When Kara responds to what Alex describes as “some kind of weird energy readings” near the waterfront, she expects it to be a standard alien emergency. Ideally, something she can knock out and still get back to work before her morning break is finished. She even texts Nia to grab her a hot chocolate from Noonan’s, so sure is she that this won’t take longer than 15 minutes.
What she does not expect is for the weird energy to turn into some kind of purple portal. And what she expects even less is for the portal to swirl, spit out two human-looking figures and some kind of winged animal, and then disappear. And to top it off, the least expected thing of the day is that one of those people stands, turns around, and is wearing Kara’s face.
There’s a clone of Kara standing in the middle of the park, wearing black leather pants and some kind of medieval-looking armoured shoulder plate attached to a purple cape, and it’s only when the clone speaks that Kara realizes exactly who she’s talking to.
“Kara Danvers,” the Red Daughter says in her thick Russian accent, looking as stoic as always as she rises to her feet. Seeing her is just as jarring as it was the first time they met, but somehow she seems different than she did before. Less angry, less cold. There’s a lightness to her, a self-assured and centred aura that wasn’t there the last time Kara saw her – which was, Kara has to remind herself, when Lex killed her and she dissolved into purple radiation and disappeared.
And now, there’s a sword at her hip.
“Red Daughter?” Kara stammers, looking her Russian clone up and down. She looks perfectly healthy and not dead at all, and Kara would love an explanation. “I thought…you were dead? I mean, you disappeared. I thought – I thought – “
“That is not my name,” the Red Daughter corrects swiftly. Kara’s eyebrows raise. “My name is El. I chose for myself. Not what was forced upon me.”
“El, as in…” Kara trails off, looking down at the crest on her own chest. El Mayarah. Something she’s said in public as Supergirl before, and El must have picked up from studying her with intent to imitate. The fact that El chose it for herself is as confusing as it is strangely heartwarming.
“Yes,” El says simply. She seems entirely disinterested in explaining her reasoning, and Kara huffs, running a distracted hand through her hair.
“Right,” Kara says, still shell-shocked and trying to process the fact that her Russian clone is not only here after being murdered by Lex Luthor, but chose a name for herself based on Kara’s family motto. It’s a whole lot of something she doesn’t know how to deal with, and it’s only 11 in the morning. “Okay. El. So, how did you survive? You were irradiated with kryptonite. I saw you disappear.”
“I was summoned,” the Red Daughter explains, shrugging. “Away from here. I do not know what happened between.”
“Another place. Of course,” Kara says, increasingly frustrated by El’s obstinate vagueness. “So how did you get from there to here?”
For the first time, El’s face cracks its stoicism. Her brow crinkles, and she looks around at the cityscape around them. “We did not know where this portal would take us. I am…surprised that it returned me here.”
With a smile that Kara has never seen before – at least, not outside of a mirror – El looks behind her at the two other figures who came through the portal. One is the winged animal Kara saw, which upon closer inspection looks like some kind of giant malformed lizard with huge, pearlescent eyes. The lizard then unfurls it’s gnarled wings, and Kara’s breath catches.
A dragon. There’s a dragon in National City. Again. And somehow, the dragon is the least shocking part of this whole situation.
Because the other figure, currently stooped over the dragon and checking for injuries, is a woman with long, dark hair and a tangled-looking black dress. She seems unsure – her hands are a little shaky, and El looks concerned for her, immediately stooping to put a comforting hand on her back and whisper something in her ear. Kara can barely hear it past the blood pounding in her own ears, but it sounds something like we are safe here.
With El’s help the woman straightens, seemingly satisfied with the dragon’s care, and turns towards Kara so that she can see her face - and Kara’s mouth falls open.
When their eyes meet, the confusion and nervousness in the woman’s body language melt away. Instead she smirks, looking like a wonderful surprise has just fallen into her lap.
The smirk is an expression Kara has never seen on Lena’s face, but otherwise she’s almost indistinguishable. Their hair is the same shade of dark brown inching towards black, although this woman’s is much longer and a little tangled from the portal. Their faces are identical, the same perfect bone structure and prominent eyebrows, and when the woman smiles she has Lena’s dimples, even if her smile is considerably more ominous. She even, Kara sees as her eyes inch downwards towards not-Lena’s extremely visible cleavage and then dart back up again in mortification, has exactly the same dark freckle in the centre of her throat. Not that Kara has spent time studying that particular part of Lena’s body.
“A sentiment I hear often, these days,” the woman says drily, coming closer in a few long strides. “But no. I’m sorry to disappoint.”
“What – who – how -”
“You must be the famous Kara,” the woman interrupts Kara’s sputtering, finally drawing even with them with the dragon at her side. It peers up at Kara silently with more intelligence in its eyes than Kara expected, and the woman it seems so protective of strokes its head idly. “I had no idea this was where we would end up. You’re every bit as heroic as described, although the suit is a bit…garish, isn’t it?” She runs a hand down Kara’s bicep as she says it, smiling in a way that turns almost predatory when Kara can’t hold back a shiver.
Her accent is definitely different than Lena’s, Kara notes distantly. Rather than Lena’s light Irish lilt tinted by years of living stateside, this person is more distinctly British. But it’s difficult to think of much beyond that, because that’s the moment that the stranger chooses to show just how different she is from Lena.
She utters a few unfamiliar words, her eyes glow a vibrant gold, and Kara’s suit turns from red and blue to black and purple.
“Much better,” the woman purrs, squeezing Kara’s arm and then reaching for El’s to link the three of them like a chain. “A matching set.”
El grins. Kara is speechless.
“Who are you?” Kara asks, watching the woman’s eyes fade back to pale green. Her suit ripples back to its original colours with them, but there’s no mistaking it – she has powers, and those powers seemed undeniably magical.
“Morgana,” El supplies as an introduction, pulling this Morgana close and taking her by the waist. Morgana lets go of Kara’s arm and instead rests her hand gently on El’s chest, looking up at her with an incredibly genuine affection totally divorced from the droll tone she was taking with Kara, and they look so utterly devoted to each other that Kara couldn’t possibly mistake their relationship for anything but what it is.
They’re in love. Kara’s clone and Lena’s are, inexplicably, in a relationship; and Lena’s can somehow do magic.
Just in the last 6 months Kara has revealed her identity to Lena, almost ended up in an all-out war with her best friend, travelled through parallel universes with a dimensional imp, experienced the destruction and re-booting of the universe, and been banished to the Phantom Zone; and yet, this is somehow the strangest and most terrifying thing that’s happened yet.
“I need to talk to Alex,” Kara mutters hoarsely, averting her eyes from the display in front of her before it triggers a complete mental breakdown. “And Lena. Figure out how on earth you got here, and how – I mean, you’re identical – ”
“Indeed,” Morgana says, finally pulling her eyes away from El’s face to pin Kara with a look that makes goosebumps erupt on her arms. Kara rubs them, not entirely sure whether the sensation is unpleasant or not. “I’d like to meet this Lena that I’ve heard so much about.”
The flight to the DEO with them is just as disconcerting as the initial meeting. Morgana drapes her arms around El readily, letting herself be scooped into a familiar bridal carry that gives Kara an uncanny feeling of déjà vu. But the differences are jarring – when Kara carries Lena like this, she’s always overly conscious of the placement her hands, worried about making Lena uncomfortable. El has no such qualms. Her hands palm Morgana’s body unselfconsciously, and Morgana’s hands start to wander as they take off in a very visible way that makes Kara almost careen into a skyscraper.
Kara only has the 30-second flight to figure out what on earth she’s going to do.
Things with Lena have been undeniably weird ever since Kara came back from the Phantom Zone, from the moment the ship landed back in National City. She had almost been able to write it off when things were still in chaos – she had to deal with the immediate threat of the Phantoms and convincing her father that he should go to Argo to be with her mother, and then she wasn’t able to think about much besides trying not to re-live the terror every time she closed her eyes. But when things had settled enough that Kara could start to deal with more than crisis management, Alex had told her everything Lena did while she was gone.
Lena created the Phantom containment system that saved everyone’s lives several times over. She wiped the memories of her mother and brother so they forgot Kara’s identity, she created a device in a matter of hours that tracked Kara’s location in the Phantom Zone, and had Alex not forced her hand she was apparently ready to do anything to make it happen. And when they arrived, Lena created a yellow sun bomb to energize Kara enough to escape.
Without Lena, Kara never would have gotten out. And when Kara tried to thank her Lena had barely been able to look her in the eye. The hug Kara pulled her into had been long but stiff, like Lena wanted to hang on but was somehow holding herself back from melting into it, and after that the only word that could be accurately used to describe their relationship would be stilted. Like there’s a wall between them, every word exchanged weighted down with ten unsaid ones.
And Kara has a feeling that this is going to make it even worse.
When Kara lands in the DEO atrium it’s with just a little too much force, which has the unfortunate side-effect of making everyone look up from what they’re doing to see Kara’s clone being enthusiastically felt-up by a medieval Lena Luthor look-alike.
One of those observers is Lena Luthor herself, who actually seems happy enough to see Kara up until she’s faced with a somehow even paler version of herself in a black corset.
“Hey, guys,” Kara says, her voice cracking a little as Lena stares in disbelief at the woman sharing her face. Morgana stares back coolly, looking interested but unsurprised. “We, uh. Have some guests.”
“What the hell is this?” Lena says, her face calm but her voice betraying her alarm. Morgana takes a few slow strides towards her, circling with an appraising eye – and Lena turns with her, not allowing herself to be scanned so casually.
“Remarkable,” Morgana murmurs, stepping directly into Lena’s space and examining her face closely. “She is to me as this one is to you.” She inclines her head at Kara, but is clearly speaking to El.
El nods. “It is as I said.”
Their similarities are even more apparent when they’re standing right next to each other. Lena stands a bit taller in her heels and Morgana is noticeably more frail, her face and figure less full, like she’s been malnourished and underslept for a little too long. But despite the surface level differences, they’re identical. The same lips, the same sharp jawline, the same slight underbite. The same eyes, unevenly coloured and currently full of suspicion and curiosity.
“So. Red Daughter is back,” Kara says weakly, gesturing at El who stands a few paces away with a hand resting on her sword hilt. “Her name is El now.”
Lena and Alex are equally unamused.
A few minutes later El and Morgana are seated at one end of the table in the briefing room, so close together that they’re practically a single person, and Alex is pacing the other side of the room with Kara and Lena while their guests have a whispered conversation Kara is too distracted to hear properly. She hears her own name and Lena’s, but Alex pulls her focus away before she can gather what they’re actually saying.
“Is it possible that – I don’t know, did you touch the harun-el when you were making it?” Alex asks Lena, who keeps looking over at Morgana and El’s aggressive closeness with an unreadable expression.
“No! I have safety practices,” Lena snaps back. Kara snorts, and Lena’s wandering eyes land on her instead.
“Debatable,” Kara says, remembering all the times she’s entered the labs to see Lena happily experimenting without so much as a coat or gloves.
“What? My employees follow every –”
Alex takes Kara’s side. “I’ve seen you working. You wear heels in the lab.”
Lena opens her mouth to protest, but Kara waves a hand to silence them both before they get too off-subject. “Even if she did touch it, it wouldn’t do anything. She isn’t Kryptonian – it wouldn’t have created a clone like mine.”
“So this is a multiverse thing?” Lena says, looking over at Morgana and El again. El is clearly listening to their conversation, but seems a little distracted by Morgana tracing the lines of her palm with a bored expression. When Morgana catches them all looking, though, she smiles in that slow, very un-Lena like way she has. Looking almost pointedly between Kara and Lena, she brings El’s palm up to her mouth and lays a wet, deliberate kiss in the centre.
Lena seems to choke on air - she averts her eyes almost immediately from the scene, her eyes wide. They rest for a moment on Kara, before darting away - the tension that’s been thick between them ever since Kara’s return from the Phantom Zone is, somehow, worse than ever before. A flush climbs up Lena’s pale neck as Morgana’s lips trail down to El’s wrist, still looking up at them almost in challenge. El, for her part, just seems happy to hang on for the ride.
Alex turns to Kara with an expression that would be funny if the scene causing it wasn’t making Kara’s brain melt.
“Kara,” Alex says carefully, as Morgana’s kisses trail up El’s arm like she’s Gomez freaking Addams until they finally claim El’s lips, “is there by any chance anything you forgot to tell us about the multiverse Lena clone?”
“Her name is Morgana?” Kara supplies unhelpfully. Lena is still staring resolutely at the wall and thus misses when Morgana pushes the table back and climbs into El’s lap, but Kara can’t seem to look away as El’s hands wander confidently down–
“Anything else?” Alex pushes, and Kara finally tears her eyes away from the very enthusiastic makeout session to see her sister with arms crossed, tapping her foot.
“Okay, they seem to be –” Morgana moans loudly in the background, and something in Kara reacts to it like a strange sort of muscle memory. It steals her breath, and she has to clear her throat of a sudden tightness. “Uh. They’re clearly…together. In some way.”
The noises from the other end of the table become decidedly less PG, and Alex looks about 3 seconds away from plugging her ears. Lena’s blush has graduated all the way to her forehead, and she still seems unable to look either at the culprits or at Kara directly.
“I think maybe that’s an understatement,” Alex says loudly.
Once J’onn arrives and manages to break them apart, the full story comes out. Morgana, casting some sort of spell from her dimension, had summoned El just as her essence was being scattered by Lex. El has spent the last few months on another world with her conducting some kind of war, at the end of which Morgana created another portal and brought them here along with the dragon who Kara learns is 1. Named Aithusa, and 2. Extremely fond of belly rubs.
“That’s all very fascinating and weird, but what exactly was your intention in coming here?” Alex asks. Morgana shrugs. She’s mostly in her own seat, now, but her legs are still slung over El’s lap. She looks oddly regal in the standard issue plastic DEO chair.
“From what?” Kara asks, hurriedly getting back to scratching Aithusa’s scaly belly when the dragon makes a disgruntled noise at the lack of movement. “Were you in danger?”
Morgana raises a brow, so reminiscent of Lena that it makes Kara’s heart stutter. “Of a kind.”
“Why is she so vague?” Alex huffs, looking to Lena as if she can cast some light on her double’s behaviour. Lena, who seems simultaneously fascinated and unnerved by Morgana and El, simply shakes her head silently. She stares down at her tablet with her lips tightly pursed, taking notes on the situation while Alex frowns.
“I’ll be completely honest, I’m not sure what to do with either of you.”
“What to do with us?” El says, her voice like steel. “You will do nothing.”
“Don’t be dramatic,” Alex says, strangely calm despite El’s tone. Like even though she’s just met El, she’s instinctively familiar; and El, in the same vein, relaxes easily at the dismissal. Like Alex is her sister, too. “I just mean that you’re in this world, now, with no experience or knowledge of how to get by. I mean, Morgana has never used a computer. She’s never even been in a car. Neither of you could hold a job, or get a place to live. We need to figure out a way to let you both acclimate in a safe environment.”
Alex doesn’t mention the additional reason for keeping the two of them close, but Kara can guess at it – to keep them out of trouble. El was socialized by Lex, with any growth she might have experienced being with Morgana who has a distinct air of trouble. If there’s anything Alex hates, it’s unknown quantities.
“They can stay here,” J’onn says, speaking up for the first time since he arrived. “We have bunks on the lower levels. While they’re here we can –”
El says it quietly, but firmly enough that it stops J’onn in his tracks.
“No more cages,” El says, and Morgana nods her agreement. “No more control.”
They exchange a meaningful look, one so suddenly soft that it makes something twinge in Kara’s chest. She rubs at it, frowning.
“We aren’t the bad guys, El,” Kara says, and El raises a brow. “I know that what Lex did to you was horrible, but you’re safe here. The DEO isn’t a cage.”
It’s Morgana who answers, her voice low and drawling.
“You like someone holding your leash, do you?”
“Leash?” Kara squeaks, reddening under Morgana’s wicked smile. Morgana seems to thrive the more flustered Kara gets, and the witch glances at Lena and then back again with a knowing expression that scares Kara a little. “No?”
Morgana’s hand slides up El’s chest, resting on her throat. Strangely, it seems to make El perfectly comfortable – but it makes Lena tense. Kara can see the hard line of her shoulders, the rigidity of her posture.
“More’s the pity,” Morgana purrs. She’s speaking to Kara, clearly, but for some reason it’s Lena who she stares at with something like a challenge in her gaze. A dare.
Everything in Lena’s arms hits the floor.
Alex moves towards Lena immediately, looking concerned – but the brunette ducks her, diving for the papers and tablet immediately with her lips pursed tightly together. Her hands are shaking almost imperceptibly, and Morgana only watches with an strange look. The challenge is gone, and for just a moment, Kara almost thinks she sees pity there.
“They can stay with me,” Kara blurts.
She isn’t entirely sure why she suggested it. She doesn’t even have a spare room – they’re going to have to sleep on her pull-out couch. But staying at the DEO doesn’t seem to be an option, and the idea of getting two people with so little experience in this world – two people who share the faces of very recognizable people in National City, one of them being Kara herself - a hotel room or private apartment with no supervision is an even worse idea. She can still remember what it felt like to have the world hating Supergirl because of something her clone did.
And besides, Kara wants to get to know El as she is now. Not controlled by Lex. They had shared a brief understanding just before Lex had seemingly killed her, and Kara wants to explore it.
There’s something else, too; another reason for wanting to keep them close that gnaws at the back of her mind. Something that’s more about Morgana than it is about El. Something that she blocks firmly behind several layers of mental walls.
As soon as Kara suggests it, Lena pauses in her frantic gathering of her things to look up at her in shock. Alex, if it’s possible, looks even more surprised.
“Are you sure?” Alex asks, looking at Kara like she might plea insanity at any moment. “You don’t exactly have a lot of space.”
“Are there any other options they’ll accept?” Kara says, feeling strangely nervous. Like anyone who looks closely enough will question her motives, and she isn’t even entirely sure herself what they are yet.
“Are you two okay with staying with Kara?” Alex asks. Morgana tilts her head, looking to El. They seem to come to a silent agreement of some kind because Morgana smiles, turning back to Kara to give her a slow, thorough up-and-down look.
“I see no reason why not,” Morgana says, toying with El’s hair while she blatantly checks Kara out. El’s eyes are on Morgana, her expression nothing but fond. She almost looks proud. “In fact, I rather like the idea of two gods to do my bidding.”
“I’m not going to do your bidding!” Kara counters, perhaps a little too quickly. Morgana seems delighted by her discomfort.
“That remains to be seen,” she says softly, her hand in El’s hair easing into a fist and tugging gently. El’s eyes drift closed with a contented smile. “Have you ever taken a sorceress to bed, Supergirl? We don’t break nearly so easily as your mortal lovers.”
The door shifts behind Kara, opening and closing rapidly with the loud clicking of heels; by the time Kara has turned to look, Lena is gone.
It takes one day for Kara to realize that she’s made a terrible mistake.
The first indication is that, as soon as she opens her apartment door and invites them inside, El perches herself on the couch and Morgana takes a seat in her lap again. The dragon bounds happily after them, jumping up on the cushions and sinking its claws into the upholstery, and Kara starts a mental list of everything she’ll need to replace once this is all over.
She isn’t sure if they’re normally this aggressively physical or if Morgana has just realized that it makes Kara uncomfortable and is capitalizing on it, but either way it’s distracting, and somehow it happening on the couch where she’s spent so many nights watching a movie while Lena dozes on her shoulder makes it all the worse.
The second indication is their subsequent behaviour. Kara shows them the apartment, teaching Morgana how to use basic modern appliances and showing El the workings of the TV, but both of them categorically refuse to change out of their outdated clothes. In fairness none of Kara’s things fit Morgana, but El refuses for seemingly no reason besides not liking Kara’s wardrobe. She passes a hand over the cardigans and pastel colours with an expression of distaste, only picking out a single dark navy button-down shirt that she’ll assent to wearing.
In the end El removes the armour on her shoulder and arms but stays in her leathers, and Kara makes a mental note to take them shopping before someone sees the two of them in medieval bondage gear and thinks Kara made a dramatic fashion change.
She also discovers later that El eats with exactly the same voracious appetite that she herself does, and Aithusa is even worse. Morgana picks at her food at first, but after her first bite of veggie deluxe pizza she eats with much more enthusiasm – Kara wonders, as she shows her the trick for opening a can of soda without spilling it everywhere, how food must have tasted in the world they came from. Morgana is delighted by the carbonation, and for a brief moment while she laughs and takes another sip, the wry façade she’s been maintaining falls away. Her dimples are just like Lena’s, coming out when she smiles big and joyful, and in the moment the resemblance steals Kara’s breath.
Nonetheless, Kara is going to need to ask J’onn for a subsidy and several grocery delivery services to feed all four of them without needing a cargo van to go shopping.
The fourth and final indication makes itself known when Kara settles into bed. She sets El and Morgana up on the couch, pulling it out into a bed and plying them with pillows and blankets, and although she has to quickly avert her eyes when Morgana starts to undo her dress and step out of it with no warning the two of them had seem to settle in together fairly calmly with Aithusa sleeping on a pile of blankets a few feet away.
Kara climbs into her own bed alone, exhausted, and closes her eyes. It’s only a few minutes before her mind drifts off, feeling relatively okay with the way things turned out. It definitely could have been worse.
Exactly 3 and a half minutes later, the breathing from the couch gets decidedly heavy.
Maybe one of them is having a nightmare, Kara thinks desperately as her brain shakes itself out of sleepiness, and the heavy breathing starts to turn into breathy whimpers. Maybe they’ll wake up in a minute.
That weak hope is extinguished when, in a hurried rustle of skin and blankets, Morgana moans.
There can be no doubt what they’re doing. It isn’t even muffled, Kara thinks with growing despair. They don’t appear to be trying to keep quiet at all. It only gets louder from there, El’s voice joining Morgana’s in wordless pleasure, and Kara can hear everything – the scrape of the couch legs on the floor under their movement, the cadence of Morgana’s voice catching with every thrust as she asks for more, the rhythmic wet sound of El’s fingers driving hard into –
Kara rolls over, desperately clapping her hands over her ears before she can finish the thought.
It’s discomfort she feels raging in her belly, moving further and further down to burn between her legs. It has to be. She feels weird about hearing someone who is essentially her twin having unabashed sex, and the fact that her partner looks – and probably sounds – like Lena only makes it weirder. That’s all.
There’s nothing captivating about hearing Morgana’s pleasure in stereo. Nothing.
Covering her ears helps only marginally. Kara can still hear the moment it all ends after what feels like hours (she refuses to put a word to it, can’t picture it, can only operate in vague allusions without losing her mind) and she stays in that position long after El and Morgana quiet into sleep. Face down in the pillows, hands over her ears, breathing steadily. Like she’s treading water, and if she lets her mind drift off she’s going to drown. Every time she starts to relax, a vague picture starts to form in her mind – Morgana with her head thrown back as she whimpers the noises Kara has been trying to block out, El trailing kisses down her throat, blonde hair contrasted with black – and she has to jerk awake, forcing the thought away.
She gets no real rest that night. She doesn’t even start to doze until the sky is already light, and it’s restless and intermittent. She only sinks into actual sleep when Aithusa climbs into bed around 5am, and curls into a ball at her feet.
She’s groggy and disoriented when she finally rolls out of bed around 8, dislodging Aithusa and squinting into the kitchen to find El happily dunking half a box of Oreo cookies into a large bowl full of milk. She’s wearing a strange combination of her own leather top and a pair of Kara’s looser sweatpants, and there’s steam coming from under the bathroom door. Kara can hear the shower running, and Morgana seems to be humming something Kara doesn’t recognize under the spray.
“She is bathing,” El says around a mouthful of cookie. Kara nods, rubbing at her bleary eyes and slipping on her glasses. She needs the slight relief they give her from the noise of Morgana showering.
“I’m surprised you’re not bathing with her,” Kara grumbles, too tired to mask her irritation with pleasantries. El abandons pretense and rips open a new box of cookies, upending the contents into the milk and pouring more on top like she’s eating a bowl of cereal.
“I did, until she was satisfied.”
El’s hair is damp, Kara notices. And now she has a whole pile of new images to burn out of her brain. A pile which only gets bigger when the bathroom door opens, and Morgana strolls out fully nude.
“Oh, god,” Kara hisses, whirling around and clapping her hands over her eyes. She managed to avert her eyes when she saw too much skin, so the details remain blissfully unclear in her mind, but even seeing her vague naked shape was way too close a call for Kara’s tenuous grip on reality. The outline of her feels seared into her eyelids like she spent too long staring at the sun, and she rubs her eyes furiously to try and get rid of it.
“Is something amiss?” Morgana’s voice comes from behind her, wet footsteps getting too close for comfort.
“Clothes, Morgana!” Kara yells, her eyes still squeezed shut. “Where are your clothes?”
“You wanted so badly for us to change them,” Morgana says, amusement in every inflection. “Is this not an improvement?”
“No! It is not!”
El has very little reaction to the whole thing, seeming to simply enjoy the show, and Kara manages to open her eyes to glare at her clone.
“Doesn’t this bother you?” Kara hisses, squeezing her eyes shut again when she senses movement in her periphery. She can’t risk the psychic damage of seeing any more than she’s already seen. “She’s naked right in front of me.” But El simply shrugs, eating a crumbling spoonful of milk-soaked cookies and then offering another to Aithusa. The dragon trills, almost swallowing El’s whole hand in her eagerness, and without missing a beat El lets her keep the spoon and instead raises the whole bowl to her lips.
“Why should it?”
Kara doesn’t have an answer for that besides the fierce blush that she can’t get rid of. She can tell just by the lack of movement in her direction that Morgana still hasn’t dressed, and at her wit’s end Kara points blindly in the direction of the bathroom.
“Morgana, there’s a bathrobe on the back of the door,” she says piteously, sinking into a kitchen chair opposite from El and rubbing her burning eyes again. “We’ll go shopping today, I’ll take the day off work, just please put it on.”
She can hear bare footsteps pad back to the bathroom, and the robe whispering over Morgana’s skin. Even so, she’s afraid to look in case her senses have deceived her.
“You want me to wear this robe in public? It’s rather scant,” Morgana drawls. She comes nearer, stopping next to El, and Kara chances a brief glance in their direction. To her relief, Morgana actually has the robe on and properly tied.
“I can get Alex to bring something else over for you,” Kara says tiredly, all the flight instinct leaving her in a fell swoop. She slumps back in her chair, watching Morgana wipe off the milk moustache left behind by El downing the dregs of her Oreo breakfast with a thumb. It’s sweet, in a funhouse-mirror sort of way; and then she brings the digit up to her mouth, and Kara has to close her eyes again.
It takes some wheedling, but she manages to convince Nia and Brainy to help her shepherd Morgana and El through the mall.
Thankfully, neither Morgana or El resist too hard this time on not wearing their old clothes for their first public outing. El chooses to keep her sweatpants from the morning paired with a Henley that Kara found in her pyjama drawer, and Alex swings by after a frantic call from Kara to drop off a pair of jeans and a soft purple sweater for Morgana that Kara knows for a fact belong to someone else. The ensemble is slightly too big on her, but even so it makes Morgana look more like Lena than ever. Kara tries not to let that fact distract her.
What El does push back on is the glasses.
“If anyone asks, you’re my long-lost cousin. I was adopted, so it’s sort of plausible that I wouldn’t know you. You’re going to need to wear these,” Kara insists, pressing one of her spare frames into El’s hands while Morgana changes into Lena’s clothes behind the bedroom curtain. El holds them out from her body like a bomb with a look of distaste.
“Because that’s part of my disguise,” Kara tries to explain, her patience wearing thin after her terrible sleep. “My secret identity.”
El frowns. Aithusa wanders up to them, seeming to understand that she’s going to be left alone for a little while, and El strokes her head as she considers Kara’s words.
“This is foolish.”
“No, it’s not,” Kara argues, but at the look El pins her with she admits what she’s always known was true.
“Okay. It seems silly, but it works,” Kara admits, sinking down onto the couch. “I can’t have you walking around looking like Supergirl, and saying you’re related to me. People will put the pieces together.”
“Why do you hide?” El asks, perching on the very edge of the armchair opposite while Aithusa climbs onto the cushion. It’s clear that she truly doesn’t understand, and Kara has no idea how to explain the importance of it to her. “Must you lie like this?”
“I know that to you it looks dishonest,” Kara starts, after a moment of collecting her thoughts. “But I hide my identity to protect the people I love. A lot of very bad people want to hurt Supergirl, and if they knew who was important to me, they could try to hurt them. They could hurt Lena. Or Alex. I can’t have that happen.”
El seems to think it over. She unfolds the arms of the glasses, and then folds them again.
“There was an imp I knew once,” Kara continues, lowering her voice. She knows logically that Morgana isn’t Lena and therefore would have no idea what she’s talking about, but it still feels easier to say quietly. “He showed me a world where I revealed my identity. I did it to save Lena. Because people knew she could be used to manipulate me. That she was – that I would do anything to save her. And then I told the world who I was, and he – “ Kara’s breath catches. She can still feel the horror of that wretched little television reading off names, and she has to take a big breath before she can continue. “He killed everyone. My sister, my friends, my mentor – everyone.”
“It is a tactic that makes sense,” El says, but her voice is surprisingly soft. “Weaken your enemy by eliminating their reasons for being. Lex taught me that.”
“Why am I not surprised,” Kara mutters. El gives her a small smile. It’s the first time Kara has had any extended time alone with her, and she feels surprisingly comfortable with it considering El tried to kill her not a terribly long time ago.
After a minute El unfolds the glasses again and puts them on, wrinkling her nose as the suppressive effects kick in.
“They’re lined with lead,” Kara supplies, chuckling as El slips them off and on again, looking confused. “They slightly suppress our x-ray vision, and hearing. It really helps me not to get overwhelmed by all the noise.”
“It…helps,” El says, leaving the glasses on and gathering her hair into a ponytail. The effect of it all together is even more unnerving than before. She’s in an outfit that Kara would usually never wear out of the house and her expression is solemn in a way that Kara rarely is, but even with El’s stiff posture nobody would ever believe they weren’t identical twins.
And, Kara thinks as Morgana emerges with her hair soft and brushed and pulls El into a heavy kiss by the waistband of her sweats, it makes all of this so much worse.
They drive to the mall rather than fly, all piling into Nia’s tiny Toyota with Brainy seated awkwardly between Morgana and El at Kara’s request, and all the way there Morgana watches the scenery out the window with a hawklike gaze. She seems to be absorbing everything around her, taking in the new information; and although her expression is one of haughty disinterest, Kara notices that as soon as they enter the building with its crowds and music and neon store signs, Morgana’s grip on El’s hand gets so tight that she can see the stark white of her knuckles.
The first store that catches Morgana’s eye is a Victoria’s Secret; Kara all but drags her away, and towards the much safer H&M.
She should have expected the kind of outfit Morgana would choose, even with Nia’s suggestions of adding more colour to her wardrobe. She doesn’t even take the suggestions into the changing room with her. Instead Morgana steps out in head-to-toe black, from tight dress to fitted leather jacket. She looks entirely too satisfied with herself when Kara immediately averts her gaze.
“Thoughts?” Morgana drawls, doing a little spin to show off the whole outfit. “I’ve never worn something quite so daring before.”
Kara, too focused on not looking too closely, can’t even form an answer before another voice chimes in.
“I’m surprised you got them to agree to this.”
Kara whirls in a circle, both relieved to have something to distract her from Morgana and alarmed that the something turns out to be Lena. She’s leaning against the wall near the changing room entrance, her face unreadable.
“Lena!” Kara practically shouts, latching onto the diversion desperately. “What are you doing here?”
Lena gives a small smile, holding up a credit card. “Someone needs to pay for this little venture.” She looks at Morgana, pursing her lips. “I had no idea I looked that good in leather.”
Kara’s mouth forms words before her brain catches up. “I did.”
Lena looks at her, askance, eyes wide. “What?”
Shoot. She tries not to wince visibly but Lena is still looking at her, unsure, and Kara knows she can’t just leave something like that hanging.
“I mean, I’ve seen you. In leather,” she stammers, suddenly wishing she could melt into the floor. Her face is hot, and she’s a little dizzy, and Morgana is still in her periphery wearing that outfit. “You once wore, uh. Leather. A top? I remember, you looked…good. Is what I meant.”
What Kara remembers is the soft skin of Lena’s shoulders, and trying not to be rude and just stare at how nicely Lena’s cleavage was framed by the shirt. She herself could never have pulled that look off, and the foreignness of it made her think about it for days afterwards.
Lena looks stunned. She stares silently at Kara, like she’s trying to figure out her reasoning for saying something so idiotic; it’s almost a relief when Morgana smells blood in the water and sidles up to her elbow, placing a hand on her arm.
“Are we in a hurry?” Morgana asks with an air of feigned concern, giving Kara’s arm a visible squeeze. “Help me undress, then. I’m unfamiliar with these fastenings.” With only that as warning, Morgana slips the jacket off. The dress is low on her shoulders, leaving enough exposed skin that Kara chokes on air, the previous conversation almost forgotten.
“Uh – can’t El do that?” Kara wheezes.
“She’s busy,” Morgana says, waving a hand and turning around so Kara can see the zipper on her dress. “I’m used to having attendants to undress me, ladies in waiting. I was a queen – I need servants.”
The word servants is said with an undertone that sends shivers down Kara’s spine. Unpleasant ones, obviously. Not exciting in any way whatsoever.
Kara is also fairly sure that she remembers Morgana saying she was in exile when she explained the situation at the DEO yesterday, but she doesn’t know enough to dispute her. Instead Kara watches in silent panic as Morgana brushes her hair over one shoulder, looks back in her direction, and pins her with a look that smoulders.
Kara swallows hard.
She can feel the weight of Lena’s eyes on her when she reaches for the zipper, burning into her back as she fumbles with the clasp. It takes a few tries but Kara manages to pull it down without ripping the whole damn dress off by accident, staring resolutely at a neutral spot on the opposite wall rather than Morgana’s exposed skin.
“I think you can figure the rest out yourself. Maybe try some pants,” Kara mutters before she runs for the changeroom exit, brushing past Lena as she goes. Lena can’t seem to meet her eyes, and her jaw is so tight that it looks painful.
It seems easier to breathe as soon as she puts some distance between them.
Across the other side of the store, El also seems completely uninterested in the women’s section. Her eyes pass over the heels and dresses, the blouses and spaghetti straps, without a spark of excitement. Instead Kara watches her drift to the men’s section, handing various articles of clothing to Brainy and Nia and seeming happier and happier as she progresses. Kara opens her mouth, meaning to tell her that she’s in the wrong area, but El looks so delighted by the soft and cozy texture of the nearest plaid flannel that Kara lets her mouth close with a snap.
Kara follows them towards the jeans display instead, grabbing at a patterned button-up that catches her eye. Ordinarily she wouldn’t stray to this section by herself, too worried about seeming out of place when she already has so much to hide, but El seems perfectly comfortable here. Maybe it’s not so bad.
It’s nice to find a shirt that doesn’t bunch around her shoulders, for once.
“It was a perfectly good disguise for me,” Brainy is saying as Kara approaches, holding up a pair of teal board shorts and a tank top with low-slung sides and a palm tree on the front. “Blending in is key.”
“That’s the opposite of blending, Brainy,” Kara sighs, making a grab for the articles. Brainy snatches them away, holding them out towards El instead. “Let her choose her own clothes.”
“I do not know yet what I like,” El says thoughtfully, taking the clothes from Brainy and adding them to her pile. They stack on top of several pairs of jeans and sweats, some button-ups, and a variety of plain shirts in dark colours. El’s taste seems to veer towards simple, classic, and slightly masculine. “I will try.”
It’s sort of shocking, how effortlessly good El looks in menswear. Once they find her sizing all the clothes she tries on fit her like a glove, seeming comfortable and easy to move in, and Kara has to stare at the floor for a minute when Morgana insists on personally unbuckling and removing every leather belt El tries on to hand her a new one with a hungry expression. The things she chooses suit her so easily that Kara wonders, with a strange sort of clarity, if she’s been missing out by trying so hard to fade into the background.
El tries on Brainy’s selection next, and looks down at herself with a sort of amusement when she sees the clashing colours in the mirror. But when Morgana sees her in it, all it takes is an unsubtle caress of her exposed bicep for El to decide to buy the tank top anyways.
Morgana at least chooses a pair of dark aviators at the checkout, which Kara can only hope will deter most people from realizing her face is identical to the well-known businesswoman standing beside her.
After the majority of the buying is finished Lena ducks out, citing a busy afternoon of meetings, and Kara battles simultaneous relief and disappointment to see her best friend go. She feels strangely distant from Lena in the midst of all this, like even though Lena was here they were avoiding each other somehow, but at the same time Kara has too many things to juggle to think about it too hard. She has to frantically de-escalate a conflict when someone bumps too hard into Morgana without apologizing and the sorceress’ eyes flash an angry gold, and twice she has to duck into stores she has no intention of buying from and drag El with her to avoid someone she recognizes from work.
People are going to find out about El eventually. But the last place she wants to scramble for an explanation for why she’s walking around with an identical twin is the middle of a crowded mall, with Morgana watching and making her all nervous.
For the drive back to the apartment, Morgana steals the middle seat and drapes herself over El before Brainy can intervene.
Even with all evidence pointing to the contrary, Kara still holds onto the hope that tonight Morgana and El will retire to the couch-bed and just go to sleep. They must have gotten it all out last night, she reasons; they must know that Kara could hear them. Surely they’ll be considerate. Surely.
The sex that begins the moment the lights turn off is, if anything, worse than before.
It’s not just little noises. There’s talking, this time. Loud and completely brazen groans of stop this teasing and must I tie you down again? followed by the sound of what Kara can only assume is El’s hands being bound by magic. El seems perfectly content with the situation, enthusiastic even, and when they show no sign of slowing down after an entire agonizing half-hour Kara has no other choice. She wrenches open her bedroom window and flings herself into the night.
Even as she flies away, she’s haunted by breathless swearing in Russian.
Her flight pattern is erratic, but muscle memory alone takes her to the place where she knows she’ll find relief from the situation, even if just for the night. The combination of frustration and exhaustion means that when she uses her spare key to collapse onto Alex’s couch, she’s asleep before her whole body is even on the cushions.
Unfortunately, the situation follows her the moment she wakes up. A prod to her side is what brings her back to life, and she opens her eyes to the sight of Kelly with a cup of coffee in hand peering down at her with a sympathetic frown.
“Rough night?” Kelly asks, sounding far too awake for 6:30am.
“S’ fine,” Kara grumbles, hauling herself off the couch and stumbling to the window. Getting a few hours of sleep helped, but she’s still dreading what she might find when she gets back to her apartment. “See you later.”
Before she can haul herself into the sky again, Kelly catches the back of her shirt. It’s a soft grab, one Kara could break without even thinking, but it still stops her in her tracks. Kelly does sisterly concern almost better than Alex does, sometimes.
“Hold on. Is there a reason you didn’t sleep in your own bed?” Kelly asks pointedly. She sips her coffee, and Kara huffs as she slumps back down onto the couch.
“Morgana and El are kind of disruptive.”
“Do they stay up late?” Kelly asks. There’s an innocent air to her voice, almost too innocent, and Kara fiddles with the sleeve of her shirt until she rips a tiny hole in the cuff.
“It’s more about what they stay up late doing,” Kara admits. Kelly’s eyebrows raise, and right on cue Alex shuffles out of the bedroom with a grumpy morning frown. Her hair is sticking up at the back, and when she sees Kara on the couch she pauses to squint at her blearily.
“This is you and not your clone, right?” Alex says, rubbing at her eyes. “Because I’ve been down this road before, and –”
“Shouldn’t you be able to tell?” Kara says, crossing her arms. “Sisterly intuition or something?”
Alex glares at her on her way to the kitchen, pouring herself a large mug of coffee. “She’s your clone. And she’s a good actress.”
“Not the only thing she’s good at, apparently,” Kara mutters. Alex pauses mid-pour.
“Does this grumpiness have anything to do with El being romantically involved with someone who looks like Lena?” Kelly asks, sharing a charged look with Alex who looks suddenly much more alert. They take almost simultaneous slow sips of coffee, and Kara can feel herself turning a hot scarlet from neck to forehead.
“Why would that have anything to do with…anything?” Kara sputters, knowing even as she says it that her indignance is probably a little too performative. Kelly just shrugs, her expression maddeningly even.
“You tell me.”
“It’s fine, it’s just weird,” Kara says, rubbing her face as if somehow that will make the blush go away. “Awkward, you know? She’s my best friend.”
Kelly’s look of sympathetic pity is too much to bear so early in the morning. Like she knows something Kara doesn’t, and is waiting on Kara to catch up. Alex has it too, but in a way that Kara is more used to ignoring.
“Hey, can you guys hang out with them for the day?” Kara asks, even as she knows what the answer will probably be. “I have to go to work, and El doesn’t want to go back to the DEO. I think part of her still distrusts them after what Lex drilled into her.”
“We have to work too. Can’t they stay at your apartment?” Alex says, topping up Kelly’s coffee and then her own. “You’re the one who wanted them to stay with you.”
“Do you really think they’ll stay there if I leave them alone?” Kara says, trying to swallow the panic that’s starting to rise now that today is a reality. “I can’t call in sick again to stay with them. What if they decide to wander around the city?”
“You’re very worried about people seeing them together, aren’t you?” Kelly says. Her voice is warm and understanding in a way that makes Kara’s chest tighten with something terrifying, something she’s been pushing away for longer than she can remember, and instead of addressing it Kara stands abruptly and starts to pace.
“I’m worried that they’ll do something to draw attention to themselves. Morgana is unpredictable,” Kara says, the pacing only seeming to wind her up like a clock. “Lena has worked hard for her good name, and Morgana could destroy it in an afternoon. And don’t forget that the last time El was around, Supergirl was declared an enemy of the state.”
Alex winces at the reminder. “Fair.”
“Why not bring them to work with you?” Kelly suggests. Kara stops in her tracks, staring at her aghast.
“You want me to parade them around CatCo? A place that is very much familiar with both mine and Lena’s faces?” Kara says, but Kelly seems maddeningly calm in the face of her distress. A rock of terrible empathy.
“Do you have another choice?” Alex says more reasonably. “Put them in hats or something. Find a room for them to wait it out in. It’s either that, or leave them on their own. Frying pan or fire, you do need to make a decision one way or the other.”
That’s how Kara ends up walking into CatCo with Morgana and El in tow wearing sunglasses and ballcaps, hoping against hope that nobody stops them before she can get them to the sixth floor. It’s under construction, and her only hope of getting through today is to find them a deserted room there and tell them to stay put.
The rational part of her brain whispers that she can’t possibly do this every day, that at some point she’ll have to leave them to their own devices; but she ignores it, for now. One step at a time.
“I’ll be back on my lunch break to bring you some food,” Kara says, ushering them into an empty office suite. The only furniture is a desk and a leather couch with a plastic cover, which El sits on gingerly. Morgana hops up to sit on the desk, perching with delicately crossed legs.
“A cage by another name is still a prison,” El says, her displeasure making her accent more pronounced. Kara sighs.
“It’s not a cage, it’s just –”
“A room which we aren’t allowed to leave,” Morgana finishes. Her jaw is tight, her eyes piercing, and Kara sighs.
“It’s not like I’m locking you in! I just need to get some work done, and you guys would be a distraction. For everyone.”
Neither of them look enthused about the prospect, but since she’s already late to a copy meeting Kara leaves them with the assurance that she’ll be back in a few hours and hopes for the best. She gives in and uses her super speed so that she makes it to the meeting only 6 minutes after everyone else (Andrea singles her out anyways, of course), clears out her backlog of emails, and even manages to get a full interview with a contact for a story, and by 11am she’s feeling pretty good about her chances of making it out of this day unscathed. She grabs a cup of bad coffee from the machine in the break room with a few coworkers, and things feel almost normal.
When she hears Andrea calling into the bullpen far across the room, her blood freezes.
“Lena! What are you doing here? Did we have a meeting?”
Kara whirls around. To her absolute horror the person Andrea is addressing is not Lena; it’s Morgana, ballcap and sunglasses abandoned, standing in the entryway of Kara’s workplace and looking around at the chaos surrounding her with interest.
“Morgana!” Kara hisses to herself, ducking behind a pillar and gesturing at Morgana to join her out of Andrea’s eyeline. The panic is crawling up her throat, and it only gets worse when Morgana shows no intention of moving, clearly pretending not to see her. “What are you doing –”
“Lena?” Andrea says again, closer now, and Kara peeks around the pillar to see her touch Morgana’s elbow gently. Oddly gently, actually. As if she’s done it a hundred times before. Kara frowns, momentarily distracted by the intimacy of the gesture.
But only momentarily. Morgana turns to Andrea, seeming to size her up, and Kara’s panic returns full force.
“Not quite,” Morgana says, folding her arms. Kara can see exactly when Andrea’s confusion crosses over into annoyance, and of course it’s then that the worst possible scenario takes shape.
El appears behind Morgana, taking her waist and looking at Andrea with blatant distrust.
“Who is this?” El asks, looking for all intents and purposes like Kara in fitted menswear holding Lena Luthor like a lover and glaring at her company’s CEO, and Andrea’s nostrils flare like a dragon.
“This is your damn boss,” Andrea snaps, her shell-shock seemingly replaced by anger at not-Kara’s sheer audacity. “Who can fire you if she so chooses –”
El’s eyes narrow, and pure adrenaline takes over Kara’s brain. There’s no time to think - she sprints away from her coworkers with a frantic ‘sorry!’, coming skidding to a halt between Andrea and the couple with her arms up like she’s intervening in a fistfight.
“Andrea!” Kara says, her voice high and squeaky. She clears her throat, plucking at her collar where she’s pretty sure a nervous sweat is starting to stain the fabric. “Hi, I’ve been meaning to – uh, this is my…cousin.”
Andrea blinks. What Kara is sure was going to be a savage reprimand dies on her lips, and she looks back and forth between Kara and El a few times before she speaks again.
“Your cousin,” Andrea says, her eyes continuing to move between them. Kara is sure she’s mentally cataloguing every identical feature, and it’s almost a relief when Morgana seems to get bored, turning El’s face away to draw her into a kiss that makes Andrea’s eyes widen.
At least Andrea can’t see either of their faces as clearly now, and Kara has time to subtly step in front of them to half-block them from view.
“Yes. And that is not Lena,” Kara says, as confidently as she can in the circumstances. Behind her the now-familiar wet sounds of kissing are uncomfortably obvious, and Kara winces. Andrea’s face visibly hardens.
“What are you talking about?”
“Right. Well, my cousin and I haven’t spoken in a while,” Kara says, raising her voice almost to a shout to compensate when Morgana noisily sucks on El’s tongue. Everyone is watching, and El and Morgana sound a few minutes away from clearing the nearest desk and climbing onto it. Kara needs to get them out of here as fast as possible. “So she came to visit, with her uh. Girlfriend, and it turns out her girlfriend is Lena’s spitting image!”
It’s a frantic lie, and possibly one of Kara’s worst. But desperate times and all that – and Andrea staring her down while her clone risks getting charged for public indecency in the middle of the office is about as desperate as Kara has ever been.
“I’ve known Lena a long time. I recognize her face when I see it,” Andrea says tightly.
“Genes are weird,” Kara says, laughing awkwardly. Andrea’s face doesn’t change. “They look just like us, but they’re completely independent humans who do what they want even when I ask them not to. Can you believe that? What are the chances?” Kara ends the haphazard explanation with a sort of flourish, acutely aware that somewhere behind her Morgana is biting unabashedly at the base of El’s neck.
“No,” Andrea says drily. “I can’t believe that.”
Kara clears her throat. “Right. Well, I’ll just go ahead and take them home and then –”
“My office,” Andrea interrupts sharply, turning on her heel in a way that clearly expects Kara to follow. “Now.”
“Shoot,” Kara mutters, turning to Morgana and El – now looking at her curiously, Morgana’s head tucked into El’s shoulder – and glaring at them. “If she demotes me, you two owe me rent. Can you cool it?”
El has the decency to nod (begrudgingly) and she and Morgana partially disentangle themselves while Kara makes the funeral march to Andrea’s office. Every step feels heavy with the expectation of a reprimand, and even from 20 feet away she can see through the glass walls that Andrea is leaned back against the desk waiting for her with her cell phone held up to her ear. Kara can hear the dial tone, and a familiar voice answers that makes her stomach sink.
“Andrea. To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Kara sprints the rest of the way as fast as she can without using her superspeed. She skids to a halt in front of Andrea’s desk just as Andrea is explaining the basics of the whole horrifying situation to Lena, and she can hear the pregnant pause as Lena takes it in and figures out how to respond.
“What did Kara tell you, exactly?” Lena says carefully, and Andrea laughs with no trace of humour.
“Why don’t you lay it out for me?”
“Yes, tell her about how my cousin is dating your doppelganger!” Kara shouts desperately, knowing she sounds half-deranged. All she can do is hope that Lena goes along with her half-assed on-the-fly explanation for the weirdest situation she’s ever been in.
Andrea looks unamused.
Lena sighs, and Kara can see in her mind’s eye the image of her pinching the bridge of her nose. “Yes, it’s all…very strange. But it’s true.” There’s something else in her voice besides exasperation, something heavier, but it’s hard for Kara to figure out what it is when there’s so much going on.
“Lena, the similarity is uncanny,” Andrea says, peering around Kara to look at Morgana and El again. They’re watching raptly as one of Kara’s coworkers shows them the Keurig machine; the look of ravenous interest on Morgana’s face as she tries to figure out the unfamiliar technology is incredibly Lena-like, even Kara has to admit it. “She has your face.”
Lena’s answer is curt. “We’re looking into genetic testing.”
Andrea scoffs. “I think that alien detection device L-Corp threw out a few years ago would be more useful.”
Kara’s heart stops for one painful second, but Lena brushes off the question with practiced ease.
“Don’t be dramatic. Stranger things have happened.”
Kara could beg to differ, but Andrea seems to accept the explanation from Lena without much more complaint. She lets Kara go (not without warning her that she’s on thin ice, but Kara will take what she can get) with a promise to get Morgana and El out of the building, and Kara is more than happy to comply. Immediately.
“You couldn’t have stopped making out for one day so I could get through work?” Kara hisses as she pushes El into the stairwell, shutting the door tightly behind Morgana when she follows. El shrugs, shaking Kara’s grip off her arm.
“You did not ask.”
“Oh, I’m sorry that I didn’t submit a formal request!”
“Forgiven,” Morgana drawls.
Kara has never been closer to the end of her rope.
“Can you two maybe calm down for one afternoon so I don’t get fired? Please?” Kara asks, practically begs, to which Morgana is maddeningly indifferent.
“Why must we be here? We don’t need a watcher.”
“Because if I can’t trust you not to mount each other in front of my boss, I can’t trust you not to cause chaos in the city wearing Lena’s face,” Kara replies heatedly, her anger flaring at Morgana’s blasé attitude. “I can’t have you ruining her entire reputation because you get bored and decide to light a car on fire. I can deal with you ruining my work life – not Lena’s.”
Morgana sobers a little. She and El exchange a look, the kind that Kara used to be able to share with Lena and feel like she knew exactly what the brunette was thinking. Before every look between them was heavy with regret and tension. Now she can barely tell if Lena wants to be around her at all.
They seem to come to some sort of conclusion, because Morgana turns back to Kara decisively.
“We will return to your home, and stay there until you return. We’ll leave it in good working order.”
Kara’s first thought is absolutely not. But through the glass window in the stairwell door she can see her desk, where her phone is ringing and yesterday’s work is still piled. She can just imagine the look on Andrea’s face if she misses another deadline, and this time Lena won’t be able to get her out of trouble. She might have gotten through one confrontation by the skin of her teeth, but she doubts she’ll get the same grace if her work goes unfinished.
There’s only one choice.
“Fine,” Kara grumbles, prying her spare key from the chain and handing it to El. “Fine. I’m trusting you.”
El claims to be able to locate Kara’s apartment on her own, and she zips into the sky with Morgana from the roof a few minutes later. All Kara can really do is watch them disappear into the distance, and hope that she hasn’t made a huge mistake.
Kara gets less work done than she’d like, too preoccupied with what could be going on at her apartment to be really productive, but by 6pm she’s gotten through enough of the backlog to feel comfortable going home.
What she finds when she unlocks her door is shocking in a way she didn’t anticipate. In a way that’s somehow worse than her visions of a trashed apartment or city-wide destruction.
The place isn’t wrecked. In fact it’s just as Kara left it, except for some empty food containers and plates on the kitchen island. El and Morgana are on the couch with Aithusa, the dragon snoring quietly under Kara’s throw blanket and Morgana wrapped in Kara’s bathrobe – both of their heads are in El’s lap, eyes closed in contentment or sleep while El strokes Morgana’s hair. El is in a white t-shirt and boxers, looking comfortable and completely content; the TV flickers warm colours over the scene, soft and perfectly domestic.
Kara feels like a fist is squeezing her ribcage. Pressing down on her chest while El holds a finger to her lips, silently asking her not to wake them. Kara tiptoes around them instead, wondering as she sets her work bag down why their soft affection is more difficult to handle than their chaos.
It persists for the rest of the night. It gets tighter with every show of casual intimacy, every time El puts a hand at Morgana’s lower back as she passes or Morgana tangles their fingers together during dinner. They seem almost shy as they do it, like this is as new for them as it is for Kara, and vaguely Kara wonders how long they’ve actually been together. They have the confidence of a long-time couple, but the clumsy eagerness of their gestures seems to contradict it.
By the time Kara is putting on her pyjamas, she knows without a shadow of a doubt what’s going to happen next.
The last two nights, the little talking they’ve done has seemed instinctive – like maybe Morgana is slightly less experienced than her relentless flirting might imply. There’s been an escalation. Kara has been trying her best not to pay attention, sure, but there’s only so much she can block out. And tonight, Morgana outdoes herself. Kara presses her hands over her ears as soon as she hears the rustle of fabric and El’s intake of breath, but still she hears every word.
“Do you want me?” Morgana murmurs, and Kara can hear kissing – but through it El is able to reply, so it must not be on the lips. The neck, maybe? Or Morgana could be trailing her lips over El’s jaw, maybe up to that sensitive spot behind her ear –
“I do,” El says, her breath laboured. She inhales raggedly, and Morgana chuckles.
“What would you do to me?”
“I want what you want.”
There’s a pause, and El makes another breathy noise. It’s almost jarring, hearing what Kara knows she must sound like – especially coming from El, who seems so controlled during the daylight hours. Here, in the dark with Morgana, she seems to let go.
“I want you to tell me,” Morgana says, more insistent this time.
Kara grabs two pillows, pressing them against her ears. It doesn’t help.
“I would make you come apart on my fingers,” El whispers, and the fabric rustling sounds get louder before there’s a soft whumph of several things hitting the ground. Clothes. Clothes are being removed, now, and Kara screws her eyes shut even though there’s a curtain blocking whatever view she might have. She can’t risk her x-ray vision giving her a glimpse. Even so, she can’t stop her mind from conjuring shadowy pictures this time. They run rampant as the whisper of cloth turns into skin-on-skin.
“How many?” Morgana asks. It’s almost muffled, probably said into El’s mouth as they kiss. El almost growls, and Morgana’s resulting gasp sounds delighted by the hint of forcefulness.
“Any of them. All of them. Whatever you wish. I want to be inside of you. All of me.”
Morgana moans, and Kara can hear skin on skin – someone grabbing something, and then a slick noise –
“Then give me all of you.”
Morgana lets out a sound then – mixed pleasure and pain, but in a way that seems entirely enthusiastic. She sounds overwhelmed, and Kara starts to picture her taking El’s fingers – two, and then three, and then maybe more if she wanted – long fingers folding to fit inside her, body taut and arched, neck flexed, freckle begging to be bitten –
It’s too much for her poor, under-slept brain to handle. Before Kara knows what she’s doing she’s already thrown the window open, and for the second night in a row she soars as far away from her own apartment as she can get. Sweat dries slowly on her skin as she circles the city, unable to fully shake the sound of Morgana coming around however many fingers El managed to give her. She can’t go back to Alex’s without having to weather Kelly’s questions, and going to see anyone else will mean explaining why she’s not at home in the middle of the night.
What she really wants to do is go to Lena’s, to talk to her best friend about why this whole situation is freaking her out so much. Lena has always had a way of putting things in perspective for her, even before she knew Kara was Supergirl. But the idea of seeing Lena in person right now makes Kara’s stomach twist into knots.
Instead in her indecision she ends up landing in the park near Lena’s building, and without any real destination in mind she wanders through the greenery towards the water.
Kara can take a wild guess at why the idea of seeing Lena right now feels so uncomfortable. She and Lena have spoken even less since El and Morgana got here than they did before, and while she’s far enough away now that she can’t distinguish the details Kara can still distantly hear Lena’s clone - by the sounds of it – giving enthusiastic oral sex to her own. It’s unquestionably weird. But it’s deeper than that, she knows. She knows it in a way that feels subterranean, and Kara can feel in her bones that if she unearths it she can never go back.
So instead it dances on the edge of her mind, and Kara stares resolutely ahead. Complicating things with Lena even more is a death sentence for their friendship, and Kara won’t accept losing her again. She can’t.
The quiet of the park is peaceful, though, and Kara focuses on the calming sounds – the crickets, the distant rush of cars, the wind in the leaves, and another gentle and familiar sound that directs her feet unconsciously towards the water. She only comes to a halt when she realizes what the sound is – it’s coming from a silhouette sitting on a bench overlooking the bay. A silhouette Kara knows without needing to see her face.
Lena turns, reaching into her pocket in alarm, but she relaxes a bit and slips the taser back into her jacket when she sees who’s calling her from the trees. Only a bit, Kara notices. Her shoulders are still rigid, her back too straight for comfort.
“Kara? Are you in your pyjamas?” Lena calls, squinting into the dark. Kara laughs nervously, stepping into the moonlight and tugging at the fabric of her Winnie the Pooh shorts.
“I sort of flew here in a hurry.”
Lena frowns, scootching over on the bench so Kara can sit. This is the most direct conversation they’ve had in longer than Kara would care to admit, and it feels strange to be so close to her again. “Is everything okay?”
Kara laughs shortly. She perches on the edge of the bench, keeping a healthy space between them, and stares down at her hands.
“Morgana and El are…a handful,” she admits, digging her bare toes into the grass.
“In what way?”
“It’s hard to explain.”
It isn’t. She could very easily say they keep having sex on my couch and it’s driving me insane, and she’s sure Lena would talk about it with her it like an adult. But the words won’t come out. Instead they sit in a silence that stretches too far to not be awkward. Kara bites at the inside of her cheek – Lena fiddles with her hands, her heartbeat getting faster the longer they don’t talk. There are a hundred other things Kara wants to say - I’m sorry for everything that happened between us, you had every right to hate me, I was mad but now I just want you back in my life, the thing I thought about most in the Phantom Zone was getting back to you, why didn’t you want to hug me when I got back, I think I followed your heartbeat here – but she still can’t bring herself to say them.
Instead she clears her throat, and asks the easiest question.
“So, what are you doing out here?”
Lena seems relieved to break the stalemate, even if it’s with useless small talk.
“I come here to think. It’s the closest thing to nature anywhere near my apartment,” Lena says drily. Kara, desperate not to lapse into awkward silence again, blurts out the first thing that comes to mind.
“What are you thinking about?”
Lena looks directly at her for the first time since she sat down, her expression guarded but somehow terribly, desperately sad.
“It’s hard to explain.”
Kara frowns. Having her own avoidance reflected back at her is probably fair, but Lena seems troubled, and it bothers her that Lena won’t let her help. That they lost the trust that, a year ago, would have let Kara push her for details. Now Kara doesn’t feel like she’s earned the right to Lena’s secrets, anymore.
Kara is getting tired of the stiflingly silent pauses that weigh on their conversations, lately.
“Kara, you look terrible,” Lena finally says bluntly. Kara snorts.
“I haven’t slept in two days.”
Lena nods, staring out at the water. “I suppose…if they’re somehow keeping you up at 1 in the morning, they can sleep in my guest room for a few days. So you can get a break from whatever it is that’s so disruptive.”
Whatever it is sounds like whatever you won’t tell me, and Kara squirms a little. She wants to tell Lena exactly what’s keeping her up, but the idea of it makes her want to crawl out of her skin. And on top of that, Kara’s heart leaps at the idea of getting even one single night of uninterrupted sleep.
Maybe at Lena’s, when Morgana doesn’t have Kara there to intentionally torture, they’ll behave.
“Why didn’t you offer that before?” Kara asks, leaning back against the bench and stretching her legs out in front of her.
Lena’s eyes dart away.
“You said that you wanted them to stay with you. Practically yelled it, actually.”
Lena’s tone is light and teasing, but the sadness behind her eyes doesn’t go away. Kara opens her mouth to retort, but at Lena’s raised eyebrow she concedes.
“I – okay, yeah. I did.”
“I’m offering now,” Lena says pointedly.
Lena is true to her word. Kara brings them over early the next morning – Lena seems shocked when Aithusa immediately jumps up onto her pristine white couch, but she accepts it with grace - and Kara is so unburdened by worry for the whole day that she manages to catch up on her work and then some. She gets ahead on a few articles, meets a contact, has coffee with Nia, and grabs her favourite Chinese takeout on the way home since she doesn’t have to share it with two other people. She climbs into bed at 8pm and draws the curtains to keep out the summer light, diving under the covers with a contented sigh and completely ready to catch up on 3 days worth of sleep in peace.
She wakes up in a sweat a few hours later, shaken from fevered dreams by something even worse.
The clock reads 2:15 when she rolls over, rubbing her eyes and trying to shake off the cobwebs. Her dream had been unclear, just flashes of images and feelings that drain away like a sieve the more she wakes up, but it’s left her hot and fidgety. She rubs her legs together, swinging them out of bed when her thighs glide together with a slickness she’d rather not recognize, and it’s only after cleaning herself up and splashing some cold water on her face that she realizes what woke her in the first place.
She can still hear them.
It’s distant now, more like an echo all the way across town than a speaker directly in her ear, but it’s like somehow her mind is seeking it out now that they’re gone. She can’t hear the exact words, or the tiny details she suffers through when they’re on her couch. What she hears most of all is hard, rhythmic pounding, like something hitting the wall hard, and Morgana’s moans. They get louder the more she focuses on them, until finally she can hear her cry out in a high, desperate voice -
The pounding gets faster, and Morgana’s voice gets high and girlish and so very much like –
Kara is out the window again in a heartbeat.
She has truly no idea where to go, this time. Nowhere in the city is safe from her own powers betraying her, and she lands listlessly in the park next to Lena’s apartment a few minutes later even though it’s closer to the source of the noise than her own. She makes her way to the same bench as last night, trying in vain to focus on any other sound, and she’s unsurprised to see that once again her senses have brought her back to Lena.
What is surprising is that the moment Kara sees her, the noise fades into the background.
“Back again?” Kara says unsteadily, rounding the other side of the bench and sitting down without an invitation. Lena jumps a little, not looking Kara in the face, and Kara tries not to take it personally when she shifts away.
“They’re...occupied,” Lena mumbles. She looks almost as exhausted as Kara feels, the dark circles under her eyes highlighted by the moonlight. “And loud.”
Guilt claws at Kara’s belly. Apparently, whether Kara is there or not, Morgana and El just lack boundaries.
“Ah,” Kara says, glancing over at the building the occupation is happening in. She can just see the top of it over the trees, but she looks quickly back at Lena, not wanting to give her brain any excuse to focus on them again. “I’m really sorry. I should have warned you, but…”
Kara doesn’t really know how to finish the thought. Lena nods like she understands anyways.
“You didn’t tell me they were so…” Lena trails off, gesturing her hands vaguely.
“Enthusiastic?” Kara supplies. Lena laughs briefly, her shoulders relaxing a little seemingly of their own volition.
“Probably a better word for it,” Kara admits. She reaches up to fiddle with her glasses but realizes quickly that they aren’t there – they’re still on her nightstand. Putting them on probably could have helped, but she’d been so preoccupied when she woke up that she didn’t think about it. And now she’s flying around National City with her hair down looking like Supergirl and wearing striped pyjama pants.
“I think they need their own place,” Lena says. She’s pressing her thumb into the palm of her hand, rubbing it like a worry stone in a nervous tic that Kara has always found endearing. She’s doing it harder than usual.
“Doesn’t matter where we put them, I’ll probably still hear it,” Kara mutters distractedly, too focused on Lena’s hands to think too hard about it. They’re really quite nice. Kara has noticed that Morgana’s nail beds are cracked and worn, bitten down and only just starting to heal – Lena’s, she sees now, are short and well-kept, except for the skin around her thumbs. It’s ragged there where Lena chews at it when she’s at her most stressed. They look freshly bitten. Long fingers, and broad fingertips. And if Kara held them up to her own, they’d probably be almost as big.
What a strange thought.
“Is that what’s been keeping you up?” Lena asks, nodding her head in the direction of the building. Her voice is a little hoarse. “Have they been –”
Kara blinks, banishing Lena’s hands from her mind. “Yeah, unfortunately. On my couch. Sometimes I almost think it’s intentional.”
Lena nods. The thumb presses so hard into her hand that the skin around it goes white, and she makes a distracted noise somewhere between a laugh and a sigh. “I can’t hear them from here, at least. But they did steal my -”
Lena cuts herself off, making the unfamiliar noise again and shaking her head. She sits on her hands, turning away from Kara, but Kara can see her neck starting to turn red.
“What? What did they steal?” Kara asks, almost reaching out to touch Lena’s arm but thinking better of it, given the circumstances. Instead she grabs a handful of her own pants. “I can talk to El. They shouldn’t be -”
“No!” Lena says loudly, sounding like the conversation is rapidly spinning out of her control. She brings one hand up to rub her face, and it’s clear that the blush has moved up to cover most of it. “God. No. It’s nothing, it - it doesn’t matter, I’ll just buy another one. I’m sure they think they’re only borrowing it, even if I never want to see it again now. They could have just asked.”
It’s the closest Kara has ever been to hearing Lena ramble. Lena has always prided herself on being in control of her words, even if she can’t always control her emotions, but now it’s like she can’t stop herself from talking.
“What is it?” Kara asks, leaning a little closer. It feels like a secret.
“My...toys,” Lena says in a strained voice, staring in the opposite direction like she’s hoping saying it without meeting Kara’s eyes will keep her from reacting. “They went into my bedside drawer and -”
“Oh,” Kara says, staring at the side of Lena’s head as her brain tries to process that revelation without overheating and shutting down like an old car. It makes her chest tight, and her next words are almost a wheeze. “Toys. Oh. That’s – wow. Okay.”
“I came home and my whole collection was scattered across half the apartment as if a dog got into the trash,” Lena says quickly. Trying to rip off the band-aid with as little discomfort as possible. “I’m not entirely sure what they used and what they didn’t.”
Kara can’t answer. She’s too busy trying to fend off the images that arise at the idea of Lena having toys, a whole collection of them, and the implication of Morgana and El using them. What kind does she have? Is it standard stuff, like vibrators, or does she have other things Kara might not expect? Does she use them on herself, or does she have regular partners who – who use them on her -
“I’m just going to let them keep it,” Lena finishes as Kara’s mind runs rampant, her hands gripping the edge of the bench seat. “But I don’t think I can have them stay any longer, Kara. I’m sorry. There are a lot of sensitive projects in my apartment that I would rather nobody’s sticky fingers got hold of.”
Kara tries not to think about sticky fingers in any connotation, or the fact that Lena definitely sounds like she’s lying – especially since most of her brainpower is currently bent on not thinking about where anyone’s fingers might or might not be right now. Or where they could be.
Or where Kara wishes they were.
“I’ll make you something to deal with the noise,” Lena says, standing up quickly and cutting off Kara’s terrible thought before she can let it gather steam. “I’m probably not getting back to sleep anyways. I’ll send them over with it tomorrow. And I can look into getting them a place of their own, now that they’re a little more used to this world.”
“Sure,” Kara says, nodding distractedly. She stands as if she’s leaving as well, but sits awkwardly again when she realizes she has no idea where she plans on going. Lena is already walking away, and Kara waves at her retreating back. “I’ll, uh – see you then?”
Lena disappears into the dark without a goodbye, and Kara stays and listens to her progress until she’s safely inside her building. In fact she stays on the bench for the rest of the night, staring out at the water reflecting the dawn sky and trying to untangle her thoughts one by one.
It’s more difficult than she anticipated, considering she has to drop most of them like a hot stone the second she grasps them. By sunrise she finally gives up, and flies home without any clarity whatsoever.
Lena delivers a pair of special noise-cancelling earmuffs before Kara leaves for work just as she said she would, along with Morgana and El. It feels like two misbehaving children being brought home by the scruffs of their necks, but the pair look satisfied with themselves, taking up residence on the couch as soon as Lena leaves. Kara has to resist the urge to x-ray their bags to appease her curiosity about their theft.
Aithusa is the only one who seems penitent. She nudges Kara’s hand before she hops up on the bed and curls up under the covers, and Kara snaps the earmuffs on pointedly before she leaves.
They don’t block out all noise, but in combination with her glasses they at least muffle most of it. And with Morgana and El going at it at all hours – regardless of whether Kara is sleeping the next room over, with only a curtain as a barrier – she needs all the help she can get. When she’s in public they just look like wireless headphones, and it makes it much easier to do all sorts of things - stand next to heavy traffic, take public transportation without hearing every conversation in a 100 foot radius, try to ignore Morgana’s unrepentant moans at 3 in the morning. It lets her get enough sleep that she doesn’t have a breakdown, and helps with her everyday concentration issues.
Kara should have known that something so good could never last.
She’s taken to wearing them almost everywhere since she got them, as a sort of precaution. She never knows when Morgana and El will start something up in the middle of the day and she’ll pick it up from across town - so when she comes home from work two days later, unlocking her door and bumping it open with her elbow while she idly looks down at a text notification from Alex, she only takes them off when she’s already in the doorway. She doesn’t think, in her complacency, to check what might be happening inside.
What she finds makes her drop her phone mid-text. She hardly hears when the screen cracks on the hardwood.
In the middle of her apartment is one of her dining room chairs; and in that chair is El, her back to the door and wearing nothing but the sports bra Kara let her borrow. That in itself is bad enough – seeing her own clone mostly nude is a little strange at the best of times – but what makes Kara’s brain shut off is that straddled over the chair and over El’s lap is Morgana, who is facing the door, and she’s completely naked.
El has to have heard Kara’s entrance. They have the same powers, the same hearing, the same instincts. But El seems entirely uninterested in anything besides the woman straddling her lap – and like some kind of terrible tractor beam Kara’s eyes are drawn there as well, to absorb the details of a scene she knows she’ll never be able to forget.
Morgana is a vision in the low light of Kara’s apartment, her cheeks tinged pink with exertion and her long hair in a wild tangle. It looks like she’s been raking her fingers through it in the same way that Lena does sometimes when she’s especially relaxed, a fact which Kara can’t unsee. She’s completely uninhibited as she rides El’s lap, so caught up in her own pleasure that she doesn’t seem to notice anything else. And Kara doesn’t have to wonder for long exactly what the source of her pleasure is – she can see black leather straps digging into El’s hips, and Kara’s stupid, cloudy brain circumvents the mental wall she’s had up for so long and fills in the details.
The thing that Lena had blushingly referenced El and Morgana stealing from her a few weeks ago must have been a strap-on, and now they’re using it in the middle of Kara’s kitchen.
The fact that Lena owns a strap-on is a fact that Kara can’t possibly be expected to process right now.
Morgana is writhing in ecstasy, her head thrown back to moan at the ceiling in reaction to whatever El is doing to her, and Kara can’t look away. She can’t stop her eyes from raking downwards, taking in the familiar freckle in the centre of her flexing neck and the stark contrast of her collarbones, down to where she can just see the bouncing movement of her pale breasts with every thrust whenever El’s head isn’t in the way, kissing every inch of sweaty skin she can reach. Morgana’s thighs are wide open, her toes curling with her legs wrapped around El’s, and in a distant, shell-shocked sort of way Kara wishes that El would move her head so she could see –
But then El moves forward to capture a pebbled nipple in her mouth, and Morgana’s cry of delight as she grasps the back of El’s head to keep her in place is somehow better.
Kara has spent a long time getting in touch with the most minute reactions of her body. It’s necessary, to maintain control over her powers. But in this moment, watching Morgana cry out louder and louder as she fucks herself down onto what Kara knows is a toy from Lena’s collection, it feels like she’s piloting someone else’s. Everything about what she’s feeling is foreign – everything below her waist is throbbing with painful intensity, the back of her neck is sweating, and her heart is racing in a way that she didn’t think was possible on earth. Her hands ache with a strange urge to touch, to echo El’s position and grab Lena’s waist in big handfuls and pull her down and onto her –
Kara doesn’t have much time to consider the fact that she’s very obviously picturing the wrong brunette. Because just as she’s imagining what it might feel like to bite down on the stark tendon in a pale neck, Morgana seems to reach some kind of precipice – her hips move in a suddenly frantic pace with El’s, her neck snaps forward as she seizes a fistful of blonde hair and pulls it until El moans reverently, and in the motion of it all she catches sight of Kara in the doorway.
Kara half expects to be blasted through the side of the building. Or if not, she assumes that Morgana will at least stop, will cover herself or maybe even have the decency to look abashed. But she doesn’t. In fact seeing Kara there, eyes wide and face flushed as she watches Morgana’s impending orgasm, only seems to egg her on further. She holds Kara’s gaze with crackling, unbroken eye contact, her face lit up with a wild and sadistic sort of delight.
“Harder, love,” Morgana moans breathlessly, clearly to El but still looking at Kara. “For our audience.”
Wordlessly, without question or even the slightest acknowledgement of Kara’s presence, El obeys. She uses her grip on Morgana’s hips to lift her and slam her down, to control the ruthless pace as Morgana cries out. El seems unwilling or unable to stop, as if Morgana has her under some kind of spell, but even as the thought forms Kara knows that it isn’t the case. It’s Morgana’s natural pull, her magnetism. It’s compelling even at the best of times.
And if it were herself and Lena in this position, Kara wouldn’t stop for the world.
The thought hits her like a meteorite. And in this state, a voyeur to something she should never have seen, she’s finally too preoccupied to stave it off. She watches the woman with Lena’s face entangled with someone wearing her own, and it only makes her throb. Not for Morgana, not really – but for someone else.
For the person she really wants.
Even through the revelation that turns Kara’s life upside down, Morgana stares at her, and still Kara can’t look away. Something is rooting her feet to the floor, like Morgana is forcing Kara to watch her come. But it isn’t forced, Kara knows deep down. The desire to stay, to hold Morgana’s intense gaze and watch as she shakes apart on El’s lap, is completely her own.
It’s El fucking Morgana that she’s watching – but she’s seeing something else now, and Kara can’t pretend anymore that she hasn’t spent every night since Morgana and El arrived in this world imagining what it would be like to be with Lena this way.
When Morgana comes, it’s loud enough that it should be showy but the pure, decadent pleasure of it somehow seems entirely genuine. And to make it worse she doesn’t break eye contact with Kara until she’s finished, panting and satisfied. Her grin is debauched, her eyes hooded as she rolls her hips languidly into the strap, chasing the remnants of pleasure; she leans forward to capture El’s lips, and El responds as eagerly as she always does to Morgana’s deep, tongue-forward kissing. It’s unbearably intimate, and almost enough to make Kara look away. But when they break apart, Morgana does something that absolutely snaps Kara’s connection to reality.
Morgana takes El’s hand from her hip – leaving behind a stark red hand-shaped mark – and without looking away from Kara she takes El’s three dominant fingers into her mouth.
It’s too much. On top of everything Kara has seen and heard, everything she just watched, something about the way Morgana eagerly sucks on El’s fingers – takes them deep into her mouth all the way past the knuckle, maintaining eye contact with Kara as she bobs her head forward and back and El whimpers in awe – is what finally breaks her.
Kara stumbles backwards blindly, her hand finding the door handle and trying to wrench it closed behind her as she steps back into the hallway. But in her shock she rips it half off its hinges, the knob coming off in her hand in a twisted lump of metal, and only then does El turn away from Morgana to look back at her. She seems intrigued by the commotion, but not enough to stop what she’s doing, and she seems even less bothered by their current nudity than Morgana is.
“You are home early,” El says mildly.
The elevator and stairwell are at the other end of the hall, both perfectly capable of enabling her escape, but somehow Kara can’t make herself walk towards them. She runs instead to the window at the other end of the hallway, which is much closer, and without even bothering to try to open it she instead throws herself through the glass and into the sky.
Shards tangle in her hair, and her landlord is going to have some words for her but right now the only thing rocketing through her brain is that she needs to get away.
Even through the sound barrier breaking, Kara can still distantly hear when Morgana’s moans rekindle.
She lands blindly in the now-familiar park so hard that she leaves indents in the grass, and she stumbles out of them unsteadily. Her mind is still back at her apartment, locking eyes with Morgana, and a stab of panic hits her when she hears the voice she’s been trying not to conjure since she first opened her door.
“Kara! Are you all right?” Lena says, leaving her bench and hurrying to Kara’s side with a panicked look. “What’s wrong? You look – is that glass in your hair?”
Lena puts a hand on Kara’s arm, and the only thing Kara can do to escape is take off again. She soars over the bay towards the horizon, the whistling of the wind not quite covering Lena calling after her.
She loses track of time, after that. She just flies and flies towards the sinking sun and into the dusk until there’s nothing around her but ocean and stars. Until the noises of the city, of Morgana and El and Lena, finally fade away and there’s no light but the moon. Only then does she hit the water, floating fully clothed in the sea.
The cold water doesn’t help to clear her mind.
It takes Kara a long time to step foot in her apartment again after The Incident.
She avoids everything in those days – Morgana and El, Lena, even work. She doesn’t answer her phone because she left it on the floor in her doorway, and she goes into the office only when she knows Andrea isn’t there to stumble through a lie about a nonexistent family member’s funeral overseas to her closest manager. She sleeps at the Fortress, and the only person she communicates with at all is Alex, who is surprisingly understanding in an uncharacteristic way that makes Kara think Kelly was involved.
Her mind is occupied, waking and sleeping. She keeps going over what happened in her mind, over and over again – but it’s blurred now, taken over by her inconvenient realization. She doesn’t see Morgana and El at all. She sees Lena, sweaty and beautiful in her own lap. The sadistic gleam in Morgana’s eye, the long waves of her hair, all of it seems to have vacated Kara’s memory completely to be replaced by her best friend. Short, neat nails digging into Kara’s shoulders, the imagined sensation of reaching up to gently free Lena’s straight hair from its tight ponytail. Bright eyes soft and affectionate as she rocks into Kara. Trading kisses – Kara knows which lip balm Lena uses, knows her toothpaste brand and her favourite scotch, and it’s so easy to conjure the taste of her. The little whimpers as Kara gives her what she wants, deeper and faster, low voice murmuring into her mouth - Kara, Kara –
Kara tosses and turns in bed, paces the length of the Fortress and stands outside in the bitter cold, but none of it makes the thoughts stop.
It feels wrong to think about Lena like this. To have this intimate knowledge of what she might look like in her most private moments without Lena even knowing about it, and to conjure it in every waking second. It’s like Kara has been broken somehow, like seeing what she saw has made something fundamental inside her crack open and spill out every deep, dirty thought she’s ever repressed. It’s incessant, and it’s steadily beating down the gate Kara has barred in her mind – the one that holds back a tidal wave labelled Lena.
If she had thought that revealing her identity broke her relationship with Lena irrevocably, she had no idea the havoc El and Morgana could wreak. She has no idea how she’s ever going to look Lena in the eye again, after this. Lena deserves better.
Kara is fully prepared to lock herself in the Fortress and not leave until she’s somehow purged this whole disaster from her mind. There’s living quarters, food, a little Kelex robot she can use to contact Alex, and the privacy she needs to get her head together and get back to normal. But only a few days into her stay, she cracks open the Fortress door to stand in the snow and cool off like she does every time she wakes up from an uncomfortable dream to find herself face to face with a dragon.
“Aithusa?” Kara gasps, brushing the snow from the dragon’s head and back and ushering her inside. “How long have you been here?”
Aithusa croaks reproachfully, shaking herself of the remaining snow as Kara shuts the door behind them. She limps around the space, taking in the cavernous ice chamber curiously before she trots up to the living quarters and immediately jumps up on the bed, curling into a ball.
“What are you doing here?” Kara asks, following her up the stairs and not really expecting an answer. “How did you even find me?”
Aithusa snorts. Tiny jets of multicoloured flame shoot out of her nose and almost catch on the duvet, and Kara chuckles.
“Right. Dragon magic, probably.”
Aithusa seems to have no interest in leaving, so Kara climbs into bed and settles in next to her, putting a hand over her back.
“Well, it’s nice to have company,” Kara says, idly petting between Aithusa’s shoulders. She’s only ever really touched her head and her belly before, so for the first time as she runs a hand over her back Kara notices the sheer volume of scars that litter her leathery skin. Kara had seen them a few times, the largest ones at least, and thought it was just because of her deformation - but now that she looks closer she can see the multitude of them. Criss-crossing and overlapping lines and dots of scar tissue, every size and shape she can imagine, all over her body. Kara traces a finger along them, and Aithusa raises her head.
“Who hurt you, girl?” Kara whispers, cataloguing the different types. She can see gashes, slashes, burns, discolouration from layers of bruising – it looks like Aithusa has been tortured, over an unimaginably long period. Years, even. “What have you been through?”
Aithusa makes a noise deep in her throat. Mournful, but not sad. An acknowledgement of past pain, maybe.
“My scars aren’t visible like these,” Kara says, scratching Aithusa where she thinks her ears would be if she weren’t basically a lizard. Aithusa seems to enjoy it anyways. “And sometimes I think I’ve inflicted more pain than I could ever prevent.”
Aithusa’s noise is disgruntled this time, like she disagrees. Kara chuckles.
“Your dissent is noted.”
Aithusa huffs, laying her head down again. For a while they sit in comfortable silence, the even wheeze of Aithusa’s breathing lulling Kara into a calm she hasn’t felt in days. Kara tips her head back against the wall, staring up at the ceiling, and only in the quiet with a witness who can’t speak can she finally voice the question she’s been asking herself since she got here.
“What am I doing, Aithusa? What’s happening to me?”
Aithusa is silent as always, staring up at Kara with those baleful eyes. Her gaze is piercing, though, like she’s searching for something – and when it seems she’s found what she’s looking for she stands up, heading back down the stairs.
“Where are you going?” Kara calls after her, scrambling up and trying to follow. Aithusa is waiting at the bottom of the stairs for her - she moves only to get behind Kara and nudge her lower back, gently and then more insistently, guiding her towards the exit.
“What? Do you want to go somewhere?” Kara asks. Aithusa nudges her hard enough that she bumps into the door and unfolds her wings, huffing expectantly.
“Okay, okay, fine,” Kara chuckles. Aithusa darts out as soon as Kara opens it, and waits for her on the platform outside. “Lead the way.”
Aithusa isn’t quite as fast as Kara is, but she’s definitely quicker than Kara would have assumed given her misshapen wings. She’s like a dart through the cold air, and by dusk they’re back in the city and Aithusa is guiding Kara to a place she’s intimately familiar with.
“L-Corp?” Kara asks, landing next to the dragon on the roof and looking around the dark sky. “Why here? Is Lena okay?”
Aithusa chirps, going to the ledge and sitting back on her haunches. She gets comfortable, clearly not in any hurry and looking at Kara calmly, and Kara relaxes a little.
“Clearly not an emergency, then. You…want me to sit with you?”
Aithusa tilts her head.
Kara sits on the ledge, letting her legs dangle and looking out at the skyline. She feels a little silly following a creature that can’t speak and sitting silently with her on the office roof of the last person Kara can handle seeing right now, but she’s always felt like Aithusa is much more intelligent than most would give her credit for. “I don’t understand the point of this, but okay. I’m here.”
When she’s sure Kara is watching, Aithusa closes her eyes. Kara raises an eyebrow, wondering if she’s decided to go to sleep, but soon enough Aithusa opens one of them to peek at Kara, and when she sees that Kara is looking at her and not following suit she huffs and nudges her arm.
“All right,” Kara sighs, closing her eyes tight. “Bossy. We’ll do it your way.”
With her eyes closed, Kara’s hearing sharpens. Car horns blare dozens of storeys below. There’s a bar fight a few blocks over, but it seems to be wrapping up on its own. Three babies are crying in the nearby apartment building. She filters each one, processing and letting her hearing extend further – someone getting in a fender bender downtown, two teenage girls laughing until they cry while watching YouTube videos in a basement somewhere, Alex and Kelly making dinner and trading banter on the other side of the city. Lena’s heartbeat, slow and even, and the rustle of turning pages at her penthouse.
And finally, as if this was always her unconscious intention, Kara zeroes in on her own apartment.
It’s not what she expects, exactly. Morgana and El are definitely having sex, but it sounds different than it has before in a way Kara can’t quite pinpoint yet. Heavy breathing, whispers and soft rustling. It makes Kara stay instead of trying to cut off the sound; this time, just once, Kara lets herself listen.
“El, it feels – it – I can’t control it,” Morgana gasps, seeming completely overwhelmed by whatever is happening. Kara has never heard her like this - she sounds vulnerable, offering herself to El with no barriers. Struggling to relinquish power. Her heartbeat is in overdrive, and Kara wonders exactly how long they’ve been at this. It sounds like Morgana has run a marathon. “It’s too much, it’s – I’m going to break – ”
“I am with you,” El pants, almost as breathless but still firm. “In this world or any other, I am yours, my love. Tell me what you need.”
“Say it again.”
“I am yours, Morgana,” El repeats, slightly muffled. Buried in Morgana’s neck, maybe. That’s what Kara would do – get as close as humanly possible. “You are safe with me. You are safe.”
“Safe with you,” Morgana gasps louder, her voice cracking. “I need – ”
El seems to know exactly what she needs, because Morgana’s moans go up in pitch before she finishes the request. The pace isn’t savage like Kara assumed, but slow and rolling and even – Kara can picture them now, chest to chest and sharing breath, intertwined, moving together in a perfect rhythm and connected in every way. A perfect whole.
“My love,” El whispers reverently, and Morgana’s whimpers reach a fever pitch. “My life, my heart –”
When Morgana comes with a ragged cry, it seems endless. Waves of it, like Morgana is coming apart on the atomic level and El is stitching her back together piece by piece. Kara can almost see it behind her closed eyes. Can almost feel an echo of El’s pride and love. It’s genuine, sincere. It’s beautiful. It makes her ache.
“I love you,” Morgana whispers when it’s over, her breath catching in a sob. She’s crying. Out of catharsis, of trust and openness that Kara didn’t know she was capable of. Without Kara there to colour their behaviour, the truth of their connection is clear as day. Nothing of the persona that’s been haunting Kara for weeks remains in those words. This, Kara knows, is what Morgana must be hiding behind her flirtations and confident barbs. Without the performance she’s been putting on Morgana is just a real, anguished woman who just wants to be loved. Who gives herself to El wholly and trusts that she’ll be there to catch her. “My miracle.”
“We are here,” El replies between audible kisses. It sounds like El might be crying too. “I will never let you suffer again.”
That determination and drive to shield Morgana from the world is something Kara understands, somewhere deep. After seeing Lena at her absolute lowest, Kara would do almost anything to keep her from getting hurt like that again. Kara would do almost anything to be the one to show her how loved she is.
Kara opens her eyes. Aithusa is looking up at her, intelligent eyes wide and expectant; and without really knowing why, Kara starts to cry.
Once she starts, she can’t seem to stop. Aithusa curls up against her, putting her head in Kara’s lap, and Kara holds her tight and ugly-cries until her chest hurts and her head finally feels empty. No more thoughts – just blissful, quiet peace. The tangle is gone, leaving behind a sort of acceptance she’s almost ready for.
When it’s over, she can’t hear El and Morgana anymore.
Kara isn’t sure what her goal is when she turns up at her own apartment the next morning. She’s just going on instinct – she spent the night on the roof of L-Corp with Aithusa, and now something is telling her that El and Morgana have the last piece of the puzzle.
It feels weird to knock on her own door (which shows clear signs of being hastily put back on its hinges after her episode), and Kara stands in front of it hesitating for a few seconds before she finally raises a hand. But before she can rap on the wood it opens to reveal El with sleep-messy hair, looking at her curiously.
“You return,” El says quietly, opening the door and letting Kara step past her. The apartment is pretty clean, all things considered – there are clothes scattered around the floor and she can see a mass of black hair peeking from under a messy heap of blankets on the couch-bed, but nothing is broken. “Quietly – Morgana still sleeps.”
Kara nods, sitting gingerly on a bench at the kitchen table. Being let into her own apartment by her clone feels even weirder than knocking on her own door.
“I am sorry if you were made uncomfortable,” El starts with no preamble, and Kara’s heart stutters. She was hoping for at least a little bit of small talk before diving right into the issue at hand, but she should have expected that El would be direct as usual. “Morgana tells me that some people are made upset by seeing such things.”
Kara laughs, slightly strangled. “It’s fine. You two are in a…healthy sexual relationship. I can be an adult.”
“You destroyed the door,” El says drily.
“I was thrown off!”
El’s smile is small, but insightful. “You seemed to enjoy it, for a time.”
Kara knows that her face starts to heat up as soon as El says it, but she can’t even muster the energy to deny the truth. She had stood there for far longer than was socially acceptable, watching the show, and had only run when she was acknowledged. She did enjoy it, as much as knowing that twists in her gut. And the twist turns into a punch when El follows up with even more devastating accuracy.
“You were thinking of Lena.”
All the air leaves Kara like a deflating balloon. She drops her face into her hands, groaning.
“Am I that bad at hiding it? Or do we share some kind of clone telepathy?”
El shrugs. “Morgana knew it as soon as we arrived here. I have known longer.”
“Wait,” Kara says, her head popping back up again to glare at El. “Have you been doing all of this on purpose?”
El smiles, glancing to Morgana’s sleeping form and back to Kara.
“Not at first.”
“Why not just be direct?” Kara says loudly. El frowns, putting a finger to her lips. Morgana doesn’t stir, but Kara tries to calm down and lower her voice before she gets kicked out of her own apartment by an angry sorceress.
“You did not seem willing to accept it.”
“That’s…true,” Kara admits. It’s difficult to argue about her own habits with a clone.
“Sometimes Morgana still lives as if the world is against her,” El explains, looking towards Morgana fondly. “It is difficult for her to be sincere. But she is learning. So am I. So are you.”
“Yeah,” Kara says with a dark chuckle. She picks up the salt and pepper shakers – two hugging teddy bears, a gift from Eliza when she first got her own place – and fiddles with them. “I learned a lot about that while you were gone. Lena found out I was Supergirl.”
El looks back at Kara sharply. She turns herself on her stool, as if this revelation has captured all of her interest where the conversation didn’t before.
“She did not know this?” El asks. Kara shakes her head, the guilt of the whole mess roiling in her stomach again.
“I was stupid. I lied to her. And the longer it went, the worse the lie got.”
El doesn’t say anything to that. Her face is a mask, and strangely it keeps Kara talking. She explains everything to El – Lena’s months of hurting, her lashing out, how she turned to Lex in her heartbreak and the slow, painstaking steps they’ve been taking towards reconciliation ever since. How strange things have been, how much she misses Lena but feels like she would be violating some kind of boundary if she tried to reach out for real again.
“There’s no excuse for it, really. Besides fear. I was so afraid to lose her as a friend that it made losing her so much worse,” Kara says, putting the shakers down and rubbing her eyes. It feels like she hasn’t slept in 100 years. “It was such a mess. I was such a mess. And Lena…I don’t think I’ve ever seen her more broken. It was my fault. And now, it’s like I don’t really know where I stand.”
“She has forgiven you?” El asks, seeming just as surprised as Kara was when Lena turned up at her door wanting to stop Lex. “Even after this?”
El seems to already know the answer – she’s just letting Kara work through it herself.
“Somehow,” Kara says quietly. “I got stuck in the Phantom Zone again. It’s a long story, but Lena…she was the one who brought me back. Alex said she barely slept. And ever since I’ve been back, something has been different. Something unresolved between us, and I can’t figure out what it is or how to fix it.”
“And then you two came along, and now I have these thoughts about her that I didn’t have before,” Kara says, her voice getting thready and uneven as she finally admits the truth she’s been running from. “This infatuation. I’m going to screw it all up again just because my dumb brain is attracted to her, and I can’t lose her again, El. I can’t. I’ve been trying to ignore it, and you two being here just…makes it impossible. I need to figure out how to put it away again. I need my best friend back.”
“Infatuation,” El murmurs. She leans forward, seeming contemplative, like she’s preparing what she’s going to say before she says it. Measured and careful – exactly what Kara never is when she’s speaking her mind. El is a woman of sparse words, but the ones she speaks always count. One of the many vast ways that they differ.
“We share things. You and I,” El starts carefully. “We are not the same. Separate wholes. But I trusted Lex Luthor because the only thing I knew when I was created was Alex. When he told me his name was Alexander…”
“You trusted him,” Kara murmurs. It makes sense, in a way, but it seems so strange that such a massive conflict was caused because of a name. “Because of me?”
“I knew those you loved when I knew nothing else.”
Kara exhales. “I had no idea.”
“And then Lex brought me to your home. To see your things. So that I could imitate you,” El continues, as if it’s a practiced speech when Kara knows she only prepared it a minute ago. Kara blinks. “But he only showed me what he wanted me to see. I came back, later. I disobeyed him out of curiosity. I met your sister, your Alex, and I understood that Lex was not what he seemed. But he was still all I knew, and I was afraid.”
“How many times did you break into my apartment?” Kara asks, frowning. “Alex is always saying I need extra security and I never –”
“I read your diary,” El interrupts, as if she hasn’t heard the question.
“You read my diary?”
“You wrote of Lena.”
“Oh,” Kara says, distracted from her indignance for a moment as she tries to remember exactly what she wrote about Lena, and on what occasion. It could be one of hundreds.
“You wrote of her in such beautiful words,” El answers for her, almost wistful. “Admiration. Affection. Awe. Things I did not yet understand. I had to find her. I went to her, and we spoke. She thought I was you. And I knew then that she was beloved to me, but I did not know why.”
Every sentence is like a blow to the head. Beloved. There’s never been a better word to explain what Lena is to her, but still Kara is speechless, powerless to do anything besides keep listening.
“When I first saw Morgana,” El says, her eyes softening at the memory, “I thought that she was Lena. That I was dreaming, perhaps. But I was not. She is different in many ways. But I was drawn to her in the same way.”
“You were?” Kara whispers. Saying it any louder feels terrifying.
“I fell in love with Morgana on my own. For who she is,” El finishes. “But my heart knew her because of you. That is no infatuation. That is something of the soul.”
Kara’s heart pounds. “What are you saying, exactly?”
“I think you know what it is that I am saying, Kara Danvers. Of all the things we do not share, there is one that we do.”
El is confident as she says it, a self-assuredness that Kara wishes she had. A soul-deep sort of ease that’s never clearer than when Morgana’s head pokes up over the side of the couch, sleep-ruffled and with the blanket sliding down just enough to make Kara blush hard and avert her eyes.
“Everything well, my love?” Morgana rasps, running a hand through her hair. “I woke and you were gone. You know how I detest waking alone.”
“I am sorry,” El says, rising and going over to the couch. “Kara wanted to talk.”
Morgana simply tugs her down into a kiss, soft and sweet rather than the hot and heavy Kara is used to seeing. When they break apart Morgana’s eyes are gentle, bright and affectionate in the morning light with her dimple flashing beneath, and in that moment she reminds Kara so painfully of Lena that she’s seized with a terrible sort of grief. Grief because while she can see a facsimile of it right in front of her, she longs for the real thing. For Lena’s eyes on her like that, her morning smiles. For her love.
Finally, irrevocably, the battering ram of Morgana and El’s making crashes through the gate Kara has been trying to hold up. Years worth of friendship, of confusion, are whirring through her mind like a rolodex and every moment is coloured by a new meaning. It’s not a realization – it’s an acceptance of something she’s known on some level for a long time.
El is right. She isn’t just inconveniently attracted to her best friend. The thing she’s been refusing to acknowledge for days, if not longer, has been right in front of her and she’s just been determined not to see it. She’s in love with Lena. She’s in love, and she has no idea what to do about it.
“Oh, god,” Kara mutters, collapsing forward onto the table and burying her head in her arms. “This is just. So deeply unhelpful.”
“Has she finally realized?” she hears Morgana ask, and El tsks.
“Be kind. She is struggling.”
“What am I supposed to do now?” Kara asks hoarsely, muffled into the table. “Now that I just know this? This changes everything.”
“That is yours to decide.”
Kara stays at the apartment rather than the Fortress, after that. The conversation seems to have cleared the air between the three of them enough to breathe, and for the next week they develop a livable symbiosis. Kara leaves them be during the day to go to work, but is now comfortable enough to spray them with a squirt bottle if they start anything while she’s trying to sleep; El and Morgana finally only have sex when Kara isn’t in the house, but the evidence of it is still scattered around her apartment. El has a bad habit of leaving their toys – plural, now, so it seems like perhaps Lena just gifted them the whole collection - in the bathroom sink to be washed, and Kara has taken to brushing her teeth in the kitchen.
But Kara still spends the next week avoiding the rest of the situation, unable to even look at Lena’s contact in her phone without about 10 different conflicting feelings crowding her gut.
When it’s Alex and not Lena who texts her to say that they’ve found a place where El and Morgana might be happier, Kara knows that the feeling is mutual. The place is a remote cabin in the northern part of the state, and only Lena Luthor could afford to buy property she has no intention of using so close to a bunch of National Parks. If Lena isn’t contacting her about it, the message is pretty clear.
The cabin, when Kara takes them there to see it, is rustic but gorgeous. It’s nestled in a valley, isolated enough for Aithusa to fly but close enough to travel easily to a few surrounding small towns. There’s a vegetable garden and a river out back that feeds into a lake a few miles to the south, and the moment they arrive in the quiet woods Morgana looks more at ease than she’s been since Kara met her. Lighter, maybe. At home.
“Are you sure you don’t wish to stay?” Morgana says when Kara has finished helping them move the last of the furniture and food Lena paid for from the truck into the cabin, squeezing Kara’s bicep with a flirtatious smile that’s gentler than it used to be. “We’re happy to make it worth your while.” It’s more of an inside joke now than a real attempt to make her uncomfortable, and Kara chuckles tiredly.
“Thank you for the many offers, but the city needs me.”
“So noble,” Morgana says, rolling her eyes. “Your Lena needs you, too, I’m sure. Have you spoken with her yet?”
Kara scoffs, crossing her arms under the veiled criticism. This is exactly what she was afraid of when she agreed to help move them in, and with each of them standing on either side of her and staring her down it feels like a trap. “I’m not the only one not reaching out, you know. I don’t think she wants to talk to me. And she certainly doesn’t need me.”
El frowns. “I do not think you know how she looks at you.”
“Like I’m the person who betrayed her trust so badly that she almost lost herself completely?” Kara says, looking longingly at the door. El sighs and opens it for her, clearly sensing her discomfort and giving her an exit, but not without one last devastating comment.
“Like you are the one person she loves enough to be hurt so much.”
The door closes behind Kara before she can volley back, and she can practically see the metaphorical ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign being put up. She stands on the stoop and stares at the wood grain for a moment, letting the truth sink in, until behind it she start to hear giggling and the creaking of springs. It snaps her out of her melancholy, and with a heavy sigh she climbs into the truck and heads back to the highway to leave El and Morgana to their much-needed solitude.
The drive gives her more time to think than she thought it would. Without Morgana and El in the cab with her and no distractions besides a staticky radio, her thoughts circle to the same place they always do. To Lena. Kara hasn’t seen her in over two weeks and hasn’t had a real conversation with her for even longer, and it’s getting harder to deny how much it’s eating at her. She misses Lena, with a ferocity that gets worse every day. She’s found herself in the last few days searching for Lena in her idle moments, seeking out her heartbeat and the click of her laptop keys, her soft sighs and occasional phone calls to Brainy or Alex.
As she gets closer to the city, she turns down the radio and does it again. Reaches out, filters the white noise until she’s found Lena. Her heartbeat is a little fast, Kara notes with a frown – and when she focuses further, her stomach drops.
Lena is crying.
Kara has seen Lena cry before, more times than she would ever want to. It’s usually almost silent, just as controlled as most other aspects of Lena’s life – tears rolling quietly down her cheeks, every other physical reaction kept under a tight leash lest anyone see her weakness. She’s only seen Lena lose it completely once, when she admitted to saving her brother’s life and thought Kara would hate her for it. She had sobbed into Kara’s shoulder, and Kara had held her until it stopped.
Now, alone in her apartment, Lena is almost hyperventilating. Her breath is harsh and uneven, broken by little hiccups, and Kara almost abandons the truck in the middle of the road and flies to her when she hears a genuine sob break through. It takes a minute for it to subside, and even then, Lena’s breathing sounds ragged.
“God,” Lena whispers, but nobody answers. She must be alone. Kara can picture her wiping the tears away angrily, like they’ve betrayed her just like everyone else. “Stop it. Stop it.”
She’s talking to herself, Kara realizes with a terrible lurch. Telling herself to stop crying. There’s no indication what she’s crying about, no evidence that Kara is the reason, but Kara has a sick feeling in her stomach as it peters off into sniffles and the sound of an expensive cork being unstoppered. One that won’t go away.
Almost like an invisible hand is guiding her there, Kara drives the truck not to the return location but to Alex’s apartment.
Alex and Kelly both seem unsurprised to see her standing in the hallway looking confused and miserable, and Alex has her sat on the couch under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate in less than a minute. Neither of them says anything, just taking a seat across the coffee table and waiting patiently for her to announce her reason for being here, and it takes a few false starts for Kara to finally open her mouth.
“El said something today. About…how Lena looks at me,” Kara says, staring into her hot chocolate. Alex put marshmallows and sprinkles on it, and she swipes her finger through the sticky mess purely as a distraction.
“Do you want to have this conversation, Kara?” Kelly says, sharing a heavy look with Alex. “Truly? You’re ready for it?”
Kara wants nothing more than to back out. But the sounds of Lena breaking down are still haunting her, and instead she swallows a big gulp of her drink and nods. “Yes.”
Kelly doesn’t ease in – she dives.
“I can guess that El is right,” Kelly says, folding her hands together and leaning forward on her elbows. “Lena looks at you like you’re the only person in the universe. I noticed it the day I met you all, when James was in the hospital. Lena came to see him, but she kept looking at you.”
“She always has,” Alex pitches in, and Kara blinks silently at her sister. She knew that Kelly would be the one to set her straight, so to speak, but she wasn’t really expecting Alex to be in on it. “Even when she was trying to hate you, whenever you two were talking it was like nobody else was in the room. For both of you.”
“Is that what you mean?” Kelly asks. Kara is aghast.
“You suspected all this time that I was in love with her,” Kara starts, her voice catching a little on the last four words, and Kelly interjects smoothly mid-sentence.
“That you were in love with each other.”
“- and you never said anything?” Kara finishes, still looking at Alex.
“Have you ever tried to tell you something before you’re ready to hear it?” Alex says, crossing her arms and leaning back. Kara frowns.
“…that’s not actually possible. Grammatically.”
“It’s not actually possible literally,” Alex says firmly. “Besides, I only noticed it when you were gone. The look on Lena’s face when she saw the message you left…” she trails off, shaking her head. “And then she was ready to sacrifice countless lives for you. I’ve never seen anyone that desperate. But even if I had said something, you would have deep-dived into denial. I’ve been through it, I know.”
“She’s right. It’s important to figure these things out on your own,” Kelly points out kindly. “I tried to point you in the right direction when Morgana and El got here, but you were pretty resistant.”
Kara sighs, putting down her mug to rub her face tiredly. They’re right, as difficult as it is to admit. The fault doesn’t lie with anyone besides her own compartmentalisation. “Okay. Fine. How did I not see this?”
“Because you didn’t want to,” Kelly says, putting a gentle hand on Kara’s arm.
“Because we’re socialized to think that female friendship and gay romantic feelings are interchangeable so we all keep thinking we’re straight,” Alex retorts. Kelly turns to her, tsking.
“What? I did the research when I came out.”
“I don’t know what to do,” Kara says, interrupting their exchange with a frustrated groan. “If I tell her how I feel and it goes badly, I’ll lose her. If I don’t, and I can’t get these feelings locked down and we drift apart, I’ll lose her. Are we just destined to be miserable?”
“One of those options sounds better than the other,” Alex mutters. Kara frowns at her.
Alex raises her eyebrows, looking at Kara like she’s once again missing something gigantic. “The one where it might work out? Lena and I had some heart-to-hearts while you were gone, and it’s pretty obvious how she feels about you. That, and she hasn’t been able to look directly at Morgana and El since they arrived.”
“But what if it doesn’t work out?” Kara fires back. That, really, is the core of her fear – losing Lena, hurting her again. It feels like there’s no way around it. But Kelly is steadfast.
“But what if it does? You can’t predict the future, Kara. Dooming yourself before you’ve even tried is just a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
“I lost her once already,” Kara admits quietly, and Kelly squeezes her hand. “I don’t think I’m strong enough to do it again. What if she doesn’t want to be with me at all?”
“Fat chance,” Alex scoffs.
“I’m serious, Alex. I violated her trust.”
“Is she worth it?” Kelly asks, and for such a simple question it completely bowls Kara over.
“Is the potential of being with her worth the risk?” Kelly says, clear and direct. Kara understands suddenly why she was such a successful therapist – she’s kind and non-judgemental, but firm. Guiding rather than pushing, but not taking Kara’s many excuses. “Is loving her worth the hurting? Is she worth it?”
“Yes,” Kara says immediately. She doesn’t even need to think about it. The clarity is like a thunderclap, one that she’s embarrassed she didn’t have earlier. Is Lena worth it? Of course she is. “Yeah. She’s worth anything.”
Alex throws her hands up, looking exasperated but relieved that Kara has finally gotten the message.
“So go tell her that, you dummy.”
Kara’s decision is made. She’s gone over every possible scenario in her head about a thousand times, and cleaned her apartment from top to bottom out of sheer anxiety. But still, later that night she’s left staring at Lena’s contact in her phone with no idea what to say.
The last few messages are unanswered – Lena sent two asking if she was okay, the night that Kara walked in on Morgana and El and then ran into Lena in the park. Kara had had no idea how to reply to them. The messages before that are Kara’s, left unanswered by Lena for months – her pleas for Lena to just talk to her and work things out, before things had truly broken down irreparably. Their last actual conversation is from what seems like a lifetime ago, before Kara was in the Phantom Zone. Before Lena revealed her plans for Myriad and stopped pretending to be her friend. It’s a simple lunch date request, and Kara insisting on paying despite Lena’s objections. So commonplace in their friendship that Kara could scroll back and find a hundred others like it. But Kara knows now that even then, Lena was consumed by rage at her.
After the chaos of the last year, all the blows exchanged, she has no idea how to start again.
On a terrible impulse she types ‘Hi.’ and sends it with a jab, and in the milliseconds after she wishes she could snatch it out of the air before it arrives in Lena’s phone.
It’s the worst possible way to reach out. It’s too simple, too guiltless, too halfhearted an attempt at reconciliation for everything that’s happened between them, and Kara should really just fly to Lena’s apartment and delete it from her phone before she sees it because if she does she’ll –
Three bubbles appear underneath it, and then disappear. Lena saw it.
Kara curses under her breath, a few seconds from crushing the phone in her hand. The bubbles appear and then disappear three times, like Lena can’t decide what to say – and when a reply arrives, Kara lets all her breath out in a whoosh that leaves frost all over her couch.
Hi. Everything okay?
Okay. It’s not a terrible answer, and it’s a good sign that Lena didn’t ignore it completely. This is fine. Kara taps a few random keys nervously, typing and then deleting them again before she sends her next text.
Just missed you.
The space between the text sending and Lena starting to answer is much longer than last time. Kara stares at the conversation until she can see her eyes starting to glow in her own reflection, and she has to set the phone down and do some of the breathing exercises Kelly showed her to get through the panic when she got back from the Phantom Zone until her phone finally vibrates.
I miss you, too.
Such a simple statement, but it makes Kara’s heart soar. For just a second, Kara closes her eyes and lets herself find Lena in the noise of the city – and finds that across town, Lena’s heart is hammering. She’s as nervous as Kara is.
It makes Kara feel brave.
Could we do a movie night at my place? She types, her fingers shaking. Open invitation, and totally okay if the answer is no. I just want to see you. We can celebrate my couch being liberated.
The bubbles come up right away, and stay there for almost a full minute. Kara even starts to wonder exactly how long of an essay she’s about to receive on all the reasons they shouldn’t hang out – but the text, when it arrives, is just one word.
Before she can second-guess herself, Kara answers honestly.
The pause is shorter this time, and when she gets the reply Kara flops back onto the couch with a strangled, relieved noise.
Give me an hour.
Kara tries to prepare slowly, to eat up more time. She showers and primps a little, cleans for a second and entirely unnecessary time, and tells J’onn not to bother her with Supergirl emergencies for the rest of the night. She even lights some candles, and sets out a stack of what she knows are Lena’s favourite movies – the ones she’s never fallen asleep on Kara’s shoulder while watching.
When she’s done, it’s still only been 16 minutes.
She spends the rest of it pacing, obsessively straightening and re-arranging her furniture and belongings as if everything being neat and idyllic will make Lena less likely to reject her. It ends up being closer to an hour and a half before Lena’s car pulls into the tiny lot, and when Lena breezes past the paid parking machines Kara realizes with a warm jolt that the resident parking pass that Kara requested for her is still hanging from her rearview mirror. Even after everything, she didn’t throw it out.
Kara opens the door - maybe too eagerly - before Lena has had a chance to knock. It creaks dangerously, the hinges still not totally fixed after Kara ripped them off, and Lena blinks in surprise for a second before she holds up a paper shopping bag with a weak smile.
“I thought I shouldn’t come empty-handed. I know now that wine can’t actually get you drunk, but…”
Kara laughs nervously, taking the bag from her and closing the door behind them when Lena steps inside. The weight of what happened here the last time Lena stepped through that door – her apology, her tears and Kara’s anger – hangs between them, a wrench in the gears of what used to be the smoothest thing in Kara’s life. “I still drink it. I like the social aspect.”
Lena also brought snacks, Kara learns as she digs through the bag. Two tubs of ice cream and a jumbo bag of Kara’s favourite candy. Nothing for herself. Luckily Kara still has plenty of popcorn and an unopened package of Maltesers, one she bought for Lena but was never able to give to her, and she pulls them out and sets them on the coffee table with everything else. Lena’s heart beats unevenly for a moment when she sees that Kara still has her favourite snack.
“So, um. Movie?” Kara says, sitting cross-legged almost a foot away from Lena. They haven’t sat this far apart on a movie night since the very beginning, having graduated all the way to practically cuddling after a few months when Lena started to loosen up, and it feels strange.
“You choose,” Lena says with a small smile.
Kara chooses Lilo and Stitch. She keeps the volume quiet, hoping that it’ll encourage conversation, but almost half an hour into the movie Lena is still silent. She’s sitting with her feet firmly planted on the ground, her face unreadable and her back stiff against the couch – her only tell as always is her hands, which are twisting in her lap, and her fast-beating heart.
If Kara wants Lena to talk to her, she’s going to have to take the first step. She just needs to find a good entry topic, something both of them can easily relate to. Small talk. Something neutral -
“Did you ever replace the stuff Morgana and El stole?”
Immediately Kara wishes she could jump out the nearest window. Lena tenses, looking at her in alarm - but Kara, busily trying to fight a blush and calculate how difficult it would be to summon Mxy and force him to bend time and undo this whole disaster, doesn’t meet her eyes.
Finally Lena averts her gaze to the TV, clearing her throat. “Yes, I – well, yes. I did.”
“That’s good,” Kara says in a strangled voice. She doesn’t dare to take her eyes away from Stitch being adopted, lest she say something even worse. Something like -
“I walked in on them.”
Kara has no idea what’s happening to her, at this point. Like some kind of vestigial panic response has taken over her brain she doesn’t seem capable of using her verbal filter, and every inappropriate thought is coming out all at once like a geyser.
Lena blinks, staring at the side of Kara’s head. She can see it in her periphery, but turning to face her at this point might actually send Kara into cardiac arrest.
“Oh?” Lena says neutrally, but there’s a tremor in her voice. Kara goes for broke.
“They were...using it.”
Lena’s heart picks up speed. “...oh.”
And she looks like you, Kara wants to say, gripping the fabric of the couch in two tight fists. She looks like you and I watched her and I can’t stop thinking about it. But she doesn’t. She looks at the screen, seeing the bright colours but not comprehending any of it, and says “they seem to really love each other.”
Lena snorts, and even out of the corner of her eye Kara can see her face is crimson. “That’s one word for it.”
Kara laughs nervously, but she shakes her head. “No, I mean beyond all that. I’ve seen them together when they think nobody is watching and it’s so...easy. El so clearly is just basking in someone loving her, and Morgana...she drops the facade and just makes it so clear how mutual it is. The connection they have is sort of amazing, in that together-against-all-odds kind of way.”
Gradually, as her words start to come together with more clarity, Kara risks looking away from the TV. What she sees is both devastating and encouraging. Lena is looking at her with a strange expression - confusion and longing, doubt and hope. The neutrality is gone, replaced by a vulnerability Kara isn’t sure Lena even knows she’s displaying.
“That’s...wonderful for them,” Lena says quietly.
“When I look at them,” Kara starts, but her voice dies before she can finish the most terrifying thought of all. The thought that will bar the safe exit of this conversation. But Kelly’s words are still with her. Is she worth it?
For Lena, Kara can be brave one more time.
“When I look at them, I see us.”
In the quiet that follows, the movie might as well be on mute. All Kara can hear is her own pounding heart. Her mouth feels dry, and it’s so difficult to maintain eye contact with Lena that she almost looks away. But she doesn’t. She stays, and Lena swallows hard before she answers.
“That makes sense. They look like us,” Lena says, her voice soft and tentative.
“Beyond that,” Kara says, low and suddenly urgent. Now that she’s said it, now that it’s out there, if she doesn’t do this exactly right she could lose Lena forever. This is what it feels like she’s been building towards for months, for years, and she has to get through it. “It’s more than that.”
“What do you mean?” Lena’s voice is barely a whisper, and Kara reaches across the gulf between them to slowly, gently take her hand. Lena doesn’t pull it away. Her skin is cold and soft, and Kara cups it between her own fingers. She’d always teased Lena for her eternally cold hands, and insisted that she constantly warm them between her own. Now she accepts that it was always just an excuse to hold Lena’s hand, and the gesture is still familiar and comforting.
“I talked to El. When she woke up in Kaznia, after the harun-el made her, she had no memory or experiences to guide her,” Kara says, now thankful for the countless internal rehearsals she did before Lena got here. “She was a blank slate. Except for two things - she recognized the name Alex, which is what made her trust Lex so easily. And she felt drawn to you.”
“Me?” Lena says, shaking her head. “But we never even met.”
“You did. She met you in an elevator once, apparently. Pretending to be me. She sought you out against Lex’s wishes after reading my diary. She felt so strongly about you without even having met you that she went against everything she’d been brainwashed to know just so she could see you in person.” Kara can hardly take a breath. It’s all spilling out of her at hyperspeed, and she has to hope Lena will keep up.
“Oh,” Lena breathes.
“So when she met Morgana, she was drawn to her because...” Kara takes a deep breath, so deep that her lungs burn. “Because of my feelings for you. Some part of her felt it.”
Lena is silent. She looks shell-shocked, her eyes bright in her pale face, and Kara has no idea if it’s negative or positive.
“They fell in love on their own,” Kara continues, dangerously close to babbling just to fill the stifling quiet, “but El says she had this sort of initial trust. That it felt right, even if it didn’t seem that way from the outside. Even if everyone around her was convinced Morgana was a bad person.”
“Kara…” Lena says, disbelief in every line of her face.
“And it reminded me of meeting you,” Kara continues, stroking the back of Lena’s hand with her thumb. It’s hard to regulate her strength when she’s this nervous, and Lena’s touch is soothing. “Clark didn’t trust you, everyone at the DEO told me you were just another Luthor, but I knew you weren’t. I knew. And then I see them together, I see how El looks at her, and it’s like looking in a mirror.”
“Kara,” Lena says again, and there’s agony in her voice. Like she both desperately wants to hear and can’t handle what Kara is saying.
“You’re my best friend, Lena, and I don’t want to screw that up. After everything that’s happened, asking for anything more seems like –” Kara says desperately, a hundred things she wants to say crowding her mouth all at once. “Did you know El read my diary? She could tell just from my diary that I had feelings for you. I mean, I had no idea and she just picks it up like that? And now that I’ve realized it I can’t un-realize it.”
“Un-realize?” Lena says faintly.
“That I love you,” Kara says, with all the strength and conviction she’s been trying to summon since she started talking. “That I’m in love with you. That I think I have been for a long time.”
Lena looks overwhelmed. She’s staring at Kara with wide, wet eyes, and her mouth opens and closes a few times but no sound comes out. It’s Kara who speaks again, her stomach in knots.
“Please say something.”
“I’m a black hole, Kara,” Lena finally says in an uneven whisper, slowly pulling her hand away. “I’m not meant for this. For you. I break everything I touch. You of all people should know that.”
Kara frowns, scooting closer on the couch. Lena looks one sudden movement away from bolting, so Kara stops before they’re actually touching. “Lena, that was me. I was the one that lied to you.”
“And I lost my mind. I used kryptonite on you, I teamed up with my brother. I got you sent to the Phantom Zone!” Lena’s voice is much louder, now, but it feels more like she’s yelling at herself than at Kara. Lena flinches at the sound of it, her own voice somehow startling her, and Kara shakes her head in disbelief.
“You got me – Lena, do you blame yourself for that? Is that why you’ve barely been able to look at me since I got back?”
Lena folds in on herself. Her legs come up onto the couch, she hunches over them, and her eyes shut tightly. Kara can see moisture at the edges of them, but Lena seems determined not to really cry.
“It was my fault,” Lena says into her knees, between carefully controlled breaths. It’s matter-of-fact, but her voice cracks at the end. “I wanted to hurt you so badly, and then you were gone and it was my brother who did it. And I was the one who – ”
“Brought me back,” Kara argues, determined not to let Lena slip into self-loathing. “Alex told me what you did. She told me everything.”
Lena looks up at her in surprise, blinking wetness from her eyelashes. “She did?”
“And I would have done the same for you,” Kara says, gently taking Lena’s hand again. She half expects Lena to pull it back right away, but she doesn’t. “I have done the same thing. I saved you from that plane when it risked poisoning the whole city, remember? I had no idea if my plan would work, and if I had needed to drop those chemicals to grab your hand I would have. I flew you to the DEO in my civilian clothes when you were poisoned because the thought of risking even a single millisecond that could save you wasn’t acceptable. I’ve never done that for anyone else before. Ever.”
“You don’t want me,” Lena says, more incredulous now than anything. “You can’t. It isn’t possible.”
“I know what I want,” Kara says firmly. “I didn’t before, but I do now. I always thought I could never put one person’s life above the fate of the entire world. But…I could. I have. For you.”
Lena doesn’t seem to have a reply for that. But she doesn’t move away either, keeping Kara’s gaze even though she looks mystified, and Kara pulls Lena’s hand into her lap. Their thighs are just barely touching, and Lena seems to realize only now exactly how close they are.
“Tell me you don’t want this,” Kara says, so quietly that Lena leans forward a little to hear. “Tell me that, and I’ll back off. I’ll respect your wishes.”
“I’ll end up hurting you,” Lena says immediately. Like it’s a trump card. But Kara manages a small smile.
“That’s not what I asked.”
Lena opens her mouth, but only a soft sigh comes out. Her shoulders sink, and Kara presses closer.
“It would be a lie, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes,” Lena whispers.
They’re close enough now that Kara can feel Lena’s breath dance across her skin. Lena’s fear seems mostly gone, and Kara thinks she can see anticipation in its stead – maybe even excitement. She’d never push Lena into something she was truly uncomfortable with, but Kara really feels like if she can just show Lena how good this could be it might ease her doubts. She just needs the right words.
Kara raises a trembling hand to cup Lena’s face, and when Lena presses into the touch she eases it back to tangle into Lena’s hair.
“We’ve already been through the hurt,” Kara murmurs, pressing their foreheads together. Lena exhales shakily. “We’ve seen each other at our worst, and I still love you more than I ever thought was possible. If you feel the same way about me…maybe we can get through anything.”
Almost imperceptibly, Lena nods.
Kara wants to sweep in and kiss the breath from Lena’s lungs more than she’s ever wanted anything in her life. But she reins the impulse in – instead she leans close slowly, deliberately, giving Lena ample time to back away. She doesn’t – her heart is beating like a hummingbird’s wings, and her eyes flick back and forth between Kara’s eyes and her mouth every few seconds. Even though it goes against every instinct, Kara stops an inch from Lena’s lips. She needs to let her make the decision to come the rest of the way.
The wait is agonizing, being so close and still not close enough, but the moment Lena closes the distance it’s all worth it.
Lena kisses differently than Morgana does. Kara has watched Morgana kiss El what feels like a hundred times now, and if there’s one way to describe it, it’s forceful. She claims El’s mouth and El claims her right back, all tongue and teeth and heavy breathing. They kiss like at any second they’ll be ripped apart, and they need to consume each other while they can.
Lena is wonderfully, perfectly different.
Lena does introduce tongue into the equation after the first time they part, grabbing two fistfuls of Kara’s shirt and pressing in deep with an open mouth that has Kara groaning into the kiss, but she isn’t forceful. She’s Lena. She’s focused and intense, passionate, but gentle. Experimental. She picks up Kara’s cues like a new language, licking deep and slow into her mouth and seeming to come alive when Kara responds. It’s a tidal wave of enthusiasm after so much resistance – like Lena has committed to this, now, and there’s nothing more holding her back.
It’s the most exhilarating experience of Kara’s life. It’s better than flying for the first time, better than saving her first plane or publishing her first article. It’s better than any kiss that came before it, first or otherwise. Lena is warm and soft and alive, the familiar smell of her settling over Kara’s senses like a blanket, and god Kara loves her. She has no idea how she went so long refusing to know it – it’s so clear, so powerful, and every part of Kara’s body fires up in response when Lena pushes her shoulders into the back of the couch and climbs into her lap.
It’s so good. All of it is so good – her hands find Lena’s hips immediately, pulling her down and slipping between shirt and jeans to press against the strip of bare skin there, and it burns against her fingers. Lena’s tongue is hot and eager in her mouth, her breath shaky now not because of nerves but because neither of them is willing to part for long enough to take a full one, and it’s everything Kara can do to control her strength with Lena making those breathy little noises.
Kara hardly knows what she’s doing. She’s going on impulse, years of pent-up and ignored feelings bursting through her all at once, and so when she moves her hands down to grab two handfuls of Lena’s ass and Lena’s little noises turn into a full-blown moan, Kara can’t stop her hips from rolling up. Lena moans louder, low and hot into her mouth when Kara’s pelvis makes contact with the seam of her jeans, and suddenly Lena is pulling away.
“Sorry!” Kara gasps immediately, her hands flying from Lena’s body and splaying in the air like she’s under arrest. Her face is buried in Lena’s neck, her heartbeat pounding between her legs, and it’s made worse by the fact that with every one of Lena’s own harsh breaths she can feel the brunette’s chest pressing softly into her throat. “Sorry. Too fast.”
“No, it’s okay,” Lena pants, grabbing Kara’s hands and putting them back in place. Kara tries to move them up to a safer location, but Lena is insistent. “It’s really okay. But this is new for you. We’re sort of going lightspeed, here. Maybe we should just…slow down a little.”
Lena doesn’t sound regretful, and Kara takes it as a good sign. In fact she sounds lighter than she has all night, maybe even in months. She sounds wry and playful and happy. She sounds like the Lena that Kara was worried she would never see again. Kara nods, face still pressed into Lena’s skin.
“Right. Slow is good, we’re both adults and – wait, is this not new for you?”
Lena huffs a laugh. It makes her chest rumble under Kara’s chin, and her breath is hot on the top of Kara’s head. Kara hadn’t realized how much she missed Lena’s laugh until she heard it again. “I’ve been in love with you since the day I filled your office with flowers.”
Kara yanks her head from its spot, looking up at Lena in shock. “Since - but – Jack? And James? And, and -”
“Distractions,” Lena shrugs, her light dimming a little. Her lips are red and a little swollen from Kara’s kisses, her hair mussed, and Kara finds it thrilling. “Attempted distractions, at least. I knew I would rather have you as a friend than not at all. I loved Jack, once, and I thought maybe I could again. And James…he was close to you. He was a good man. I hoped, if given enough time, I could…but it never worked. It was always you.”
It was always you.
“Lena,” Kara breathes. The idea of Lena knowing all this time what Kara has just let herself accept, suffering in silence all these years, makes her ache. She wants to chase that sad look from Lena’s face, wants to kiss it away, and with a jolt she realizes that she can. She leans forward and kisses Lena’s throat, right on the freckle, and it thrills her when it makes Lena smile.
“And then when I found out you were Supergirl, and all that time the person I was so in love with was lying to me…” Lena continues, the smile fading a little. Kara’s stomach twists. “I couldn’t handle it. It felt like I was losing my whole heart.”
“Of course it did,” Kara murmurs, pressing more kisses everywhere she can reach. It’s not the kind of apology Lena deserves, but that can come later. “How did I miss that? I know I can be out of touch with how I really feel, but how did I miss how you felt?”
“In retrospect, I wasn’t very obvious about it,” Lena says, and Kara is relieved when the heaviness of the conversation doesn’t seem to make Lena retreat. She stays in Kara’s lap, looking down at her with a sort of wonder, and Kara’s eyes drift closed when Lena starts to comb cool fingers through her hair. “When it was clear to me we were just going to be friends, I sort of packed it all away. Tried to make it hurt less.”
“Did it work?”
“Not at all,” Lena says drily. “I could pretend, for a long time. But when you…when you were in the Phantom Zone,” Lena’s voice trembles, and she clears her throat. “I had no idea if you were safe. I couldn’t think about anything else. Even after my heart was broken, I still loved you.”
Lena’s hand is soothing, drifting over Kara’s jaw and brushing against her lips. It feels like she’s committing Kara’s face to memory.
“And then Morgana and El arrived, and it was like I was being tortured with the one thing I could never have. The fact that this is happening right now is surreal,” Lena finally admits. “I thought you would never even want to be my friend again, after everything I did. To have this…it feels like a dream.”
“You dream about me?” Kara asks, eyes still closed. Warm lips press against her forehead, and she opens them to see Lena looking down at her with soft eyes. Her pupils are large and dark, but Kara can still see the uneven green and gray-blue irises she’s always loved in the low lamplight. Somewhere behind her, Stitch is clinging to the windshield of a spaceship. Kara had forgotten the movie was even playing.
“All the time. Especially lately.”
“And you want this?” Kara asks, knowing as she says it that she’s repeating herself to an almost comical degree but needing Lena’s confirmation again. She needs to hear it, one last time.
“I think that’s obvious, Kara.”
“Then let’s go on a date.”
Lena blinks. Kara hadn’t realized she was going to ask until it was leaving her mouth, but it makes sense. She loves Lena, and Lena has feelings for her. A date is the next logical step in human society. Kara has been on a lot of them and never really enjoyed any, but it seems like the right thing to do.
“A date?” Lena echoes, brow furrowed.
“That’s a normal-speed thing to do, right?” Kara says, shrugging. “People go on dates. We should go on a date.”
Lena looks like it’s something she’s never really considered before, but she nods slowly. “Yes. That’s very normal.”
“Great! So, um. Tomorrow night?” Kara suggests immediately. Lena laughs, low and melodic. There’s something reassuring about still having Lena’s weight in her lap, and Kara doesn’t want her to move.
“Someone’s eager,” Lena grins. Kara slips a hand up Lena’s back, resting firm over the base of her spine and pulling her a little closer.
“How could I not be?”
The press of Kara’s hand makes Lena drift down towards Kara’s lips again, and Kara is fully prepared for it – but Lena pulls away, exhaling with a chuckle.
“You really know how to test a girl’s willpower.”
“I just really want to be kissing you,” Kara admits, tilting her head up in a silent request. “Like, all the time.”
This time, Lena moves forward more intentionally. Their lips brush feather-light, the barest hint of a kiss, and Lena smooths her hands over Kara’s shoulders – but before Kara can deepen it, Lena pulls away again. Kara chases her lips blindly, and by the time she’s opened her eyes Lena has climbed out of her lap.
“If we’re deciding to take this slow, I need to go home before I do something I’ll regret. You pick what we do,” Lena says a little breathlessly, picking up her purse as if they haven’t just spent the night revealing years-long requited love and making out on Kara’s couch. But Kara can hear the tremor in her voice. “I’ll pick you up at 8?”
“Sure,” Kara says vaguely, her lips tingling from the almost-contact. The tease that Lena is clearly enjoying. “Okay.”
With one last chaste kiss to her lips and a promise to see her tomorrow night, Lena is gone.
Kara stays where she is, trying to imprint the memory of Lena’s kisses permanently in her mind. She can hear Lena almost skipping down the stairs, and when Lena settles in her car she laughs to herself, pressing a hand to her lips to muffle it. Kara does the same. Joy is bubbling up and overflowing out of her, reckless joy, and she wants to fly above National City and write her love for Lena Luthor in the clouds almost as much as she wants to call Lena right now and have her come back.
It’s only when Lena is safe at her own apartment and the movie credits are rolling that Kara realizes the gravity of the situation.
She has to plan a date.
Kara doesn’t have nearly enough time to plan the kind of night she wants. Lena deserves the best – gifts, sonnets, moonlight gondola rides or picnics in Paris. Fireworks that spell her name in the sky. What Kara ends up managing to throw together between meetings and avoiding Andrea the next day at work is dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in the city – she has to drop Supergirl’s name to get a last-minute reservation, but after some persuasion she secures a table – and a very expensive bouquet of flowers.
As if the universe (or her boss) is conspiring against her she ends up getting stuck at work later than she’d like, and it’s only by the grace of her superspeed that she has time to pick the flowers up, shower, and throw on her nicest outfit (a blazer over the shirt she bought during her shopping trip with Morgana and El, which she’s become more fond of than anything else in her wardrobe) before Lena’s towncar pulls up.
Kara’s nerves jump into overdrive when Lena steps out.
She looks stunning. She’s not made up in the way Kara has seen her for galas, but she’s dressier than she usually is for work – a fitted dark blue dress, her hair down and tucked over one shoulder, and a deep wine-red lipstick. Lena smiles, and when Kara leans in to press a kiss to her cheek just at the corner of her lips she has a sudden image of the lipstick leaving a bright mark on her skin that almost makes her drop the flowers.
“These are for you,” Kara says quickly, handing the flowers over to Lena who takes them with unsteady hands. “Plumerias.”
Lena pauses, looking down at the bouquet and touching the petals in wonder. Kara chose them specifically, despite them being almost impossible to find – they were in Lena’s office the day Kara wrote her first article about her. They represent new beginnings, and that’s exactly what Kara wants this to be. A new start for them.
“Do you like them?”
Lena’s smile is radiant. She sets them on the front seat next to the driver, and before Kara can get into the car Lena tugs her by the lapel and gives her a light kiss as an answer.
“I still can’t believe I get to do that,” Lena says quietly, wiping the lipstick from Kara’s lower lip with her thumb. Kara kisses the pad, and grins.
The start of the date is great. After Kara builds up her courage to make a move Lena holds her hand the whole way to the restaurant, and she even compliments the choice, saying she’s been meaning to try this place. Kara puts her hour of research this morning to use in picking a good wine, and when the waiter leaves them Kara is feeling okay. Not confident, but not completely terrified.
The longer they’re at the restaurant, though, the more that leaks away.
There’s something about the formalness of what they’re doing – the restaurant with its tuxedoed staff, the tiny portions of foods Kara has never heard of, the long ritual of wine-pouring and tasting and approval that Kara doesn’t know the steps of – that feels off. Every time the waiter leaves they lapse into silence, Kara searching desperately for a conversation topic appropriate for the setting but failing miserably, and Lena seems just as uncomfortable. Talking about the weather seems ridiculous, when their history is so complicated. They don’t need to get to know each other, or ask banal questions about family or friends. It’s hard, and when the appetizers arrive Kara is so nervous that she swallows the whole thing in one bite and almost chokes on the fork.
“Kara, are you all right?” Lena asks, ignoring her own food and reaching across the table to grab Kara’s hand. Kara sighs, waving the concerned waiter away with her free one. Honesty is the best policy, right? That’s what the new beginning is for.
“This is weird. Isn’t it? Do you feel weird?”
Rather than getting upset like Kara’s worst-case-scenario mind feared, Lena practically sags with relief.
“Yes,” she says, laughing under her breath. “Yes, thank you. It’s weird. We’ve had meals together a hundred times, but somehow this one feels strange.”
“I think we put too much pressure on it,” Kara admits, lacing their fingers together. “And honestly, I’ve never really liked the whole formal date thing. It feels like a weird series of social cues I’ve never been good at.”
Lena squeezes her hand sympathetically, and then looks towards the kitchen with a calculating expression.
“I have a proposal,” Lena says conspiratorially, and Kara leans close with a grin.
“How about I pay for this fancy food neither of us is really interested in eating,” Lena says, gesturing at the table, “and then we go get some Chinese and eat it on your couch?”
Instead of answering, Kara pulls her phone out and hits #3 on her speed dial. Lena pays the bill and tells the waiter to give the food to the kitchen staff, and Kara orders their usual while she waits for the car to pull up.
Kara has every intention of keeping the rest of the night chaste and gentlemanly. She puts in the first movie on the stack, sets the food out on the coffee table, and sits a respectable distance from Lena on the couch. But when Lena is in her lap again before they’ve even gotten to the entrees, the food abandoned in favour of easing Lena’s dress slowly up her thighs, Kara can’t bring herself to be even a little bit upset about it. In fact she’s enthusiastically in favour, and Lena seems to be as well.
“I thought we were going slow?” Kara says distractedly, her mouth dipping down to brush over the tops of Lena’s breasts. It’s something she hadn’t realized she’s wanted to do since she first saw Lena in a tight leather top 4 years ago - she actually wants very badly to tug the dress down a little more, but that feels like something Lena should initiate.
“We’ve been on a date now,” Lena replies, breathless as she directs Kara’s chin back up so she can pull her into another kiss. “Sex on the first date is also normal. I don’t want to wait anymore.”
Kara grins into her mouth, taking that as a green light and undoing the first two buttons on her shirt. Lena takes over on the third, nimble fingers slipping each one out and then tugging until it untucks from her pants.
“I’ve been ready since we first kissed,” Kara says, and Lena pushes the shirt from her shoulders with impatient hands. She moves on to Kara’s belt, undoing it and popping the fastening of her pants but sighing in frustration when she can’t manage to pull them down in their current position.
“I’ve been ready since you wrote the article about my alien detection device.”
Kara huffs out an exasperated laugh, lifting herself a little so she can slide the pants down to her ankles. Lena lifts with her, staying in her lap and clinging to her shoulders with a startled noise until Kara sits again, Lena’s bare thighs now draped over her own.
“Then why the heck did we bother –”
Mid-sentence, Lena tugs the dress down. Kara’s mouth goes dry, and like she’s caught in a tractor beam she leans forward wordlessly.
Making out with Lena fully-clothed last night was incredible on its own. But now, with Lena topless and encouraging Kara to kiss her breasts until her nipples harden and make her mouth water, she’s on another plane of existence. The light, teasing tone is gone – the air is heavy with desire, and Kara plans on following through.
Lena gasps when Kara finally swirls her tongue around one, arching into her, but she doesn’t look away. She seems to need to see what Kara is doing, like if she stops it’ll all disappear. And there’s something about being watched as she finally indulges a long-held but repressed fantasy that makes Kara pulse with want – she switches sides, making sure Lena can see her tongue tracing over the stiffened skin, and every whimper only stokes the fire in her.
“Fuck,” Lena whispers, and Kara twitches. She only really hears Lena swear when she’s angry or drunk, and hearing it in this context is stirring. She wants to make it happen again. She pulls Lena’s nipple fully into her mouth and sucks, rolling her hips up, and Kara’s reward is a moan even louder than last night.
“Kara,” Lena groans, rolling herself down so hard that Kara can feel the sticky heat of her pressing into her stomach even through her underwear. She does it again, a jerky movement that makes her breath catch. “Fuck - if you keep going like that, I’ll – god, I’ll come. I’ll come, Kara -”
Lena says it like a secret, like she’s a little ashamed of her own body for giving in already. But the idea of bringing Lena all the way to orgasm just like this kicks Kara’s arousal into a level she’s never known before. She wants it. She wants Lena to come so badly she can barely think.
“Yes,” Kara hisses, pulling Lena’s hips into a firmer rhythm. Lena cries out, her head finally tipping back towards the ceiling as Kara seals her lips around her nipple again and sucks harder, and she makes a fist in Kara’s hair.
“I want you inside me when I do,” Lena whispers at the ceiling like a prayer, her chest and neck hot with more than arousal. “Please.”
Immediately Kara scrambles to comply. She flips them so Lena is on her back on the couch, rucks the hem of her dress up to her waist, and flings her underwear across the living room; when she settles between Lena’s legs, letting out a shuddering sigh when slippery wetness is painted across her hipbone, she pauses.
“Lena…” Kara whispers, touching their noses together. Lena’s eyes are fiery and dark, and Kara shivers when Lena bends her knees to brace herself and tilt her hips up. “I love you so much. I need you to know that.”
“I love you, Kara,” Lena breathes right back, taking Kara’s hand from her waist and pulling it where it’s needed. Kara raises herself a little to slip it between Lena’s thighs, gasping into a messy kiss when her two fingers slide immediately against Lena’s clit and then down. “I love you, god, I love you.”
Lena pushes against the back of her hand, and the rest is lost in a sigh as Kara slips inside her.
Kara has never been so turned on in her whole existence. She didn’t know that she could be this turned on, this close to an orgasm herself without even being touched. Lena is rocking hot and slick into her hand, taking her fingers eagerly and arching her chest into Kara’s mouth, and Kara has no perception of the world outside this bubble. She can’t hear anything but Lena, can’t see anything but Lena. If every prisoner at the DEO broke out and laid waste to the city right now, Kara doubts she would even notice. The only thing that matters is giving Lena everything she needs – giving her a third finger when she asks for it, keeping the exact pace and rhythm that makes her start to lose control, and kissing her deep as she starts to gasp and tighten on her hand.
This is what sex should always have been for her, Kara knows in the heartbeats before Lena finally comes. Messy and exciting, thriving on the pleasure of another person as you give them what they want. Love expressed in physical form, devotion given with her body. This is what she likes.
Lena’s knee comes up between Kara’s legs to brace on the couch as she arches up, and after watching it happen all Kara needs to do is press herself down into it once before she’s joining her in a roaring wave.
It’s sublime, knowing that she’s the cause of Lena’s pleasure. That Lena loves her, and despite everything that’s happened between them they can still have this. It won’t be easy, but Kara has never been one to take the easy road. This is the road she wants. The one where Kara is still high on her orgasm while Lena is kissing a grateful and trembling column up her neck, and Kara can still feel her pulsing around her fingers, and her front door is opening –
It takes a few seconds, but when Kara registers that last thought she squawks and drapes herself over Lena to cover her. Heart pounding, she looks up preparation to laser-vision the absolute crap out of whoever made the mistake of interrupting the best night of her life.
It takes her a second to understand what’s happened when she ends up glaring at her own face.
“…El?” Kara says, tilting her head to see Morgana standing just behind. “Morgana? What are you – don’t you have your own place?”
“We got lost?” El says, but she and Morgana both look like they’ve been caught shoplifting. Kara looks between them, and then down at the surface she’s currently pinning a blushing Lena to.
“Were you two…” she starts, getting louder when the reality washes over her. “Were you two breaking into my apartment to have sex on my couch again?”
El averts her gaze, shifting from foot to foot, but Morgana shrugs unabashedly.
“Oh my god,” Lena whispers, muffled in Kara’s shoulder.
“But it appears you’ve beat us to it,” Morgana continues, looking delightedly at the clothes scattered across the floor. Lena’s underwear landed on the kitchen island, apparently, and Kara’s pants are still tangled around her ankles.
“Please go,” Kara groans, pressing her face into the couch cushion under Lena’s shoulder. “I am begging you.”
“It’s really rather fitting, don’t you think?” Morgana says thoughtfully, ignoring Kara and stepping from the kitchen into the living room. Behind her El picks up Lena’s abandoned lo mein and shoves a bite into her mouth. “Poetic justice, for all the occasions –”
“Morgana,” Kara says, raising her head and gesturing at Lena’s mostly-naked body underneath her. “Could we perhaps have this conversation another time? Not everyone shares your values on nudity.”
Lena shifts under her, stroking Kara’s back soothingly. “Darling, it’s fine. We’re identical, it’s nothing either of them haven’t seen.”
“No, it’s – did you just call me darling?”
Lena blushes. Kara blinks down at her dumbly, caught between wanting to address the pet name and wanting to shove Morgana and El out the door and solder it closed behind them.
“We should leave them,” El says, and Kara could kiss her for being the closest thing Morgana has to a voice of reason. Even if her mouth is still full of Lena’s stolen Chinese food. “Come, my love.”
“All right,” Morgana sighs. She takes El’s accepted hand – the other is still holding Lena’s food, seemingly permanently – and steps back into the hall, closing the door behind them. “If you insist.”
Kara collapses on top of Lena as soon as the latch clicks, burying her face in the soft safety of her chest. It’s just about the only thing that could make her feel better about being interrupted by the two people who have already caused her unspeakable stress in the last few weeks. She had hoped, apparently naïvely, that when they got their own space this issue would be lessened, but apparently the universe has a sense of humour.
“I am so sorry,” Kara mutters. Lena starts to laugh, stroking Kara’s tangled hair.
“It’s fine,” she says, only laughing harder when Kara harrumphs. “I don’t think our relationship was ever meant to be normal.”
Kara raises her head, immediately perking up.
Lena cups her jaw, kissing the tip of her nose. It feels casual and intimate, and perfectly natural. “Yes. Our relationship. Our anniversary will forever be the day our clones walked in on us fucking.”
“Forever,” Kara whispers happily. Her irritation is gone – the confirmation that they’re together now, that this will happen again and again for as long as Lena keeps wanting her, wipes away everything else.
“Of course that’s the part you focus on,” Lena sighs, but she looks perfectly happy with the situation. Kara wiggles her way back up until they’re even on the couch, leaning down to capture her lips again –
The door opens.
“Then again, El and I have been discussing the merits of group lovers and communal living. El read a delightful book just the other day on poly –”
“GET OUT!” Kara shouts, grabbing the nearest throw pillow and chucking it full force at the door. It slams before the pillow reaches it, but Morgana’s delighted cackles still echo down the hall beyond.