Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Like it always happened –what with her superspeed and all– she saw everything happen in slow motion. Except, she wasn’t up to the full extent of her capabilities, mostly due to the kryptonite bullet currently lodged on her shoulder. Still, Kara could see in detail the way Lena’s facial features constricted as the sound of gunshot reverberated through the closed-in space they found themselves in. For a fraction of a second she thought it was the kryptonite itself that made Lena’s eyes shine a bright green. Then, contrary to the last slowed down second, nearly too fast, and that was saying something, the cry of pain that accompanied those facial features made Kara’s heart almost jump out of her chest, bullet almost forgotten.
“Lena!” She screamed in alarm, like the woman hadn’t just shot her with the only thing that could penetrate her skin and make her feel like her blood was boiling and her entire body was on fire.
“Kara!” Lena moaned in pain, gun falling as her hands came up to press both sides of her head, knees bending and hitting the ground. “No!” She shrieked, a pained sound following, then a scream.
In the span of a second Kara could feel all sorts of emotions coursing through her: worry, realization, joy, confusion, panic.
For the last few months she had tried to convince herself on all sorts of things: that she felt certain things and didn’t feel certain others, that she was doing the right thing, that her choices were for the best, that some people deserved another chance… All in all, the only certainty she had always had was that Lena was good. Ever since she had flown to her apartment after trying to fix the past, all Kara had been waiting for was for Lena to walk into a room, any room at any time, and tell her she was right. Right in telling her all those things –hurtful things– and making her see reason. Of course, she felt a little full of herself just for that thought alone, that expectation. She knew she had gone about things the wrong way, but she wasn’t perfect, and pride was one of her many faults. She supposed that didn’t make her that much different to any human, and she supposed, it was one of the things she and her best friend had in common. Well… or former best friend, she couldn’t be sure. So imagine her surprise when, the next time she saw her, her probably-not-best-friend-at-the-moment was aiming a gun at her, accompanied with the familiar excruciating burn of kryptonite. She had felt dread forming on her chest like lead weight and falling down all through her stomach, too shocked to feel anything else, too shocked to react.
“Finally we meet again, supergirl.” Lena had said. “Surprised to see me like this? Thought I would come crying to your arms begging for forgiveness?” The smile that adorned her face was the most vicious Kara had yet seen on her, hateful, vengeful, disgusted. It reminded her of another Lena from a parallel universe.
“L-Lena?” Was all she had managed to get out, too stunned for anything else.
“I knew you’d come, always hoping for the best. You’re so full of yourself! Thought I’d see things your way? Lie down at your feet and do anything to get back to your good graces! Let you manipulate me all over again! Let you pretend to be my friend just to keep a close eye on me!” There were actual tears in her eyes, threatening to roll down her cheeks. “Well, guess what? I am actually here to end this farce once and for all!” Her hand had risen, then, allowing her to feel that burn.
“Lena, please!” She had raised her hands, reaching out. “What is going on? This isn’t you!” She could feel tears forming in her eyes as well, clouding her vision a little.
“Isn’t me? You don’t know the first thing about me! I’m a villain, right?” A scornful laugh had felt like a dagger to her heart. “Surely not the girl you thought you’d befriended. Although, I got to give it to you, you are an exceptionally good actress. You are a kind, beautiful soul.” She mocked. “I really fell for it for a hot second.”
“Lena…” Kara felt her voice trembling, her hands, her legs.
“I’m done playing these games.” Lena lifted her chin up, raising her gun. “After I take care of this, the world will be a better place. No one will want to hurt another being, humanity will be at peace, and there will be no need for heroes.” A frown had formed between her eyes, then, and the hand holding the gun hesitated for a second, a short second that Kara thought she had imagined.
She saw the finger press the trigger, saw as the bullet sped towards her, thought about that time, in a parallel universe, where something exactly like this happened, when she let herself be hurt by another version of Lena, the only person she knew she wouldn’t be able to fight, to hurt back. She never thought it would actually come to this…
Kara rushed towards her, the pain in her body slowing her down. Lena was lying on the floor, her body contorted in pain, the scream coming out of her piercing through the heroine almost as strongly as the kryptonite coursing through her veins.
“Lena! Lena, please!” She felt helpless. She knew, something was making Lena do this, and now torturing her, something she didn’t know how to fight.
“Stay away from her.” A familiar voice warned. Kara turned around to see Lex Luthor smiling.
She stood up as fast as she could, clenching her fists and powering through her pain.
“Stop this! Whatever this is! Right now!”
“Oh, this is just minor inconvenience; my little sister will finish her task.” He sounded amused.
Behind her, Lena had stopped screaming and stood up, gun aiming at Kara once again, eyes shining bright green. Except, her face was still contorted in pain, all mockery and malice from before gone.
“What are you doing to her?” Kara whispered, afraid.
“Me?” He gasped, bringing a hand to his chest. “My sister’s a genius, this is all her doing!” He laughed. “Her emotional intelligence, on the other hand… Well, let’s just say she’s very easy to steer once you learn to push the right buttons.”
Kara reached for his neck, the anger coursing through her taking control, but she was weakened, and with a quick punch to her face, Lex sent her flying a few feet, landing her on the ground, right at Lena’s feet. She pointed the gun down, right at her face, and Kara could see her hand shaking, tears rolling down her face and spilling down her jaw.
“This is harder than I thought.” Lex said almost to himself. “What are you waiting for, Lena? She lied to you for years! Pretending to be your friend, waiting for you to make a wrong move to prove that you’re a villain! She’s hurt you so much!”
Kara felt her own lips trembling. She felt so guilty, and though she had tried to reason that Lena was responsible for her own actions, she had still not been able to forgive herself for hurting her friend, for fooling herself into believing she was protecting her when all she was actually doing was hurting her and deceiving her, just like every other person in her life.
“Don’t you want people to stop hurting each other?” He went on. “She is the only thing in the way of that! Of all of this coming true!”
Lena’s hand kept shaking, and the tears kept on flowing down. Kara reached up, her hand holding Lena’s on the gun. The brunette screamed once again, falling to the ground and holding onto her head.
“No!” She whimpered. “Stop! Stop, please!”
“Lena!” Kara cried, crawling towards her and holding onto her arms. She kept crying out in agony, now twisting on the floor, begging incoherently from the pain.
“Get up!” Lex screamed. “Hurt her!”
“Stop this! You’re hurting her!” Kara cried, desperate. She had never in her life felt more helpless and scared. Her friend was crying out in pain right in front of her and there was nothing she could do.
“You must do as I command! Kill her!”
As he said this, Lena’s eyes rolled to the back of her head, which flew back against the ground with a harsh blow.
“No!” Kara screamed, hurting her throat. She got up, fire in her veins forgotten, and grabbed Lex by the neck, lifting him from the ground. “Stop this right now! Or I swear to God!” She couldn’t tell the difference between the burning kryptonite and the blinding rage coursing through her veins.
His eyes veered towards his sister on the ground, something akin to fear in them.
“This –is not –possible.” He gritted out.
Kara couldn’t stand the pain, and her friend’s agony made her legs shake. She couldn’t control her tears, her anger, the fear taking over everything.
Glass from a window next to the roof broke, J’onn flying through it.
“Supergirl!” He screamed.
Kara pushed Lex back, right at the martian, who caught him deftly by the arms and immobilized him. She was by Lena’s side in a second, but her friend kept twisting and screaming in agony.
“Make it stop!” Kara wailed, shaking and crying. She gathered her friend in her arms, but she didn’t react, her mind elsewhere.
“What are you doing to her?” J’onn cried in shock. Lex actually cackled.
“My stupid little sister can’t even hurt her! So much for supergirl breaking her heart!”
Kara was sobbing by now, the physical pain and the hurt from those words making her feel like she was about to pass out.
“W-wake up, Lena…” Sound started to feel farther and farther away, but she held on tightly to the shaking body in her arms. She could faintly hear other people rushing in, screaming her name and then Lena’s, who suddenly stopped moving, body going slack. In alarm, she made an extraordinary effort into channeling what little force she had left to search for the sound of Lena’s heart, and once she found it, in relief, she felt her own body go slack as well, everything around her going black.
Kara woke up with a jolt, sitting up in what seemed like a hospital bed. Straining her ears, she searched for it once again, Lena’s heartbeat, and felt her own heart come down from her throat to its rightful place once she found it. She was there in a second, finding her unconscious friend in a gurney, looking pale but alive, a slight frown between her eyes.
“Lena…” She whispered, hand coming up to briefly ghost over her hair. She used her x-ray vision to check on her head, remembering the sound it made as it repeatedly hit the ground. There was nothing visibly hurt.
“Kara!” She heard her sister’s surprised words from behind her.
“Alex! Is she –how is she? And where’s Lex? What happened?” She rushed out.
“You should be in bed.” Her sister rested her hands on Kara’s arms, trying and failing to move her even an inch. She sighed. “Lena’s fine. We ran a few scans and there seems to be no brain damage, although we can’t be certain until she wakes up, which she hasn’t yet.”
Kara closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Brain damage… that couldn’t happen. Not to a mind as bright as Lena’s, that would be a crime. She felt her gut twist.
“Where’s Lex? And what did he do to her?” She gritted through her teeth.
“Well, it seems as though he used Lena’s creation against her or something of the sort.” She frowned. “We’re still not sure, but… from what we’ve gathered…” She grimaced.
“What? Just say it!” She whisper-shouted.
“He tried to mind-control Lena into killing you.”
“So I’ve heard.” Kara nodded impatiently, motioning for her sister to continue.
“Well, it seems she fought against it and it nearly destroyed her mind.” Alex glanced at the unconscious body on the bed, a look between pity and guilt.
“That… that… motherfucker!” Kara let out, surprising even herself. Alex’s eyes were bulging out of their sockets. “Where is he?”
“He’s in custody at the FBI. Apparently, before trying to make Lena do this, he tested it out on civilians and aliens at a secret lab right below where we found you.”
Kara pinched the bridge of her nose, taking a deep breath and turning away from her sister and towards Lena.
“Can you… I want… would you mind leaving me alone?” She whispered.
“Let me just check her vitals and then I’ll…” she made a hand gesture. Kara nodded, going to stand in the corner of the room. “You should also rest, Kara… The sun lamp –“
“Maybe later.” Kara interrupted.
“Alex. Not now.” She grunted.
Her sister pursed her lips and frowned, clearly hesitant.
“You know, this isn’t your fault…”
“I left her alone to deal with that monster after I hurt her so much…”
“I went out on that stupid date while my friend was being manipulated by a psychopathic abuser!” She felt tears threatening to spill and turned around, back hunched as her hands rested at the foot of Lena’s bed. “Please Alex, just leave me here alone. I need this.” She whimpered.
She heard footsteps retreating and allowed the tears to flow; back trembling with sobs she tried to keep quiet. It was true, she regretted it all. She regretted thinking someone as vulnerable and hurt as Lena could take some tough love and learn from it, when in actuality all she should have done was sit down with her and explain how much she cared, even if Lena was being unreasonable. For all the times she had lied, right to her face, made James spy on her, say hurtful things to her as supergirl and then act like nothing was wrong as Kara Danvers… she realized how fucked up that actually was. She was selfish, not daring to own up to her actions, to come clean, until it was too late, until the damage was too big to pass it up as just one mistake. The truth was, lies had snowballed, and even though she knew now that there was never a right time to speak, she wondered why she could never just do right by Lena. Maybe if she had hugged her, told her how much she meant to her…
“I should have been there for you.” Kara whispered, daring to hold onto Lena’s right hand. “I’m sorry…”
She grabbed a nearby chair and sat down next to the gurney, watching Lena in what seemed like a troubled dream, her brow furrowing deeper and eyes moving side to side behind her eyelids. She looked so small… Kara thought it was the first time she had ever seen her without any make up, she was pale and there were deep dark circles under her eyes. Still, her skin was perfect, marble-like, unblemished. She couldn’t believe how things had gone down… a few months ago they were so happy and whenever Kara thought about telling her the truth, she knew things would never be the same. The underlying fear of losing her friend forever sometimes kept her up at night, but she had never thought she could actually lose her. At worst, she imagined keeping up with Lena on the news, through common friends or even spying on her just to check that she was ok, but actual physical harm, life threatening harm… She would do everything in her power to see Lex brought to justice. She remembered her hands around his neck while Lena was in pain and thought about how close she had been to just squeezing too tight. The desperation she felt then was so alike to what she had felt when Alex was trapped inside that tank, water going up, slowly bringing her closer and closer to death. She could almost feel Lena’s lifeless body falling onto her arms; hear the silence as her heart stopped beating. She didn’t realize tears were once again falling down her cheeks, wetting her chest and arm. She tried to focus on the sound of Lena’s actual beating heart right next to her, but instead felt her chest constricting, heaving, air not reaching her lungs. She got up from her chair on wobbly legs that threatened to give out, and suddenly there were hands holding her up.
“Supergirl! Kara!” Nia was struggling with Kara’s weight, but helped her down onto the chair once more with J’onn’s sudden help.
He pressed a hand to her chest.
“Just breathe, in and out, slowly; in through your nose, out through your mouth.” He instructed.
She tried to follow, slowly feeling the air reach her lungs. Nia’s left hand was on her shoulder while her right one delicately wiped tears from her face and chin. Kara couldn’t meet their eyes. She felt embarrassed, guilty, angry, all sorts of things.
“She’s going to be okay…” Nia whispered, her voice laced with concern.
Except, they couldn’t possibly know that. Alex had said they couldn’t discard brain damage until Lena woke up. And then there was her emotional state; after everything she had been through, to be used by her brother with apparently her own invention to turn her into a murderer… who knew how long it would take for Lena to recover from that.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah… thanks.” She answered automatically, turning her face to look away from them.
“I think you should rest under the sun lamps for a while –“J’onn started.
“I’m not leaving.” She interrupted.
He sighed and nodded, knowing there was no use in arguing with her right now.
“I think you should know Lex Luthor is under FBI custody. Before all of this, it seems he experimented on humans, making them hurt aliens and do terrible things to test the extent of his mind controlling device.” When she didn’t say anything, he concluded. “We still don’t understand how Lena was able to fight it, but he tried to have her kill you and failed.”
“She shot me.” Kara finally looked up and met his eye. “But as soon as she did, it seems like she was trying to take control of her actions. Then… she s-started screaming…” She took a deep breath. “And when Lex ordered her to kill me it just got worse, her eyes rolled back…” She couldn’t continue speaking without breaking down again.
“I see…” He seemed to be lost in thought for a moment. Kara raised her hand to rest atop Nia’s on her shoulder and squeezed it in gratitude.
“Well… it seems like her mind was somehow rejecting her brother’s commands.” J’onn reasoned.
“How did you stop him?”
“I didn’t. Perhaps she stopped it all by herself.” He frowned.
Kara turned her head to look at Lena still lying on the gurney. She was a genius after all, if there was a mind powerful enough to fight off mind control, maybe it was hers.
“Can I at least bring you water and something to eat? You look like you need it.” Nia interrupted.
“Okay.” Kara tried to smile, but it came out like a grimace. She didn’t know if she could eat at all right now, but her throat did felt dry and hoarse.
“I thought about scanning her mind.” J’onn spoke once Nia was out of the room. “But I think her brain has gone through enough already.”
“I just hope… there are no sequels.” She looked up at him, unsure of what his answer may be, and also scared to hear it.
“We can’t be sure, the brain’s a delicate thing… and I can’t imagine the effort she must have put into fighting Lex’s commands.”
Kara rubbed her face with both palms.
“Can you… may I be left alone?”
He seemed to hesitate saying something for a moment, but thought better of it and nodded.
“You should get some rest.” He said as parting.
After drinking the water bottle Nia brought and asking her to leave, Kara once again placed her chair by Lena’s bed, this time closer, and rested her right cheek next to Lena’s right hand. It felt a little warmer, Lena’s breathing was calmer and it gave her just the tiniest bit of comfort that she felt herself drifting off. A while later she woke up when Alex came to check Lena’s vitals once more, failing to make Kara leave but at least succeeding in making her eat a BLT sandwich. It had been hours, but she was having a hard time letting her friend out of her sight. She didn’t know if Lena would want her there once she woke up, and if she didn’t, she didn’t know if she ever would. A feeling of loss was overpowering her even as she tried to stop it, Lena was right there, and even if she didn’t want to see her anymore, she was going to be okay, because she had to, because Kara couldn’t conceive anything else.
She first saw Lena’s fingers twitch, then heard a small sound coming from her throat. Her heart started beating a tad faster and she winced in pain. Kara stood up, holding her breath. Lena squeezed her eyes before opening them, blinking slowly. The blonde hadn’t realized how dark the room had gotten, didn’t realize at least eight hours had passed since she first stood guard by her friend’s bedside.
“Kara?” Lena whispered, her voice hoarse. Kara had never been happier hearing the sound of her own name. She realized her hand was still holding Lena’s and she let go hesitantly, the movement slow and deliberate.
“Lena, are you okay?” Her voice trembled.
“Aren’t you the one that got shot?” She answered back. So she remembered. “I… I didn’t mean to, I know you probably won’t believe me but –“
“What?” Kara took her hand once more, not really thinking. “I know it wasn’t you! It was Lex, he –“
“He used my own invention against me.” Not a minute had passed since she had woken up and already she sounded so self-depreciating. “He fooled me and I –“
“Lena, please, he’s evil, and you –“
“I just wanted to do good, to stop people from harming each other.” She sobbed, then grimaced, her left hand coming up to press against her forehead.
“Are you okay?” Kara asked in alarm.
“My head hurts.” She whined, and the blonde could hear her own heart breaking a little.
“Please, don’t think about this now, you’re hurt!” She pleaded. “Let me call Alex and –“ She started moving, but Lena turned her right hand over and grabbed onto her own, trying to stop her from leaving. Of course she didn’t have the strength, but Kara felt her intention and immediately turned around.
“Don’t leave me, please…” She whispered. “I… I didn’t know he had kryptonite, I…”
“That doesn’t matter.” She cut her off. “Listen, I know he was manipulating your brain, I know he wanted you to kill me and you fought back. Actually no one knows how you did it, but you did.” Kara dared to use her right hand to brush the back of it against Lena’s temple, who closed her eyes and breathed out. “I just wanna call Alex, have her check that you’re okay.”
“Alex…” Lena frowned, confused.
“It’ll be three seconds, you can count them.” Kara gently released her hand from her friend’s hold and used her superspeed to find her sister. “She’s awake.” She informed her.
Alex jumped out of her seat in fright.
“Kara! Oh my god!” Her hand reached for her chest, but Kara was already gone. Alex walked quickly to the medical room and found her sister by Lena’s side; the brunette was looking at her with confusion.
“Alex…” She trailed off, her brow furrowed. Then her expression finally changed, something akin to recognition, and her jaw set as she looked away.
Kara watched in silence as her sister checked on her friend, shining a light in her eyes, making her focus her sight and asking her a few questions. As the tests progressed, Lena seemed to start coming back to herself, but at the same time her body became tenser, her eyes harder, her jaw clenched. Alex walked away to fetch a water bottle and Kara hesitated. She didn’t know how to proceed.
Lena turned her head to look at her, her expression indefinable.
“Do you hate me?”
“I could never hate you.” Kara answered without a second to think.
“Do you think… I’m a villain?” Her chin trembled for a moment before she clenched her jaw.
“You almost died to stop yourself from killing me, so how could I think that?” Kara rushed to be near Lena. “You also could have killed me with those kryptonite cannons, but you stopped them. You saved my sister’s life, you stopped aliens from invading Earth… I could go on…”
“Then why –“
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry I said that to you and I’m sorry for being so harsh. And I’m sorry for lying and being a terrible friend. Hurting you was the biggest mistake –“She stopped herself as tears rolled down Lena’s face, wetting the pillow.
“Yes, you hurt me.” Lena whispered. “You broke my heart.”
“I know.” Kara breathed out, feeling her own tears spilling. She’d lost count on how many times she cried in the span of eight hours. She probably looked terrible.
“Here’s…” Alex trailed off, hand holding the water bottle suspended mid-air.
Lena turned her face once more and Kara rushed to wipe her own tears away.
“I’ll just leave this here.” Alex said awkwardly, setting the bottle next to Lena on the mattress and walking away in long strides.
Lena tried to sit up but her arms gave out.
“Lena!” Kara stretched her arms, hesitating. “May I…?”
“Please.” Lena whispered, holding on to Kara’s biceps and tightening her stomach muscles in order to sit up on the bed. Kara reached behind her, arranging her pillow as Lena grabbed the water bottle and stared down at it awkwardly.
“Do you want me to…?” The blonde gestured to the bottle and took it as her friend nodded, effortlessly turning the cap and giving it back.
Lena took a delicate sip and swallowed, then another. She sniffed, looking up at her friend through her eyelashes. Kara was looking at her with a mix of fear and pain.
“Do you hate me?”
“I tried to.” Lena’s lips pressed into a tight line. “But I…” She looked up to see Kara staring down at her feet. “I’m sorry.” Kara snapped her head up at that, clearly not expecting it. “You hurt me, that’s true. You lied to my face so many times, but I… I can’t say I haven’t lied to you or kept things from you; from supergirl, at least. And the way I reacted… people in my past hurting me are no excuse for what I did to you, and even if I tried to make myself believe it was for a noble reason, the truth was I wanted to hurt you. And I’m not proud at that. I’m trying to say we’re not perfect, and I regret not having this conversation sooner.”
“So no, I don’t hate you.”
Kara pursed her lips, trying to contain a smile, but her eyes gave her away.
“So maybe there’s a chance for us to still be friends?”
“You still want to be my friend?” Lena shook her head incredulously, turning away. “You know, all the effort I put into steering away from my family name and look at me now.”
“You are not like them!” Kara said earnestly.
“Except, look at what my invention can do to people. Look at what I created working alongside my brother Lex Luthor.” Lena’s voice broke, tears spilling from the corners of her eyes. “All I ever wanted was to do good and I was so blinded by my own feelings, just like him.”
Kara moved forward, wrapping her arms around Lena’s back and hugging her tightly while she cried.
“I’m sorry I’m one of the people who’ve hurt you so much.” She whispered. “You… I think there could still be a chance for us to…” Kara was finding it hard to continue at hearing her friend’s sobs; they were making a hole inside her chest. “Us… w-working together, imagine what we could do…”
“Kara…” Lena sniffed, pulling her face away from her friend’s shoulder, looking down at the wet spot her tears had left there. Kara pulled away to look at her. “I… I need time.” She took a deep breath. “And I think… I need help.” She frowned.
To her surprise, Kara smiled. “You know there’s nothing wrong with that. I think you’re brave for wanting to take that step, it’s not an easy decision to make.” Lena still wasn’t meeting her eyes. “I thought about it as well…” That did the trick. “I’m actually not as brave as you are.”
“I…” Lena took a deep breath. “I feel… broken.” She whispered, looking away once more. “I don’t feel like myself at all… all my aspirations, my hopes for the future… I feel like they were there and suddenly there’s this... void.”
“Lena, I believe in you.” Kara took one of her hands in her own. “Maybe that’s of no use to you, but I need you to know that. And I hope you can forgive me and we can move past this at some point but… I –I think be both need time and it will actually be good… for us.”
Lena looked up at Kara, turning her hand over to squeeze hers. Some tears were still spilling down her cheeks and she noticed her friend’s eyes were red and puffy. Maybe she was hurting just the same. She couldn’t believe they had come to this, to hurt each other so much. There was a time when Kara was her support, when thinking about her only made her smile and feel hope. And she was tired of running away from the people in her life, especially when she knew how good they could be for each other when they were in a good place. She looked down at their joined hands. Things could never go back to the way they used to, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Maybe from the ashes, something new could rise; an honest friendship. But it was true, she needed time. They both needed time to figure out their feelings, to learn to trust each other again, to heal. She didn’t feel like she was in a good place at all, she felt adrift, confused, like she was following a path and somewhere she took a wrong turn and now, she was lost in the middle of the night.
“You’re right.” She nodded. “With time, maybe we could… try being friends again; with no lies, this time.”
Kara gave her a watery smile, her eyes a deep, hopeful blue. Her lower lip trembled and she rushed forward, hugging her again. “I’m so glad I haven’t lost you.” She whispered into her hair. Lena hugged her back tightly at last.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Kara and Lena face their feelings, with some help.
Mentions of William, but he's not in the chapter and I promise this is the last time he will be named :)
fyi, I have the drafts for at least five more chapters. Stay safe and wash your hands. Also don't touch your face!!
A month had passed since Lex Luthor’s arrest. Supergirl hadn’t had a second’s rest: public appearances, press conferences, capturing escaping DEO aliens, a meeting with the president and getting the DEO back to her sister’s command, a masked man committing crimes in the name of Lex, asking for his release and spitting all kind of conspiracy theories. People were having a hard time wrapping their minds around everything that had gone down. They knew people had gotten hurt, and aliens, and Supergirl, and Lena Luthor. She hadn’t made any public declarations or given any interviews, but many articles had been written about her and about L Corp. Story was repeating itself, the company’s name had been tarnished and people were wondering if Lena was the same alien-hating madwoman as they discovered her brother to be. Of course in this Earth everything was happening for the first time, but Lena was reliving it, and it probably felt like a recurring nightmare by now.
It was always at night, once she wound down from her crazy eighteen hour work-day that Kara thought about her. She wanted to know how she was, if she was physically okay, if she was emotionally okay, although she doubted that. Kara wanted to give her friend some space; it was what they had agreed on, after all, but a month, four weeks, thirty days felt like a lot. She was concerned, she wondered if Lena had actually started going to therapy, if her mind was working like it used to, if she still felt like their friendship could be mended, if all the media was saying about her affected her. Sometimes she wondered if she should write and take the first step, if maybe her silence made her friend think she didn’t care. It was frustrating. Then there were the dreams. Dreams where Lena died in her arms at the hands of Reign, sometimes it was a repetition of the screams from that night, Lena twisting and turning on the floor, except Kara couldn’t move, she was rooted to the floor and her friend was screaming for help, for mercy, and Lex was laughing. But J’onn didn’t show up in time and Lena’s body became stiff, her screams died down and Kara couldn’t hear her heartbeat anymore. Sometimes, her dreams were about Alex: her sister in that slowly-filling tank and Kara getting there a second too late. Those nights she woke up in cold sweat, heart hammering in her chest and tears in her eyes.
Life had to go on, because the world kept turning and every day people needed saving and news needed to be told. Kara felt like an automaton, like she was in auto-pilot, just going through the motions. She hadn’t been able to face William after everything that happened with Lex; she had backed down from the story and didn’t have a proper explanation to give. She couldn’t possibly explain to him why it felt like a betrayal to Lena, her profiting from those events since the world had also put their eyes on her friend and questioned her real part in him kidnapping people and aliens and controlling their minds. Kara also didn’t have the strength to let him down easy and instead she found herself running away every time he walked into the same room. It was ridiculous, really. She didn’t understand why she had forced herself to go out with him, maybe it was because she felt guilty, he was after all a good person. Sure, he hadn’t respected her when she first told him no, but at least he had recognized it and apologized. But just because he was a nice guy, it didn’t mean she was attracted to him. When they had gone out, she hadn’t felt entirely comfortable, not because he was bad company, they had had fun, but the implications of a date, physical contact and flirting, didn’t feel like something she wanted. It was true that she felt lonely, that she needed someone in her life when she was home alone, when she went to bed after a long night, when she had good news to share, but she didn’t picture him in those scenarios, it just felt –off. Maybe it was a combination of those things and the people in her life pushing her in his direction that had made her re-think her decision, and now she had to go from a no to a yes to a no once again and he would probably think she was crazy. Still, there was no point in forcing something that just wasn’t there. There was no chemistry, no spark, nothing more than what she felt when she hung out with people like Nia, James, Winn or even Kelly. She liked him, she hoped they could remain friends, but she didn’t feel with the emotional capacity for a relationship at the moment, and even if she did, he just wasn’t right for her.
“Kara? Earth to Kara?” Nia was snapping her fingers in front of her eyes.
“I asked if you wanted to go to Alex’s with me. I just finished my report and was leaving in a minute.”
“Uh…” She looked around at the papers sprawled across her desk. She had no idea how long she had been lost in thought and staring into space. What had she been doing?
“You okay?” Nia cocked her head to the side, hand on her hip.
“Yeah… yes!” She perked up, rising suddenly from her chair and knocking it over. “I was just lost in thought.” She walked around her desk, grabbing her purse from a nearby chair.
“Hard article?” Nia asked as they started walking towards the elevator. Kara shook her head. “Then what were you thinking about?”
“Oh, I see.” Her friend smirked. Kara felt herself blush.
“Not like that! I mean, yes it was about that, but…”
“You never did go on a second date.” Nia realized with a frown.
“I know, it’s just…”
“Kara, you need a personal life! You’ll go crazy if all you do is think about others.”
“That’s just it!” She threw her hands up. It finally dawned on her. “I went out with him because I thought about everybody but myself! Alex was worried about me, I felt guilty for not having a good enough reason to say no to him, even Winn tried to convince me it was a good idea and I just…”
“Oh, that sucks.” Nia pursed her lips. “Those are not valid reasons to go out with someone. All you actually need is just, well… wanting to spend time with that person, get to know them better.”
“He’s nice.” She clarified. “We had a fun time, but… I just don’t feel that way about him.” She paused as they exited the elevator and walked out of the building. “At first I thought it was because I didn’t want to start a relationship based on lies, after what happened with Lena.” She felt a pang on her chest at the thought. “But then after our date, I thought about coming clean and… it just didn’t feel right. I don’t think I trust him enough for that anyway.”
“I get it.” Nia nodded. They walked into an alley and she held on to her friend, who took off and got them to Alex’s block in five seconds flat. “You know, after you rejected him and he came up with your coffee order, it just felt weird.” She scrunched up her nose.
“Yeah, he said he knew he was out of line and he apologized.”
“Still, I don’t like that he just couldn’t take no for an answer. It’s not right.” They looked at each other as they waited for Alex to open the door since her buzzer was broken –again. “I’m sorry I didn’t see that sooner.”
“Hey, you don’t have to apologize for anything. You did nothing wrong.” Kara squeezed her shoulder.
“I feel like I was blind to it and kinda encouraged you to go on that date as well.” She cringed. “I was distracted with what had happened to Yvette and with… you know…”
“Brainy?” Kara supplied tentatively.
“Yeah…” Nia looked down.
Just then the door opened and Alex ushered them in.
“Come in! Its movie night, what’s up with your faces?!” She was indeed much jollier than them.
“Boy stuff.” Nia supplied.
Kara grimaced, she really didn’t want to talk about all of that.
“Oh.” Alex scratched her neck.
“What’s up?” Kelly was sitting on the couch scrolling through her phone.
“Guy problem, so…” Alex made hand gestured that indicated her girlfriend should take it from there.
Nia looked at Kara apologetically, noticing her discomfort and that she had probably screwed up in saying anything.
“Something happened with William?” Kelly encouraged.
“Nothing, really…” Kara shrugged, sitting on the couch next to her friend.
“Exactly!” Alex exclaimed, raising her snacked-filled arms in the air as she came into the living room. “They went on one date and then she ghosted him!”
“I bet you’re actively avoiding him.” Her sister looked at Nia for confirmation, whom in turn looked at Kara with another apologizing look.
“We just… didn’t click.” She shrugged. “He’s nice and he’s fun, but…”
“There’s no spark?” Kelly provided and she nodded.
“And he can’t take no for an answer.” Nia trailed off almost to herself, rolling her eyes.
“What do you mean?” Kelly frowned.
“When he first asked me out, I said no. I mean, I was considering it but, then I thought I didn’t want to start another relationship based on lies after what happened with Lena…” She felt another pang to her chest and wondered just when it would start hurting less. “So I said no. Then he showed up one day with my exact coffee order, and then he texted me…”
“Well, when you put it that way…” Alex frowned.
“Yeah, but he apologized. And then we talked,” She looked at her sister. “…and I thought, it’s just one date, right? He’s nice and I thought… then Winn had also told me to just give it a chance…” She made a face.
“Oh, sweet Kara.” Kelly reached over, stroking her arm. “Was it ever just you, feeling like you wanted to spend time with him?”
“I guess… not really.” She frowned. “Everyone was so worried about me, and I… I guess I just wanted to take my mind off from everything that was happening with Lex and –and Lena.” She looked away. Kelly’s hand hadn’t left her arm and she squeezed it gently. “But now he’s become another burden.”
“I’m sorry, Kara.” Alex frowned. “I thought it would be good for you, had I known…”
“It’s ok.” She tried to smile but wasn’t sure what her face was conveying at the moment.
“I’m sure he’ll understand.” Kelly nodded. “And it’s yourself you’ve got to prioritize, honey. I know being the world’s superhero can make you forget that sometimes, but how will you take care of others if you don’t look out for yourself first?”
“I know, you’re right.” Kara squeezed her friend’s hand on her arm. “Thank you, really.”
“I noticed you were kind of distracted lately.” Alex added. “Maybe you should take some days off…”
“Yeah, you know I got Supergirl’s back.” Nia added, trying to brighten the mood.
“I don’t think being alone with my thoughts is such a great idea right now, my head’s… kinda messed up.” She didn’t know how movie night had suddenly turned into a group therapy session, or even why she was oversharing, but it was like opening an overstuffed box and stuff just kept spilling out. “I don’t even know why I’m saying this.” She pinched the bridge of her nose.
“What’s wrong?” Alex had stood up from the couch and crouched over in front of her, resting both hands on her knees.
Suddenly she felt overwhelmed; tears were starting to form and threatening to spill.
“I… after Lena almost… died, I –“She shook her head, looking up and wiping her eyes before the tears could come out. “I’m having these nightmares, and she’s dying, and you’re… drowning.” She sobbed.
“Oh, Kara.” Alex stretched up and hugged her. She could feel Nia and Kelly joining in on the hug after she couldn’t stop her sobbing.
“I’m just so w-worried, and tired, and my mind’s just –I feel like I can’t stop thinking about everything, even when I go to bed, all these things just keep replaying themselves inside my head.”
“What are you worried about, sweetie?” Kelly asked gently, stroking her hair behind her ear and away from her face. Alex’s face was also stained with tears.
“Just… people I care about getting hurt because of who I am. And…” She looked up at them, unsure. “Lena.” She whispered apprehensively. She knew Alex and Nia had mixed emotions about her, even if they tried to hide it.
“I thought you had made up that night?” Alex asked tentatively.
“We… sort of, I guess…” She shook her head. “We admitted we were both at fault and agreed that we both needed time, and maybe… we could rebuild our friendship, without lies this time.”
“That’s good.” Kelly provided, with a smile that urged her to go on.
“It’s just, she was hurt and I don’t know how she is, or if she’s recovered. She hasn’t contacted me yet, and I don’t know if I should write or give her space…”
“Look, I know it’s hard, but friendship is a two-way street. Maybe she’s asking herself the same thing. But, most importantly, you have to take care of yourself, and if you feel talking to her will help… well, there’s no harm in trying, right?”
“Your girlfriend’s so wise.” Kara joked to her sister with a lopsided smile. “Really, Kelly, thank you.” She turned her body so she could give her a proper hug. “You’re right, I should try to talk to her.”
The thought frightened her. What if Lena decided she couldn’t start their friendship over? Or that it wasn’t worth the effort? That night had been very emotional, maybe now she had changed her mind. Trying to kill someone could guilt you into saying things you don’t actually mean, surely. But on the other hand, maybe Lena found herself in the same predicament, wanting to talk to her but waiting for her to make the first move. Kara felt exhausted, she had never had a friendship so complicated, or any kind of relationship, really. Then again, she hadn’t had a best friend before. Her relationship with Lena was special, and even when she was scared of being rejected, she also missed her best friend, and there was no way they could mend things if they didn’t talk.
It was almost two am. After she had stopped crying, her sister and her friends decided she needed the distraction and chose a very cheese movie for them to watch, they all sat around her and after a while, she actually felt better. It had been good to let it all out, to talk about her nightmares, her concerns, to share her thoughts about Lena that kept her up at night and even to cry with people who cared about her and surrounded her with affection. They had stuffed themselves with snacks, Chinese food and apple pie, and by the time she left flying out the window, it was with a smile on her face. But now that she was home alone, in her bed and with her mind made up, Kara felt a kind of anxiety that made her chest tickle and her fingers tingle. She grabbed her phone from her nightstand and scrolled through her contacts until she found her. She still had Lena’s contact photo of their selfie, they were holding each other and smiling and Kara longed for those days. Taking a deep breath, she pressed for a new message.
“Hi Lena, sorry about the time. I know we said to give each other space but I just wanted to know how you are. I hope I’m not overstepping.”
She hit send before she could overthink it and chicken out, hiding her phone under her pillow and throwing the covers over her head. It took her a long while to fall asleep.
After taking off her heels and changing her office clothes for something more comfortable, Lena opened the refrigerator to find the leftover salad from the night before. She sat at the barstool and looked first at her phone, lying on the kitchen island next to her, and then to her other side where she could see a whiskey bottle inside a kitchen cabinet. She sighed, running her palms alongside her face and resting her chin on her hands, elbows on the table. It felt like those scenes where there was a devil and an angel on each shoulder.
It had been two weeks since her last drink, no scotch, no wine, no beer, nothing. She was trying this thing where she didn’t drown her feelings in alcohol until she forgot she even had them, trying to open those boxes inside boxes inside boxes, one by one, and facing one feeling at a time. There was a lot she had been hiding throughout the course of her life, ever since childhood, starting at age four, from the day she stood at that shore watching her mother die. She had been dragging a feeling of guilt since before she knew how to add and subtract, letting it dictate her life choices, her connection to other people and the way she valued herself. It was something that needed to change, she knew this even before her best friend’s betrayal and her brother’s manipulation, those things had led her to a breaking point, but building a tool that could have led to humanity’s total mind control at the hands of a sociopathic lunatic had been her tipping point. Screw her for being a genius and having her breakdown be the possible doom of humanity; for some people it was a trip to the ICU, but for her it was this. She had a big responsibility on her hands, and at her own choice, but she needed to learn to identify and control her emotions before they could take over and dictate her actions, because they could affect much more people than a regular person’s mistake. That was why she had started therapy, why she had distanced herself from the things that made her lose control, which she found were actually a lot, especially people, namely her friends and family. But it couldn’t last forever; she couldn’t live inside a bubble where nothing and no one could touch her. There was someone she missed, someone she needed even though it has hard to admit, but it happened to be the same someone that had hurt her the most. She expected it from her own brother; it had happened before and therefore it was no surprise, she could expect it even from her own mother, but she had been blindsided this time, and the blow was the biggest she had experienced since the first time her brother had tried to kill her. She tried to convince herself that not everything could be a lie, surely Kara cared about her to some extent, there was a reason she had let Lena get close to her sister and her friends, it couldn’t all have been just to keep a close eye on her, but it was hard to believe. Why had she lied to her all this time? Why had she used her powers behind her back and let Lena believe she was this defenseless human she thought she had to protect? Why had she let Lena believe she could have been killed in that explosion or while they were aboard her jet?
Lena felt her hands shake, she pushed away her salad and walked into the living room before she could turn around and reach for that bottle of whiskey. She sat down on her couch, covering her face with her hands, taking deep breaths. Her therapist was right, she couldn’t keep asking herself all those questions over and over again, she needed answers in order to start healing. She needed the truth, once and for all. With trembling fingers, she got up and went back to the kitchen in search for her phone, staring at Kara’s text from three days before. She thought about asking her to come over right that instant, but what if Kara didn’t trust her enough and thought it could be a trap? That thought felt like a dagger to her chest. Just a month ago, that possibility wasn’t so far-fetched. She remembered all those simulations in which she hurt Kara and felt the tears spilling down her cheeks. She had to give herself a break, there was never any possibility that she could have done those things in real life, she had had those opportunities and it had never crossed her mind; she had actually defeated mind control and almost hurt her own brain so that she wouldn’t hurt Kara. She wasn’t evil, she was traumatized; she didn’t excuse herself, but she had to be compassionate with her own soul.
“Could we meet up? I think we should talk face to face. You choose the place.”
There, non-threatening, polite, but also non-apologetic. She needed time to process and didn’t want to feel guilty for taking three days to respond.
She went back to the kitchen and resumed eating her salad, she was practicing taking care of herself and skipping a meal certainly wasn’t it. However, she almost choked on kale when her phone vibrated with a text, she didn’t expect a reply so soon.
“Can I come over now?”
Her heart jumped inside her chest, thumping hard. The response was unexpected, it had taken her two weeks to gather the courage to even think of facing Kara, and three days to respond to her when she initiated contact; she had just made up her mind and didn’t think Kara would want to meet so soon. That had to mean something, it had to mean she cared, otherwise she wouldn’t even bother to contact her, otherwise she wouldn’t have cried on her shoulder in that hospital bed.
“Yes. I’m at home.”
She took a deep, shaky breath. Now there was no way she could finish eating her salad. So Kara wasn’t thinking their meeting could be a trap, that was good; she also seemed to be waiting for her response, it had taken her only three minutes to reply. Her doorbell rang almost a minute later. Right, superpowers.
“Miss Luthor.” The security guard’s voice sounded through the intercom. “Miss Danvers is here to see you”
“Yes, please let her up.” She straightened her shirt, tucked her hair behind her ears and cleared her throat. She was nervous, and when she realized Kara could probably hear the mad thumping of her heart, she felt embarrassed.
There was a knock on the door and Lena took a deep breath as she turned the knob.
“Kara.” She said breathlessly.
“Hey.” Kara’s head was ducked, her lips were pressed and she was wriggling her hands.
Lena felt a little at ease realizing she was probably nervous too. Stepping aside, she let Kara through and watched her stand awkwardly in the middle of her living room.
“Um, are you okay?”
“You could say that.” Lena shrugged.
“How’s your head?”
“Oh, it’s fine. I had some headaches at first but now I’m good.” God it was awkward. She didn’t know what to say, all of her questions and reproaches had wiped away from her mind at the sight of her… friend? “I’m… glad you came.”
“I’m glad you answered.” She started to smile but her expression quickly changed. “Not that –I mean, I understand you need your time to –“
“Kara.” She stopped her flying hands mid-air. “Thank you, for understanding. And for coming here, really; you had reasons to suspect after last time.”
“That wasn’t you.” Kara took a step towards her, frowning. “I… I trust you.”
“You do.” Lena said flatly, feeling something twist inside her chest. She watched as Kara took a visible deep breath and dropped her arms to her sides, shoulders down.
“Do you want something to drink?” She asked awkwardly. Keeping her emotions in check was a work in progress. Kara shook her head. “Let’s sit down, then.”
They moved towards the couch and sat with an extensive space in between them. Lena didn’t remember them being so awkward even at the first stages of their friendship, but she supposed it was normal after everything that had transpired.
“Kara, I –I do have so many questions…” Lena took a deep breath. “But, first I want to apologize for what I did at –at the fortress. Leaving you there… everything, really, was so wrong. I think about it and sometimes don’t even recognize myself. I was hurt and felt betrayed, but I was so deceiving that day, so cold and calculating…” She shook her head, frowning.
“I probably deserved that.”
“No, that’s not true. That place is so special to you, and you were so happy to bring me there…” She frowned. “I was just –I didn’t think any of it was real.”
“Lena, I know I should have told you the truth –“
“Then why didn’t you?”
“I was afraid.” Kara whispered. “I was selfish, I know, but… when we became so close, I thought about coming clean, many times. I was looking for the right moment, and then…” She looked down at her hands. “Everything with the kryptonite happened, and you were so angry with me, with supergirl… I told you before how kryptonite clouded my judgment, I couldn’t think it was you, all I could think about was someone else getting their hands on it and… I made many mistakes, I know that, and I know it was wrong of me to have deceived you. It was wrong of me to ask James to spy on you.” She shook her head. “I was selfish because I didn’t want to admit to those things, and also because… I didn’t want to lose you or have you hate me.”
“I felt so stupid when Lex showed me –” Lena wrung her hands together, nervously trying not to fall apart. “All those times I was with you and you used your powers behind my back…” She watched as Kara grimaced and hung her head once more. “When I thought… you were inside that exploding building… And that hologram you used to hack me…” Now she was the one looking down, feeling sad, embarrassed, angry.
“Oh Lena, I didn’t know about that.” She sounded anguished and truthful. “I swear, all those things I said were true, and I feel awful about all the times I lied to you, even… when we were on your jet, but… I –I have no excuse, and I don’t… I don’t want to minimize that, I was a terrible friend and I want to take responsibility for that.”
“You really meant that?” Lena looked at the through her dampened eyelashes.
“Yes! Please, you have to believe me!” Kara reached out for a second, letting her hand drop between them on the cushion. “Even after… those kryptonite canons… I still felt like I could save you, like… I could get through to you.”
“I didn’t know those canons were there, Kara… I stopped them. I thought I wanted to hurt you.” She grimaced. “But there was never a chance that I would actually… I mean, physically, at least.” They locked eyes. “But I know we actually did hurt each other.”
“I once promised you I would always protect you.” Kara whispered. “And I meant that. And I know I broke that promise by hurting you.”
“I guess we both made mistakes.” Lena gave her a lopsided, sad smile.
Lena could hear her intake of breath when she placed her hand atop of Kara’s.
“I’m tired of being angry.” She whispered. “I’m tired of staying away.”
“I miss you.” Kara confessed, turning her hand so she could hold onto Lena’s. “Lena, I swear, if you give our friendship a chance, I promise I won’t ever keep things from you.”
“I promise that too.” She squeezed. “And… if we don’t like something, we should talk things through before assuming anything.”
“I think that’s reasonable.” Kara smiled, even though there were stray tears on her cheeks.
“I miss you, too.” She scooted forward and they met in the middle, wrapping their arms around each other. “I’m trying this new thing where I talk about my feelings…” She said into Kara’s hair. “So we could implement that.”
“So you did start seeing a therapist?” Kara asked once they pulled away, using her index fingers to wipe the tears under her eyes.
“I have. She’s been helpful.”
“I’m glad. I was worried… with everything they were saying on the news, I mean, on top of everything else.” Kara ducked her head trying to meet Lena’s eyes, trying to figure out her emotions.
“I’m used to it.” Lena shrugged one shoulder. “I’m trying not to let it get to me, but it’s not easy. Although trying once again to save L Corp after my brother’s disaster is keeping me fairly busy.” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “Sometimes it feels like traveling through time.”
“I’m really sorry.” Kara placed one hand on her shoulder supportively. “I’m sorry you have to relive all that.”
“Oh.” Lena straightened her back, expression turning serious. “Kara, I’m sorry, I heard about your father.”
“Oh, yeah.” She grimaced, dropping her hand from Lena’s shoulder.
“I heard it from Brainy just last week. Had I known…”
“It’s ok, you couldn’t have known.” She shook her head, looking down.
“Still, I’m really sorry. How are you holding up?” Lena took Kara’s hand in between both of her own. Kara smiled.
“I’m okay. It was harder on Alex, but we’re healing.”
“Well, I wish things had been different between us and that I could have been there for you, but I’m here now if… if you ever need to talk. I can’t promise any sound advice.” She chuckled. “But I’m a good listener.” She almost lost her breath with the force of Kara’s hug. It was easy to forget she had super-strength, she was hugging her so tightly but in no way hurting her.
“I’m glad I have you now.” Kara whispered against her shoulder.
“Me too.” Once again Lena found herself thinking of the audible thumping of her heart.