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The Arctic Station

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Lena stumbles back into a warm room, arms still stretched toward a swirling, blue-green light that vanishes with a sharp crack of air.

Unlike before, her hand isn't clutched around a blue-clad wrist.

Unlike a year ago, Kara is gone.

All the sounds, sights, feel of her, left behind in a blink.

Remnants remain. The echo of her kiss on parted lips, the warmth of her touch fading fast on Lena’s cheeks. Her promises and hopes reverberate in Lena's ears... the words sink into her heart and her chest rips with a devastation so fierce it steals her breath and has her reaching for the nearby desk. Stability. For something to hold her up when the strong arms that had been let go.

And Lena had let her…

Because Kara was right.

Staying wasn’t an option. Not when Lena knows how to bring her home.

The cape is a welcome weight over her shoulders, reminding her help will arrive soon.

For now, she’s alone in the meteorology lab of their Earth’s Arctic Station.

The one both of them should be standing in.

God. She still feels the piercing stab of failure deep in her chest. Months and months of work… all so Kara would end up alone.

“Uhh,” A throat clears, astonished, at Lena’s back.

Oh...

It seems she wasn't alone.

Lena’s finally able to hear more than just the pounding of her heart in her ears. An old Cutting Crew song plays from the Bluetooth speaker on the cluttered, modern, radar console.

She turns to find a grey-haired, bearded man in the room with her. Coffee adorns the front of his shirt rather than the empty mug in his hand. His eyes are squinted at her, confused and curious and cautious.

“Is that… is that my coat?” He asks, eyes round, large, and fixed to the name etched on Lena’s trusted red arctic jacket.

She almost laughs at the absurdity.

Her life is, without a doubt, a tragic comedy.

Her heart races, a sob catching in her throat. She can’t help herself. A grin breaks across her face as she pulls the stunned man into a hug. “Dr. Ennis, hi.”

“You…” He stammers as Lena pulls back, eyes sweeping over her, recognition hitting with a gasp. The blood drains from his face with the same speed his mug drops to the floor. “You're that Luthor woman.”

Lena feels a chill prickle down her spine.

The way he’s looking at her… that quiver in his voice…

Fear?

“She is.”

Alex.

Lena turns, concerns washing away on a flood of warm relief that brings a smile back to her lips and fresh tears to her eyes. “Alex, thank god, I–”

Her words die with a jolt.

Alex’s welcome is a deep scowl paired with a shot from an equally powerful taser.


Lena wakes nursing a raw burn on her chest, in a bright room of what she can only assume is one of the DEOs med suites. She has never seen this one before. It’s stark. Hardly a blip of machinery or screens in sight.

Fluorescents everywhere.

She squints, temple throbbing as she inspects an IV drip running from her arm and into the wall. A clear, shimmering fluid slowly fills her veins.

Her arm feels heavy. Specifically her wrist.

Someone has shackled her.

And done so determinedly. Both her wrists are bound and tethered with hardly a foot of cable slack to the bed.

And yep, that clinking sound near her feet assures there are two more on her ankles.

Lena groans, staring up into headache-inducing lights.

Unbelievable.

Voices carry in, angry and muffled from just outside the glass door. Alex stands, arms crossed, talking to someone just out of Lena’s limited sight. Lena’s frustration mutes some as she takes Alex in. Her hair has gotten longer, though lost most of its shine and volume. She looks haggard, Lena thinks. Makeup not quite able to hide the dark patches under tired eyes.

Lena can vaguely hear the other voice address Alex before heavy steps wander off.

Director Danvers.

So Alex had gotten a nice promotion while they were stranded on a dead, unreachable Earth.

She’d be happy for her. If Alex hadn’t also shot her and then strapped her to this bed.

Alex pulls a tablet from just outside the door and enters the room. Her eyes stay fastened to the screen with the same meticulous scrutiny that Lena feels she likely fastened her as well.

God, her back hurts. Everything hurts.

Alex never once looks up.

The tablet, of course, is handled with all the gentle care Lena lacks.

Lena clears her dry throat, tries to muster as much confidence and composure to her voice. “Are the restraints really necessary?” The stress of the situation leaks in regardless.

Alex lets out an impatient huff as she taps away on the screen. “You’re a wanted criminal, so yes, they really are.”

Well… this return was off to a terrific start.

Predictable.

Lena’s jaw clenches. “Criminal?”

“You killed your brother,” Alex replies, tone still tight and cold. Eyes still glued to a tablet and refusing to meet the wide, surprised ones on the bed.

Had she then?

Lex was gone…

Where she had expected elation and relief she only finds a numb, empty cavity. She’d done it. Killed him. The very thing she’d been hoping for all this time…

It still hurts.

Alex does finally glance up to her at the prolonged bout of silence. “Very Luthor of you to be unfazed about that.”

Her reaction is hers to own alone. Privately. Not under an audience of Director Danvers' vindictive indifference and poorly misdirected loss.

Lex.... he… he’d been a wonderful brother. Until he wasn’t.

Alex, meanwhile, Lena knows is not making Kara at all proud right now.

Lena scoffs. She’s done with Alex’s callousness. The burn on her chest flares as a reminder. “Don’t act like his death didn't do you a service, Director Danvers, is it?”

Dark eyes narrow at her from the foot of the bed. Lena doesn’t dare look away. She may be a beaten, broken, grieving version of herself bound on a bed but she is still very much herself where it counts. She glares right back at Alex Danvers, challenging her to assert otherwise.

Alex bristles beneath the glare; Lena can see she’s clearly hurting, turning all that pain into spiteful words and even more spiteful treatment.

Lean knows why the screens are missing from the room.

The distrust is as plain as the scowl working its way back onto Alex’s face.

Alex turns her provoked attention back to the tablet. “You need surgery for that ankle.”

“Nice of you to strap it so tightly for me then,” Lena quips. “Very compassionate standards at the DEO these days.”

A truly terrible thing to have said.

Alex snaps. She marches right around the bed and has Lena’s throat in her bruising grip before Lena can so much as breathe a word in protest. The distrust in her gaze is still there, magnified tenfold as she leans closer, now consumed by rage and god, such utter disdain. “I know what you’re truly capable of and unlike my sister; I don’t fuck around with second chances.”

Only one thought springs to Lena’s oxygen-starved mind.

Kara above all else.

Lena tries to twist away and pull space between the hand and her throat but Alex’s grasp is unyielding so she chokes out, “She wanted me... to tell you she—”

NO!” Alex rips her hand away and Lena coughs, gulping air back into empty lungs. “You don’t get to tell me anything about her. Not after what you've done.”

“She’s alive, Alex,” Lena says, trying to sit up. Her muscles ache at the effort, sending her back to the bed. Her head swims, thoughts turning to shimmering liquid but more so forcing coherent words to her suddenly heavy tongue. “Please listen to me.”

She wants to shout at Alex to stop pumping her full of drugs.

To talk to her.

Lena takes in long breaths, grudgingly relaxing under the strength of the sedative pouring into her blood.

“Like I said,” Alex continues, voice measured once more. She shakes her hair back behind her, tucking it firmly over one ear. “Your ankle needs surgery. We have you sche—”

“Kara first,” Lena grits out.

Alex’s eyes flash up at her. Furious. “It's scheduled for tomorrow morning. You’ll then continue acute radiation exposure therapy.”

Lena fights the pull of sleep. “Kara. First.”

Alex lowers the tablet to the bed, stopping the flow of sedative, one hand finding a firm, defiant home on her hip. “Funny you keep saying that when she's gone because of you.”

“Yes…” Lena breathes out hard, for once agreeing with her. Hoping, even as groggy as she feels, that she might be able to appeal to Alex’s sense. She’s smarter than her resentment. So much smarter. “So help me... bring her back.”

Alex squeezes her eyes shut, shoulders raised and ever so tense beneath her jacket.

Lena’s heart nearly bursts at the hesitation.

“She… she loves you,” Lena tells her, breathless but unwavering. “She wanted you to know that and—”

“No, no. This is exactly the manipulative shit you always do,” Alex hisses out, hands clenched around the bar at the foot of the bed with the same furious intent Lena knows she wants them back around her throat. “I’m done. You disappeared with her for a fucking year and came back alone wrapped in her cape.”

Brown eyes blink back tears. And the way her voice hardened, fortified from a year's worth of pain…

Lena’s heart stills. “You think I planned this.”

Dark eyes narrow, vicious and broken. “No, I think you killed her too.”

The admission should be laughable, but Alex’s resolve is unflinching.

She believes it.

“Kara’s alive and waiting for us to bring her back,” Lena implores, trying to muster every ounce of her love for Kara to manifest in her tone and gaze, anything to have her sister’s eyes turn from steel to understanding and unstrap her from this fucking bed already. “Every day at ten AM, she flies to this city and waits. You’re the one keeping her trapped there, by keeping me here. Is that what you want? Is that fair to her?”

“I want to believe you, I really do. But the one person who gave me the strength to isn't here because of you,” Alex growls, voice finally cracking with the effort of holding back how hotly her anger and loss burns. “And you expect me to believe the word of a Luthor who murdered her own brother?”

Lena sighs, the taser mark over her heart burning hot. “No, but I expect you will because for the past year nothing else has worked and you have nothing else to lose,” She says quietly, quelling Alex’s rage with calm truth. “I'm right, and you know it.”

Lena feels an intoxicating rush of triumph surge through her at the way Alex stands, staring at her with unguarded unease. The words have sunk in. Lena can see the thoughts, the concern, the briefest spark of hope fill untrusting eyes.

Then Alex turns her head down. There’s a twitch and tightening of the muscle along her jaw. “At seven AM they’ll take you in for prep,” She says, picking her tablet back up as she heads for the glass door.

Alex,” Lena calls for her, apologetic. Her next is a desperate shout. “Alex!”

She gets nothing but a raised, retreating middle finger in response.


The first day alone in the station feels... weird.

Quieter, colder, lifeless.

There’s no heartbeat to follow anymore.

Weird might be a vast understatement.

Kara debates marking the day off on her calendar. It’s as though they’ve reached an entirely new era. A weird and quiet and necessary one. Well, just she, Kara corrects herself. The other half of they is back home. Her heart warms at the thought. She settles on a circle instead.

Today, she thinks. Today Lena brings her home.

Or, you know, anytime in the next couple of weeks. A day seems a bit too presumptuous. Lena needs sleep and food and medical care. Those should come first. Then she can focus on building a portal in a fully stocked lab alongside her friends and pull her through.

Kara almost smiles, knowing Lena has likely forgone sleep and food and medical care in favor of getting to work.

She hopes Alex convinces her otherwise.

So Kara spends her first day alone feeling weird but optimistic. She wakes up in the same small bed that now feels massive without Lena beside her. She touches the empty dent of space, thrilled for her absence but missing it too. In the bathroom, she makes jokes at the sink to only a mirror for an audience. She gives herself a thumbs up, reminds herself this was the only choice, and carries on with her strange, lonely day.

She debates on what album to start her morning with. The new soundtrack to her new, temporary life.

She never once steps foot in the lab.

A half-hour before ten AM she floats high above National City, early but ever so excited for the first day since Lena’s return home. She’s hardly bothered in the slightest when ten AM comes and goes with not so much as a flash of light down below.

She takes her time returning to the station, making bets with herself on how fast her friends must be working with Lena to bring her home.

They’ve ordered five pizzas, at least. Nia insisted on an order of potstickers in solidarity.

Alex is likely a whole gallon of coffee in by now.

Lena, likely two.

Brainy has probably told Lena at least eight times how delighted he is that she’s back.

J’onn reminds them to please sleep.

She can picture it. The bustle in the lab, Lena’s because she’s home and missed it. How quickly every darts around, how Lena stands with one of her trusted tablets in hand orchestrating them all.

Kara can’t wait to see them again.

Knows she’ll be home soon.

Patience, she thinks. She just needs to hold out.

In the meantime, she throws on an old Beach Boys album, forgoes gardening gloves because they suck and there’s no more dirt to worry about tracking into the lab. She tends to her garden, wondering if she should bring some plants home with her….

Immediately reconsiders. You weren’t even allowed to bring fruit on a plane from another country, she doesn’t want to imagine the lecture she’d get from Alex for trying to do the same with plants from another, more contaminated Earth.

The plants shall stay, and she'll continue to care for them as long as she can.

Gardening has become a sort of therapy for her. It provided sustenance and life for Lena and brings Kara a calm sense of peace and joy.

On a bored whim, she tries a leaf of kale.

And spends ten minutes after eating carrots just to rid the bitter nastiness out. She feels like she’s traded one problem for another.

The carrots were just slightly less terrible.

The rest of the week plays out the same. Her new, weird solo routine. Kara watches movies, reads, and moves the Monets back to the vault so some other Alien life can benefit from their discovery and presence someday.

She thinks of Lena every minute of every day.

By the end of her second week alone, Kara is still hopeful. There’s a slight inking of concern taking root in her heart but her trust in Lena keeps it from taking hold.

She knows she won’t be alone for long.

“I just have to wait,” She tells the broccoli patch.

Per usual, the greens offer no solace.

Plus they taste just as bad as the kale.


They keep Lena confined —imprisoned— to a bed for two weeks after the surgery. Her only visitors are the shadow of a nurse she’s never awake to greet but knows must tend to her at night, changing gowns, washing her, giving her some shred of the dignity and humanity her other visitor is lacking in spades.

The other, of course, being the sister of the woman she loves. The first week Alex’s stoic; checks drips, ankle dressings, and charts on her tablet in stony silence. Meals are quickly dropped onto the bed tray with little regard. Not once does she meet Lena’s eyes or frustrated attempts to talk and appeal.

Lena speaks to a wall, hoping some of her words chip away at Alex’s deep animosity.

The second she’s a seething, passive-aggressive wreck.

Lena might have preferred the previous version. This one has no qualms in checking Lena’s ankle with all the care and finesse she treats a punching bag.

Or, you know, the woman she believes murdered her sister.

Lena bites back a cry as Alex gives her ankle another, unnecessary prod along still too fresh stitches before lying —tossing— her foot to rest back in an elevated sling. “Thank you, nurse Ratchet,” Lena says through a wide, exaggerated grimace.

Alex throws her such a look of contempt that Lena almost laughs.

The IV line is checked next. The same shimmering material still feeding through.

“What’s in this cocktail?” Lena asks.

She hardly expects a response.

More a grunt and scowl to be honest.

Alex surprises her today.

“Classified,” Alex growls, jostling the drip bandage with a little too much satisfaction. “Let’s just say you shaved a few years off your life but this is restoring what radiation damage had been done.”

Lena makes a note to thank Brainy when she can.

At least someone was looking out for her… even if he has yet to visit.

Lena wonders if he’s even allowed. Director Danvers has likely secluded her in a far-off basement level where few can find her let alone are given the privilege to access.

She doesn’t even know what time of day it is. Or how long she’d been down here before waking up.

Kara is waiting for her.

She has to try. Alex is at least answering her today.

Lena wets dry lips, “How... how long has it been since you found me?”

The response is clip. “A little over two weeks.”

Lena’s heart rate spikes with relief. Not too long then. They still have time.

She needs Alex though. God, she just needs her to listen. Kara would know how to get through to her sister. Lena hasn't a clue on how to broach Alex’s mountainous distrust and resentment toward her.

She also can't help but think this must have been how Kara felt a year ago. Painstakingly, effortlessly, unraveling all of Lena’s contempt and doubt over months.

Lena doesn't have months to wait.

Kara is waiting. Alone. The very thing she told Lena she fears most.

“Alex,” Lena tries again, her purpose reignited with a heartfelt plea. “Kara’s alive.”

Alex’s scowl is back. Deeper and sharper than ever. “Then why are you here without her?”

Lena represses a long-held groan, knowing it will just irritate Alex more. She tries a calm, measured approach. “I told you the portal could only sustain one biological signature. We didn’t have enough stable power to support another.”

“How convenient.”

Do not react, Lena tells herself.

Do not waste this moment.

She schools her irritation and stares, unaffected, up at Alex. "You can hate me all you want but that doesn't change the fact that I can bring her home," Lena implores. Her fists now clenched into sheets at her sides. "And if not me, then get me a notebook to write instructions so someone else can."

Alex sneers. "We don't need you."

Oh, fuck this.

“If you’d like to create an interdimensional portal out of nothing but the discarded carcass of a radioactive DEO circa 1989, please, by all means, show me how it’s truly done,” Lena tells her, weeks of finely held composure finally unrestrained. Enough, she thinks. If she can’t appeal to Alex’s reasonable side then she will tear it to pieces. “You have no idea what we went through, how tortured Kara was to be thrown onto an Earth that was so utterly destroyed like that, by my family’s doing no less, so double torture there; enduring yet another Luthor caused tragedy while also having to keep me alive and fed with enough hope to even try to build the damn portal to get us home from that hell in the first place.

“Only, guess what? As if my life isn’t one massive disappointment after another, being stranded in a wasteland isn’t conducive to finding power sources stable enough to sustain two lives so instead only one can come home. And your sister, without hesitation, decides that has to be me. Because I am her only hope of getting home. Even if it means she has to suffer there, alone, while you keep me here on accusations so thin I’m surprised Kara hasn't found her way back just to criticize you for abusing your authority so flagrantly. So yes. Truly convenient of me to strand her there. As if I ever had a choice in the matter or regret it.”

Alex, predictably, has nothing to say.

So Lena says it for her. “I will bring her home, Alex. It's up to you how fast that happens.”

Alex remains silent.

But Lena’s confined to a cell after that.


By the end of her first month alone, Kara suspects something may be amiss at home.

She's not worried.

Okay, she's a little worried.

During their first couple weeks of portal planning, when frustrations were high and their friendship as fragile as Lena’s moods, Lena —on particularly bad days— would always grumble about how easy a portal would have been for her to build back home.

“A week tops,” She’d mutter while ferociously attacking the chalkboard with a dozen different ideas all at once.

Kara was careful to keep her distance, and also her mouth shut.

Sometimes Lena needed to vent her grievances and the best thing Kara learned in those early days was to just listen and give her the space to do so.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the difficulties were aired to her. Given time, they were shared.

She misses being able to hold Lena and whisper that things would be all right. To be patient. To trust in herself.

Kara hopes Lena knows just how much she believes in her.

These days, it feels that’s all that's keeping Kara going at all.

Her days in the station feel longer. She's forgotten to recharge her hair in the nuclear core twice. Her panic as the lights and heat cut out was always short-lived. There wasn't a human here anymore...

Just plants and a dark lab she has still yet to step foot inside of.

She can’t.

Not yet.

To do so would be to admit something she is not ready to face.

So she keeps her distance and sticks to her weird, lonely, and now extra arduous routine. Lena’s things are still everywhere, her presence as felt as it is missed and desperately sought. Her notebook still rests on their nightstand. A pile of her laundry untouched near the window of their room. Their pillows and sheets have lost her scent entirely. If Kara brings one of Lena’s sweaters to bed with her it's merely for comfort.

Her dreams are the only time she's able to see her face and hear her voice.

She sleeps a lot more.

Lena is home and everything is fine.

It's hardly a mantra that gives her any sense of reassurance. But she’s also gotten very good at avoiding things that might upset her.

The power dips out again in the middle of the night. Kara rolls out from bed, hand brushing the empty space as always, heart as heavy as her feet. She walks out to the power station under the bright light of perpetual day above ever-greyer skies.

Somewhere in National City, she tells herself, Lena is warm and fed and working to bring her home.

She is home and everything’s fine.

Kara recharges her hair with a lazy blast from heated eyes.

At the very least, she hopes they’re treating Lena well.


Lena’s left alone for another week. The only things she gains are another five pounds and a thousand times as much frustration with the eldest Danvers.

The radiation therapy continues, now attached to a bag on an IV pole she has to drag around with her in the cell.

An extra fun complication when all she's able to accomplish in terms of movement is a pained shuffle of feet against the one crutch she's been provided.

At least she has range now, she supposes.

There are still marks healing on her wrists from the cuffs.

She finally meets her nurse. A quiet, subdued J’onn who sneaks her newspapers and journals from the past year. He too has trouble meeting her eyes, never once answers her questions or even acknowledges her hello’s. It pains her so much more than Alex’s treatment because his is rooted in disappointment and such gut-wrenching sadness.

Lena doesn't ever stop trying.

Eventually, J’onn stops showing up.

Lena has a feeling Alex is responsible. At this point, she can hardly even blame her.

Because Alex is right.

The papers confirm it.

She is a criminal. A wanted, hated felon responsible for Supergirl's disappearance, the dire coma state of Kara Danvers, and the murder of her brother. Not to mention the now-deposed CEO of a company turned over to a divisive board and the possessor of a reputation as ruined as her finances.

All solvable.

If she could just get someone to listen and let her bring Kara home.

Not one of the superfriends comes to see her.

She lays on a stiff mattress pad, running Kara’s physical therapy exercises on her ankle. The tears in her eyes a mix of suffering. Part effort, part sorrow.

All for the one person she wants and laments not being able to do more for.

So she does this. She works through the pain, knowing Kara would worry for her recovery otherwise. She eats all her meals, takes all the medication and drip therapies provided. Even greets a surly Alex every day with a smile.

She can't keep her here forever.

They are two stubbornly fixed forces that desperately want the same thing. Lena’s more than willing to bend to see it come true.

Kara first, she reminds herself daily.

After two weeks of this Alex finally cracks.

Lena tries not to look too smug.

Alex drops her lunch off, eyes darting over Lena’s face. “You’re finally looking more yourself.”

Lena has a litany of amenable responses at the ready.

Thanks to you.

Couldn't have done it without your help.

And I’m especially grateful to you, Director.

Yet despite those and dozens more she somehow only manages a stilted, affected, “So now you’re talking to me?”

Her social skills have languished.

Maybe Alex could shock some sense back into her. As an added benefit, she might actually smile for once.

Alex crosses her arms instead, and predictably, scowls more. “I could just go.”

Lena feels her one chance slipping fast, her stomach twists to jagged knots at the immediate, impending failure. She presses a hand to the glass wall separating them. “No please, I… Please stay.”

Alex’s eyes narrow, uncertainties revived. “The Lena Luthor I know doesn't beg.”

Kara first.

“I’m not above begging if it means Kara gets help,” Lena tells her softly. “Every day you keep me in this cell is one day more she suffers there. Is that what you want?”

The sigh Alex lets out isn’t caught by the mic, but Lena sees and feels it in the lower set of her shoulders. “You know I don't.”

“Then, please Alex, I’m begging you,” Lena pleads with every ounce of faith and hope she has left to give. “Please let me bring her home.”

“So you can end her life the same way you ended your brothers?” Alex asks, her voice for once filled with all that pain and longing for her missing sister she’s been too stubborn to let show.

Lena waits until brown eyes find hers and gives Alex a look of utmost understanding, her own smile as shaky as her whisper, “So we can both have the person we love back.”

“You loved him too,” Alex says, brow lowering. “But guess that didn't matter in the end.”

Lena breathes deep. “I killed him so he wouldn’t kill her.

“Sure,” Alex mutters, arms tightening over her chest once more.

Lena feels the gesture cements it.

Alex will never hear her.

“Nothing I say will convince you, will it?” She asks quietly, staring at Alex carefully.

Alex stares with a barely contained temper right back. “You came back alone, wrapped in her fucking cape. You’ve done enough damage.”

“I thought so,” Lena nods as she takes a seat on her bed. “I give consent.”

Alex’s expression pinches, confused. “For what?”

“For J’onn or whoever to go in my memories. See for yourselves.”

Brown eyes widen and dart quickly between Lena’s own. Lena merely sits, waiting. Patient.

“You're serious?” Alex spits out.

Another nod. “Though he might want to censor some parts,” Lena says, smiling up at a still shocked and skeptical Alex. “I wasn't lying about loving her.”

That confession has Alex taking a step forward. “You are serious.”

God, finally.

Lena stands, barely feeling the pain in her leg as she moves across the small space of her cell and presses her hand in promise back on the glass. “Please, go through whatever you have to but afterward, please give me the space to build what I need to bring her back to us.”

Alex’s eyes fall close. “If you… I’m trusting that you—”

Finally, finally, finally.

“I’ll bring her home,” Lena tells her. “Alex, I swear I will.”

Lena can see tears starting to spill from the corners of Alex’s eyes. Even as she shakes her head and leaves the room.


The weird feeling is long gone, replaced by a despondency that keeps Kara in their —her— bed more hours of the day than not.

She languishes in silence, the bright grey light a constant reminder of what’s lost.

Lena’s sweaters don’t smell like Lena anymore. Kara can hardly stomach thoughts of what might have happened to her back home.

She feels such overwhelming guilt for pushing her through the portal.

She never should have let her go.

This is my fault, she thinks.

She deserves to be alone.

National City awaits like always when she checks in, right on time. A storm even tries to pluck her from the sky. She holds fast, unmoving, eyes never once straying from the ruined city below.

Nothing flashes. Not once.

She enters the dark commissary after days away to find the garden lights are off.

It's her birthday.

And her plants have all died.


The door opens exactly one month and two weeks after Lena was first thrown inside. One hour after her memories were streamed live to an audience of two. Alex stands there stiffly, J’onn to her side. He’s the only one that can meet her eyes and offers her a small apologetic smile.

“Whatever you need to bring her home,” Alex says finally, holding out one of Lena’s trusted tablets. “The DEO is at your disposal.”

If Kara were here she'd hug her sister. So Lena surprises even herself by doing exactly that.

Alex clings to her, trembling. “Please.”

“Two weeks,” Lena promises, squeezing her tight.

J’onn helps her to an empty lab on an upper floor afterward. Assures everything she needs will be in place within a few days. They’d been using Brainy’s lab for the most part.

“He thought you might want a clean start,” J’onn says.

Lena smiles. Two things she owes him thanks for then.

“Where is he?” She asks.

“Neutralizing a threat downtown with the rest of the team.”

“But you stayed.”

J’onn gives her another small, knowing grin. “Kara first.”

She hugs him too.

“Lena, I’m…” He hesitates at the door, scratching a spot on his chest. There's a grieved knot in his brow as he looks up at her. “I’m sorry, for not doing more sooner.”

As if he could, Lena thinks.

Alex’s absence is as pronounced as the echo of their hushed voices in the hollow space they stand in.

Lena touches J’onn’s arm. “Let’s bring her home then.”

He escorts her out and into the dark-tinted car that takes her to a safe house for the night.

She sleeps just as terribly in a bed far more comfortable than any she's slept in over the past year.

Two weeks, she reminds herself. In two weeks she’ll have Kara back and sleep soundly again.

Or as soundly as she can with her life still in shambles. Despite J’onn’s promise to clear her name, Lena knows it will be months before she's allowed to step foot in her office again, let alone regain control of her finances and be able to show her face outside without half the world throwing insults and hating her guts.

And her brother... How do you even begin to mourn for something you wanted?

The thoughts and questions hardly unnerve her.

Getting Kara back is her only concern.

She's surprised when Kelly shows up the next morning, offering to help her with the trivial.

Together they clear out her dusty apartment. The busy work gives her something to focus on while the DEO collects her equipment.

It also dredges up memories just as easily. The watch Kara gave her is still on her kitchen counter. The one she’d swapped for the smartwatch after their falling out. It hasn't touched her wrist in almost a year and a half.

God, has it really been so long?

That one choice changed everything.

“Painful or helpful?” Kelly asks, folding up the dust cover that had been thrown over Lena’s sofa.

Lena clears her head and stares up at Kelly with a mix of apologetic confusion. “Sorry, what?”

“Your thoughts,” Kelly explains, tossing the sheet to the growing pile by the kitchen counter. “Are they painful or helpful?”

“If they’re both?” Lena asks slowly, not at all looking forward to Kelly’s response.

Kara was always quoting her.

And as much as Lena rolled her eyes at the time, she knows how much those discerning words actually affected her.

Kelly joins her at the counter, pouring them both another glass of water. She hands one to Lena with a kind smile. “Take a breath, and direct those feelings into the work you’re doing to bring her home.”

Lena lets out a tired sigh as she leans onto an elbow. “Where were you when Alex locked me up?”

“Trying to convince her what she already knew,” Kelly tells her honestly. “That there’s no way you’d ever hurt Kara like that. Not when you both love her and want her home.”

“Is she always such a stubborn ass then?” Lena asks, smiling wryly.

“Over Kara? Oh, Lena, always,” Kelly chuckles, wrapping a warm arm over Lena's shoulders. “Welcome to loving a Danvers. They are a joy and also a fucking bit too much sometimes.”

It’s Lena’s first laugh since returning home.

It also quickly turns to sobs, wishing Kara was here to share it with her.

The watch is cluthed in Lena’s hand as Kelly hugs her, promising to help her in any way she can.

They ready her apartment after a while, and Kelly leaves so Lena can sleep. It's restless, per usual, missing a hovering warm body and occasional brushes of escaped blonde hair against her neck and cheek.


Kara almost doesn’t drag herself from their —her, only her— bed.

Time feels so irrelevant when every day feels like the same, slow torture.

Today she does something different.

She steps foot in the lab.

Outside a light wind brushes over the roof, the sound pierces Kara’s ears as sharply as the pain of expanding fears in her chest. The power core remains haven't been touched, yet she's not surprised the melted mass of metal and tubes looks even worse.

The portal had imploded once Lena was through.

Any hopes Kara had of repowering it to follow her were destroyed in an instant.

At the time she hardly minded. Simply extinguished the toxic flames, showered off all the soot, and vowed to never step foot in the room again. There was no telling what sort of radiation had been unleashed.

She didn't want any of it sticking to her when she was finally able to hug Lena again.

The when burns in her heart.

If now commands.

If she sees Lena again...

The rest of her forlorn heart breaks. Kara sinks to her knees.

A cry works its way out of her throat. Tears finally fill blue eyes. She's not cried all this time and now finds she cannot stop.

Something has happened to Lena. Either at home, somewhere else or…

She chokes, shaking the one, anguishing thought that’s been haunting her from her head.

Not in the implosion. She couldn't have…

The evidence gleams at her from across the room.

Kara tears out through the roof, speeding through clouds and miles and miles of sky to the edge of space where her lungs cry for air and she screams.


The morning after the clean up there's a knock on Lena’s door. Kelly stands on the other side, offers Lena a gentle smile with two coffees in hand.

The gesture sparks a new routine.

Lena rekindles the love of her friends over coffee.

Rebuilds muscle and strength of mind alongside slow walks with J’onn.

Reconnects pieces of her heart on long, needed calls with Sam and Ruby.

Rediscovers what she missed —a new Taylor album? Kara will be ecstatic— and shares new learnings —“Each multiverse has a unique numerical signature, here’s the equation to solve for,”— in her newly stocked lab with Nia and Brainy.

Alex surprises her the most.

Late in the lab one night, a tall, full glass of wine is slid in front of her. Lena looks up from her workstation. Alex Danvers stands, bottle in hand, the same shy, promising smile on her face that Lena’s seen so often on Kara’s.

“I’m sorry for not trusting you sooner,” Alex says, heartfelt, her brow wrinkling with remorse. “I’m just… really sorry about everything.”

Lena kicks out a stool for her. “Your bedside manner could use some serious work.”

Alex sits stiffly, ever so uncomfortable. “I know, I was a total pain in the ass.”

Lena smirks. “I believe Kelly’s exact words to me were that you could sometimes be ‘a fucking bit too much’.”

Alex shakes her head with a laugh. “Yeah, guess that tracks too.”

“I’d have probably acted the same,” Lena admits as Alex finally relaxes and pours herself a glass.

“To being massive, protective assholes when it comes to Kara then?”

Lena chuckles. “Cheers to that and congrats, by the way,” Lena says, eyes darting down to the ring on Alex’s hand.

“Oh, uh, thanks. Yeah.” Alex smiles softly, rolling the ring fondly between her fingers. “Kelly proposed a few months back.”

“Kara is going to be so happy for you.”

“I hope so,” Alex tells her, a bit of pink starting to rise on her cheeks. “You um, I’ve never seen her like that. You really… you make her happy too.”

“Alex,” Lena says with a knowing grin, pouring her some more wine. “We do not have to talk about the things you saw.”

“Oh, thank god cause, wow,” Alex says, draining half her glass in one go. “It was… a lot.”

“Too much, you mean.”

“So much!” She chuckles and turns in her seat to face Lena a bit more. Long gone are resentful brown eyes paired with a dreaded scowl. Warm brown eyes and a mouth not quite able to settle on any one smile. A litany of them. Hesitant, hopeful, serious. “But uh, I did want to talk to you.”

“Is Alex Danvers about to give me the talk?” Lena teases.

“No, this is me finally thanking you,” Alex says, tears collecting back into warm brown eyes. “God Lena, without you I don’t know if we ever… just thank you. Thank you for going with her, for building the impossible alongside her, for bringing her home.”

Alex surprises her the most. She revives Lena. Brings her solace in the form of memories of Kara shared over wine.

“Is there anything else you need?” Alex asks her after their fifth midnight wine session.

Lena knows she means the portal. But a thought fills her mind. A smile springs to her lips soon after. “Remind me, you have a key to Kara’s place right?”


A shell of Kara Danvers hovers above National City.

She's been alone for two months and two weeks.

Too long.

At 9:57 AM a flash of blue proceeds the loud crack of space and time as a portal appears above the rubble of the DEO.

For a brief moment, she thinks she's finally gone mad.

But there are voices, familiar, missed voices spilling out from within the promise of home.

She drifts down, peeking over the top edge into an unfamiliar room filled with everyone she loves.

The second time tears fill her eyes in the past few weeks is as she floats through an overdue, but promised bridge back home.

Lena is behind the controls and Kara only sees her even as Alex is rushing forward and hugging her tight.

Kara’s feet touch back to the ground. To her home.

Kara,” Alex cries into her shoulder, shaking, heart-pounding and so real in her arms. Kara hugs her close. Breathes in deep. The leather jacket is new but so much the same. All her sister. Alex lets out a squeal as Kara lifts her from her feet. “Kara!”

And that laugh. Rao, she missed her sister's laugh!

“You have no idea how happy I am to see you,” Kara's voice is hoarse, sticking to her throat as she speaks to someone finally. She sets Alex back down, an ear-splitting grin on her face as Alex hugs her again.

“I’ve missed you so much,” Alex whispers.

Me too,” Kara whispers back.

Nia, Brainy, and Kelly all crowd her, each hugging her with the same excited relief she feels to also be hugging them again too. Even J’onn tucks her close, and Kara can't help but share a look of astonishment with Alex from over his shoulder.

She’s missed them all.

One of them, the last she’s to greet, an unbelievable amount.

Lena looks different. A good different. More herself. Healthier. Comfortable. Nervous. If it weren’t for everyone's excited murmurs Kara could swear they’re standing back in the station, Lena with a soft smile all for her, hair pulled into a quick braid, slightly too big sweater paired now with jeans and one sneaker.

Ah, so they had gotten her the surgery.

Kara has never been so happy to see a soft cast in all her life.

And oh, Lena still looks at her the same. Like Kara’s the very thing she's been desperately waiting for and Kara realizes it's because she is.

Kara hasn't moved an inch. Not as Lena walks over, not as hands come to rest over the missing clasps of her cape high on her chest.

“Hi,” Lena breathes out, yearning to move hands behind her neck and have wide, dark blue eyes register that she's here.

They're home.

There’s a frantic disbelief in Kara’s eyes, darting between each of her own. Her hands find purchase on Lena’s arms. Her hold shaky, smile wobbly and radiant. “You smell incredible.”

Lena chokes out a watery laugh. “That's what you're going with?”

Kara engulfs her in a hug so thorough her feet leave the ground. Unlike with Alex, she doesn't hesitate to bury her face against the one pulse she's missed most. Lena feels warm lips at the curve of her throat and a heavy exhale bordering on a moan. “Like so unbelievably good.”

Lena laughs as she crosses her arms behind Kara’s neck, keeping her held close.

“Okay folks!” Alex says, loudly, pointedly, into the room with a clap. “Cleary, Kara needs a moment here.”

Everyone begins to clear out.

“You smell good too Alex,” Kara laughs as she settles Lena back to her feet but doesn’t at all let go. “Just not, you know, rediscovered shampoo after a year in the Arctic good.”

“Yeah, you could use a shower or five,” Nia says crinkling her nose as she passes. “And obviously so happy you’re back, Kara! We’ll catch up later after, uh… later.” Her wink is not subtle in the slightest.

“Definitely five,” Brainy agrees. He gives Kara’s free shoulder a squeeze, pauses, sniffs, and reconsiders. “Five long showers.”

“Yes, I smell. Thank you all,” Kara says, exasperated.

She's missed this too.

Kara still doesn’t let go so Lena melts against her side as J’onn gives them both a proud nod. Kelly whispers something to Alex that has her sister smiling. Kelly waves goodbye to Lena, who waves back.

So much has happened while she was alone.

A pang of hurt hits her harder than she expected.

She wanted this. For all of them to be happy. To have Lena against her, fully like this.

Why had it taken so long?

Alex steps forward with a large, happy smile and hands loosely resting on her hips. “Consensus is the showers for you.”

Kara sighs, pushing darker thoughts aside. She's home. She wants to savor time with her two favorite people.

“A shower after you run a slew of tests and clear me you mean?” Kara asks, holding fast to Lena’s shoulder. She almost closes her eyes at the feel of a hand stroking up her back.

She's missed her touch so much.

“No, shower first,” Alex says, then motions to Kara’s body. “That suit probably needs replacing too.”

“Please ask her about her underwear,” Lena volunteers.

The traitor.

Kara clutches her chest, pouting. “Et tu Lena?”

“Be happy they didn't throw you in a cell,” Lena tells her with a smile that should not at all accompany such a statement.

Kara whirls on Alex. “You threw Lena in a cell?!”

Alex brushes the comment aside. “Your girlfriend is fine, obviously.”

Oh.

Right.

That was the word.

She likes that word.

Kara blushes the same shade of red as her crest. “She um… she,” Kara stammers, elation filling all the dark, empty voids in her heart. She smiles down at Lena even as Lena rolls her eyes and laughs. “Yeah.”

“God, I’ve missed you,” Lena murmurs, kissing her cheek. “Welcome home, Kara.”

Her hold on Lena tightens, heart racing. She wants so much more than lips against her cheek.

“Let’s go you two,” Alex says, ushering them from the room and down to a med suite prepped just for today. “I can’t believe it took you both being stranded on another Earth for a year for it to finally click.”

Kara is still red-faced as she groans, following her sister, Lena’s hand held tightly in her own. “Can we do this reunion over? Maybe throw in some welcome back balloons, a cake would have been nice, a couple more ‘Oh my god, Kara, I’ve missed you so much and don't know how we coped without you’s.’

Alex stops in the doorway, eyes shining with glee despite the deadpan set of her mouth. “Oh my god, Kara, I’ve missed you so much and don't know how I’ve coped without you,” She mimics, hand gesture and all.

Kara pouts more. “Well, now it's just disingenuous.”

Alex laughs, tugging her toward the med bay. “Come here and let me poke you.”

“That's how she says I love you,” Kara tells Lena, smiling even as Alex gives her a look and disappears into the room. Earnest blue eyes find Lena’s. “Wait for me?”

Lena answers with a tug of Kara's neck and a searing press of her lips against Kara's own.

The pine and mint are gone.

Lipstick, peppermint, and hints of coffee in their place.

This was a good change. Great change. This is what Lena tastes like at home.

There’s so much to rediscover.

She loves getting the chance to explore it together.

And Lena… God, she cannot wait to take Kara home.

Always. I’ll be right here,” Lena whispers against her lips. Her lipstick is smeared in the most sublime of ways, making Kara's cheeks flush and stomach flip with anticipation for the promise in Lena's words. Kara kisses her again for good measure, hands itching to sneak beneath a cozy sweater and find a home on hips she's dreamed of touching again. Lena pulls away with a chuckle as she feels those very hands toy with the edge of her sweater. “Go get poked.”

Kara almost stumbles into a medical cart with all the loaded looks she keeps taking back over her shoulder. She quickly darts around it, gaze focusing on her sister. “Hey Alex, how long do you think this wi—“

There are fresh tears in Alex’s eyes as she brushes hands down an already immaculate red sunbed. That’s all it takes for Kara to hurry over and wrap her arms back around her sister.

“Hey,” Kara whispers and Alex collapses into her. “I’m right here.”

“You were gone so long,” Alex mutters, clinging to Kara as though she’ll disappear. As if she ever would again, Kara thinks, squeezing her sister tight. Tears absorb into her suit, but Kara feels them regardless. A stain of Alex’s hurt spills so deeply into her heart Kara thinks she’ll feel it long after they leave this room. She wishes she could bring Alex peace the same way Lena’s touch spurs it in her. Alex sniffles against her shoulder, hold solid and strong. “I couldn’t find you. No one could.

“And I’m back now,” Kara tells her softly. Alex steps back, hands still on Kara’s shoulders, thumbs rubbing dents as felt as her tears. She’s here. She’s back. Brown eyes blink away another wave of long-held loss. “No more portals to unreachable places for a long time, okay?”

Please,” Alex breathes out and wipes quickly at her eyes. “Like, for at least a hundred years.”

“Deal,” Kara grins, pulling Alex into another, softer hug. “I’m sorry that I smell.”

“I don’t care.”

“I recall you cared five minutes ago.” Alex pinches her side. Kara actually feels it. She pulls out of the hug, rubbing at the spot, staring in surprise. “Since when do the lamps work way out here?”

“Lena,” Alex answers simply, ushering Kara over to the bed.

Oh right.

Thing two.

Kara tries not to blush as Alex pulls the med cart over.

“Um, so,” Kara begins to say, not at all thinking about the things she very much wants to do with Lena once Alex has given her the all-clear. Not thinking about them just makes her think about them more.

“Ditch the suit, Kara,” Alex reminds her as she slips on some medical gloves.

Right.

Yes.

That should come off.

“MIT, really?” Alex asks, giving Kara such a shit-eating grin that Kara blushes more.

“Shut up,” Kara grumbles, touching her sleeves fondly. “Lena gave it to me.”

“I need to burn it.”

Kara hugs her arms to her chest. This is the one thing she’d brought back. “You can’t like, super dry clean it or something?”

Alex sighs. “Kara, you know procedures.”

“Please, Alex. Please.”

Alex sighs again. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Kara hurries from the sweater, setting it aside before Alex changes her mind.

Her sister is just as tickled seeing what Kara has on beneath. “I can't believe you still have that NSYNC shirt,” Alex teases as Kara holds out her arm extra stiffly. “Aw, c’mon. I can try to save this too. I know how much you love them. But how much does Lena?”

“Tons, I’ll have you know.”

“Uh-huh,” Alex hums, drawing blood and smirking even more. “Bet she likes them off tons more.”

This. This treatment she has not missed.

Okay… she has tons too.

“Again, this reunion could use way less teasing and way more cake,” She mutters.

“Sorry,” Alex chuckles, giving Kara’s shoulder a squeeze. “I swear I am so happy you’re back.”

“Me too,” Kara smiles. “Aside from… everything with me, how have things been here?”

“Not too bad,” Alex replies, diving back to work. “Thanks to no more Lex.”

Kara stills. “He… he’s gone?”

“He died in that room. The asshole even took the portal out with him,” Alex tells her, running an instrument over Kara’s chest she’s not seen before and now hardly cares to ask about. “It’s why we couldn’t get to you. Whatever he did caused the whole place to just meltdown once his heart stopped.”

Kara pushes the gear gently aside, waiting for Alex’s gaze to meet her own. “Lena, she… does she know?”

“Of course she knows. Have you seen her smile? That’s not just all for you, Kara,” Alex laughs. It cuts out just as quickly as she registers the drawn, discouraged look on Kara’s face. The instrument is set down, a hand coming to rest and comfort a rigid shoulder. “Hey, it’s done. He’s gone.”

Kara shakes her head.

Lena’s voice fills her head. A memory.

Maybe that’s okay too?

Kara’s eyes burn with tears. With all that could have been if a shot had never been released. If Lena hadn’t… if… “You could have gotten us back if she hadn’t killed him,” Kara says finally, voice tight and small.

Alex’s hold on her shoulder tightens. “Yeah, maybe,” She says softly. “But you could also have come home to so much worse had she not.”

Kara closes her eyes, not wanting to imagine all that Alex’s thought entails.

She opens them, staring across the room beyond frosted glass where Lena’s shadow sits, patiently waiting for her.

“Plus,” Alex continues, rolling the gloves off her hands. “I have you back and there’s no more Lex Luthor so honestly, Lena’s getting a huge ass Christmas gift from me this year.”

“Alex!” Kara exclaims, trying not to smile even as Alex gives her another hug. “You both are way too happy about this.”

“We both love you,” Alex tells her earnestly. “So screw whoever tries to take you from us again.”

“Maybe I’m not the one who needs a psych eval.”

“Twice weekly.”

“Twice?” Kara protests. “I’m not that traumatized.”

Her heart clenches despite best efforts, reminding her otherwise.

Cool air prickles her skin, the suffocating loneliness tunneling her vision.

I’m home, she reminds herself. Home, home, home.

“Would you like me to schedule you?” Alex asks gently, hand hovering over her tablet.

“Yes,” Kara sighs, flopping back onto the bed. She just really wants to go be with Lena.

Dark thoughts disappear to the background around her.

“I can get you in tomorrow, if you like?”

“Can it wait a week?” Kara asks, rubbing her face. “I’m just tired and want to go home.”

Of course,” Alex says quietly, touching her arm gently. “I’m almost done here, I promise.”

“Seriously, this whole welcome back is buckets of fun.”

“Well your radiation levels are nice and normal so I’m sure Lena will be happy to cater to all the missing fun with you later.”

Now she’s all hot and blushing again.

Geez.

Alex helps her to sit up as she stammers out, “That's not… we, uh, what I mean…”

“Oh, Kara, hun. Wow,” Alex laughs, threading a couple of monitors onto Kara’s fingers. “You have it really bad for her.”

She does.

Rao, so bad.

Something glittery catches Kara’s eye by her hand. Specifically a shiny something on Alex’s hand. Kara snatches said hand, bringing the ring closer to her face. “Alex! You’re engaged!”

“I am,” Alex says, proud.

Kara glares at her. “You got engaged without me.”

“Kara, why would you have…” Alex begins to say, brow furrowed in confusion for just a second. Then it levels and brown eyes turn to the ceiling with an amused sigh. “Nevermind, ignore me. Of course, you would have been there. Snooping.”

“It’s not snooping if I just so happened to be flying by at the same time because you would have told me you were going to propose and I wanted to be around for, you know, moral sisterly support and stuff.”

Alex smirks down at her ruffled sister. “Kelly did, actually.”

“And you proposed back right?” Kara demands.

“Come here,” Alex chuckles, pulling Kara into a warm hug. “God, I’ve missed you.”

“I missed you too. So much. You really have no idea.”

“Even with Lena all over you all day every day?”

“I love her Alex, but love you just as much,” Kara says, smile wide and bright and so much herself once more. “You're both my favorite people.

“You're dying to get out of here, aren’t you?” Alex asks with a telling grin.

Kara definitely blushes but her smile remains as she gazes back over to Lena through the glass. “We haven’t been apart this long all year,” She admits, feeling the threads of that loneliness she suffered for so long creeping back. She buries it with fonder memories instead. “Do you know we made rules and everything? Like the ones Eliza had us make.”

“You made Lena Luthor, that Lena Luthor, the one who bought a company for you, make house rules with you?”

“She wrote most of them, I’ll have you know.”

Unbelievable,” Alex huffs, then raises a brow, leveling Kara with a prying stare. “What were some of them? Now I’m curious.”

“Simple things like listen to each other, be honest, Don’t Panic.”

“That one was for sure you.”

“Shut up,” Kara laughs, smacking Alex’s arm before she’s poked again. “We added more as we needed.”

“Full ten?”

“Full ten,” Kara nods, smiling proudly. “I think they really helped us.”

“What’s the weirdest one? And please don’t tell me it was our number seven.”

“Okay, first off, my hair doesn’t even fall out so that was all yours in the shower drain. Rule seven is stupid because it only applied to you.”

“Whatever, there were totally blonde ones in there, you can’t convince me otherwise,” Alex declares, waving her hand. “Weirdest rule, go.”

“Number nine...”

“You’re blushing,” Alex says, squinting at her. Her mouth falls open, eyebrows raising, expression absorbed with deep interest. “Oh my god, Kara, is nine a sex thing?”

“It’s not, not a sex thing?”

Alex’s eyebrows raise higher. Fishing.

Kara mutters, barely audible, “The lab is for lab activities only.”

Alex’s lips disappear, eyes crinkling. She snorts.

“Just laugh already,” Kara groans, hiding her pink face in palms. “We’re never talking about this again.”

“Is that why Lena’s outside?” Alex asks through loud, obnoxious chuckles. Kara regrets ever telling her. Will never tell her a single thing again. “Is rule nine that impossible for you two to follow?”

Ugh, Alex! Can I have my psych eval now? That sounds like a way better time.”

“I love you,” Alex is still laughing as she hugs her again. “Please never disappear without me again.”

Kara cannot imagine ever doing so. She squeezes her sister tight, promising, “Never, never, never.”


Hours later, showers later; They’ve ordered too much takeout. Not one inch of Lena’s coffee table is visible beneath overflowing containers and bags from all their favorite, and thoroughly missed restaurants.

Kara digs in immediately whilst Lena sits, legs tucked beneath her on the sofa, savoring a glass of red wine and watching Kara with the same, profound satisfaction.

A potsticker is halfway to Kara’s mouth when Lena finally speaks.

“I think you should move in.”

Kara takes a bite, chewing slowly as she looks over to Lena, now reclined with her arm laid across the backrest. Her fingers drum on a cushion, gaze relaxed, looking and acting as if she’s asked Kara what movie they should pop in and not whether she’d like to officially merge their lives.

“Yes, you just got back and yes, it doesn’t even have to be here,” Lena adds, gesturing vaguely to her living room. “I know this really isn’t your vibe. Probably not even mine anymore, to be honest.”

You’re my vibe,” Kara insists hurriedly. She also rushes to drop her chopsticks and takes Lena’s outstretched hand between her own. “So yeah, of course I want to move in with you.”

Lena smiles, squeezes her hand, and slides closer. “Great. That’s settled then.”

“Awesome,” Kara agrees, tucking some of Lena’s loose, now unbraided hair behind her ear as she nears. The strands glide through her fingers, far softer than she ever remembers.

Thanks to being home, she thinks, running her fingers through the same path again simply because she can.

Lena closes her eyes and turns her cheek into Kara’s warm palm. “You can bring whatever you want.”

“Even my new plants?” Kara asks, pressing their foreheads together. “My girlfriend filled my apartment with too many and I love them all.”

Lena laughs. “Sure. Can’t wait.”

“Me either.”

They stare at one another. Fingertips touch pink, raised skin along a temple. Arms wrap behind a blonde head. New ways love finds to chase the lonely darkness from blue eyes.

They have nothing but time. Truly.

A smirk curls at the corners of Lena’s lips. “You should finish your potstickers.”

Really?” Kara breathes out, pulling Lena into a kiss. “That’s what you want me to do with my mouth right now?”

“Yes,” Lena chuckles, putting a sliver of distance between them. She still stays tucked against Kara as she picks up the discarded chopsticks and snags a potsticker to feed her. “This was expensive and your girlfriend has a whole twenty-three dollars left to her name.”

The potsticker is held up for her and somewhere deep in Kara’s belly, the same, earnestly missed little nest of heat starts to rebuild. “How will you ever take me to Florence on that?”

“Soo about our vacation,” Lena says slowly, raking her teeth over her bottom lip as Kara takes the offered bite. “It might be a couple of months before we go anywhere actually.”

“I know, I'm sorry,” Kara sighs, mouth full, but presses a greasy kiss to Lena’s temple anyway. She rubs the smudge off gently with her thumb. “Oops, for that too.”

“None of this is your fault,” Lena tells her, nuzzling into Kara’s neck and making that little nest of heat spread further. Kara takes her chopsticks back so arms can wrap around her stomach. “Though if you could look extra happy flying around town for the next couple days I’d be super grateful.”

Kara smiles. “I think I can manage that.”

“Good, because I also managed to get the red sun lamps in place for us.”

Usually, a word uttered in that low octave has Kara melting back into a kiss.

She swallows her last bite of potsticker, fights the bristling pang of abandonment she knows Lena absolutely isn’t responsible for… yet can’t help but let erode through her anyway.

They left her alone.

For so long.

Her posture stiffens against Lena. “Well, glad there was loads of time to install those while you were working tirelessly to bring me home.”

She wishes the words never left her mouth.

Lena pulls away, green eyes muddled with anguish. “Kara, no, that's not—”

Kara makes amends by capturing Lena’s lips with her own. That last thing she wants is to push her away, not after just getting her back. She pours as much of herself and her wants as she can into the kiss, tense muscles relax against her as she feels Lena deliberately deepen the connection, sliding her hands back into Kara’s hair as her tongue slips past open lips. Kara breaks away before she loses her train of thought entirely. She needs Lena to hear the words as much as feel them. As always.

She loves her.

Even when she says stupid, hurtful things from a place she knows she needs to confront... just not now.

Lena is here.

They’re home.

“I know, Lena, it's okay,” Kara murmurs, so angry with herself for ever making Lena feel at fault. “Alex told me how awful she was. I’m sorry she treated you like that.”

It's a start.

Lena’s gaze is ever so understanding.

Kara loves her more.

Lena’s hands stay in her hair, twirling through slowly to ends. “Can’t say I blame her. I honestly wasn’t any better.” She keeps a soft focus on pained blue eyes, hoping they spark with desire but more so peace again. Kara had been full of contentment mere moments before. Lena knows Kara wants that back as much as she does. Trauma likes quiet. It thrives in moments of doubt and anxious apologies. Time Lena knows they need to talk about. Whenever Kara is ready.

She's here.

“Hey, we’re okay” Lena whispers, giving her an equally dizzying kiss that settles a bit of hope back into a shade of blue she adores. “I’m so sorry you had to go through that alone.”

“I’m just so glad you’re okay,” Kara tells her, warm and yes, slightly reeling. There’s the very apparent taste of red wine now lingering on her tongue.

“And you’re here now,” Lena’s smile is soft but ever so full.

Kara can feel her trembling at her side. Hear the way her heart skips and beats ever faster. She’s missed that sound. Lena lets out a yelp as arms quickly wrap around her middle and she’s pulled atop Kara on the sofa. This is all Kara’s wanted for hours now. “I am. Thanks to you,” She whispers into Lena’s neck, those same sought-after flutters igniting all over her skin as Lena sinks into her.

They have time for thoughts on dark places later.

Lena is ever so good at making them fall away.

And ever so good at making other things too, Kara thinks.

“So, how do we turn these babies on?” She asks, voice hitching as lips find a sensative spot beneath her ear.

“They’re voice-activated,” Lena mutters between slow kisses down a long neck.

“Super smart, our hands will likely be busy,” Kara says, sneaking her own beneath Lena’s sweater. She’s rewarded with a deep, throaty noise against her neck. “So… Going to say something?”

Lena’s lips pull away with a slow drag. “I only programmed them to turn on for one voice.”

Kara’s body ignites. “Lena…”

Warm hands frame Kara’s face. “It’s your body Kara, you should be the only one to decide what’s best.”

Kara kisses her, loves her all the more even as she smirks against her mouth. “I think you mean what’s safest.”

“Oh my god,” Lena groans, shoving her shoulder as she sits up in Kara’s lap, hands now on shirt buttons. “That word is being retired, just so you know.”

“Nope, not happening, you can’t take it from me,” Kara chuckles as she pushes herself up as well and slips her hands back under Lena's sweater. They settle low on Lena’s back, pulling her close. “I love it as much as I love you.”

“J’onn and Alex know you do too,” Lena says with an arched brow.

“Know what? That I love you?” Kara asks, touching higher on Lena’s back. Her skin feels hotter than usual. Kara frowns. “Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

Lena kisses her with a laugh. “No more worrying please.”

“I haven’t seen you in over two months,” Kara murmurs, burying her face back against Lena’s neck. “Being alone was… it was…”

Awful.

Horrifying.

Debilitating.

She never wants to experience anything so cold, lifeless, and singular ever again. Kara thrives in numbers. In humanity, her friends, family, the people she's saved, and even those she's taken down. Her eyes are squeezed shut against the one soul who carried her through. Kara tries to temper her heart. Tries to match the steady, calming breaths of the woman she loves and can't wait to make another home with.

One full of light, plants, music, and yeah, loads of love and game nights and so much more.

Maybe even a puppy.

Fingers stroke through blonde hair, soothing the torrent of hurt from months alone attempting to resurface. Kara has more than silenced them even as Lena continues holding her close and whispers, “Hey, you're here now. If you want to talk, I’m listening.”

Kara relaxes against her. “It was so hard after a while. All I wanted to do was sleep so I could see you again.”

God, that… hearing that absolutely shatters Lena’s heart.

“I’m sorry,” Lena whispers, pressing a long kiss to the side of Kara’s head. She doesn’t even know what else to say, what to offer her to bring her that promised peace they’d talked so ardently about. Lena leans into her more, pleased when Kara pulls her closer and lets out a reassured sigh. “I’m so sorry, Kara.”

“I want to retire apologies, at least for one night,” Kara says quietly. They have time for long talks later. There’s so much Kara wants to share with her and so much she’s so afraid to even dig up. That icy prickle doesn’t ever seem to disappear from her heart, but Lena here, with her like this, melts most of it down. She picks her head up, watery yet hopeful eyes connecting with open blue-green. “Tell me something good please.”

Lena smiles and brushes a hand over her cheek.

“I met Dr. Ennis. Well, briefly. Your sister sort of forcibly apprehended me before I could say more,” Lena muses. “Plus he’s terrified of me, so there’s that too.”

“Wait, wait, so much to unpack there!” Kara exclaims. “You met Dr. Ennis?? Were any of the other researchers there?”

“Maybe? Honestly, I was there maybe a minute before Alex showed up.”

“Do you think… would it be weird to find them?” Kara asks, curious.

Lena grins. “You want to interview them, don’t you?”

“No, I just… maybe? I’m not sure. I feel like I got to know them but these people here aren’t really them either,” Kara says, thoughts spinning quicker than she can voice them aloud. “It’s not fair to compare… they didn’t have the same experiences.”

“They didn’t have my family ruin their lives.”

“That’s not on you, Lena.”

“I know,” Lena says, hooking her arms behind Kara’s neck. “And I heard Alex tell you about Lex.”

Kara’s eyes stay with her, open and ever so attentive. “Do you… do you want to talk about it?”

“You know how I feel,” Lena murmurs, twisting the back collar of Kara’s shirt beneath her fingers.

“Yeah,” Kara whispers, tugging Lena against her, feeling the warm breath of Lena’s sigh at the side of her head as much as the heavy rise and fall of her chest at her collarbone. They both carry burdens. Kara doesn’t want Lena to feel alone. “I’m sorry you lost your brother.”

Kara.”

“I know why you did it Lena, and I get it,” Kara tells her, hands sweeping long caresses up Lena’s back. “He wasn’t your brother anymore.”

“No… no, he wasn’t,” Lena agrees softly.

“Whatever you need,” Kara says, kissing her jaw.

“Just you,” Lena whispers. “This. Us. Our friends. Our life. I want to go on a date with you and not think about someone trying to kill me for being that Luthor woman.”

Kara snorts. “So a normal Tuesday then?”

“Ugh, can we please talk more later?”

Yes. I just really want to be here with you right now too,” Kara says, finally working Lena’s sweater over her head. She presses in close once it's off, hands sliding over fuller hips. “I finally have you back. All of you.”

“Most of me,” Lena laughs. “Thanks to your sister and Brainy.”

“I’m going to thank them extra tons tomorrow,” Kara says between kisses she places over Lena’s shoulder, hands now working to undo a bra she loves. Did Lena have more of these? Lacier ones? This one is already making her face flush with heat and she can barely see more than the straps and tops of lacey cups.

Lena's voice cuts through a thick fog forming in her head. “She knows about safety first.”

“Well duh, she’s a doctor, Lena,” Kara mumbles against warming skin, bra unclasped and freed, finally. “Are you sure you feel okay?”

Lena’s hands are on her jaw, urging dark blue eyes up at her. “They saw Kara.”

“They saw? What do you mean they… oh,” Kara pales. Her hands drop from breasts. “No, no, no. How much??”

Lena wants to laugh but manages to control the rising panic in Kara’s eyes with a long kiss and answer of, “Just bits but enough.”

Blue eyes expand further. “I can never look Alex in the eye again. She’s going to tease me about this till the day I die.”

Lena rolls her eyes as she returns to unbuttoning Kara’s blouse. “Okay, let’s tone the melodrama to reasonable levels.”

“Till. I. Die.”

“Guess not, drastic measures then,” Lena declares, shoving a hand beneath Kara’s slacks and pressing her palm flat and hard against her underwear.

“Ah, Lena!” Kara chokes out, squirming as Lena keeps her hand firmly against her. Her gaze locks onto assured blue-green.

“Hi,” Lena purrs.

Kara burns.

“What’s the uh,” She stammers, eyes darkening fast. “The uh, magic word then to turn on the lights?”

“Red lamps, then a percentage or decimal value. You can add or subtract as well. I thought you might like the nuance.”

Of course that’s how, she muses, somehow more turned on.

Math and sex.

She loves all of this.

“Red lamps, fifty percent,” Kara says louder than at all necessary. She feels the change immediately. Lena’s hand sinks further. “Whoa, okay, I was not expecting them to work so fast.”

“Too much?” Lena asks, her breath growing quicker as Kara shrugs free from her shirt. She also put on her best bra and hopes Lena likes what… Oh.

Lena’s already thrown it to the floor.

“No, no, this is great,” Kara says, overwhelmed and overheated and wanting so very much for a hand to slip back into her pants. Lena looks like she wants nothing more than to do exactly that. So Kara slides her own up ribs to cup breasts, her thumbs roll over touch-starved nipples. Lena’s breath catches on a choked rasp. A dopey smile curls on Kara’s face. “Lena Luthor made lamps so finely tuned to me because she loves me and my insanely attractive alien bod.”

“I do love you.” Lena kisses her hard. Teeth rake over Kara’s bottom lip, all the heat of a tongue chasing after. “And I also want to fuck you, Kara.”

Kara definitely whimpers at that admission. “That is not Hallmark approved material.”

“Well then, how's this? I want to make you forget being alone,” Lena amends, smile full of all the seductive promises that rush a pool of heat low in Kara’s stomach. “Please let me.”

“I, uh— yeah, Lena,” Kara murmurs, nodding. “Rao, okay... red lamps, plus thirty percent.”

Lena presses her down to the sofa, hands back at her slacks, this time undoing the button and zipper with speed. Kara surges up before they can be pulled off, capturing Lena’s lips and yanking her back into her lap.

“And is there a fail-safe or like an emergency release?” She asks, laughing as Lena gives her an exasperated and impatient huff.

How she loves hearing that sound from her for once.

Lena kisses her soundly. “In case I break Supergirl?”

“In case she has to save some other poor screaming soul.”

Lena laughs extra loud at that. “There is, the only voice command I can activate,” She whispers, pressing her forehead to Kara’s. “Red lamps, safety first.”

Kara’s strength returns in a flash. She almost flies them off the sofa but catches herself, hands clasped firmly to Lena’s thighs. “That’s the opposite of retirement,” She says with a chuckle.

“For fucks sake,” Lena mutters, kissing her with every ounce of that impatient frustration. She’s a fire against Kara’s lips. “Can we please take this to the bedroom now?”

There’s a drawing she’s been longing to make a reality.

Kara obliges with another laugh, pulling her up, smile never faltering between kisses as she floats them over.

It drives Lena absolutely crazy in the best possible ways.

Consequently, they don’t make it far into the room.

The threshold still counts though.

Lena pulls her against the door and Kara is extra mindful of her ankle brace even if Lena is extra not, shoving her own jeans and underwear down as Kara carefully pulls them free of a healing foot.

So impatient, Kara thinks, not hesitating to bring thighs back around her hips and fill the need in blue-green eyes by filling Lena against the door.

“How are you already so… I really make you that happy huh?” Kara grins, loving the roll of hips against her hand as much as the heavy breaths against her ear. “I want you too. I want this. I want Florence. I want to make a home with you.”

Yes, Lena thinks, dragging lips to hers, savoring the feel of a hidden smile and the moan of her name repeated down her neck.

All of it, everything, yes.

Kara lifts her higher, Lena feels the move with cooler wood along her back and Kara’s very eager mouth at her breast. “Kara.” Lena’s hold tightens. Her inhale sharper.

She doesn't last very long. Kara is extra pleased with herself about it.

”Bedroom now?” She asks, settling Lena back against her hips. She loves how Lena’s eyes are closed and the back of her head still rests on the door. How she’s still catching her breath and wetting her lips when she finally does lock darkened eyes with Kara.

“Wha… Huh?” 

The eloquence

Kara extra loves it.

She laughs and pulls Lena away from the door and into a kiss. “Bed, yeah? We kinda detoured here. No complaints though.”

Same,” Lena tells her. 

They fall to the bed in a tangle. Lena quickest to recover and finally, finally pulls slacks from slim hips.

There's a familiar barrier. Faded black. Boy short cut.

Lena pushes up, astonished. “Kara, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

“I wore them just for you,” Kara coos, smiling coyly, all one hundred and ten percent jerky super of her. “Surprise.”

“How did Alex let you leave with these on?”

Kara’s expression drips with brazen mischief. “She didn’t.”

“Such a rule-breaker,” Lena laughs, sliding the soon-to-be-destroyed boy shorts off. “Mind turning the lamps to—”

Kara pulls her down into a heated kiss. “Red lamps, one point oh.”

Kara, somehow, is even more pliant and sensitive under the recessed lamps.

Her skin pinks under Lena’s touch, especially so beneath her mouth and teeth. Lena leaves marks. Lots of them.

Kara doesn’t want them to fade.

Nor the searing feel of fingers finally slipping inside.

Her back arches, sheets seized under hands. For once nothing rips or shatters —okay, yes, maybe all her restraints.

“This okay?” Lena whispers in her ear and Kara barely hears it over the rush of blood in her head.

She nods, dizzy, palms coming up to frame full cheeks on a face she loves. “Yeah, super okay.”

For once Kara’s hands are clenched freely around a dark head, hips meeting the slow, careful pace of fingers buried deep between strong thighs.

A flutter rolls over Lena’s fingers, urging her further. Her eyes darken at the feel, mind thinking of crudely drawn pictures in a notebook Earths away.

So much better realized.

Kara helps her set a pace. Demands one really, Lena muses as her head is yanked down into a deep kiss and hips move hard into her hand.

Lena,” Kara breathes sharp, arms wrapping tight behind shoulders, a leg draws up and Lena adds more. Spots of white explode behind Kara’s closed eyes as she moans into Lena’s neck, pulls her down to her side, and hooks that leg tightly over her thigh.

There’s a pulse rolling against Lena’s fingers, molten and wonderful and just as quick as the heart she can feel beating fast at her breast.

Heat traps her, then a leg, and Kara’s voice releasing, muffled against a pillow.

Lena can’t move her hand.

Not one fraction of a centimeter.

A few of her fingers are wrapped tight and… very stuck.

This is new, she thinks, elated, placing light, encouraging kisses against the side of a head still buried at her neck in a pillow.

Kara mutters something that sounds very much like an apology into the pillow.

God, so new and not at all embarrassing.

Lena feels her try and shift her leg away and absolutely not. Her free hand takes firm hold of that thigh, keeping it locked right where it belongs.

“I adore you,” Lena tells her softly, thumb slipping over nerves that make Kara’s leg quiver and walls ripple. “God, especially that.”

Lena,” Kara mutters, red-cheeked and breathless. “Give me a minute, please.”

Right.

Super sensitive, Lena grins.

She kisses that very red cheek. “Take all the time you need.”

Lena’s low, still aroused voice makes her ache more. Kara groans and buries her face back against the pillow. She feels a hand leave her thigh and fingers thread through her hair, pushing strands off her heated face and neck. She peeks up at Lena through one eye, apologetic, ever so grateful.

Lena tugs on the space behind her head, drawing her into a kiss and making Kara forget all her embarrassment.

Kara still feels slightly terrible as she pulls away. She’s sure Lena had other plans in mind.

Sorry,” She breathes out against Lena’s mouth. “Maybe a minute more?”

Lena pulls her into a softer kiss. “Please never apologize for what is honestly one of my new favorite things about you.”

“You’re stuck in me. How is this your favorite?”

“Stuck but not crushed,” Lena grins. She kisses her again, moaning. “You feel incredible.”

Lena.”

“I love you. All of you,” Lena tells her in that voice that makes Kara shiver and want her all the more. “I really want to try this with my tongue. Is that safety approved, Miss Danvers?”

Oh…

Rao.

Kara nods, heart racing again.

She might even finally utter a curse.


Lena wakes before dawn to a hovering warm body and brush of escaped blonde hair against her neck.

All she’s wanted.

Kara sleeps soundly on her side, one arm tucked beneath her head while the other dangles across her stomach, fingers also tucked, but this time beneath Lena’s hand on the bed.

Lena threads them a bit more, warm, content, still sleepy but ever so relieved they’ve finally made it here.

Blue eyes squint open at the touch in the dark yet pale glow of lights from streets far below.

For a moment Kara thinks she’s back in a bed on a station Earth’s away. Sounds leak into their bubble; cars idling in traffic just beginning, dog claws on tile stories below.... People, thousands, hushed voices just waking, shouts from a bakery kitchen, cries of infants for groggy, grumbling parents, snores, laughter, so much of it, everywhere.

Lena’s steady heart.

Home.

She lowers down, smile tired but soft, and snuggles into arms that wrap over her bare shoulders.

Neither says anything. There’s no need for words.

I’m here’s linger in gazes.

I’ve missed yous travel on hands against heating skin.

I love you’s on lips to scars and tears.

Everything unspoken and ever so loud, drowning out the Earth beyond and even the darkness of another now forever far away.


Their new routine, new life, starts later that morning with a marker, a sheet of paper, and a giant latte.

Kara sips it in bliss at Lena’s kitchen counter in another, softer, wonderfully Lena scented, MIT sweater.

Lena slides the other items in front of her with a bright smile.

They make new rules, promises, and pin them above Lena’s espresso maker.

Promises for a Home Together

  1. Be honest with each other.
  2. Listen to each other.
  3. Respect alone time.
  4. No solo multiverse excursions. Ever.
  5. The lab is still for lab activities ONLY.
  6. Be realistic & supportive.
  7. Take breaks. -with me, please.♡
  8.  
  9.  
  10. Don’t ever give up on each other.

Lena makes them leave promises eight and nine blank.

“I believe my very smart and beautiful Kryptonian girlfriend once told me we should strive to be better together, yeah?”

Kara’s heart soars.