It was the Christmas after Lex had been imprisoned when Kara had finally kissed her; Santa hat skewed on top of her head, looking absolutely bashful as Lena had stood precariously outside the boundary of the mistletoe that was hanging above Kara’s front door. And Lena, ever the scientist, had decided that Christmas to test a working theory she had kept close to her heart for years. She stepped fully under the suspended plant, and pressed a quick kiss to Kara’s cheek, whispering her goodbyes. It was when Kara captured her hand as she stepped into the hallway, and pulled her gently back through the doors threshold and into her arms, capturing her lips in a soft kiss, that Lena had her definitive answer. And it had been somewhere between stolen breaths, and steadily escalating kisses when Kara murmured a single word against Lena’s mouth; a simple ‘stay’, and Lena avowed then and there under some ridiculous holiday tradition and the strands of soft, white Christmas lights that lined the lofts walls, that she would never leave the loving warmth that Kara provided. And when Lena found herself wrapped in strong arms that night, her heart slowing as reverent kisses peppered along her bare shoulder, she knew Kara’s heart had quietly opened and welcomed her home. The next morning over breakfast, Lena had drawn a heart around December 26th on Kara’s wall calendar, a gesture which had pulled a broad grin across Kara’s face, and left breakfast abandoned as Lena was plucked up from her chair into strong arms along with a flurry of kisses as she was carried back to bed.
It was their first official Christmas together when Lena had slid a toothless key to Kara across the small island in her kitchen and asked Kara to move in with her. Lena had considered keeping her penthouse and simply relinquishing her closet space to be filled with dark and pastel button ups, and her pantry stocked with sugary snacks. Instead, she found herself drawn to finding a new residence, one that her and Kara could build a home in together. The revelation had left Kara nearly jovial as she swept Lena up in one arm, pressing a kiss to her cheek, and opened her laptop to browse Zillow listings. When they finally closed on the house, Kara had already chosen the colors for each room, and despite Lena’s best protests of being unable to sleep on anything less than seven hundred thread count sheets, still ended up with four king size jersey sheet sets. And Lena would never admit to loving them despite Kara’s knowing smile and teasingly calling her “a jersey girl” each time she pulled them from the linen closet.
Their second Christmas together, Kara had proposed. It wasn’t theatrical, and though they had discussed the idea of marriage in passing, Lena half heartily believed that she would be ambushed by a well choreographed flash mob if and when Kara decided to get down on one knee. Instead, Lena had been pressed into Kara’s side on their couch, scrolling through emails on her tablet, and sipping wine while deft fingers carded through her hair when a small box was placed on her lap. Kara’s movements didn’t stop as she dipped her head to Lena’s ear and quietly asked her to open it, nor did they when Kara caught the sound of Lena’s hammering heart. Kara simply shifted beside her, encircling an arm Lena’s shoulders, and placing a warm, calm hand over the delicate muscle thrumming away in her chest.
“Will you?” It was a simple two word question, and despite being a prolific journalist and the owner of a Pulitzer prize, Kara inquired as she often did, with a sort of casual endearment that somehow always left Lena speechless and a little more lovestruck than she was before.
Lena said yes once her brain caught up with her heart.
Their third Christmas together had their house filled with roarious laughter from family and friends on the eve of their wedding. In another time, the controlled chaos would have left Lena swimming with anxiety, but instead she found herself surrounded with a familial love she had chased her entire life and it caused warmth to blossom in her chest. It was reinforced each time she caught Kara’s soft gaze from across the room, or felt her soon to be wife in her proximity; a steadying hand resting on the small of her back as Kara launched into a story to J’onn and Nia about the time she buried the Danvers living room in nearly four inches of snow for her and Alex on Christmas morning. Eliza interjected to remind her daughter that she also had shoveled out the living room before opening any presents, which caused a blush to creep up and settle into Kara’s cheeks. As she finished the story, Kara eyed her mother playfully, and blew out a puff of cold air that sent a small burst of flurries spiraling out into the living room, much to the delight of their guests who attempted to catch snowflakes on their tongue, and shook out the iced fractals from their hair.
They married the following day in a small backyard ceremony with an overly zealous and emotional Alex officiating. Eliza had walked down the aisle bracketed by Kara and Lena. They wore simple white slacks and button ups, wrapped in ceremonial cloaks of deep navy and maroon that carried the House of El siegel on their back. Emotion caught in Eliza’s throat when she pressed a kiss to Lena’s cheek and told her she loved her, and caused Lena’s already paper thin resolve to get through the ceremony without crying to wither away completely. Kara held Lena’s hands, running her thumbs over the back of her knuckles in a silent, reassuring gesture that kept Lena grounded in the moment enough to finish her vows while shedding a respectful amount of tears until the cry perched beneath her chin tumbled out along with Kara’s “I do.” When her wife cupped her face and kissed her, Lena could taste salt, but more importantly it was the gentle touch that moved across her cheeks, taking away her tears and the heaviness from her fromer moniker filled Lena’s heart. She was no longer a Luthor, and on paper she was a Danvers, but in quiet, shared moments with Kara, she knew she was a Zor El. Kara shared her culture, and told animated stories of a previous life lived. She taught Lena a dead language, one Lena intended to keep alive in their household. The more fluent she became, the more she snuck in words throughout their day, loving the visceral reaction it pulled from her wife, especially in intimate moments.
Last Christmas they gathered their family in the living room and distributed holiday cards. Kara paced with anxious excitement until Lena reached out and captured her wife’s hand in her own and pulled her down gently onto the couch beside her. Alex turned the card over in hands obsessively, and held it up to the light of the fireplace, trying to decipher what was inside, while Eliza, ever intuitive, had cornered Lena in the kitchen earlier and with every ounce of motherly love, wrapped her in a tight hug, and pressed a kiss to cheek in silent congratulations. When Kara finally conceded to allowing their guests to open the cards, she steadied herself against Lena’s side, wrapping her arm around her wife’s shoulder and released a nervous breath in the quiet moment before the room erupted. Alex was first on her feet, waving the grainy sonogram picture, and nearly tackling Kara and Lena in a hug; she was going to be aunt, they were going to be parents, and love poured freely out all around them.
It was the next day that the sky bled. Lena found Kara that morning in the nursery, awashed in red light that poured through the windows, her face set in with a cold, distant stare. Kara slipped her hand into her wife’s as Lena came up beside her, and squeezed gently. Lena did her best to reign in her fear as an icy sense of dread crept up her back and pricked at her neck, settling there. Lex had escaped.
Sam had arrived shortly after and offered to drive Kara and Lena to the DEO. Kara had been with Alex on the phone nearly all morning discussing possible locations that Lex may be working out of when four black streaks broke across the sky and collided with the building, leveling that covert agency within seconds. The phone dropped from Kara’s hand as the call turned to static, and was out of the car, stumbling into the street, shock draining the color from her face as she collapsed to her knees. Doors opened along the street as people quietly got out of their cars and stepped out of their homes as debris began to rain down from the reddened sky. Lena gathered her wife in her arms, guttural sobs ripping from the back of her throat. Once a god that had fallen from the sky, now reduced to mortal flesh, Kara buried herself deeper into Lena arms, powerless to stop the grief that crashed through her body in violent, trembling waves. She screamed her sister's name as Lena and Sam pulled her to her feet and back towards the car. Lena gathered her wife and held her close in the back seat of the car as their friend drove them home. Lena caught Sam’s watchful eyes reflected back to her in the rearview mirror when an emergency broadcast broke the silence in the car; each of their phones buzzing and blaring with the alarm. Lena numbly reached into her pocket and read the message as Kara laid her head down in her lap.
Kal was dead.
“te zhao” Lena dipped her head, pressing a kiss to golden hair. ‘My love, my love, my love’ she repeated. Dread turned over in waves inside of Lena, and when she looked at her wife, she was met with a withering look. Kara knew, she had felt it, the moment when she was left unequivocally alone. No longer a sister. No longer a cousin. The last daughter of a dead planet and a dead race. She pressed her face to Lena’s stomach, kissing the small swell of life that was growing there, repeating her uncle’s Kryptonian blessing until they arrived home.
Kara withdrew in the hours that followed. She rocked quietly in the chair of their half finished nursery, a single finger pressed to her lips as her grief turned over and evolved into an unanswerable rage. It wasn’t until late afternoon when the sun returned. Lena watched as her wife walked to the backyard and into the sun, turning her hands over in the golden ultraviolet as if studying it. She only spared a brief glance back at Lena before she was sky bound, punching holes through the clouds.
Lena watched the news coverage of the recovery efforts downtown. She watched her wife lift concrete and beams, tossing them aside without thought as she searched for her sister. The recovery site grew eerily quiet as they watched Supergirl collapse to one knee and pull her cape from her shoulders. Lena reached out absently for Sam as she watched Kara pull Alex from the debris, gently brushing the soot from her sister's face before wrapping her with an infinite tenderness in the red fabric. Rescuers removed their hats, placing them across their hearts in grief and solidarity as Supergirl descended from the mounds of twisted metal, tears mapping their way through the ash that stained her cheeks. And for the first time that day, Lena let go, collapsing against Sam, who held her close until her tears subsided and the trembling in her body stopped, close until emotion had drained her, leaving her hollow and exhausted, on the cusp of an oblivious sleep.
She awoke to pain cutting through her like a knife, deep and hot in her gut. Lena pressed her hands into the couch and against Sam, trying to raise herself up, but she collapsed, agony ripping out of her chest in a scream. It wasn’t until Sam slid off the couch, and kneeled in front of Lena that she noticed the angry, bright blood that had begun to pool beneath her friend in a morbid halo. The edges of consciousness began to blur for Lena as Sam moved around the house frantically with her phone pressed between her ear and shoulder, demanding an ambulance. The last thing Lena remembered were the first, fluttering movements that turned over inside her belly as the abstract life she carried bled from her body.
Kara was beside her when she woke again. The incessant beeping of the machines around her the only sounds that filled the room. Kara was still in her suit, streaked with dirt, her cape missing. She held Lena’s hand, and dipped her head, pressing a reverent kiss to her knuckles. Lena ran her fingers through her wife’s hair and felt the warm tears that slid across the back of her hand in between each tender kiss Kara placed there. She vowed resolutely to find Lex and to kill him. Lena placed a finger beneath her wife’s chin, and lifted gently until tired, bloodshot eyes met her own, “Go.”
Lex was dead before sunset.
Lena had left six months later, unable to watch the rage Kara carried and how it settled deep inside of her, insidious and reckless.
Unable to keep removing the green shrapnel from impenetrable flesh that carried the constant reminder of her brother and what he had taken from her.
Unable to walk by the closed, locked door of an unfinished room in the house that was meant to be a home.
And unable to reach her wife, who was a hollowed shell of who she once was.
It had been nearly a year since the sky bled, and now Lena watches the snow fall over Boston. Dense, large flakes that obscure the Citgo sign across the pike from her Fenway apartment. It is nearly 2am, and Lena is far from sleep. In the kitchen, she pours the last remnants from her bottle of wine, topping off her glass and moves into the living room. She had put up a tree only at Ruby’s request when her and Sam visited at the beginning of the month. Sam had warned Lena of her daughter's instance on celebrating the holiday, and Lena had relented, unable to steal the joy from her god-daughter. It wasn’t until Ruby began to unpack and hang the stockings, hers, Sam’s, Lena’s, and one small, nameless stocking that Lena had to excuse herself. Sam had followed her into the bedroom a few minutes later and knelt beside her, cradling Lena in her arms as she cried.
Lena settles onto the couch and brings the wine glass to her lips, the burgundy liquid reflecting the soft, white lights of the tree. The glass nearly slips from her hand when she hears a gentle knock, and the sound immediately breaks down the door to heart.
Anxiety turns over in her chest, and she can feel the upkick in delicate muscle behind her ribs, her pulse drumming away in her ears.
Which means Kara can hear it too.
When Kara knocks again, Lena stands, setting her glass down on the table and walks towards the front door, but hesitates as she reaches out, her hand hovering over the handle.
On the other side of the door, Kara raises her fist, insistent on knocking again and again and again, even if it takes all night until her wife answers.
“Please.” Kara’s voice is quiet. She nervously adjusts her glasses as she hears the lock turn over. She shifts her weight on her feet, and taps her fingers anxiously against her leg. And for the first time in six months she sees her wife.
Rao, she is beautiful, and even if Kara had stumbled across the sky just for this view, it would have been worth it.
Lena grips the door handle tightly and without much debate, steps back and opens the door fully, allowing space for Kara to come in.
Kara gives a tight smile and steps inside. Wet snow is still clinging to her hair and jacket, and Lena resists the urge to reach out and brush it away.
“Thanks.” Kara says, shrugging her jacket off and hanging it on the rack by the door.
Lena closes her eyes for a moment, trying to gather her thoughts. She wrings her hands together, attempting to turn over a ring she no longer wears and looks at Kara, who has moved in front of the tree and is studying the ornaments , “Ruby picked most of them out.” she says. The words feel forced, and she isn’t able to stand idly by and make small talk with her wife.
“Wh-.. what are you doing here?” Lena asks, shock apparent in her voice.
“It’s Christmas.” and Lena can feel anger begin to rear up in her chest.
“Don’t be obtuse.”
Kara lets out a breath and steps away from the tree towards the fireplace. “Fine. Tomorrow is our anniversary.” her fingers trail along the mantle, ghosting over the small stocking at the end. She pulls her hand back, afraid of the emotion that may break free if she allows herself to feel it.
“I told you I needed space.”
Kara nods and turns to face Lena, “I know.”
“This isn’t space.”
“It’s been six months, and-..,” Kara takes a hesitant step forward, and Lena wraps her arms around herself, trying to protect every tender part that she can, “I can’t be alone.” Kara finishes quietly.
“Oh? Did someone finally refuse to keep pulling Lex’s kryptonite out of you? Or did they grow tired of watching you practically kill yourself every night?” Lena retorts, coldy,
Kara drops her head, and guilt crashes over her. She had spent months after losing Alex and their child selfishly throwing herself into battle after battle, fighting until her powers were nearly extinguished. Fighting aliens and humans alike with modified weapons, laced and sharpened with kryptonite, a final gift from Lex who had flooded the black market with the radioactive rock before she killed him.
She fought until she came home bloodied with a pain racing through body like razors in her blood. And Lena has gathered her each time, piecing her back together until she couldn’t.
Until she could no longer bear the weight of her own grief and Kara's and left.
Kara had spent those six months pinned somewhere between darkness and light. She sought counsel from J’onn, and began to pray again. She visited Alex often, and talked, hoping that her words would break through the clouds and find whatever god may be listening.
“I deserve that.”
A sad laugh escapes Lena as she looks down, averting her gaze from Kara’s sad eyes, “I didn’t.”
“You’re right, you didn’t. And I am so sorry.” Kara pleads, “I told you I would never leave. I’m still here.”
“But you did leave. You were gone long before me, Kara. You became a ghost, each day I watched you disappear more and more. And...” Lena lifts her head, feigning bravery, “I couldn’t lose you, too. I couldn’t see you come home like that. You kept putting me in that position. I couldn’t grieve. I couldn’t move forward. You kept me trapped in that darkness with you.”
“Lena, I am so sor-..”
“I lost everything, too. I lost my family. I lost our daughter. I nearly lost you. But I couldn’t let it drown me,” Lena says pressing her hand against her chest, “not when I had to provide every ounce of stability as you spiraled out.”
“Ou-..” emotion catches and tightens like a vise in Kara’s throat, “our daughter?”
Lena closes her eyes, fighting back her own tears, unable to meet Kara’s gaze and see the shattered look on her face.
“inah?” Kara repeats, the realization folding heavily into her chest, “You knew?”
“I was going to tell you,” Lena breaths out, “that night I was goi-..” but her words are drowned out by the cry that falls out of her. It’s too much. She clasps her hand tightly over her mouth, trying to swallow it back down, but the emotion threatens to collapse in on her, and she leans forward, her hand falling from her mouth as her pain escapes in guttural sobs.
Kara closes the distance between them, and gathers Lena in her arms, pulling her close, shouldering her tears until the fabric of her shirt is stained with salt.
“Hey, I’ve got you.” Kara dips her head to Lena’s ear, fingers running through obsidian hair, “I’ve got you.” she whispers
Lena doesn’t know how long she stays pressed against Kara, only that her breaths begin to even out, and when Lena lifts her head, she is met with a sad smile. Kara raises a hand and gently wipes away her tears with the pad of her thumb, and Lena can feel the broken pieces of her heart being hoisted up from the dark valley in her chest. She closes her eyes, and leans in, pressing the ghost of a kiss to Kara’s lips. When she pulls back, eyes still closed, Kara pulls her bottom lip between teeth, savoring the softness. She has committed Lena’s kiss to memory many times, but this kiss, one brushed with forgiveness, leaves Kara enveloped in a stillness that she hasn’t felt in over a year. She can hear the shaky breath that Lena lets go of, one laced with vulnerability, and when she opens her eyes, Kara can see a spark, something hopeful that soothes the callosed walls of her heart.
Kara leans in, her nose brushing over the cupid's bow of her wife’s lip, and presses her forehead to Lena’s, holding her gaze. And Kara swears in this moment and in every one that will follow that she will gather every piece of Lena’s broken porcelain heart and make it whole again.
“Stay.” Lena says quietly against Kara’s lips, and Kara can’t help but smile, because the song the word carries is so familiar, “Always.” she answers, pressing a tentative kiss to Lena’s lips.
Slow shaking fingertips run across the line of her jaw, and Kara leans into the touch, turning her head and pressing a reverent kiss into the palm of Lena’s hand. She is more than willing to relinquish every part of her over to Lena in this moment, to allow her to forge this new path with every trembling touch, and Kara will follow her like thread, weaving back together their ruins with every ounce of gracious love she has.
The gentle touch moves down the column of Kara’s throat and past the center of her chest, until exploring hands pull at the edge of her shirt, untucking them from her slacks. Warm fingertips move under her shirt, pushing up the fabric, and Kara raises her arms, allowing Lena to pull the clothing free. Lena pauses for a moment, noticing the long, silver chain hanging around Kara’s neck, two matching rings suspended from it. She glances up to her wife, and studies the bashful, soft look that has settled on Kara’s face. Lena lifts the chain, gliding her fingers down its length until the weight of the rings settle in the palm of her hand.
“You’ve never been nothing short of a romantic.” Lena playfully chastises.
Kara smiles, covering Lena’s hands with her own and capturing the rings in their joined hands, “More like nothing short of a cliché.”
“That too. But it’s one of the things I love about you.”
For the first time that evening, Kara can hear the mirth in her wife’s voice, and the warmth from it breaks like a wave against the shore of her heart. She leans down, capturing Lena’s lips in a sweet kiss. Lena presses her hands against Kara’s chest, and begins a slow ascent over warm skin until her fingers weave through the soft hair at the base of Kara’s neck and pulls her closer, deepening the kiss. There is no rush as Lena takes a step forward, pushing Kara back and guiding her towards the bedroom between kisses and insistent hands pulling at clothing until they are discarded in their wake. Kara’s hands rest on her wifes hips, and when her back meets the bedroom door, she reaches behind her, absently searching for the handle as Lena’s hands move to the buckle of her belt, unfastening and pulling it free.
They move in a familiar dance as they push through the threshold of the room. Kara keeps her hand on the small of Lena’s back, keeping her wife tethered as she reaches out and steadies a firm hand against the edge of the bed. Lena breaks their kiss, her soft eyes searching Kara’s face, and she knows the request before Lena has to ask; to stay close.
“sokao.” Lena asks, leaning in and pressing her lips against Kara’s, the request causing a bolt of pleasure to move through her body. She nods and steps away briefly to gather what she needs.
Lena presses her head back firmly into the bed, her back bowing when Kara finally moves inside her. Her nails dig into strong shoulders as her wife moves with slow, deep thrusts. Hot breath and laguid kisses move over her neck, across the column of her throat and then capture her lips. Kara grips the edge of the bed as her other hand travels down the side of Lena's body, trailing warm fingertips over the subtle dips and valleys of her ribs until she reaches her hip and kneads into the soft skin there.
Lena gasps as Kara pulls her close, hand steady on her hip, and she matches her wife's movements, rolling her hips into Kara, taking her in deeper. Warmth begins to collect low in her stomach, and Lena pushes a hand to the center of Kara’s chest, gripping the chain hanging loosely between them, and opens her eyes, holding Kara’s hooded gaze. Lena digs a heel into the bed, pressing up and adjusting her position just enough to hear the moan that falls past her wife’s lips that Lena captures with a searing kiss.
“zhygam.” she whispers against her lips, “sern.”
And Lena knows the reaction she elicits from Kara when she speaks to her like this in her native tongue; she can feel it in the way her heart races and can see it in the candescent glow that races under Kara’s skin, lighting up her capillaries in a dim, golden hue that grows brighter until they extinguish as she falls freely over the edge with Lena.
Soft, grey light pushes at the edges of the bedroom windows, and under the snow blanketed glow of the city, Lena holds their trembling bodies close as Kara murmurs assurances of love against her skin, and Lena realizes in that moment that perhaps home wasn’t always meant to be a place, but it could also be a person.
“Do you know why I chose it?” Lena asks sometime later, curled against her wife’s side, running her finger over Kara’s chest, and the eternity knot inlay of their rings.
“Hm?” Kara hums, carding her fingers through dark hair, “chose what?”
Lena props herself on an elbow, and rests her head in her hand, her finger ghosting over the platinum bands, “Gold.”
“Because you know it’s not my color?” Kara teases.
Lena swats playfully at her wife’s arm, “Because the body contains at least 0.2 milligrams of gold, with the highest concentrations being around the heart.”
Kara tilts her head down studying the rings, and then turns her gaze to Lena, whose eyes stay fixed on the bands with a distant look, “I chose gold because I believe we were forged in the heart of the same star, and when it collapsed, those parts of us traversed the universe, built worlds and life. The calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, and the gold in our hearts; we’re made in the interiors of collapsing stars,” Lena glances up to Kara, who is blinking away tears, “you came here and brought our star with you. And it is familiar as your touch and far as a distant memory, but it’s there, built into you and me.”
“Are you calling me a bunch of star stuff?” Kara asks conspiratorially, wiping the back of her hand across her cheek, capturing a stray tear.
Lena smiles, her laughter escaping in a short breath as she leans down, pressing a soft kiss to Kara’s smirking lips, “I’m loosely quoting Carl Sagan, but yes, star stuff.” she muses.
Kara smiles brightly then as Lena lips move across her cheek, and down the slope of her jaw. In a cosmos where further seems forever, and forever seemed meant for few things, forever had found its way, lining their hearts and pumping through their veins, infinite as the snow falling around them in the quiet of the city.