed you so much!” Lena cried. “As Alex said earlier, when we got here, welcome to the revolution.”

She threw her arms around Maggie and M’gann excitedly.

“Kara and her sister are about to have some kind of pissing contest in the form of a fight. Want to watch with me?”

Alex stepped out to scattered applause just as soon as Lena finished asking the question. She was in tightly fitted breeches and a short-sleeved tunic cut to end just above her waist. As she entered the makeshift fighting ring she pulled the tunic off and over her head, leaving just her breast wrap. Alex looked more than a little different than she had when the two were growing up together. Her abdomen was certainly much more defined and all of the spectators, along with Kara could see them twitch when she flexed and moved. It shocked the younger Danvers a little.

“Oh, we are doing this again.” Kara mumbled to herself. “Well, I will not be left out this time.”

Kara pulled her own shirt off as well, pushing her anxiety down deep.

“I like this shirt a lot anyway. Hold it for me? Normally favors go the other way around but I will consider your… other gift, my favor.” she smirked, blue eyes glittering at Lena.

“Bring it, baby sister. Your abs do not intimidate me.” Alex laughed, though she seemed visibly impressed.

“Oh, I have more where that came from.” Kara laughed, rolling and flexing her shoulders. Lena did her absolute best not to drool over the sight. Her best was not enough.

“Lena, if you were to keep looking at her like that, you may set her on fire.” Winn muttered in the princess’s ear.

“The match will begin… now.” called the bartender from the tavern. The woman waved her hand to start the fight and quickly jumped out of the way.

Alex and Kara settled into their fighting stances, Kara’s feet evenly spread apart with her knees bent in preparation while Alex’s seemed a might stiffer. They eyed one another up and down warily as they circled, jumping forward occasionally in an attempt to startle each other. Kara found Alex’s rhythm, and the very next time she came at her, knocked her elder sister’s legs out from underneath her. Alex hit the ground and immediately scrambled to her feet. As soon as she got up, her fist was slamming into Kara’s stomach. The blonde doubled over in response but caught Alex’s knee before she could hit her again.

Kara gripped the same knee and threw Alex backward, keeping her promise to leave her sister staring at the sky. She laughed aloud when she heard all of the air leave Alex’s lungs. Alex cursed loudly and Kara stood back long enough to let the other woman get to her feet. It was clear to most Kara easily eclipsed Alex in skill level, but Alex was still good… and very smart. With every strike and block, she learned and adjusted.

“You have improved considerably, little sister, but you are still too honorable.” Alex struck out with her foot, but changed course at the very last second, strong legs pushing squarely at the center of Kara’s unprotected sternum and sending her reeling, the gladiator fought to regain her balance without falling.

Those near her could hear her growl under her breath. Kara blocked the next kick with her forearm, redirecting the energy and bent low for the lunge punch to the gut. Alex groaned and wrapped one arm around Kara’s neck and shoulder, dragging them both to the ground. Kara tried and failed to roll out of it. She laughed in surprise and gave in. Kara waited until Alex thought she had the younger Danvers woman pinned before jamming two stiff fingers into the sensitive place in Alex’s flank, right below the ribcage.

“If you wanted to wrestle, Alex, you should have remembered I know you best.” Kara jibed as Alex squealed. “I know your vulnerabilities, your weaknesses… and more importantly, you ticklish places.”

Alex giggled helplessly attempting to curl away from her sister in self-defense. Laughter emanated from the crowd, but she did not care. From the beginning, she had known she did not have much of a chance. Still, she had had to try her best.

“Stop, stop, I give.” she squeaked with what breath she had left.

Kara pushed up, straddling Alex’s hips and grinned down.

“You know, this is the first time I have ever bested you since we were children.” Kara told her without standing.

“Congratulations, you have beaten the best.” Alex replied sarcastically, shoving Kara lightly. “What are those monstrosities in your hair?! It is a good thing I fight fair.”

“They are a surprise for those who do not.” it was Kara’s turn for a wicked grin and it did not disappoint.

Alex laughed aloud and the two women took a bow for the spectators before making a hasty exit. Lena and her companions watched on, mostly forgotten.

“Mark me down as terrified, amused, and a bit aroused.” announced Maggie, a bit too loudly.

“Amen.” agreed Winn.

Chapter Text

Now that all of the members of the party, save J’onn, had arrived, it was time to bring the new arrivals fully into the fold of the little revolution. Clearly, Alex knew a lot more about what was going on than Kara or Lena did. All of the people Kara had noticed regularly milling around were seated at the large wooden table which had been moved back into the center of the lower floor of the tavern and inn. Alex and a very handsome young black man sat companionably together at the head of the table with Kara and Lena together in the place of honor by their right hand.

Kara was very nervous but accepted on behalf of herself and her charge. She had a hard time with not being in charge of her protection any longer. Alex apparently being in charge of the whole revolution somewhat set Kara’s mind at ease, though that was also a terrifying thought. Her temper had been legendary throughout their childhood and Alex had started many a tussle. It was especially ferocious when in defense of Kara.

Lena gave Kara a soft smile in response to the mental spiral Kara was clearly falling down.

“Alright then, it seems as though everyone has arrived.” Alex said once the table was almost three-quarters full. Kara glanced around and saw a lot of people she had met at least in passing, but very few she knew well.

“For those of you who are new to this ramshackle organization, welcome. I am Alex Danvers and this beautiful specimen of the male species is the lordling, James Olsen. The two of us are doing our best to keep our group from falling apart. As most of you know, my adoptive sister, Kara Danvers has escaped the Lutheran capital city with our future queen, Lena Luthor!” Alex’s arm swept out in a dramatic gesture towards Kara and Lena.

All eyes turned to them and Kara immediately willed her body to sink through the floor and into the ground. While she knew this was what Lena was used to and what she deserved, she despised all the attention. It felt as though if one more person were to stare at her she may physically catch on fire. Lena reached over and took her hand, actually threading their fingers together as opposed to the usual knee grasp Kara would receive. Kara deeply appreciated the comforting gesture.
To her credit, Lena responded to being put on the spot like a champion. She smiled and waved, though she knew instinctively Kara would be panicking and helped her smoothly and without a blink of it showing on her face. It was the most regal Lena had seemed to Kara. Kara knew then and there the group was doing the right thing. She would fight and die to put this woman on the Lutheran throne.

No one else was as fair or as kind, the type of leader the kingdom had not seen in generations. Kara was not sure she would live to see Krypton again, but she would feel as though she had done some good so long as she helped Lena rise to her proper place.

“One day, together, we will put her on that throne, but today… we begin.” the young man added. “My name is James Olsen and I have been assisting Alex with… this revolution of ours. I’m still not fond of calling our efforts a revolution though.”

“Don’t be such a wimp, Olsen.” Alex smacked him on the back and laughed. To his credit, he suppressed his slight wince well. “ Maggie and M’gann have rejoined us now. As of tonight, they will regain their rightful places on our council, when we induct Princess Lena… or should I say Queen Lena, and Kara, her right hand.”

“You give me too much credit, sister.” Kara scoffed.

“No, Kara, she is correct. I would never have made it this far without you by my side. I intend to have you with me for as long as it takes us to see this through.” Lena corrected with a firm voice. She spoke loud enough everyone else in the room could hear, yet her gaze never broke from Kara’s. The words were meant for Kara, but Lena obviously wanted to make her point clear to everyone else.

“I will… I will do all I can to provide you with the most assistance I possibly can. Wherever you need me to be, I will be. Whatever you need of me I will do. My sword is yours. My heart is yours. My life is yours.” Kara replied in the same manner. She wasn’t as nervous when she spoke directly to Lena, though everyone else continued to witness the heartfelt exchange.

“Oh, we will have more than enough work for your sword, Kara. Believe you me.” Alex butted in her voice wicked with mischief. “Who better to train our forces than the best swordsman in all the known lands?”

Chapter Text

Kara attacked her duties with fervor. She had a gift for instruction and teaching Lena didn’t expect from the former gladiator. She was patient and gentle with her twenty or so students, but still ferocious when sparring or demonstrating on one of the straw dummies. Despite her own duties, Lena tried to take at least a moment out of her day to observe. Her own responsibilities took up the vast majority of her days now and left little time for her and Kara to spend together.

Lena’s work was all-encompassing. She talked with Alex and James regularly about changes in the style of government she hoped for. Lena shared what she knew about the current politics of the court, a layout of the castle, and other such details. James and Alex took copious notes. She was beginning to put together what they were planning and adjusted herself accordingly to help. Lena thought using a portion of Lex’s own plan against him was brilliant and poetic justice to boot.

Lenda did miss Kara, however. She had gotten used to the security as well as Kara’s easy going manner. Still, Alex, James and the others had insisted as long as she stayed within the limits of the town, she would be safe. It made her a little anxious, but Kara seemed to trust them, so she did as well. It was comforting when she woke up in the mornings, there was always some sign Kara had been there and had slept beside of her.

A favor of some kind would be left on the pillow next to her, a steaming mug of tea would be on her bedside table, or even just a soft hint of Kara’s scent on the sheets. All of these little things, which on their own might not mean much, but added up to this warm feeling that wholly encompassed Lena’s heart.

Kara missed her princess as well. Those feelings only spurred her on, however. Lean was the reason she was working so hard. When Kara looked back, if it had not been for Lena, she would probably have still been stuck in the gladiator life. Even she knew her winning streak could not have lasted too much longer.

Kara had also discovered she enjoyed teaching these young men and women to fight. Alex had procured a rather sizable armory, presumably with the winnings Kara had sent to her at every opportunity. They now had at least one of every type of sword Kara had ever seen or heard of. She had never gotten to try her hand with a sic before, but now she worked with the weapon at every opportunity.

The first portion of the blade was approximately the length of her gladius’ blade before taking a sharp right-hand turn into an ‘L’ shape. From what Kara had gathered the purpose of the weapon was to get behind a shield and deal damage to the exposed flank, shoulder, or arm of the opponent. While somewhat unwieldy, Kara found the weapon interesting and as always, wanted to become proficient in any weapon she could get her hands on.

Maggie Sawyer joined Alex, James, and Lena on the tavern balcony where they stood watching Kara train and the small force running through their drills as Kara had assigned them.

“I caught the tail end of that fight with Kara. You got farther than most and I have seen a good number of her fights. Did you train as a family or did it come naturally to all of those with the Danvers name?” Maggie asked, dark eyes sparkling.

“I… learned the hard way. I realized early on, no one would ever fight for my little sister as I would, and…I had not made much of an effort with her myself when she first came to our family. I felt as though I needed to make up for ignoring her, and I already had a chip on my shoulder.” Alex explained wistfully. “I ended up starting this crusade on her behalf. When I met James, who shared my ideals and told me about the younger and kinder Luthor sibling, I knew I had to try to overthrow Lex Luthor.”

“Experience...the hardest way to learn anything.” Maggie said in an understanding tone. “I have fought the vast majority of my battles with my words.”

“You have done well for your queen, Maggie. I have heard much about your work from those you have sent our way and from Lord J’onn.” Alex replied, her tone earnest and respectful.

“Thank you, Alex. That means a lot.” Maggie smiled softly back at her. Alex found she was fascinated by the way those deep dark eyes sparkled. She had never seen anything like them.

“This break has been really nice, I was beginning to feel as though that little room was all there was left of the world.” Lena groaned as she stretched her legs and shoulders.

“Take five. Drink some water and stretch those muscles. I want you all to run when I come back.” Kara bellowed before jogging up to the other four council member and smiling up at them.

“Hello, love.” Kara said as she wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. She didn’t have eyes for anyone besides Lena.

“Hi, Kara.” Lena chuckled back. “You are all looking good out there.”

“Thanks, Lena. Good to know you are looking.” Kara winked and jogged back to where their proprietor had water ready for everyone. Lena found herself blushing a deep red. Alex fanned her with one hand, a horrified look on her face.

Chapter Text

Kara stretched out her shoulder and arms over her head, groaning only slightly more loudly than was necessary. She was putting in more hours with this little army than she had when she was a gladiator-in-training. Kara enjoyed the extra push and even the soreness was satisfying in its own way. She collapsed back on to the bed with an exhausted but contented smile. There was much that needed to get done and there was still the council meeting that night. All Kara wanted to do was sleep until the week was over and done.

Just as she was about to drift off, Lena came in and slammed the door behind her. She draped herself over Kara dramatically, as though the other woman were her own personal fainting chaise. Kara let out a huff of air as Lena’s torso squashed out the oxygen in her lungs. On instinct, Kara moved one arm to hold the princess’s waist. She smiled despite her face full of hair.

“And how was your day, my queen?” Kara asked her voice strained by the limp woman on top of her.

“More questions and plots and schemes. My brain is as tired as your body. I guarantee it.” Lena replied, not seeming to wish to move at all. Kara was fine with the precious weight.

“I would say so, though my body is more than a little exhausted.” Kara replied. “These men and women are working hard but we are pretty much starting from nothing. They are more used to holding farming equipment than holding weapons.”

“I am sure you are more than capable of whipping them into shape.” Lena tried to reassure her. She knew how Kara would hold herself responsible for each and every one of those people.

“I just feel like the more I push myself, the more they will push themselves. I want to lead them by example… the way you do, Lena.” Kara’s voice was heavy with emotion and Lena pushed up to look her in the eyes, a soft smile on her face.

“You are an amazing leader, Kara. You would make an even better General. Alex was right, you are my right hand and I would never want you anywhere else… but, if you are only staying for me, I do not want you to feel as though you have to. You are not beholden to me anymore. You are free to do as you please.” Lena played with a strand of hair escaped from Kara’s ponytail.

Kara pushed them back and sat up against the headboard, pulling Lena into her lap so as not to lose any of their closeness while still freeing up her lungs.

“I am not stuck with you, Lena. I have sworn myself to your service whether you have a throne or title or not. One day, when you are settled and in control, I will take back my own kingdom. Watching you has shown me I must. Until that day comes, I am yours, wholly and completely. The only way you might rid yourself of me is if you were to send me away or if I were to fall in battle… preferably in your name or in Krypton’s. I love you, Lena. I am not going anywhere.” Kara cupped Lena’s face in her hand and pulled her in gently to kiss her. She took her time and allowed Lena to push her down. Kara melted underneath her letting her exhausted body fall back into the pillows.

Lena had to giggle and pull away when she couldn’t stop herself from smiling through the kiss.

“I love you too. We will figure this out. Our life is complicated and a smooth path will probably never come easily, but this… us will be so worth it.” Lena swore to Kara and to herself. “When Luthor is mine, we will get Krypton back for you and hopefully, then we can figure the rest out for us. Until then, between the bouts of madness, and the ugliness, maybe we can find the time to enjoy one another.”

Kara swallowed the large knot which formed in her throat at Lena’s words. Her throat went dry and her eyes filled with hot tears. What Lena said had been too perfect. Nothing she could ever say would possibly compare. All Kara knew was to sit back and hold Lena close in whatever little time they had left.

“You know what? We need a day together just you and me with no wars or bids for the throne to distract us. What do you say?” Lena asked after a long quiet moment.

“That sounds perfect.” Kara replied with a soft smile. While her queen’s mind had been obviously been working overtime, she was just trying to fill her eyes with as much Lena Luthor as she possibly could.

“We are equals now, Kara. You are going to have to start speaking up about what you want.” Lena said almost petulantly.

“I am content. I have my good health returned to me and my sister back. Winn seems happy and healthy. He is the best friend I could have asked for. Alex is here and from what I have witnessed, she seems well. I have you, Lena, and I love you. For some reason, only the gods know our lives have been intertwined and I may be the luckiest woman on the planet. I have all I could ever want.” Kara replied and Lena could not agree more.

Chapter Text

The one where… is this a DATE???

Kara offered the Princess her arm as they met on the dirt road outside of the tavern. Lena was dressed in a simple but beautiful frock she had borrowed. Long silken hair was loose around her shoulders and Kara fought to keep herself from reaching out to feel. The borrowed dress was a deep blue color that made Lena look even paler as was the fashion.

Kara was certainly not pale. Her skin took on a golden tint after spending time in the sun. Her hair had lightened as well, Lena noticed. Streaks were nearly white blonde and pinned in an intricate braid to the back of Kara’s head to form a spiral of hair.

When Lena had stepped out to find her, she had been staring up at the cloudless sky. Kara had appeared to almost be lounging against the wall. Her sword was on one hip, hanging in its scabbard like she was born with it there, in a new brown leather belt much nicer than the one she usually wore. One of the blue dress shirts Lena had ordered made fit tightly across strong shoulders and tucked into brown breeches. While waiting for Kara to notice her arrival, Lena used the moment to admire her.

“Lena, you are radiant.” Kara said as they walked towards the small town’s weekend open market area.

“You spent too much time around courtiers with me.” Lena laughed, bringing a blush to Kara’s face.

“I… want to do this right, and to do right by you.” Kara’s expression was concerned and nervous. “I know nothing of how you may expect to be courted or even if you have been courted in earnest before. I certainly have not been.”

Something inside of Lena melted and warmed at Kara’s words. She tugged at her date’s arm to stop and pulled a pale purple flower from the wildflowers growing alongside the path they walked. She smiled at Kara’s confusion and reached around to tuck the long stem in amongst the tight braids. If Lena had to guess, she would say they were Maggie’s work. Kara went an even deeper shade of pink.

Lena stepped back to admire her work. Her hands ran down Kara’s arms as she did so, a wholly self-indulgent action, just because she knew she could.

“Beautiful.” She murmured, only just loudly enough for Kara to hear.

“Yes, it is. Thank you.” Kara replied, missing the point and didn’t even notice it fly over her head. The beautiful blonde was somewhat oblivious.

“I meant you and you know it. Cut the false humility, you gorgeous oaf.” Lena scoffed. “You are a near perfect specimen of humanity. Stand a bit straighter and own how awesome you are.”

Kara’s eyes widened as they fell into step again. She had never thought to view herself in that sort of a light before. Kara knew she had put on some muscle since she was a young woman, and that her curves had somewhat filled out, but she would never have described herself as attractive. The way Lena looked at her now led her to believe this was not necessarily the truth of the matter. She’d thought the muscle and strong jawline had made her look too manly.

“You have many wonderful traits not involving your looks, but yeah. I do enjoy looking at you.” Lena chuckled. She wished she could get herself to shut up, but found the still mildly confused look on Kara’s face adorable.

“I just find you to be altogether wonderful.” Kara finally decided to reply. “I could no more choose a favorite of your traits than I could choose a star out of the sky.”

Lena could not come up with anything to say in response. Instead, she chose to grab a careful hold on Kara’s shoulder and pushed up to kiss her cheek as they were about to enter the market square. Kara accepted the action with a sheepish grin, eliciting a giggle from Lena. They continued on through the tent shops and glanced over the wares, bought snacks and made the most of the time they had to enjoy one another’s company.

“Oh, this would look wonderful on you.” Lena said with a cute little gasp as she grabbed something off of a mannequin and held it up for Kara to see.

She held the cloth up to Kara’s shoulders and eyed it expertly. The color of material was a deep red that automatically drew the eye in a manner Kara generally did not appreciate, but for some reason, she wanted to wrap her hands in it and curl up underneath. The shiny silver clasps were finely made though not overly ornate. The garment was beautiful and Kara loved the cape on sight for a reason she could not rightly articulate.

“A wise choice indeed, ma’am. The cloth is one common to Kryptonese warriors and is reinforced with a thin wire when made. It is said to repel even the strongest of blades.” the salesman said in a seedy tone.

Kara scoffed. If he couldn’t pronounce or even get the correct term for her people, he surely didn’t know what he was talking about. Lena placed a reassuring hand on the small of Kara’s back when she felt the other woman tense beside of her.

“Shall we put that to the test then? Kara will strike a blow at it and if it cuts, we will pay you the damages and be on our way. If it works we will buy it off of you. Agreeable?” Lena asked with a smile in her voice.

“Too generous an offer to turn down.” he took the cape and laid it across the mannequin Lena had snatched it from.

“Back away a bit, please. I would not want to accidentally wound anyone.” Kara said in a rather official tone Lena found impressive. Teaching had had a good effect on her. Her confidence seemed boosted significantly.

Kara rotated the hilt in her hand once before bringing the blade up into an arc to strike the material. The impact sent a reverberation through the gladius and up her arm. Kara sheathed the weapon and shook the limb out before leaning to check the area she had struck. The vendor and Lena craned their necks as well. The sword had left only the barest hint of a dent in the material, much to everyone’s shock. Kara lifted the cape and shook it out before checking both sides again.

“Amazing. We’ll take it.” Lena announced and stepped away to haggle with the man.

Kara swung the cape around to fall across her back and shoulders. She fastened the cape at her collarbones. It was noticeably heavier than any she had put on before but felt otherwise perfect. Kara blushed to herself slightly, she felt like a kid playing dress-up in these nice clothes and fancy cape, with a beautiful woman on her arm. None of it felt real to her, almost as though she were living someone else’s life.

“Perfect,” Lena said when she returned and saw Kara with it on. “It seems fitting to get you something nice given your promotion and your freedom. I think you look lovely.”

“Thank you, Lena. Shall we continue to look around or are you content to head on?” Kara asked feeling oddly formal and embarrassed.

“Let’s head on. I kind of want another sweet roll, if you don’t mind.” Lena grinned at how flustered Kara seemed and smoothed the red cape out over her shoulders, enjoying the texture and the feel of Kara’s muscles beneath her hands. Lena pulled her lip in between her teeth and stared into Kara’s crystal blue eyes. Kara noted Lena’s had gone dark, her pupils reacting to the surge of feelings inside of her. “It really looks good on you.”

“We can continue this back at our room if you like.” Kara offered, her voice low. She slid her arm around Lena’s waist and pulled her in close to her side and guided her away.

“I think I would like that very much.” Lena replied with a smile that made Kara’s insides melt with heat.

Chapter Text

Kara tucked Lena in against herself and held her close as they walked through the busy market streets. If Lena noticed when Kara brought the cape around to Lena’s unprotected flank, she did not mention it. She rather found Kara’s overprotective tendencies adorable. Lena giggled at how they walked so closely together they tripped over one another’s feet. She held onto Kara’s belt to keep herself close.

“What is that?” Kara bent to ask directly in Lena’s ear, pointing to the center of the square.

“A herald, come to deliver a message from the king. It likely has naught to do with us. Do you want to go and listen in?” Lena asked, her lip twitching up as she held onto Kara’s shoulder and met those amazing blue eyes.

“Yes, just in case. Your situation is as of yet still precarious and I do not want to miss anything. No matter how things are between us or where we may be, your protection will always be my highest priority.” Kara replied, placing Lena back underneath her arm and held her close. The princess had never felt so safe as she did when they were so close to one another.

“His Most Royal Highness, Alexander Luthor, has instructed his stewards to announce the retrieval of the King’s Ward, Samantha Arias as his bride and long-standing love. The marriage is to be held within a fortnight after her arrival in three days. Prepare yourselves for the celebration and a reign of love and peace in our fair kingdom.” the man announced, his voice echoing over the din of the shoppers and the merchants hawking their wares.

Lena’s face had gone at least two shades more pale than it had been previously. Kara tightened her grip on the other girl to prevent her from falling. She swallowed dryly as a lump formed in her throat as she tried to process everything she had heard and learned. Kara wanted more than anything to help Lena, to protect her, and keep her safe. She knew Sam had been important to Lena and there was nothing like a first love to get under someone’s skin. Kara understood.

“Let us get back then, love. The others need to hear about this. We can come up with a plan then.” Kara said in a low voice that echoed with a sense of power coming from deep inside of herself. Lena knew and felt it from before when Kara had felt as though Lena were in danger or even just being threatened in some way.

Lena only nodded in response and held Kara’s hand like a lifeline as the blonde pulled her hurriedly through the crowd. They rushed back to Cat’s Tavern Inn, calling for the rest of the council to follow for an emergency meeting. When they sat, Kara pulled Lena’s seat closer to her own and let her bury her face momentarily in Kara’s cape covered shoulder. When the others came bolting in, Lena sat upright and hurriedly attempted to make herself presentable.

“I can… I can handle this part. You take as long as you need.” Kara leaned back into Lena and murmured before standing up at the head of the table. Kara tucked her thumbs into her belt and cleared her throat to gather attention.

She looked down the table at all of the expectant faces. At her right hand was Lena and at her left was Alex. Down the rest of the table in no particular order were James, Winn, Cat Grant, who owned the Tavern Inn, and Vasquez and J’onn who had just gotten in that morning. Kara was incredibly relieved. She had the best team she could possibly ask for around that table.

“Were the two of you not supposed to be out on a date?” Alex asked. “What is going on?”

“Lex Luthor has brought Samantha Arias back to the capital with the intention of wedding her. We cannot allow that to happen.” Kara said firmly and directly. She gripped the edge of the table in her hands and squeezed, leaning forward to meet everyone’s eyes individually.

“Have you considered the possibility he is doing this solely to bring Lena out of hiding?” Alex asked, leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms over her chest, brow furrowing in consternation.

“I have, and that is why I have decided I will take a select team back to handle the rescue, while Lena remains here. It pains me to leave her and I know you all know that, but without even having to ask I knew this is what she would want me to do.” Kara’s tone left no room for argument and her eyes blazed. She looked almost like she wanted somebody to challenge her.

“Are you certain this is a risk we can afford to take?” J’onn asked, his voice careful and measured. Unlike Alex, he did not look ready to pounce. His hands were folded on the table and he seemed entirely compassionate, earnest, and matter-of-fact. Kara saw no hint of maliciousness there. Lena, on the other hand, did not take it as well.

“What do you mean by that?!” Lena stood up so quickly it knocked her chair back across the room.

“I know what Sam means to you, my lady, I really do. Still, do you really want to put Kara and the other members of this ‘elite team’ at risk for her?” Lord J’onn asked, still in that careful tone. “You care about Kara as well, do you not?”

“You should not begin to dare, Uncle.” Lena’s voice was nearly a growl. “Do not trivialize my feelings for this woman. I know what is at stake, but I also have carried guilt about Sam’s fate for long… and Kara Danvers of all people understands that, and I trust her above anyone else I have ever known. If she says she is going to do this, I say she should.”

“I am not doing this because Lena asked me to. I am doing this because it needs to be done.” Kara interjected. “I refuse to leave that girl there. No one deserves to be stuck with that man against their will.”

“If you insist.” J’onn acquiesced.

“Well, as much as I do not like it, I guess we need a plan.” Alex said with a heavy sigh and opened a drawer to begin pulling out plans and schematics.

Chapter Text

“This is a rescue mission.” Kara announced in her most projective tone of voice from Cat’s Tavern’s balcony, her hands wrapped around the railing and began to squeeze out of anxiety. “We are not going to start a war or take out as many of the enemy as we can in one go. I will not take anyone who does not volunteer to come along. I will complete this mission on my own if I must. So, if you care to join me in this, stay after and we will discuss the plan.”

“Raise your hand if you care to join us. I, personally, am with Kara. “Winn stepped up to stand beside of the blonde woman. She placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed in thanks and he smiled up at her with a sense of pride. James raised his hand from the back of the small gathered force and stepped forward for everyone to be able to see him. It was not that hard because he was so tall and had a tendency to stand out.

In response, every member of the small force lifted a hand into the air. Kara was thoroughly shocked, right down to her core and impressed by the dedication of her team. It was moving for her as a leader and as a friend to them. She had gotten to know each and every one of these people as individuals, and knew they were all good people, but she still had not expected this kind of a reaction. Hot tears sprang to her eyes but internally she squished the reaction immediately.

“I thank you for your enthusiasm but we actually only want a small infiltration team to go in first. I must say I am honored.” Kara’s voice was heartfelt and much more vulnerable than she would ever have wanted anyone to see or hear out of her. Lena came to her side and linked arms with the other woman as an attempt at comfort. “James and Winn will come with me. I want everyone else to be keeping track of our queen for me while I am gone. If one hair on her head is disturbed while I am gone, I will destroy you all.”

Kara’s eyes and her gaze hardened at that. It was the same look she had given the guards when Lena had been attacked and Kara had been injured for such a pretty young lady, she struck the fear of God into every person who met her eyes. Lena was completely unfazed by it but appreciated the sentiment. Despite the norm of Kara tucking Lena into herself, Kara sagged heavily against Lena for a long moment. The young monarch could see Kara’s exhaustion was catching up with her. Lena knew they were both tired, but it seemed to her at least that Kara had pushed herself the hardest, down to the bone.

Lena did not mind it in the least. She had been wanting Kara to lean on her in return for the longest time. She felt too much as though she was putting too much on Kara. Lena felt as though she were taking more from Kara than she was giving her and it was all masked by the way Kara loved her. It scared Lena to think one day Kara might resent her for it.

“I will take James and Winn. They will make it easier to get inside. I am too easily recognized.” Kara looked to Lena for approval.

“M’gann and Maggie have the disguises ready for you. Knowing M’gann, you will be the best-dressed waitstaff in the whole kingdom.” Lena teased and nudged Kara’s hip with her own. She leaned back closer to Kara as the people began to mill around. “I am sorry that we never got around to what we were discussing earlier.”

Kara blushed red at her words.

“Me too. We will make the time for one another, love. One day this will all be over and we will find out way back to each other. I swear it.” Kara stood a bit straighter and pulled Lena in, staring down into her eyes earnestly. “You know I will always do my utmost to get back to you.”

“Let me know when that day comes if you please. I will hop right on over to wherever it takes to get to you as well.” Lena grins and gently nips at Kara’s earlobe. “You had better get back to me as quickly as you can.”

“You know I will.” Kara glanced around and kissed her slowly and languidly for what was only a few seconds but felt like forever. It was the kind of kiss that could stop time and start wars. Lena melted into it as she always did like she could not stop herself. “Now, I need to go talk to the boys about a trip.”

“Alright, my dear. Please, go easy on them. They look at you as though you were the queen or even a goddess.” Lena said with a slight smirk. “I do not think they even love me as much as they love you.”

“Well, if they knew you I know, I would be having to fight them off of you, my love. For now, they may love you because I do… or more to the point, because of how I love you.” Kara said with another tired sight, took Lena’s cheeks in her hands and kissed her quickly and chastely once more.

“I can get by with that. More than anything I want to prove to them that I will do right by them, that they can trust me to lead fairly and with compassion. I want them to know I will be better than any of those who have come before me and betrayed their trust.” Lena spoke with passion and a ferocity Kara had not seen out of Lena for a while. Kara found that she had missed it. Riled up Lena was one of the best Lena’s in her personal opinion, but then again, no one was asking her.

“One day, they will realize it, just as I have.” Kara informed her as though it were obvious, took her hand and led her back inside.

Chapter Text

“We will not be gone for long, my dear. This is an in and out rescue mission.” Kara held Lena tight. “You will barely be able to tell I was gone at all. It will be like I was here the whole time.”

“You know it will not.” Lena scoffed. “I will be thinking of you and be missing you the entire time. I want to know you know that. I want you to know I am here and I am rooting for you and waiting for you and praying to whatever deities might be out there for you to come home to me.”

Kara’s cheeks blushed a light pink and her breath caught with emotion. She squeezed Lena just a bit tighter and for a handful of moments could not imagine ever letting her go. Kara hoped Lena got all of that from the hug because she could not possibly find the words. She buried her face in Lena’s hair and shoulder in an attempt to hide from whatever was going to come next. Kara was not used to having people concerned about her well-being.

“I love you, Lena and I will do everything I can to bring Sam home to you.” Kara promised, pulling back to hold Lena at arm’s length to look into her eyes, cupping her cheek in one hand. The vast majority of Kara’s dread came from the raging fear she would disappoint Lena.

“I know you will… just please, please come home to me; safely if at all possible.” Lena’s voice broke as choked out the words. Lena could not imagine having her heart ache more than this, but knew at any given point it could get a whole lot worse.
Kara backed away slowly though it broke her heart to let the other woman go. She felt crushed to have Lena leave her side at all. Just as she finally forced herself to turn away, the tears fell down Lena’s face. Kara could not bear to look back at her. She was comforted by Maggie at least, and it made Kara feel maybe a modicum better.
“Hey baby sister, I wish I was coming with you.” Alex came up to Kara and placed both hands on her shoulders. Kara immediately felt significantly settled as soon as Alex’s eyes met hers. “I feel like I only just got you back.”

“I know, me too. On both counts.” Kara sighed, suppressing her feelings. When Alex stepped in to hug her younger sister, Kara broke down and finally allowed a few of her own tears to fall. “Please, just take care of Lena while I am gone. I love her, Alex and I would not be able to take it if something were to happen to her while I was gone…”

“I will. You know nothing gets by me.” Alex did her best to force a smile. “I will put my life on the line if I have to. She will be the queen of this kingdom one day and you did not have to ask. You should know I have your back.”

“I do, Alex. I do. I can never thank you enough.” Kara said, looking heavily into her sister’s eyes.

“You just be sure to come back. I am your sister and I love you. Just please come back to me. Come back to us. We need you. We need you more than you know.” Alex wrapped her hands around Kara’s and shook her as though it would rattle her point into the other woman.

“I love you too, Alex. Long before these people started to look up to me, you were my hero, big sister.” Kara leaned against her sister’s forehead for a moment, took a deep breath, then headed to the small team.

James and Winn each wrapped an arm around Kara’s shoulders and did their best to be there for her after all of the goodbyes. They wore their most flexible leather armor, heavy bags on their backs, and weapons on their hips. She knew she needed to do this, but all she really wanted was to turn around and run back to Lena.

“We have got you, girl. It is all going to be fine. We will rescue the damsel in distress and bring her back to your girl and we will be the heroes the bards write songs about.” James said in that low tone of his in an attempt to comfort the young woman who had slowly wormed her way into his heart. He had been one of maybe three or four holdouts on the council, but she had eventually won everyone over, including him.

“Yeah, the more quickly we get her out, the more quickly we can get her back with us.” Kara said firmly with a choked inhale and with that, she straightened her spine, set her shoulders back and headed forward towards the fight she desperately wanted at the moment. Kara could not wait to punch someone right in the face. Kara needed that kind of catharsis right then.

What made things just a bit better for her was to have her best friend at her side. Winn said nothing, but met Kara’s eyes every now and then just to double check she was okay and after a while, she did get there. Kara took a minute to think instead of what she was heading towards as opposed to what she was leaving behind. She focused on saving Sam. For the remainder of the trip, Kara made the boys quote the plan back to her again and again.

Finally, after what seemed like years worth of traveling that only really amounted to about ten hours, the Luthor capital palace’s shadow loomed over them. Fear of that entity and all it entailed struck the small group straight in the heart. Kara had never planned to return to this awful place and yet… here she was.

Chapter Text

“Alright, we are only about a mile from the trapdoor. This approach will only work the one time, so I think we should make camp now, talk the plan through again, get a good night of rest and get at it bright and early.” Kara announced once she began to recognize landmarks.

The boys did as she said and laid out their camp gear as Kara paced around thoughtfully. In some way, the plan just felt wrong to her, as though something was missing or had been forgotten. She ran her thumb over the scar on her shoulder and gnawed on her lower lip.

“One change to the plan… you will both wait here for me. I will sneak in and let you in via the tunnel. If something were to happen to me, you would both be needed back with Lena and Alex. Everything else can be figured out then.” Kara crossed her arms over her chest and stared James and Winn down as though daring them to argue with her.

“As you wish.” James said with a nod. He was under express orders from the elder Danvers to do as Kara said. He was also unsure now if he was more afraid of Kara or Alex. James did know that they could both kick his ass.

“I do not like it.” Winn said, looking dead at her, crossing his arms and bowing up at her. “Whoever stays out here will be the safest and those who go in will be in the most danger. That is why we decided to send the inside man in with backup… or inside woman.”

“I know, Winn, but I just decided it would be better to send two people back to the woman I love instead of one... should it all go to hell.” Kara said, her mind unchanged. She had made this decision a while back and her stance was firm. “I do not actually care if you like it or not.”

“As you wish.” Winn replied begrudgingly. He sat down beside the makeshift fire ring and began to set up kindling.

“Winn, I care about our friendship and I trust you explicitly, but this is something I have to do on my own.” Kara said in a much more caring and understanding tone. “I need you to understand that.”

“Yeah, I get it. I do. I just… I would not be able to bear it if I had to go back to Midvale without you. That is not an option, Kara Danvers.” Winn said definitively, holding her gaze firmly. She felt a measure of pride in the look for some reason.

“I will be sure to avoid allowing that to happen. I have made the same promise to just about everyone else. I should have thought to include you as well. I am sorry for overlooking you, Winn.” Kara said softly. “I ought to have taken your feelings into account.”

“Thank you, Kara. You saying that means a lot.” Winn answered, staring down at the ground still semi-morosely.

Kara stood from where she had been kneeling beside of him and began to pace their perimeter anxiously.

“He is just worried. Winn cares fiercely for you, Kara. He will come around. I promise. You can sort the rest out when this is all over. I have faith we will come out okay in the end.” James said in his most even and calm tone of voice.”

“You have more faith than I do, then. I know I seem confident, but for the most part, it is all charming smiles and bluster.” Kara chuckled darkly, her smile faltering a little.

“It makes sense. I am standing behind you no matter what, General Danvers.” James replied and the way he looked at her instilled more confidence in her than she had in herself. The faith her expressed in her almost made her feel as though she would be able to make it through it all.

“Thank you, I do not feel like much of a general as of late. I really needed this, thank you, James.” Kara took a few deep breaths and rolled out her bedroll. “I am pretty certain it is not my turn to make dinner, so please wake me up when it is time to eat.”

Kara did not fall asleep as soon as her head hit the blanket. It took a moment of staring up at the clear blue sky, but it was enough to quell her anxiety and panic at least for a while. Eventually, her eyes closed and she found a way to rest at least for a little while. In the back of her mind, even while she was asleep, she could feel Lena nearby, cheering her on with an unbreakable and unshakeable faith in her. Kara had not known until now how important even that one aspect of Lena Luthor’s support had always been there for her.

Even as she fought to go to sleep, Kara held tightly to that feeling of Lena; refusing to let it go. Lena had become ingrained in her; a central part and Kara swore to herself she would never lose sight of it again. It was for Lena the princess Kara had set on this mission and it was for Queen Lena of Luthor she intended to see it though. Though she got no sleep during her nap, Kara got up feeling rested refocused, and significantly more optimistic. When she went back to bed after her watch, it was to no dreams and a deep, peaceful sleep.

Chapter Text

The tunnels were a lot more dark, dank, and miserable without Kara’s friends besides her. Still, she swallowed hard and pressed on. The whole experience had shaken her somewhat. It had been a while since she had purposefully tried to be invisible in the halls of the castle. Kara only had to remove a handful of actually rather wimpy guards, a deed she had accomplished without earning a single bruise or cut.

Kara took the tunnel at a light jog and felt a bit better about running all of those laps with the troops. She made it back to the trapdoor in what felt like only half of the time it had taken when she made the trip to the end of the tunnel the first time. Kara hated how she felt without Lena beside her but was comforted by the knowledge Alex and the others were watching over the princess. She pushed the trapdoor open and grinned wickedly as Winn and James dropped into the tunnel after her. She clapped the men on the shoulders and gratefully attached her gladius to her belt with a slight sense of relief.

“All right then, are you ready to kick some ass and get the girl, fellas?” Kara asked, drawing the blade a few times and whipping it carefully through the air, just to test herself a bit.

“Ready when you are, boss.” James agreed, adjusting the shield on his back and clearing his long-handled mace in its holder at his side.

Winn nodded as well, his great ax on his back. Kara had had the weapon commissioned as soon as she had felt comfortable asking Alex. Despite his sword-on-sword sparring with her, Kara knew this was his preferred weapon. J’onn told her he was even more talented with the ax than the sword. Kara looked forward to seeing him get serious within a fight. She nodded back.

“Well… we should get to it.” Kara said evenly and they began the trip back down the tunnel. She felt as though she were spending much too much time underground as of late.

-----/////-----

“You really know the way back to the dungeons from here?” James asked as they emerged carefully into M’gann’s workshop.

“Yes, I spent most of my spare time around here exploring all of the little nooks and crannies of this place. If we head down this hall, we will be less likely to be seen by the guards or the courtiers.” Kara lead them down the hall as she spoke lowly, one hand on the hilt of her gladius at the ready.

“Okay, how do you plan to get the cell open, then?” James asked. These were all things they had discussed previously, but they found the repetition soothing.

“If Winn cannot cut off the lock with his ax, James will attempt to pick it while I look for the key.” Kara answered, her back to the wall as she looked around the corner to see if the path was clear. There was one guard at the door down to the cells and he did not seem to have any intentions of moving. “We are going to have to go through that one. Who wants the first go?”

Both of the young men lifted their hands slightly and glared at one another. Kara rolled her eyes, pointed to Winn, and shrugged at James with a slight grin. Winn hefted his ax, smiled, waved and headed down the corridor to seemingly shake the man’s hand. Kara thought he looked much too happy to be about to fight a guy. Then again, in her estimation, there was not much wrong with a good and fair fight.

“Hi there, I am the young Lord Winn Schott, Jr., would you please let me through the door?” he asked, ever the polite young noble. Winn propped his weapon upon his shoulder and continued to smile as though the guard’s shoulder’s had shot up and back straightened with a fighter’s tension. He looked to be around ten years younger than Kara and there was enough fear in his eyes for her to tell he would never be able to win.

He charged for Winn’s middle in what seemed to Kara to be the world’s most idiotic move. Her protege side-stepped easily, and when the guard lost his balance, Winn brought the hilt of his ax down on the back of his head. He fell face-down, unconscious and Winn searched him and came up with the key.

“That was almost too easy.” Winn said with a slight wiggle of the eyebrows. He beckoned them over and together they dragged the unconscious man, though when Kara looked down at him, he was not much more than a boy, into the staircase to hide him. “We might actually be able to do this.”

“I applaud you for your faith in me.” Kara snorted quietly, before heading down the staircase and into the darkness. Her sarcasm was cutting and Winn knew Maggie would have been proud if she had heard. “You always instill me with the utmost self-confidence.”

“You are so full of crap.” Winn chuckled. “You know what I meant.”

“I do.” Kara kissed his cheek and headed towards the dungeons, sword drawn. She could only hope she and her friends would be ready.

Chapter Text

Winn was pretty sure his dear friend Kara had lost her entire mind. There was a bright and vicious look that came into her eyes as her pupils began to dilate upon her first glance into the dark, dank dungeons and he took a sudden and visceral dislike to her visage. She placed her short gladius sword Lena had given to her very reverently and slowly in his free hand with a steady and warning gaze and told them both “stay” in a deep, low and dangerous tone. Kara turned and stepped steadily sideways into the full view of the three youthful looking guards playing a dice and cup game at a small round-shaped table that had been tucked back into one corner. The one seated directly across from her stood so quickly his stool kicked out back behind him with a crash to break against the wall. Kara grinned a wicked, toothy grin before she gestured for them all to come at her, both of her hands empty.

“What could she possibly think she is doing?” James asked with dismay plain in his low voice.

“I would not concern myself. She has this well in hand and is more than capable. You were not one for the Gladiator Games, were you? Watch and pay close attention, you may even learn a thing or two, my friend.” Winn chuckled softly and clapped James on one broad shoulder. “I think she may be having fun.”

For all intents and purposes, Kara seemed to be waiting quite patiently for the three scrambling and rushing men to trip and fall on their way out from behind the small table. To those who knew what to look for, her long and scarred fingers twitched expectantly with nervous energy at her sides and her weight shifted almost unnoticeably to the balls of her feet.

As soon as the two men on the sides of the table emerged and began to draw their weapons, short knives appeared in their calves as though by magic, just above the tops of greaves and below the edges of their tunics.

James’ gaze snapped to Kara, her hands returning to her sides loosely as the men cried out in shock and burning pain. He had not even seen her move. The small clasps at her sides were empty now. She had not been quite as unarmed as she had appeared to be.

The first man to have seen Kara come out from behind the corner growled in anger, put one hand in the center of the table and vaulted easily over. Before his feet hit the floor, Kara just one foot in his kidney and sent him tumbling into one of his friends. As he fought to regain his balance, Kara replanted her feet and wrapped one hand around his throat and began to squeeze. Kara laughed out loud and even her friends would say later that the sound was frankly terrifying.

The first to come at her was on the side where she did not carry her burden, and her arm was free. He threw a wild haymaker. She easily caught the empty hand, twisted it around and kicked him between the shoulders as he fell to his knees. His head bounced off of the stone wall with a sickening crack. Winn watched and would feel James visibly flinch beside of him. The remaining guard let out a bellow of rage as prisoners all up and down the hall began to cheer and shout.

Winn smacked the larger man’s chest with the back of his hand in anticipation and excitement. James only continued to stare in absolute awe.

“Oh, this is going to be good.” he murmured more to himself than to James.

Kara released her unconscious armful and rolled across his back as he began to fall. She locked one foot and caught her charging attacker in the temple with her heel in a hook kick with a stomach-turning crunch and he fell to the cold stone floor. She stood and began to calmly brush her bloody, sweaty hands across her new armor. “I appear to have made a small mess.” she said with a blank and empty half-smile and rolled her head on her shoulder. Winn wondered if this was how she seemed during her former life as a gladiator. He did not like this version of the warrior as much as the Kara he now knew. “James, if you would pass me the bag, please?”

“Yes, Ms.Kara.” he answered, still rather in awe as she kneeled down and began to search the unconscious guard first. The other two certainly were not at risk of getting up and running off.

“Keys!” she announced to anyone who was paying attention. Several of the nearby emaciated and bruised prisoners tiredly lifted ahead at that declaration. Some begged for their own release while others called out atrocities and expletives. “If the two of you would strip them of their armor and weapons, please? I will find our girl and we can cause a ruckus.”

“See what I mean now?” Winn asked, raising his eyebrows at the other man as Kara went to find a modicum of privacy to change into the guard’s clothes.

“If I were a religious man, I would say she was descended from Athena or Ares.” James said with a slight huff as he worked. “What I just saw was barely human...and all with a smile on her face.”

“Lena once said she thought other men’s weapons just bounced off of her skin.” Winn said with a knowing grin, wanting the conversation to drift away from Kara’s lineage.

“A Girl of Steel.” James muttered to himself.

“I am ready and I found Sam. She does not look well. You two get changed now. I found a spare room down the hall you can use, boys.” Kara jogged back.

“Yes, ma’am.” He said and did as he was told. The prisoners still bellowed for their release. Kara grabbed the now considerably heavier pack and slung it over her shoulder. Starting at the far end of the hall, Kara began to open the cells and release the other prisoners.

“Go fuck some shit up, my friends. Pay the king my regards as you go.” she advised them. “Winn! Do you have Sam?!”

“Yeah, we should go!” he called back. She was supported between the two men, looking pale and wanner than was probably healthy, but her expression seemed relieved. All three party members were now in the fallen guards’ armor and blended well with the crowd searching for the loose escapees.

Sam had just enough energy to spit at the corpses as they hobbled away.

Chapter Text

It took a good bit of bluffing for the three out of place ‘guards’ to get the king’s ‘fiancee’ out of the Palace. James and Winn, the two lordlings, used all sorts of veiled threats and flowery words that went over Kara’s head and eventually got them out. Fear coursed through her veins, making her antsy and nervous. Winn could tell as Kara’s weight shifted her weight from foot to foot and her jaw muscles clenched. He could also see that she still supported the vast majority of Sam’s weight.

“Is she going to be okay?” he asked while they waited for James to return with some horses. Kara knew there was no way to get their charge back in a timely manner whilst on foot. It complicated their plans a bit, but James had seemed confident he could procure them relatively quickly and quietly.

“I am no expert but I think a day or two of good, healthy food and rest ought to fix her right up unless some sort of sickness has gotten to her. Things like she has been through leave an imprint on the soul.” Kara said knowingly and Winn was reminded he still did not know her whole story. He hoped one day she might see fit to share with him. There was a haunted look which came into Kara’s eyes everytime she got a look at Sam and it made Winn’s tender heart hurt.

James arrived with three horses and a cocky grin, a trickle of blood at the corner of his lower lip. He seemed quite pleased with himself and his prizes

“I figured one of us ought to ride with Sam. I doubt her ability to sit up on her own.” he suggested, passing reigns to his friends and swinging up into the saddle. “I also caused a bit of a ruckus, we should probably hurry.”

Kara swung up onto her horse and Winn assisted Sam up in front of her without a word. He mounted as well and the four of them headed out of the city as quickly as they could without drawing too much attention to themselves. Kara held Sam tightly against herself, as the other girl drifted in and out of consciousness. Her head lolled against Kara’s shoulder. She knew an intense ride like this could not be good for the stricken woman.

On horseback, they made it back to Midvale by sundown. Kara pulled up in front of Cat’s Tavern and Inn and lifted Sam under the knees and shoulders before sliding down off of her exhausted horse. A page ran up to them to take charge of the animals, staring blatantly up at them in awe.

“They have served us well this evening, be sure they get the best possible care. Especially Ms. Kara’s.” said James and he stepped forward to hold open the door for an exhausted Kara to carry Sam inside. Winn flipped a gold piece to the page and offered him a wink.

“Alex!” Kara bellowed as soon as she stepped in and glanced around without seeing her. “Someone get my sister!”

Winn and James cleared a table of mugs, tankards and other dishes as people rushed to gather around.

“Back off, please and give us some room to breathe.” Winn advised, keeping a lookout for Lena and Alex or anyone else who could offer help. He grabbed Cat Grant’s arm as she passed by. “A drink for the three of us if you do not mind. We have been riding for half of the day and fighting before that. We are quite tired and quite parched. Put it on my tab, if you please.”

“Of course. No charge for any Danvers or friends of Danvers.” Cat said with an affectionate look.

“Thank you, Miss.” Winn said with a heavy sigh and a pat on her back.

“Touch me again and you lose the hand.” she called over her shoulder as she grabbed a tray. “Next time ask a barmaid for Pete’s sake! I am not a damn waiter.”

Winn blushed and chuckled to himself. He had become accustomed to Cat’s manner and accepted it with grace. At first, he would come out with bruised feelings until he learned this was how she treated pretty much everyone.

Winn cleared a path for Alex and Lena as they came rushing in to see Sam unconscious on the table, Kara anxiously stroking hair out of her charge’s face, unsure of what to do and not noticing their approach. If anyone had been paying close attention to the blonde warrior they might notice the few escaped tears sliding down her cheeks. Lena came to stand at Kara’s side and almost unconsciously wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She had yet to look into Kara’s eyes and it gave the blonde time to wipe the wetness from her face.

“Alex, is there anything we can do for her?” Kara asked, remembering how her sister once dreamed of being a healer. “I want to be of help to her in any way I can.”

“Food that is not spoiled, clean water, and some restful sleep will do her well. Other than that I am not sure. You did well to bring her here, little sister. Are any of you wounded?” Alex starts at the sound of Kara’s voice as though just realizing her sister were there as well. “Take Samantha up to one of the empty rooms and leave her to sleep. I will bring a broth up to feed her momentarily.”

Alex stepped around Lena and Kara to pull her sister to her feet. Lena followed after Sam immediately. Alex helped Kara out of her leather jerkin and ran her hands down Kara’s arms, legs, and across her scalp to check for wounds, bumps, or bruises.

“Get some food, drink, and good sleep. I can tell you are exhausted, young one. You have done good work for your queen.” Alex pushed sweat-matted hair away from Kara’s forehead and left her to get herself sorted.

Chapter Text

Kara woke up much later than she normally would to an empty bed and a growling stomach. Her eyelids and legs felt as though they were made of lead as she made herself get ready to go about her day. Kara was still bruised and sore and dirty, but for the most part, she only wanted to check in on Sam and get clean. During her time at the palace, Lena and Maggie had instilled in her a love of baths. Kara’s hair desperately needed a good cleaning.

After a moment of wandering and peaking into rooms, Kara found Alex, Lena, and Sam in one of the rooms a few doors down from her own. She poked her head in to see her sister spoon-feeding a broth into Sam’s mouth as Lena sat by the bedside and held one unresponsive hand in both of her own. Kara leaned against the doorframe to take in the quiet moment. Sam was still unconscious but Kara could see a bit more color had come to her cheeks and her breathing seemed a bit more even. It comforted her somewhat.

Alex caught her eye and nodded to her and looked as though she were going to say something to Kara. The tired former gladiator and current general slunk away just as Lena turned to look at who was at the door. By the time the young queen rounded the corner and caught up to Kara, she had sunk to the floor against the wall and begun to cry. Lena sank down beside of her in surprise and pulled Kara in against her. She cradled Kara’s head into her shoulder tightly and squeezed until she had cried herself out.

Lena knew Kara had been through things Lena could not possibly begin to grasp, but it killed her to think that something had happened to elicit a reaction like this in her girlfriend. As Kara began to calm, Lena assisted her to her feet and cupped a cheek in one hand.

“We should go ahead and get you cleaned up, yeah?” Lena asked, and she wrapped her arm around Kara’s waist to escort her to the baths. Kara would likely not have likely made it on her own.

“That would be nice.” Kara mumbled back. “I would give anything to remember what my legs feel like.”

“I am sorry I had allowed you to escape my attention last night. I should have seen that you needed me. I am new to this field medicine business and I appear to not be very good.” Lena apologized as she began to cut Kara out of the ruined linen shirt had been wearing beneath her armor for the past three days. Kara had lost the ability to raise her sore arms up past her shoulders and winced with each movement.

Once Lena peeled the shirt away she could get a good look at blue, green, purple and even some yellowish healing looking bruises. They littered her arms and a large one covered her flank just over the floatings ribs. Lena was concerned and wanted to get Alex to look her over. Still, she figured Kara would make it through her bath at the very least. She watched the pain flicker briefly across Kara’s face. Lena winced in sympathy before turning her back to give Kara her privacy.

“I do believe we are beyond that now, my lady. Fill your eyes if you would like.” Kara snorts sounding amused but rather vulnerable as well. Lena cleared her throat heavily and turned, taking in the sight of a wholly nude Kara.

Lena quit breathing for longer than was probably healthy at the sight before her. As Kara moved, Lena could see every muscle flex and move in the warm light streaming in from a high window, covered by a cloth to offer some semblance of privacy. Lena could still see the same frightening bruises and some new one ones were revealed along the length of her legs and across her hips. But what most concerned most her was the tired slump to her shoulders and the limp-lank look to her hair. She gave Kara a hand down into the bath and enjoyed the feel of the slight role reversal. Lena could detect just a small hiss as Kara and her wounds immersed under the hot water.

“Do you want to talk?” Lena asked, breaking the long silence as she set to work unbraiding the long knot of hair which had once been a braid.

“I would if you wanted, but I do not want to add anything to your burden, my love.” Kara said, her voice tender as she reached over and took one of Lena’s hands into her own. “You know I would do almost anything for you. This was nothing.”

“I do not consider it a burden, Kara. It is me, helping you to carry your burden.” Lena squeezed the hand back and stared into Kara’s eyes steadily.

“If you would really like for me to tell you, I will. If at any point you feel it has become too much for you, just tell me to stop and I will.” Kara said pointedly, being certain to check in with Lena at least once more as the young revolutionary brought up a short seat behind her to thoroughly clean Kara’s long blonde hair.

Kara began to speak in low, soft and faraway tone. As she told the story of Samantha Arias’ rescue it became clear that she really was no longer present in the bathroom, but totally immersed in the story. Lena sat quietly and listened intently, only asking questions whenever Kara took breaths and stopped to think. When Kara finished the retelling she was completed with her bath and Lena had finished her hair. Kara wrapped in a towel her girlfriend offered as she stepped out of the bath.

“We ought to tell Alex and the other council members about this. My brother might try to exact his revenge. You did not escape very quietly.” Lena stepped into Kara’s personal space, placed a hand on one strong, sore shoulder and pressed up onto her tiptoes to kiss the younger woman.

Chapter Text

Kara’s day did not get much better. She re-told her story to the council, which was a bit better for not having been the first time and bit worse for all of the eyes and ears trained solely on her. Lena held her hand through the entire experience.

The next few days went by in a blur. Sam continued to sleep without stirring, only moving the slightest bit when Lena, Alex, or Kara would spoon feed her. Kara was pretty sure rich broth and sheer stubbornness alone were keeping Sam Arias alive. The energy in the Tavern and Inn had changed since Sam’s arrival. Even the very air had become thick with tension as they all waited expectantly for something to happen.

On the third day after their arrival, Lena came rushing into the room during one of Alex and Kara’s planning sessions. The three of them had found a sort of routine amongst their brand of controlled chaos. Alex and Kara would discuss potential courses of action in the common area, occasionally joined by Winn and/or James, while Lena would stay at Sam’s bedside. It had become nigh on impossible to tear her away. The Danvers Sisters would fill their young queen in on their discussions during meal times as Alex would feed Sam.

Lena’s eyes were blazing as she jolted to a stop in front Alex and Kara. “She woke up! Sam is awake!” Kara had spun to look at Lena as soon as she heard the woman rush into the room. At her words, Kara and Alex both jumped up and raced after Lena to Sam’s room.

The young brunette’s still pale pallor was somewhat better. She was propped up on some pillows and her eyes were half-open. Alex wordlessly began to check her pulse and eyes as she had been once every few hours since Kara and the others had brought Sam to them. Lena resumed her usual seat and Kara came up to stand beside her girlfriend.

“Hello there, Lady Samantha. I am Kara Danvers. Do you remember me?” Kara asked, drawing their patient’s attention. Alex put a cup of water in Sam’s hands as she fought to speak.

Sam nodded the affirmative and her eyes widened as she gulped down the water.

“You saved me from the dungeons and crushed the guards who brutalized me as though they were nothing.” Sam’s gaze was admiring and awed. “You did not even carry your sword.”

“I would have but it would have been unfair to my opponents, and therefore dishonorable.” Kara replied with a shrug, doing her best to not seem cocky. Her cheeks went a bit pink and she stared down at her feet to purposefully avoid Lena’s eyes.

“Never mind my lovely girlfriend’s ridiculous and idiotic heroics. How are you feeling?” Lena asked with an eye-roll. During Kara’s retelling of that evening’s events, she had omitted the fact she had gone into the fight for the most part empty-handed.

“Sore. Tired. Hungry.” said Sam. “I thank you all for taking care of me. You, in particular, Ms. Danvers, for risking your life for me. It was a chance you did not have to take, but you did.”

“When your life was put in danger almost wholly because of a decision I made, I knew this was something I would have to do. It was my duty to you and to my queen who cares much for you.” Kara refused to take the credit she is due.

Lena started at the realization that Kara blamed herself. She reached up and took a hold of Kara with the hand not holding Sam’s. “I have a balm I hope can help with the soreness and we have plenty of food, but please take your time.” Alex instructed Sam. You have been asleep for the past three and a half days.”

“You… you have been here too. I, I remember you.” Sam’s voice was hoarse and despite what Alex had just told her, attempted to shove herself up into more of a sitting position.

“Ah, uhm, yes, I have been doing my best to take care of you. As a young woman, I had dreams of becoming a doctor. The result was a very basic and very limited knowledge of medicine.” Alex blushed and for the very first time Lena was able to see a family resemblance between Kara and Alex. She was not surprised that the resemblance she found was simply the awkward blushing reaction to anything resembling a compliment. Lena chuckled quietly to herself at the similarity between the Danvers Sisters. “However, uhm, if you get to feeling ready to talk about what happened to you and anything you might have overheard, just let one of us know.”

“I, uh, I will. Thank you, Ms…” Sam realizes that as well as she knows that face, she does not know the auburn-haired woman’s name.

“Also Danvers. I am Kara’s elder sister, Alex, which is what you may call me.” she answered.

“If I might have a meal and a good long nap, we can continue this conversation later on?” Sam offers as her eyes fell closed and she sunk back into her pillows.

“I am glad you are alright, Sam. We can catch up more when you are rested and feeling better.” Lena stood, bent and kissed Sam’s forehead.

“Good night, Sam.” Kara added and took Lena’s hand. “We will see about getting you a lunch.”

Alex followed after the other two and quietly shut the door behind her. She faced the women and the look on her face caused Kara concern.

“There is no way Lex intended her to live if he left her in that condition. Kara, you guys saved her life.”

Chapter Text

Kara left Lena to tend to Sam. She felt rather useless and in the way. She had a fighter’s hands, much too rough for healing. When Lena found her again, she was sitting in a rough-hewn and uncomfortable looking desk chair with a small notebook and pencil out, cleaning her sword.

“Are you alright, love?” Lena asked, sitting on the bed across from her.

“Yeah, I just felt kind of in the way and useless.” Kara said as she wiped the weapon down and sheathed it again, setting it to the side. “I figured I would take the moment to excuse myself. I am glad to see Samantha is doing well.”

“Me too, but I would still have liked to have you with me. I generally prefer your presence to a lack of your company. I love you, Kara, and you are welcome at my side no matter where I am or what I may be doing.” Lean leaned forward, her eyes earnest and sincere. Kara moved to sit beside her.

“I will bear that in mind, thank you, Lena.” Kara leaned slightly into her. In reply, Lena reached up and played with the loose blonde hair.

“I wonder how Lex is reacting to all of this. His lie about marrying Sam is at stake and his prisoners were all set loose in the palace to wreak havoc… a brilliant improvisation on your part.” Lena said in a proud tone. “I know you do not care for the violence you must commit, but I am proud of you nonetheless, Kara.”

“It is not necessarily the violence, Lena, it was the state Lex left those prisoners in. They were all dying or they were dead and just had not realized it yet. I could see their ribs and spots of sickness on their skin. No one deserves that… except him, maybe.” Kara flopped back onto the bed, flat on her back. “A lot of the other gladiators would get illnesses like that. I, uhm, I caught a few… ‘bugs’ myself.”

“Are you okay now, though? You are well?” Lena looked suddenly very concerned, propping herself up on one arm to look down into Kara’s face.

“Yeah, I think I am all good. It has been a year and a bit.” Kara shrugs the concern off a bit. She finds she rather enjoys the feeling of Lena worrying about her. It is not something she is used to. Alex certainly used to worry, but that had to dissipate after Kara sold herself into the life of the gladiator, She had given up the worry and it was probably one of the hardest choices of her life. If she had not done so, it certainly would have driven her batty. “If it were not for my hearty constitution, I am certain I would not have lived.”

Lena smiles back. It was weak but held enough meaning to touch Kara’s heart. The young queen laid down as well and turned on her side to look her in the face. She placed the palm of her hand over Kara’s heart just so she could feel it beat.

“Do you think those prisoners you loosed will spread sickness? I bet they decimated the poor palace. I may hate the king but I still have an affection for the building itself. I am most certain he will keep it under wraps. An incident like that is terribly embarrassing for any ruler.” Lena scoffed.

“You know what else ought to be embarrassing?” Kara sat up suddenly, looking as though she had come to some sort of epiphany.

Lena sat up slowly as she tried to keep up with Kara’s train of thought. “What ought to be embarrassing?” she looked to Kara in confusion.

“Losing your fucking bride shortly before the wedding. We literally nabbed her right out from under his nose. One would think word would get around right? Like ‘hey, keep an eye out if you see my fiancee wandering about and please send her back to me.’ Would you think?” Kara asked.

“He is much too proud for that, is he not? Do you think he would go straight for the cover-up?” Lena asked her eyes lighting up. “Would he go so far as to hold a whole farce of a wedding… without Sam even being present?”

“You would know better than I. He is your brother after all.” Kara says. “The fake wedding would make for an excellent cover for an infiltration. We could do disguises again. They worked well last time and we would no longer have to worry about putting Samantha at risk.”

Lena saw Kara’s eyes set a fire for a moment as she thought about all of the possibilities. It seemed to the young queen Kara had found her calling in tactics and planning. She liked seeing her in her element without also having to see her in danger with a sword in her grasp. “That makes sense. Should we bring it up with Alex, and see what she thinks?” Lena askes, equally excited now.

“Yeah. Maybe we ought to wait until she is done with Samantha, but she has a very good mind for these things. I may be biased, but I think my elder sister is actually quite brilliant.” Kara said with a small grin. There was more than a hint of hero worship to her tone.

“Oh, you are definitely biased, my dear. It is totally alright and understandable, though.” Lena patted Kara’s shoulder.

“Biased for no one so much as you, my dear.” Kara made a pass at the raven-haired woman and though it was a poor one, Lena found herself quite charmed.

“Gods, you are lucky you are cute.” Lena chuckled and kissed Kara softly but fiercely for a long moment. The blonde’s long hair was still loose from her night of sleep and her previous bath. The smell of the cleansing oils Lena had used drifted to her nose and were still quite lovely. She tangled her fingers amongst the silken soft golden strands.

“Gods, I truly am.” Kara mumbled back softly against Lena’s lips and they both laughed softly, mouths brushing as the young ruler pressed back against Kara. She was pliant and firm all at once as Lena continued onward until she had Kara lying down again and drawing Lena closer over her.

Kara waited for Lena to arrange herself comfortably before twisting her fingers amongst black strands of hair and undoing the knots there and the ones along the back of Lena’s gown.

Chapter Text

“Uhm, girls, will you be coming down for dinner?” Alex asked awkwardly from the hall outside of Lena and Kara’s door.

Inside, the pair were curled half-asleep in their bed, facing one another. Kara’s head was pillowed on one of her arms and she had been gazing sleepily into Lena’s face. Blonde hair was splayed out behind her in waves tangled and wild. Fresh red scratches decorated her shoulders and upper back. Her blue eyes were heavy-lidded and affectionate.

Lena’s eyes had fallen closed, but one of her hands was curled loosely around Kara’s hip while the other was tangled with Kara’s.

Kara loosened herself from Lena and walked to the door and opened it slightly to poke only her face out and a slight portion of her upper torso.

“Yeah, I think we are good for the time being, big sis. I may run down and grab us something later.” Her face was only a bit pink and her eyes unapologetically held a shocked Alex’s gaze for a full minute without wavering.

“Well, uhm, okay. I am going to go, uh, drink considerably more than I had initially intended to. You just go on back to... yeah. Okay.” Alex was quite flustered and very red-faced. Kara found her sister’s reaction quite funny. As a gladiator, she had gotten used to a lack of modesty and been taught sexual freedom in a way that was uncommon throughout the rest of the kingdom. She snorted to herself quietly and pulled on the soft and loose breeches she usually slept in. Still without a top of any kind, she climbed back into the bed beside of Lena and pulled the young monarch back into her embrace. Lena curled into Kara’s embrace and sighed contentedly.

Lena awoke once more about an hour and a half later, taking a moment to study Kara’s still and sleeping face before standing up and beginning to get dressed. A bit more concerned by modesty and still wholly nude, she slid into Kara’s long discarded shirt as she went quietly about her post-nap business. Lena tidied behind herself and as she placed Kara’s gladius in its usual place beside of Kara’s go-bag at the door, she accidentally disturbed some of the sleeping blonde’s meager possessions. Amongst these was a small notebook Lena did not recognize and was certain she had never seen before. She knew she probably was doing Kara a small disservice, but Lena took the book to the small writing desk and began to slowly flip through; studying each page, making a mental note of each page of writing and analyzing every sketch, making sure to inscribe them upon her heart, especially the ones of herself.

It served to prove once again to Lena she most liked herself when viewed through Kara’s eyes, and that there were still some deeper aspects of the other woman she could look forward to discovering. On top of it all, Kara was actually quite gifted. Lena could imagine a world in which Kara was less of a brutal warrior and more genteel artist. Her heart adapted a slight ache and she was warmed by the sketches in the notebook.

Not all were of Lena. Some depicted childhood memories. One was of a long cloak on a tall man’s back, a crown on his head as he walked away. What struck Lena the most was the angle the sketch of the man was drawn from. The upward angle was extreme to the point Lena could only assume the perspective was that of a child. Tears sprang to Lena’s eyes at the emotion in the small drawing and she suddenly felt very much as though she were invading Kara’s privacy. She shut the notebook, quickly and quietly, before replacing it back where it had fallen from.

Lena sat back down on the bed and played quietly with Kara’s hair until the other woman woke up. As the blonde stirred she turned and placed her head in Lena’s lap. Despite being nearly awake, Kara settled back and enjoyed the feel of Lena’s fingers against her scalp. The still new peaceful moments with Lena had become her favorites, and while Kara did love to talk to and learn more about Lena Luthor, Kara had never been able to settle into as comfortable a silence as she could with Lena. She left her eyes closed and simply enjoyed the closeness.

“We ought to head down soon and get something to eat, no?” Lena eventually asked when she realized her girlfriend was awake.

“We should, but I would much rather stay right here and just be with you.” Kara said softly, wrapping an arm around Lena’s middle. She held her queen tightly and made a stubborn and petulant face at her.

“You do need to eat love, we need you to keep your strength up,” Lena did her best to ‘encourage’ and I would like to check up on the rest of our friends and family as well. You know I would spend the rest of my natural life shut up in this little room with you if we did not have other important things and people in our world.”

Kara opened her eyes just enough to catch the slightly pained and very affectionate look Lena’s face looking down on her. She reached up and passed her thumb across Lena’s cheekbone. Kara was so very comfortable she could barely dream of ever moving. Despite her words, Lena made no moves to get up either. Green eyes met blue and sent another wave of affectionate and love through both women.

“Putting on clothes is kind of the last thing I want to do.” Kara mumbled.

“Maybe later, my dear. As for myself, I am starving. You may come with me if you like.” Lena rolled her girlfriend off of her with a teasing laugh as Kara went limp and splayed out across the bed.

“Fiiine.” Kara continues to roll until her feet hit the hardwood floor. She wrestled groggily with her breast-band until a chuckling Lena came over to assist her. Kara really liked the way Lena looked in her shirt and nothing else. It was definitely her favorite outfit to see Lena in yet.

“There is my best girl.” Lena kissed the place Kara’s throat met her shoulder from behind as she fastened the breast-band at Kara’s back.

“Make sure you do not forget it.” Kara teased back and admired the sight as Lena pulled Kara’s shirt off of herself and tossed it to the blonde behind her.

“I could never.” Lena laughed and began to dress in breeches and a blouse.

When they were both ready, Kara opened the door with a flourish, bowed formally from the waist and held the door open. As Lena passed through Kara offered her arm and Lena accepted. She very purposefully met Alex’s eyes as they entered the tavern area and winked a wink full of meaning at her sister who blushed heavily once again. Kara laughed out loud before turning to explain to Lena what happened. When Alex looked back to the pair, Lena’s face was blood red and she was attempting to beat the shit out of Kara with the flat hammer side of her fisted hands as the blonde laughed and held their young queen out at arm’s length from her.

Chapter Text

“Alex, we have had an idea and wanted to run it by you since you spend more time out and about than either of us.” Kara finally ended up grabbing her sister to discuss the realization she and Lena had come to. “Have you heard any rumors outside of our group or from the people in the town, even a herald, about trouble in the capital or the palace?”

“No, actually, I have not. I had not noticed until you pointed it out, though.” Alex said thoughtfully, not following what her sister meant. “Is there something I ought to have heard?”

“Kara set every prisoner she could loose upon the castle and stole the king’s ‘fiancee’ right out from under his nose. We ought to have heard something about it by now. The escapees are a threat and it is hard to have a wedding without someone to marry.” Lena pointed out. “We think he may be too proud to admit it, too afraid his enemies would see him as a weak ruler. I would not put it past him to even frame a whole false wedding, Sam or no Sam.”

“That would give us… options? That leaves us with many a possibility, actually. We will need to think this over and discuss it. There is a lot to consider.” Alex sits back and seems excited. Lena looked back to Kara who just seemed determined and resigned. Her expression was neutral, her arms crossed over her chest, and seemed prepared for anything. Lena found herself slightly comforted by how steady the other woman seemed despite it all. Lena herself was concerned and on that distinct cusp between fear and excitement.

“We could sneak in as though we were attending the wedding? That could be the perfect cover for our attack.” Kara offered, though she still seemed nonplussed and unamused. “I have managed to avoid stabbing anyone for like… a week. I am almost looking forward to it, I could use the challenge.”

“You know, Sis, you are much more dangerous now than I ever remember you being.” Alex says with a concerned horrified look on her face.

“I consider that a good thing, personally.” Kara said with a wicked and mischievous look on her face that Lena appreciated. She looked kind of tired still but ready for whatever might come. “I have made use of how dangerous I can be on more than one occasion and it has served me well.”

“I am inclined to agree as well.” Lena added and allowed Kara to tilt her head to rest on Lena’s shoulder comfortably. She played with Kara’s hair absently.

“I do like the sneaking into the wedding idea. We could send some of our people in as guests and others in as staff working the wedding. We could even use the tunnel again. I doubt it was discovered the last time we used it.” Alex said thoughtfully, looking out into the distance as though imagining how it would all play out.

“We do have three guard’s outfits.” Kara pointed out in an attempt to be helpful. She sometimes felt pretty useless unless she was punching things or being the ‘moral support’.

“That was a brilliant move on your part, love.” Lena said, nudging Kara gently with her shoulder, almost teasingly.

“Thank you, I am more than just a pretty face and a pile of muscles.” Kara cuddled in a bit to Lena and her smile made Alex’s heart warm. The elder Danvers’ had questioned whether their relationship was a good idea or not but thus far it seemed beneficial to both women in more than one ways. Kara was slowly making her way out of her shell and Lena was beginning to seem more comfortable in her positions of command and control. The two women seemed stronger together, complementing one another’s weaknesses and strengths. Alex was beginning to see how the match could work. She was still deeply aware of how it could all go horribly wrong, but the benefits seemed to even out at least a little bit in her eyes. Alex decided Kara could keep Lena.

“Well, we already knew that.” Alex snorted, watching Lena’s face carefully. She wanted to be sure Lena knew that as well. “In this particular battle, I would like you to stay a bit closer to the back. There is a distinct possibility this will get very ugly very quickly. I do not even want to bring Lena with us. Your peoples need you, and Kara, I would leave you here as well if I thought you would stand for it.”

Lena’s eyebrows shot up. “What makes you think I will stand for it?” her voice went low and dangerous in a way she definitely learned from Kara.

Alex was taken aback and Kara looked a little bit proud of Lena. Alex could not come up with a response and only continued to blink blankly.

“I am not going to send you, Kara, or any of my people to fight and die for me without also putting myself at risk, at least in some small way.” Lena said firmly in her ‘I am the queen of this kingdom’ voice that generally left no room for argument.

Kara, however, turned to Lena with burning eyes. “As much as I respect that sentiment, my love, we have all decided to fight and die for you. We are here to see you succeed and personally, I feel it would be disrespectful for you to put yourself in harm’s way. I know I would have a very hard time focusing on the battle at hand with the knowledge you were in danger plaguing the back of my mind. I would only want to be at your side and protecting you.”

“Be there, then. I want you both somewhere safe.” Alex said in a high-pitched and almost desperate tone, sitting up starched straight. “You are our two most important assets, the symbols of this rebellion, and the reason for all of this.”

“I am their general and not their queen. I can not expect them to go anywhere I would not. What kind of leader would that make me? What kind of respect would that beget of my soldiers?” Kara’s voice was impassioned and the small argument had begun to attract a little more attention than was preferable for any of them. “I consider it my duty to stand where my queen cannot.”

“Love…” Lena said in a small and almost wounded tone. “You owe me nothing.”

“That is a damned lie. I owe you everything. You have saved my life in more ways than one and I will continue to tell you until it is ingrained into your very soul that you possess my undying loyalty.” Kara’s voice was firm and serious with every other ear in the now quiet room straining to hear. “My life is yours, my heart is yours, and my sword is yours.”

Chapter Text

The next few days, life around and inside of Cat Grant’s Tavern and Inn grew bustling and busy. Alex and Winn, who had taken over Kara’s duties in the training yard in order for her to fully step into her position as the general, had whipped their small forces into a frenzy. In the short time they had been working, Kara had seen changes in them all. She took no small amount of pride in the rise of their confidence. Alex took great pleasure in telling Kara how often they spoke of their mission being to make her proud. The sentiment warmed Kara’s heart and brought a grin to Lena’s face.

By the end of the week with no news of chaos in the capital or cancellation of the wedding, Kara and Alex had come up with something of a plan. Alex seemed much more certain than her younger sibling that it would work so long as everyone stuck together. And to the plan. A lot of her faith seemed to lie in Kara herself. She appreciated the confidence, but it left her a bit stressed and tense. Lena was concerned about her girlfriend but was not about to push until Kara came to her first.

She had been certain this day would come, and now it was Lena’s turn to feel useless. She was no technician and was completely untrained in the arts of battle. Lena was spending her newly found free time mingling with the people or she was with Sam as she recuperated. The brunette seemed to be doing a lot better and was considerably stronger now, her face full of color. Sam looked almost like the girl Lena had once known.

She currently leaned heavily against Lena Luthor, as the young monarch helped Sam to walk down the upstairs Inn hallway, her legs shaking. By the time Lena got her back to her room, beads of sweat had formed across Sam’s forehead and Lena had to work to keep Sam from collapsing into her bed.

“So, while I rest would you catch me up on how we all came to be here? Why are you being called a queen? What is going on with you and that gorgeous, muscular blonde woman? She looks at you like you make the stars shine and the planets turn.” Sam said with exhaustion coloring her voice and a tone of amusement. “Kara Danvers, my rescuer.”

Lena blushed visibly and looked down at her hands, suddenly bashful. She had found recently she struggled to put her feelings for her former bodyguard into words.

“Well, that is a very long story… and oddly enough it all started with you, my friend.” Lena swallowed hard and met Sam’s kind and understanding eyes. Lena’s childhood friend, despite her current health status and her struggles, still radiated a soft sense of safety and home for Lena. “Kara came in much later though I would still color her one of the most important and central miracles of my life thus far.”

Sam began to settle back into the soft nest of pillows. Eventually, Maggie, Winn, and James joined them quietly as Lena began to impart her story to Sam who listened intently, not wanting to miss anything. Maggie had been present for the vast majority of the two princess’ adventures but enjoyed the tale of Winn, Lena and Kara’s escape. Winn knew some of what had come before his friendship with Kara, but it sounded different and almost foreign from Lena’s perspective. James had only heard bits and pieces, most of which he had gotten from Alex, but he found himself somewhat enthralled by the tale. He had no idea that the princess had felt every single instance as deeply as she had. This revelation changed his outlook on her almost completely.

Sam felt somewhat as though she were hearing a novel being read aloud and could almost see the action taking place. Sam gasped at all of the correct places and was not surprised by the truly badass things Kara pulled off. She was shocked and concerned to hear about Kara being stabbed, and Lena being attacked in her room. By the time Lena got to Kara leaving to rescue Sam and everyone was caught up, the room had gotten quite full and their patient was more tired than when the tale had begun.

Lena herself had gotten quite lost in the retelling and when she glanced around, Winn, James, and Maggie had taken seats on the bed by Sam or in the floor, and the Danvers siblings themselves were together behind her, leaning in the doorway and against a wall.

“Well, that all seems a bit wild when I hear it from your perspective, love.” Kara stepped out from the shadow and leaned down to press a kiss to Lena’s cheek.

“I think it all was quite wild and almost unbelievable. No matter how this all ends up, the two of you will live on forever in legend, I am sure.” Alex chuckled as well. The dark to Kara’s light as she emerged from a shadow. “Now, let us all clear out and leave Lady Samantha to her rest. I am told she went a whole two laps through the halls and back. I am very impressed by your progress.”

Sam blushed and everyone but Maggie, Lena, Kara, and Alex left the room.

“Is there anything any of us can do for you Sam, before you take your nap?” Maggie asked softly from Alex’s side, which drew Kara’s attention.

“I am already half asleep, so there is nothing really.” Sam said with a few yawns breaking through her words every now and again.”Thank you for the bedtime story.”

“Alright, Sam. Sleep well. We will come by to check on you again, later.” Lena replied. “And you are very welcome.”

As soon as the door was closed behind them, Kara kissed Lena softly on the mouth for a long moment. She pulled Lena in so quickly and tightly that the other woman lost her balance and she would have fallen if not for Kara’s strong arms around her.

“What was that for?” she asked.

“For being wonderful. For being yourself. You make my world turn, Lena Kieran Luthor. I would topple as many regimes and kingdoms as you wanted me to. No questions asked.” Kara looked into Lena’s eyes, equal parts tender and fierce as though she never wanted to stop looking at her.

“Now,” Kara whipped around again and looked at Alex and Maggie who were standing three feet apart without looking at one another. “You two. Tell me what is going on here. I have sharp eyes, and I am a gladiator and bodyguard by trade. I do not miss anything. Maggie Sawyer and Alex Danvers. Are you two a thing?”

Chapter Text

Alex spluttered and went red-faced as Maggie glared daggers at the pair in front of her. She was un-amused by Kara and Lena at the moment. As soon as they saw an opening, the two darted off down the hall, successfully avoiding having to define their relationship to the more public couple. Alex shot Kara an angry and exasperated look before hurrying after Maggie. Kara knew she would have to pay for her taunts later, but snickered to herself; the chance to bait her older sister, well worth the trouble.

“This is... This is it, is it not? This is going to be the end all, be all, for us. The start and finish of our little revolution. We will either rise to power or fall in the attempt.” Lena says to Kara as they are lying in bed the night before they left for the palace and the wedding.

“I believe in you, beyond a doubt, beyond a shadow of a doubt even. You are my queen and I will follow you wherever you lead. However this may end, be assured, I will be at your side, whether in death or on the throne.” Kara assured her. She felt confident in their chances, in their abilities, and even more confident in their plan. Kara also believed in her own ability to keep Lena alive.

Lena hummed in response and rested her head on Kara’s shoulder. Lena could hear the steady ‘thump’ of Kara’s heart. Rhythmic and steady, the beat settled the nervous young woman. She closed her eyes to eventually fall asleep. Kara laid awake awhile longer and felt Lena’s even breath and tried to allow it to calm her as she felt the nerves of impending battle. Having Lena beside of her and in her arms was reassuring, but equally nerve-wracking.

Kara had not often had reason to look forward to her future in the past five or so years. Now, however, she found she wanted to fight to stay with Lena and see what the two of them could accomplish together. Kara deeply believed in their potential. The past six months had changed everything for her. She had a woman she loved. Kara had regained her sister, whom she had adored since she was a child. She even had a job of sorts and was enjoying her newfound responsibility. All it meant to Kara was she had more to lose and more to fear. Her arms tightened a little around Lena. Kara found it hard to count on the future, especially when so much was uncertain, however, her imagination was quite active and creative. Mental images of blonde children with sharp, intelligent green eyes running around danced through her mind and soothed her to sleep.

-----/////-----

Kara awoke feeling more rested than she had in a while with Lena still wrapped in her arms, breathing evenly and deeply. Despite not being very good at remaining in one place for very long, Kara decided to stay in bed with Lena and just enjoy the time with the other woman. From how they moved during the night, Kara’s cheek was pressed against the top of Lena’s head and her right arm was being held close against her girlfriend’s chest.

“Are you awake?” Lena asked after Kara had been lying there thinking for a while. “Kara?”

Her voice was low and full of meaning, though still stained with sleep. Lean continued to face in the same direction without back to Kara to check.

“Yes, I am awake, love.” Kara replied softly. She was still totally still and had not stirred once since waking. “Was there something you needed?”

“No… I was just checking. I had a suspicion you probably were.” Lena answered and curled slightly back into Kara’s embrace. “I am glad we have had at least this small amount of time together.”

“Please, do not talk that way, my lady. It will all be okay. Have some faith in me and that will be all I need to get through this. That and the knowledge you are safe and well.” Kara said firmly, her voice still morning rough but full of emotion and earnestness.

“Should we get downstairs and see about breakfast or do you want to stay here for a while more?” Lena asked, her voice betraying which she would prefer.

“I am content for the moment. I would like to hold you as close as possible for as long as possible. When I am in the thick of the fight and I need inspiration, I want to be able to think back on you in my arms, your hands in my hair, the peaceful look you get when you sleep, and the way you look into my eyes. For a while now, I have been taking up a mental collection.” Kara said, her voice growing stronger and more forceful as she thought of her mental catalog.

“You touch my heart in the most astonishing and surprising ways, each and every day Kara Danvers.” Lena said turning onto her back and looking up into her face; fracturing the spell slightly. “I will treasure these peaceful moments with you as well. ”

At that Kara leaned down and feather softly, gently covered Lena’s mouth with her own. The touch was nearly nonexistent and barely counted as a kiss, yet somehow Lena felt as though she had been blessed in some way. There was tension and meaning therein Lena could not identify. She tucked the moment into the portion of her mind dedicated to questions about Kara, of which she still had many.

“I know we cannot lie here forever, but gods above I would be glad to. You would not be able to count all that I would give.” Kara said after a while as they both began to grow nervous and restless. Together they sat up and began to prepare for the day.

“May I?” Kara asked as Lena shook her hair out and struggled with a knot of tangled hair ribbons. They were as green as Lena’s own eyes, and silken soft to the touch. She fished the one Lena wanted out and took another as stealthily as possible to slide into her own pocket.

“I guess we must be off then.” Lena said once they were dressed and ready, standing in front of their chamber door. She kissed Kara again, this time ferociously, as though it could be the last time, the way she had wanted to before Kara’s fight with Lex.

“We have got this.” Kara promised her and pushed the door open.

Chapter Text

Kara rode at Lena’s side, both of them sporting new armor, though the young queen’s was more form than function. Lena gleamed in polished steel epaulets, a leather chest bracer, fitted at Maggie’s insistence to show her curves, and a mail skirt over a protective soft cloth. M’gann had made the designs herself with Maggie and Alex’s insistence as a surprise gift.

Kara’s new armor had taken more work. Fully functional, made with the best material available. Beneath it, she wore a thin white silk shirt, over that the leather breastplate Alex had made for her now featuring a prominent imprinted Zor-El crest. After much discussion with Winn, Lena, and Alex, Kara had decided that there was no time like the present for her coming out party. She had drawn some looks, but no one had dared say a word to her face about the symbol.

Her red cape flowed out behind her as they rode, blonde hair in a braid intertwined with the spikes gifted to her by Lena. She had new greaves, her own more flexible epaulets, and forearm guards. Kara felt ready for anything. She ran her fingers over a freshly cleaned and sharpened gladius still, the same one Lena had given her with one addition. Now the sword sported a jade colored hair ribbon Kara relieved off of her girlfriend. Lena had yet to notice, but a few of her closest friends had. They knew not to comment on the sentimental addition.

All Lena knew was Kara looked hot, figuratively and literally. Though Kara’s armor was lighter than most, it was still steel plating and heavy leather. She knew the ensemble had to be weighing her down and getting more than a little warm. Though there was no sign of discomfort on her face beside a slight sheen of sweat, she made no complaint. Lena and Alex double-teamed her on water consumption.

It was a long ride as they made their way back to the Luthor capitol and they did not often stop for breaks. Horses needed water and rest as well, and they were much more amenable than Kara herself. Lena was not pleased, though Kara’s stubbornness could be sweet, it was not allowable when detrimental to her health. Alex agreed. When Lena would glance at her as they rode, she noticed that not once did Kara’s posture appear anything less than perfect. She did not understand how Kara could be anything less than exhausted.

“If I am remembering this correctly, we ought to be at the campsite James, Winn, and I used within the hour.” Kara announced to their little lead group. Alex had thought the image of them all in the lead would be good for morale and Kara had been inclined to agree. Lena admitted they probably did make a good picture, though pictures did not tell of the heat, aching muscles, and exhaustion.

Kara’s voice was authoritative, firm, and commanding. Lena’s eyebrows shot up. This was not a tone she was used to but she decided automatically she liked it. Kara seemed confident and in control. This was her element and she no longer seemed to be playing the role of general. Kara was fully in command.

“We have arrived.” Kara announced and stiffly swung herself down from her horse, boots hitting the dirt heavily with a swish of her cape before heading over to Lena’s steed and almost wholly lifting the other woman down. “The tunnel should be someplace over there” Kara announced to her friends with a gesture.

“I want guards posted around that tunnel’s hatch at all times. Set up in shifts. I want a perimeter of sentries at all times. Coordinate with Alex, she is much better with the organization thing than I am.” Kara laughed.

“I will assist with camp set up. James is already working on your tent up because he knew you would protest if he asked your permission. Your canteen is full?” Winn asked as Lena kissed Kara’s cheek and left to find Maggie.

“You are not going to let me work at all, are you?” Kara asks affectionately. “How much of this is your doing?”

“I would never admit it.” Winn replied with a sly grin. “You are my best friend. You do not seem particularly inclined to tend yourself so I am picking up the slack.”

“You are a good man, Winn Schott. Be sure to take care of yourself as well.” Kara smiled softly, her heart touched. He grinned back and allowed her to hug him, one of her hands playing with his hair as she released him. She put her hand out and they clasped forearms tightly for a long moment. Her eyes traced out his features just in case it was one of her last memories of Winn Schott Jr. “You are my best friend as well and I am honored to have you at my side.”

As Kara stepped away to go about her duties, he smiled sadly after her, because Winn was confident she would find more than enough work for herself despite his efforts.

Chapter Text

“Alright, my friends! Who is ready to start a war?!” Kara yelled from horseback at the very front of the line of young strong warriors, stirring them up. They all punched their fists into the air and shouted their agreements. She was wearing her new armor freshly cleaned and polished the night before, her sword thrust into the air, a silver glimmer to Lena who stood at the back.

Fear crept into the edges of her mind, seeing Kara so war-like and brash, but there was a pride in there as well, getting to seeing Kara lead. She did not have to command respect because of how she had earned it from them with her sweat, blood, and her good heart. Lena could not imagine anyone more deserving of it. She seemed confident and prepared for whatever may come. Lena had been doing her best to encourage the force in front of them as well. Lena felt so nervous and worried for her friends her heart could explode.

“Be ready! We will all be at the end of this soon!” Kara guided the horse back around, came to a halt and jumped down, passing the steed off to one of the younger men and jogged up to Lena. She pushed a lock of sweaty escaped hair out of her face and kissed Lena’s cheek. “Are you ready?”

“I guess I have to be, right? We have come much too far to stop now.” Lena said with a heavy and rather put out sigh.

Kara snapped to attention and turned to look more fully into Lena’s face.

“That is not true at all.” Kara said firmly and decidedly, pulling the other woman away from any potentially prying ears. “If you want to give all of this up and be done with it, I would not blame you in the slightest. I am here for you dearest, and that is that. You say the word and I will pack the two of us up to leave right now.”

Lena softened then and melted on the inside. One would think she would have gotten used such devotion by now, but she was surprised every time. Kara cared for her so much, no matter what, even when Lena did not expect her to.

“No, no. I am staying. I fully intend to see this through.” Lena corrected her almost immediately. “I… I only meant, on occasion, the pressure and the tension becomes a bit much.”

Kara nodded in understanding and pulled Lena into herself once more. She kissed the top of the older woman’s head and squeezed her shoulders.

“Again, I do wish we had had more time together. I love you, Lena Luthor.” Kara said with a heavy and broken exhale.

“And I you.” Lena leaned into the embrace and enjoyed the closeness.

After what felt like not nearly enough time, Kara found she could not delay any longer. She stared at Lena for a good long while. Kara just wanted to fill her eyes for a final time before she had to go. Unaware that their fellows could see them and that a few were watching out of the corner of their eyes; Kara took Lena around the waist, dipped her, and kissed her full on the mouth as though they had been dancing.

As Kara stood and she righted Lena, it was to the sound of scattered applause from their friends and some of Kara’s trainees. A deep blush colored Kara’s cheeks immediately. Lena, on the other hand, grinned happily and laughed, before taking a somewhat joking curtsy. Kara’s cheeks went more fiercely red. Feeling as though she had to follow suit, Kara took a formal bow from the waist. Lena felt another rush of pride as she watched her girlfriend bow exactly as she had taught her.

“I will see you later, then?” Lena asked, turning back to Kara and looked meaningfully into her eyes. She resettles Kara’s armor and cape.

“If I am allowed to have a say.” Kara nods down at her, affection and concern in her eyes. “You know I will always do all I can to get back to you. Have you not yet learned it will take everything the world can throw at me to keep me away?”

“I am beginning to figure it out.” Lena chuckled half-heartedly. “You have not let me down thus far. Do not start now, my love.”

“I do not plan to.” Kara said and fingered the hilt of her gladius, drawing Lena’s eyes. Lena took note of the ribbon, smiled but made no comment. Kara kissed her once more and Lena watched as she walked away, shoulders set determinedly, as she strode back to join James, Winn, and Vazquez. The revolutionaries were ready to march to the castle.

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Kara pulled the hood of her cloak up over her head and across her armor. She looked to the others and made sure their faces were covered as well. Briana Vazquez blushed deeply when Kara’s gaze went to her. The younger woman had stepped up as Kara’s right hand when Kara had assumed her position as Lena’s General and Winn had taken over the training of their forces. Vazquez was not quite the lieutenant Winn Schott had been, but she was trustworthy and dependable. She looked up to Kara as though the blonde woman could do no wrong. Kara was not much of one to revel in the hero worship, but she was not complaining either.

“We are all clear on the plan? Yes?” Kara asked as they approached the servant’s doors.

“Stay out of sight, make no noise, and find a way to get to Lex before the rest of our people get through the gates. We have to be fast, but we have to be quiet as well. This is how we are going to put an end to it all. ” Winn said in almost the exact same manner he had heard Kara tell them over and over again. She had an innate ability to ingrain plans into their minds like she was burning them into their brains.

Servants, servers, and cooks of all sizes, shapes, and colors bustled in and out of the service entry to prepare for the wedding. The four of them were easily able to blend in amongst them and disappear into the castle. Vazquez went with James down one hall lead down to the cells and M’gann’s workshop. Kara and Winn headed up the stairs towards the living quarters. If Lex Luthor were anywhere preparing for his impending nuptials, he would be there.

Kara wanted to say a few things to their king… for so long as he could be called such. She had more than a little on her mind, and she needed to share. No one else would do. If at all possible, she intended to hold the man for long enough that Lena could say her piece to him as well. It had the potential to be therapeutic for all of them.

Winn took the stairs two at a time with Kara directly on his heels as she kept a close eye on him. They stopped at the top and glanced around the corner for guards. There were only three of them and they were easily taken out of the picture even without drawing weapons. Kara was certain the people she and Winn had trained were better than that. She made a mental note, if they come out of this battle intact, to have Lena put Winn in the position of Master at Arms. He seemed to have a knack for training.

From her prior explorations, and Lena’s information, Kara knew Lex occupied the far east wing. The chapel was almost directly one floor below and she could only just hear the noise of preparations if she strained her ears. As she listened, Kara could hear more boots and voices coming around the corner.

“In here.” Kara said in a gruff voice. She swung open the first door available and dragged Winn inside after her. Even while he reoriented himself, she was scanning the room.

A girl who could not be more than five years younger than Kara stood looking pale and terrified, but she was not screaming just yet. Judging purely by what she wore, Kara could understand the girl’s reasons. It was a beautiful dress; white like the driven snow, made of the finest materials available, and likely worth more money than Kara had ever seen in her life. She was pretty despite the horror on her face. Kara knew she had to rescue this girl.

“Are you the bride?” Kara asked, approaching her with open hands and pulling her hood down so the girl could look her in the face. “Please, you do not have to be afraid of me. I know you are not Samantha Arias. We have come to get you out of here. The real Lady Arias is safe as well.”

“Oh… okay. Who- who will go out there, then?” the girl asked.

“I will.” Kara answered and Winn choked at her declaration. That had not been a part of the plan. “He will get the surprise of his life. I guarantee it.”

“Fine. I will handle everything else on our end. Please, just be smart about this.” Winn said as he massaged his face with the heels of his hands. He found Kara Danvers exhausting but magnetic. “I will get Ms… I am sorry, I do not know your name.”

“Laurel, Laurel Lance.” she said softly. Her voice was still terror-stricken.

“I will get Ms.Lance to safety, but I will come right back, General. You are not going to get rid of me that easily.” he gave Kara a meaningful look that very plainly told her not to die without him around.

“As you say, Lord Schott.” Kara said as she pulled the ceremonial robe over her other clothing and armor. It was a rich lavender material that simmered in the changing light. The robe was embroidered with intertwining white and gold thread to indicate the outlines of very delicate flowers. She ran her fingers across the fabric admiringly “I will either be here or getting married when you are done.”

“We are almost there my friend, we will see the other side soon. Keep your eyes on the prize.” Winn said in an attempt at encouragement.

“Be safe, Winn.” Kara said, doing her best to encourage him not to die either in her own way. He was her best friend and she did not want anything to happen to him.

“I just want you to know that I think this is a horrible idea. It has the possibility to be truly hilarious, but it is a terrible idea.” Winn scoffed and clapped her on the back on his way out.

“Well, I thought I looked pretty nice in this get-up.” Kara scoffed to herself and cleared her gladius in the scabbard. She had honed the edge to a razor-sharp edge. Kara was nearly certain she could slice a hair or cut a piece of paper with the blade. Cleaning her weaponry had become something of a ritualistic meditation time for her.

Kara flipped her hood up more tightly over her head to hid her face more thoroughly. She turned her back to the door and placed a mirror in front of herself to see anyone who might come into the room behind her. Kara was not very worried, she had seen the skill level of Crown trained soldiers. She was confident it would take at least ten to bring her down.

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Kara followed the group of men quite willingly when she realized they had no clue who she was or who they ought to be expecting. She followed, her heart pounding with nerves and excitement. Kara was used to fear, but this was new and different. Her hands hung loosely at her sides; if she went for her sword, she knew it would sell her out. She had to walk on her own, empty-handed, and rely upon her mind alone. This situation was new and terrifying and Kara loved every minute.

This was Lena’s realm of expertise. Kara could only hope she had learned enough from her queen to get by in this endeavor. They led her down the stairs and through the hall towards the chapel. Afternoon sunlight flowed through the stained glass windows in hundreds of wondrous colors. Kara gasped, though this was not the first time she had seen the room, it was the first time she had seen the space quite like this.

Kara leaned more deeply into her hood, doing her best not to be recognizable. Soon the guards passed her off to an older couple who began to escort her down the aisle formed by the rows of benches on either side. There were at least as many people in attendance at the chapel for the wedding as at one of Kara’s gladiatorial matches. She had always hated being watched and having too many eyes on her. Kara knew then she had to face her fears here.

Every eye on her was an added weight dragging her down. Her skin burned under the heavy gazes. Blood rushed up to her cheeks, filling her face with warmth. Terror completely overtook her. Kara used almost everything she had to put one foot in front of the other. Eventually, Kara came to rest at the top of the dais across from Lex Luthor and the priest began to speak, but Kara did not hear a word until Lex turned, lowered the hood and realized who stood across from him. Blue eyes went wide and his face went pale in fear. He recognized her immediately and instantly knew why she was there.

Before Lex could so much as squeak, Kara had grabbed him by the jacket collar, pulled him into herself and put a knife to his throat.

“If anyone so much as looks at us the wrong way, I will open his throat.” Kara announced. “JAMES! WINN! I have him!”

Lex struggled to get away from her fierce grip, and a drop of blood trailed down the line of his throat. In response, she wrenched his arm up behind his back and pinned it behind him. He grunted and whined; Kara found she rather enjoyed the pained sounds when they came from him.

“This is the end for you, you rat bastard tyrant.” Kara growled directly into his ear, hearing a pop as she pulled the arm further. “Do you hear that? Listen closely.”

The stone room had gone completely silent after Kara had made her move and now every eye was on her. Quite a few of them were training crossbow bolts or arrows on her, but she had never been more comfortable as she was then. A rumble echoed through the room, not caused by voices. It seemed that the very stones shook. Crashes and booms could be heard through the heavy doors and Kara knew her sister was coming.

Doors upon the balcony exploded open and crossbow bolts exploded into the heads of the soldiers pointing their weapons at Kara. The fighters were followed shortly by Alex and Winn.

“Hey, baby sister. Did I miss out on any of the fun?” Alex asked from above and Kara chuckled.

“I am certain you will catch up.” she called back. Winn came up behind her as a cry was sent up throughout the palace and boots began to thud in the direction of the chapel. “They are coming for you, Lex.”

There was a bang at the locked doors to the chapel, one right after the other. Kara thrust the nearly fallen king to the ground at Winn’s feet. When he seemed as though he were going to make a move to escape, Winn held his great ax a mere centimeter above his throat.

“Tsk. Tsk.” he said. “I would not do that if I were you. I would be more than willing to dispense my queen’s justice upon the likes of you.”

“The young Lord Schott. I should have known you would still be following the blonde gladiator bitch like the lapdog you are. You are pathetic.” Lex spat the words out as though they tasted bad and stared up at Winn as though the younger man were dirt.

As opposed to a verbal response, Kara turned on her heel with a sneer and put her boot to his temple, knocking him out cold. Kara found the action very satisfying and fulfilling. Just as the ball of her foot made contact with his head, the doors burst open and all Kara could see were the backs of Crown’s guards being forced into the chapel. The attendees of the wedding screamed and either hid beneath the pews or pressed themselves against the walls.

“Alex! Get the innocents out of here! Go! Go!” Kara yelled, drawing her sword and throwing herself into the fray. Her sword arched through the air as though it and the woman wielding it were flying. All of those who drew on her fell shortly thereafter. Alex directed traffic from her place on the balcony, directly above Kara, a hand crossbow in one hand and her longbow over her shoulder, a full quiver of arrows at her side as well. She wore flexible leather armor in a dark mahogany color.

The robe was torn from about Kara's shoulders, leaving her in the fresh and shiny armor, the red cape flowing about her shoulders. Either a majestic or terrifying sight to witness depending on which side of the battle one was fighting on. Alex took careful shots from her perch, taking down anyone who came too close to her sister. She, in particular, thought Kara looked like a knight in one of the old stories. Alex was certain her sister would one day be included amongst the stories.

The relatively short battle was soon over, ending with casualties and injuries on both sides. The revolutionary forces had done most of the damage beforehand and left little for the rest to clean up. As the fights wore down, Lena entered in her formal armor and her green cape fluttered behind her. She looked every inch the queen she had become. Kara stepped to Lena’s side and grasped her hand momentarily before shifting behind and to the side as they began to approach the dais. Lena shrieked and Kara passed her up, breaking into a run upon seeing Winn’s body broken on the ground at Lex’s feet. As Kara ran, she stumbled and fell face first into the stone, an arrow piercing through her calf muscle.

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“Kara! Are you okay?!” Lena asked, catching up with her and quickly falling to her knees, kneeling beside her. As soon as she was next to Kara, she realized the younger woman was crying, and Lena could safely assume it was because of the pain, but not that of her injuries.

“Winn…” Kara’s voice was nothing but a pained squeak as she forced her way to her feet despite the clearly horrific wound and struggled until she got to her fallen friend’s side. “Winslow Schott, no, you have to be okay. You have to get up. I need you.”

Lex jerked forward at the women’s approach, attempting to break out of James’ stiff iron grip and make a grab for his sister. His growl was animalistic and ferocious, pain and hate clear in his sky blue eyes. They should have been beautiful but were plainly marred.

“Get down and shut up. Your time here is over.” James put a foot in the back of Lex’s knee and forced the fallen king to the ground on his knees. Lex only grunted and spat at James’ feet.

Lena barely noticed, her attention purely focused on Kara, their grief, and their fallen compatriot.

“He is gone, my love.” Lena choked out. “I am so sorry.”

She wrapped her arms around Kara from behind as her sobs quieted. The warrior leaned back into her, closing Winn’s eyes gently, and arranging his limbs to seem a bit more natural. With a torn section of her sleeve, Kara wiped the blood from his mouth and pulled the blade from his abdomen. She threw it viciously to the side, then bent to break the fletching off the back of the bolt in her calf with a wince. That done, she grasped the other side and with a cry of pain, pulled the rest of the arrow from her leg.

Kara pulled herself from Lena’s grasp and sluggishly made her way to her feet. Her face was a pained mask of fury, tear tracks clearing the grime covering her face. Lena felt her breath leave her body as Kara lurched to the kneeling Lex and slammed her elbow into his temple, her good foot’s heel meeting his abdomen with a solid ‘thump’.

“He was a better man than you will ever be, you sick fuck.” Kara spat as she stumbled back, barely able to remain on her feet.

Lex leaned as far forward as James would allow and coughed heavily, glaring and sneering. He bled from his nose and a dark bruise was beginning to form on one side of his face from the impact of Kara’s blow. He looked rough and seemed even possibly worse off than Kara.

“Does anyone know what happened to Winn?” Lena asked in a gentle tone, moving to assist Kara in standing.

“Lex grabbed a blade from a fallen soldier and got him before anyone could do anything.. I only just managed to subdue him before he could get away.” James’ voice was hoarse and pained as well. He was clearly bleeding from a deep gash on his shoulder, there was a slice to his forearm as well. “Is that not right, you cowardly bastard?!”

Alex joined them, plainly exhausted, a rapier and a loaded crossbow in hand.

“Kara, let me look at that for you.” Alex immediately rushed to her sister and began to treat her injury. As she did so, Lena supported the majority of Kara’s weight and glanced around.

The beaten and battered forces of Lena’s small army had assembled below the dais, staring up expectantly at Lena and company. They were bright-eyed, though bleeding and bruised. Slightly behind them, the crown soldiers who had submitted to the superior forces gathered, unease clear upon their faces.

“We reign victorious. I take pride in having known those lost, and those who still stand with me will forever have my gratitude. On this most solemn of nights, I say we arrange our fallen and we sleep; regain our strength. Tomorrow, we will begin the hard work.” Lena took a breath and spoke in an authoritative but still emotional voice.

With Kara’s leg patched up, Alex began to move on to the other wounded members of their forces who had been wounded.

“Your Highness, what would you like for me to do with him?” James asked, dragging Lex Luthor behind him.

“Throw him in the dungeons and I will make a formal announcement in the morning. I am tired, James. I did not fight but I was terrified, and unable to do anything to assist.” Lena’s eyes were heavy and now that he looked closely, exhaustion was plain on her face. “Anyway, thank you for everything and for all of your help, James Olsen.”

“You are most welcome, my Queen. I will find assistance and stand guard over him myself for the night.” his smile was kind but distant.

“Thank you, again. Have Alex take a look at those injuries when you can. If at all possible, I intend to find my way to my room and sleep. I fear I will not be of any use here for the moment.” Lena said again, listless until Vazquez rushed up to support her. Kara once again was sadly resting beside Winn’s lifeless body’s side.

Softly as though from a great distance, Lena could hear Kara praying over him. The words, though they were not clear, sounded old and heavy; important in a way Lena did not understand. She did not want to disturb the grieving woman, so she grasped her shoulder tightly for a moment and headed up the stairs, Vazquez at her side to guard.

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Kara barely remembered dragging herself to her old room off to the side of Lena’s. She felt very odd without Lena at her side. Exhaustion took over, however, and sleep came. The next morning, Kara rose with the sun, with no idea of what to do with herself. She wandered the palace, checking in on Lena regularly until the other woman awoke and could instruct her.

Alex was downstairs in the chapel instructing the burial of the dead, but Kara was not in the mood for a vast amount of company, or to be in the presence of those she had lost. Kara was exhausted and sad. She did not want to be seen in such a state.

On a whim, she made her way to the kitchens and arranged Lena’s breakfast. Despite the piercing pain in her leg, Kara felt wrong when she stood or sat still for too long. Serving Lena was what she had gotten used to and she wanted to get back to familiar territory, at least for the time being, or until she was comfortable again. Kara was worried she might never be. She organized the food and placed the meal on a tray before limping her way back up to Lena’s quarters.

Her timing was nearly perfect. Lena had just begun to stir when Kara took a seat on the side of the bed and placed the tray over the other woman’s lap, steam rising off the cup of tea, almost cheerily. The raven-haired queen blinked blearily and attempted a smile on Kara’s behalf. It was highly ineffective, but Kara appreciated the effort.

“I thought about the Lex matter well into the night, but I still cannot tell what the right thing to do would be.” Lena said morosely after a couple of sips of tea. “I was thinking it would be best to just kill him and get the brutality behind us, then I considered the optics…”

“Love, you are overthinking this.” Kara said with a heavy sigh. “What do you want to do?”

“I-I could not say at this point. I feel like my conscience could bear the burden of his death, but my heart…” Lena shook her head. “Kara, no matter what he has done or the crimes he has committed, he is still my brother.”

Lena stared down at the food on her tray as though it had done something to personally insult her. She felt sick to her stomach with worry and wondered if this was what being queen would feel like. Kara’s eyes were still just as earnest and kind as they had ever been. Lena could not imagine ever surviving her reign without the blonde at her side. Still, she knew distantly she would have to do so at some point.

“Shall we bring the matter before our makeshift court to decide?” Kara offered, wanting to be of help as best she was able. “You know you will never have to do this on your own, Lena. We have assembled this team for a reason.”

Lena nodded with a weak smile and began to eat, whether she was hungry or not. Kara stayed by her side, keeping her company whether it be in silence or if Lena wanted to bounce any ideas off of her. For as long as she could, she wanted to be there for the new queen. Kara knew they would have to part soon, but she wanted to treasure these moments for as long as she possibly could.

“Send Maggie up when you see her, please? I think I ought to address the people before we make any major decisions or changes. They are probably wondering what has gone on here. I owe them an explanation.” Lena placed the now emptied tray to the side and slid out of bed, shocked by the cold stone floors on the soles of her feet. “When things have calmed down some, remind me to get a carpet or rug to go here. I have been meaning to do something about this for ages.”

Kara smiled mildly in amusement at the odd request and suppressed a laugh. “Yes, my lady.” she replied and gave her girlfriend a half-bow from the waist almost teasingly.

“You cut that out. You know the bossing is a force of habit.” Lena pouted, a hint of relief in her eyes for a moment as Kara grinned back. Kara turned to take her leave and do as Lena had asked when the other woman called out after her. “And it is my queen, now.”

Kara bowed once more, sweepingly, and went to find her friends and fellow revolutionaries. The grim faces in the halls sobered her as she found Maggie and looked for her sister and James. As she walked, the crest of the House of El became more and more obvious to passersby, looks of shock appearing on the faces of those who noticed and understood. One older looking lord went so far as to give her a small bow of her own.

“Alex, Lena wants to have a court meeting to discuss Lex’s fate.” Kara said, sweating a bit from the pain in her leg by the time she caught up with her sister in the chapel again. “However, she says she is going to address the people first. I want us all at her back when she does, as a show of support and strength. Do you know where I could find James? I have yet to see him today.”

“There is something you should see.” Alex gave her a pained and apologetic look. “First, let me look at that wound of yours. That one will ail you for some time I am sure.”

Alex led her younger sister to sit down and removed the bandages she had placed the night before. Her fingers were quick, confident, and sure. It reminded Kara of the gentle girl who had only wanted to help others that she had known and grown up with as a child. This battle-worn and hardened woman was new and different but Kara found that she loved her no less. The younger Alex Danvers and the one before her now bore all of the necessary resemblances. They had the same fierce eyes and gentle hands; the same drive to protect and heal.

“How was our queen this morning? Yesterday was a hard day for everyone, though completely necessary.” Alex asked as she replaced the bandage to distract Kara from the sting.

“She is concerned, but no more than is to be expected, probably a little nervous.” Kara said tiredly. “I got her to eat some and I coaxed a smile out of her after a while. I could not tell you, Alex. I would say she will do better when things calm down and she can find a rhythm or a routine.”

“There you go.” Alex announced her finish. “I am inclined to agree. Lena is strong and will make a great queen and so will you.”

“What was it you wanted to show me?” Kara asked.

“It is about Lex and James…” Alex began and lead the way through the maze of halls once more.

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“You know, I always knew he hated the king, but I never knew many details about why in particular.” Alex said as she led Kara down the stairs and towards the dungeons. “James was just as idealistic as me and a brilliant tactical mind.”

She turned to give Kara a hand when Kara flinched in pain as she descended the stairs.

“I never expected him to be capable of this.” Alex sighed heavily, a small amount of guilt creeping into her voice. “Here is Lex.”

Lex was slumped on the dirt against one sludge covered stone wall. His lips were caked with dried blood and a bruise had begun to cover the side of his face as he died. His head dangled loosely from a broken neck. Kara had to turn away, hating that this was something that could have happened on her watch. On one of the stones outside of the cell, blood had been smeared on the corner and the word ‘sorry’ was carved into the rock with a knife or sharp stone.

“James Olsen did this?” Kara asked, her voice suddenly gruff and hard.

“He was the only one down here with the necessary access. None of the other prisoners were disturbed, and they gave a description matching James.” Alex said, her voice worn. “I am so sorry, Kara. I was the one who brought him into this. I thought we could trust him.

“You are in no way to blame, Alex. This is on James.” Kara sighed heavily. “Have somebody bring the body upstairs. I will let Lena know what happened and see how she would like to proceed.”

“And the other prisoners?” Alex asked.

“They will receive judgments at a later date. That is not my place.” Kara said firmly, glad it was not her duty to make those decisions. She was filled with sympathy for Lena having the fate of so many on her shoulders. “If you see Vazquez before I do, send her my way.”

Kara slowly made her up the stairs again and decided she was going to stay on the ground floor henceforward. By the time she got back, she could feel warm blood running down her calf and into her boot as pained sweat began to bead across her forehead.

“Are you ready?” Lena asked when Kara finally made her way back. “Did you see him?”

“No, not really. I, uhm, I need to tell you something.” Kara gestured for Lena to sit, partially because of the hard news and partially because Kara no longer had any confidence her leg would be able to continue to hold her up.

Lena sat and looked with concern at Kara, taking the blonde’s hands into her own.

“What is going on?” she asked.

“James was left to watch Lex last night, whilst the rest of us slept.” Kara began. “So far it seems that during the night, James entered your brother’s cell and murdered him. James is nowhere to be found so I would say it is safe to say he fled afterward. I am so sorry, my love.”

Lena seemed mildly confused and wounded. “I expected, upon Lex dying, to feel some sense of relief or even sadness on some level.” “Instead, I just feel… nothing, empty… numb.”

Kara put an arm around Lena’s shoulders and hugged her for a moment. She squeezed the other woman tightly and willed everything to start going better for them.

“You do not have to feel anything for that bastard. He was your brother so you have every right to feel your feelings, but he was also a terrible human being. ” Kara, more than anything, wanted Lena to be okay. She hated the way things were playing out.

Lena shook her head as though to clear her thoughts.

“Oh, no Kara.” Lena seemed to realize something. “You are still hurt and bleeding. You have been pushing yourself too hard. Winn would put your head on a pike for this.”

“Winn is not here to tell me to do anything.” Kara said petulantly, pain and hurt coloring her voice. Now that Lena was getting a good look at her, she could see the bruises, bags under her eyes, and the dull look in her eyes.

“You have lost too much, Kara. You do not deserve any of this. I feel responsible for dragging you along.” Lena said with a heavy sigh. “I am sorry for all of your losses. I hope soon we will be able to take a moment to breathe and grieve.”

“None of this is upon your head. You have done naught but what you needed to do. All I have done for you, I have done of my own free will. Lena, do not bear any of my pain. I can take it and the responsibility for my own actions.” Kara sighed, pulling Lena a bit more closely to her side and the two sat to rest for a while, basking in one another’s company.

Lena grabbed the arm of a young man walking past them and instructed him to find Kara a crutch, much to the warrior’s despair. The young queen knew Kara hated to appear even slightly weakened. She understood but would not allow Kara’s pride to further interfere with her recovery.

“Highness, the people have gathered and they are expecting you to speak. The members of your council have assembled to back you up. Lord J’onnz is on his way from the tavern with everyone who was left behind, besides Cat. She says you are both welcome back whenever you so desire.” Maggie jogged up to inform them. Out of their entire group, Maggie seemed the most recovered.

“Have you prepared our clothes?” Lena asked, mildly disappointed to be disturbed, but knowing this was something she had to do.

“Yes, my queen. If you would be so kind as to follow me… if you are done here.” Maggie said with a wiggle of her eyebrows and a coy wink.

Kara dragged herself to her room and put on the formal clothing Lena had made for her long ago. The blue jacket with the pretty brass buttons accented her broad shoulders and brilliant eyes. The leather breeches were a warm shade of brown and a white linen shirt was beneath the jacket, embroidered with red and gold flowers. The cloth soft enough it felt almost as though she were wearing nothing at all. The opulence of the outfit made Kara slightly uncomfortable, but for Lena’s sake, she could deal for however long was necessary.

The people had gathered before the castle where most announcements were made. They looked up to the balcony expectantly. Kara took Lena by the arm and walked her out before taking her position at Lena’s back.

“People of Luthor!” Lena called out as she came to stand at the rail of the balcony. “I am Lena of Luthor and I have come to tell you, the king is dead.”

Kara swallowed and reached forward to take Lena’s hand behind her back and out of sight. She knew all of this had to be terrifying for Lena. If the people were to reject her, life for them could get very ugly, very quickly. Kara listened to the other woman speak, all of their friends at Lena’s back as a show of support and strength. Despite her fear and nerves, Kara could see Lena’s shoulders were set determinedly and her spine was stiff and straight. Her voice was even, warm and strong; leaving Kara oddly proud. By the time the queen finished, the crowds were cheering her name at the top of their lungs.

“What is going to come next, my queen?” Kara asked, leaning against the throne in the grand hall after the group made their way to the throne room. Lena still stood at the base of the dais, staring up the fancy chair.

“I guess I rule.” Lena chuckled darkly. “I never thought we would actually get this far. What I have learned from you thus far will serve me well. I owe you so much, my dearest.”

Kara knew exactly what Lena was getting at and they had both been avoiding discussing. She dragged her fingers down the arms of the throne and rejoined Lena.

“We owe one another, love. I would say we are even.” Kara wrapped her arms around Lena tightly. She pulled her in flush against her body. “We can discuss this further after the coronation. Alex and I will continue our journey after you are settled. Now, I do believe you need to climb into one of those fancy outfits.”

Kara stepped into the hallway and put on her good jacket. She brushed out her hair to a light blonde shine. Kara was going to be beside Lena for the coronation, now that she was somewhat over her stage-fright. While she was giving her blade a thorough cleaning, Sam Arias limped into her room.

“Kara, I should have known I would find you in here.” Sam smiled softly, though somewhat morosely.

“Oh, right this was your room long before I came along.” Kara smiled, placed the sword to the side and slowly rose to greet the other girl. She hugged Sam gently, glad that she seemed considerably more healthy. “How are you?”

“Good, thank you.” Sam smiled, a distant expression on her face. “I actually was looking for you. I have a favor to ask if you care to hear me out. I know I have no right to come to you.”

“Of course, Lady Arias. Anything for my favorite damsel in distress.” Kara said with a grin. “Come and have a seat.”

“You clearly should not be calling me ‘Lady’, Your Highness.” Sam gestured to the crest Maggie had added to Kara’s jacket.

“Yeah, I have been keeping my heritage under wraps for so long I had nearly forgotten what it felt like to be seen for who I am.” Kara blushed and looked down. “I will always be Kara to you though, Sam. Ask me whatever you wanted to ask.”

-----/////-----

Kara stood firmly behind and to the side of Lena in an attempt to disguise a broad grin spreading across her face. She could never have been more proud of Lena. Lena knew Kara was behind her and it was a comfort she almost wished she had not allowed herself to get used to. Samantha Arias stood alongside them, leaning heavily on a cane, like Kara, though she stood straight. Winn was the only person Kara missed. Alex sat beaming in the very front row.

When the ceremony was over and the crown rested where it was meant to be on Lena’s head; she came to take her throne, and Kara stood behind her and to the side. Kara’s cape flowed out and over the back of her jacket, shiny blonde hair tumbling down. Alex thought that was how they ought to always look. Kara, strong but with a deep sense of gentility in her eyes. Lena, her spine straight and proud on her new throne, ever noble. Alex was eager to see Kara on her own throne. She was filled with a stark excitement.

Kara turned to look up and out of the window towards Krypton. Her uncle had been ruling the kingdom for the past fifteen years, and every scrap of news Kara had been able to dig up suggested her people were starving and just scraping by. She had no idea of what might be coming next, but for the first time, she was excited to find out.