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"you're stunning."

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The first time she wanders into the hospital, Lena happens to be working in the ER that day. Lena had just finished examining a woman with severe abdominal pain. After prodding around and coming to the conclusion that the pain was coming from an inflamed appendix, Lena paged general, then went to the nurses' station to scope out any other cases she could snatch. 

 

That’s when Lena sees her. Tall, honey blonde hair in loose waves cascading over her shoulders, thin, black frames on the bridge of her nose. With a baby blue button up tucked into the waistband of a pair of slacks, the woman clutches her right hand in toward her stomach. Her face consumed with pain.

 

“Hi, ma’am. I’m Dr. Luthor,” Lena greets warmly. “Is something wrong with your hand?”

 

The woman winces, “Kara.”

 

“Pardon?”

 

“Kara. Call me Kara, please,” the woman—Kara—clarifies. “Ma’am makes me feel old.”

 

Lena lets out an airy chuckle. “I feel the same. So, Kara, what seems to be the problem with your hand?”

 

Kara grunts when she jostles her hand. With her uninjured hand, she pulls it away from her body so Lena can get a better look. “My finger. I think it’s broken.”

 

All it takes is a quick once over for Lena to agree with her. The tip of her ring finger is covered in angry shades of purple and red hues and swollen significantly more than the rest. 

 

“Oof, yeah, that looks like it hurts.”

 

Kara snorts her agreement. 

 

“Okay, well, I still want to take a quick x-ray to make sure it’s actually broken and not just a really bad sprain,” Lena explains. When Kara nods along, Lena continues, “Let’s get you to an exam room.”

 

Lena leads her to an empty examination room and gently helps Kara to sit down on the bed. 

 

“I’m going to go get the portable x-ray machine. It’ll only take a few minutes. A nurse may bring in some forms for you to sign while I’m gone.”

 

Kara nods again, and Lena notices that she’s biting down on her bottom lip.

 

“I’ll also make sure the nurse gets an IV line started so we can get you some meds in for the pain.”

 

Kara finally looks up to meet her gaze. Lena can see the relief spread through her face and azure eyes. Kara manages a small smile. “Thank you, Dr. Luthor.”

 


 

“Your eyes,” Kara comments as Lena steadies her hand on the x-ray detector.

 

“What about my eyes?”

 

“They’re beautiful.”

 

Lena glances up and is instantly met with Kara staring intently at her. “You’re high off pain meds.”

 

“While that may be true, I’m pretty sure I would still find your eyes beautiful if I wasn’t.”

 

Lena can feel the blood rushing to her face at Kara’s lack of a filter. “Flatterer.”

 

Kara smiles a dopey smile, “It’s not flattery. It’s the truth. You’re stunning.”

 

In order to try and prevent her pale complexion from matching the shade of a tomato, Lena stands up from the stool she was sitting on.

 

“So, how did you manage to bang up your finger this badly?” Lena asks, changing the subject. She positions the x-ray machine above Kara’s hand and backs away. “Be sure to stay still.”

 

“My friend… well, my coworker… but we’re friends as well. She’s new. I’m sort of supposed to be her mentor. She studied under my mentor, and now she’s studying under me. It’s like a full circle type thing.”

 

“Kara.”

 

“Hm?”

 

“The finger.”

 

A red blush covers Kara cheeks. “Right, sorry,” she smiles sheepishly. 

 

Lena can’t tell if Kara’s rambling was because of the pain killers or because she was just a natural rambler. She finds it endearing either way. 

 

“Anyway, my friend and I were working. Looking for sources led us to a bank. We were walking out when I realized I left my notepad inside. You know how banks have those heavy glass doors? Well, I turned and went to stop the door with my hand, and-”

 

“You got your finger smashed in the door, ” Lena finishes for her, an amused grin on her face. She presses the button on the side of the x-ray to snap a picture of Kara’s hand.

 

“Yes,” Kara admits, ducking her head. “I am a total klutz. My sister is going to tease me so much.”

 

Lena’s laugh dies in her throat when Kara’s scan pops up on the monitor screen. Sure enough, there’s a fracture at the tip of her finger. Small, but there.

 

“There’s your fracture,” Lena announces. She blows the image up so Kara can get a better look.

 

“Geesh, that door must be really strong to break my finger like that,” Kara muses. 

 

Lena smiles as she removes her latex gloves. She tosses them in the disposal bucket and makes her way to the door. “I’m gonna go find Stone Cold for a consult. She’s a bit of a hard ass, but one of our best ortho attendings. Just don’t mention the nickname. She doesn’t know we call her that.”

 

Kara doesn’t even try to stifle her laugh. “She knows.”

 

Cocking an eyebrow, Lena crosses her arms incredulously. “And how would you know that?”

 

Kara mimics her raised eyebrow. There’s a sly grin on her face and it makes Lena falter in her confident stance. “Did you ever ask me my last name? Or look at the paperwork I filled out?”

 

Lena swallows hard and picks up Kara’s chart from where it’s resting on the side counter. She skims over the sheet until her eyes land on what Kara was hinting at.



Name: Kara Danvers

DOB: 09/22/91

Age: 29

Gender: Male | Female | Non-binary and/or genderfluid | Prefer not to say

Address: 1022 Hope St, Apt 4A, National City, CA, 90012



Lena clicks her tongue. “So you’re the famous wife that Dr. Danvers won’t stop talking about?”

 

“What? No! Gross!” Kara exclaims, gagging. “No, no, no. I’m Alex’s sister.”

 

“Now I feel dumb.”

 

Kara chuckles and gives her a shrug. “It’s all good.” 

 

Lena spends far too long looking at Kara’s enchanting smile than appropriate. It takes over her entire face, reaching all the way up to her sparkly, blue eyes. There’s a light dusting of freckles that cover Kara’s cheeks, and a small scar next to her left eyebrow. Lena’s heart flutters because… Wow, Kara is the most beautiful woman Lena’s ever seen.

 

Her pager beeps, effectively breaking her out of her trance.

 

“Crap, I have to go,” Lena says, almost apologetically. “I’ll make sure to get Dr. Danvers to come down here. You just stay put.”

 

“And you stay gold, Ponyboy.”

 

Lena rolls her eyes. 

 

Kara tilts her head, mouth wide in mock—or what Lena assumes is mock—offense. “Don’t tell me you don’t like The Outsiders.”

 

Lena shakes her head as she pulls the door handle down. “You’re insufferable, Kara Danvers.”

 

“And you’re stunning.”

 


 

When Lena makes her way back around to Kara’s exam room, she can hear Kara and Dr. Danvers in an apparent screaming match from the other side of the door.

 

“Kara, you have got to stop following this case. It’s dangerous.”

 

“I can’t just stop searching for the truth because things start looking dicey, Alex. These people deserve justice.”

 

“That’s the thing! It hasn’t just become dangerous. It’s always been dangerous, from the beginning. I’m not denying that the victims deserve justice, because they do, but it doesn’t have to be you giving it to them, Kara. You don’t have to put your life on the line for them.”

 

“Alex-”

 

Before Kara can start up again, Lena knocks lightly on the door, then pushes it open. Kara is sitting on the edge of the bed. Her hand is resting on a small table. Dr. Danvers sits on the stool Lena previously occupied, hunched over the table. From the looks of it, she’s splinting Kara’s finger.

 

Both Danvers sisters swing their heads around to look at Lena. Kara gives her a smile, while Dr. Danvers’ face is tight and somewhat annoyed.

 

“Sorry to interrupt. I wanted to check back in with Kar—Miss Danvers,” Lena corrects herself. It’s proper bedside manner to refer to the patient by mister this, miss that. Even though Kara told her to call her by her first name, Dr. Danvers didn’t know that, and Lena cannot afford to slip up in front of her attending.

 

“It’s a non-displaced distal tuft fracture,” Dr. Danvers tells her with an exasperated tone. She stands up from the stool and shucks off her gloves. “I’ve already got her in a splint. She doesn’t need surgery, just someone to knock some sense into her.”

 

“Alex,” Kara irritatedly huffs.

 

Dr. Danvers looks at her sister like she’s about to punch her in the face. She starts to say something, then instead sighs and turns to face Lena.

 

“Dr. Luthor, can you please tell Miss Danvers that she’s being ridiculously reckless and that she should leave the crime-solving to actual police officers?”

 

Lena’s mouth opens, but Kara cuts in before she can say anything.

 

“No, Dr. Luthor, can you please tell Dr. Danvers that I’m doing my job and she needs to back off,” she emphasizes the final to words by raising her voice, glaring daggers at her sister. 

 

Lena looks between the two of them, unsure on what to do. On one hand, Kara is her patient. As her doctor, it’s her job to do everything in her power to make her feel comfortable and respected. On the other hand, Dr. Danvers is her attending, therefore her boss, and could prevent her from further progressing as a surgeon. 

 

She is conflicted, so she takes the easy way out.

 

“I’m afraid I don’t understand what’s happening here.”

 

“I’m a reporter,” Kara begins, “This woman came to me and told me she thinks her son got caught up in some sort of drug trafficking ring. She asked me to help get him out. In order to do that, I have to get all the details. Look for viable sources, get in contact with the higher-ups, find the ring leader.”

 

“Which is all very dangerous and shady, considering this guy has a higher body count than fucking Al Capone.”

 

“You can’t possibly know that, Alex.”

 

“And neither can you!” Alex shouts, startling both Kara and Lena from the volume of her voice. Realizing how loud she was, she takes a moment to collect herself. 

 

“Look, I’m sorry. I worry about you, okay? This is serious shit, Kara. This isn’t just going out on the street, taking a poll of who likes chocolate ice cream over vanilla. People disappear looking into stuff like this. Kara, I can’t-”

 

Her next breath is a shuddering inhale and Lena’s chest constricts at the amount of vulnerability someone they’ve nicknamed Stone Cold is openly showing. 

 

“The thought that you could become one of those people is overwhelming. I can’t stand it. I don’t know what I would do without you, Kara. I can’t lose you.”

 

Kara’s eyes are glossy with unshed tears by the end of Alex’s spiel, and when she blinks, they rush over the edge. It makes Lena’s heart ache.

 

“I’m sorry. I’ve never really looked at this from your perspective,” Kara says solemnly. “I promise I’ll be careful and I’ll be responsible, but I can’t stop working on this case.”

 

“I know.”

 

“—And you have to understand that- Wait, what?” Kara looks at Alex with a confused expression.

 

Alex gives her a weak smile. “I know you can’t, because you wouldn’t be you if you didn’t. You wouldn’t be my brave little sister, who wears her heart on her sleeve, diving head-first into danger just to help someone else.” 

 

Alex turns to Lena again. It’s the first time either of them have acknowledged her presence in more than a couple of minutes.

 

“She’s always been this way. So reckless, so stupid,” Alex lists as if Kara isn’t right next to her. “Anyway, Dr. Luthor, can you make sure Kara gets properly admitted and into an actual room. She needs to finish the rest of her IV and she won’t be able to leave for a few hours because of the pain meds.”

 

Lena’s already nodding her head when Kara pipes up.

 

“What? No. I need to get back to work. I have articles I need to finish before my deadline,” Kara whines. Lena can’t seem to suppress the smile that spreads across her face.

 

“You better get voice dictation because you’re not going to be able to type with that broken finger any time soon,” Lena tells her, half joking, half serious. 

 

Kara scoffs, but finds herself in some sort of staring contest with Lena again. She isn’t sure of Kara’s reasoning for the stare down, but Lena finds herself unable to look away. She hates the way her heart races in her chest, and the butterflies that begin to stir.

 

But what Lena hates the most is the stupidly charming grin on Kara Danvers’ face. 



Chapter Text

It isn’t until two weeks later that Lena finally tells Sam about Kara. Sam had been her best friend since the first day of their intern year. From the moment they double-teamed with the crash cart and ended up saving a little boy’s life, they knew they were in for a wild ride. Four years in, the two were inseparable.

 

Lena sits down at an empty table in the cafeteria. On her tray is a kale salad, an apple, and a small bottle of orange juice. Pulling the plastic wrap off of the to-go utensils and popping open the lid to her salad, Lena goes to dig into her lunch. 

 

She has all but two seconds of alone time before a tray slams down on the other side of the table. Lena nearly jumps out of her seat at the sudden noise, but calms herself down when she looks up at who brought over the offending item.

 

“God, Sam, you almost gave me a heart attack,” Lena says as her best friend plops down into the seat in front of her. 

 

“You would be in good hands if you did,” Sam winks, unwrapping her sandwich.

 

Being fourth-year residents, the question of which specialty to choose had begun to stir up. Sam wanted to go into cardiothoracics. She knew that from the day she got there. Sam was adopted when she was a baby because her biological mother had postpartum cardiomyopathy. She went into heart failure just two months after Sam was born and ended up dying. 

 

Sam never got the chance to know who her birth mother was, so she vowed to do whatever she could to make sure no one else has to go through what she did. 

 

As for Lena, when she first started out as an intern at National City General, she for sure thought she wanted to specialize in neuro. It made the most sense for her. She had always been fascinated by the way the human brain worked, and studying under some of the best neurosurgeons in the country would’ve definitely allowed her to learn more. (It also helped that she had steady hands.)

 

However, as time went on, Lena realized that she loved trauma cases. She used to puppy guard the entrance of the ambulance bay to try and snatch anyone coming in that looked to be a possible neuro case. The longer she spent there, though, the more Lena gravitated towards any type of trauma, not just head or spine injuries. A guy who had a (very bad) mishap with a power saw, a woman who accidentally got hit by a car while crossing the road, whatever the trauma, Lena lived off of it.

 

Lena lets out an airy chuckle at Sam’s cockiness, then digs into her salad.

 

“I haven’t seen you for more than three minutes at a time in the past couple weeks,” Sam says, “Catch any good cases?”

 

Lena bobbles her head around as she chews, contemplating over which of the patients she had seen in the past two weeks was the most interesting. The woman with appendicitis, the six-year-old with the perforated eardrum, Kara’s broken finger, the teenage boy who awkwardly asked her for some condoms while his dad was getting a colectomy-

 

“Well, there was this one case…” Lena trails off, her voice an octave higher and her eyes visibly brighter.

 

“Ooh, okay, do tell.”

 

Lena playfully rolls her eyes at her friend’s intrigue. “She came in with a distal tuft fracture. It wasn’t even surgical, but I-  I think she was flirting with me.”

 

Sam gives her an incredulous look. “Was she actually flirting, or was she just making conversation and you are horny and attention-deprived?”

 

Lena sputters. It was a reasonable question, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. She furrows her brows. “I think she was?” She states, more like a question.

 

Around a mouthful of turkey, cheese, and bread, Sam asks, “Why do you think she was flirting.”

 

Lena chooses to ignore her friend’s non-existent manners and answers the question almost immediately. “She called me stunning,” she recounts, a wistful smile on her face.

 

More than once , her inner voice says. She called you stunning twice, and she said your eyes were beautiful, and you found her staring at you on more than one occasion. 

 

Sam grins. “Was she cute?”

 

“God, yes, Sam.” Lena doesn’t even try to hide the blush coloring her cheeks. “Cute and hot at the same time, somehow.”

 

“That’s a dangerous combination.”

 

Lena hums. She looks down at the food on her tray, not finding herself hungry anymore. Of course, Sam being Sam, picks up on her sudden shift in body language.

 

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Sam asks. She puts her sandwich down, giving Lena her full attention.

 

“She’s unavailable,” Lena sighs. “Like, way unavailable.”

 

Sam’s expression is almost pained. “I’m sorry, babe. She’s married?”

 

Lena shakes her head.

 

“Oh no, is she straight?” Sam gasps. “Did you interpret her friendly, girls-supporting-girls compliments as flirting?”

 

Lena can’t help but to snort. “Worse.”

 

Sam’s brow furrows, “Is she a homophobe?”

 

“What? No! Well, I wouldn’t assume so, considering her sister is a raging lesbian,” Lena mutters.

 

“How do you know her sister is a lesbian but you don’t know if she’s straight or not? How did you even get to that subject?”

 

Lena huffs out a heavy breath. She feels her lungs contract deep inside of her. “Kara. Her name’s Kara, and she’s Stone Cold’s little sister.”

 

It’s like record scratch sounds out. Sam freezes once the words leave her mouth, her brown eyes comically large. She stays like that for a moment, before her hung-open mouth morphs into a smile and she has the audacity to start laughing .

 

“Oh, honey, that’s bad,” Sam says once her laughter subsided. “That’s really bad.”

 

“I know! It’s terri-” Lena’s pager goes off before she gets the chance to complain any further. She looks down to read what it says. “Ugh, I’m going to kill him one of these days.”

 

“Matthews again?”

 

“Yes,” Lena groans. “He’s paging me to the pit. It better be a four car pile-up or you might have to hold me back.”

 

Sam chuckles into her water bottle. 

 


 

When Lena makes it down to the pit, she’s frustrated that there isn’t a good trauma case, but she isn’t surprised. Mike Matthews, one of her four interns, is a total doof. His hands shake when he tries to insert an IV, he complains that his hands are tired whenever he’s tasked with holding a clamp in the OR, and he’s almost always in an on-call room—and he’s not sleeping. The only reason he got into the damn program in the first place is because his mother is on the board.

 

Mike waves her over from next to an exam room. Lena crosses the ER floor without much hassle, it’s thankfully (annoyingly) an easy-going day. Lena gets a high from the operating room. What she wouldn’t do for a roof collapse right about now. She knows it’s wrong to wish harmful things onto others, but at least she’s able to help the injured. 

 

“What is it, Matthews?” Lena asks. Exasperation seeps into her tone, almost purposefully. 

 

“There’s a patient in there who’s refusing medical treatment from anyone except you.”

 

Lena frowns as she places her cupped hands underneath the automatic hand sanitizer dispenser mounted onto the wall. Usually when people find out her last name is Luthor, they do just about anything to get away from her. It’s odd that someone would voluntarily want her care.

 

“Did they give you a name?” She questions.

 

Mike shakes his head. “Nope,” he responds, popping the ‘p.’ “But she was a blonde, glasses, was wearing this dorky shirt that said something about a pony...boy, whatever that is. Oh, and she was super hot.”

 

Lena gasps in recognition. Without another word, she barges into the exam room. Kara’s sitting up on the bed, her back ramrod straight. She has an arm wrapped around her torso and she’s taking in short, shallow breaths.

 

“Kara! What’s wrong? What happened?” Lena fights the urge to reach out and cradle her face. To soothe her by gently running her fingers through tousled, blonde hair. 

 

Kara winces when she takes in a breath. “If I tell.. you, you have to.. to promise that you won’t tell my sis- sister. She can be.. overprotective.”

 

Kara’s voice is laced with pain. A sinking feeling forms in Lena’s stomach. It makes her queasy.

 

“Your sister is my attending, Kara. I can’t keep this from her.”

 

An attending, not necessarily  yours ,” Kara emphasizes. “She may be the best, but she’s not the only orthopedic attending. Consult with Dr. Lance or Dr. Allen.”

 

Ortho. Bingo .

 

Lena inches forward. “What happened with your ribs?” She places her hand overtop of Kara’s and the blonde hisses in pain. She instantly recoils. “Sorry, I’m sorry.”

 

Kara shuts her eyes tightly. Her hand that isn’t curling in on herself clutches the bed sheets tightly. “It’s fine, I- I fell down some stairs.”

 

“Kara,” Lena breathes out. The sinking feeling grows. “How did you fall down the stairs? No, how did you even get here?”

 

The question pops into her head unexpectedly. If Kara was brought in by ambulance, there would’ve been a team of doctors at her bedside, not just Mike. She would have a cervical collar around her neck, and would most likely still be on a stretcher. 

 

“I drove,” Kara dismisses like driving herself to the hospital while in excruciating pain was just a regular Monday for her. “Believe it or not, I was actually walking up the stairs,” Kara chuckles. Lena can tell she immediately regrets that by the way she stiffens. “I was rushing to get up the stairs to my apartment, and I tripped over my own feet. I went down onto my right side.”

 

Lena cringes at the explanation. She’s heard her fair share of painful accidents, but it’s the mundane ones that always get a reaction out of her. Everyday mistakes are the most likely way to land yourself in the hospital. She’d never be out on a golf course while in a lightning storm, but she has and will continue to run up stairs. 

 

Her fierce surge of sympathy has nothing to do with liking Kara. She barely even knows the girl. She cannot like her.

 

“You think you broke a rib or two?”

 

“Something like that, yeah.”

 

Lena turns her back to Kara to grab a pair of gloves. “Alright, I’m going to need to check you out first. Can you take off your shirt for me?”

 

“At least buy me a drink first,” she grunts jokingly.

 

Lena turns and rolls her eyes, latex gloves now practically a second skin on her hands. “I can grab some fabric scissors and cut it off.”

 

Kara eyes widen. “No! This is one of my favorite shirts,” she exclaims, already reaching for the hem. “I’ll do it, just look away.”

 

Sighing, Lena turns back around. She uses the extra moment to collect herself. She did not expect to ever see Kara again, let alone only two weeks after their initial meeting. With another injury, no less.

 

Kara did say she was a klutz.

 

There’s a few uncomfortable huffs from Kara before she gives Lena the OK. “Okay, you can look now. I’m done.”

 

“I don’t understand why you had me look away if I’m going to have to look any-” she mutters the words under her breath, but they die on her tongue when she sees Kara shirtless. 

 

It’s completely inappropriate, the way she stares. She shouldn’t assume that Kara’s alright with her blatant staring because it is absolutely not okay. It is unprofessional and, frankly, an abuse of power, considering Lena is Kara’s doctor and she should be able to trust her. But all her brain can comprehend is abs, abs, abs.

 

And Lena feels dirty, and Lena can feel Kara’s eyes on her and dammit, why does a reporter need abs in the first place?

 

Kara picks up on Lena’s speechlessness and immediately gets worried.

 

“Oh, God, it’s bad, isn’t it? I’m gonna die, aren’t I?”

 

Lena’s brought back to the issue at hand. She jumps at Kara’s exclamation, and quickly tries to reassure her. “No, no, no, everything’s fine. Calm down, Kara. You’re not going to die.”

 

Kara lets out a sigh of relief, wincing halfway through. “Then, why were you staring at me like that.”

 

Lena steps closer and reaches out again tentatively. “I’m sorry about that. You have some bruising along the right side of your ribcage where you said you hit the stairs. It could just be from the impact, but it could also mean internal bleeding, which is a lot more concerning.”

 

“If it was internal bleeding, wouldn’t I be in way more pain? Or coughing up blood?”

 

Lena takes her stethoscope from where it’s hanging around her neck and plugs in the eartips. “I’m just going to take a listen to your heartbeat and breath sounds,” Lena mentions. “That’s not always the case with internal bleeding. It can present differently in everyone. That’s why we need to get you an MRI.”

 

Kara stiffens. Lena can hear the way her heart speeds up through the stethoscope before she notices Kara’s face suddenly going pale. When she glances up to question Kara about it, Kara is already looking at her. Her eyes are as wide as saucers.

 

“Hey, what’s wro-”

 

“Can you page my sister?”

 

The request takes Lena by surprise. She squints in confusion. “You just told me that you didn’t want your sister to know about this.”

 

“Lena, please,” Kara asks again. From the desperation in her voice, Lena infers that she wouldn’t be above begging for this.

 

“I- yeah, sure,” Lena nods, “Give me a second.”

 


 

When Alex Danvers sees her sister, now dressed in a hospital gown, on the bed in the examination room with her arm clenched tightly around her abdomen and an oxygen mask on her face, Lena decides then and there that she’s never going to call her Stone Cold again. The whole reason why they started calling her that was because of her constant stoic expression. The only time she would crack a smile was if she was talking about her wife. Besides that, her face was like that of a statue. 

 

At that very moment, the woman that Lena and every other surgeon at National City General had been calling Stone Cold had tears in her eyes. Actual tears. They don’t fall, but they are there. Lena can tell. 

 

“Jesus, Kara, are you okay?” Alex shuts the door behind her and walks further into the room. She disregards every doctor’s natural instinct to reach for the patient chart and instead opts to grab her sister’s hand. She smooths down Kara’s fly-away hairs with her other hand, just like Lena wishes she could've done.

 

“She fell on the stairs, complained of pain in the rib area. Chest sounds are normal, but I put her on oxygen to help her breathe a little better,” Lena explains. She averts her attention down to the floor when Alex presses a kiss to Kara’s forehead. It’s a tender gesture and it makes her feel like she is the one who can’t breathe.

 

She pretends to not hear Dr. Danvers’ strangled ‘Oh, Kara.’

 

“There’s visible bruising. It could be internal bleeding. I’ve already booked an MRI.”

 

Alex snaps her head around so fast Lena fears she may get whiplash. “Cancel it. Right now.”

 

“Why? Does she have metal pins or rods from a previous injury? Because, with all due respect, Dr. Danvers, if she doesn’t get an MRI and we find out later that she’s bleeding internally and we could’ve stopped it, it’s going to be on you.”

 

The words leave her mouth before Lena can even think of the repercussions of questioning her attending’s judgement, going so far as to put a hypothetical blame on her.

 

Both Danvers sisters stare at her with wide eyes. It’s clear that Dr. Danvers is mostly just surprised, while Kara’s expression is more in awe.

 

“She’s claustrophobic,” Alex tells her slowly. “She wouldn’t last five seconds in an MRI.”

 

Lena doesn’t need a mirror to know that her cheeks are turning red. “I- um, I-,” she stammers.

 

She hates the way both of them can make her feel like a fool. It’s not fair. Being in their presence has turned her into a stuttering idiot. 

 

“Call radiology, cancel the MRI, and schedule a chest x-ray.”

 

Lena is nodding and halfway out the door before Alex can finish her sentence.

 


 

The results of the chest x-ray state that Kara just barely fractured her fifth rib, and only bruised her sixth and seventh. There was nothing they could do for her except prescribe some pain medication and give her a doctor’s note allowing her to rest up at home for a few days. 

 

Kara couldn’t be discharged until later that afternoon, so Alex put Lena in charge of monitoring her. 

 

“Your sister told me to tell you that she’s making you spend the night at her place,” Lena tells Kara with a grin after she checked her vitals. 

 

Kara throws her head back with a dramatic sigh. “This is why I didn’t want her to know at first. She’s so overprotective,” Kara grumbles. “I won’t be able to get any work done on that drug trafficking article if she’s breathing down my neck all night.”

 

Lena laughs at Kara fondly. Whenever she complained about Alex—which was a lot—she always got this endearing, little crinkle between her eyebrows. 

 

“How’s that going, by the way?” Lena asks once her laughter turned into weak puffs of air from her nose. “Any promising leads?”

 

“Actually, yes,” Kara’s face brightens up. “There’s this guy who has agreed to talk to me. Apparently he’s a cousin of one of the ring leader’s confidants. He says he’s got some good information for me. We meet in two weeks.”

 

“Well, just make sure to be careful. Your sister may be overprotective, but it’s only because she loves you. Neither of us want to see you coming in here with another injury, okay?”

 

Lena has no idea why she does it, but Kara legitimately smirks at her after she says that. “What’s that look for?” Lena questions her.

 

“Dr. Luthor-”

 

“Lena, please.”

 

Kara smiles her toothy smile. “ Lena ,” she corrects herself, “if I’m not mistaken, it kinda sounds like you care about me.”

 

(There’s why.)

 

“I care about all of my patients,” Lena replies swiftly, always having been one to have a response at the ready. 

 

Kara purses her lips in a you-got-me-there expression. Just as Lena thinks she’d won this round, Kara throws in, “Do you let all of your patients call you Lena, too?”

 

Lena can’t decide what she wants to do more: strangle Kara, or kiss her.



Chapter Text

Lena makes her way down the hall of the orthopedic sector of the surgical floor at a brisk pace. When she received the page from Dr. Danvers, her mind immediately jumped to something being wrong with Kara. It had been almost two weeks since Kara first came in with her bruised ribs. Lena hadn’t heard from her or Dr. Danvers since then. Until now.

 

Standing at the end of the hallway next to a closed room door is Dr. Danvers. She didn’t look worried or concerned, so Lena pushes away the thoughts of Kara having complications. When Lena stops a few feet in front of Dr. Danvers, the seasoned surgeon’s classic expressionless face splits into a grin. It takes Lena by surprise.

 

“Good morning, Dr. Danvers-”

 

“Luthor, I have something for you,” Alex cuts her off before she can finish greeting her.

 

Lena tilts her head, “You have something for me?” She repeats quizzically.

 

Alex nods, a smile still ever-present on her face. It honestly unsettles Lena. “Right behind this door is a car crash victim. His Prius got hit by a semi at an intersection. Terrible thing, but… I hear you like trauma, and this guy has got a lot of it to go around. You’re scrubbing in with me.”

 

Slack-jawed, Lena gapes at her superior. This was the type of case where the head of ortho and the head of trauma would work together in the operating room. The fact that Alex, the head of orthopedic surgery, was asking her, a fourth-year resident who wasn’t even in a fellowship yet, to scrub in was insane.

 

“Is that a yes, or…?” Alex trials off when the only response she gets from Lena is wide eyes and a dropped jaw. “Dr. Luthor?”

 

The sound of her name snaps Lena out of her stupor, though the words that she manages to form are nothing short of embarrassing. “Why me?”

 

When an attending asks you to scrub in on their surgery, you scrub in, no questions asked. Chief J’onzz said it on her first day as an intern, “Scrubbing in is a privilege, not a right. The attendings owe you nothing. You earn it.”

 

Had it been any other attending, they would have taken offense to Lena’s dumbfounded response and went on their way to find a different resident. But this was Alex Danvers, a doctor who, Lena recently realized, does have a heart.

 

Alex sighs, resting her hands on her hips. “This is my way of saying thank you for what you did for Kara. Out of all the people who could’ve found her wandering into the ER that day, I’m glad it was you. I don’t trust a lot of people with my sister’s care, but you’re definitely one of the few.”

 

Lena files away being one of the only doctors in the hospital that Alex trusts completely in an itty, bitty box to analyze later. Instead, she takes the high road, “I did what any doctor would have done. It’s really not something that should be rewarded.”

 

“I’d like to believe that, but you and I both know that most fourth-year residents would’ve passed Kara over to one of their interns,” Alex tells her. “And I totally get why. I was a resident at one point, too. Broken fingers and bruised ribs are far below what you are capable of, but you stuck with Kara anyway. It’s really telling of what kind of doctor you are.”

 

"I- thank you, Dr. Danvers," Lena smiles genuinely. "That's quite an honor, coming from you."

 

Alex waves off Lena's gratitude with a smile of her own. "No need to thank me. I'm just speaking the truth." Taking a glance down at her watch, the attending's eyes widen. "Oh, crap, okay."

Face scrunched in confusion, Lena asks, "What's wrong?"

 

"Rounds start in ten minutes," Alex answers. "You're with me on this case right?"

 

Lena nods.

 

"Okay, grab your best intern and meet me back here at eight."

 

With that, Lena scurries off down to the locker room where she knows her most promising intern is getting ready.

 


 

By the end of the day, Lena, Alex, and Eve are able to save the patient's left leg from amputation, which was their main goal going into it. He still had a few more surgeries and a long road of recovery ahead of him, but they decided to call today's victory a win. 

 

"Hey, Luthor," Alex calls. Lena stops brushing her hair and glances over to where Alex is throwing a flannel over a white tank top. "You free tonight?"

 

Lena hums, thinking a moment. It was a Thursday night. She planned on heading home, heating up a microwaveable dinner, and watching a movie or two before heading to bed. She'd call that 'free.' "Yeah, I'm free."

 

Alex smiles—which Lena has realized over the course of the last few weeks, isn't that uncharacteristic for the orthopedic surgeon—and picks up her bag from where it was resting on a bench. "Great! You're coming to Al's with us tonight."

 

"Us?"

 

"Yeah," Alex nods, still smiling. "It would just be me and a few other doctors. You probably already know them, anyway."

 

Lena's brows furrow. An invitation? To get drinks with Alex and her friends? First Alex says that she is one of the few doctors in this hospital she trusts, and now she's inviting her to hang out outside of work. Was this the same Alex Danvers that Lena had been scared to even make eye contact with for the past four years? 

 

Somehow sensing Lena's uncertainty, Alex adds, "I'm not usually this... open to new people, but you're somewhat friends with my sister. If you get in good with Kara, you get in good with me."

 

That did make sense. If Alex and Kara's relationship was anything like hers and Sam's, Lena could see why Alex was making an effort to be more inclusive with her. 

 

Lena runs a hand through her hair, sighing. What's the worst that could happen? "Okay, sure. I'll go."

 


 

Turns out the "worst" is that Kara, too, was invited to get drinks with the unruly bunch that has been dubbed the Superfriends. Alex had been right about Lena knowing who the doctors a part of their group were. She'd worked with James Olsen and Querl Dox (who preferred to be called Brainy) before. They were the head of pediatric surgery and a neurology fellow, respectively. Then came Nurse Schott, who Lena hadn't met before but quickly became fond of. He was dorky, sweet, and claims he faints at the sight of blood, but he'd been a nurse for the past three years anyway.

 

Lena was introduced to Dr. Kelly Olsen next. Kelly worked in psych and it didn't take Lena long to figure out that she was the lovely wife that Alex talked non-stop about. Kara brought along a friend as well, Nia Nal, a cub reporter at CatCo who happened to be dating Brainy. 

 

After the introductions were made and Lena got over the initial shock of seeing Kara yet again, the night went off without a hitch. Alex and Kelly challenged Brainy and Nia to a game of pool, while James and Winn hogged the dart board. Lena kept to herself, more or less. She only ever spoke when she was talked to directly and even then, her input didn't add much to the conversation.

 

It was obvious that the Superfriends had been going out like this for a long while. They fit so well together. Some of them were in romantic relationships, but no one ever seemed to feel left out. Alex and Kelly liked being able to just talk amongst themselves, but they never minded if Winn or Nia popped in. Lena could tell though, that at the core of the group was Kara. 

 

Kara was the heart of the Superfriends. Lena could see that from the hour and a half she's spent in Al's bar with them. It was surprising, considering more than half of the group consisted of hospital staff and Kara worked on the other side of town. Whenever Kara comes around, the group just lights up. If asked, Lena doesn't think she'd be able to describe why or how, but witnessing it was an amazing sight.

 

When everyone split off to play games, Lena stayed at their high top table, nursing her scotch. A short laugh escapes her pursed lips as she watches Winn completely miss the dart board on his turn. 

 

"He's never been any good at darts."

 

Lena jumps at the sudden voice but settles once she sees who it belongs to. Kara smiles at her sheepishly, cradling a bottle of beer. 

 

"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you."

 

"You're fine," Lena waves her off. "Um, how are your ribs?"

 

Lena internally cringes at herself. This is the first moment all night that she and Kara have gotten where it's just the two of them, and she asks about her ribs? What a great way to show that she's interested.

 

(Not that she's interested in Kara. No way. That- that's not okay. Kara was her patient and she's Alex's little sister. That's not okay.)

 

Kara lightly runs her hand along the front of her button-up. "Good, they feel good. Healing nicely."

 

Lena nods, her lips in a thin line. The air is awkward between them and she has no idea how to fix it. She needs a refill, but Kara is right there and excusing herself this early into their small talk seems a little rude. 

 

"It sucks that my abs have lost some definition, though," Kara continues on.

 

Lena can't tell if Kara's just trying to push past the awkwardness, or if she doesn't even realize it's there. She never really knows with Kara. 

 

"I haven't exactly been able to workout these past couple of weeks, let alone do any core work," she says, then goes to take a pull from her beer.

 

"I'm sure they still look great. You're, um, abs I mean. They looked good when I saw them." Kara's reaction of nearly choking on her beer only makes Lena the blush on her cheeks spread more. Why did she say that?

 

Kara coughs, her eyes bugging out. 

 

"I mean, I-" Lena stutters as she tries to get herself out of the hole she dug. "I saw them when you came in after you fell. They were good, you're good. Very, uh... fit."

 

"Thank you?" Kara finally breaks free of her coughing fit and her response comes out more like a question. 

 

Lena gives her a forced smile and grabs her glass from the table. As she downs the last of scotch, she wishes the floor of the bar would open up and swallow her whole. She's never been this flustered around someone she likes. She's always been well-spoken. You have to, if you want to be a doctor. You cannot show any type of fear or concern in your voice when you are presenting a patient's condition to them. They will most definitely pick up on your own uncertainty. 

 

(Her brain makes a futile attempt at trying to convince herself that she's a blabbering mess because she does not like Kara, but that makes zero sense and, at this point, she just needs to accept that her schoolgirl crush isn't going away.

 

Her fifteen-year-old, hopeless romantic self who had seen The Titanic one too many times would be thrilled at the prospect of a forbidden love. But that was before she grew up and experienced heartbreak.)

 

Kara shuffles on her feet, successfully drawing Lena's attention back to her. "I was gonna head outside for some fresh air. Did you want to come with?"

 

Lean hesitates accepting her offer. She's already made such a fool of herself in the two minutes she's been talking to Kara, it could only get worse once they're both alone and not surrounded by rowdy bar-goers. "Thanks, but I think I'm just going to head home. I had a pretty busy day today."

 

To Lena's surprise, a flash of something next to disappointment washes over Kara's features. "Oh, um," she swallows thickly. "Of course. I heard about that surgery you and Alex did together. Saving that guy's leg. It's incredible what you surgeons are capable of."

 

Lena flushes, ducking her head at the praise. Incredible was a stretch, but then again, she never liked receiving compliments for doing her job anyway. She goes to wave off Kara's words, but something tells her that Kara was the type of person to insist she just take the compliment. So Lena nods, a polite smile on her face. "Thank you."

 

"I should probably go pay off my tab," Lena continues when Kara's stays quiet. 

 

"Don't worry about it, I'll cover it for you," Kara replies nonchalantly. "As a thank you for being such a good doctor to me," she adds after noticing Lena's doe-eyed gaze.

 

Lena's already shaking her head in disagreement by the time Kara gets out her explanation. "Kara, no. I had two glass of scotch and a beer. That's way too expensive. I couldn't ask that of you."

 

"You're not asking, I'm offering," Kara shrugs as if paying someone's bar tab who is practically a stranger to you was a normal occurrence for her. Lena doesn't doubt that.

 

"I-," Lena's argument dies on her tongue when Kara arches an eyebrow at her, her face screaming don't fight me on this. Lena lets out a heavy sigh, but a grateful grins spreads across her face. "Okay, okay. Thank you."

 

"Mhm, that's what I thought," Kara smirks, extremely pleased with herself. It takes every ounce of self-control Lena has left in her body not to kiss that stupidly smug look off of Kara's face. "Let me walk you out."

 

Lena drops her empty glass off at the designated area at the bar and moves to follow Kara outside. The second the cool air hits her, Lena feels lighter. It was April, so the weather was getting warmer in National City, but the nights were still cooler. This Thursday night in particular had a slight breeze that caused goosebumps to spread across Lena's skin. 

 

All that can be heard is the crunch of the gravel beneath their footsteps until Kara cuts through the relative silence and says, "You know, I was a bartender once upon a time."

 

Lena can't help but to laugh at the sudden confession. Kara? Bartender? No way.

 

"Something funny?" Kara questions.

 

Lena's laughter dies down as Kara stops walking and looks her in the eye. Her blue of her eyes are almost completely drowned out by how dilated her eyes are. It makes Lena's stomach flutter, but she chalks it up to the amount of drinks Kara's had. "I just- Why don't I believe you?"

 

Kara frowns, "What do you mean?"

 

"I don't know. You just don't look like the bartender type. Barista maybe. But bartender seems more up your sister's alley."

 

Kara scoffs good-naturedly. "So now you're stereotyping me?"

 

"I'm not stereotyping you," Lena rolls her eyes playfully.

 

"Uh, yeah you are."

 

"Okay, fine, yes I am, but can you blame me? You look too... bright, I don't know."

 

Kara just shakes her head, playfully offended. She reaches into the back pocket of her jeans and pulls out her cell phone. Wordlessly, she scrolls through the device, not allowing Lena any access to what she was doing. After a moment, her eyes spark in recognition and she flips the phone around to meet Lena's eyes. "What about her? Does she look too bright?"

 

"That's you?" Lena gasps, reaching out and taking Kara's phone in her hands. "No way."

 

It's a picture of Kara, and someone who looks to be a younger Winn. It's obvious the two are at some sort of college frat party, based on the keg Lena notes in the background and the suspicious amount of guys wearing tight polo shirts and khakis. What really grabs Lena's attention though is Kara, more specifically, what she was wearing. A leather jacket, thrown over a tight black blouse, paired with a red plaid skirt. Kara's hair is crimped and closer to a bleached color as opposed to her natural honey blonde. The nose ring is what surprises Lena the most. Most teenagers had rebellious phases, but a good number of them didn't go as far as to get a piercing.

 

(Though she couldn't be one to talk.)

 

"You really were a bartender?" Lena asks, still marveling at the photo in front of her.

 

"Only for a few months," Kara confirms and takes her phone back. "It was fun, but I'm pretty sure all of my coworkers hated me. I was notorious for dropping glasses."

 

Lena clicks her tongue, amused. She breaks away from Kara's gaze to look at the city. National City at night was always gorgeous this time of year, but something about this night just made its beauty multiply. "It really is a beautiful view," Lena muses.

 

"It is."

 

Kara's voice is low and intense. Lena looks over at her, only to be met with Kara staring at her. That line was such a cliche and it in no way should make Lena blush as much as it does. If anyone else pulled that on her, she would've cringed and excused herself to her car. But this was Kara. Kara who looks like she actually meant what she just said. 

 

It's only natural that Lena tries to deflect.

 

"Wow, that was cheesy, even for you, Danv-"

 

Lena gets cut off by a hard press of lips against her own. It's unexpected and exhilarating and it causes Lena's brain short circuit. She doesn't even get the chance to revel in the feeling of Kara's soft lips before Kara is pulling away. Lena's eyes fly open just in time to catch Kara's retreating form. 

 

"I- I am so sorry," Kara stammers out. "That was not okay. I... I'm sorry. I read this wrong."

 

Kara nearly trips over her own feet as she swiftly turns around and rushes back into the bar. It's only after Kara's out of earshot that Lena's regains the ability to speak.

 

"Wait, Kara, no!"

 

But by then, she's already long gone.

 

 

Chapter Text

"Excuse me, doctor? Could you please tell me how much longer it is until I can get out of here?"

 

Lena stops in her tracks. Clamping down on her bottom lip in an attempt to not curse out a seventeen-year-old, she swiftly turns around on the balls of her feet. She exhales through her nose at the sight in front of her. A teenage boy with a pencil clean through his hand. She doesn't know how it got there. Frankly, she doesn't want to know. That was Dr. Lockwood in plastics' problem. If only Lockwood would answer her page to the ER already. 

 

"Liam, we've been over this. I cannot legally let you go until that pencil is removed. And besides, you're going to need a parent or guardian to sign the discharge papers. I suggest you just sit tight."

 

Liam works his jaw. "But my soccer game is tonight at four-thirty!" He complains, for the third time in the hour he's been there. "I can't miss it, doc."

 

Lena sighs, "Listen, Liam, even if Dr. Lockwood could remove the pencil in time for your game, you'd still miss it," she explains to him, for the third time in the hour he's been there. "There's no chance you're making that game."

 

Liam scuffs his foot against the floor causing a loud squeak to sound out. Lena grinds her teeth at the unpleasant noise. Her hands tighten her grip on the clipboard she's holding.

 

"This fucking blows."

 

"Tell me about it," Lena mutters under her breath. She closes her eyes for a moment, willing for enough annoyance to leave her body so she can carry on with her day without a crappy attitude. It takes her a few seconds, but she forces herself to smile. It's not quite as cheery as it would be if she were talking to a younger child, but still cheery nonetheless. "Let me go check on where Dr. Lockwood is for you."

 

The fake smile immediately falls off her face the second she turns away from Liam. It was patients like Liam that got her thinking why she even signed up to run the ER for a shift in the first place. It helped her to delegate, which was an essential skill to have for trauma, but it was one she had already mastered. She couldn't think of a single reason why she willingly wrote her name down on the volunteer sheet. She should've known something was up when all of the name slots were empty. 

 

Lena pads over to the ER desk and slams Liam's chart down, alarming one of the nurses. 

 

"Sorry, Jess," Lena rushes to apologize. "That kid'll be the death of me, I swear."

 

Jess just chuckles. "Would you like me to check on Dr. Lockwood's whereabouts, Dr. Luthor?"

 

Lena arches an eyebrow, giving her favorite nurse a pointed look. "How many times do I have to tell you that you can call me Lena?"

 

"Not gonna happen, Dr. Luthor," Jess shakes her head.

 

Lena lets out a good-natured sigh, "Well, then, yes, I would appreciate it if you could find out where Lockwood is for me, Nurse Huang."

 

Rolling her eyes, Jess goes to type on the desk monitor. The melodic click-clack of the keys as she types allows Lena's brain a chance to relax. She focuses on the sound and lets her mind wander. It's almost instantaneous, the way thoughts of Kara flash through her mind once she closes her eyes. The image of Kara surging towards her pops up and Lena snaps her eyes open before Kara's lips can meet hers. 

 

"Okay, looks like Lockwood is doing a double mastectomy in OR 2,"  Jess speaks up, saving Lena from whatever the hell was going on in her mind.

 

"Valid reason to not answer my page, but that's still a three hour procedure at the least," Lena grumbles. She pinches the bridge of her nose in frustration. The longer they kept Liam waiting, the longer he would annoy Lena. "Um, is Dr. Edge on-call today?"

 

Jess goes back to typing for moment, then looks back up at Lena. "Yes, he's on-call and he's not currently in surgery. Would you like me to page him for you?" 

 

"That would be wonderful. Thank you, Jess," Lena smiles, her first genuine one of the day. "Hey, are you going to be free for lunch-"

 

"Lena!"

 

Lena frowns at the sound of her name. She notices Jess' attention drifting to someone over her shoulder before she decides to turn around. For some reason, she expects the person to be Liam. She just spoke to him five minutes ago, but the kid was adamant on making it to his soccer game. Anticipating a black-haired teenage boy with a pencil through his hand, her eyes widen in surprise when she sees a blonde woman who was very much not a teenager. 

 

"Kara," Lena's breath leaves her in a rush. Kara always makes her feel like she can't breathe and she hates it. "What are you doing here?" Lena starts to head towards the entrance of ER where Kara is standing, but a thought crosses her mind which makes her halt her steps. "Wait, are you hurt?"

 

Kara lets out a breathy laugh. "No, no, I'm fine. Don't worry," she confirms, soothing Lena's nerves. "Though, I do hate that I have now made a reputation for myself. I can't come into this hospital anymore without you thinking I've hurt myself again."

 

"Well, you did come in here twice, only two weeks apart, for two different injuries," Lena can't help but tease. "Forgive me for assuming you were being a klutz again."

 

Kara rolls her eyes fondly, "Ha, ha, very funny." She makes her way closer to the ER desk and places her hand dangerously close to where Lena's is resting on top of it. It makes Lena's breath hitch, but she's sure Kara doesn't even notice. How was this woman so completely unaware of the hold she had over Lena? "Would you mind paging my darling sister? We're supposed to be grabbing lunch together."

 

"Her car crash victim went into sepsis an hour ago. She's been in surgery ever since," Jess pipes up before Lena can even open her mouth. 

 

Lena winces, "Ooh, yeah, she's not going to make lunch with you today. Sorry, Kara." 

 

"Damn," Kara frowns. Her brows furrow and it looks like she's contemplating something, then she perks up. "Did you maybe wanna grab lunch with me instead? I could take us to Big Belly Burger?"

 

The invitation makes Lena sputter. This was the same woman who kissed her last night and ran away before Lena could even react. Why was she acting like nothing at all had happened? 

 

"I, um-"

 

"She'd love to grab lunch!"

 

Lena snaps her head towards Jess faster than a speeding bullet. Jess takes in Lena's reaction—mouth agape, eyes as wide as saucers—and has the audacity to smirk. "Lena, here, was just asking me to grab lunch with her, but unfortunately my break isn't for another forty-five minutes," Jess says with a thin smile. Lena can sense the faux disappointment from a mile away.

 

Lena's mouth forms a snarl. She tries to send Jess a message along the lines of "what the hell are you doing?" through her facial expressions, but if Jess picks up on it, she doesn't show any sort of sign.

 

"Oh, that's great, then!" Kara is smiling. Lena call tell just from her voice. She grinds her jaw and cocks an eyebrow at Jess. Jess just continues on with her work on the computer as if she didn't just add an additional stressor onto Lena's already stress-filled day (and it's only noon).

 

Fixing her face into a smile, Lena turns to face Kara. She was right. Kara's smiling a wide, almost dopey grin. The sight of it makes the butterflies in Lena's stomach flutter. 

 

God, she hates this woman.

 

(In the back of her mind, her inner romantic tells her that she's incapable of hating Kara.)

 

(She hates her inner romanic, too.)

 

Lena needed to come up with some sort of excuse. She could not have lunch with Kara. She already gets flustered around the blonde on any average day. She couldn't endure an entire meal with her after what happened the night before. At least, not until they talked about it.

 

"My, uhm, my lunch break doesn't technically start for another...," Lena glances down at her wrist and immediately wants to fling herself off of a roof when she realizes she isn't wearing a watch. She tugs down on her lab coat sleeve in an attempt to hide her bare wrist. "It doesn't start for another ten minutes."

 

Kara just shrugs, smile never leaving her face. "It's fine. I can wait out in my car until you're ready."

 

Lena bites her tongue to stop herself from cursing. She forces another smile. "Sounds great." She says behind gritted teeth.

 

"Nice! My car is the blue Subaru with reindeer antlers." And with that, she turns swiftly on her heels and makes her way outside. 

 

"Have fun on your date, Dr. Luthor," Jess teases.

 


 

Kara's car has reindeer antlers on it. Big, brown antlers strapped on to both front seat windows. There are even jingle bells attached to the base of the antlers. It's the middle of April, and Kara's car looks prepped for Christmas. 

 

Even though Kara's car has reindeer antlers on it, Lena can't find it within herself to laugh. She can't laugh, or poke fun, or tease because the entire sight of it is just so... disarming. Just being in Kara's presence relaxes Lena, and it's not like Kara is known to have a calming energy. Quite the opposite, actually. She's loud. She'll throw her head back cackling if you say something funny, completely ignoring anything about modest laughter in a public space. She's the nicest person in the world, but can get obnoxiously defensive if you make a jab at any of the movies she likes. 

 

If she were anyone else, Lena would hate her.

 

But she's not. She's Kara Danvers. Her boss' little sister. Her patient. Her... friend? 

 

Do friends kiss each other and then act like nothing at all happened?

 

The point is. Kara is Kara. And Kara is unavailable. 

 

They already ate their Big Belly Burger lunch. Lena ordered a salad, while Kara got a burger combo meal with an extra large Sprite. Somehow Kara was able to practically inhale her food in three minutes flat, and she still had room for a cookie for dessert, all the while Lena still had more than half of her salad left.

 

Watching someone devour their food in the timeframe of a modern pop song shouldn't have been attractive to Lena. She had standards, ones that weren't even very high. But suddenly Kara Danvers comes waltzing into her life and her standards bar drops to the floor. 

 

It's been decided. She does hate Kara Danvers. She hates how obnoxiously charming she is.

 

Lena shifts in Kara's passenger seat on the drive back to the hospital. Kara has lemon-scented air freshener clips in her air vents, and a Superman logo car charm hanging from her review mirror. Wait, no. Lena leans forward and takes a closer look. Supergirl. The crest is the slightest bit different. 

 

"Aunt Lena, this is the Superman symbol. Supergirl's S is not the same!"

 

Sam's daughter Ruby taught her that after she accidentally bought the wrong hero's t-shirt for her birthday. She knows not to make that mistake again.

 

"You like Supergirl?"

 

Kara's voice from the driver's side snaps Lena out of stupor. "Huh? Oh, um, I wouldn't say like. I'm not opposed to her. I haven't seen any of the movies or anything, but my niece loves her," Lena says, leaning back into her seat. She glances over at Kara, whose gaze just barely flickers to her.

 

Lena sees Kara's brows furrow, even as the blonde's eyes stay on the road in front of her. Her mouth opens and closes a couple times as she debates something in her head. When she finally speaks, her voice is soft, "I didn't know Lex had a daughter."

 

It shouldn't shock Lena that Kara knows of Lex, considering he did blow up the children's wing of Luthor Memorial Hospital in Metropolis. Pictures of his face, along with her mother's and her own, were on the front page of every news station in the country for weeks. Lena was still in med school at the time, studying at Luthor Memorial. She had always wanted to leave Metropolis and her family behind; start fresh somewhere new where the reputation of her last name didn't precede her. Lex's final act of insanity gave her the last push she needed to move to National City. 

 

Lex was dead now, having killed himself in the blast. Her mother was serving four consecutive life sentences in prison for being involved with a different nefarious scheme of Lex's. And Lena, she was still dealing with the aftermath of her family's heinous crimes. The amount of times a patient would refuse her care because of her last name was too many to count. Lena still actively tried to avoid the confrontation that came along with pediatric cases.

 

Lex Luthor was the name everyone in America knew, and not because he was some hero. Of course Kara knew who he was. It was shocking, though, because Kara never said anything about it until now. All this time, Kara knew who Lena was, yet she didn't seem to care of her relation to the sociopath who killed nine kids. It was oddly refreshing.

 

Sensing Lena's speechlessness, Kara apologized, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought him up. It's my bad."

 

"No," Lena finally grits out. "No, it's okay." The seatbelt across her chest suddenly feels a little too tight. She grips it and tugs on it the slightest bit to allow her room to breathe. "Lex, he doesn't have any children. At least, none that I know of."

 

Kara nods her head, not just hearing, but listening

 

"My best friend's daughter refers to me as Aunt Lena, so... niece," Lena continues on. She wants to leave it at that and move past the awkwardness that amplified itself at the mention of her brother's name, but she bring herself to think of anything other than—why? Why was Kara so trusting of her? Why didn't Kara care that she was being treated by a Luthor? Why did Kara kiss someone whose entire family consisted of homicidal maniacs?

 

"Well, your niece has great taste in heroes-"

 

"Why did you kiss me?" Lena blurts out.

 

Kara slams on the brakes and Newton's first law kicks in, effectively sending Lena flying forward until her seatbelt locks up. Her head snaps towards Kara, a curse at the tip of her tongue in response to the brake check, but Kara just smiles at her sheepishly.

 

"Sorry, uh, red light."

 

Lena looks at the traffic light, which is indeed red, then sighs. Perfect fucking timing, universe. 

 

"I'm really sorry about that," she hears Kara say next to her. "I shouldn't have kissed you and then ran away like that. It was stupid."

 

Lena shakes her head, "Don't apologize, Kara. It's fine."

 

"No, it's not fine, Lena. I shouldn't have made a move without asking you first," Kara argues. "I should've explained myself." The light switches to green and Kara presses down on the gas. Lena glances out of the window. They were nearing the hospital.

 

"Well, the floor is yours," Lena says, "You can explain now."

 

Kara huffs out a breath, "There really isn't much to explain. I thought it was pretty obvious that I like you. I mean, I flirted with you at every chance I got."

 

At her confession, Lena frowns. Kara likes her? She picked up on the flirting, but she just thought Kara was teasing her. 

 

"I don't know why I kissed you," Kara continues. "Well, that's a lie. I do know. You looked really beautiful, and the moon was shining on your face just right, and I couldn't help myself. Partially because of the alcohol, partially because I've been wanting to kiss you since you took x-rays of my finger when I first came into the hospital."

 

A flurry of emotions swirled within Lena. Hearing Kara admit that she's been wanting to kiss her for weeks made Lena's stomach do backflips. Her attraction wasn't one-sided, it was mutual. 

 

Holy shit.

 

By the time Lena manages to fully understand what Kara just told her, Kara is pulling up into the ambulance bay of the hospital. A civilian hogging up the bay for something non-emergency related is something that annoys the ever-loving crap out of Lena, but right now all she can think about is the fact that Kara likes her. Kara Danvers likes her in a more than friends way. 

 

She's pretty sure her mouth has stayed slack-jawed since the words rolled off Kara's tongue. 

 

"We're here," Kara mumbles, and this time Lena can tell that she is disappointed. It's like she doesn't want their conversation to end. Like there's still so much more that needs to be discussed.

 

There is a lot to be said. On both Lena and Kara's parts. But now just isn't the time. They can't take a deep dive into both their feelings for each other in Kara's Subaru that's parked in the middle of the hospital's ambulance bay. Lena's lunch break ended five minutes ago, Kara has to make it to an interview within the next twenty minutes, and an ambulance carrying a patient in dire need of help could roll up at any second.

 

Lena finally manages to close her mouth. She swallows away the dryness in her throat caused from Kara's AC on full blast. She clears her throat, "I have to head back in, but you'll come back after your interview and we'll talk, yeah?"

 

Kara looks over at Lena and gives her a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes. "Yeah, okay. I should be done around three."

 

Lena nods her head, "Three it is." After she unbuckles her seatbelt, she pushes open the car door and slides out. She crouches down to look inside the car, almost taking out an antler in the process. "And good luck at the meeting with that guy. Be careful."

 

Kara was finally meeting with the man who claimed to be a cousin of one of the men high up in the drug ring case she was following. She had said that she had a really good feeling about the meeting with him. If everything went according to plan, by the end of the day, she'd have enough information to give to the NCPD so they could track down the location of the ring leader.

 

"I will, thanks," Kara says. "I'll see you later."

 

Lena smiles weakly, then straightens up and shuts the door. She hears Kara pull off behind her as she makes her way into the hospital. There was only a single thought on her mind: Storage Closet 1C. 

 


 

In the five years Sam has known Lena, they've gone into gone into Storage Closet 1C twelve times together. The first time was on their first shift as interns. The stress of her first day had gotten the best of Sam, so she snuck into the closet to escape the hustle and bustle of the hospital. She wasn't expecting to see Lena Luthor sat up against a rack of suture kits crying her eyes out, but she'd seen stranger things. 

 

She had sat down next to Lena, waited for the youngest Luthor's bawling to subside, and listened intently as she explained why she was crying. A young girl came into the ER with a cut on her forehead and Lena went to stitch her up. When the girl's mother found out who Lena was, she made a huge scene. She called Lena all kinds of names and refused any sort of medical care from her. Dr. Danvers, who was still a resident back then, swooped in and gave the lady a piece of her mind. Lena ended up stitching the girl up, then immediately ran to the storage closet afterwards.

 

Since then, Storage Closet 1C has been their go-to spot for mental breakdowns, escapes from reality, and relationship crises. Like right now. 

 

Sam got the the page from Lena out of nowhere. She was on her way to grab a snack from the cafeteria, but the 911 to Storage Closet 1C took precedence. 

 

Lena is pacing the length of the closet when Sam gets there. She took one look at the current state of her friend, then moved to shut the blinds and lock the door. 

 

"Okay," Sam breathed out, "what's going on?"

 

Lena stops pacing and looks at her. "Kara likes me."

 

Sam may not be the best at relationship advice, but a crush liking you back didn't seem like a bad thing. "Um, alright, and?"

 

Lena looks at her and huffs. "Kara likes me."

 

"I don't see the problem."

 

"Sam," Lena whines. "This is bad. This is very, very bad."

 

Sam frowns, "I'm not following."

 

Lena groans and starts pacing again. "Okay, you know how I texted you and told you about how Kara kissed me last night?"

 

"Yeah," Sam nods. "It was in all caps. It felt like you were screaming at me through the phone."

 

"Well, I had lunch with Kara like a half hour ago—Jess's fault," Lena adds once she see's Sam's eyebrows raise in surprise. "Anyway, we got lunch. She drives me back here and says that she kissed me because she likes me."

 

Sam hasn't been this confused since her first day of med school at Johns Hopkins. "Well that seems pretty obvious. I don't think she'd kiss you because she doesn't like you." 

 

Ignoring Sam's attempt at a jab, Lena continues on. "It's bad because I like her, too! We like each other. We like each other. Sam, I'm going to die."

 

"Babe, I don't think Kara's going to kill you."

 

"Not Kara, you idiot," Lena spits, though there's no malice in her tone. "Alex. Alex will murder me when she finds out about this."

 

Sam sucks in a sharp breath. That was definitely a reason to be afraid. "Oh shit."

 

Lena laughs, but it's not because the situation was funny. It's more forced, like recognizing that you're in way over your head and all you can do is laugh pathetically to try and stop yourself from crying. "Yeah."

 

"In all honesty, Lena, Alex should be the furthest thing from you mind right now," Sam starts, gaining Lena's attention. "I mean, sure, she's your boss. She's practically a surrogate daughter to Chief J'onzz. She could get you kicked from this program faster than you can say Jack Robi-"

 

"Sam, you're really not helping here!" Lena cuts her off. She turns to start pacing, yet again, but Sam steps forward and grabs her shoulders before she can get too far. 

 

"Hey, sorry, sorry," Sam apologizes. "What I'm trying to say is, Alex may seem like some kind of big threat, but if there's anything you've learned in the past few weeks, it's that she loves her sister. Right? She'd do anything for Kara, Lena. She invited you out for drinks because you're friends with Kara. Why would she be going through all this trouble if she didn't like you?"

 

Lena takes a moment to take what Sam just said into consideration. Alex was going out of her way to get to know Lena. First with the car crash case, then drinks. In the locker room she specifically said that was reaching out to Lena so much because of Kara. That's an awful lot to do for someone your sister befriended. Maybe Alex knew that Kara liked her?

 

God, she hadn't even thought about that. Kara and Alex were extremely close, it wouldn't be that surprising if Kara told her sister that she liked Lena. 

 

Lena didn't get the chance to fully dive into the implications of that because her pager let out a sharp shrill, Sam's following right behind.

 

"You got paged to the ER, too?" Sam asks after looking at her pager. 

 

"Yeah," Lena nods. She most likely got paged because she's supposed to be running the ER, but if they paged Sam, it must've been something involving cardio.

 

Once they make it down to the ER, they throw on their trauma gowns and cross the floor to the ambulance bay where Mike and Dr. Queen, the head of trauma surgery, are already waiting. Just as they make it outside, an ambulance screeches to a stop in front of them. Mike and Dr. Queen rush forward to help open the doors and get the stretcher out, then a paramedic hops out and starts yelling out vitals.

 

Lena and Sam follow along as they push the stretcher into the hospital.

 

"..ra ...vers."

 

"Age twenty-…"

 

"Stab wound to upper abdomen. Lefthand side."

 

"Respirations are unstable."

 

"Hypotension and possible hemothorax."

 

There's a reason why Lena doesn’t focus too much on the patient’s name or age. Knowing their name when they are coming into the ER like this only made things a hundred times more personal. It turns their case into an actual person. A person who has a life, and a family, and Lena just cannot think about those things while she’s trying to save their life.

 

The age of the victim does matter, but it isn’t that pressing. Lena knows she’s in her twenties, that’s plenty of information. She’s young, she’s healthy. She shouldn’t be going into cardiac arrest. Why is she going into cardiac arrest?

 

"We need a crash cart over here!"

 

She isn’t sure who says it, but it doesn’t make a difference. They’ve got a life to save. 

 

Somehow the paddles end up in Lena’s hands and a nurse is haphazardly applying the conductive gel. By the time Lena turns around to face the twenty-something year old woman, her shirt has already been torn open, her chest clear of any material that would get in the way of the defibrillators. 

 

It’s by fucking chance that Lena steals a glance at the woman’s face. Whenever she’s operating the paddles, she only ever looks at the patient’s torso and the monitors. Looking at their face makes things personal again and Lena Luthor does not do personal in life or death situations.

 

Lena swears her heart stops.

 

It is cruel that her heart stops metaphorically, while Kara’s heart actually stops because the world just hates her like that. 

 

Kara Danvers. Age twenty-nine. 

 

The gaps in the information from just a minute before start to fill in. 

 

Kara is their stab victim.

 

Oh, god.

 

Oh, god.

 

Lena freezes. Her grip on the paddles go slack but before they can slip from her hands, Sam swoops in and pulls them into her own grasp. It was med school 101. If there’s a code blue, you never choke. One halt in your step could kill your already incapasitated patient. Lena could practically hear Alex scolding her in her mind.

 

Oh, god. Alex.

 

Bumping Lena out of the way, Sam shouts for everybody to clear their hands. The force of the electric shock causes Kara’s back to arch and Lena snaps her head away from the sight in an attempt to not have that image burned into her brain.

 

She wants to throw up.

 

It only takes one shock to get her back. Lena can tell from the breaths of relief behind her. She can hear the squeak of the gurney wheels as they go to rush Kara into one of the examination rooms.

 

She hasn’t turned back around, but she can feel a set of eyes on her. Sam places a hand on her shoulder. "Lena, what’s wrong?" She questions breathlessly. The rush of saving a life can take your breath away. "You never freeze up like that."

 

"It’s Kara," Lena chokes out, far too quiet for Sam to understand what she said.

 

Sam shuffles to stand in front of her, both her hands landing on Lena’s shoulders. "What did you say?"

 

Her head is heavy but she manages to hold it up enough to look at Sam. "Kara. The victim is Kara."

 

Sam's face scrunches up in confusion before her eyes go wide and her grip on Lena’s shoulders tighten. 

 

"Kara, Kara? Like, Alex Danvers, Kara?" Sam’s voice wavers.

 

The look Lena gives her tells her everything she needs to know. Sam brings one of her hands up to cup Lena’s cheek. "Lena, I need you to go get Alex." Her tone is firm but Lena can tell she’s scared.

 

Lena’s head is shaking before Sam can even finish her request. "I- I can’t, Sam."

 

"Yes, you can," she tells her. "I’ll go be with Kara. I’ll operate. But you have to get Alex. She needs to know."

 

Lena feels like there's a fire alarm continuously going off in her head, but the thought of Kara in that exam room bleeding out cuts through the blaring. She looks at Sam's face, her eyes begging Lena to just go so she can go and help Kara. Lena shoves every emotion in her head down into an itty-bitty box and nods at Sam. 

 

"Okay," she sniffs, wiping at her eyes.

 

"Okay?"

 

"Yeah," Lena confirms. "Go help Kara. I'll get Alex."

 

Sam squeezes Lena's shoulders then heads off in the direction they took Kara. Lena takes a breath, then sets off to the ORs.

 


 

Alex Danvers was notorious for kicking people out of her OR. She once kicked Lena out of one of her surgeries during Lena's second week as an intern. It was one of the events that set the groundwork for Lena's fear of the surgeon. If her memory served her right, Lena hadn't been doing anything wrong. Andrea Rojas, one of the only other people she had acquainted herself with besides Sam, was standing next to her as they observed Alex and a neuro surgeon implant lumbar plates into a patient. Lena had leaned over and whispered something to Andrea about the procedure, but Alex heard her and immediately made her leave the OR. 

 

(Later she found out that Alex liked it to be as quiet as possible whenever she was performing a surgery. Even the slightest whisper from an observer could throw her off, and that was simply not an option.)

 

Lena's fears of Alex scolding her for entering her operating room without permission were nonexistent as she barged right into OR 4 and called out for Alex. 

 

"Dr. Danvers!"

 

Alex stiffens at the loud voice as all the other surgeons in the room snap their heads towards Lena. If she paid them any attention, she would've noticed their eyes widened in shock at her interruption. 

 

Lena stood by the door. With just a shaky hand holding up a mask over her face, she couldn't walk any further into the OR if she didn't want to risk possibly contaminating the patient currently lying on the operating table. Alex looks over her shoulder, ready to snap at the poor soul who wasn't aware of her rule. When she spots Lena, however, she uncharacteristically backs down.

 

"Dr. Luthor, whatever you have to tell me will have to wait until after I'm done here," Alex tells her calmly. She already has her back turned to Lena before the young surgeon can even speak up.

 

"But, Dr. Danvers-" Lena tries again, but to no avail.

 

She sees Alex shaking her head from where she stands over her patient. "Not right now, Luthor. I'll have you on my service doing hip replacements if you're not out of here within the next-"

 

Lena can't. Lena can't just stand there listening to Alex go on with pointless threats while Kara is three floors down fighting for her life. She can't.

 

"Alex!" She yells, effectively cutting her off. If all eyes weren't already on her, they certainly were now.

 

Alex must be able to sense the urgency in her tone—or maybe it's because she knows Lena would never address her by her first name, especially not in a work setting—because she doesn't berate Lena like everyone anticipates. Instead she takes Lena in with soft eyes and furrows her brows.

 

"What's happened?" She asks quietly, almost like she's afraid of what Lena has to say.

 

Lena swallows thickly. "Kara's hurt."

 


 

They learn what happened about twenty minutes into Kara's surgery. A policewoman comes up to their group in the waiting room ("group," as in Alex, Kelly, Brainy, James, Winn, and Nia, all the way from CatCo), and she tells them that she and her partner were out patrolling on foot when they saw a man running from out of an alleyway ahead of them, a knife in his hand. They clocked it as suspicious and went ahead to see what was in the alley. That's when they found Kara. 

 

Her partner went after the guy and successfully cuffed him while she stayed with Kara and radioed-in for an ambulance. Nia was actually able to identify the man as Kyle Dover, the "cousin" Kara was supposed to be meeting with for her drug ring article. The silver lining was that with Dover being in custody, the NCPD were finally able to take over the case, making them that much closer to dismantling the drug ring altogether. 

 

A tap on her shoulder brings Lena out of her thoughts. She looks up from the linoleum hospital floor and sees Alex standing in front of her, holding two cups of coffee.

 

"Nia and I went on a coffee run," she says as she hands one of the cups to Lena. "I figured you'd like yours black."

 

Lena shoots Alex a weak but grateful smile as she takes the coffee. She revels in the warmth that radiates from the cup. "You figured right."

 

Alex sits down in the seat next to Lena's. She's still in her scrubs and her hair is disheveled from when she was anxiously running her hands through it earlier. Lena's sure that the bags under Alex's eyes are present under her own as well. 

 

Kara's been in surgery for the past three hours. Mike came out and gave them an update an hour in, but that was the last they'd heard anything. All they knew was that everything was going fairly well so far and that they would still have a little while to go before the surgery would be over. 

 

"She told me about what happened last night," Alex speaks up after a few moments of relative silence.

 

In the haste of getting everyone up to speed about what happened to Kara, Lena completely forgot about how she was supposed to meet with her to discuss their shared feelings for each other. Lena glances up at a clock on the wall. 4:26. They had planned to meet an hour before. When Kara pulled into the ambulance bay after they ate lunch, no one could've expected that they'd be here a few hours later. Kara fighting for her life. Her family and friends fighting to not let their nerves consume them. The thought makes Lena sick to her stomach.

 

"I saw her when she came back into the bar," Alex continues when Lena doesn't respond. "She looked upset, told me she was going home. I got her to spill before she left, though. That she kissed you."

 

Lena looks over at Alex and says the first thing that pops into her mind, "Do you hate me?"

 

The question must've caught Alex off-guard because her eyebrows shoot up and she momentarily freezes. "Wha- why would I hate you?"

 

"Because I didn't kiss her back. Because we even kissed in the first place. There are so many reasons why," Lena argues.

 

Alex leans back into her chair with a sigh. "I don't hate you, Lena."

 

"Why?"

 

"Because you make my sister happy," Alex replies without hesitation. "You're a damn good surgeon, too. The best in your year, in my opinion, and just one of the best in general. You're gonna make an amazing trauma surgeon and trauma and ortho can go hand-in-hand. I gotta be on your good side now."

 

That manages to crack a genuine smile out of Lena. "Thank you."

 

"It's the truth," Alex shrugs. She takes a sip from her coffee, then grimaces from the taste. "God, for all of the state of the art technology this hospital has, you'd think they could afford a good coffee machine."

 

"It tastes like wet cardboard," Lena agrees with a short laugh. 

 

It feels nice, Lena thinks, to be able to take a minute to just joke around. For a while, Alex had been faring the worst. Kelly had tried to talk her down, but Alex kept pacing the floor of the waiting room. It wasn't until Mike came out with the update that she finally decided to sit down. 

 

Lena looks over at where Nia rests her head on Brainy's shoulder while he watches a movie playing on a TV up in the corner of the room. Kelly sits a few seats away from them reading one of the out of date hospital magazines, and James and Winn are in a fierce game of Battleship on iMessages. Everyone looks calm on the outside, but Lena knows they are all freaking out internally. At least she was. She can't imagine how they are all feeling, having known Kara for years.

 


 

It takes another hour before the surgery finishes. Sam comes out in her surgical gown to personally inform them of what happened. She spews out a lot of medical terms that have Nia and Kelly glancing at each other in confusion, but the gist of it was that the knife had nicked Kara's left lung. Repairing that and trying to prevent any other complications were the reason why the surgery was so lengthy. 

 

"But she's alright?" Kelly asks once Sam is done with her explanation. 

 

Sam breaks into a smile, "Yes, yeah, she's going to be okay."

 

The confirmation sent a wave of relief over Lena and the rest of the group. Knowing that Kara was going to to be fine allowed her to finally breathe again. She felt as if a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. 

 

They were requesting that only two people visited Kara at a time, so it was elected that Alex and Kelly would go first while everyone else stayed back for the time being. Lena makes her way over to where Sam is answering a few follow-up questions from Brainy. Once Sam notices her, she politely excuses herself.

 

"Hey, what's up?" Sam questions once Brainy has gone to sit down. Lena notes the bags under her eyes and her hunched shoulders. It was obvious that she was exhausted. 

 

Lena looks at her friend with a grateful expression. "Thank you for saving her."

 

Sam steps forward, wrapping her arms around Lena tightly. "Of course."

 

Lena lets herself melt into her best friend's embrace. She hadn't realized just how much of a toll the day had taken on her until then. Now that she knew Kara was for sure alright, all she wanted to do was go home and sleep everything off. 

 

"Lena?"

 

At the sound of her name, Lena breaks off the hug and turns around. She frowns at the sight of Kelly. "Is something wrong?" She asks immediately.

 

"Everything's fine," Kelly shakes her head. "But Kara's asking to see you."

 

 

 

Chapter Text

When Lena's eyes land on Kara, all of the air is taken from her lungs. Kara looks as pale as a ghost in the hospital bed. She's absolutely swamped with machines and wires connected to the electrodes on her chest. Her base instinct is to grab Kara's chart from where it rests at the foot of her bed, but for some reason that felt like it would be an invasion of privacy. She settles for squinting her eyes and reading her vitals on the monitor set up next to the bed. Her heart rhythm is good, BP is satisfactory. Kara's respiration levels could be stronger, but considering her lung was punctured no less than six hours ago, Lena calls it a win.

 

Once she notes Kara's vitals, Lena's eyes land on Alex. She's sitting at the bedside, holding on to Kara's hand with both of her own. Alex's shoulders are hunched, her hair is a mess, and she is still in her scrubs. She looks exhausted, but Lena knows that there's nowhere else she'd rather be. 

 

The sight sends a pang to Lena's chest. She recalls the conversation she had walked in on a few weeks prior.

 

 

“Kara, you have got to stop following this case. It’s dangerous.”

 

“I can’t just stop searching for the truth because things start looking dicey, Alex. These people deserve justice.”

 

“That’s the thing! It hasn’t just become dangerous. It’s always been dangerous, from the beginning. I’m not denying that the victims deserve justice, because they do, but it doesn’t have to be you giving it to them, Kara. You don’t have to put your life on the line for them.”

 

 

Alex had been worried for her sister's safety, and rightfully so. Look how things turned out. 

 

Lena steps further into the room, which alerts Alex. Her features soften when she sees Lena. Alex fails to subtlety wipe away the tears gathering in her eyes. "Oh, um, hey." She clears her throat when her voice comes out scratchy. "Sorry. She was up just a couple minutes ago, but she dozed off again. You know how people can be with anesthesia."

 

Lena nods and rests her hands on the footrest of Kara's bed. She takes in a shaky breath, "I'm just glad she's okay."

 

If Kara was any other patient of hers, she would not be thinking that way. Kara was still at risk for a number of post-op issues. They hadn't even taken her off filtered oxygen yet, so who knows if she'll even be able to breathe properly without an oxygen mask? Kara wasn't out of the woods by any means, and the doctor in her knew that.

 

Being Kara's friend, however, she couldn't help but to be relieved that she made it out of surgery alright. Her vitals weren't where they hoped they would be, but she was still stable, and she was still fighting. 

 

Having been a doctor for the past five years, she's learned to think ten steps ahead. Every patient she sees, she has to anticipate everything that could happen so she can be prepared if it does happen. Except for the one time Jess got her appendix taken out, she's never been on the "patient's family/friends" side of things. It's sort of relaxing, being able to take things one step at a time. 

 

"Me, too," Alex agrees. She presses her lips to the back of Kara's hand, then stands up. "I'll give you some time with her."

 

"No, no, it's fine," Lena says, shaking her head. "You don't have to leave, I'll go. Besides, she has a whole waiting room of friends downstairs eager to see her. You can call me when she wakes up again."

 

Alex waves a dismissing hand, "That's ridiculous, Lena. You are just as much Kara's friend as they are." She pauses for a moment, almost like she's lost in her own mind. Then she speaks up again. "I know how hard it can be waiting to hear good news about a loved one who got hurt. And I'm not saying that you love Kara," she adds in quickly when she sees Lena's eyes widen, "I'm just saying that your feelings for her made this whole ordeal a lot harder on you."

 

"Alex, saying that I had it worse than- than you or Kelly or whoever? That's just not true. I've only know Kara for a couple months. You all have life-long bonds with her."

 

Alex runs her hand not holding's Kara through her hair. "Lena, falling for someone is pure, and it's raw, and it is— it's... delicate. It's so delicate that the smallest bump in the road can make you feel like the world is ending."

 

"You sound like you know this from experience."

 

Alex cracks a smile, "I do." Her gaze drifts back to her sister and the smile falls. "Falling in love with Kelly didn't have bumps like this, though."

 

Lena looks towards Kara—where her chest slowly rises and falls. If it weren't for the monitors and oxygen mask, it'd almost look like she was peacefully sleeping. Almost.  "This must be so hard for you, seeing her like this."

 

"It is," Alex says tensely. "But Kara was a clumsy kid. This is not nearly her first time in a hospital bed. You know that scar she has next to her eyebrow?"

 

"Yeah," Lena nods. She always thought that little scar was cute.

 

"She got that when she fell out of a tree trying to pick an apple. She always thought the best ones were at the top." 

 

Lena lets out one of those airy laughs. "Of course she'd do something dumb like that."

 

She and Alex stood in silence for a while (or as silent as it could be with the sound of Kara's heartbeat echoing throughout the room). Neither of them made any move to continue the conversation or strike up a new one. They just watched as Kara slept, up until Alex's phone began to buzz with an incoming call. 

 

"Sorry," Alex apologizes as she slips her phone out of her pocket. She reads the caller ID, then looks to Lena. "It's my mom. She probably needs a ride from the airport. I have to take this."

 

"Oh, yeah, of course." Lena goes to leave the room, but Alex passes by her first. 

 

"No, you stay with Kara for a bit. I have to leave anyway."

 

Lena resigns to a nod because Alex answers her mother's call without waiting for a response. She can hear Alex's voice fading away as she walks down the hall. "Hey, mom. Have you landed..."

 

Finding herself alone with Kara, Lena walks over and sits down in the chair Alex previously occupied. She picks up Kara's hand without even giving it a second thought. Her hand is colder than Lena thought it would be. It's almost jarring because of the warmth Kara usually radiated—in both the literal and metaphorical sense. 

 

Lena runs her thumb over Kara's knuckles. As she traces random patterns, she let's her mind wander off, content with Kara's hand in hers.

 


 

"Le- Lena?"

 

Something knocks against her head. "Lena?"

 

Lena frowns as she opens her eyes. She lifts her head from Kara's bed and scans the room. When her eyes fall on Kara's, she can't help the smile that splits across her face. "Kara! You're awake. How are you feeling?" She immediately stands up and takes a look at Kara's vital monitor. 

 

Kara lets out a scratchy cough, "I feel like I got hit by a bus."

 

"Yeah, getting stabbed will do that to you," Lena says as she sits back down. "Do you remember anything that happened?"

 

Kara blinks slowly and huffs out a breath, only for it to be followed by a series of coughs. Lena reaches out and fixes the oxygen mask so it sits properly on Kara's face. Kara gives her a weak smile from behind the foggy plastic. "I was meeting my informant in the alley behind this sub shop that he claimed he worked at. That was probably a lie, now that I think about it."

 

Lena nods silently and Kara continues, "It started pretty normally. We shook hands, I assured him he'd be entirely anonymous. I asked him a few basic questions to just confirm some things, like how he was connected to the drug ring and stuff. Then, um... then," A faraway look settles across Kara's features. 

 

"Then what?" Lena prods gently. She rests her hand on top of Kara's. "It's okay if you don't remember, Kara."

 

"No, I remember, it's just..." Kara shakes her head. "Then, he told me..."

 


 

"Do you think I could grab my phone from inside the shop real fast? There's some photos on there that you might want."

 

"Oh, uh, sure," Kara said. She wasn't expecting her informant to switch courses so abruptly, but anything that could help her investigation was welcome. "It's just inside?"

 

He nodded his head, "Yeah. Should only take me a minute or two. You can wait out here."

 

Kara flashed him a smile then watched as he made his way of the alley. She pulled out her pocket-sized notepad and flipped to her page of notes she had prepped for the meeting. She scanned them over, committing the information to memory. Noticing a small spelling mistake, she quickly slid her pen out of her pocket and corrected it. Kara knew she would be the only person reading those notes, but she still liked making sure her writing was free of any errors anyway. 

 

Once she knew her pen ink had dried, she went to put away her notepad, but the sound of heavy footsteps made her halt her movements. Before she could turn around to greet her informant again, a hand covered her mouth from behind.

 

"If you scream, I'll slit your throat. Go that?"

 

Kara made the best noise of affirmation she could muster. She squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath in an attempt to quell her rising panic. Cat had warned her about this. She still remembered the first thing the media mogul had told her when she decided to become a reporter: "If you haven't had an attempt on your life, you're a lousy journalist." 

 

Her ex-informant took his hand away from Kara's mouth and in turn brought the business end of a knife mere centimeters away from her jugular. He moved his other arm down to her waist, holding her tightly. 

 

"You were sloppy, Danvers. We caught onto you over a month ago." Kara tried her best not to shiver at the feeling of his breath hitting the back of her neck. 

 

"So you faked being an anonymous informant so you could... what? Kill me?" Kara scoffed. "A senior reporter for the biggest media company on the west coast doesn't show up back to work after meeting with a source. You really think people wouldn't connect the dots?"

 

The man let out a exasperated groan then roughly pushed Kara into a dingy brick wall of the alley. "You fucking journos really don't know when to shut your traps, do you?"

 

Kara bit her tongue to stop herself form making another snarky retort. She'd rather not risk permanent brain damage from being slammed against a brick wall one too many times. Instead, she pestered him with curious questions. "Are you going to kill me right here, or are you waiting for someone to pick us up?"

 

"Obviously I'm waiting for someone," he growled. "I can't kill you out in the open like this."

 

"And yet you hold a knife to my throat in the same spot where you claim you can't kill me."

 

Kara didn't even get a warning that time. She just felt herself connecting with solid brick once again. She really needed to get a grip on herself. 

 

"I've had enough of your mouth. You even make a peep, it's lights out for you." He was uneasy—nervous, even. If he didn't calm down soon, Kara would probably be dead and gone within the next five minutes. 

 

"Did you ever think about why they sent you to do this job?" Kara asked. 

 

"Because I'm Marco's right hand," he bit back defensively.

 

Kara fought back a smirk at his slip-up. She filed away the fact that she finally knew the ringleader's name for later. "Would you bet your freedom on that?" She probed. Kara felt his grip slacken a bit. She was successfully distracting him. Wonderful.

 

She still had no idea how she was going to make it out of the situation alive, though. Not-so wonderful.

 

He pushed on Kara's shoulder and turn her around to face him. He cornered her in so her back was against the wall. "What are you getting at?" He questioned her.

 

"Think about it. Why would he send his right hand out on a job like this? A job where the risk of getting caught is higher than the probability of actually getting the job done." 

 

He shook his head in disbelief. "No, no way. You're wrong, Danvers. He sent me because he needed capable hands at the reins. I'm the best he has."

 

"You're a loose end," Kara argued back. "Come on, man, don't be stupid! Deep down you know they set you up. Don't you think your getaway car should've been here by now?"

 

Putting his head in his hands, he started pacing in front of Kara. "You're wrong. You- you're lying."

 

"You know I'm not," Kara shook her head, "But you still might have a way out of this. You can turn yourself in. I can put in a good word for you to the cops. I'll tell them that you came to your senses."

 

"Just shut up," he spit.

 

Kara continued on anyway, "They're all going down. Every single one of them. They'll be locked up for the rest of their lives. You don't have to join them. You can be smarter than them."

 

"Shut up!" He repeated, louder.

 

Kara smiled, as best as she could force herself to. "You don't want to kill me."

 

"You don't know what the fuck I want!"

 

The rest is a blur for Kara. 

 

She remembered the scream tearing its way out of her throat.

 

A burst of pain exploding throughout her chest.

 

The look of immediate regret on his face. "Oh, shit. No, no, no."

 

The feeling of her knees hitting the ground, then toppling over onto her back when she couldn't find the strength to hold herself up.

 

Looking up at the bright blue sky through suddenly heavy eyelids.

 

She remembered pressing a hand over her chest, trying to stop the bleeding. 

 

Hearing him run away out of the alley.

 

Her notepad in her back pocket, probably crumbled under her weight.

 

Her crisp, white button-up Eliza bought her for Christmas getting stained with blood.

 

Then, the real pain started.

 

Who would've thought that last night would've been her last ever game night with her best friends. She would laugh at the concept but she could only cough at the coppery taste in her mouth. 

 

Eliza had already buried her husband, now she was going to have to bury her daughter, too.

 

Alex and Kelly opted not to make an announcement yet, but they got approved to adopt this adorable five-year-old girl. They were finally going to be mothers. Alex was finally going to be a mom. Tears pricked her eyes at the thought that she'd never be able to meet her niece. 

 

Then, right as an extra set of hands started to apply pressure to her chest, an image of Lena popped into her mind. 

 

Lena.

 

The woman she kissed in a dirty dive bar parking lot. The woman who she admired for being brave and courageous enough to leave her old life behind and start a new one across the country. The woman she wished she would've gotten the chance to know more. 

 

"Hey, stay with me. Stay with me, kid."

 

"My name is Officer Blake. Can you tell me your name?"

 

"Kid, hey! What's your name?"

 

The voice sounded like it was underwater and floating high above her simultaneously. Kara had long-since closed her eyes, but she could tell whoever was leaning over her was trying to help. 

 

"This is Officer Blake for the 21st District. I've got a 219. Offender is a white male wearing a black sweatshirt and jeans. Average build, 5'10'. He is on foot, heading eastbound at the corner of Lake and Binder. I need an ambulance here now."

 

Kara rocked her hand against the person's leg. 

 

"Hey, can you hear me?"

 

"Ka- Kara." She managed to choke her name out right before she lost consciousness completely.

 

"Kara! Good. That's  gre..."

 


 

"I told her my name, then I must've passed out, I guess." 

 

Lena sucks in a breath once Kara concludes with her story. Hearing the account from the policewoman was one thing, but listening to Kara explaining what happened was something else entirely. The fact that the man was holding her captive at knifepoint and Kara still tried to offer him an out had Lena in awe.

 

"You are incredible," Lena marvels. "I can't even imagine what I'd do if I was ever in that situation."

 

"I hope you never have to be," Kara says, without skipping a beat.

 

When she reaches up to pull her oxygen mask off of her face, Lena tries to stop her. "Oh, hey, I don't think you should take that off." Kara just swats her hand away and pulls the mask off anyway. Lena just smiles at her fondly, but it soon fades when she notices the bruising along the side of Kara's face that had been out of her view before. "You said he pushed you into a brick wall?"

 

"Yeah, a couple times."

 

Lena clenches her jaw as she feels herself beginning to grow angry. If she ever managed to get her hands on that Kyle Dover guy, it would not be pretty. "Have you gone for a head CT?"

 

Kara shrugs, "If they took me, I wouldn't know. I've been pretty out it."

 

"Right, well I'd still like to test for a concussion, at the very least. Can I run through the visual and cognitive evaluations?" Lena stands up to grab a pair of gloves but before she can get too far, Kara grabs her hand.

 

"Lena, relax. I'm sure they'll come and check on me in a little while." Kara says. "Right now I want to be with Lena, not Doctor Luthor." 

 

Lena has to bite her lip to stop herself from smiling. Kara wanted to spend time with her. She had an entire group of friends in the waiting room, yet she wanted to spend time with her

 

(She smiles internally instead. A big, bright, toothy smile.)

 

When Lena sits back down, Kara's hand never leaves hers. "Okay," Lena says as she looks at Kara. "What did you want to talk about?"

 

Kara avoids her gaze. "I want to tell you something."

 

Lena squeezes Kara's hand. "I'm all ears."

 

"I thought of you," Kara blurts out as soon as Lena reassures her. It catches Lena off guard. 

 

"What do you mean?" Lena asks. 

 

Kara runs her thumb across the back of Lena's hand. "When he stabbed me," she clarifies. "I knew I was dying, and then I thought of you."

 

Lena can't help her slack-jawed expression. She stares at Kara with wide, unblinking eyes. Her grip on Kara's hand slackens but Kara keeps hers firm.

 

"I don't mean to- to overwhelm you, or anything like that," Kara rushes out quickly—too quick.

 

She lets out a few coughs, then groans when it aggravates her incision. "I just need you to know that I thought of you," she breathes out. "I thought about you because I... I care for you... Lena. And- and if I'm being hon- honest, I think I'm falling in lo..."

 

Kara's eyes close. 

 

Dread spreads across Lena's chest. She knows what this is. The coughing, the stuttering, the shortness of breath. She reaches for the forgotten oxygen mask. "Shit, Kara, put the mask back on." 

 

She's too late. An alarm blares out signaling that Kara's vitals have plummeted. Lena jumps from her seat and presses the code blue button on the wall. She lowers the top half of the bed so Kara lies flat on her back and starts compressions. She fights to ignore the fear creeping its way into her mind. She froze the last time Kara was crashing. She can't do that now. Kara would die if she did that now.

 

Lena doesn't think she's ever been so relieved to hear the screech of crash cart wheels in her life. She doesn't recognize the doctor pushing the cart in. "I need you to page Dr. Arias stat. It's a pneumothorax," Lena tells the unfamiliar doctor as she grabs the paddles. 

 

The doctor looks frantic. His hands shake as he pulls out his pager. "I- I'm new. It's my first week. I'm coming all the way from Tulane—"

 

"Kid, I don't need your life story," Lena scolds him. "Charge to 200, page Arias, then get me a scalpel. I think this patient's lung has collapsed."

 


 

Lena can't keep her leg still. She tried to get it to stop hopping up and down, but nothing would work. She's back in the same surgical waiting room as before, only this time, Kara's mother sits across from her clutching her bag tightly to her chest. Every time Lena spared a glance at the older woman, she was wiping away new tears. It made Lena's chest ache again and again. 

 

After getting Kara somewhat stable, Lena listened to Kara's breath sounds and confirmed her prognosis of a collapsed lung. Sam made it to Kara's room right as Lena put in a chest tube. Kara was rushed into surgery—her second of the day—right after that.

 

That was two hours ago.

 

Alex showed up with her mother in tow thirty minutes into the surgery. Lena tasked it upon herself to update them both on Kara's condition, seeing as she was the doctor who diagnosed the problem.

 

"It's pneumothorax. Dr. Arias took her back again to find the cause. Depending on what she finds, she may have to do a thoracoscopy or pleurodesis to repair the damage." 

 

Lena's heart sank as she watched Alex's face fall. The happy-go-lucky smile she wore when she introduced Lena to her mother quickly faded away, replaced with thinly pressed lips. Alex broke her eyes away from Lena's, opting instead to look down at the floor. 

 

Swallowing down the lump in her throat, Lena turned to address Kara's mom. "Mrs. Danvers, what this means is-"

 

Mrs. Danvers put up a dismissive hand, stopping Lena from continuing. "There's no need to explain in layman's terms. I know that pneumothorax is a collapsed lung." Upon seeing the puzzled look on Lena's face, she added, "I'm a retired general surgeon."

 

Lena could only hang her head as she thought about the conversation. She couldn’t imagine what Mrs. Danvers was feeling. Knowing exactly what was happening to her daughter in that operating room had to be unbearable. Lena knew that parents always wanted to know every little detail regarding their child, but sometimes the naivety was better.

 


 

When she sees Kara again, it's two days later. Sam had said that Kara came out of the surgery with flying colors and that she was on the road to making a full recovery. Alex offered Lena a time slot to go and see Kara that night, but she had declined, not wanting to take time away from Kara's mother and friends who had been waiting to see her all day.

 

That night when she went home, she bypassed the kitchen and headed straight for the shower. After stripping down and cleaning herself off with water as hot as she could take it, Lena went to bed. She didn't sleep. She couldn't. She just lied on her back and stared up at the ceiling as she willed her tears to stop flowing.

 

She woke up with a migraine the next day, but still went into work nonetheless. Alex and Kelly had both taken the day off, as did Nia who Lena saw wandering the halls of the hospital in search of a vending machine a few times throughout the day. 

 

Lena avoided Kara's room at all costs. Most of her patients were on the post-op floor anyway, and she let Eve cover the one patient she had up in the ICU wing. She couldn't bring herself to see Kara. Even the thought of her sent an overwhelming wave of guilt washing over her, almost to the point of paralyzing her.

 

Logically, she knew she did everything right. She followed correct code blue protocol and then managed to get Kara into the OR quickly. She just couldn't shake the feeling of having Kara's life hanging in her hands. 

 

It isn't until the day after that Lena sees her again.

 

"Here is the chart for the Corben case, Mitch." 

 

Mitch, an ICU nurse, sends her a small smile as he takes the binder from her hands. "How are you doing today, Dr. Luthor?"

 

Lena shoves her hands into her lab coat pockets and shrugs. "I'm alright. Could always be better," Lena replies honestly.

 

"Well, I've got some good news for you," he tells her, his smile growing. "They took Sunshine off the vent last night. When I did rounds this morning, she was up and talking."

 

Lena frowns, "Who's Sunshine?"

 

"You know, Stone Cold's sister."

 

It's like a switch flips. Lena's entire mood is turned upside down in an instant. "Kara Danvers is awake?" She asks, needing that extra bit of confirmation. When Mitch nods his head, Lena quickly shoots him a grateful smile, then makes her way down the hall to Kara's room.

 

She lightly knocks on the door, receiving a quiet come in in response. Her breath rushes out of her lungs when she lays her eyes on Kara. Kara, who is sitting up and looking intently at the TV in the corner of the room. Kara, who, despite the pale complexion of her skin and the nasal cannula, looks nearly as healthy as she did before she was stabbed. 

 

"Did you get the goods?" Kara asks without breaking her eyes away from the TV screen.

 

"I'm afraid I don't have these "goods" that you seek," Lena lets out a short laugh. "Though, they do sound very suspicious and I'd like to know more."

 

Kara snaps her head in her direction so fast, Lena's afraid she might get whiplash. "Lena! I've missed you!" She squeaks, excitement plastered on her face. "I'm just waiting for my mom to bring me the goods, AKA potstickers."

 

Lena laughs at that. She gives Kara a goofy grin, "You definitely bounced back fast. It's a bit jarring."

 

"Yeah, I feel incredible," Kara agrees. "And surviving a stabbing has done terrible things to my ego. I feel like I can fly."

 

Lena walks deeper into the room and sits down in the chair closest to Kara's bed. "Well, don't go jumping out of trees any time soon. I don't think your friends will be able to handle anymore waiting room stays." 

 

Kara's face falls and Lena immediately regrets bringing down her mood, even if it was unintentional. "I'm sorry for scaring you guys," she says quietly. She casts her gaze down to her hands in her lap. 

 

"Hey, no," Lena grabs Kara's hand and squeezes it, gently coaxing the blonde to look at her. When blue eyes meet hers, Lena says, "You have nothing to be sorry for, Kara. We're all just so glad you're okay."

 

"You too?"

 

"Of course I'm glad," Lena replies without hesitation. "And I don't know what I would've done if— if you, you know." She can't bring herself to even think of that possibility. She hasn't known Kara awfully long, but the reporter has made such an impact on her life already that she knows she wouldn't have been the same if Kara didn't pull through.

 

(In her mind, echoes of what Alex told her while they were at Kara's bedside ring out. "Lena, falling for someone is pure, and it's raw, and it is— it's... delicate. It's so delicate that the smallest bump in the road can make you feel like the world is ending.")

 

Kara looks her in her eye, a longing look on her face. It makes Lena's heart race but she doesn't dare break the contact. The room feels heavier, for some reason, and the voices on the TV have faded to near nothingness. All that matters to Lena is Kara. Kara, who she knows has feelings for her. Kara, who she doesn't need to hold herself back from anymore.

 

There are only green lights in front her, all Lena needs to do is press the gas.

 

And she does.

 

Lena lets go of Kara's hand and cups her cheek instead. As the pad of her thumb gently runs across soft skin, she feels Kara lean into her palm. She leans in closer and rests her forehead against Kara's.

 

There's something about the proximity. Being so close to Kara—being able to feel the slightest puffs of air as she breathes—is making the butterflies start up again. Lena feels like a too-full balloon on the precipice of exploding. 

 

"Lena, I— being this close is making me— can I kiss you?" Kara's voice sounds so small, so vulnerable. She sounds so afraid of rejection. "Please?"

 

That's all it takes. When Lena tilts her head and finally (finally) slots their mouths together, it feels like their lips were made for each other. All of the emotions building up inside Lena over the past few days pour out of her in the form of pure adoration and care. Kissing Kara is exhilarating. It's earth-shattering. It's perfect.

 

It's home.