Imra had always seen the way that her husband looked at Kara. She had always hoped that it might change, especially as the years they spent apart went on. When she had planned the mission, she knew it would be risky for them to reconnect. Though she didn't want to be that girl, the jealous one, she had to admit it was hard to see them spending so much time together. Whatever their relationship had been in the beginning, no matter how fake, she had real feelings for him now.
But after the Pestilence attack, it was clear to her that she would never truly measure up. And Imra could think of no way to confront him about it.
"Mon-El?" She asked tentatively, as they were in the med-bay getting their scratches cleaned up. His eyes were unfocused and clouded. Was he thinking of her? Imra wondered desperately. "Mon-El!"
"Huh?" He jerked slightly, as if he had been asleep.
She swallowed her fear and spoke quickly. "We should talk... about once Pestilence is defeated."
"Um..." Mon-El shrugged. This had never been a topic of conversation before.
"I'm going to go back to the future, with Brainy," Imra continued. "And you...." She looked at him, his dark hair and unkept beard. "You are going to stay here."
It was a statement, not a question.
"What?" Mon-El shook his head uncomprehendingly. "I don't understand... Imra, we're in this together. You, me, the Legion..." He reached out a hand to touch her shoulder. "I would never let you go back alone."
Imra jerked away. She couldn't bear his touch, not when she knew who it was really meant for. She stood, and began to pace the room slowly. "When Pestilence attacked us, in the insurance building– and Supergirl was infected–" She turned to him, her eyes wide with unshed tears. "I saw the way you looked at her. I saw the way you held her. "
"No, Mon-El. Please don't say anything." She smiled weakly at him. "When Supergirl was hurt, you rushed to her. You held her... You held her in your arms, Mon-El. Like... like she was yours to hold."
She continued, pretending she didn't hear him. "I do love you, Mon-El. And I know you feel something for me... But what you obviously feel for her.. it's different. And I can't be in the way of that anymore. I really... I can't."
"Imra, I was just worried about her!" Mon-El shot back, standing too. He placed his hands on her shoulders. "She's my friend, nothing more."
She pushed his hands away from her. "Don't treat me like I'm stupid!" She turned around to look out the Med-Bay glass window. There, in the main meeting room of the DEO, Supergirl, Alex, and J'onn stood around a computer screen. Alex pointed something out and Supergirl frowned, her blonde eyebrows crinkling. Then, she nodded thoughtfully and said something to J'onn, who patted her on the shoulder. "I'm not stupid, Mon-El." Imra murmered softly. "The way you held her... the way you look at her..." She spun around to face him. His eyes were watery, and she suddenly found that she didn't care. "You'll never hold me that way. But..." Imra bit her lip. "That's okay. I'm not going to be coming between you anymore."
She leaned forward and kissed him gently, on the cheek, for what she knew would be the last time. "Goodbye, Mon-El."
T wo Weeks Later
It was over. Pestilence was dead, and the two remaining WorldKillers had retreated to their fortress to lick their wounds. They would be back, stronger and angrier than before, but for now, the DEO was celebrating its small victories.
And its defeats.
The Legion ship had finally been repaired, and it was time for Brainy, Imra, and Mon-El to go back to the 31st century. And Mon-El had spent the entire night tossing and turning. His wife had not been speaking to him since their conversation two weeks prior, and Kara– every time he looked at her he wanted to grab her and just hold her again. Maybe it was Imra's prompting, but that night with Pestilence– he couldn't forget how perfect his arms felt around Kara's body. How he had missed her.
Needless to say, he had gotten very little sleep.
It didn't really matter, though, as he was about to go into Cryosleep for several hundreds of years. Unless, of course, Imra made good on her word and made him stay.
Did he want to stay?
Mon-El shook his head, as if trying to free himself from the tangle of thoughts, and took another swig of Corithian Ale. It burned his throat dangerously as the party raged just a few meters away from where he stood on the balcony.
"Might want to slow down there."
Oh, for the love of Rao. It was her. Of course it was her.
Kara came up next to him and placed her hands on the railing as she looked into the night sky. "You know," she said slowly. "When I was little, sometimes I'd look up into these stars and I think I saw Krypton."
Mon-El followed her gaze into the blackness of space, and took another long drink.
She angled slightly to him. "And then... when I had to send you away... instead of looking up at that sky and seeing Krypton... I kept thinking I saw you."
He let the ale slip from his fingers and tumble to the ground below, where it shattered across the pavement like broken fractals. Like his broken mind. "Shit," he mumbled, shaking his head.
Kara let out a little, magical laugh. Had he heard that laugh since he had been back? How much undue strain had he caused her? "I think you've had a little too much to drink, Mon-El." She put her hand on his shoulder, as if to guide him away from the balcony. "Let's get you back to Legion ship."
But her touch was too much; it sent his brain spiraling. He couldn't hold out any longer. Mon-El grabbed Kara's hand off of his shoulder and spun her into his arms. She let out a tiny squeak as he pulled her into his tight embrace, until their foreheads were almost touching. Her breath accelerated noticeably– his heart was pounding uncontrollably as he looked down at her.
"Mon-Mon-El!" Kara breathed softly. "What are you doing? Stop this. You're– you're drunk." She tried to pull away from him, but he held her body close to his.
"I'm not drunk, Kara." It was true– his words were crystal clear, as if the few sips of ale he had before their conversation had slipped from his system. "For the first time since I've been back... I think I've actually sobered up."
"Stop this," Kara's voiced wavered, her voice high. "This– this isn't fair, Mon-El. You're married. Please, stop. "
"Kara, just let me–"
"Let me go!" Her voice raised considerably, and he released her on impulse. As soon as their bodies were apart, Mon-El felt empty– as if he were missing a part of himself. She backed away from him cautiously. "I don't know what you think you're doing, but it's not–"
"I'm not leaving with the Legion."
Kara stopped her backing up, and shook her head uncomprehendingly. "I- what? I don't understand, Mon-El."
He took a step towards her, and then, when she didn't move away, another and another, until he was close enough to hear her breathing and see the quickened rise and fall of her chest. "I said, I'm not leaving with the Legion. I'm not going to the 31st century. I'm staying here– that is, if you'll have me."
"If I'll–" Kara paused, her comet eyes widening. "If I'll have you?"
Mon-El ran a hand through his hair. He couldn't back out now. He had to say it. "I still– I still love you, Kara." Gently, he reached out a hand to cup her cheek, feeling the familiar weight of her head against his palm. "I don't think I ever stopped."
She tilted her head into his hand for a moment, and then, as if coming to her sense, pulled away suddenly. "You're married." Her voice was cold.
It was Imra's voice that answered before Mon-El could even formulate the words. "He didn't marry me because he loved me."
She stood at the bottom of the balcony and looked up at Mon-El and Supergirl. A smile forced its way onto her face. "Mon-El married me because of my family. Titan, my planet, was against Earth, and all it stood for. And it wasn't enough that I had joined the Legion and Mon-El and I were working side-by-side. Mon-El proposed marriage to me to unite the planets and stop and intergalactic war." Imra looked and Mon-El and nodded gently. "He said it was what you would have done."
Kara was shaking her head back and forth, gaping at the two of them. "I don't–" She looked at Mon-El, then at Imra. "I don't understand."
Again, it was Imra who replied, and Mon-El found himself filled with a gratefulness for his former partner. "Mon-El and I have... how do you say it?...divorced. Brainy's done it for us. And I've told Mon-El that while he is welcomed in the future...." She looked at him for a long moment. "We both know his heart is here."
For once in her life, Kara Danvers was speechless. She was speechless as Imra gave her a nod of approval, speechless as she walked away, and speechless as Mon-El turned back to her, trying to gauge her reaction to Imra's words.
"Kara?" Mon-El queried gently. "I know this is a lot, but–"
"I love you," She blurted, suddenly interrupting him.
His heart rose in his chest. "Wh-What?"
Kara's eyes met his. "I love you. Rao, I love you. I love the way you laugh and how stubborn you are and I even love the beard." She smiled at this. "I love you, Mon-El." She came closer to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, drawing his eyes downwards towards her lips– lips he hadn't touched in over seven years. She tiptoed up to his ear and whispered gently. "You are my kryptonite."
And then they were kissing– kissing in a way that made the world and the danger and their past fall away. Kissing in a way that made them oblivious to the fact that most of the DEO had tuned into their reunion and someone (spoiler: it was Winn) was shouting "Finally!". A few people were even clapping, and J'onn and Alex looked proud, as though it was their own children getting married. But Kara and Mon-El knew none of that. They only knew each other, and that they were finally in each others arms, and that they would never let go again.
And that way Mon-El held her would never change.