"It cuts deep, doesn't it?" Elle asked darkly as she reclined on her half of the couch, sipping a cup of tea. It was as bitter as her soul.
"To put it mildly," Lena replied in the same quiet but hateful tone that Elle had spoken to her with. She sat on the other side of the couch, though it bore no resemblance to Elle's half. Instead, while Elle's half looked old, Lena's looked new. Elle's half looked hand-carved and antique while Lena's was very modern and geometric, a perfect square. But somehow, the two halves of the couch managed to fit together perfectly.
Lena was sipping a glass of scotch, it burned her throat just as badly as her tears had. The two broken, betrayed women sat alone together on that little couch, in a world that was totally white. There was nothing else to see in their surroundings except for each other and their drinks, which were the only things that had any color at all. Even the couch and the cups holding the drinks were white. Even their clothes were. But their skin and hair and the liquid in the cups were full of color.
"And here I thought she loved me. I actually thought she trusted me," Lena's voice carried a strange mix of fury and despair.
"Don't I know how that feels," Elle raised her teacup mockingly, a dark look flashing through her fine eyes.
"But she didn't," Lena continued, setting her glass back down on their little white table harder than she meant to. The glass cracked, but didn't break. Neither woman seemed to care, however.
"She never does," Elle replied, then she too set her drinkware down, though with much more gentleness than Lena had, but the amount of hatred and hurt was no less intense in her eyes than it was in Lena's. It was obvious that both of them desired revenge above all else now.
Both of them, though they were two very different women from very different worlds, had quite a lot of commonalities, especially now at this juncture in their lives. Elle had come from a beautiful old Austrian schloss, in the year 1872. She lived a pampered, albeit lonely life, with only her father, two governesses, and a handful of faceless, nameless servants to keep her company. Her house was large and full of beautiful treasures, as was her garden, but her life and heart were so empty that nothing she had brought her any joy. Then Carmilla had entered her life.
With fine dark eyes and thick black hair and pale white skin, she had attracted Elle's interest and affection faster than a flame attracted a moth. She captured Elle's heart and mind and soul completely until the poor innocent girl was ensnared like a fly in a spider's web. But unlike a fly, Elle was a most willing victim, so madly in love with the beautiful, mysterious, adventurous and loving Carmilla that she turned a willful blind eye to all of Carmilla's flaws, faults, weaknesses and mysteries. Despite all the obvious signs, Elle ignored them all, too happy to have found a friend to care. As far as she was concerned, as long as Carmilla loved her, that was all she needed in life. As far as she was concerned, as long as Carmilla loved her, none of her flaws were valid or important. As far as she was concerned, as long as Carmilla loved her, that was all that mattered, all else be chuffed. Anyone who said any different was wrong. But then it turned out that Carmilla did not love Elle half as much as she promised.
A strange old lady in the village about 20 miles south of Elle's isolated old schloss told Elle herself that Carmilla was a fraud, a liar. Elle had only been in the village to buy a few things from the market. Or rather, her father was buying. She was simply exploring, pleased to finally be out of the house and out amongst other living, breathing beings. Carmilla had stayed in, always a rather late sleeper. But during that little romp through the village, while her father made business, Elle ran into that old lady. She gave no name except one: Mircalla.
"Is it yours?" Elle had asked innocently.
"No, it is your guest's," the old lady replied with a sickening smile.
"No, her name is Carmilla," Elle corrected instinctively, then she flinched. "Wait a moment, how did you know I-?"
"That is what she told you, perhaps, but she is no more "Carmilla" than she is human. And she is no more human than you are a vampire!"
Then the rest was history. With undeniable proof, the woman managed to show Elle that Carmilla was in fact a vampire. A ruthless, merciless, heartless monster who preyed upon innocent people and drained them of their blood without any regret. And Elle was her next meal. For all of these months, their budding romance had been nothing but a lie. An act to make it easier to devour Elle slowly. She played upon all of Elle's desires and fears, made herself undeniably endearing to the girl, and went from there, using and abusing the girl every step of the way. Not a single day or night or hug or kiss of their relationship had been real, only a farce, to make Elle an easier target. And because she lived so far away from the rest of society, she was a victim Carmilla could feed from slowly. She did not need to be killed off quickly like all the peasant girls down in the village. Those poor girls whose lives were ripped so callously away, and by the very girl whom claimed to be good, and to love Elle sincerely.
Elle's heart had shattered that day and it only managed to shatter even more when she was able to trick Carmilla into proving the old lady correct. Elle daringly slit her own hand open and as the gaping wound gushed red, Carmilla began to hiss and two fangs extended from her mouth.
"She was right!" Elle gasped in horror as Carmilla tried pathetically to hide her fangs. But it was too late for that now. "You're a monster!"
"I can explain!" Carmilla whimpered next, lowering her hand because she knew it was too late to try and hide her secret now.
"I've had enough of your lies," Elle snarled back, the pain in her chest infinitely worse than the pain in her hand. Carmilla's deceit had cut deep, even deeper than the knife. That was but a scratch compared to the injury Elle was receiving now. The wound upon her heart was enormous.
"All your promises," the broken girl muttered in grief and anger. "All your talk of a new life!" the strife in her voice was nearly palpable.
"Not lies!" Carmilla pleaded back, looking about ready to fall onto her knees and beg. "In the colonies, things will be different! No one will know us! You'll see that-!" she continued, but Elle cut her off coldly.
"As if I would go anywhere with you now," her voice was full of disgust. She continued to speak softly to Carmilla, but her voice was so laced with venom that it would've been less painful on the vampire if she had shouted her lungs out. She insisted that she would, in fact, go to explore the world, but it would not be Carmilla who accompanied her. Instead it would be Elle's new friend. Her honest friend. Her better friend.
"No! Elle! You can't go with her!" Carmilla pleaded, frantic now. "I know I lied, but the horror she has planned for you is much worse-"
"Worse?!" Elle's composure slipped once and she lashed out at Carmilla. But then all that fire became nothing but despair and disappointment. "Worse than saying that she loved me?" she asked quietly, voice small and, just for a moment, genuinely remorseful and scared. Just for a moment, Elle wanted nothing more than to believe Carmilla's apology and forgive and forget, so that things might go back to the way they used to be...
But then her eyes hardened and her voice tightened. "As she drank my blood... As she drank my blood!"
But as furious and betrayed as Elle felt, she refused to break. She refused to show any weakness. She refused to allow this girl, no, this monster, to see how hurt she truly was. Instead, she took one deep breath in, fighting hard to maintain her composure. She would not give Carmilla the satisfaction or victory of seeing her cry. She would look the vampire bravely in the eye until she could only repent and go away forever.
"Don't worry, I've told her where you are, and she will send someone to deal with you," she hissed daringly, then she left Carmilla's presence without another sound, not looking back as she slammed the door shut and left the schloss once and for all.
Not long after this, Elle was, once again, hurt by someone whom she thought that she could trust. The mysterious woman, the one who revealed Carmilla's secret to her, betrayed her. Instead of keeping her promise to be Elle's new friend and guide through the world, she spirited the girl away that very night and sacrificed her in a very elaborate and precise ritual to a mysterious god that lived in the deepest depths of the earth. By that point, however, Elle's spirit had been so broken that when this second betrayal occurred, she could hardly even react to it, still feeling too much from the first one. Instead, as she felt the wicked woman push her into the endless white abyss, she could only stare in with a lost, empty, bitter, unseeing gaze. It seemed that she was forever doomed to lose everyone she loved, whether through death or betrayal. Now she was following them. But by this point, she hardly cared at all, and she welcomed her demise.
As Elle finished her story, still calmly sipping from her teacup, Lena could only shake her head. She wasn't sure if Elle's story made her despairing, vengeful or just outright defeated and resigned. But Elle seemed emotionless as she told her story. Her voice was robotic and empty and her eyes were unseeing. The teacup continued to fill itself every time she finished her tea, but she kept on drinking and drinking and drinking. Lena couldn't help but wonder if she even knew what she was drinking, or if it was only habit for her now just to sit there and endlessly sip at her tea, uncaring and unseeing as the words fell out of her mouth in a bitter waterfall. But Lena could relate. She stared down into her own refilling glass of scotch with a look of hatred.
Lena, like Elle, was no stranger to loneliness, betrayal and familial and trust issues. Just like Elle, Lena had grown up in a very isolated environment. Although she too lived in a glorious and sprawling mansion whose only rival was the grounds, all of it being filled with every luxury material she could've ever wanted in her entire life (and then some), it had all rung very hollow to Lena. The riches she possessed did little to comfort her through her lonely and awkward upbringing. As an adopted child, she had always felt out of place. And as a rich kid, she had very few friends. They always saw her as an outcast and a weirdo. All she ever had was her alcoholic father, her neglectful mother and her manipulative brother. Although her brother had, initially, been a friend, as the years rolled on, he became more and more obsessed.
He became obsessed with himself, with power, with fame, with control, with revenge. He lost sight of himself and the people he loved and the people who loved him, but it was not he who paid the price, it was all the people who knew him. So not only had Lena grown up in a lonely and broken household with no outside influences to hide behind, the one person that she had loved and admired turned on her, becoming a traitor to all of humanity. He became a monster and his legacy smeared the family name for everyone else.
Lena had worked very hard to escape that evil reputation, spending years and years of her life trying to clean up her family's name. At one point, then, it seemed as though life had decided to recognize all of her sacrifices and achievements by sending her the greatest reward that it ever could: someone to love Lena, and someone whom she could love in return. This person was a quirky young journalist named Kara Danvers. She was the one and only person in the entire world who did not judge Lena based on her last name, and she was the one and only person in the entire world whose faith never wavered in Lena, even when the odds were stacked high against them.
Because of Kara's unfailing and unconditional trust and love for Lena, she quickly became the biggest thing in Lena's world, the most important and beloved person in her life. She became Lena's everything, from the reason she woke up in the morning to the reason she kept fighting during the day to the reason she was able to go to bed at night and hope for dreams instead of nightmares. She became Lena's first happy memory, first true family member, and first greatest love. There truly was nothing that the Luthor loved more than her little Danvers. Lena viewed Kara as a treasure and a godsend. Kara was something to preserve, protect and never take for granted, and Lena made sure that she never ever did. Kara was her one lucky break, her one happy memory, her one reward for a life of misery and suffering. And then Kara betrayed her too.
"When I'm gone, who will be left to be proud of you?" Lex snarled with his dying breaths. Even though Lena had just shot him in the chest, he refused to go down quietly, and he was desperate to gain one last victory before he died. He was going to drag someone down to Hell with him, even if that someone was his own once-beloved little sister.
"Your friends?" he mocked through gasps for air. "Ha! The joke's on you. It's always... Been. On. You!" then he managed to grab a small remote a few inches away. He clicked it once and the large monitors behind him sprang to life, revealing a massive compilation of surveillance footage, with Kara Danvers being the star participant in each shot. And in every single shot, she was doing something miraculous! Super strength, super speed, ice breath, laser vision, catching bullets. All of the things that only one other person on this Earth could do...
"Your "friends" have been lying to you from the start," Lex continued to hiss darkly as the footage played behind him. "Your boyfriend, Jimmy, Alex, J'onn, that little alien runt, Brainy, even your own mother! They mocked you! Humiliated you! Betrayed you! Every. Last. One."
He trailed off as Lena continued to stare up at the large screen with growing horror and dismay spreading across her face. The realization looked like it was about to bring her to her knees and the gun she had used to shoot Lex Luthor was now dangling limply between her fingers. No. No. No! This couldn't be true! This couldn't be true at all! It had to be false! It had to be a lie! There was no way such a giant secret had been successfully kept from her so long! And there was no way so many other people would be in on it while she was left in the dark! And there was no way that every single one of them would be content in keeping it from Lena! This had to be more of Lex's manipulation! It had to be falsified! Her own mother? Would Lillian Luthor ever really know about Supergirl's true identity and then keep it from Lena? Impossible! And Supergirl herself, Kara Danvers, that couldn't be right! Kara would never hide anything from Lena, they were friends! This was impossible! It couldn't be real.
"Denial is a very powerful thing isn't it?" Lex spoke calmly, silently reveling in every little last second of his sister's pain. "It's been standing right in front of you all this time and you chose not to see it!" he accused with a sadistically delighted hiss. He even pointed an accusatory finger at Lena, whose cool façade and emotionless mask had shattered completely. She could only stare with an open mouth and watering eyes, looking back and forth between Lex and Kara, Lex and Supergirl. Then Lex finally came out and said it plain, although by this time, there was no point. It served only to twist the knife even further, though Lena was already sure that no knife on Earth, even one specifically designed, built and wielded by Lex Luthor himself, could've ever hurt her as much as this reveal did.
"Kara Danvers IS Supergirl!" he cried out, giving a shaky but sadistic laugh and Lena gave a small whimper as the first sob finally ripped itself from her throat. Her mouth continued to open and close, but nothing would come out. Nothing could come out. Not anymore. And her eyes were watering fiercely, but she was too confused and stunned even to cry. She could only stare up at the screen, lost and betrayed. Lex continued to watch in sadistic glee. But then he calmed back down again, eyes full of disdain and dark amusement. He really was willing to drag anyone down with him even in his very last seconds alive. He was cruel and desperate enough to take anyone with him, even if it was Lena. Just one last victory...
"I'm about to die," he said quietly, coldly, contemptuously. "But at least I lived without ever being a fool. You are left with no one, and nothing!" and then he died. His last sight was of Lena's terrified, horrified face and he managed to hear her give one last shaky gasp before he did the same.
Lena had managed to keep it together for a few seconds more, then the footage looped and started all over again. That had been what finally broke Lena. It wasn't her brother's words, nor was it his corpse. It was the footage still running behind him. Even though Lena had already seen it once, the real torture came in watching it a second time. And a third. And a fourth. And by the fifth time, she couldn't see it anymore because she was crying far too hard to see anything other than her tears. But that didn't matter, because by then, the images had been burned into her brain, cutting deeper in than any knife ever could have. Even though her tears were blinding her now, she could still see the footage perfectly. She could still see the lie and the truth as clear as day. Kara Danvers. And Supergirl. Her friend and enemy. Her hero and rival. Her angel and devil. Her savior and her tormentor.
Lena gave one heartbroken, heartbreaking wail of despair and then she fell silent again, the pain ripping her voice from her throat and leaving her capable only of sobbing alone on that cold hard floor with nothing except her tears, a gun and a corpse to keep her company. In the background, the footage continued to play over and over and over and over again, a tormenting memory that would never stop and never die.
To swallow her tears and swallow her pain, Lena downed her next glass of scotch all in one large gulp. She hissed in pain, but it felt good. It was nothing compared to the emotional pain she was in at the moment. And she was sure that the bullet she put through her brother's chest hurt infinitely less than the one Kara had metaphorically put through hers.
"They always lie, don't they?" Elle asked as Lena watched her glass refill itself with more amber liquid. "They don't really care about us at all, do they?" she continued to sip her own tea and it, like Lena's scotch, burned her throat in a sharp and wonderful way. "And it cuts deep..."
"And after all this time..." Lena gave a broken and chilling laugh.
"You thought, didn't you?" Elle asked, but Lena already knew there was no judgement in this question because Elle had thought too. They had both thought... and they had both paid the price.
"It cuts deep, doesn't it?" Elle repeated softly, staring unseeingly at the white ground in front of them.
"Nothing could ever compare," Lena replied softly, a flicker of vulnerability returning to her red eyes. But then it went away as she spoke her next dark and sadistic line. "And I have a lot of things to compare to."
"As do I," Elle agreed with a flat tone. "We could share notes."
"What does it matter?" Lena asked back. "We have the same story."
"Yes we do," now it was Elle's turn to give the sarcastic and dark laugh before gulping down her own tea. It filled up again within three seconds.
For a moment, the heartbroken pair sat together in silence, continuing to sip their drinks as they stared out into the endless whiteness that surrounded them in every direction. Then, just for a split second, something flickered on the very distant horizon of their weary white world. Elle saw a white dress and white skin and black hair. Lena saw a pale pink dress, white skin and blond hair. But even quicker than it had come, the little illusion vanished. Neither woman made any reaction to it, far too emotionally drained to do anymore than stare straight ahead, but both of them knew what the other one had seen without even needing to speak or ask.
"Your Carmilla," Elle said, although she had not been prompted to speak.
"Your Kara," Lena replied. They were both suddenly aware of their own heartbeats, but then the sound faded away again into perfect silence. It was not a comforting or peaceful silence, but nor was it a tense or frightening one. It just was. It just was silence. Pure, perfect, total, complete silence. It was devoid of anything, including emotion.
"You loved her, didn't you?" Elle asked at last, turning her head slightly to actually get a better look at her companion.
"I did," Lena nodded, not turning to look at Elle. "We shared many good memories together. Brunch, coffee, adventure, survival, game night, work, laughter, music, stories, battles. I loved her. I loved her. I really did. I trusted her. And I thought she trusted me. We may have never shared a kiss, but she was my soulmate, that I am sure of, and we were supposed to rule the world together..." she finished with just a hint of old defiance sparking in her eyes once again. But that spark, like the earlier illusions, vanished quicker than it had come.
"But what about you?" she asked, choosing then to turn around and look Elle in the eye.
"I shared many late night walks and adventures with my Carmilla," Elle replied easily, though this normally was a topic she didn't even dare think about, let alone speak aloud, let alone to a stranger. "She was my one and only companion, my one and only confidante. It was just me and her against the world. Two kids, two misfits, bound to spend eternity together. We were going to travel the world, side by side and hand in hand. It would've been just the two of us, and wherever we chose to explore next," she finished. Lena nodded slowly, subdued.
"Do you ever wonder what happened to her?" the Luthor asked.
"Not at all," Elle replied sincerely. "What do I care what happened to her? I care only about what happened to me," perhaps Elle's words seemed callous, but they were not undeserved at this point, and they were not entirely untrue. She had no idea where Carmilla was now, but she really could not waste the time or energy asking when she had her own "life" to look after. She literally could not afford to be invested in Carmilla at the moment. She had to figure out her own situation first.
"But what about you?" Elle turned the question back around on Lena. "What will you do next?"
"I have no idea," Lena confessed with a sigh, leaning back into their weird couch. "I cannot just run away, although I sorely wish it. I have a company to run and a life to live. I have too much I need to do. I can't afford to just pack up and go."
"Then stay," Elle advised. "Stay and bide your time. Wait and see what happens."
"But if I have to speak to Kara..." Lena began dangerously, Kara's name feeling strange upon her tongue and sounding foreign when she said it.
"Then lie to her, deceive, just as she has done to you," Elle interrupted calmly. "You seem to be quite capable of that."
"Lie to her," Lena echoed. It was not a question. But Elle nodded anyway.
"If you cannot avoid her, then don't even try. Just continue on like normal and bide your time," she said. It really wasn't the best of advice and both of them knew it way deep down, but neither of them cared to try and find a better, healthier solution.
"Alright then," Lena nodded at last, considering and accepting Elle's proposal. "But what shall you do?"
"Go back to where I came from, I guess," Elle replied with a shrug. "Try to figure out where I am and how I got there and how I can escape. Then I shall deal with Carmilla..." a savage smile flickered across her pretty face. "She is a vampire after all and she has quite a long lifespan as such. I don't need to hurry or rush, I have all the time in the world. My vengeance will come eventually, I just need to get out first... but then all the rest should be easy. I have forever, after all. That vampire won't be going anywhere any time soon, I am sure of it. I just need to get back to her first. And she will be waiting for me, I am sure of it. She will not escape me before justice is done! I will win the end! I am sure of it..." though Elle's words and tone were ominous, Lena only nodded, as though trying to think of ways to apply them to Kara.
But then all around them, the world began to fade. Even though everything was already perfectly and completely white, they could feel it all slipping away and fading into a mist. Time was up. They both stood up from the strange little mismatched couch simultaneously.
"Good luck to you," Elle said as she got to her feet, giving Lena one curt nod.
"And good luck to you," Lena replied, extending a hand. Elle was quick to give it a firm shake. Then the two parted ways, Elle dropping Lena's hand and walking one way while Lena walked the other. After enough time, the whiteness faded away like a fog lifting up into the sky.
The first thing Lena saw was the couch that rested against the wall by the door to her office. That couch. That simple little thing at the foot of her office. She and Kara had spent many hours on that couch together, reading, chatting and eating. Comforting one another and sharing laughs and important messages. She gave the couch a cruel scowl before sitting down upon it. Suddenly, then, the rest of her office was back. All the color and other furniture was restored in the blink of an eye after she sat down on that accursed couch. She heard someone knock on her office door, then, but she hesitated to answer. She worried that it might be Kara. That visitor was one she could not accept. That was one visitor whose presence would cut Lena even deeper than a knife.
Meanwhile, Elle walked back through space and time before reaching a couch that resembled the one that used to be in her schloss' library. She and Carmilla had spent many hours curled up together on that couch, either reading or chatting about everything and nothing. She gave it a twisted smile before sitting delicately down upon it, then all at once, the room sprang to life. The light and color returned to the room and the door swung open and a vision of her from ages past stormed on in. Following closely behind was Carmilla. A dry, hateful smile flickered across Elle's face as she caught sight of the vampire. The real torture was about to begin, and she would be forced to witness it over and over and over and over again. She and Carmilla really were bound to be together forever, weren't they? And this realization? It cut deep, even deeper than a knife.