Kara lingered in Shibuya City for the second time this week. It was around noon in Tokyo and she was determined to bring the best sushi she could find to Lena for a late dinner tonight, but the uneasiness of the situation started to weigh heavily on her shoulders and it was time to accept that bringing Lena all of her favourite things wasn’t going to change the fact that Kara had betrayed her. Though Lena would never admit so, she was being a trooper about the entire “Kara-coming-out-as-Supergirl” and Kara knew she didn’t deserve that benevolence.
She whipped her glasses off and was airborne in an instant, headed home to National City without the sushi she had sought out for. She pulsed above the clouds and embraced the serenity of Earth to space. There were airline jets in the distance surrounding her and the sky began to shift into a twilight. It was merely minutes later when she landed on a building that had a promising view of Lena’s apartment from afar. Kara found herself seated on this building often ever since the aftermath of Lex – long enough to know that Lena doesn’t come back to her apartment most nights and when she does, she’s mostly comforted by her lounge, engaged in her modified tablet.
“I have secrets too.”
Those words never phased Kara too much until now. She knew Lena would have a lot of skeletons in her closet considering the name she carries. And she knows Lena is reserved as a person. But now she couldn’t help but let her curiosity wander after finding out that Lena doesn’t sleep much since Lex.
Lena was using a small towel to dry her hands after putting together a salad. She casually began nibbling on some carrot sticks as she flipped the chicken breast in the frying pan. She appeared natural and content. Her long straight hair was down, the left side brushed behind her ear. She was wearing a wine-red sweater with black skinny jeans – her Gucci belt on display.
She didn’t need sushi anyway. Kara told herself.
Lena’s attention was suddenly fixed on her tablet which was sitting on the kitchen counter beside her patient salad. Her face contorted in a way Kara had never witnessed before. She looked incredibly uneasy, almost sick. Lena placed both hands on the edge of the counter, supporting herself. She lowered her head down.
Feeling concerned for Lena, Kara decided to listen in on her friend’s heartbeat. It was beating faster than usual, but not too excessive to worry. She battled with the thought of flying over there to check on Lena but how would she explain that she happened to be calling over right at this moment, when there was something wrong.
She reached into her boot and pulled out her phone, dialling Lena’s number.
The scientist jumped, startled by the alert her phone was ringing. She was concentrating on her breathing, clenching her eyes shut before grabbing her phone and answering Kara’s call.
“Kara!” Watching the act now made Kara feel apprehensive. They were best friends before she came out as Supergirl and now Lena was putting on a façade?
“Hi, Lena!” She greeted, probably too chirpy. She struggled to come up with a reason for the call and winged it, “so Alex wants to host game night this weekend, are you down to join us?”
Lena leapt towards the stove, turning off the gas as not to burn the chicken. She pinched the bridge of her nose, “absolutely. I’ll be there.”
“Are you okay? You seem a little out of breath.”
“Yes, I’m fine,” Lena lied quickly, “I just finished a cycle class.” A complete lie.
“Well, can I bring you anything for dinner tonight?” Kara tried. She didn’t like watching Lena suffer alone from a distance. She was so close already; she just needed a reason.
“Thank you, but that won’t be necessary.” Of course. “I think I’m going to call it in early tonight.” Highly unlikely.
“Right. Of course. Take care, Lena.”
“You too, Kara.”
Kara rested her chin on the top of her phone, trying to think on how she could reconcile this instability of their new relationship. Before Lena knew Kara would’ve just shown up. She didn’t need a reason other than ‘I thought we could have a girls night catching up on the bachelorette’ or ‘it was a rough day at work, can we talk?’
Kara’s not an ordinary human citizen to Lena anymore. She has a crazy job as Supergirl and then she’s working under someone from Lena’s past at CatCo. It was uncomfortable to talk about the former and not ideal to complain about the latter. She was at a total loss.
So, she just sat down, legs dangling off the edge of the building and watched Lena throw her freshly chopped chicken into the bowl of salad. In this moment, Kara felt truly alone.
Kara slammed her alarm clock, shattered pieces of plastic embedded themselves uncomfortably in Kara’s hand.
“Not again,” she groaned tiredly. That's the fifth alarm clock in 3 weeks.
She rolled herself out of bed, flinching at the light coming through her window. It was another day of dreaded work at CatCo. She never used to dread work at CatCo before Andrea showed up and started changing up the way Kara did things. But she held her tongue for Lena. She couldn’t embarrass her with an outburst or inappropriate behaviour, she couldn’t humiliate her.
“Sounds like a weird friendship-relationship triangle you’ve got going on there,” Alex had jested, but it felt just like that.
Kara quickly changed and then grabbed a breakfast burrito out of her fridge and used her heat vision to heat it up to her ideal temperature. Looking at the clock she wondered how long Lena had been at work for already this morning. She retrieved her phone from her bedside table and opened up her conversation with Lena.
I’m bringing you lunch today, and I will not take NO for an answer. It’s #TacoTuesday at Noonan’s and I know how much you love taco’s ;)
After hitting send she stood there silently eating her burrito, waiting for the bubble to pop up indicating that Lena was, in fact, alive this morning.
10 minutes passed and Kara was neck deep in the tabloids when Lena messaged her back.
It wasn’t much, but it was enough.
“Um, excuse me Miss Danvers!” Kara turned around, surprised by the assistant’s sudden urgency, “I’m sorry, but Miss Luthor isn’t in at the moment.”
“Is Lena in the lab?” Kara countered. Jess shook her head, once again apologising for the inconvenience. Listening to the Jess’ heart beat out of rhythm, a sign of dishonesty, Kara recognised that wasn’t the only heart beating rapidly. The other rhythm was more concerning than the sense of lying and it was coming from inside Lena’s office.
“Do you mind if I check her office? I could’ve sworn she told me to she was in all day.” Kara lied as she marched towards the door, ignoring the disapproval she was receiving.
“Miss Luthor really isn’t--” Kara swung the door open to an empty office, closing it gently behind herself as to dismiss Lena’s assistant. She felt awful for doing so knowing exactly how it feels when your boss is demanding privacy and clients will have none of it. Only one person slipped through Kara and Cat made sure it never happened again otherwise Kara would be unemployed and blacklisted.
She paused soon after closing the door and heard laboured breathing. Lena’s heart rate was erratic. Kara could have sworn Lena was having a cardiac episode. She removed her glasses and used her x-ray vision to see Lena sitting behind her desk. She had entered the room so quietly she was sure Lena had no idea she was even in there.
“Lena,” she called out gently as she rounded the desk. Obviously humiliated, Lena turned herself away. Her eyes were burning red from tears, her pale complexity was covered in a light sweat and she was gasping for air, hyperventilating. Kara dropped her stuff and knelt down beside Lena.
“Lena, are you okay?” Kara asked worriedly. Lena shook her head, still refusing to look at her.
“I think you’re having a panic attack,” she continued. Kara shifted to sit across from Lena and put her hands-on Lena’s knees that were almost buried into her chest.
“Look at me Lena.” The Luthor did as she was told and Kara smiled softly, “Tell me 5 things you can see.”
Lena looked around hastily, “desk,” she huffed, “chair… W-window… City… And, you.”
“That’s great, Lena. Now touch 4 things and tell me what they are.” Lena removed her arms that were tightly bound around her torso, as if they were the only thing holding her together in that moment.
“Clothing, skin,” she placed her hands on the ground, “rug… And metal.”
“3 things you can hear.”
“My heart, air-conditioning… and my voice.” Kara smiled at Lena’s progress. The scientist finally seemed to have begun to calm down.
“2 things you can smell.”
“My perfume and yours.” Lena let out a heavy exhale, feeling as if she could inhale a lungful of air for the first time.
“And 1 thing you can taste.”
“You’re safe,” Kara promised, “how do you feel now?”
“Better,” she sighed, “thank you.”
Kara adjusted herself to sit against the desk beside Lena. She put an arm around her best friends’ shoulders.
“Where did you learn that?” Lena snickered nervously, clearly embarrassed about the whole situation.
“Alex gave me a few pointers. Not even aliens are immune to the ‘ol anxiety.”
“Of course,” Lena smiled. They sat in silence for a little while longer before Kara spoke.
“How long have you been having panic attacks?”
Lena cleared her throat and attempted to turn away, “not long.”
“Something like that…” Lena trailed thinking about Hope taking form in Eve’s body.
“Lena… I think you should talk to someone,” Kara insisted lightly. Lena looked at her instantly, a stern look on her face.
“I’m talking to you.”
Kara sighed and removed her arm from around Lena’s shoulders, taking her hand securely, “This is larger than just me; you understand that, right?”
Lena scoffed and took her hand from Kara’s grasp, “right. So, you think I’m mental.”
The accusation startled Kara, “no, no! Of course not. I-I’ve just been where you are before.”
“And did you seek "help"?”
Lena sneered sourly.
“What you’re going through right now is incomparable to my situation, Lena. What you’ve been through is unparalleled just itself-”
“No, you just literally have the weight of the world on your shoulders.”
Kara sighed at the similarity. She knew Lena was going for the elephant in the room. “Lena. I’m on your team.”
“Always.” Lena mocked, “Supergirl wasn’t always on my team. In fact, I recall Supergirl using my friends against me and scheming behind my back…”
Kara stood up and drew some distance between the them. She adjusted her glasses and stared at the ground in defeat.
“Why are you doing this?”
Lena pulled herself up with the help of her desk and challenged Kara’s gaze. She was trying to intimidate Kara, trying to prove a point. She’s in control now.
“You let me stand there and expel about how torn up Eve’s betrayal made me feel, all the while I’m complimenting your loyalty and integrity… And you just stood there. You made a fool of me.”
“I wanted to say something that night, Lena. I truly did. But I couldn’t find the courage to tell you,” Kara tried to compromise.
“No, because you’re a coward, Kara.”
Kara felt the metaphorical blade pierce her heart. This is exactly what she was worried about. The possibility that Lena couldn’t forgive her for keeping her alter-ego a hidden identity. “Please, don’t fight me.”
“I won’t. Because I’m done.” Lena turned away from Kara and pressed a button on her desk.
“You don’t mean that,” it came out barely as a whisper in attempt to veil the sadness swelling in her throat. She just needs time. Kara picked up her bag as Jess walked into the office.
“Jess, will you please show Miss Danvers out?” Lena’s voice was cold and callous, “also, would you mind removing her privileges at L-Corp.”
Jess awkwardly began to approach Kara, but the hero wasn’t going to give up her dignity that easily. She strode around the assistant and left Lena’s office. Tears and anger were burning her eyes as she tried to fish her phone out of her handbag. She dialled Alex’s number and pushed through to the stairwell, jumping over the rail and straight to the ground floor. Alex picked up on the third ring.
“We need to talk.”