“So,” Lena sighed heavily, trying to hold back the bright grin that always found it's way onto her face when Kara was around.
She felt like a teenager again, wringing her hands together as they sat on the sofa in Lena's office after one of their lunches.
“So?” Kara prompted when she'd been silent for a few moments, tilting her head at the brunette and giving her such a warm, loving look that it was actually ridiculous.
“L Corp is hosting a gala this weekend – more like a ball, if anything, for Christmas... I was wondering if you would, uh,” she cleared her throat and glanced away from Kara so she could fumble over her next few words. “Would be my date?”
Lena didn't dare look up at Kara, at least not until the other woman's hand slipped into hers and Kara's thumb rubbed gently across Lena's.
“I'd love that.”
The soft smile that was directed at her caused Lena to swallow nervously. “You'll go?” she confirmed. Kara nodded. “As my date?”
The reporter couldn't help the soft giggle that escaped Kara's natural pink lips. “As your date , yeah.”
Lena had never let out such a relieved sigh in her life. They sat in a semi-awkward, semi-comfortable silence for a few moments before Lena exhaled and laughed. “I don't think I've ever been so stressed about asking a girl out before,” she smiled, toying with Kara's hand and watching the tendons move.
Kara laughed happily. “I'm gonna take that as a compliment.”
“You should,” Lena laughed, nodding.
There was a light knock on the door of her office, and their hands separated as Jess poked her head into the room.
“I hate to interrupt, but the board members are here for the one o'clock meeting and Mrs Johnson would like a private word.”
Lena cleared her throat and stood, straightening her skirt and smiling down at Kara. “Duty calls. I'll text you the details, yeah?”
“Of course,” Kara grinned, standing also and pulling her friend – soon to be date, potential girlfriend? – into a hug.
Kara didn't get a text until almost three hours later. She presumed the board meeting had gone on far longer than Lena would have wanted it to.
The Yule Ball is on the 23rd, I'll come and pick you up at six? I'm wearing green, so black, grey or dark blue would be a good choice for your dress xx
The blonde grinned down at her phone and immediately typed a reply.
help me pick one out? i've never been good at dress shopping :P x
“Hey,” Lena smiled down the line, and Kara could hear the grin in the intonation of her words. “You ready? I'm outside.”
“Awesome, I'm on my way.”
Lena remained in the town car outside Kara's apartment, unwilling to get out until they were at the event location and she knew her dress wouldn't be damaged.
She leaned closer to the door when her driver opened it for Kara, though, who was holding up the skirt of her dress so it wouldn't touch the ground.
“You look beautiful,” Lena assured, reaching a hand out to help her date – her date! Kara was her date! They were on a date! – into the vehicle.
The CEO had seen the dress once before, when Kara had tried it on in the store, but with Kara being all dolled up it was another look entirely.
Kara blushed at the compliment, buckled her belt across her lap, and intwined her fingers with Lena's. “As do you; I can't wait to see what you look like standing up.”
The brunette smiled gently at Kara, before it dropped a little. “Before we get there... If we exit the car together, there's going to be a lot of publicity aftermath. I don't want you to be overwhelmed, so if you'd like for me to get out, then for the car to take a lap before you do, that would be fine.
“Considering, uh, who I am,” she smirked, eyeing Kara from under her lashes. “It's not like I'm closeted, or anything, but it's going to be a big deal, and the last thing I want is for you to be uncomf-”
“Lena,” Kara cut her off abruptly. “I... I wanna be with you. And if that means publicity, then it means publicity. I'm just going to have to be extra careful, y'know, about the other side of me.”
Lena pursed her blood-red lips. “You're sure?”
Kara tilted her head, and took both Lena's hands in her own. “I've never been more sure of anything.”
Lena felt the car steady to a halt, and gave Kara a quick kiss on the cheek. “I'll get out first,” she smiled. Her driver opened the door and she stepped out, doing her best not to narrow her eyes against the camera flashes.
She waited while Kara clambered out behind her, very nearly snapping the car door off in her nervousness – and at the sight of Lena in the open-backed dress.
She'd never been to an event where paparazzi where actually photographing her, yet Kara didn't feel uncomfortable under everyone's gaze and the bright flashes from their cameras. Lena's warm, almost clammy hand in hers grounded her.
“You look stunning,” Kara said into her ear, over the sound of the gathered reporters. She adjusted her glasses out of habit, making sure they were properly situated.
“As do you,” Lena smiled, her lips at Kara's jawline. “We just need to pose for a couple of moments, then we can head inside,” she added.
She took her hand from Kara's and slipped it instead around her waist. The blonde's hand found the small of her back, also. They cast a few power-couple glances off toward a few different photographers, then Lena finally pulled Kara inside.
“I'm sorry about that, it's always best to give them some decent pictures.”
“Don't worry, I understand. I'm a reporter, after all.”
Lena pushed open the doors that led into the ballroom. The crowd parted like the sea as Lena entered the vast hall, each guest turning to look at her and some doing double takes.
“I have to make the rounds,” she sighed in annoyance, wanting nothing more than to stay by Kara's side all night. “You can join me if you like, but it'll be boring.” The last thing she wanted was to scare Kara away with the seven languages she spoke, or the incredibly convincing 'of course I care what you're saying' face she'd had perfected for twenty years.
“Why don't I get us some drinks?” the blonde offered, looking around warily. Everyone here was either rich or famous or prominent in the business world. Kara was none of those things. She felt comfortable by Lena's side, yet she couldn't help but worry what everyone else was thinking as they avoided her gaze.
She gave Lena's hand a squeeze before making her way to the open bar. She placed their orders, and as she waited she watched the black-haired woman mingle.
“Oh, Jeremy, hey!” She grinned as an older man came to the bar.h CatCo. “I'm sorry you had to cover this thing with just a few days notice,” she said, skewing her smile slightly in a way she hoped would be endearing.
He laughed softly at her, adjusting his own glasses as he was handed a beer and Kara's drinks were set down in front of her. “Don't worry about it, really. You're always reporting at L Corp events, you deserve to actually have fun at one.”
Kara sipped at her wine and nodded in agreement. “If you'll excuse me – I'll see if I can't get you an exclusive quote from the lady herself later.” She smiled brightly at him, thanked the bartender and then weaved her way through the crowd toward her date.
Lena was speaking emphatically, gesturing a lot as she did so, and as Kara got nearer she realised it was a language she was unfamiliar with.
Lena paused in the middle of her verbal onslaught to utter a “Thank you, sweetie,” before launching again. She took her drink from Kara and wrapped the other around her waist.
When she finished her next sentence, she gestured to Kara and then to the two other women she was speaking to.
“Kara, this is Alyona Ivanova and her girlfriend, Isabel Rochev. Miss Rochev is the Vice President of Aquisitions for Stellmoor International, based in Moscow. Alyona and I were at boarding school together.”
Kara shook both women's hands politely. “Small world, huh? It's a pleasure.”
They spoke for a few more moments before parting ways, and Lena let out a grateful breath that her greetings were now over.
“So, you speak Russian?” Kara smiled softly over the lip of her glass.
Lena nodded, a blush creeping onto her cheeks. “Amongst other languages.”
Kara raised an eyebrow. “How many?”
The brunette pursed her lips, almost in embarrassment. “Seven, total.”
“Seven?!” Kara grinned, shaking her head and looking around. One woman glared at her, which she happily returned.
The shorter woman nodded. “English and Russian, obviously. I'm fluent in French and German, my Spanish is passable, I can hold a conversation relatively well in Madarin, and I'm currently working on Turkish.”
“I know almost ten languages, but only one of them is,” she lowered her voice, “an Earth language.”
Kara shrugged. “I didn't spend enough time on Khera to pick up the nuances of the dialects, especially considering every new person you meet will probably be a different species to the last.” She was using her super-hearing to check and see if anyone around them could hear and was repeating her words in confusion, but luckily their exchange seemed to have gone unnoticed.
“The dialect I picked up the easiest was Adastrean. A lot of the sound combinations are similar to... my mother tongue.”
They made their way to a secluded corner of the ballroom, where there was a distinct lack of guests who could overhear their conversation.
Kara ran through the languages she knew with vigor, eager to be able to share some of her favourite phrases and sayings with someone who actually got her enthusiasm for the changes in vernacular and tone. It was gone nine, by this point.
“Now tell me something in Kryptonian,” Lena muttered, smiling into her almost-empty glass and across the table they'd perched at.
Kara thought for a moment, not taking her eyes from Lena's.
“I skiskis nahm vadh tiv aorghuhs shahkhess kryp kep gem Krypton.”
Lena stared at her for a long moment before she grinned brightly at Kara. “Lex taught me a little bit of it, a long time ago. I picked up moons of Krypton, but that's about it...”
Kara blushed and looked down into the white wine in her glass.
“Your eyes, they remind me of our twin moons. There was a story, when I was little, that if you saw the twin moons rise and set on the same night, if you didn't sleep, you would invoke the wrath of Cythonna, the Ice goddess. It was a silly story, told to make sure children went to bed when they were told.
“Truthfully, I always found it comforting to look up at them. Like the eyes of Cythonna herself, watching over me while I slept.”
Lena slipped her hand into Kara's over the table. She knew how hard it must be for her to talk about life Before, knowing she would never experience that again.
“I love speaking Kryptonese,” she finally gushed, her smile coming back as she adjusted her glasses. “J'onn knows a little, and Winn can code in it, but Clark has never been able to speak it properly, y'know? I just love the way my mouth falls so easily back into the pattern, the way my tongue wraps around the words like they never left.”
Lena nodded. “I know exactly what you mean. Last year I was on a business trip in St Petersburg. I didn't so much as think in English while I was there, and my mouth settled in the natural position for Russian speakers. It was nice, when I got home, to go back just like that,” she said, snapping her fingers. “What's your favourite language you speak, that isn't your mother tongue?” she asked curiously, as a waitress dropped off another two drinks for them.
Kara waited until the woman had gone before thinking, twisting her lips and pursing them together. “Probably Kherunian. Like I said, the Adastrean dialect was so easy for me to pick up, but it was also wildly different from Kryptonese and I love the way it sounds.”
“Would you demonstrate?”
Kara nodded and swallowed, thinking hard for a few moments before deciding on a phrase.
“Dom ish noru nen ye, ishke lam cora jec sert.”
Lena stared confusedly at her for what seemed like a long while, and Kara had frowned at her as noises became apparent outside the building.
The latter's phone began to buzz inside her clutch purse, startling them both from their stupor. Kara fished it out and, upon seeing Alex's name, answered.
“I asked for the night off,” she whined unhappily as soon as she put the device to her ear. Lena was now staring into her glass as she swilled the ice cubes around it, a look of deep thought on her face.
She listened as Kara made a few complaints and affirmations down the line, and looked up when she hung up regretfully.
“I understand if you have to go,” Lena smiled softly. “Being a hero isn't a day job, it's a lifestyle choice... You don't really get to pick your battles,” she said quietly.
Kara's eyebrows were furrowed together, and she sighed deeply. “I don't wanna,” she whined, like a child made to go to school, but slid from her stool anyway. “I like being here, with you,” she added, pulling Lena into a hug and kissing her cheek as she pulled back.
“Just make it back before midnight, okay?” the other woman said, raising an eyebrow at Kara warningly. “I want to dance with you.”
The corner of the blonde's mouth twitched up a little. “Yes, Fairy Godmother.”
Lena laughed and pushed Kara gently. “Go save the day, Cinderella.”
It wasn't until half eleven that night that Lena started to give up hope she would see Kara again before tomorrow.
She'd gotten her phone out and watched Supergirl battle a great alien beast in National City park, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage in the process. Another fight, another gala to raise funds and rebuild in the wake of heroism.
She'd watched as Kara escorted it's unconscious body onto the flatbed of a large truck, then as she had taken to the skies.
She had looked up from the grounds of the event hall, expecting Kara to come straight to her but of course, she had to go back to her secret organisation and it's headquarters for debriefing.
Lena put her phone away, and was left to ponder over her reaction to Kara's words earlier.
Something about the Kherunian phrase had stirred some far-off memory; a longing, a desperate yearning to be held close, to be swaddled in a blanket curled against a woman's chest as a strange lullaby was sang...
It was hazy, the thought of it, like the sheer idea of it had been forced from her mind as long ago as it had occurred. Repressed, squashed and beaten from her at a tender age, ensuring the truth would elude her for as long as possible.
But the translation struck her almost as hard as the back of Lillian's hand used to.
If I were without you, my heart would be lost.
The voice in her mind was different to Kara's as it repeated the original phrase. It was quieter. Said in one breath, hurried and rushed, as if there would never be another opportunity to say it.
Lena stared into the damp soil ahead of her, devoid of flowers in winter, yet a dandelion had somehow managed to sprout through a crack between the bricks.
It looked like the sun, and her first thought was of Kara and of her sun God, Rao. It was quickly pushed aside by a foggy vision of a pair of golden eyes, level with her own in the vague recollection.
“Ishke cora tam verle pov ye, sidhe. Ish corola ye. Ish corola ye den ma.”
She could practically feel the hand caress her cheek, and absent-mindedly brought her own up as if it were there.
And then the image was gone, and Lena was left alone in the plant-less gardens, the chill of the night finally settling upon her, the sounds of drunken patrons still partying at her back.
She was so lost in her thoughts that she only just noticed the flutter of wind that so often accompanied Kara's gentle landing.
Lena could just see her in the dark, backed up against the high brick wall where she was out of view from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The hero was holding one hand out toward Lena, who clutched the hips of her skirt and bunched it up so she could make her way over.
In silence, Kara had Lena step on her own toes. She wrapped her arms securely around her and didn't give her date time to protest before she shot up into the sky.
They landed just moments later on L Corp's helicopter pad.
“That actually wasn't so bad,” Lena laughed gently, pulling away from Kara and turning to look out across the city. When Kara didn't respond, she turned back around to look at her. “Are you hurt at all? I saw your fight, it was-”
Kara held up a hand to stop her talking as she flicked through her phone.
“You said you wanted to dance with me,” she explained, setting her phone gently on the ground as light music began to play. “So, Miss Luthor,” Kara grinned that ridiculous Kara grin, holding her hand out again. “May I have this dance?”
The CEO stepped back over to her hero and slipped her hand into Kara's.
The blonde held Lena's hand up, and her other settled on her hip, remaining what would be considered a 'respectable' distance apart.
They swayed in a circle for a few moments before Kara swallowed and started to talk. “When I spoke earlier, in Kherunian...”
Lena broke eye contact and looked down at the ground, at the toes of red boots disappearing underneath the hem of Lena's dress despite the distance.
“What happened? I saw... I don't know how to describe it. Something flit across your eyes... recognition.”
Lena took a breath and looked up at Kara again, a shy smile emerging. “If I were without you, my heart would be lost.”
As she spoke the words aloud, the emotions of her revelation finally washed over her, and she took her hand from the air, from Kara's, and wound them both around her neck instead. “My mother said it to me.” Kara's lips parted and her brow furrowed, so Lena hurried to clarify. “My birth mother. I... I remember golden eyes. Cheekbones and a jawline that could cut a man. She also said,” she paused and swallowed again.
“She said, 'My heart will be with you, always. I love you. I love you so much'.”
Kara remained quiet, letting Lena talk about it at her own pace as they continued to sway, both Kara's arms now around her waist.
“She was crying. She was about to die, I just know it.”
“And she said it–”
“In Kherunian, yes. And I understand it.”
They both fell silent, now. Lena pulled Kara closer and rested her chin on her date's shoulder.
“Ish ren shachk denjt kiig ye vak Cythonna eit Rao.”
Kara let out a breathy laugh by Lena's ear, and ran a hand down her bare back.
“I'm blushing,” she whispered softly. The hero turned her head just slightly to press a kiss to Lena's temple.
“Ye luk Cythonna'ne tirisium. Ish luk Rao'ne corasium. Dle ventra meske ijin verle ishye.”
Lena swallowed thickly, understanding every word Kara uttered and taking in just what it meant for the two of them.
The six minute song drew to it's close, and was followed by a marginally more upbeat song that had them pulling away a little.
Kara smiled down at her and took her hand, then raised both above them and prompted Lena to twirl around.
Lena raised her hand, too, making Kara twirl under her arm, her cape flowing across Lena's front as she did so.
Kara's words would come back to her later in the night – or rather, in the early hours of the morning – as she stood on her apartment balcony in nought but her MIT shirt, Kara holding her from behind in her loose button-up.
They watched together as the sun began to rise, the moon still hanging in the sky as though unwilling to part with their gaze.
You are Cythonna's spirit. I am Rao's heart. Their battles find peace in us.