Tired By K. Aten
“LENA! WHAT ARE you doing here?”
Lena Luthor was extremely conscious of the stares bouncing off her skin from around the bullpen at CatCo. It was disconcerting. She imagined it felt much like she were a Super and the surrounding reporters were slinging bullets rather than judgmental looks and quiet suspicions. Rather than visibly cringe like she wanted to, she smiled at Kara and held up a large takeout bag. “Well, you bring me lunch often enough I thought I’d return the favor.” Lena suddenly became aware of Kara’s disheveled state, the stack of heavily edited papers in her hand, and a bespeckled bald gentleman glaring from off to the side of them. Disappointment washed though her when she realized that Kara may be too busy to have lunch with her. “Oh, is now a bad time?”
Kara glanced toward her boss and his scowl deepened. “Pssh, me too busy? What makes you….no, I’m just—”
A gruff voice interrupted her ramble. “I want the final on my desk by two, Ponytail! Ready to go.”
“Kara…” Lena knew that Kara was self-sacrificing on even the hardest days. It was just one of the things she loved about the reporter. Liked. Lena definitely meant to think ‘like’.
The cub reporter gave another glance at her boss and growled quietly before turning back to Lena. The CEO was certain nothing had ever sounded cuter. “You know what? This is the perfect time! I can get this finished after lunch.” She gestured over her shoulder. “Let me just go drop these on my desk then we can go somewhere a little quieter.” Kara thought to herself that super speed certainly had its advantages and hers was going to allow her to eat lunch with Lena, no matter how many dirty looks Snapper threw at her.
Lena raised an eyebrow. “Okay, if you’re sure—”
Kara gave a little resolute nod. “I’m definitely sure! Be right back.”
Five minutes later they two unlikely friends found themselves down three floors, sitting on the observation balcony of CatCo. The employee cafeteria and lounge were on the same level and many people brought their lunches outside to take in the view. Lena was happy to note that as soon as the food came out of the takeout bag the little crinkle between Kara’s eyes disappeared and most of the tension across the blonde’s shoulders did too. She watched fascinated as always while Kara practically made love to her lunch. It was fast love to be sure, because Lena knew to bring a lot of food for her friend. But it was definitely love. The CEO sighed wistfully and wished that Kara could love her as much as the reporter loved food. While also making those sounds. Lena crossed her legs beneath the table and tried to focus on her Chicken Lo Mein.
When Kara finished her first container she slowed down enough to engage her best friend in conversation. “I’m really glad you came by today. It’s been…just—so much, um, BS!”
The business woman couldn’t help teasing. “BS, hmm? Such strong words coming from Kara Danver’s lips! Are you sure you weren’t just exceptionally hangry?”
Kara tilted her head in confusion. “Hangry? That sounds bad.”
“You don’t know what hangry is?” Kara shook her head. “Oh my God, Kara. Of all people who should know that word, it’s definitely you.” Lena threw her head back and laughed, drawing a few looks from the people around them and freezing Kara in her seat, chopsticks half way to her mouth as her super-vision focused on that lone freckle off-center of Lena’s throat.
“I, erm—” She let out a little squeak and crammed a massive bite of fried rice into her mouth and shrugged once Lena’s gaze fell back upon her.
Lena gave her a fond smile. “Hangry is a combination between angry and hungry. When you get so hungry that it affects your mood.”
Blue eyes twinkled behind Kara’s glasses. “Did they teach you that in boarding school?”
“No, I learned the term watching an old Betty White commercial when I was bingeing iZo—” Lena stopped abruptly and cleared her throat. “I mean, when I was researching green initiatives online.”
“Oh my gosh! You watch iZombie? I love that show!” Kara wiggled in her seat and pointed her chopsticks at Lena. “Are you caught up on the current season? Because if so then we should talk.” She leaned forward slightly and Kara’s voice got a little more intimate. “Tell me, Ms. Luthor, is this one of your secret vices? Off the record, of course!”
The CEO’s brain jolted a little at the words “Ms. Luthor”, and a nagging feeling of familiarity caused her to shiver. But it short circuited completely when Kara asked about vices. Playing along, she also leaned forward and lowered her voice to respond. “Well off the record, I guess you could say that was one of my vices. Unfortunately for you, the others will not pass these lips in such a public place.
Kara choked on her food and grabbed the bottle of water to wash it down. She mentally cursed herself for playing a game that Lena must have surely written the rules for. It wasn’t like Kara hadn’t noticed the subtle flirting that her best friend frequently engaged in. But she had always written it off as part of her personality. Much like Alex’s ex-girlfriend, Maggie. The detective was the same way with her gay innuendo and subtle digs. But Maggie never affected Kara the way Lena did. Flustered, Kara nervously straightened her glasses and fidgeted, then gave Lena a sweetly honest smile. “Lena, our private conversations are always off the record.”
Lena winked and smirked, and secretly delighted in the blush that worked its way across Kara’s cheeks. But in the end she took pity on her best friend, one of her only friends in all of National City. “I know, and I treasure our conversation. And to answer your question, I am caught up.”
“Ooh, what are you doing Monday night? Want to watch it together?”
Lena frowned, hating to be the one to take such an excited look from Kara’s face. “Actually, Mondays are terrible for me as I usually spend a few hours of the evening working in the lab downstairs, after I’m finished with my normal day. I Typically DVR and watch the show Wednesday nights.”
As predicted, Kara’s face fell and she looked down as she pushed the rice around the container with her chopsticks. “Oh.”
She couldn’t have that. Nope. Lena reached across the table and softly covered Kara’s free hand with her own. “If you don’t mind waiting, you could come over to mine on Wednesday and watch it with me?”
A radiant smile greeted her suggestion. “Really?” Lena nodded. “Oh my gosh, this is—you are the best! I’ve never seen your place. Is it big? Do you live in a condo, wait, do you even have a TV, or do you just, um, watch it on a computer or something?”
More laughter left Lena’s lips, perhaps the most that had come from her mouth all week and it was Friday. “Breathe, Kara. And yes, I live in a condo, I do have a TV, and I’m excited to have you over. Though I’ll admit, it’s definitely not as cozy as your place. Maybe we should just watch it at yo—”
“No, no, no, I want to see your place! What time? I can bring snacks and…pajamas? Not for like, sleeping, I mean—uh, like comfy clothes.”
Lena smiled, perhaps more smitten with Kara in that moment than any other before. “I’d say comfy clothes are a must.” Kara’s smile was radiant, but it quickly turned to horror with Lena’s next words. “And I have snacks. Just the other day I picked up a bag of kale chips—”
The reporter made a fake gagging sound. “Uh nope! You are definitely not in charge of the snack situation. You just provide the couch, TV, and show. I’ll take care of the rest.”
Lena sighed the biggest gayest sigh. One could only hope the blonde would take care of the rest. But her thoughts, much like those last few secret vices, stayed secret. “Sounds good, Kara. I look forward to it.”
THE WEEKEND WAS hectic for both women. Lena had to fly to Metropolis to inspect a last minute acquisitions addition. The deal was ready to go live on Monday and she wanted to be sure all the details were solid before she went into the meeting with her lawyers, the top L Corp scientists of their enviro-department, as well as the CEO and lawyers of Viridian, a green energy tech startup. Not getting home until late Sunday night, she didn’t get a chance to even catch up on the local news until near bedtime. When she did, her eyebrows lifted as she read the CatCo headline over a glass of scotch on the rocks. “Supergirl Smashes Spider Men of Mars!” Lena shook her head while admiring the dashing photo of Supergirl as she brought an elbow down into the creepy man-head that was attached to an overly large black spider body. Lena shuddered, suddenly glad she’d been out of town. “No amount of sleep in my own bed is worth sticking around for that!” Finishing her scotch a short time later, she quickly texted Kara that she was back in town, and went off to shower.
Kara didn’t see the text because Supergirl was currently lying in a sun bed deep within the bowels of the DEO. Alex Danvers sat at a computer nearby, scrolling through the findings of the latest blood test. She scowled. “It’s been twenty-four hours since that Kriglo Martian bit you and the venom is still in your system. If I had known their mandibles could penetrate your invulnerability I would have never—”
Blue eyes cracked open as Kara glanced over at her sister. “Never what? Allowed me to go in and lure those giant spider-things away from a mall full of old people and teenagers? I did what had to be done, Alex. And I’m fine, just really tired.”
“You’re tired because the venom is affecting your cells ability to regenerate and store solar energy, so all your powers will be lagging a bit. At the rate your body is flushing it out, it looks like you’ll be more tired than normal for a few days. You won’t be at full strength until it’s flushed out completely.” She met Kara’s eyes. “But it will be significantly longer if you tax yourself while you’re still recovering. So as of right now, you’re off duty.”
“Don’t Alex me. As long as J’onn is off planet, I’m acting Director of this facility and I say you’re benched until further notice. That’s an order, Supergirl.”
Kara pouted but Alex remained intractable. “Fine. Can I go home now and sleep in my own bed?”
Agent Alex Danvers was also tired. It had been a long weekend for everyone on the team. Poor Winn had gone nearly catatonic when the Kriglos surrounded the Guardian van, casting the computer genius with an overactive imagination straight back into a nightmare from his childhood. Supergirl flew the entire van out of the area before coming back to engage the aggressive Martian race. J’onn had never mentioned the Kriglos because they were from an alternate earth. Alex sighed, everyone was tired. “I’d really like for you to spend a little more time under the lamps, just in case a catastrophe pops up that Supergirl is really needed for. I’ll stay with you though.”
Kara looked at her sister with concern, noticing the exhaustion etched into the acting Director’s face. “Alex, I don’t need you to babysit me, you should get some sleep too.”
Alex waved her off. “Its fine, I have to finish reports before I can go home anyway. I may as well keep you company.” Thinking ahead to her schedule, she threw out a suggestion. “What do you say to a movie night on Wednesday? I can bring the pizza if you supply the ice cream?”
A flush that wasn’t due to the heat of the overhead lamps moved slowly up Kara’s neck to her face and ears. “Oh, um, I sort of already have plans.”
“I see.” Alex noted her sister’s lack of eye contact and deep blush. “What exactly are your plans on Wednesday?”
“I’m sort of have plans to over to Lena’s place and watch iZombie and binge on snacks.”
A dark brow rose swiftly over Alex’s right eye. “Sort of?”
Kara finally met her sister’s gaze. “Do?”
Alex smirked. “And how are things coming along with Luthor?”
The younger Danvers sister sputtered. “How are what—who? Pssh, I don’t know what you’re…Alex! It’s just Lena, two friends you know…she’s not like that! She’s good, and kind, and beau—Rao!”
Laughter rose above the hum of the sun bed lamps and Alex shook her head at Kara’s defensive ramble. She’d heard it so many times before and wondered if Kara truly realized how she felt about her “best friend”. “Are you done?” The crinkle returned between the blonde’s eyes but she nodded. “Good. And I have no problems with Lena, she’s more than proved herself to me and the world as far as I’m concerned. What I want to know is, have you told her that you love her yet?”
“Of course I have! She’s my best friend.” Kara scoffed.
Alex gave her a gentle look. “No Kara, have you told her that you’re in love with her?”
“What? I’m not—she’s not—I don’t, I…I can’t—”
The older woman, by Earth years at least, put a hand on her sister’s shoulder. “Why not?”
Pained blue eyes looked up. “What if she doesn’t feel the same way? She’ll hate me, she’ll think I just want something from her like everyone else.”
Alex smiled and shook her head, full of certainty. “No she won’t. Even if she doesn’t return your feelings she’s still your best friend. You both know that neither of you would ever let your feelings be a burden to the other. And Kara…”
Kara’s eyes had wandered off to stare at a spot on the far wall, beyond Alex’s black clad shoulder. It came back to her sister when Alex paused. “Yeah?”
“Lena adores you. You’d have to be a fool not to see it.”
The Kryptonian closed her eyes and sighed, suddenly feeling more tired than she’d ever felt before. Her words were a whisper. “Then I must be a fool.”
A strong hand gently squeezed Supergirl’s shoulder. “Get some rest, I’ll be here when you wake.”
WEDNESDAY EVENING ARRIVED and both friends found themselves with unexpected nerves. Though Lena’s condo was immaculate, she worried that Kara would find it too bland or too sterile with its professionally designed interior and cookie cutter furniture. A timid knock sounded at her door before she could stress about it further. Taking a deep breath, Lena walked over and opened the door for her best friend. She didn’t even need to check the peep hole because Kara was the only one that had clearance to get past security without calling Lena first. The pizza delivery person wouldn’t even be allowed on the penthouse level, they’d have to leave the pies with the security desk. Not that she indulged in the carb-loaded treat very often but it was Kara’s first time visiting and Kara did love pizza. Just thinking about how much the reporter loved food put a smile on Lena’s face that continued even as she pulled the door open. “Kara, come in.”
Kara stepped inside and quickly dropped the cloth grocery bags to the floor and enveloped Lena in a smothering hug. Not that the CEO felt smothered in the least. Nope. Hot, flushed, and a plethora of other feelings, but definitely not smothered. Kara heard Lena’s heart begin to race and assumed that she was holding too hard, as she sometimes did when she was excited. She quickly released Lena and stepped back, bouncing on her toes a bit. “I’m so excited to be here. Oh, I brought snacks!” She spun in place to retrieve the forgotten bags and a bout of dizziness swamped her. That and the exhaustion were leftover gifts from the Kriglo venom.
Lena quickly reached out to steady her. “Careful there. Are you okay, Kara?” The reporter’s biceps were strangely firm and well defined and Lena suffered a wee bit of gay panic at her body’s reaction. She let go as Kara righted herself once again.
A fluttery hand waved through the air then shoved the glasses further up Kara’s nose. “Oh, I’m fine. I think I had a bout of…um, food poisoning or something.”
“Oh no! Kara, we could have put this off until you’re feeling better.” Lena had taken on her characteristic “worry” pose with her left arm folded across her stomach and the right one arranged perpendicular to it, rubbing her temple.
“But I wanted to see you!” Both women jumped at Kara’s outburst, then the blonde blushed and tempered her tone to reassure her best friend. “I promise that I’m okay. I was checked out by Alex just yesterday and she told me to rest and drink lots of fluids and I’d be fine. I’m not even queasy. I mean, my appetite is completely back to normal!”
Lena laughed and squeezed that tantalizingly muscled arm again. “For you, you mean.”
Kara blushed. “Oh, well I’ve always had a healthy appetite.”
“Hmm, good to know.” The flirty tone of Lena’s voice was unmistakable and Kara’s breath caught as her imagination ran wild.
She stammered. “S—snacks! I’ve got ‘em, yup!”
The CEO bent down and picked up one of the bags and laughed as Kara quickly snatched up the other. “Well come on then, let’s see what you brought. I wouldn’t want you to go hungry on my watch.”
Kara followed Lena through the condo until they came to an open concept kitchen with polished concrete counters and stainless steel appliances. When Lena’s words caught up with Kara’s brain, she was forced into an admission. “Well, I brought a lot of snacks because I kind of missed dinner. I had to fly—um, fly through the supermarket to make it here on time because Snapper made me stay late editing an article for tomorrow morning’s print edition.” She wasn’t lying exactly. While she lived her life under a veil of deception, she tried never to outright lie to Lena if she could help it. And she did have to stay late for an article. But she also had to fly to the DEO for another checkup from Alex. Her sister was able to get three vials of blood after negating her powers in the new red sun training room. It was brought online after Superman took all the Kryptonite to who knows where. Off planet probably. Alex promised to text Kara her findings later.
Lena smiled and began unpacking the recyclable grocery sack. “Well you’re in luck since the pizzas I ordered should arrive in the next ten minutes.”
“You got us a pizza?”
Painted red lips curled into a self-satisfied smile at the look of excited wonder on Kara’s face. The CEO internalized another unrequited sigh. That woman and food…Lena could only imagine what Kara’s appetite was like in other arenas. “Pizzas.” She corrected. “I know your appetite, Kara Danvers. And if being a Luthor taught me anything it’s to always satisfy my guests.”
Kara swallowed thickly and whispered under her breath as she began unpacking the other bag. “Rao…”
The blonde turned to watch as Lena looked at the spread of snacks on her counter. “Why are there…six pints of ice cream for the two of us?”
“Well, I kind of figured you could keep the extra here in case we did this again next week?”
Suddenly Lena smiled at the thought of the blonde coming over every Wednesday night. “I rather like that idea! Let’s plan on every Wednesday night for watching our show.”
The Kryptonian was giddy, and not just from the amount of ice cream she had brought into Lena’s home. “Our show?”
Taken aback, Lena worried that she had overstepped her bounds. “Oh, um, do you watch it with anyone else?”
A smile light Kara’s face. “Nope.”
Strangely enough, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ began playing in a loop in Lena’s head and she struggled to respond. “Well, I guess it’s now our show.” They were interrupted by Lena’s cell ringing and answering it took all of ten seconds. When she set it back down again she met Kara’s curious gaze. The blonde was too polite to listen in on the conversation with her super hearing. “Can you be a dear and run down to get the pizza? I’ll finish putting the ice cream in the freezer for later.”
Forgetting that Lena didn’t know everything about her, she did a fake Supergirl pose and goofed off. “You can count on me, Ms. Luthor!”
Lena burst out laughing. “Oh God, you sound just like Supergirl!”
Kara abruptly lost her grin and fiddled with her glasses, both flustered and panicked. “Oh, heh, yeah I’ve been practicing. Okay, I’m just gonna—um, I’ll be right back.” She turned and tripped over her own feet before making her way across the condo and out the door. She was fast, but not so fast she didn’t hear Lena’s affectionate words.
“Oh Kara, you are such an adorable nerd.”
They ate their pizza before the show while talking and catching up with each other. Lena told Kara about the new partnership with Viridian and the reporter gave Lena the inside scoop on the Mayor’s office corruption scandal that broke over the weekend. They switched to ice cream so they could eat dessert while watching their show. Afterwards, both women were so comfortable that neither wanted to leave the nest of blankets they’d made on Lena’s couch so they chose a movie to watch. Fifteen minutes in Kara was sound asleep and leaning against the shoulder of a wide awake Lena. Remembering that the blonde was sick, Lena gently stroked the hair from Kara’s face and gazed at her affectionately. Then without questioning her motives why, she gently guided Kara’s head into her lap to let her sleep in a more comfortable position. Every few minutes she’d glance down and memorize the details of her best friend’s face. The arch of Kara’s pale brows, the little scar that rested straight above the inside corner of her left eye. Lena drank down the coral color of Kara’s lips like they were a delicate rose wine, and reveled in the tiny little snores that accompanied every inhale. It was a long movie to watch by herself but as Lena continued to stroke the soft pale hair she found that she didn’t mind one bit.
The next morning could have been awkward, would have been awkward, if the two of them didn’t wake up so completely content. Sometime overnight Lena had slid around to lay next to Kara on the couch, her head pillowed on Kara’s arm and the blonde’s breath caressing the top of her hair while she slept. It was Lena who woke first, trained from an early age to wake before the sunrise. She froze at first until she remembered where she was and whose arms surrounded her. Unsure how Kara would react, her heart raced faster and faster but she didn’t want to move.
Responding to Lena’s rabbit-like heartrate, Kara roused slowly from her own slumber. First she yawned, a burgeoning sound that ended in a little squeak. And with that sound Lena loved her even harder. Then Kara hummed quietly and pulled Lena closer and the poor CEO’s thoughts turned decidedly lascivious. Lena was certain that Kara couldn’t be awake but she knew they both had to get up soon if they were to make it to work on time. “Kara.” Her assumption proved to be wrong.
“Hmm?” Kara’s eyes stayed shut but her forehead wrinkled in question.
Charmed, Lena tried again. “Darling, we have to get up.”
That elicited both a pout and the trademark crinkle between Kara’s brows. She whined quietly and Lena melted into a puddle of affectionate goo. “Nooo.”
Lena sighed. “Kara.”
“Cuddles.” Was the only response.
“We have to get ready for work.”
Sleepy words countered Lena’s argument. “Takes me like five seconds.” And it did literally take her five seconds, but Lena didn’t know that.
The CEO laughed quietly at the reporter’s exaggeration and was loathe to disturb the gentle moment. She wondered if Kara always woke in such an adorable way. “Well it takes me a lot longer so I have to get up. I can’t very well meet with the German investors in my Tardis pajamas, can I?”
“That would be awesome.” Kara licked her lips and Lena followed the movement very closely. Then the reporter sighed. “But I’m really thirsty so we should probably get up.”
“You know—” Lena mused, “you’re even more cuddly and positive in the mornings than I thought possible, Ms. Danvers. It seems like an unnatural state without coffee in one’s system.”
Blue eyes finally popped open and Kara smiled at Lena’s nearby face. “Alex says I’m the best cuddler and that I keep her warm whenever she stays over.” Lena bit her bottom lip and Kara was drawn to the action, heart racing in her chest in a most un-superhero like way.
“Hmm, well I’d have to agree with her that cuddling with you is the best. Unfortunately, my bladder does not so I should probably go take care of that.” Then Lena slowly moved her feet back behind her until they could touch the floor and stood carefully. She did have to pee, but she was more intent on keeping her breathing and libido firmly in check. Waking with her face pressed against Kara’s chest was simultaneously the best and the worst kind of torture. Kara didn’t move, she merely watched Lena walk across the condo toward the bedrooms in silence. Before she could leave the room completely, Lena turned back. “You have time for breakfast?”
Kara grinned, while mentally telling herself that she was not watching the movement of little Tardis’s on Lena’s ass cheeks. “Always!” Lena just gave her an unreadable look and headed back to the bathroom.
A short while later Lena found Kara on her balcony, soaking up the rays of the rising sun. Her quiet voice broke the silence of the moment. “I come out here every morning to watch the sunrise. I find it rejuvenating to start the day with such peace.”
Kara opened her eyes to look over at her best friend. “I don’t blame you. If I had this view I would too.”
Lena waved toward the patio lounge furniture. “I just had it delivered two weeks ago but the couch is surprisingly comfortable. I’m not going to lie, I’ve fallen asleep after work four times since then, only to wake chilled and scrambling for my bed.”
Blue eyes twinkled. “So you have a penchant for falling asleep on couches?”
“I believe it was you who fell asleep first last night.”
The pouting puppy suddenly made an appearance and it was much too early for Lena’s gay feelings. She pointed at Kara’s bottom lip. “Put that away! Your wiles will not work on me, Ms. Danvers. Now, let’s go make some breakfast.”
It was the most relaxing morning either had experienced in a very long time and surprisingly, neither was late for work.
FOUR WEDNESDAYS LATER the friends had established a routine of sorts. Sometimes they sat outside on the balcony to eat and Kara joked that the couch must have been made of clouds because it was more comfortable than the one in her own apartment. Lena began keeping a blanket in a weatherproof bin next to the couch so they could cuddle while they ate. No, not cuddle. Certainly it was just so they could stay warm in the chilly night air that swirled around the top of her building.
Kara commented on the blanket one night. “You must spend a lot of nights on the balcony couch because the blanket smells like your perfume.”
“L Corp days can run long and this is great stress relief. Do you blame me?”
Kara gave her a sweet smile and replied quietly. “No.”
Ice cream was a must for iZombie night but dinner was always a random selection of takeout. Mexican one night, Thai the following week. Even a huge order from Big Belly Burger made an appearance. And while Supergirl was completely recovered from her ordeal with the Kriglos, their post-show movie selection always put her to sleep. She wasn’t sure if it was the simple act of cuddling, or the comfortable warmth of being pressed against Lena’s side, but she felt safe and succumbed every time. She dreamed of soft stroking and Lena dreamed of a different sort of future for the two of them.
EIGHT WEEKS INTO their new routine, an earthquake struck deep within the Indian Ocean. It sent a Tsunami northeast toward the Bay of Bengal and the heavily populated region around the Andaman Sea. Superman and Supergirl flew around the world to help with the rescue efforts. It was all over the news as they tried to disrupt the energy of the great wave, flying in and out at speed to break it up. They succeeded on knocking out the eastern and western edges but it still hit hard in the region around Kolkata, sending a wave up the Padma river basin and into Bangladesh. The two Supers used everything they had in aiding the rescue efforts, pulling people and animals out of the flood waters. Erecting temporary barriers to stop waves that appeared from the aftershocks. But the most iconic image of the disaster was the one that flooded every major news network. It was a heartbreaking photo of Supergirl kneeling on the ground with a limp child in her arms, and Superman standing next to her with a pained expression and a comforting hand on her shoulder. The emotion written across her face told the story of the child’s fate more than the invisible tears hidden by rain and dirt. The world grieved for the lost life and those that knew Supergirl best grieved for her. Clark had told her once before, a long time ago, that you couldn’t save everyone. Alex told her that even one life saved was better than none.
Wednesday after the disaster arrived like clockwork but Lena hadn’t heard anything from Kara for days. At first she was concerned then she was flat out worried. When she texted Alex, she got a simple explanation that Kara was out of town with a family emergency. And Lena wondered why Alex wasn’t with her if it was a family emergency. That evening the CEO found herself filled with angry worry, bloated with self-doubt and fear that she had done something to scare Kara away. She considered watching their show by herself out of spite. But deep down Lena trusted Kara implicitly, and believed in the reporter with the same ferocity that Kara believed in her. Instead she ate an entire pint of ice cream then drank three glasses of scotch and fell asleep on the couch. Lonely.
The next morning she woke with a headache. She checked her phone and worry settled quickly over her shoulders when she didn’t see a response to her texts to Kara. Making a rare call, she phoned Jess and informed her Executive Assistant that she wouldn’t be in for the day and took herself off to the bathroom to brush the sugar and alcohol from her teeth. Then she brewed a mug of coffee and headed in the direction of her balcony door. “Oh.” Lena pulled up short at the site that greeted both her and the sunrise. Supergirl was fast asleep on her patio couch with her head pillowed on the blanket that was normally kept in her outdoor ottoman. The red cape with its iconic symbol was wrapped around the hero like a blanket.
Lena quietly opened the door, expecting the blonde’s super hearing to alert her any moment. But slumber held the super firmly in its grasp. Between the back of the couch and the height of the wall around the patio, Supergirl’s face remained in shadow and Lena approached her with something akin to fascinated awe. The CEO stood frozen as she watched the emotions play across the enemy of her family, the hero National City, her sort of friend. She listened to the quiet little snore that sounded with each inhale of breath. Her eyes traced the shape of the ‘S’ on Supergirl’s chest. Her gaze was drawn to the little scar that rested straight above the inside corner of her left eye. There was a part of her that was shocked, struck to her core at the realization of something so massive. But a bigger part of her wasn’t surprised at all. Instead her mind cast back over the news coverage of the past few days and her heart cracked open with sorrow for her friend.
She sank easily and gently onto the couch cushion near Kara’s shoulder and softly stroked the hero’s hair. When Lena caressed Kara’s cheek with her palm, the blonde nuzzled her hand. Lena’s voice was the barest of whispers. “Oh, my darling.” Then without giving it much thought, she lifted the red cape and slid onto the couch to lay pressed against Kara’s side. She didn’t care about the smell of dried salt water on her suit, or the bits of blood and other debris here and there. All she cared about was holding the woman who had stolen her heart. She only desired to protect the exhausted woman as much as possible, in any way she could.
Hours later Lena found herself awake and watching Kara sleep as Supergirl. Or maybe it was Supergirl asleep as Kara. Lena was on her right side and her left hand gently grasped the hero’s left bicep as Kara slumbered on her back. A quiet moan was the first sign of life, then a whimper quickly followed. Kara’s eyebrows drew down and she tensed then muttered brokenly, “No, no, no, no…” before trailing off. Intimately knowing the signs from her own past struggles, she assumed that the Kryptonian was having less than positive dreams. Lena considered waking her but Kara’s blue eyes fluttered open before the other woman could follow through with her thoughts. Kara’s look was pure confusion. “Lena?” Then she took in her uniform and surroundings and the look turned to panic.
Lena was quick to reassure her. “Hey, it’s okay, you’re safe with me. I promise I won’t let anyone hurt you, Kara.” Understanding exactly what Lena was promising, Kara’s body shuddered as the previous days of disaster rushed into her memory.
“Lena—they…” she hiccupped. “I couldn’t save them all. The children—” Her muscles tensed and shook as she sobbed out her heartbreak onto Lena’s shoulder and the CEO held her as tight as she was able.
“It’s alright, Macushla, you did the best you could. You were a hero, Kara, and no one can say different. You did save children, you saved as many as you could. Focus on the positive, Darling.” Lena continued to whisper words of reassurance into Kara’s ear until the sobs subsided. She watched as the newest tear tracks dried in the dirt on Kara’s face and realized that nothing could make the other woman less than beautiful in her eyes.
After another ten minutes of silence, Kara spoke again. “I should go. I’ve interrupted your morning enough.”
“No.” Kara looked at her with apprehension. “Stay, please?” Lena swallowed and looked away from that intense gaze. She was used to the buffer of glasses between Kara’s blue eyes and her own green ones. Lena took a steadying breath, then one more. “I—I love you, Kara. And I want you to feel safe with me.”
Kara’s face twisted with something very close to despair. “As my friend, right?”
Lena slowly shook her head and made the ultimate admission. “No. As so much more if you’ll have me.”
It was in that moment that the sun rose just high enough in the sky to bath Kara’s face in golden light. And her radiance was enough to make Lena cry after days of darkness for both of them. “Rao…” Kara’s whisper faded away. Then she brought a hand up to cup Lena’s cheek and Lena allowed Kara to pull her closer. Dividing and subtracting the distance between them ever so slowly until Lena’s lips caressed those of the superhero on her couch. The touch was soft and warm. They pressed closer together and it became just short of electrifying. Lena moved her left hand from Kara’s bicep up to rest on the House of El symbol on her chest. The strong beat of Supergirl’s heart grounded her, the heat of Kara’s chest warmed Lena from within, and the feel of Kara’s tongue caressing Lena’s bottom lip threatened to send her into the atmosphere on a cloud of pure joy. It was very un-Luthor-like.
When they pulled back for air, or rather Lena pulled away gasping and tingling from the touch of something so holy, she gazed down at Kara in wonder. “So…Supergirl huh?”
Kara looked away, shy and suddenly fearful. “Yes. I’m sorry for lying to you.”
“Kara.” The blonde turned back. “You’ve never lied. I fell in love with you, the person that is in here—” She tapped Supergirl’s chest. “—and that woman has always been true to me. It doesn’t matter what suit you wear, I still love you.”
Supergirl sighed. Kara fought to hold back another wave of tears. “I loved you the minute I saw you.” She reveled in Lena’s uncharacteristic and blinding smile.
“Are you okay now?”
Kara nodded. “I think so.”
“How about a shower and some breakfast, then maybe we can watch our show and cuddle on the couch?”
“I think you’re perfect.”
Lena cocked her head to the side. She was used to Kara’s rambling verbal misteps. “You mean you think it’s perfect?”
Kara pulled her down into another quick kiss and clarified. “No, I think you’re perfect. Let’s go watch our show.”