Just wrap me in your arms;
I don't wanna be anywhere else;
Take me from the dark.
-Can You Hold Hold Me, NF (feat. Britt Nicole)
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"This isn't too bad."
"You've gotta be kidding me."
A spoon reached into a half-finished cup of cherry Jell-o, scooping a mouthful and feeding into a ravenous mouth. Kara had a considering frown at the bridge of her nose as she tasted the Jell-O, and she swallowed the serving once she decided that it was edible. She shrugged at Nia, who was lying in the hospital bed and staring at Kara like she was an alien.
"I wouldn't mind having this for dessert," the blonde commented, proceeding to eat more of the Jell-O.
"This isn't real," Nia muttered, rubbing her hands over her face in frustration. Then she directed her attention to their right, where the window of the ward was, and demanded, "Come on. Tell me this isn't real."
There was hum from Nia's neighbor, coming out simultaneously amused and disgusted. "It's real. I watched the whole thing happen myself. And I have to say, Nia, your friend is weird." Kara's head swiveled to the left, a protest ready at the tip of her tongue, except she was caught off guard. "Yes, you, you're weird."
To be fair, there was a reason that Kara was caught so off guard that she couldn't properly protest. A very fair reason. An incredibly fair and beautiful reason, with a gentle smile that drove Kara's heart aflutter and a pair of electric green eyes that shot shivers down Kara's spine.
She was lucky that she had finished shoveling an entire cup of Jell-O. Otherwise, she would have been choking and warrant a hospital bed for herself. She blinked rapidly at the sight before her and could nothing else but looked back to Nia, who had obviously caught onto Kara's almost instantaneous exaltation for her neighbor.
Actually, simply based on the sly smirk on Nia's face, it was almost like Nia had planned for them to meet in one way or another. If it was so, Kara was going to have a good talk about making Jell-O the catalyst of her meeting with the mystery woman.
She sucked in a sharp breath to brace herself and steered back around to look at the stranger again – a stranger she would very much like to know. "No, my name's Kara, actually. Not 'weird'," she air-quoted. "What's yours?" To her right, she could hear Nia snort and mutter a half-hearted compliment at her attempt, but a girl's gotta try, right?
Mystery woman's smile only widened as she tilted her head a fraction, as if she was studying Kara. And for some reason, despite being the one who wasn't in a flimsy hospital gown, Kara had to squirm under the studious gaze.
"Lena," the woman finally offered.
"Lena," Kara echoed softly, tasting the name on her tongues and allowing the syllables to roll in her throat. "Lena, I've never seen you here before."
"Neither have I."
"Well, Nia was here first, and I've been visiting for the past month. What's your defense?"
The blonde would very much like to retort and keep the back-and-forth going, because she was really enjoying it. Alas, a nurse came strolling in with a wheelchair and a friendly grin on her face. He made his way to Lena – god, Kara couldn't stop thinking about that name, could barely keep herself from saying it again and again.
"Good afternoon, Lena," he greeted. "Ready for your next session?" Lena nodded, her smile dimming even though it didn't disappear entirely. "Alright, want some help?"
"I'm not totally invalid, Thomas."
She flipped back the blanket and swung her legs over the side of the bed. Once Thomas had adjusted the chair's position near her, she let loose a bracing exhale, and pushed herself to her feet by shoving at the edge of the mattress. Thomas had to time his catch perfectly for Lena to not collapse on the floor. When she was properly seated in the chair, Thomas started rolling her towards the door.
Before they were both out of the ward, Lena glanced at Kara and said, "Bye, you two."
Kara kept herself away from reading the incomprehensible chart at the end of the now vacant bed; not that she'd be able to understand it either way. She chose to look at Nia, who had been watching their exchange in voluntary silence.
"I gotta say –" Nia started, removing the finger she had pressed to her lips "– that was actually pretty impressive for someone as verbally clumsy as you."
Kara shook her head in mild annoyance and went ahead to grab another cup of Jell-O from the overbed table. There was some sense of victory to be taken in the way Nia groaned in outrage.
Hospitals were stale and lively and busy and reek of death. That was the same for all hospitals – that was the same with this hospital. At any given point of time, Kara would avoid hospitals. Even if her sister worked as a neurosurgeon, she would never visit. She hated hospitals and she thought it was logical to keep all the bad juju away by keeping away entirely.
But there was no more avoiding it when her apprentice – not just an apprentice, one of her best friends – had, with all the worst luck in the world, a severe heart deficiency that put her on the UNOS list. Nia had resorted to an extraordinarily long vacation in the hospital, and Kara had promised that she would be by her side every step of the way until she could get out of the hospital.
So here she was, wandering the halls of the hospital while Nia went for another treatment that could stabilize a disobedient life-sustaining organ until a new one could come. Alex had pulled a last minute rain-check on lunch because there was an emergency in the ER.
December had already come, so despite it being a resting place for the dead, the hospital was decorated with Christmas baubles and Mariah Carey or Michael Bublé was crooning over the speakers. Kara liked the efforts of trying to liven up the place, but she still couldn't forget the things that hospitals had taken away from her, even if it wasn't specifically this one.
And then she found herself passing by the pediatric wing, stopping short when she saw Nia's ward neighbor sitting on the floor in the playroom, holding a toddler in her arms with a bright grin on her face. Kara heaved a quick chuckle at the scene before her, separated only by a wide window, watching as the other children didn't hesitate to clamber up to Lena and demanding her attention.
Kara ended up sitting down on a bench that would allow her to look right into the playroom. It was creepy and weird, but amidst all the tears and stench that permeated the building, Lena unabashedly playing with a bunch of children in the pediatrics wing seemed like a pretty good compensation. So, she just…watched, letting the muffled laughter and inaudible words travel to her, past the nurses and stretchers and sick people.
She sat there and she watched. She didn't know how long she kept on being a creep, but before she knew it, Alex – wait, shit, Alex – had strolled into the playroom, hands in her coat pockets, an equally fond and exasperated stretch on her lips. A chorus of protests echoed from the children, but Lena appeased them by doing that smile of hers and kissing a few kids on their heads, and then Alex helped Lena climb onto her feet and into the wheelchair.
Alex was visibly surprised when she saw Kara sitting there. Lena, however, seemed unmoved. In fact, she appeared amused.
Kara could only laugh at the nickname. "Hey, Lena," she greeted.
"I see that you're living up to your weirdness, creeping on me and the kids. Should we be concerned?" Lena teased, narrowing her eyes in mock skepticism.
Standing up, Kara walked alongside them, deliberately ignoring the weird looks that Alex was sending the two of them. She laughed nervously and adjusted her perfectly placed glasses. "No, I just – I saw you in the playroom and…you and the kids just looked so happy. This is a pretty crappy place with very little happiness. Wanted to soak it all in."
"I'm pretty happy here," Alex muttered, rolling her eyes at her sister's description, as they stopped at the elevator that would bring them up.
"I'm sorry." Kara gestured at Alex and then back at Lena. "How do you know my sister?"
"She's your sister?" Lena asked Alex, raising her brows.
"Adopted," they both replied.
"Huh." Lena snorted, somehow finding it funny. She shrugged and didn't say anything as they entered the elevator that had arrived. "Small world."
All Kara could do was gape at the woman who remained mysterious despite having given Kara her name. She watched as her sister pressed the button for a floor that certainly wasn't where Lena's ward was on. And then she went back to gaping, but Lena pretended to not be aware at the blonde who was clearly waiting for more.
When Kara shifted her gaze from Lena to Alex, all the neurosurgeon did was lifting her shoulders and then shooting a look at her that clearly denoted that there would be some grilling tonight at dinner. Their silent interaction was cut short when Lena leaned forward a little and pressed the button for Nia's floor, smiling at the blonde like she just did her a favor.
That was when Kara decided she needed to learn more about this woman, regardless. Not only because she was pretty, but also because Kara was a journalist – and journalists were nothing if not the most curious creatures on earth.
"I do know what she's here for."
"Great. Tell me."
"Well, if she's not telling you, why would I?"
"Look up the dictionary. It's called privacy. P-R-I-V-A –"
"Hey, remember when you're my apprentice?"
"And you taught me to always respect people's privacies no matter how much I wanna learn about them. See? Aren't you proud of me?"
"I taught you too well. Too well."
The copy of To Kill a Mockingbird was worn, frail, almost like the pages would come apart at a feather's touch. As a book in that deserved, it was handled carefully, never held open at a more than 90-degree angle, even when the slender fingers were flipping the page.
Some would assume that the book had been abused in the past, dealt with carelessness and perhaps had even been in the mouth of a kid or two. Those people would be wrong, Kara thought as she remained as inconspicuous as possible by the door and watched – let's not talk about her creepy habits as of late – because she had another idea. That the book had never been abused or carelessly dealt with.
No, the book was appreciated. The book was loved. The book was a favorite. All those things were why the book looked so broken and fragile, and yet still read. Kara had to wonder what it was about the book that would drive Lena to read it so much that she would even bring it to the hospital with her.
"Not celebrating with the kids?" Kara asked, making her presence known.
Lena barely reacted, only smirking as she flipped to another page. Kara had a feeling she'd known that she was being watched.
The patient shrugged, her long dark locks shifting with movement. One day, Kara would love to sift her fingers through that hair. "It's not Christmas yet." Kara opened her mouth to say something. "By my count, there are 19 days until Christmas," Lena cut in. She placed a bookmark between the pages of the book and regarded Kara. "Shouldn't you be with Nia?"
"She sent me here to get you downstairs. To celebrate with the kids," Kara added unnecessarily. "Don't know why she thinks I'd be effective. It's not like we know each other really well." Lena hummed, smile ever present. "I'd love to, though," Kara tacked on, quieter.
When Lena didn't say anything, Kara started to panic a little. Panic inside, at least. On the outside, she was calmly looking out the window, where snow was starting to fall and the streetlights made it all the more magical, calmly playing with the hem of her jeans, calmly pretending that she wasn't panicking on the inside of potentially saying the wrong thing.
"That book's gone through some stuff," she pointed out, suppressing the pounding of her heart, as if changing the topic could do that.
She couldn't help but notice the way Lena's fingers clenched around aforementioned book. The manner her smile dimmed only a fraction and her eyes seemed to…shut down at the question. The shape of her laugh lines as she narrowed her eyes slightly.
And then, surprisingly – because Lena seemed to have a habit of keeping things to her chest – Lena said, "It's the last thing my mother ever gave me."
Kara straightened from leaning against the door panel and blinked. Shit, did she say the wrong thing again? "Oh, um, is she –"
"When I was four," Lena answered with a nod, her lids shuttered.
"Shit, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have –"
"It's okay," Lena quickly said. It was something that people always said whenever they wanted to change the topic or whatever, but when Kara looked closely at the woman in the ward, there was only sincerity in the reassurance. "You know, your sister told me you don't curse. At all. That was…unexpected." Kara played with her glasses, not really sure what to say. "I hate Atticus Finch. Racist. Sexist. All around a terrible guy. Despise him."
"But it's your favorite book," Kara assumed, crossing her arms, still finding it difficult to understand the woman before her.
Lena hummed in agreement, though she seemed surprised at Kara's assumption, which would perhaps be correct. She was a good judge of character and books, if she would say so herself. "My mother drowned, and the last things she left me were this book and a teddy bear. I named him Pooh."
Unable to help herself, an indulgent smile came across Kara's lips. "Was he yellow?"
"Brown. Very brown. Very typical brown."
"You liked Winnie the Pooh?"
"I wanted to be like Winnie the Pooh. Still kind of do actually. Just eating honey all day without a concern in the world. Not worrying about illnesses and hospital bills and families and making a living. Isn't that nice?" Kara made a noise of agreement, making her way slowly into the ward as Lena kept her eyes on the tattered book. "I've never really told anyone so many things so soon before," Lena quietly remarked when Kara reached the foot of her bed.
"I promise I'll keep your secrets." It may come out like a joke – the English language was kind of a joke these days, what with the memes and the slangs – but Kara meant it.
She meant it wholeheartedly. She wanted to know this woman, and she would keep her secrets.
Never in her life had she ever been so…enamored with a human being. Not the president; not Nia Nal; not her cousin's fiancée who convinced him to reconnect with her; not Cat Grant. Yes, the blonde met people and she had a general curiosity about their backgrounds, because she was a journalist and it was in her nature.
But not like this. Not when there were early Christmas celebrations in the lobby and she was here in a depressing ward because she couldn't go away. Hell, a part of her wanted to come back to the hospital just on the off chance of a playful banter with Lena whose last name she didn't know, and she certainly wasn't going to flip through the chart to find out. Privacy and all that.
There were early Christmas celebrations in the lobby. Kara loved kids and she loved Mariah Carey. However, when Lena jerked her head towards a vacant chair between her bed and Nia's bed, she sat her ass down. She really loved Christmas carols.
After a few days of torrential downpour, the snow had let up. Nia wanted to see the snow and taste the flakes on her tongue, so here they were, walking in the courtyard of the hospital arm in arm. There was a constant smile on Nia's face as she gazed at the snow in awe and stick her tongue to catch them quite a few times.
Kara had her hands tucked into her coat pockets, making sure every now and then that Nia was still holding onto her, watching out for any moment when Nia would falter and require some help, like a piggyback ride or something. She wasn't a doctor; she was a journalist. There wasn't much she could do but visit her friend three times a week to see that she was breathing and alive.
"Ask her out," Nia suggested when they came across Lena and Alex sitting on one of the benches, chatting amicably between themselves.
"To where exactly?" Kara scoffed, failing to tear her gaze away from the two women there. It didn't take a genius to figure out Lena probably had some brain problem, what with her constant interactions with Alex.
"Ah, you're not denying that you're interested," Nia pointed out, smirking and nudging her lightly.
Kara sighed and shrugged. She had long since accepted that she wasn't a marvelous liar, so why bother trying anyway? "She's sick and lying in a hospital. I hate hospitals," Kara muttered. "She doesn't have time in her life for her neighbor's friend to take her out to a place she can't go."
"She doesn't have time? Or are you scared?" She clenched her jaw and elected to ignore Nia's jab. "I'm not gonna pretend that I know how you feel about hospitals. But everybody loses someone eventually. Hell, I might die next year if a new heart doesn't come along then." Kara clicked her tongue at that, throwing a quick glare at her friend. "Lena's there, a full head of hair and a great smile and, might I say, a wonderful rack."
"Ask her out. Take her to a picnic on the roof or whatever."
"Since when were you so invested in my love life?"
Nia scoffed and shook her head, not saying a word more. They kept walking. If Nia noticed how Kara deliberately led her away from crossing Lena and Alex's path, she didn't say anything.
"I was 13."
Hands tucked into her coat pockets, Kara stood on the snow-covered pavement, reluctant to approach Lena, who seemed rather peaceful on the bench. The blonde didn't stop to wonder how the woman transferred herself from the wheelchair to the bench; she didn't seem like someone who appreciated being doubted.
"You like the snow?" she diverted, lifting her gaze to look at the dark sky dropping snow.
Lena shrugged. "Well, I'm in a hospital that stinks of chemical and corpses. Figured the snow is a good replacement," she murmured. If the courtyard was crowded, Kara wouldn't have heard her. "Plus, there's interesting science behind snowflakes. Always a sucker for science."
"You're a scientist?"
At that, the raven-haired woman froze up, like the snowflakes. Unlike the snowflakes though, Lena didn't drop to the ground and let herself melt or meld together with the rest of the snow. She was stock still on the bench, looking at nothing specific.
For a second, Kara almost thought the woman had forgotten that she was standing there, until Lena started chuckling to herself. No, it wasn't a laugh. It was a chuckle, torn brokenly from her clogged up throat, decidedly unhappy and distinctly hopeless. Kara had no clue that a sound that was supposed to signify joy could sound so…barren.
"I was – I wanted to cure cancer," Lena said between empty chuckles. She placed a hand on her forehead, chuckles subsiding. "I wanted to cure cancer, but here I am." She shook her head to herself and closed her eyes, leaning against the backrest of the bench. "Life's a poetry," she added bitterly.
When Alex had so hesitantly and tearfully told her that she was gay, Kara's heart broke. When she found out that Cat Grant was planning on a sabbatical and wouldn't be there to be a mentor anymore, Kara's heart broke. When Nia told her about the heart condition and the indefinite stay at the hospital, Kara's heart broke.
Here she was, in the middle of snow season, watching a woman that she inexplicably liked more than she should looking so dismal – Kara's heart didn't beak. It…more than broke. Or less than. Kara couldn't really put it into words, despite words being her full-time job.
It wasn't anything as simple as her heart breaking. It naturally felt more destructively devastating. Stomach dropping. Bile rising up her chest and throat and at the corners of the mouth. Brain coming to a halt. Limbs all frozen and uncertain of what to do. Eyes focused and failing to look away.
Kara liked Lena more than she should, and she wanted to take away everything that was causing this expression on her face.
"I was 13."
Lena's hand moved from her forehead to her mouth, middle finger and forefinger pressing against her lip, as she stared at Kara in confusion. "Yeah, you said. 13 and what?"
"13 and –" Kara took slow steps towards the other woman "– an orphan." Lena blinked. Once. That was it. "My biological parents were in a car crash. They died in the one and only hospital in Midvale. I lived in a group home for like, I think, two months – I don't remember. And then my cousin came and fetched me, and I thought I'd live with him forever. But he ended up bringing me to the Danvers, and pretty much ditched me there." She sat down next to Lena and flashed her a quick smile, inhaling quickly to keep the sourness at bay.
Lena didn't say anything for awhile, then she remarked, "We're both orphans." Kara blinked. "Yeah, my father's dead too."
The way she spoke it made Kara inadvertently laugh, despite how much she fought it. "Yeah, in a manner of speaking, we're both orphans." She licked her lips and nudged closer to Lena – there was no way she keeping warm in the flimsy hospital gown, despite the thick winter coat she was wearing. "I hate hospitals. I actively avoid them, even when my sister works in one. I only came because one of my best friends is your neighbor. But you –" Kara heaved a sigh and shook her head "– I'm starting to like hospitals – or maybe just this hospital – a bit more, because I met you."
Obviously, words left Lena at the confession, because her jaw dropped behind her fingers and her pupils dilated only mildly. It was almost as if Kara could see the wheels coming to a halt in that cancer-ridden brain, a smart brain nonetheless, because apparently, the woman was looking to cure cancer before cancer caught her.
"Like I said, you're weird," Lena finally commented with a teasing smile.
Kara's smile spread into a grin. "Admit it, you like it."
Lena hummed, either in agreement or disagreement – Kara couldn't really tell. "Why'd you tell me the story about your parents?"
"It's not a story."
"You know what I mean," Lena scoffed.
The blonde looked away from Lena to the parents who were walking with their patient-gown-cladded son a distance away. "Figured it's time I tell you a little about myself." She shrugged. "You looked sad just now. I don't know. Things just kind of fall out of my mouth before my brain can process it."
"God, you're weird."
"Hey, are you allowed to have coffee?"
"Are you asking me out?"
"Someone wise told me I should make a move."
"Maybe I should give this someone wise my cherry Jell-O's as reward."
"She hates them. You know that."
"Yes, but you like them."
Well, if anything, that was a yes. Kara would take it.
Okay, well, when Lena agreed to go out with Kara, she didn't think the woman meant after she was discharged. But whatever, she would take it. It was better anyway – the coffee at the café downstairs was horrendous. She had a date, regardless.
Right now, Lena was not in the ward, wheeled off somewhere in the hospital that Nia didn't know about and Alex refused to disclose. As revenge, Kara took hold of the extra cherry Jell-O cup from Nia's overbed table and relished in the simultaneous groans they emitted.
"You're a disgusting human being," Alex commented. Kara shrugged. "Oh, yeah, I already told Mom about this. I can't make it to Christmas dinner."
"What? Why?" Kara exclaimed, halfway to ripping off the lid of the cup. "I was going to cook."
Nia scoffed. "Well, I'd consider Alex lucky to get to escape that particular disaster." Kara stuck her tongue out at Alex. "It's day after tomorrow?" she asked Alex.
The redhead nodded and stood up from the chair as she glanced at her watch. "Right, I gotta go. Patients to see. Lives to save," she said, kissing both Kara and Nia on their cheeks before beating it out the ward.
"What's day after tomorrow?"
Nia clicked her tongue and snatched the cup of Jell-O from her loose hands. "None of your business."
Christmas was joyful. A tree that she'd lugged from the seller a couple of blocks away stood by the fireplace, decorated the usual baubles. She'd made the only thing she was good at making: casserole. Eliza had come and laid out all the rest. It was weird without Alex there, but Kara had promised Eliza that she'd bring over some leftovers for Alex and Nia the next morning.
Christmas was joyful and quiet, and Kara enjoyed it. She did. But she also missed Lena, wondering what the woman was doing between intervals and hoping that she and Nia were having a good time with the kids and all. It was a shame and a regret that she didn't manage to snag Lena's phone number, or she would have checked up on the mysterious woman regularly to make sure she wasn't spending Christmas hating Atticus Finch.
The next morning, she placed all the leftovers in a bag and took a cab to the hospital with her adoptive mother. She hopped into Nia's ward, bright grin on her face and prepared to let Lena have some of the best Christmas meal she'd ever have in her life.
Except, well, Lena wasn't there. Her bed was made up and the overbed table was empty. It was vacant, almost like it was waiting for another occupant. Nia was there, yes, but Nia looked…sad. Her eyes were red and her hair was a mess and there was a pile of balled up tissues gathered on her table. When she turned to Kara, there was even a smidge of dread on her expression.
Alex was nowhere to be found.
Kara narrowed her eyes and looked from the empty bed to her apprentice. Eliza had shouldered past her, unclear as to the situation. Well, she wasn't the only one. In the back of her mind, she was thinking of the worst. She was wondering what the hell could have happened over less than 24 hours and imagining the worst.
"Lena had a surgery last night," Nia croaked out, her voice still tangled from crying. "Alex was the surgeon."
That was why her sister couldn't make it to dinner last night.
"There were some…complications." Kara gulped and held tighter to the straps of the bag. She had packed extra for Lena. "No one could have seen it coming. Lena's in the ICU now."
She had no idea how she did it, but she managed to get near Nia's bed and place the bag of leftovers on the overbed table. She nodded at Nia mindlessly and cleared her throat, glancing at the empty bed again. Her hands brushed over the tail of her ponytail; inside, she was forcing strength into her legs and her heart to calm down as much as possible.
"I have to –" she squeaked and stopped, nodding harder.
She leaned down and pecked Nia's forehead before wordlessly stalking out of the room, leaving behind Nia and Eliza. She dug for her phone and dialed the first person on her speed dial, willing for the target to just pick up. Only the dial tone kept ringing and ringing and ringing, and an automated voice reached her ear telling to drop a voicemail.
She could hardly keep herself from throwing the phone at a wall and shocking the patients. She just stalked and looped around hallways and elevators. Dialing and dialing and dialing. Failing and failing and failing. Once she had reached the floor for ICU, the urge to just find her sister and shove her against the wall was almost insurmountable.
Cold. That was the most basic and superficial thing she noticed the moment she stepped onto the floor. The ICU floor was incomparably cold, as if they were expecting the patients to die on this floor and the temperature was dialed down to maintain the bodies. Bodies were maintained before the morgue collected them – she'd learned that from Alex.
She was pretty lost, because it was so different from the other floors. It was cold and collected and systematic. Glass rooms and quiet nurses. No music or anything. Doctors spoke in hushed tones and nurses were solemn. She hated hospitals.
And then the very person she was looking for rounded a corner, hands tucked into her white coat pockets and her expression anything but positive. She had her head down, so she didn't see Kara rushing towards her and pulling on her arm so hard that her arm almost came off its socket.
"Kara," Alex whispered, eyes wide and breathless. "I – here, let me take you. Rachel, make sure my sister's allowed to visit Ms. Luthor's bay at any time," she ordered offhandedly, switching their roles and leading Kara down a maze of hallways by her arm to the bay.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of doctors and nurses and miscellaneous staff, a sharp inhale could be heard from the blonde standing out the bay. Inside was a whole host of machines, ranging from heart rate to brain activity, all hooked up to a dangerously pale and seemingly sleeping raven haired woman who had seemed damn near perfect only a few days ago.
Not that she wasn't perfect now, but she also appeared so fragile that it seemed like a slight movement of a wire connected to her would collapse her entire being.
"Luthor?" Kara asked dumbly.
"I asked Lena Luthor out on a date?"
"I promise you she didn't hate it."
"She's the owner of the hospital and a few others, if I recall correctly."
"She wanted to keep it on the down low." Kara's frown deepened as she finally turned to stare at her sister. "There's a reason she's been such a mystery to the rest of the world – no pictures or press statements or anything – even before her entire family got locked up by the FBI. She just – all Lena wants to do is cure cancer and do good for the world. She's not really one for publicity."
"She didn't tell me."
"You're a journalist."
"What is that –"
"Regardless of your integrity and moral ethics, you're still a journalist," Alex defended the woman in a coma. "And she likes you, despite all that. I think that says a lot."
"No wonder you couldn't make it to dinner."
"Well, she is my boss," Alex joked half-heartedly with a shrug. "But she's also – she's a good person, Kara. We're friends. Good friends. I thought I could give this to her…as a Christmas present," she added regrettably. "We really didn't see this coming."
Kara nodded to herself and swallowed audibly. "What happens now?"
Alex pursed her lips and played with earpiece of her stethoscope. "The clot was – we did everything we could. Now, all we can do is wait and see. Hopefully, if we keep a close eye on her and keep up with rigorous treatments, she'll be up in a week. If not…"
Lowering her bottom lip, Alex hesitated in answering the question. She shook her head and patted Kara on her back. "She'll wake up. She's really looking forward to that date with you."
The Danvers sisters stood outside the bay for the longest time, observing the motionless woman who had come to mean different things to both of them, but good things nonetheless. If anything, the past hour had proven that Kara knew too little about Lena, and she probably should be angry at not knowing even the most basic of things about Lena.
In the end though, she wasn't angry. She was understanding, as she looked at the woman who had struggled with some real shit in life to end up where she was now. More than anything, when Lena woke up, Kara wanted to know her more. Kara wanted to know everything there was to know about her.
"She said she'd give me her heart."
"You two are awful people and I regret caring about both of you."
"I don't want her heart."
"I want you to have a new heart."
"Just not hers."
"Yeah, not hers."
The hatred for hospitals was still there. But Kara still made her way there, splitting her time between Nia's ward and Lena's ICU bay. It had been a month since the supposed complications and Lena was transferred to the coldest floor on earth. Her bed in the ward was now occupied by a grumpy old man who kept harassing the nurses.
Kara and Nia hated him.
Just two hours ago, Alex had swooped into the ward with Nia's doctor, a skilful cardiothoracic surgeon called Samantha Arias. Kara had met Sam peripherally before, and she and Nia had never spared Alex a moment of peace for her obvious crush on the other surgeon. And then, miraculously, Sam told them that they didn't have to wait for UNOS anymore, because there was a heart had become available right this moment.
Morally, she knew that she shouldn't take joy in another person's death, and she swore that she would find out the donor's identity to thank their family profusely. But when she heard the news, she couldn't help but grin happily at the news, because at least her friend would be saved. Her friend would be healthy. Her friend could get out of the hospital.
She was never one to sit quietly on a bench and wait for news. So while Nia was under anesthesia in an OR, Kara wandered the hospital hallways as she was prone to do. She found herself standing outside the playroom in the pediatric wing, and remembering the first time she saw Lena sitting there and how hard she had fallen in that moment.
It had been a month since Lena had fallen into a coma.
Alex and the chief of surgery were evidently not optimistic about the outcome, though they didn't make it known to Kara. Kara knew anyway. She had sat through enough of Alex's study sessions to know how these things would turn out. Regardless of all that though, the blonde sat in the ICU bay whenever she wasn't at work or accompanying Nia, holding the woman's hand and willing her to wake up.
One of the kids noticed her standing outside and waved at her. Kara waved back with a small smile. Her phone trilled loudly in her pocket, alerting everyone passing by. She gave them all an apologetic glance as she dug it out, raising her brows at Alex's name flashing across the screen.
"ICU. Now," Alex snapped, a flurry of activities audible in the background.
She wasn't sure if she properly hung up. She did know that she gripped to the phone so tightly that her bones ached as she sprinted across the hallways, shouting apologies as warnings were issued at her along the way. Didn't even bother with the elevator and went for the stairs immediately.
There were many steps and many floors to overtake, but with the anxiety rushing through her, Kara barely felt it in her legs as she took two steps at a time. She didn't even allow herself a moment to breathe when she reached the intended floor, sprinting down the mazes and colliding with a couple of nurses, until she arrived to Lena's ICU.
"I think she really wants to go on that date," Alex whispered happily at her when they collided into each other's arms.
When she looked into the bay, there Lena was, green eyes particularly striking even through the haze of sleeping for one month. The woman smiled weakly at her through the glass and raised a flimsy hand to wave. Kara could only laugh in happiness at the sight before her.
"Welcome back, Ms. Luthor," she greeted as she entered the bay and slid the door closed behind her, making her way to the bed and gingerly sitting down by the bed.
Lena groaned and sighed. "You found out."
"Were you planning on hiding it from me for the rest of our lives?"
Even after having come out of a coma, Lena still managed to raise a skeptical brow. "The rest of our lives."
Kara's smile widened and she reached for Lena's hand, tangling their fingers together in a tight grip, because she didn't know how she could ever let go after this. "Leave it to me to fall for a woman with brain cancer," she muttered self-deprecatingly. "And someone who looks so good even when she's in a coma."
"Your sister took out the tumor. Was in a coma," Lena corrected promptly, rolling her eyes. Kara couldn't help but notice that there was a weak squeeze on her hands. "Best Christmas present ever," she murmured, closing her eyes momentarily.
"Go to sleep if you want to."
"I've been asleep for a month."
"You had brain cancer and a blood clot in surgery that put you in a coma for a month. I think you deserve more rest," Kara rebutted, subconsciously lowering her head to place a long kiss on Lena's hand. "I'll be here."
Kara hummed in agreement, watching as Lena inadvertently slip back into slumber, though she was valiantly struggling through it as she forced herself to open her eyes and locked them with Kara's. The blonde's heart, irresistibly, pounded harder at the attention.
"Nice to meet you, Kara Danvers."
A chuckle escaped Kara's throat. She nodded and replied, "Nice to meet you too, Lena Luthor."