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Five Years

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It had been an unusually quiet morning in the office. Almost unnatural, in a way.

Normally, the DEO would be a hive of activity. Strike teams would be being assembled downstairs, gathering up their gear and suiting up; keyboards would be clicking away as Winn and the other analysts broke down codes, scanned for radiation signatures, or cross referenced something alien with something even more alien; J’onn would be hovering about the computers, hands on his hips, giving stern directions, or asking for files on a certain alien to be brought up on screen, or giving Winn and earful again for how messy his work station was, and reminding him again how toys (“action figures!”) had their place, and that place was not the workplace.

But it was a slow day – not so much as an alien with a parking ticket – and everyone seemed to have slowed down to match it.

Winn and Annie, one of the other analysts, had already had three wheelie chair races around the centre console in the control room, and only stopped because Alex had given them both ‘a look’, and were now sitting together at Annie’s computer, looking at cat videos. J’onn was up in his office, eating the noodles he’d had time to personally go out and get, for lunch. Alex was feeding old documents into the shredder, elbow on her knee, chin propped up in one hand and looking off into space. Pam from HR had actually emerged one or two times from downstairs; Kara had seen her whispering to people and half wondered if she was trying to start something between colleagues, just so it would give her something to do.

Kara herself was testing how long she could balance her perfectly sharpened pencil on the end of her finger. Her record was seven minutes. She knew she could have gone longer, if it weren’t for that text from Lena, asking if they were still on for dinner that night.

She managed to count to three hundred and fifty seven when the wormhole opened.

It sent an electrical current around the room, snapping everyone to attention after a split second of shock. Guns were suddenly un-holstered; Alex was shouting orders to ‘steady’ and ‘be on guard’, but no-one made a move toward it besides Kara, because she recognized the swirling blue anomaly and knew what was coming next.

And sure enough, after a long moment of tension, a figure dressed in maroon red leapt through and looked around, first in curiosity, and then upon seeing twenty guns pointed at him, in alarm.

“Whoa,’ The Flash said, putting his hands up.

“Stand down!’ Kara cried, dropping her pencil and putting a hand out. She rushed forward, feeling joy almost burst out from her chest. ‘Barry! I’m so happy to see you! What are you doing here? Hey, is this a new suit?’

Barry grunted and laughed when she crashed into him, pulling him into a hug that was so tight he had to tap her on the shoulder.

“Actually, this isn’t a social call,’ he glanced around the room. The DEO agents were standing down; Alex was moving forward. Barry smiled at her. ‘Hi, Alex. Is there somewhere we can talk?”

Kara could see Alex’s confusion pass over the face. She had never actually met Barry, although Kara had told her all about him, and him about her. But she didn’t say anything, just nodded and gestured for both the agents to move aside, and for both Barry and Kara to follow.

She led them up to J’onn’s office – arguably the most failsafe room in the entire building. The Martian stood up as they entered, hastily stashing away his gossip magazine.

“Mr. Allen,’ he said, shaking hands with Barry. ‘What brings you to our universe?”

Barry slid his mask off his face; he leant on the end of J’onn’s desk, folding his arms over his chest. He looked haggard, like he’d been up for three days straight. There were lines on his face she didn’t remember being there the last time she’d seen him. He had a dark shade of scruff that ran along his jaw and across his upper lip; his shoulders seemed heavier somehow.

“Look, I don’t have a lot of time so I’ll just cut to the chase…’ he looked directly at Kara as he spoke. ‘I need you to come with me. Right now.”

She could feel, rather than see, Alex and J’onn exchange a glance. They both shifted their weight from one foot to the other.

“What’s wrong?’ Kara asked.

Barry bared his teeth, looking awkward. “I’m not entirely sure. But you came through to my universe,’ he pointed at Alex then, who looked bewildered, ‘using the portal manipulator Cisco gave Kara ages ago, and said you guys were in trouble and you needed Supergirl, and I did my best to help but it brought me here, and…”

He trailed off then, and rubbed his eyes. Kara suddenly realised why he looked so rough, and why his suit was different, and why there were lines on his face she’d never seen before.

“You’re from the future,’ she said. Barry nodded, and Kara ignored the glances from J’onn and Alex to frown at him. ‘I thought you weren’t supposed to time travel anymore.”

“I didn’t,’ he insisted, putting his hands up defensively. ‘I called Sara and got a lift on the Waverider. They brought me back in time, and jumped us through a portal to this universe. The Waverider can take us the rest of the way.”

“Hang on a second, Mr. Allen,’ J’onn put a hand out to stop the conversation. ‘Are you expecting us to just let Miss Danvers here galivant off God knows where with you at the drop of a hat?”

“You sent for her,’ Barry insisted. He looked at both J’onn and Alex in turn. ‘Both of you. You said your Kara was in trouble, and you just needed a version of her just for a day or so. I don’t have all the details, but it seemed urgent. So, we picked a random time period and… well, here we are.”

“Why do they need a Supergirl?’ Kara enquired, asking the question that was on all their minds. ‘Does something happen to me?”

“I didn’t get all the details,’ Barry repeated, putting his hands up again. ‘I was in too much of a hurry to get here – to get you. Alex looked worried… more than I’ve ever seen before.”  

Kara understood that urgency. If Barry needed her, she would have crossed universes without question. And wasn’t just Barry this time, but Alex, who she would have travelled more distance for.

But it wasn’t like Barry not to explain, and it was this that unsettled her. Kara could see the concern etched on his face; she was desperate to know more, but could also seem him shifting his weight from one foot to the other in impatience. Barry wasn’t usually one for waiting, used to time moving so much quicker, but even now he seemed more agitated than usual. What had happened to her in the future to get him so wound up?

There was really only one way to find out.

“But won’t me going to the future cause some sort of…’ Kara paused, and searched for the word with a wave of her hand, ‘…I don’t know, paradox, or something? Isn’t that why you’re not supposed to travel through time? I could ruin the space time continuum, or whatever it is.”

J’onn made a half-shrug, conceding motion then. ‘Well, I can always wipe your memory when you come back. And you can bring her back not long after she leaves,’ he added pointedly at Barry, ‘right?”

Barry nodded empathically. “It’ll be like no longer than five minutes has passed, tops. Sara’s really good at this. Well, okay, technically its Gideon, but…”

“I’ll go,’ Kara said then, and with a definitive nod her mind was made up.

Barry sighed with relief. Forgetting himself momentarily, he stepped toward the door so fast only Kara saw him move. He stopped short of the door, his hand outstretched when he realised no one was following him.

“I’ll bring her back,’ Barry urged, giving both J’onn and Alex a look in turn. ‘I promise.”

Kara looked at J’onn. He was pinching his chin between his thumb and his forefinger; the lines on his forehead were pronounced as he stared right back at her.

“Permission to jump universes and time periods,’ Kara asked formally, and then added with a smirk, ‘… sir.”

J’onn rubbed his forehead. “I expecting you back in this office in five minutes. Alex?”

Alex already had her phone out. She brandished it at her sister. The timer was ready to go.

Kara rushed forward and hugged her. Alex gripped her tightly.

“Be careful,’ she whispered in her ear. ‘If this timer ticks a second over five minutes, I’m coming to get you myself.”

Kara nodded, promised to do as her sister said, and turned toward Barry. “Let’s go.”

Barry led her up to the roof in a blur of movement she could only just keep up with. It was a beautiful, sunny day. The weather had been just as calm as the activity in the city below all week. The sounds of the city were hers to embrace if she chose to do so, and on any other day she might have. But Barry was standing on the edge of the building, looking around for something.

“It was here…’ he muttered.

“What…?” Kara started to ask, but her question was answered almost instantly.

In a shimmer of light, The Waverider materialised in front of them, hovering ten feet above them. Kara had forgotten how massive the ship was. Of course, she’d seen bigger ships before in the past. The Daxamite ship was almost five times the size, not to mention the freighter ships they’d had back on Krypton that shipped minerals between her world and others. But considering it to be man-made, it was impressive none-the-less.

The door on the side slid open; the light inside was a welcoming, orange glow like a sunset. Kara slid an arm under Barry’s, lifted him from the ground and flew both of them into the ship.

The door closed resolutely behind them as they stepped into the cargo hold. Kara let go of Barry after his smile of thanks, and looked up as Sara Lance and Ray Palmer rushed into the room.

“Hey!’ Ray rushed to greet them both, a slap on the back for Barry and a quick hug for Kara. ‘That was fast. Well…’ he added as Barry cleared his throat, ‘you know what I mean. Kara, come through. We’re just about to leave. Wanna see the ship?”

Kara smiled as Sara, ignoring Barry, who had followed after Ray, stepped forward to greet her with a handshake. She looked the same as the last time Kara had seen her.

“You’re not from the future?’ she asked.

“Same time as you, just different universe. We just happened to be in Barry’s time when he called us, and he brought us through with this new portal manipulate he had, big enough to fit the ship through. Good to see you again, Supergirl,’ she smirked. ‘Sorry its under such dire circumstances.”

“What’s so dire?’ Kara asked, feeling concern flare up in her chest again.

“Barry didn’t say?”

“He was in a hurry.”

Sara jerked her head, gesturing for Kara to follow. Kara’s red boots made a satisfying clunk noise as she strolled through the metal hallways after Sara.

“Shame,’ Sara said, shoving her hands in her pockets. ‘This Barry doesn’t seem to be much for sharing. I guess that’s what five years will do to you. Gideon?’

“Yes, Captain Lance?’

Kara blinked, and looked around as the disembodied voice of a woman sounded throughout the hallway.

“Prepare the ship for departure. Twenty first of July, two thousand and twenty twenty-two. Oh, this is Gideon,’ Sara added, seeing the look on Kara’s face.

Kara waved at the ceiling. ‘Hello,”

“Greetings, Kara Zor-El.”

“She knows who I am?’ Kara muttered to Sara.

Sara smirked as Gideon said, ‘I know you from the archives. Even on our distant, parallel universe you have made an impact on the lives of many.”

Kara felt her cheeks burn. Sara’s eyes sparkled and she laughed, patting Kara on the back. They soon entered the bridge. Barry was already in deep conversation with Dr. Stein. Jax was strapping himself into a seat next to a woman Kara had never seen before, but was quickly introduced to by Sara to be Amara. A young man standing beside her introduced himself as Nate with a very firm handshake, firmer than most humans.

Mick Rory came over then, beer in one gloved hand, and other outstretched. “Skirt.”

Kara smiled despite the appalling nickname, and only had time to shake his hand quickly before Sara was sitting herself down in the captain’s chair, and telling them all to strap in.

“Every time jumped before?’ Nate asked.

Kara shrugged with a laugh, sitting herself between him and Barry.

“I hope you have a strong stomach,’ Jax warned.

Kara felt only a moment of apprehension, before Sarah pushed forward on the throttle, and they were off.

 

----------

 

Barry had always been just that little bit faster than her.

It was the one edge he had over her. Supergirl, despite being faster than a speeding bullet, would always still be that split second behind The Flash.

But Kara was astounded by how much of a difference five years made on his speed.

The trip to the year 2022 had been almost instantaneous. Arriving in the future had only taken a few moments; upon arriving, however, everyone had let out a groan and put a hand to their heads, or their stomachs, when The Waverider had lurched suddenly to a sudden and hard stop. Even Sara had looked unsettled. But Kara had felt nothing, only a few moments of dizziness, and had received expressions of awe and apprehension of the crewmates upon sharing this knowledge.

Gideon had parked The Waverider outside of the city, out in the desert so as not to unexpectedly land on any new structures that had appeared in National City over the years that had passed, or to attract the attention of the DEO. Despite the fact that they would know they were coming, and that they had cloaking technology, the Legends didn’t want to entice a panic.

The Legends had walked Kara and Barry to the cargo hold. The door had sprung open, and Ray had once again been the first to rush forward and bid them farewell. They all in turn said their goodbye’s, and only after Mick had given Kara a nod from the back of the group, with a raise of his beer bottle, did the true impact of what was happening hit Kara like a meteor.

“Where will you guys go now?’ she asked. “This isn’t your universe after all. How will you get back?”

“We’ll stay in this universe for the time being until you’re done,’ Dr. Stein said. ‘and then we’ll take you home.”

“You’re just going to hang around?’ Kara frowned. She felt as though she were wasting their time. Surely there were people back in their universe who needed their help?

As if reading her mind, the answer came.

“I have detected some Time Aberrations that could benefit from our intervention,’ Gideon had announced. ‘Do not worry, Kara Zor-El. We will have plenty to do, and when you need us you need only call us.”

Sara stepped forward then, and handed Kara a small devise that looked like an old beeper from the 90’s. “Just press this when you’re ready to go, and we’ll be here. I won’t tell you how it works because, honestly, I had no idea.”

Kara nodded, and pulled Sara into a grateful hug; she smelled of gunpowder and soil, and Kara vaguely wondered where they had been before they’d jumped back into the ship and come to her aid. She felt the smaller woman stiffen for a moment, before softening slightly and returning the gesture in earnest.

She also heard a male voice mutter ‘that Lance magic at it again’ but couldn’t decipher who it came from, and thought it rude to bring it up anyway.

After they’d pulled apart, Kara saw Barry checking his watch out of the corner of her eye. Taking the hint, she quickly bid everyone farewell once more, and then they were dashing across the horizon in a blur of movement.

And now, Kara was barely keeping up as they approached the city. Barry was a good length in front of her; he kept looking over his shoulder at her, and Kara knew he was checking to see if she was keeping pace. She knew that he knew he was so much faster than her, and was no doubt pulling back so that she could stay on his heels.

Not that she needed to. She knew the way home from here.

As if reading her mind, Barry skidded to a halt just outside the city limits. Kara had been lost in thought for a moment, and almost crashed right into the back of off; she’d had to do a clumsy flip over the top of him to avoid what would have been a bone-breaking collision.

“Sorry,’ he laughed. ‘Look I gotta go…”

“You’re not coming with me?”

“I can’t. I’m promised Iris I wouldn’t get involved any more than was absolutely necessary. And there’s this thing going on, and Wally is handling things for now, but…’ he trailed off with a heaving sigh, and looked out onto the horizon. Kara squeezed him on the shoulder.

“I understand,’ she said, swallowing her own apprehension. ‘Go do what you have to do. I’ll be fine.”

“You will,’ Barry urged, already taking a few steps back toward the way we came. ‘You still have everyone here, and if you get really stuck you can call Sara. I wish I could stay and help, but…”

“Just go,’ Kara laughed, waving him off.

Barry smiled, rushed forward and gave her a quick, firm hug. He whispered ‘Good Luck’ in her ear, and then in a blur of movement and a whoosh of air, he was done, leaving nothing but a haze of dust in his wake.

Kara sighed, and looked around at the glistening, silver horizon before her. She pushed off from the ground and headed for the DEO building, resisting the urge to slow down and take in what National City was like in the future. She hoped there would be time to explore later.

But now, she had a mission.

When she landed on the balcony of the DEO, it no-one looked up right away. There were no agents rushing about, no alarms going off. What was the big emergency going on here?

Kara half wondered if she was going to be greeted by herself. She was going to see her future self! What would she look like in five years? What would her future self think of this version of her now, showing up out of the blue? She was going to have no memory of this, so her future self would not be expecting to see another version of Supergirl. Would she think she was an imposter? Or a clone, like Bizzaro, and attack? But Alex had sent for her; surely she would know?

Kara tensed up anyway, ready for anyone or anything to launch at her.

She continued indoors, looking around with curiosity. At a glance, she could see a few differences from this office, and the office she had been balancing pencils in only an hour prior. Equipment had been updated, the huge monitors on the back wall were slightly bigger, the computers looked even sleeker…

But that was as far as she got, because that’s when someone cried out, and then the circle of black clad agents had her surrounded.

Kara put her hands up in surrender. “It’s me.”

“Supergirl is in the medical bay,’ one agent, a woman Kara didn’t recognise, barked at her. ‘Identify yourself!”

“I’m Supergirl. I’m… it’s hard to explain…”

“State your intention!”

“I was asked to come here. If I could just talk to Alex…”

“Potential hostile uncompliant, prepare to engage…”

“No, I’m not…”

“Stand down!”

The figure who broke through the formation was familiar – so familiar.

Alex had her back to Kara; her hands were motioning for the agents to lower their weapons, just as they had with Barry earlier that day. And they did so, without question or hesitation.

“Director Danvers,’ the female agent holstered her gun and stood up a little straighter. ‘I’m sorry, I thought…”

“I told you Supergirl was coming.”

“Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry. I got carried away…”

“That’ll be all, Macintyre.”

Macintyre nodded, looking steadfast at the floor. “Yes ma’am. Team, disengage, return to post…”

As the agents dispersed, Alex finally turned around, and Kara got a good look at her.

She’d been able to see from the back that her hair was longer. It hadn’t been this long since college. There were a few extra freckles across her face, and even a few strands of white hair along her temple that had definitely not been there before. Kara knew Alex’s face almost as well as her own.

Her big sister looked weary now; exhausted even, like she hadn’t slept in days.

“Sorry about that,’ Alex sighed. ‘She’s a bit green and a big fan of yours, and…’ she trailed off, and a smile of relief stretched out across her face, ‘… oh whatever, I’m so glad you’re here.”

Alex threw her arms around her; her whole body seemed to envelop her. Kara remembered the last time Alex had hugged her like this – when she’d woken up after flying Fort Roz out of Earth’s atmosphere.

Kara responded in kind, because she knew Alex needed it. And when they broke apart, Alex brushed hair away from Kara’s face.

“Barry really is the fastest man alive,’ Alex chuckled weakly. ‘He only left fifteen minutes ago. Where did he get you from?”

“Twenty seventeen.”

“That was a bit dramatic,’ Alex grimaced. ‘Five years? He could have gone back a week.”

Kara took Alex gingerly by the arm. “Alex, what’s going on?’

Alex pursed her lips, and jerked her head. “Come on, I’ll show you.”

Kara ignored the looks she was getting as she followed Alex through the building, down the familiar path to the medical bay. Despite the curious gazes, the wide eyes of disbelief, and the embarrassed eyes that quickly glanced away, Kara gave them all polite smiles, as was her way.

“It must be weird,’ she muttered. ‘There being two of me, I mean,”

“It’s not the weirdest thing that’s happened here,’ Alex offered over her shoulder, ‘and it wont be the last. Well, this will be weird for you, I’m sure.”

Kara quickly understood what she meant.

With a quick direction, the glass room of the medical bay that had once housed an unconscious Mon-El emptied of people in white coats, and all that was left was Kara, and Alex, and the unconsciously form of Supergirl on a bed.

It was definitely weird. Kara had had many surreal experiences in her life – uprooting and moving to an entirely different planet half way across the universe had certainly been one of them. But this, looking down at herself now, it was like when she’d met Bizzaro. But this was different. This time it really was her. And a her from five years into the future.

Her hair was still the same, as were her features. Her expression was restful; she could have just been napping if it weren’t for the wires connected to her forehead and arms, monitoring her life signs. The only really difference Kara could see between them, other than one being awake and the other unconscious, were their suits. Kara was still in her usual Supergirl suit, but this Kara’s suit resembled Clark’s; her cape was longer, and a deeper red and was wrapped around her like a blanket. Her boots were shorter, only rising half way up her shins. The skirt was gone; now a whole body suit like Superman. Kara reached out a ran her hand up this Supergirl’s arm. The material felt different to the one she was wearing now. 

She then reached up and put a hand on the future Kara’s forehead. She was warm.

“What happened to her? Me,’ she added with a grimace.

Alex looked sadly down at the unconscious form of her sister. “It’s a virus. You contracted it from a Jyndorthian you were battling just over a week ago. We didn’t diagnose you in time and…’ Alex took a second to compose herself, and then whispered, ‘you slipped into a coma two days ago.”

Kara looked back down at herself. “I didn’t know there were any Jyndorthians on this planet.”

“A fleet of them arrived last year,’ Alex explained. ‘Refugees. And most of them have been peaceful and integrated, but this one faction broke off and have been trying to develop terraforming technology, so they and the rest of their kind can move to their own planet. But they’d been reckless, and samples of their work ended up on the black market and were being sold as components for potential chemical warfare. You accosted the group during a sale, and one of the samples broke free in a fight, and it hasn’t reacted well with your atomic structure.”

“Was anyone from the DEO affected?”

“You didn’t take a team, it was just you. You saw them while flying over the city and tried to intervene… against my instruction…’ Alex added irritably under her breath.

Kara smirked. “Sounds like me.”

Alex gave Kara a tight-lipped smile, before continuing. “Anyway, we’ve almost engineered a cure. Lena’s provided a lot, and combined with what we’ve got here we’re close, but the only problem is the last few chemicals and the device we need are in the Fortress of Solitude. And Clark is off-world with J’onn seeing to the White Martian rebellion, and the only people who can get inside the Fortress are people who can lift a key made of a million tonnes of condensed dwarf star, and the only person left on this planet who can do that…”

“Is me,’ Kara finished for her.

“Yeah, but as you can see,’ Alex squeezed her sister’s shoulder, ‘you can’t even open your eyes let alone lift that sort of weight. So, Winn had the idea that we ask Barry to go get a version of you to help us help… well, you.”

Kara nodded. “Of course. I’ll go right now. What do you need?’

While Alex wrote her a list, Kara looked down at herself once more; leaning in and peering into her own face. Had that freckle always been there? Did her eyebrows always form that little knot while she slept?

Then Kara noticed the soft glint of silver at her throat.

She pulled on it gently, and the rest of the necklace fell free. Dangling from the silver chain was a pendant. Set in silver, encased behind glass was the image of a dark, night sky, and a constellation burning brightly.

Kara didn’t have time to wonder where she could have gotten this, or what the constellation was. Alex tugged on the end of her cape to get her attention, and handed her a piece of paper.

“Be careful,’ she urged. ‘But hurry.” Alex hugged her again, just as tightly as before, and murmured in her ear, ‘I’m so happy to see you.”

With a quick kiss to her temple, Kara gave her one last squeeze, and then was on her way in a flash of movement.


 

Chapter Text


 

 

“Hello, Kara Zor-El.”

Kara blinked, surprised to see the little robot come around from the Fortress main console to greet her. “Kelex. You’re here?”

“I am.”

“But I… destroyed you.”

The little robot quirked its head, as if confused. “I am Kelex, version six point seven, re-engineered and programmed on Moltress. You brought me here for Master Kal, to replace his older model, remember?”

Kara nodded. “Yeah... right… of course. I totally did that. Sorry, it’s been a weird day. Kelex, can you get me these?”

She handed the robot the list Alex had written.

“Of course, Kara Zor-El.’ He bowed his head, and rushed off.

Kara put her hands on her hips and looked around as she waited. Even the Fortress was different. Kara was pleased to see that, as well as the towering ice figures of Jor-El and Lara, there were also figures of Alura and Zor-El erected nearby, standing together as they did both in life and in death. Kara wondered whose idea it was to put them there. As much as she had always kind of wanted to have some sort of memorial for them, the Fortress always seemed to be Clark’s space. But it still seemed like something Clark would want to do for her, even if she never had the guts to ask. Perhaps, in five years time, they would come to share this space on more equal terms.

Kelex soon returned, metal arms laden with a container full of vials, and a small device that looked like a debit card machine from the mall. Kara thanked him, and quickly but carefully took off from the ground.

It took longer getting back to National City than it had leaving it. Flying to the Fortress, she had been able to push her speed. Flying back, however, she was aware of the precious cargo she carried and was determined to go slower.

Not to mention she was distracted, and realized she was going the wrong way as she was flying over Alaska. She was worried about herself the whole way back; so much so, she’d almost dropped the case of chemicals on top of a flock of sheep in a paddock just over Canada. What if she was going too slow? What if she didn’t get back in time? What if she’d deteriorated and was beyond help?

But when Kara finally landed on the balcony of the DEO, Alex was waiting for her, arms outstretched.

“Sorry I took so long,’ Kara said instantly, but Alex didn’t seem impatient with her, more just eager to get in the lab and get started.

Alex, relieving Kara of her load, handed the ingredients to the lab technicians and gave them all their orders. After they bustled off with Alex’s formulas and instructions, Alex turned back to Kara with a heavy sigh of relief.

“Thank you,’ she breathed. ‘This is going to be such a big help.”

“No, thank you,’ Kara said, giving Alex’s hand a squeeze, ‘for looking out for me as usual.”

“Always,’ Alex smiled.

Kara looked around. “It was a quiet day when I left. Do you remember that day?”

Alex thought for a moment, and then shook her head.

“J’onn must wipe your memory of the day too,’ Kara reasoned. ‘I can’t imagine you just forgetting something like me going five years into the future. And as much as I want to ask you everything about what’s going to happen, I should probably get back. I don’t want to mess up timelines or anything.”

“Actually…’

Kara stopped short; she had reached for the pager that would call the Waverider. Alex was looking at her, and that expression of exhaustion flashed across her face again.

“National City has been without Supergirl for over a week now,’ she began slowly, ‘and the police and the DEO have been doing their best to keep on top of things, but… look, we could really use your help. Just for a little while.”

Kara tried so hard to disguise her excitement then – she really did. Of course she wanted to stay. Who wouldn’t want to see what their future was going to be? But Alex knew her too well, and when Kara pursed her lips and put her hands on her hips as she shifted her weight from one leg to the other, Alex just smirked at her.

“Just until I wake up, though, right?’ Kara said airily. ‘I mean, I don’t want to step on anyone’s turf… and I’m sure two Supergirl’s is just overkill… unfair to all those bad guys out there, really…“

Suddenly, a voice cried out, ‘Director Danvers!”

Kara gave Alex a look as they crossed over to the screens. “You’re the boss now?”

“Just while J’onn is away. What have we got?”

The analyst brought up a live feed from CCTV security footage of a robbery taking place. There were four men, each with a gun too large and bulky to have originated on Earth.  Two had the patrons on the ground, hands on their heads, while the other two blasted away at the wall Kara assumed hid the safe.

“Get Maggie on the phone,’ Alex urged, ‘And contact Guardian, tell him we’ve…”

“Ma’am, we have a visual on Guardian.”

Kara, surprised, watched as Guardian entered the screen. He ducked and weaved, and punched and deflected with his shield, and now Kara knew why Winn had been no-where to be seen. But since when did James and Winn patrol during the day?

Someone handed Alex a phone, and she put it to her ear.

“Maggie? Yeah, I’m watching it now. How far away are you?... Do you want me to send - …. Oh, okay, well just be careful. I love you, too. But if you need…’ Alex stopped mid-sentence, and sighed. ‘She hung up on me. Again.”

Kara watched as James brought the first three men down in a matter of minutes. His fighting style had improved, Kara could tell. His suit even looked different, and she wondered if Winn had gone through a phase of updating everyone’s suits.

“We had a bad earthquake last week,’ Alex murmured as they watched. ‘Looters and all these other guys came crawling out of the cracks in the sidewalk and began taking advantage of the upheaval. Not to mention the DEO base out in the dessert cracked open and some of the detainees got out, and ever since then it’s been nothing but clean up.”

On the screen, Kara’s body tensed as she watched Guardian get knocked down. He was almost overpowered, but he thrust his arm out and shot smoke from his arm, smothering the two assailants. And then the NCPD broke in, and Kara saw the small outline of Maggie Sawyer running point; she gestured with her hands, and a SWAT team took down the final two thugs.

“Situation is under control,’ the Analyst said, typing away at the computer. ‘Entered in the Guardian file, resetting search parameters.”

“Thank you,’ Alex said, giving the analyst a pat on her shoulder. ‘Let me know if Maggie needs back up.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“You have a Guardian file?’ Kara asked.

“James has become a bigger part of the DEO,’ Alex explained. ‘Winn runs missions with him more than you would remember. We tried to team James up with another agent, but those two work too well together.’ Alex watched the screen; Maggie was giving out orders, standing beside James, clearly in a show of solidarity. ‘We’ve been lucky to have him. Especially after the Earthquake.”

Kara turned to Alex as they moved away, and took her ‘superhero’ pose. “Just tell me what to do.”

Alex snorted, then looked her up and down. “You need to go home.”

Kara frowned. “Excuse me?”

“This,’ Alex tugged on her cape again, ‘hasn’t been seen in a while. If you’re going to blend in, you should change. There’s a spare suit back at your apartment.”

Blending in – of course. No doubt National City didn’t know the true reason for Supergirl’s absence. They would not have wanted to cause a panic, and at the same time let the loose aliens who were running amok think they had the upper hand.

Kara nodded, and back toward the balcony. “Right. I’ll be back soon.”

“Oh, but…”

But Kara didn’t hear the rest of what Alex had said. She was already out the window, listening to the sounds of the city.

 

-----

 

Like most things – the DEO, her suit, Alex’s hair – Kara’s apartment had changed… but only a little.

She had new couches, new (and more) clothes, a bigger television. Her fridge was new, and didn’t click and buzz at odd intervals like the old one. The plants were bigger, more developed. There were more pairs of shoes by the door; shiny heels and sandls and pairs of sneakers (footwear that Kara didn’t ever wear; she supposed she must develop an interest in over the years).

Just like the city and her workplace, Kara wanted to take in every detail of this future. So she took her time, looking at things she wouldn’t normally stop to look at; stood at different angles, finding a whole new appreciating for her loft – like she were seeing it all for the first time. She didn’t think it was a risk finding out too much about her own life. What did it matter, when J’onn was going to wipe her mind anyway? She was going to be as curious as she damn well pleased.

Besides, there were things in her apartment that seemed just so not her. Like the sneakers, but also the work station by the window that had replaced her easel; it was laden with wires and bolts, pieces of metal, tools and a soldering iron. Or like the small wine fridge that had been placed on the counter where her coffee machine used to sit (it had been moved to a different corner, where her collection of cookbooks she’d never even cracked open used to be stacked), just big enough to fit eight bottles. Through the glass door, Kara could see four bottles inside, and there were two bottles of red on the counter, along with an unopened bottle of scotch. Or the collection of National Geographic DVD’s that were lying around the TV, some open, some not.

Kara didn’t wear sneakers; she liked her Mary Janes or ballet flats. Kara didn’t drink wine usually, so she would have no need for bottles of it, or a fridge to keep them in. Kara didn’t particularly enjoy documentaries, preferring fiction. She wondered what events in her life had influenced this change of taste. People changed over time, she knew this. It was just a natural progression of life. Tastes changed, needs evolved, likes and forms of enjoyment sometimes came from seemingly nowhere.

She was excited by the possibilities. What was going to happen to bring her here, to this moment? When would she first notice it happening? Would she even notice at all, or would it just be something that happened to her, seamless and indefinable?

Kara was so lost in a whirl of thought, that it took her a moment longer than usual to hear the key in her door.

She whirled around, and felt fear and panic slide down her spine as Lena Luthor walked through the door.

Lena hadn’t looked up yet. Her handbag was in the crook of her elbow, her hair up in a ponytail and she dressed as immaculately as always in a beautiful dark red blouse and black skirt; she kicked her heels off at the door, and shrunk a few inches.

Kara should have taken the moment to run into her room and change. Seeing Supergirl in her apartment was going to raise too many questions. But Kara was caught too off guard, too shocked to see Lena just let herself in with her own key, to do anything but stand there like an idiot and stare.

Lena looked up then, and her eyes widened.

Clunk.

Her bag slid from her elbow, to the floor. Her face went through a myriad of expressions; confusion, sadness, shock, amusement, surprise…

“You…’ she breathed, ‘… you’re awake!”

Lena let out a half-laugh, laugh sob sort of noise from the back of her throat. And then she was crossing the room, and then she was wrapped around Kara in an embrace that made her stomach twist.

Lena had never hugged her this way before. Kara could feel her body shaking against hers, and she did the only thing that made sense – she returned the embrace. Lena was laughing again, squeezing Kara so tightly anyone else would have been begging for release.

“Oh, my god,’ Lena pulled back then, enough to take Kara’s face in her hands and look at her searchingly. ‘Why didn’t Alex call me? When did they… how did you…’

Something in the back of Kara’s mind sparked, drawing her attention. This was a different greeting. This was something deeper.

“Lena…’ Kara started, taking Lena’s wrists gently. She could feel this was starting to go somewhere; a place full of emotions that she had no right to be present for.

Lena didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t know this wasn’t her present Kara, and Kara was sure if she did, she would not be acting this way.

“I thought they had to get more elements. I tried, I couldn’t replicate… the tests kept failing…’ Lena sighed again.

And then she leant forward, pressing her forehead against Kara’s.

The gesture was so intimate it made Kara shiver. She could see the flecks of mascara on Lena’s eyelashes. She could smell the coffee on her breath, and the perfume that wafted from her jawline, so sweet and enticing…

“Kara,’ Lena breathed, ‘I was so worried.”

That jolted Kara back to life.

She stepped back completely then, wrenching herself not unkindly from Lena’s grip. Lena knew.

Lena knew she was Supergirl.

“What’s wrong?’ Lena asked. ‘Are you having a reaction to the antidote? Did you stay half an hour after they administered it? You know you have to stay to make sure your body doesn’t reject…”

“No,’ Kara cut her off, almost too curtly. ‘No, it’s not that. Lena, there’s something… I mean, you should know…”

Kara was speechless. She didn’t know what to say. She wanted to fly away and gather her thoughts. She wanted to know how Lena had found out. She wanted to know who told her. She wanted to ask if she was mad.

She wanted Lena to hug her again, because despite the fact it felt so foreign it also felt so, so good.

The prolonged silence was a mistake. A frown was developing in the centre of Lena’s brow. Kara could almost see the cogs whirling away faster and faster inside her mind as she put things together. Now they were a step apart, her bright green eyes raked over Kara’s body, and Kara felt like she were being x-rayed.

“Why are you wearing your old suit?’ Lena asked. ‘I thought that was in the Fortress.”

“The Fortress?”

“Why aren’t you wearing your necklace?”

“Oh, well… I, er…”

Lena stepped forward again then, eyes narrowed. She looked up into Kara’s face.

“What’s my favourite drink?” Lena asked.

Kara frowned. “I’m sorry?’

“If you’re really Kara, which I suspect you aren’t, you would know what my favourite drink is.”

Lena’s chin raised a little, as well as her eyebrows, and Kara felt panic. Blend it, that’s what Alex wanted her to do, right? Somehow she wasn’t sure this is what Alex had meant.

“Scotch,’ Kara said quickly. ‘Mixed with coke, if you can get it which you usually can’t because you think people will respect you more if you drink it straight.”

Lena’s narrowed. “My favourite snack?”

“Popcorn. With M&M’s in it, because the popcorn melts the chocolate.”

“My favourite movie?”

“Mean Girls.”

“Tea or coffee?”

“Neither, you like hot chocolate. Lena, is really isn’t nessece-…?”

“Where did we go on holiday last year?”

Kara bit her lip. We?

“Er… London?”

Lena frowned at her. “Cambodia.”

Kara sighed. It had been a long shot.  

“You’re not Kara.” She said plainly.

“I am. I’m just… ’ Kara said quickly, and then paused. After a moment of Lena just staring at her, she decided honesty was probably the best policy. ‘I’m just not from here.”

“Where are you from?”

Kara pursed her lips, hesitating, and then, “Five years in the past.”

She wasn’t sure what sort of reaction she’d expected. Disbelief, maybe? A scowl? A scoff and a dismissive hand gesture?

Instead, after a long moment of contemplation, Lena sighed and rubbed her eyes. “Barry Allen,’ she growled threateningly. ‘I swear, if I had a phone that could call across universes I would give that guy such an earful….”

“You know Barry?”

Lena laughed then, a hollow laugh, and began pacing. “I’d be confident in saying that I know more than you think.”

“It wasn’t just Barry,’ Kara said, trying to defend him.

Kara then explained quickly what had happened; how she had come to be there, why she was there, how Alex had sent for her through time and space. Lena continued to pace back and forth, eyes on the floor, but she listened intently. And when Kara finished, she stopped and looked at Kara, and Kara was surprised to see Lena looking embarrassed.

“I’m sorry,’ Kara said, feeling inexplicably embarrassed herself. ‘I shouldn’t have tried to lie to you, but you looked so happy to see me, and I’m happy to see you. But I’m – she’s – still back at the DEO, asleep. But I got all the ingredients Alex asked for, so I… she… should be back to normal soon enough.”

Lena nodded. “Well, thank you for helping.”

“Of course,”

“Five years?’ Lena asked. Her cheeks suddenly flushed, and she undid the top two buttons of her shirt, as if she were desperate to cool down. ‘Oh. So… so then you don’t know… oh.”

“Don’t know what?”

“Nothing. Nothing. Just forget it. Timelines and all that, right? I’m sure there’s some rule about telling you too much.”

“Not really.’ Kara shrugged. ‘J’onn is going to wipe my memory went I get back so… so it doesn’t really matter what you tell…’ Kara frowned, noticing the silver chain around Lena’s neck that resembled the chain around her own back at the DEO. ‘… me.”

As if sensing this, Lena hastily buttoned one button back up.

“I suppose you’re wondering what I’m doing here then,’ Lena said, trying to change the subject, ‘in your apartment.”

Kara pointed at her bag. “I gave you a key, I see.”

Lena nodded. “Yes. I’m just picking up some paperwork I left here last night.”

As she moved to the desk that was laden with wires and parts, Kara supposed that it made sense that all that stuff was hers. What use would Kara have for tinkering? But why was it here, and not at L-Corp? Were Lena and Winn maybe working on something together?

Kara watched as Lena shuffled through the drawers. “You were here last night? Did we have movie night?”

Her notes found, Lena rolled them up and strode back to her handbag, still on the floor, to pick it up and put the papers away. “It was a “Listreen Librarian” marathon.”

“Listreen? That’s a species of alien.”

“It’s your favourite sitcom.”

Kara smiled. “Aliens have sitcoms now?”

Lena nodded. Kara didn’t feel it polite to mention the fact that she could tell that Lena was deliberately not meeting her gaze. And because of this avoidance, Kara got to observe how Lena moved around her apartment.

Lena had been there in the past, sure. But this Lena opened and closed draws, went to the fridge, refilled her water bottle, took a handful of chips from the pantry and stacked her empty lunchbox containers in the sink like she owned the place. Lena, her Lena, was only just comfortable enough to sit and watch movies with her and take her shoes off so she could curl up properly on the couch. This Lena was clearly what another five years of movie nights and hang outs seemingly did to their dynamic.

But there was something more, nagging in the back of her mind. Something she could quite put her finger on. The way she’d hugged her, and the way she had breathed her name…

“I have to get back to the office,’ Lena said, snapping Kara out of her reverie. She was over by the door; shoes back on and bag back at her elbow.

“Right, of course,’ Kara nodded. ‘You’ve still got a company to run, right? You didn’t get involved in any hostile takeovers or anything? Because that happened to a friend of mine, Felicity… she’s from another universe…”

“I know Felicity,’ Lena said, and then she smirked. ‘There was an incident about two years ago. Board members tried to declare me unfit. They tried.”

A look passed across Lena’s face then; her eyes glinted, like there was a joke Kara was supposed to get, but couldn’t.

The moment passed, and the disappoint was evident in Lena.

“I should let you get changed,’ Lena said, and pointed at Lena’s bedroom. ‘Your other suit is in the chest, bottom drawer.”

“How do you know?’

“Because I put it there.”

Kara stepped forward. A million questions were buzzing around in her mind. Lena just watched her, expectantly, as if she knew what was coming and was both unsurprised and ready for it.

Finally settling on one, the politest one she could think of, Kara asked, ‘Lena… do you live here? With me?”

A phone rang then. Lena hurriedly reached into her bag to retrieve it. She glanced at the screen, then rushed forward, her hands outstretched.

“Take it,’ she insisted.

“What?’ Kara took the phone clumsily, almost dropping it. The caller said, ‘Snapper. The phone was obviously very updated version of her phone she had now, but when she went to swipe at it to answer, it did nothing.

“Fingerprint!’ Lena whispered, gesturing at her to hurry.

Kara put her thumb to the screen. It did nothing for a second, then lit up as it unlocked.

She put the phone to her ear, feeling nervous. “Hello?’

“So, she finally answers the phone,’ came Snapper’s usual annoyed drawl. ‘Nice of you to remember you still have a job here, Danvers.”

“I’m sorry?’ she offered, confused. Lena was watching apprehensively.

“Yeah, well, you sound better at any rate. And if you’re well enough to be talking, you’re well enough to come in. I’m swamped here. I need you to get your ponytail in here and help me.”

Kara rubbed her forehead. “Uh, sure. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Sooner.”

The phone went dead in her ear. Kara looked up at Lena.

“Was he mad?’ Lena asked.

“He’s always mad about something,’ Kara rolled her eyes.

Lena laughed then. “You sounded just like her then.”

Kara wanted to know more. What did she sound like in the future? What was this between them? This unspoken understanding that seemed familiar, but more intense. Why was her stomach doing summersaults under Lena’s gaze?

“Keep that,’ Lena said, pointing at the phone in Kara’s hand. ‘I’ve been answering your texts and emails all week, pretending to be you. Snapper is very abrupt. Doesn’t he ever call you by your first name?”

“I don’t think so.”

Lena pursed her lips. “You should probably go.”

“Wait…’

Kara stopped herself short; her arm still outstretched. Lena turned, hand still on the doorhandle. Kara felt immensely stupid suddenly.

“Will you be here later? When I get home? I mean, is it okay if I stay here?”

Lena smirked. “This is your home.”

She left then, closing the door behind her. Kara couldn’t help herself; she focused her vision and looked through the wall. Lena was still standing there, head bowed, hand rubbing the back of her neck. She didn’t more for a long moment. Kara watched, transfixed as she let out a slow breath, drew herself up to her full height, steeled her expression, and then left properly.

Kara heard sirens then, loud and insistent, and remembered herself and rushed into the bedroom.

The new suit was in the bottom drawer, just like Lena had said. Perfectly folded, it unravelled itself softly as Kara held it up to inspect it. It was exactly the same as the one her counterpart was sleeping in right now.

She changed quickly, folded up her suit and put it under her pillow.

That’s when she saw the picture on the nightstand.

It was a picture of her and Lena. It was a sunny day, they were both at the beach. Lena’s arm was around Kara, pressing a kiss to Kara’s temple. And that’s when Kara knew.

Lena did live there. They lived together.

Because they were together.

 

----

 

“Kara! So good to see you back!”

“Hey, Danvers! Kicked that flu’s butt, I see!”

“Whoa, Kara! I wish I looked that good when I was sick.”

Kara smiled and waved awkwardly at each person who greeted her when she walked into her office, which had been everyone. Some faces she knew, like Henry and Kate, but even though they clearly knew each other in the future, the majority were unfamiliar.

But still, she was never rude, and made sure to acknowledge each and every person as she made her way to her desk.

But someone was already sitting at it.

“Uh, hello,’ she said awkwardly.

The young, blonde girl looked up from her computer, and beamed. “Oh, hey Kara! Glad to see you up and about!”

“Thanks… Melanie…’ Kara read off the name plate on what was meant to be her desk. ‘Um, sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but I think you’re…”

Danvers!”

Kara whirled around. Snapper was staring at her, papers paused mid-flip in his hands.

“What are you doing?’ he’d said.

“Someone’s at my desk,’ she had pointed out – literally. She pointed at Melanie, who was looking as bewildered as Kara felt.

Snapper rolled his eyes. “That fever must have melted your brain.”

He stepped forward, took her by the arm, and steered her a short distance away, to the office beside his. Kara had just enough time to see the name plate ‘Kara Danvers: Assistant Editor’ stuck on the door, before Snapper pushed it inward, revealing a full and clearly occupied desk, complete with tiny cactus, jar of candy and empty Chinese food boxes.

“Here,’ he said, gesturing for her to sit down. ‘Now do you think you can remember this? Do I need to draw you a map?”

“N-no,’ Kara stuttered.

Snapper gave a grumble under his breath as she sat herself down. She could see now the TV in the corner of the room, opposite her; it clicked on as she sat down on something. Kara jumped up when she realized it was the remote.

“Graceful as always,’ Snapper said, rolling his eyes. ‘Clean this mess up, I can smell noodles from the lobby.”

The cushioning of the tall back, leather chair was molded perfectly to her. Her desk had stationary sprawled all around a laptop, and picture frames that showed her with different people; James, Alex, Winn, Eliza (with her arm around Jeremiah!).

This was her desk. This was her job now. She was Snapper’s assistant.

So, one of the big things that was to happen to her, Kara quickly learned, was that she was going to be promoted; something she didn’t think would happen at all, let alone so quickly. She’d never really had any ambition to go up the ladder; reporter had always seemed like such a full-time gig, and one she was as surely and passionately committed to as she was putting on the ‘S’ every single day.

But here she sat, with the evidence all around her. When did this happen? she wondered. In her time, Snapper seemed to only just tolerate her; although he had been slightly less cool with her lately. He was going to choose her, out of all people, to promote?

“Boss?”

Kara didn’t hear him a first, or the knock at the door that had preceded his question. She was biting her thumbnail, leaning her elbows on her desk, deep in thought.

After a moment, he knocked again, more loudly this time. “Boss.”

Kara blinked, and looked up. Standing in the doorway was a short, stocky young man, wringing a document in his hands.

“Sorry,’ he said quickly, clearly misinterpreting her expression, ‘Kara. I know you don’t like it when I call you ‘Boss’”

“I’m… not used to hearing it,’ Kara said truthfully. ‘Is everything alright?”

“I just wanted to hand in my Supergirl report? I know you asked for it two weeks ago, but in your e-mail you said it would be alright to give it to you when you got back.”

Kara sat up a little. Lena would have sent that email.

She held out her hand, and he handed her the papers. “Thank you.”

“Besides, there wasn’t a lot to go on until today. I’ve been following her around all morning. My Uber bill was ridiculous. Look, there she is!’

He was pointing at the television. Kara turned the volume up, watching herself as she replaced a crane atop a ten-story building, welding it back into place with her heat vision.

The city was in shambles, just like Alex had warned her; like she’d never seen it before. And it wasn’t just structural damage, but emotional as well.

Buildings were still crumbling; pieces of concrete, plaster and shards of glass falling away here and there. Because of the havoc the quake had caused on the roads, it was difficult for foundations to be safely built to begin reconstruction. The ground was ripped apart, pushed upward, squashed together. A long crack ran right along the centre of the city, like scar tissue.

The people of National City had clearly missed her. Every time Kara descended on a scene that needed her, she could see and hear expressions and sighs of complete and utter relief. Applause followed her, even when she was just flying from one scene to the next. People waved up at her, kids cheered while jumping up and down. Kara had felt their love, even from ten stories up, and despite the situation she couldn’t help the smile on her face.

After leaving her apartment, clad in her new suit, Kara had flown up high. She had looked out over the city, seen the dozens of problem areas, and gone to the most serious first. She’d repaired buildings, cleaned up cars that had been flipped open, tended to the electrical power plant, taken down three rogue aliens who were trying to rob an appliance store and dropped them back off at the DEO bunker out in the dessert, to Lucy Lane’s great relief (Kara had been pleased to see Lucy was still in charge, and doing a wonderful job, just as Kara knew she would), rescued three goats trapped down a well, helped free commuters trapped in a tunnel that had caved in, and repaired a leak at the Nuclear Power Plant, not to mention a dozen other tasks.

She’d just flown in from the harbour. Not twenty minutes ago was she underwater, shrugging away curious fish from her earlobes. A tanker had become stuck just off shore; the earthquake sending rocks upward had stranded it out in the bay, and it was taking on water too fast for rescue crews to get to it and tow it out safely. Kara had only stopped to hear the situation from the men on the dock, before plunging into the harbour.

She’d dug herself a spot just below the bottom of the ship; dirt and seaweed and grit went everywhere, but she’d ignored it. Planting her feet, Kara had pushed upward, and slowly the ship began to rise. Only once she had the ship completely out of the water, and was put back in the docking bay where the repairmen were waiting, guiding her with hand gestures, did Kara fly up high, shake the water from herself, and take a moment. 

But that moment had been enough to remind her Snapper had called, and she’d flown across the city skyline to the familiar beacon tower of CatCo as quickly as she could.

“She’s amazing,’ the young man said now. His gaze lingered adoringly on the screen for a moment, and Kara felt herself blush. ‘Don’t you think?”

Kara smiled and nodded. “Yeah, she’s… she’s something alright.”

“I stood and watched her save fifty people in that tunnel collapse. She was so fast, and strong…” He trailed off and sighed happily. ‘I’m so glad she’s back. And I’m glad you’re back, Boss. Kara. Sorry,’ he laughed, and crashed into the hat stand as he tried to back out of the office. ‘Snapper isn’t as patient as you.”

Kara just smiled as he nodded respectfully, and practically ran from the room.

She looked at the clock again now. It was only just past three o’clock in the afternoon, and she felt like she’d been on full throttle the whole time.

Sitting in this office now, she finally had a minute to truly think about the situation she was in… and it was giving her a headache.

Her mind was a whirlwind of information. The city had shown evidence of the future. Devices that were clearly updated versions of the ones they all had I her time, posters for movies – sequels to movies she hadn’t even heard of yet – were on billboards and in bus stations. Cars of sleek design drove around the city almost silently. It had been so fascinating; Kara was sure she could have spent all day just walking around and looking if she could.

But despite all that, selfishly, she wanted to know more about herself. So, she finally opened the laptop in front of her, and it immediately demanded a password.

Kara bit her lip and tried her usual password, but it said ‘incorrect’. So “Midvale” wasn’t her log in anymore? She tried a few more combinations, “Alex”, “Krypton”, “Potstickers” among them.

Finally, she tried “Superfriends”, and the computer welcomed her in.

The wallpaper on her desktop was a photo of them all – the Super Family. Alex and Maggie were arm in arm; James was with a woman Kara didn’t recognize, but from the way they were holding hands she guessed to be his girlfriend; Winn (with the beginnings of a beard) was standing with another man she also didn’t recognize; J’onn and M’Gann, Eliza, Jeremiah, Clark, Lois…

And there, in the middle, were her and Lena.

It looked like some sort of picnic. They were in the park; the sky overcast above them but still dressed in light, summer clothing. Kara could see a long trestle table behind the group, laden with food and surrounded by camp chairs. There was a Labrador sitting obediently at Kara’s feet, panting so hard it looked like it was smiling.

Knock knock.

Kara blinked and looked up. Snapper had walked into the office, his attention on the papers he was rifling through.

“Did you get the Supergirl copy off Briers?”

“Uh, yes… I have it here…”

“Good, I need you to spell check it – twice, if you don’t mind, we all know what he’s like and we don’t need another organism, orgasm incident. Oh, and this is the statement sent over by the senator, I wrote my half, the rest is for you.”

Kara frowned as Snapper handed her the papers. “For me?”

Snapper sighed, and looked at her over the top of his glasses. When he spoke, his voice was so low she had to focus her hearing.

“You’re up to this, right?’ he asked. ‘Or do you need to take another day? I told you, don’t come back in here until you’re ready. You might as well not be here if you’re only half here.”

He’d never spoken to her like this; never so soft, let alone with concern. But here he was, standing before her, his scowl suddenly less prominent than usual as he surveyed her. Somewhere along the way, even though he put on the same face in front of everyone else, he’d softened. She must have truly bonded with this man to have this sort of quiet moment with him.

For not the first time that day, Kara suddenly felt like an imposter in her own life. Lena’s face popped into her head again.

She must have had an odd expression then, because Snapper clicked his fingers in her face.

“You with me?’ he asked.

She wanted to ask questions, hear the answers, sort out her confusion. But her questions were niche, and there was really only one person she could go to, to get the answers she truly wanted.

‘Actually,’ Kara said slowly, trying to look unwell, ‘maybe I should go. But I’ll take all this with me and do some of it at home, and I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Snapper straightened up and looked down his nose sceptically. “Tomorrow… really?”

“Yes,’ Kara insisted. ‘I’ll do my best.”

“You usually try,’ Snapper grumbled. He took a handful of gummy bears from the massive jar on Kara’s desk and gave her a curt nod. ‘See you tomorrow, Ponytail.”

Kara waited until he was completely out of sight, before she got to her feet, grabbed her phone and strode from her office.


 

Chapter Text

A glint of silver caught Kara’s attention, even from way up in the air.

Not something she would usually stop and pay attention to; she was always catching reflections of light from car windows, bicycle frames, skyscrapers made from glass… but she was on high alert today, and when she looked down and focused both her vision and her hearing, she was glad she’d stopped.

They were in an alleyway. The fight was vicious and intimate, cramped from the small space. The alien was massive, twice the size of any professional football player. It had four arms, ripping muscles, scaly skin, and it had Guardian up against the brick wall.

Kara dropped out of the sky, and landed with a loud thump that made the ground shake, the fire escapes rattle, and nearby dumpsters wobble on their metal wheels.

Both the alien and Guardian looked around in shock, but Kara only gave them a split second to see her before she zoomed forward, grabbed the alien by the shoulders and wrenched it away from Guardian. She threw it - hard. It crashed into the brick wall behind them with such force, the whole building shook.

Supergirl?’ Guardian’s gravelly voice choked.

Kara looked over her shoulder. He was rubbing his neck under his helmet. “Are you okay?”

“Look out!”

It moved at a speed Kara would have thought impossible for its size. All four hands wrapped around her from behind; pressure like a car compactor crushed around her from all sides. Kara threw her head back, and she felt the back of her skill connect with its tusks with a sickening crack. It cried out, but its grip didn’t slacken at all. Guardian came at it then from the side. His shield struck at it again and again – a shiny silver, which is what Kara would muse later was what must have caught her attention from the sky in the first place.

One of the alien’s arms broke free of Kara, thrust out, and send Guardian flying again.

And Kara saw red. Literally.

She felt the familiar warmth in her eyes, and send a long, hot blast of heat vision at the arms wrapped around her chest. The alien howled in pain and released her. Kara turned around to land a punch but it sped away, out of the alley and into the street at a speed that rivaled even her own.

Ignoring the screeching of tires and cries of surprise as the alien ran into traffic, Kara bent down to help Guardian up.

“I’m okay,’

“Is that Kara?’

Kara could hear Winn’s voice in Guardian’s earpiece.

“Tell her I said hi! Oh, and tell her I hope she likes the new suit. Oh, and tell her…”

“Tell her yourself,’ Guardian growled, ‘after all this is done.’ He patted Kara on the arm. ‘Go get ‘em. I’ll be right behind you.”

Kara gave him a quick hug, and then sped after the alien.

It didn’t take long to find it. It was fast, sure, but now it was wounded. It had to stop to rest, and the only logical place to soothe a burn was somewhere with water.

And that’s where she found it; sitting in the fountain at the park, snarling at people to keep away.

Kara kept her distance. “Hey!”

It whirled around. Its tusks seemed to quiver in anticipation of a fight, but Kara put her hands up.

“I don’t want to have to fight you,’ Kara called. ‘This is a really busy day for me, and I have places to be. So if you could just surrender that'd be great. I can take you back to the DEO to get that burn looked at…”

It launched then, snarling, arms outstretched ready to scratch and claw.

Kara only a split second to sigh and say ‘Guess not’, before she clenched her hand into a fist, and swung her arm in a wide arc. Her fist connected with the side of its head with a deep crunch, and the alien collapsed into an unconscious heap at her feet.

After a moment, applause broke out around her. Kara smiled and nodded at everyone, looking around.

Guardian broke through the crowd, then. The bystanders stood aside respectfully to let him through. He glanced down at the alien, then up at Kara. Even though she could only see brown eyes through the gap in his helmet, she could see pride gleaming out at her.

“Nice work,’ he said.

“You loosened him up for me.”

“Her.”

“Oh. Well,’ Kara hoisted the alien over her shoulder, ‘what do we do now?”

Guardian jerked his head, and Kara followed him back toward the alleyway she had found him in. In the next alley, there was a van she didn’t recognize. But as they approached, the door slid open and someone she did recognize almost fell out onto the pavement in his excitement.

“I saw the whole thing!’ Winn cried, thrusting his arms in the air, like Rocky reaching the top of the staircase. “James, you were doing so great as always, but then my girl… aw, c’mere you…”

Kara laughed as Winn, not even waiting for her to follow his request, rushed forward (barely giving her enough time to put the alien down, albeit very unceremoniously) and pulled her into an embrace.

James took his helmet off, then, now they were out of sight of everyone. His smile was a dazzling as always. “I’m not too macho to say thank you for showing up and saving my butt when you did. That thing had a grip…”

“Good thing I saw your shield,’ Kara waited until Winn released her to reach out and run a hand down the said object. ‘This is a lot shinier than usu-… wait,’ she frowned, as a thought came to her. ‘You guys don’t seem surprised to see me.”

“Alex texted,’ Winn said, waving his phone in his hand, ‘told us everything.”

“Ah,’ said Kara. Simple as that.

Clearly, Kara mused, Alex’s forward thinking had only extended as far as the DEO, as she thought of the way Lena had looked at her in her apartment.

As Winn discussed with James the situation they had just been in, Kara took a moment to notice subtle differences in their appearance, as she had noticed it almost everyone else.

Winn was the most noticeable. He had always cleanly shaved, but there was scruff along his jaw now, erring on the side of a beard. His hair was a little longer too, and combed back. His penchant for check shirts seemed to have persisted, however; he was sporting a green and blue one today. James was still as handsome (and bald) as ever, but he seemed different in a way that was hard to define. More steadfast, if that were possible. He’d always been one of her anchors, ever since the day she’d met him. But he seemed to have settled so well into the role of Guardian now, that it was like a whole different layer of conviction and sureness – an independence, even. He knew his worth. He knew he was as much of a hero as her, or Kal, or anyone. He didn’t feel like he needed to try and keep up anymore. It suited him.

She could see what Alex had meant by them working so well together. As they talked about this incident, and others that had happened in the past few days, and others that they would be going to attend to after this because Winn had heard of more incidents on the scanner, they finished each other’s sentences. They knew what the other was going to suggest even before they finished their train of thought. They were a well-oiled machine, and despite the rocky start – finding out James was Guardian, how Winn had enabled him, how dangerous it could be for them – she had come around, and seeing the dynamic team they would one day become only filled her with pride.

“How long are you staying?’ James asked, finally turning back to her.

Kara shrugged. “Until the other me wakes up, I guess. No sense having two of us here.”

“Too bad,’ Winn grinned. ‘Two Supergirls? Can you say ‘dream come true’?”

“Speaking of Supergirl,’ Kara reached down for the alien again, ‘I should probably take her back to the DEO…”

“Oh, don’t worry about it,’ Winn flapped his hands. ‘We can take her. We’re headed back out to the bunker anyway.”

“Lucy wants a word,’ James grimaced. ‘Something about my sense of self preservation, or apparent lack of.”

“And I'm sure you’ve got other places to be,’ Winn said, giving her a playful punch on the arm, ‘right?”

The memory of where Kara had been on her way to, before she’d seen trouble from above, hit her like a freight train.

“Hey,’ Winn smirked then, and wriggled his eyebrows suggestively, ‘how do you like the suit? Pretty good, huh?”

Kara looked down at herself. She actually did like the suit – a lot. It made her feel like a more powerful version of herself. She likened it to when children would dress up as Superman, or their other favourite comic book superheros; just like them, it gave her a sense of empowerment. She punched harder, ran faster, flew higher.

“It’s great, Winn,’ she beamed.

“Yeah it is,’ said Winn, looking extremely smug.

James cleared his throat meaningfully.

“Right, sorry,’ Winn clicked his fingers, and then pointed down at the alien. ‘We have a delivery to make!”

As Winn tried, with a great deal of effort, to drag the unconscious alien back to the new van, James stepped forward to hug Kara. She lingered for a moment, resting her face in the crook of his shoulder like she used to. It seemed like an eternity since she’d properly hugged James Olsen, and yet at the same time, she fit there so easily it felt like no time had passed at all.

When they pulled away, Kara cleared her throat, feeling suddenly awkward.

“New van?’ she asked, trying to lighten the mood.

“Had to,’ said James. ‘The old one blew up.”

Blew up?”

Some sort of sensor beeped on James’s suit then, and he immediately began backing toward the van. “Long story. Another time. I gotta go.”

“Yeah, me too. Lots to do. Much flying, lots of punching.”

“Hey,’ Winn panted, ‘little help… if you wouldn’t mind… God, this is why you shouldn’t skip Arm Day at the gym…”

James gave her an encouraging smile. “Give ‘em hell.”

“You, too,’ said Kara.

She watched as they put the alien into the back of the van – something that was made much easier by James’s massive arms – before she coiled like a spring, and leapt into the air.

 

-----

 

It was the beginnings of twilight before she arrived at L-Corp.  

She’d stopped so many times to help with incidents other than Aliens trying to sqaush her best friends, like traffic jams, keys locked in cars, a crane malfunction that left workers stranded fifty feet in the air, and even a cat stuck up a tree. But it had felt good to help. Being Supergirl was familiar, it didn’t seem to change.

Being Kara Danvers, however…

She didn’t land immediately, instead preferring to hover a little way aways and focus her vision, so she could see her properly through the window.

Lena was sitting at her desk, her back to the window. Even though Kara couldn’t really see it, she knew from the hunch in the shoulders and the way her leg bounced under the table, that Lena was deeply focused on her work.

Her head was bobbing up and down as she typed away at her computer, and when Kara focused her hearing she smiled: Lena was listening to Justin Timberlake. It wasn’t a song she’d heard before – she’d listened to all of his music, after all, and was certain she would know his voice anywhere – and Kara felt a thrill of excitement to realize he must put out a new album in the next few years.

It was this small detail that helped her relax enough to gather her nerves and land on the balcony.

A moment after Kara’s feet touched down, Lena spun around in her chair. Kara waved at her, feeling bashful.

Lena smiled, shut off the music, got up, and slid the balcony door open. “You waiting for an invite?”

“Seemed polite,’ Kara stepped inside. ‘How did you know it was me?”

“I didn’t. I had sensors installed,’ Lena showed Kara a little widget that popped up on her screen; it was flashing red. ‘It tells me when someone’s out there.”

“Smart,’ Kara conceded, nodding in approval.

“Yeah, well, luck favors the prepared, and I’ve had too many unwanted visitors. Not that you’re unwanted,” Lena added quickly.

Kara smiled and folded her arms over her chest. Lena pursed her lips and leaned on the edge of her desk.  

“Sorry to just drop in on you,’ Kara said finally. ‘I hope I’m not interrupting.”

“Never,’ Lena reached around, tapped a few keys, and her screen went black. ‘I was actually just about to leave.”

“Got a glass of wine with your name on it?’ Kara asked playfully.

“No. Well, yes,’ Lena laughed, and rubbed her neck like she was prone to do when she was feeling awkward. ‘I was on my way to see you, actually. The other you… at the DEO.”

“Oh,’ said Kara lamely.

Lena pursed her lips. “I saw you on the news. You’ve been amazing.”

Kara felt her cheeks burn. “Just another day at the office.”

“You don’t have to be so humble,’ Lena chuckled. ‘This city has been in chaos all week, and you’ve managed to restore a sense of normalcy in just a few hours. You should be proud.”

“It’s nothing she couldn’t have done, I’m sure.”

“Exactly.”

Kara felt a shiver run down her spine; at both the comparison to a version of herself that, with five years more experience and growth, would have been (she hoped) an incredible hero… and from the way Lena was looking at her.

“Excuse me, Miss Luthor? You’re -... oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize…”

Both Kara and Lena looked around at the small, red-headed young woman who had poked her head into the office. She stepped fully in the doorway once she realized she had their attention; she was blushing as brightly as her hair.

Supergirl,’ she breathed.

Kara waved politely, as Lena said, ‘It’s alright, Catherine, what is it?”

“Sorry? Oh, yes… your car is ready for you downstairs.”

Lena thanked her for informing her. Catherine gave one more nervous laugh, waved at Kara, and then disappeared in a whirl of red.

“Sorry about that,’ Lena sighed. ‘She’s an intern, just out of college… and a big fan. Honestly, I think she only applied for this job because she wanted to meet you. You think she’d be used to seeing you here by now.”

“I come here a lot like this?’ Kara gestured to her suit.

“You stop by,’ Lena smiled.

“What happened to Jess?’ Kara asked, remembering Lena’s first assistant.

Lena half-groaned, half laughed at her memory. “She got engaged to Hector.”

“You’re other assistant?”

“I made them work late one night together catching up on invoices…’ Lena threw her hands up in the air in defeat, but she looked amused. ‘And then Alana turned out to be working with my mother, so I made sure she never worked in the corporate world again… so I was left assistant-less. Good thing there’s always college graduates and interns.”

They laughed together then. It was nice, and easy, and for a moment Kara forgot that anything was different between them.

It had gone unspoken this whole time, and Kara could feel it almost ready to erupt from deep within her. She knew why Lena was acting this way – she didn’t want to overwhelm her. Lena was keeping her distance because she was trying to do the right thing. But Kara wanted to ask, needed to know, yearned to find out…

Kara had always been aware of some subliminal attraction to Lena, even though she hadn’t realised what it had been at first. She had thought it was just pure admiration, simple as that. Kara had a deep respect for strong women. Eliza, Alex, Miss Grant… they were all the women in her life who had seemed to have everything together, everything under control, and if they couldn’t bend something to their will they’d just break on through it anyway.

And then Lena had come along. She’d walked into her office in those black heels with a straight back, and a stride that exhumed confidence and demanded respect. She’d been steadfast in her morals, and seemed to open about how she wanted to be her own person, not just a Luthor, and that had been it. How could she not become best friends with someone like that?

Was this all just an inevitable outcome that she’d been too blind, until now, to see? Were they always heading for this? Or did something happen to bring them together?

“Do you want to come?’ Lena asked.

Kara frowned, coming back to the present. “Sorry?”

“To the DEO. With me.”

“Oh. Yeah. Sure.”

“Come on,’ Lena jerked her head, and started for the door.

“You know I can just fly us there,’ Kara joked.

Lena rolled her eyes with a smile. “What, on a bus?”

Lena walked out the door without a backwards glance. It took Kara a good moment to recover enough sense from the joke, and follow her out of the office.

 

-----

 

When she stepped into the main control room, Kara was still receiving looks, but she took little notice.

Kara turned to talk to Lena, but she was already headed in the direction of the medical bay. It was strange to see her in this setting, and watch her walk a path she clearly knew so well.

Alex turned away from the big screens to greet her. “You’re back. I’ve been watching the news, you’ve been incre-….’ She stopped then, a frown knotting her brow. “Is everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine.”

“No, it’s not.”

“I’m just tired,’ Kara tried to brush her off, but Alex was never deterred so easily. “I’ve been flying around the city all day, and Snapper called me, and…”

“You went into work?” Alex frowned. “Where did you get your phone?

“Lena gave it to me.”

Alex’s expression went blank then. “You saw Lena?”

Kara explained how Lena had been at the apartment when she’d gone back earlier, and everything that had happened during their encounter, and how she’d driven from L-Corp to the DEO in Lena’s town car in one of the most awkward silences she’d ever experienced.

"She barely said anything,' Kara explained, feeling a tight feeling in her chest. 

Alex’s face showed nothing of what she was thinking, but that didn’t mean Kara couldn’t still read her.

“Can we talk?’ Kara asked, feeling suddenly exhausted.

“I just need to check in on the vaccine,’ Alex didn’t need to clarify – they both knew what vaccine she was talking about.

After Alex walked away, Kara flew up to the second level to look through to the medical bay.

Her future self was still lying on the bed, having not moved an inch since that morning. She couldn’t see her face though; Lena was sitting at her bedside, obstructing her. Lena had her back to Kara now. She sat perched on a metal stool, her posture perfect as always as she looked the unconscious-Kara up and down, smoothed out her cape, brushed hair from her forehead.

Her lips were moving, and Kara fought hard against the temptation to listen to what she was saying.

To help resist, she distracted herself by pulling out her future phone. She unlocked it, stared at the wallpaper picture for a moment (a glorious sunset from above the clouds that she must have taken at some point), and then went into the photo gallery. There were a few folders in there, and one was labelled “Thanksgiving 2021”

She opened it, of course. The picture that was her background on her laptop was there, along with dozens of others. One taken from the head of the long table, by James, she assumed, because he was the only one not waving at the camera. There were candids of Maggie laughing with Alex. There were awful, blurred shots taken from above; ugly pictures where Kara, Winn and James were standing together, looking down at the camera, pulling faces and creating double chins.

And there were selfies with Lena.

Lena sitting on her lap; both of them, lying on the grass, looking up and smiling with the sun reflecting from their sunglasses; the both of them sitting on a bench, leaning against each other, back to back, as Lena read a book and Kara chatted enthusiastically to Eliza.

“Hey,’

Kara looked up. She hadn’t even heard Alex appear beside her.

“How’s she doing?’ Kara asked.

Alex folded her arms over her chest, and looked through to the medical bay, nodded reassuringly. “Stable. The vaccine is still a few hours off. Should be ready by tomorrow.”

Kara looked at her sister. She could see the dark circles under her eyes, the tightness of her jaw. “When was the last time you slept?”

“Who knows,’ Alex shrugged. ‘Actually, Maggie would probably know. No-one better than your wife to tell you that you haven’t been home in a few days.”

Kara glanced at her sister. Alex was staring off into space, looking wistful. “You’re married?”

Alex blinked out of her daydream. She looked at Kara, and smiled a tired, but happy smile. “Yeah. Three years next month.”

“Was it a big wedding? I can’t imagine you both doing anything too lavish, but then I don’t really feel like I know anything anymore.”

Kara looked back through to the medical bay, and then felt Alex’s hand in hers.

“I’m sure this is all really overwhelming for you. I’m sorry, I didn’t think… when we had the idea to bring you here…”

“It’s fine,’ Kara said quickly.

“No, it’s not,’ Alex insisted. ‘I know you think you’re just going to smile your way through this, because that’s what you do. And I know you think you just have to get through this until you… the other you… wakes up, and then you can just go home and forget all this ever happened – literally. But that’s not what’s happening now. You’re not a placeholder, Kara. I want you to know that. I’m sure you’ve been through a lot today. Not just saving the city, you can do that with your eyes shut, but this… being here… finding out what you do for a living now…’ Alex hesitated, and then added, ‘… Lena….”

Kara looked at her. “When?’

She couldn’t help it. She didn't mean for it to come out so forcefully. But she just needed one answer.

Alex pursed her lips, thinking for a moment. “Officially? About a year and a half. But it had been building for a while.”

“So… Mon-El doesn’t come back.”

“Oh, no,’ Alex nodded, ‘he did.”

Excitement burned through Kara’s chest. “Really? When? How? Is he here now?”

“It’s a really long story,’ Alex grimaced. “He’s not here anymore. He didn’t stay.”

The feeling of elation burst like a bubble. “Oh,’ said Kara lamely. ‘Because of Lena?”

“No, that wasn’t even happening yet. But when he came back he’d been gone a while, and he was different, and you were different, and it was just…different.” Alex squeezed her shoulder. ‘But when he does comes back, he’s going to be a good different, and you’re going to be so proud of him. And when he leaves, it won’t be like the first time – it won’t break your heart.”

Kara looked back through the many panes of glass to the medical bay. Lena was stretching now, twisting her back this way and that, tiling her neck, letting her arms. She was so tired.

Would she be okay with Mon-El leaving because she was already moving onto Lena?

“Just ask her,’

Kara blinked, and turned to look at Alex. She’d been watching her intently.

“What?”

“I know you have a million questions. Just go and ask her. She’ll tell you.”

Kara shook her head. “You didn’t see us in the car on the way here. She barely even looked at me.”

Alex made a ‘hmmm’ sound, clearly understanding something Kara didn’t.

“She’ll answer anything you ask her,’ Alex insisted kindly. ‘She always has.”

Kara heard it then – a siren blaring somewhere in the city. She turned her head instinctively toward the noise.

“Go,’ Alex encouraged. ‘I’ll tell her where you’ve gone.”

With one last look at the medical bay, Kara gave Alex’s hand a squeeze before letting go and flying off across the city.

Chapter Text

Kara could smell Chinese food before she even flew in through her apartment window.

She landed with a soft thud and looked at the counter. There it was, all laid out all perfectly: noodles and rice and sweet and sour pork and dim sims and spring rolls and potstickers… so many potstickers…

“I thought you might be hungry.”

Kara whirled around. Lena hadn’t even looked up; she was twirling a tiny screwdriver ever so delicately, fastening a tiny screw into what looked like the beginnings of a metal canister.

When Kara didn’t respond, Lena did look up. Kara was surprised, and delighted, to see her wearing thick, square-framed glasses.

“Thank you,’ Kara smiled, and her stomach growled so loudly it made both of them laugh. ‘You didn’t have to do that.”

Lena shrugged and smiled, trying to look bashful but failing. “It might be a bit cold now. I didn’t know how long you’d be.”

“Of course, that’s totally fine. I’m, er… just gonna go have a shower first.”

Lena’s nostrils flared as she sniffed. She smirked and nodded. “Good idea. I’ll heat it up for you.”

Kara was in and out of the shower, hair damp but combed and in her sweats, in under a minute. When she stepped back out into the kitchen, Lena was taking steaming hot rice out of the microwave. Music was playing softly from somewhere. Lena had set the table, complete with napkin and an ice-cold glass of water.

“This is…’ Kara only just stopped herself from saying romantic, because that’s what it was, ‘… very nice of you.’ She sat down, but frowned when she noticed hers was the only place set. ‘Where’s your plate?”

“Oh,’ Lena stepped back, looking awkward. ‘I didn’t… I wasn’t sure…”

“I can’t eat all this by myself.”

Lena laughed then. “Yes, you can.”

Kara gave her a pout, and Lena looked away with a grin and a shake of her head.

“Fine,’ Lena sighed.

“Plates are in…’ Kara started automatically, but Lena was already at the cupboard above the sink, where the plates were kept, and Kara closed her mouth.

The silence was palpable, broken only by the clink of glass against wood as they put their glasses down after sips of water, the sound of cutlery against plates, and the soft music emanating from the stereo. Kara kept stealing glances at Lena when she was dipping her food in sauce, or fiddling with her chopsticks, or when she got up to get them both a bottle of wine to share. Now that they could actually have a quiet, genuine moment together, Kara could pick up on small differences from the Lena in her timeline, and the Lena currently pouring her a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. This Lena seemed lighter somehow; and it had nothing to do with the black sweats and baggy tee that said “Think like a Proton: Stay Positive” – an ensemble that anyone could have been comfortable in. Her usual stiff posture had softened. She didn’t seem like she felt she had to stand on ceremony, like she did at the office or out in public. She hadn’t been this relaxed in the car on the way to the DEO; she’d looked out the window the whole time, steadfast in her insistence not to talk to Kara unless she had to. Kara wondered if seeing her future self at the DEO had calmed Lena somehow.

As Lena poured her a glass of wine, Kara asked, “Do we usually do this?’

“Do what?”

“Have chinese and wine. Is this a usual Thursday night thing? Is it…’ Kara paused, ‘… a date night?”

Lena sat down and took a long mouthful before rubbing her forehead gently.

“I’m sorry,’ Kara said instantly. ‘I don’t mean to pry, but…”

“You’re not prying,’ Lena said softly. She finally looked up. Her green eyes locked with Kara’s for what felt like the first time. “It’s your life, you have every right to be curious. I’m sorry – sorry that I’ve barely spoken to you all day.  I just thought it would be easier to take a step back and not to overwhelm you. I thought it would make you feel less uncomfortable. Do you know what I mean?”

Kara nodded.

Relieved, Lena went on. “It’s just been really hard.”

“Because we’re together,’ Kara said.

Lena bit her lip, and then nodded. “And I can’t stand it when we’re apart. You have no idea what it’s been like, Kara. I’ve watched you go from bad to worse for almost two weeks now, and then you fell into a coma and…’ she trailed off, looking away. She let out a hollow laugh, trying to pull herself together. “It’s pretty ridiculous, really, when you think about it. All I’ve wanted is to have you back, and here you are, and all I’ve done is push you away.”

“I’m sorry,’ Kara said.

She didn’t know why she was apologizing. What did she have to apologize for? But it still felt like the right thing to do.

And, from the way Lena laughed again, wiped her eyes and had another large gulp of wine, it was.

“Stop being so damn good,’ she chuckled. ‘If anyone is sorry, it’s me. I’ve treated you horribly all day. You must be so confused by… this,’ Lena gestured to the space between them. ‘You’re from five years ago, right? God. You must have only just said good-bye to Mon-El.”

Kara nodded. But she didn’t want to talk about Mon-El. It was still too raw. From the way Lena’s lips pursed, Kara guessed that this was evident all over her face.

“It’s definitely different. I feel like I have amnesia, somehow,’ Kara laughed. ‘It’s like I don’t even recognise my own life anymore. I don’t know how I get here. I don’t remember buying that television, or being promoted at work, or… why I got rid of perfectly good couches!”

“You broke them in a fight,’ Lena explained plainly.

Kara looked at her, stunned. “A fight? Here? With who?”

“An alien called Tyrinth broke in, trying to get you to release his father from the DEO holding cells. A lot of stuff got broken.”

Kara looked back at her living space. Now that she looked again, the TV cabinet was also not the same, nor was her bookshelf.

“Well…’ Kara scoffed, ‘… that’s just rude.”

Lena laughed. “I remember you telling him so with your fists.”

“You were here when it happened?’

“Game night,’ Lena grimaced. ‘Everyone was here.”

Kara winced and laughed at the image. She could imagine Alex throwing an arm out to protect Maggie, but Maggie pushing her aside, her gun raised; James, reaching for his backpack where his Guardian shield was kept; Winn, leaping over the back of the sofa, trying to get as far away as possible…

“Why did you move in here?’ Kara asked. ‘I mean, I’ve been to your penthouse… I don’t know why you would wanna give up that view for this.”

“I still have the penthouse,’ Lena said around her food. She ate the last bite of her potsticker before continuing. ‘It just made more sense. My penthouse is often under observation for paparazzi. Last thing we would want is pictures getting out of Supergirl flying out my bedroom window at all hours of the night. Here, you still have your anonymity.”

“Papparazzi? Because of me?”

“No, just because of who I am. The public don’t even know I’m with you.”

Kara was surprised. “How? We’re not exactly subtle. There’s pictures of us on my phone, we’ve been everywhere together.”

Lena leant forward then, looking sly. “What if I told you that you weren’t actually looking at me right now?”

Kara’s eyes widened in surprise. “Are you a hologram?”

Lena laughed as Kara reached out across the table. She took her hand in hers, and lowered it away from her face. “Of course not. It’s just technology. Watch…”

Fascinated, Kara watched as Lena went to her purse and retrieved something that looked like a large pen. She sat back down opposite Kara, held it under her chin, and clicked it. A blue light emitted from the end facing her; the light around her face shimmered, and suddenly Kara was looking at a face she didn’t recognise. Lena had become a woman with light, brown hair, brown eyes, freckles and full lips. She was quite pretty, but still, a complete stranger.

She smiled at Kara. Her teeth were slightly crooked. “See?”

“How are you doing that?’ Kara asked.

“Facial Transmogrification.’ She announced. ‘It originated from Earth nineteen and I just… adapted it. It uses Light refraction technology.”

“I’m just gonna nod and pretend I know what that is.’

Lena clicked the device again; the blue light flashed from it, and she was herself once again. She held it out for Kara to take. And she did; she examined it closely, held it underneath her own chin and clicked it. She only saw a flash of blue, but felt nothing. But Lena blinked in surprise, and laughed.

“Why did you make this?’ Kara asked.

“So we could be together openly,’ Lena said simply. ‘If the press found out you were with me, they’d start watching you too closely, and you’re too important to be under a journalistic microscope. It’s set so you can still see me, and Alex and everyone else, but to most people I look… well, like that,’ Lena chuckled, and pointed at Kara.

Kara clicked it off, and handed her back the device. “Seems like a lot of trouble to go to.”

“You’re worth it,’ Lena smiled. ‘So when I leave work at night, I just turn this on. I can get here no problem, and then turn it off again. Easy. And honestly, sometimes it’s quite liberating to walk about and be someone else – someone invisible. I imagine you would know how that feels.”

Kara watched Lena long after she’d gone back to eating her food. She scrolled through her phone, read some e-mails, quickly replied to some texts. Despite the lengths she’d clearly been going to, their relationship seemed so effortless.

“How did you find out?’ Kara asked. ‘About me.”

Lena sighed, and loaded up her plate with more rice. “It was a car accident.”

“Oh, my God…”

“It’s okay, I wasn’t hurt. You were in the car with me at the time. There was some sort of alien gang war going on down Doveton avenue. They had these weapons – anti-gravity guns, pulse rifles, big laser knifes that looked like mini lightsabers… anyway, it was chaos. People were running around everywhere, trying to get away. My limo got caught in the crossfire. We all got out of the car and started to run, but the anti-gravity gun lifted the car into the air and threw it at us. And, well…’ Lena smiled ruefully, ‘it was either let us be squashed, or catch the car. You shoved me to the ground, told me to duck, and when I looked up you were holding the car over your head with less effort than it would take someone to lift a chair. I’ll never forget the look on your face when you looked down at me, and saw that I’d seen the whole thing.”

Kara dug at her noodles with her chopsticks, feeling embarrassed and confused, because what did she have to be embarrassed about when none of this had even happened to her yet? How could she feel guilty about memories she didn’t have?

“Were you mad?’ Kara asked quietly.

Lena pursed her lips. “Yes. But I also understood. Don’t worry,’ she added with a reassuring smile, ‘I don’t stay mad for long.”

“I bet your Mom wasn’t happy when she found out,’ Kara said.

“When she found out I’d found out? She was ecstatic. She thought that that would be it – the push I needed to join her on her bigoted regime.”

Kara’s leg bounced under the table. “I meant about us."

“Oh,’ Lena thought for a moment, then laughed, and took a long mouthful of wine. ‘I think I’ll just let you find that out on your own.”

“Oh, fantastic!’ Kara said, her tone dripping with sarcasm. ‘I can’t wait. I’ll just call Sara now, get the Waverider here, go back now because I’m just so eager to get to that part.”

Lena laughed, and Kara felt her heart lift at the sound, and then she was laughing too. The mood had shifted long before this, but Kara only just began to truly relax now. Feeling intimidated to talk to Lena, the way she had been feeling all day, she realized now, had been ridiculous. She was just Lena, after all.

So Kara asked her more questions. About L-Corp, what they were working on; about if she knew Barry, and Oliver, and everyone else from the other earth and how she had met them; about where her mother was now, what she was doing, if she’d finally come around to aliens yet. Lena shared and explained with ease, to these and dozens of other questions, and Kara listened intently, taking it all in. Five-years-from-now Lena was, if it was even possible, just as captivating.

“Did you see your statue during your rushing about today?’ Lena asked.

Kara choked on her dim sim. “A statue? Of me?”

“Commissioned it myself,’ Lena beamed. ‘I don’t know how you missed it. It’s enormous.”

“I’ve been busy!’ Kara laughed. ‘Fires and building collapses and a cat stuck up a tree… no, really, an actual cat this time! Not a snake. And then James was in trouble so I went to help him, and then work was... strange. Someone called me boss! All I wanted to do was see what movies were out, maybe see the last two Star Wars films... but no.

‘But this is nice,’ she added, giving Lena a smile. ‘I’ve been trying to imagine us together all day. But I try and my brain just stops, and it’s just…”

Kara stopped when she realised Lena was looking at her; an expression on playful evaluation crossed her face, and Kara couldn’t help but laugh.

“What?’ she asked, and hurriedly wiped at her chin. ‘Do I have sauce on my face?”

“Hurry up and finish,’ Lena smiled, ‘I want to show you something.”

 

----

 

Kara stared at the television, transfixed.

“When was this again?’ she asked. She felt Lena take the bowl of popcorn from her lap.

“Last year,’ Lena settled into the couch.

The camera kept shaking, but Kara took barely any notice. It was a video of her and Lena on vacation at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. They were walking together, making jokes, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the architecture. Lena was talking about the history of the temple. Kara was talking about how good their lunch had been, and how they just had to stop by that food truck again, and wondering why they didn’t bring it all the way out here because they would make a killing off hungry tourists.

“This is an ancient, heritage listed, historical site,’ Lena on the screen laughed, outraged. She tossed her long, dark hair over her shoulder, and looked over the top of her sunglasses to glare playfully at Kara, who was holding the camera.

Kara heard herself laugh, ‘The Buddhists had to eat too, though, right? It’s not disrespectful if we’re doing what they would do.”

“I don’t think they ate ice-cream!”

“You don’t know, you weren’t there!”

Lena on screen scoffed, and tried to turn Kara’s attention back to the temple.

The Lena beside Kara now, took another handful of popcorn, and ate it once kernel at a time. “I remember… you just showed up at L-Corp one day, told me to cancel my weekend, and then scooped me up and flew us all the way there. I’d been talking about Cambodia for months, and you just took me there on a whim, because you knew I was always too busy to organise it myself.”

Kara felt smug. “I sound like a good girlfriend.”

“You are.”

They shared a glance – not their first, that night. And like all the other moments, Kara was the first to look away.

She reached for her phone on the coffee table. Finding the pictures again, Kara scooted closer to Lena on the couch and held it out to show her.

“Who’s this?’ she pointed.

Lena put her glasses on to look properly. “That’s Diane – James’s girlfriend. He met her at the Pulitzer award ceremony in Metropolis. It’s a bit of a long-distance thing at the moment, but they’re making it work.”

Brimming with happiness for James, and an eagerness to find out more, Kara swiped through again. “And who’s this guy with Winn?”

“Ah,’ Lena chuckled, and looked at Kara. ‘That’s Eric… Winn’s “friend” from when they were in foster care together.”

“What’s this?’ Kara mimed the quote marks with her fingers, just as Lena had done. ‘What does that mean?”

Lena bit her lip. “Some of us – who shall remain nameless, and definitely aren’t members of the police force and think they can read people better than everyone else – think there’s something more going on there. And I can see where she could make that conclusion. They have been attached at the hip. They’re always going to brunch, and Winn goes to visit him at work all the time for impromptu coffee dates, and when they’re together sometimes they just share this look…’ Lena trailed off and shrugged. ‘But that’s Winn’s business.”

“What happened to Lyra?”

Lena explained their fight; how she’d just pushed and pushed Winn too far in the end, and to save the awkwardness had moved to Star City with her brother. 

Kara nodded, glad that Winn, like James, had found someone. Even if it were simply platonic, or something deeper that he didn’t feel comfortable sharing yet. Winn deserved to be happy, no matter the form it came in.

“Whose dog is this?’ Kara asked, flipping through more photos.

“Alex and Maggie’s.”

“Gertrude!”

“No, his name is Barkley.”

Seriously?”

“Apparently Maggie thought it was hilarious.”

Kara laughed, privately agreeing, and continued to swipe through. She asked about Jeremiah, and when he had come back (“When you go back, you won’t have to wait long”), why there were so many pictures of cats, (“You like to send them to me, because I really like cats but we can’t have any because of my allergies”), and a myriad of different questions. Kara in the future had a lot of different pictures on her phone.

When they reached photos of just the two of them, Lena seemed to go quiet. As a picture of them both sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon came up – the sun was setting, throwing glorious shades of pink, orange and yellow across the sky, illuminating their faces with a soft glow as the smiled at the camera – Lena took the phone from Kara’s hand. Her skin was soft, and her palm was slightly sweaty, but Kara didn’t mind at all.

It was only then, did Kara suddenly realise how close together they were sitting.

“This was only a month ago,’ Lena said, gazing down at the picture.

Kara examined Lena’s face. She could almost see five years’ worth of memories, feelings, laughs, sadness and experiences run through her mind. But it only lasted a second. All too soon, Lena cleared her throat and handed the phone back to Kara without looking at her.

“Here,’ she said, grabbing the television remote again, ‘I need to show you this.”

Kara didn’t really notice what she was doing at first. She was too interested in the way Lena ran a hand through her hair, ruffling it and brushing it out of her face; how the cords in her neck were more prominent when she rolled her head back slightly, annoyed when the remote didn’t respond to her instantly; how her long, delicate fingers pressed at the buttons…

In those fleeting moments, the nuances, candid gestures and words unsaid, Kara could see how her life had lead here.

She tore her gaze away and looked at the screen. She sat up to attention at once, forgetting all about Lena for one moment as Lena chose a file on the hard drive plugged into the TV called Alex and Maggie’s Wedding.

Kara sat, transfixed, on the edge of her sofa as she watched Eliza walk Alex down the aisle of a small, but charming church. Maggie was already up the front in a white dress, tears in her eyes as she watched Alex approach. As Eliza put Alex’s hand in Maggie’s, and gave them both a kiss on the cheek, and moved to sit back down in the pews, Kara noticed that J’onn was standing where a priest or minister would have stood.

J’onn marries them?’ Kara breathed.

Lena didn’t even give an answer – Kara hadn’t expected her to. She watched the ceremony in fascination, taking it all in. It was short and sweet. Alex and Maggie had their own vows. Alex, the nerd that she was had obviously memorized hers, and her gaze did not leave Maggie’s as she spoke every beautiful word of love and commitment. Maggie, however, had cue cards that someone off screen handed her. Maggie’s hands shook as she read them out, but her nerves in no way lessened the poignancy.

The scene changed after they “kissed the bride” to a roar of applause, to what Kara recognized as the backyard of their old house back in Midvale. The yard was decorated with a stage, tables with white tablecloth and shining place settings, vases of flowers, a make-shift dancefloor, and above it all rows and rows of fairy lights.

It took a while for Kara to realise that James was filming the day. Of course he was – who was better with a camera? His hand was steady when the Brides shared in their first dance, or when Eliza and Jeramiah, or J’onn were making their speeches.

Kara winced, but laughed as she watched herself get up and make a speech. Her dress was a simple, dark blue, like her Supergirl suit. She could barely get her speech out; her voice was thick with emotion. Even now, Kara felt that emotion just listening to what she was saying.

“You weren’t bridesmaid,’ Lena said then, jolting Kara back to the present.

“Why not?’ Kara asked, feeling outraged.

“Because Maggie didn’t have one. She’d asked her cousin who she used to be close with, but… well, things weren’t great with her family. And you didn’t think it was fair to have it “uneven”, so you stepped down. Alex understood.”

Kara felt sad for Maggie. She looked back at the screen; Maggie was cutting the cake with Alex, both were holding the enormous knife, beaming with happiness. Kara would not have guessed.

The scene changed again, and it was more candid this time. James’s deep voice could be heard now behind the camera as he went up to people at different tables, asked them if they were having a good night, how the food was, and if they had any messages for the newlyweds.  He caught glimpses of Maggie and Alex having small, intimate moments together as they fed each other cake, or shared sips of each other’s champagne glass, or whispered secrets.

It was the perfect wedding; just what Kara could imagine them having. Small, intimate, personal. Kara couldn’t wait for this day to come for her. Everyone looked so happy. J’onn laughed with Jeremiah and Eliza, Winn and his friend Eric were doing shots and laughing, friends Kara probably guessed were Maggie’s cop friends from the NCPD were all engaging in friendly chatter, or filling up the dance floor.

“Were you there?’ Kara asked, glancing at Lena over her shoulder.

Lena smiled, and jerked her head at the TV.

Kara turned back. She didn’t see what Lena meant at first… but then she saw them.

They were off to the side, standing together. Kara was tugging at Lena’s hand, trying to get her out onto the dancefloor. Kara could see why Lena would be hesitating – it was a slow song.

“We weren’t together then, yet,’ Lena explained. She shifted forward on the couch, and Kara felt her side press up against her own. ‘Not officially, anyway. You kept trying to tell me it didn’t matter. Just one dance won’t hurt, you said. But I didn’t want to draw attention. See?’

Kara watched the screen as her other self finally conceded, giving Lena a pout. Lena just gave her a smirk, looking nonchalant as Kara moved to stand right next to her, arms over her chest, looking playfully sulky.

“I regret that,’ Lena said so softly, Kara thought she’d misheard her at first.

She only had to glance between the screen and Lena’s face a few more times, before she was on her feet.

She held a hand out for Lena.

Lena sighed. “Kara…”

“Come on,’ Kara laughed.

The conflict within her was clear. Lena’s lips pursed in uncertainty as she looked between Kara’s hand, and Kara’s encouraging smile. She sat there so long, Kara began to worry that maybe she’d done the wrong thing. Was this appropriate? Should she just sit down and try to cover with a lame joke? Should she pretend there was an emergency and just fly out the window and not come back at all?

But then Lena’s hand was in hers, and she was on her feet, and her worry vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

Kara suddenly felt like she had two left hands. She hadn’t thought this far ahead. But luckily, Lena took pity on her. She placed Kara’s right hand at her waist, and took her left in her own as she closed a little of the distance between them.

Kara didn’t know the song playing on the TV, but it didn’t matter. They began to sway together automatically. Being this close, Kara could see the finer details of Lena’s face, smell the fruity shampoo in her hair, feel the soft fabric of her t-shirt underneath her fingertips, admire the tiny mole on her throat…

That’s when Kara saw it again – the silver necklace.

“I have one like that,’ Kara said. ‘The other me, I mean. I saw it around her neck at the DEO.”

Lena detached herself enough to pull the necklace free of her shirt. She held it up to show Kara an identical match to the necklace her future self was wearing now.

“It was a drunk, late night buy online,’ Lena admitted, chuckling. ‘Thirty dollars from this vendor on Etsy. At the time I thought they would make good friendship necklaces. I forgot I even ordered them, but then they showed up in the mail two weeks later and you wouldn’t let me send them back.”

Kara laughed. She didn’t mean to, and she hoped Lena wouldn’t take it the wrong way, but she couldn’t help it. But Lena laughed too, just as deeply. Her body shook against Kara’s; she let out a long sigh when the moment passed, and stepped in just that little bit closer to press her temple against Kara’s.

Kara was suddenly keenly aware of every place that Lena’s body pressed up against hers. The feel of her hand in hers, where there bellies touched…

“When does it start?’ Kara asked, supressing a shudder. ‘Did it start… ugh, tenses are hard.”

Lena chuckled, then leaned back enough to look at her properly. She frowned, taking a moment to think. “That’s hard to answer. Sometimes it feels like it just happened – we just arrived here. But I think I can pinpoint the one day I really noticed it.

“I remember… you walked into my office one afternoon, hands in your pockets, hair up in a ponytail, grey cardigan hanging off your shoulders in that easy, confident way you wear all your clothes. I’d been having a really crap day – board members were on my ass, and stock figures and equations and profit margins were whirling around in my head. But you had this bag of muffins in your hand. And you just handed me one, sat down across the desk, and changed the subject by talking about Alex and Maggie finally moving in together, and how you thought Snapper had lost his mind trying to promote you, and how Winn was trying to set you up with a friend of his… and then everything around you seemed to dim. You were the only thing in focus. You were like a light, breaking through the fog, illuminating the way, giving me hope.  You were the light in my life. Anytime darkness seemed to close in, you were there to send it away. And as I sat there, listening to you talk with your mouth half-full of muffin, I realised. You were the most beautiful thing in my life – the most beautiful thing.”

Kara’s heart was pounding so hard in her chest, she suspected Lena would be able to feel it.  

Lena smiled and looked away for a moment. “Honestly, though, I think it probably started well before that.”

“W-when?’ Kara breathed.

“You might remember it. You were in my office, and Clark Kent was there. He was asking me some questions, and then you chimed in, and I looked at you and said, ‘And who are you, exactly?’”

Kara shivered again. Lena’s expression was steadfast. So much was going on behind those big, green eyes, but Kara barely had the sense to figure out her own feelings, let alone try and decipher hers.

It was so confusing. Everything in Kara, every sinew, nerve and atom was screaming at her to move forward, pull her closer, ask her more questions and hear everything she had to say. Lena had always been so striking, but right now she was electrifying, and Kara’s chest was pounding harder as tried to do something other than sway on the spot, say something other than a few half-gurgled vowel sounds in the back of her throat.

“Did this really come as a surprise to you?’ Lena asked.

Kara brushed hair from Lena’s face. “This morning, yes.”

“And now?”

Lena’s eyes were darting from Kara’s eyes, to her lips, and back again. Some sort of force was pulling them together, ever so slowly. Kara’s head tilted slightly as they drew closer and closer, the electric current between them thrumming with more and more energy as Kara’s lips hovered a breath away from Lena’s…

“Is this considered cheating?’ Lena asked then.

Kara laughed; her breath tickled Lena’s eyelashes, making her blink.  But Lena’s smile faded a little, and she pulled back.

“I can’t stop thinking about you, lying on that bed,’ she admitted softly.

The bubble was burst. Kara didn’t let go of Lena; instead she pulled her in for a hug. Lena’s arms wrapped tightly around her, holding her steadfast.

“It’s going to be okay,’ Kara whispered in her ear. She stroked her hair softly. ‘I don’t know if you knew this… but I’m a pretty tough cookie. You think I’m going down from some weird, alien virus? Are you sure you’ve met me?”

Lena was shuddering against her, and Kara pulled back, terrified she’d said the wrong thing. But Lena wasn’t crying, she was laughing.

“And you wonder why I lo-…”

The word caught in her throat, but it didn’t matter. Kara knew what she was going to say. What she didn’t know was how the idea of it was going to make her insides suddenly liquefy into a warm, gooey mess.

And then the sirens started.

Kara’s head turned instinctively. Lena didn’t hear them, they were too far away, but she knew what was happening.

“They can handle it,’ Kara said, turning back to Lena.

Lena quirked a dark eyebrow.

Kara sighed. “I’m sorry.”

She zipped in and out of her room in seconds. When she returned, she was in her future Supergirl suit, and Lena was still standing in the same spot. Lena walked Kara to the open window.

Kara turned around before flying off. “I would apologize, but first of all I think I’ve already done enough of that tonight to last both of us a lifetime, and also I’m guessing you’re pretty used to this by n-…”

The rest of her sentence was cut off by Lena’s lips against hers. A delightful tingle spread from where their lips met, to every square inch of Kara’s body. Lena had taken her face gently in her hands; it wasn’t deep and lustful, but it wasn’t a mere peck either. It was firm, and insistent, and familiar, and amazing. But as quickly as it had begun, the kiss was over, and Kara was left feeling like she’d been struck over the head with a truck.

Lena smiled at her. “I’ll be here.”

Kara nodded, and then sped out the window in a gust of wind. The sooner she left, the sooner she could get back.

 

-----

 

It was well after two in the morning when Kara got back to her loft. The lights were still on, but the living room was empty, and for a moment Kara thought that Lena had lied about being there.

But then she found her, sound asleep, in her bed.

Lena had only stayed over at Kara’s loft once. She’d come back after dinner one night, after she’d admitted to Kara that she’d never seen “Bring It On”. Kara had insisted she come over that very night and they watch it together, but half way through the movie, Kara had looked down the other end of the couch to share in a joke from the movie, and found Lena fast asleep.

Kara was sure she never looked so angelic while she slept, nor would anyone else. Soft little snores emitted from Lena’s parted lips; her dark hair was coming out of its bun, sending random wisps of dark strands everywhere.

This was just like that now.

Lena was curled on her side, covers thrown off her on a warm night. She was hugging the pillow, face deeply imprinted in it, and looking as gorgeous asleep as she did awake.

Not having the heart to wake her, Kara got changed again, quickly and quietly. She went about the apartment, turning off the lights, emptying the dishwasher that Lena must have stacked while she was out.

When she came back to get her phone charger from the bedroom, however, Lena stirred.

“Y’re back,’ she mumbled. ‘Ever’thn’ okay?”

Kara smiled and nodded at her. “Go back to sleep. I’ll tell you all about it in the morning.”

She made to leave then, heading for the couch. But Lena’s hand reached out and grabbed her wrist with a weak grip.

“Where you goin’?’

“Uh…”

Lena tugged on her again, and shifted over to make room. Kara got the hint.

Kara got into bed. She lay on her side, facing Lena. Even in the dim, Kara could see the ghost of a smile on Lena’s face as she drifted back off to sleep.

It was a long while before Kara joined her.

Chapter Text

Kara awoke the next morning with the sun blazing in her eyes, a dry mouth, and an arm wrapped around her middle.

As Kara groaned and turned away from the window, and sleep slowly evaporated, Kara realized that it wasn’t just an arm. She looked down at herself; Lena was curled up right against her. Her head was on her own pillow, but her arm was slung across Kara’s belly, and her leg was intertwined between both of hers.

That warm, mushy feeling, like her insides were being liquefied, burst out throughout her again. She fought back the instinct to relax into Lena’s no doubt unintentional embrace. She looked too peaceful, and was still snoring, and Kara knew she didn’t like being woken up for no reason, so why would Lena?

Deciding to give her a reason, Kara carefully removed herself from Lena, and headed for the kitchen.

Her cupboards had been slightly rearranged. Plates and glasses were still in the same spot, but somewhere along the way she’d bought new pots and pans, and they were bigger than her old ones so they were in a different place; as were her jugs and mixing bowls.

But soon enough, she had everything she needed, and was well on the way to making pancakes.

One of the perks of super speed meant she could cook multiple things at once, and not risk anything burning, or get overwhelmed by dancing around the kitchen. So once the pancakes were mixed, and the first one was on the pan, she went about scrambling eggs, frying bacon, squeezing orange juice, brewing coffee…

And then Kara heard the padding of bare feet on floorboards.

Lena emerged from the bedroom, hair ruffled and yawning, but looking extremely well rested. She smiled when she saw Kara.

“Good morning,’ Lena said, admiring the spread currently cooking.

“Morning,’ Kara beamed. ‘Did I wake you? I bang pots and pans too loud when I cook. Or so Alex tells me.”

“No, work called,’ Lena explained.

“Oh, good. I mean, that’s not good that they woke you, you looked so peaceful. Not that I was being creepy and watching you…’ Kara trailed off with a sigh, feeling like an idiot. ‘Are you hungry? I wasn’t sure what you would want so I just made a bit of everything. But if you don’t want this, I can just make cereal… there’s an unopened Cheerios in the pantry, or I could go get - ….”

Kara didn’t finish. Lena had come right up to her, put an arm around her, and made to kiss her on the cheek. But Kara turned her head to look at her at the same time, which resulted in a kiss right square on the lips.

“Sorry,’ Lena said instantly, backing away.

The electric current from the night before was back, and in force. The physical space between them seem to crackle with it, trying to pull them back together like magnets.

“My fault,’ Kara mumbled, and turned back to the stove, trying to ignore it.

“No, no, it was mine. I didn’t mean…”

“It’s fine.”

Lena sighed behind Kara, and then Kara felt a hand squeeze her shoulder.

“Did you sleep alright?”

Kara nodded, and looked around at her. “Did you? I would have been happy to sleep on the couch.”

“It’s your bed.”

Knock knock.

“Ouch!”

Sorry!’ Kara looked at Lena, appalled. Lena shook her hand with a wince. Kara, who had taken her hand gently from her shoulder, had jumped so much that she’d gripped Lena’s hand with more force that she had meant to. “I’m so sorry….”

“I’m okay,’ Lena winced, but smiled at her. ‘It’s not the first time.”

Kara apologized again as she focused her vision and looked through the door. She sighed.

“You get the door,’ Lena said, giving Kara one last smile, trying to assure her she was fine. ‘I need to get in the shower.”

When Lena disappeared into the bathroom, Kara sped to the door so fast she almost burst through the wall. Catching herself just in time, she unlocked it.

Alex and Maggie were standing there. When the door opened, they both held up a bag of bagels and a coffee tray with an identical, cheerful smile.

“Oh,’ Kara smoothed her bed hair down. She was keenly aware she was still in her pyjamas. ‘What are you guys doing here so early?”

“We brought breakfast!’ Alex announced.

“She can see that,’ Maggie laughed.

“Oh, but… I already started…” Kara stuttered after them as they walked past her into the loft.

They stopped short when they noticed the commotion going on in the kitchen.

“Damn it,’ Maggie laughed, gesturing at the bacon. ‘I told you we should have called.”

“Do you see bagels cooking?’ Alex argued, and then but her bag of said food down on the bench with a smug flourish. ‘That’s why I suggested them. I told you she can’t bake them.”

“You know I am standing right here,’ Kara said. ‘Besides, I wanted to do something nice for Lena.”

Alex and Maggie exchanged a look, but said nothing, just distributed the bagels and coffees they had brought.

“Ah, no, don’t even…’ Kara huffed, and sat down next to Alex. “I know what you’re thinking. Nothing happened.”

“I’ve heard that before,’ Maggie muttered.

Kara gave her a look. Outwardly, Maggie had hardly changed at all. Still in the leather jacket/ jeans/ boots combo, still the same hair, if a little longer, and she still knew just how to rile Kara up.

She felt Alex kick Maggie playfully under the table. “Leave her alone.”

“I can’t help it,’ Maggie smirked. ‘It’s like two thousand nineteen all over again.”

“How’s the vaccine?’ Kara asked loudly, changing the subject. Maggie’s chuckle was smothered as she took a bite of her bagel.

Alex sighed with obvious relief. ‘Done. We administered it early this morning. I’ve told them to call me the second your vitals improve.”

She glanced at Maggie then; Maggie looked stern, suddenly, and Kara would have bet her entire years pay check that Maggie had forced her to stay home the night before and rest, instead of spending all night at the DEO like she would have wanted to.

“How did last night go?’ Alex asked.

“Good. I got to that forest fire before it got too out of control. I froze a nearby lake and used that to put it out. Kal told me he did that once, thought it was worth a shot.”

Alex smiled. “That’s not what I meant.”

Kara looked between them both. Alex’s eyebrows were raised in polite interest. Maggie was still eating her bagel, trying to look casual by scrolling through her phone, but her eyes were glazed over and Kara knew her attention was on her.

“Fine,’ Kara said airily. She rushed back to the stove to check on the food. ‘Everything was just fine. We talked, and I learned a lot… oh, I saw your wedding video!”

It worked well enough. Alex blushed, but Maggie was more than happy to talk about the day with Kara. And Kara listened, hearing the details Lena hadn’t shared or she hadn’t seen in the video as she served them all pancakes with syrup, and bacon and eggs.

It was as close to a perfect morning as Kara could get. What could be better than listening to wedding stories while eating delicious food, with two of her favourite people?

When Lena walked into the kitchen, hair still damp, Kara instantly knew exactly what was better.

Lena stopped short; her hairbrush stopped mid-stroke as she noticed Alex and Maggie.

“What are you doing here?’ she asked quickly, her tone sharp. ‘Is everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine,’ Alex assured her, and told her what she had told Kara.

Lena let out a sigh of relief, and resumed brushing her hair. “Good. That’s good. Do you need me to look over anything?”

“The Lab have it all under control.”

Lena looked over at Kara; she could see the worry slowly drain from her face as she watched Kara pour more pancake mix into the pan.

“Did we wake you?’ Alex asked.

“No, I was in the shower. I probably could have used the wake-up call though – better the sound of you two than my overseas investors who can’t grasp the concept of time zones.”

“Must have been dead to the world,’ Maggie said airily, ‘being up so late and all.”

Alex punched her in the arm.

Kara thought Lena would blush, or look away. But she just rolled her eyes and smiled, walked up to them and kissed them both on the cheek in greeting.

They fell into an easy conversation then; the likes Kara had never seen. In her timeline, Alex and Lena had barely exchanged more than a few sentences, and the only time Maggie had really spoken to Lena was while she had been arresting her that one time. But this was a familiar dynamic. These women had five years of history together. Their conversation flowed as easily as any conversation Kara had ever had with Alex. They shared in-jokes, laughed easily, relaxed with each other.

Not since arriving on Earth had Kara ever felt like more of an outsider than she did in that moment, and she was suddenly overcome with a sense of longing. Homesickness.

Whilst they were still talking, Kara heard her phone vibrate back in her room. She rushed through to answer it.

“You feeling better yet?’ came Snapper’s voice.

“A little,’ Kara lied.

“Enough to come in?”

Kara looked through to the kitchen. Maggie and Lena were looking at something on Maggie’s phone, but Alex was looking over at Kara with interest.

“Give me an hour.’

After another grunted response, the phone went dead in her ear. Alex watched her as she came back through to join them.

“I have to go to work,’ she said, and then hesitated before adding, ‘and then I have to go home.”

Maggie and Lena looked up at that. Maggie’s lips pursed as she gave Kara an understanding smile. Lena’s expression was almost unreadable.

“She’ll be awake soon, right?’ Kara asked. ‘You don’t need me anymore.”

Alex frowned. “It’s not about needing you, Kara.”

Kara believed her, but her words still did nothing to soother her. She didn’t know what it was, really. It was like waking up from a daydream. Kara had been so caught up in helping everybody, in the excitement of being in the future, of learning about her own life, in Lena…

But now it was wearing off, and the reality of everything was finally settling in. Kara felt disjointed. She didn’t fit. And despite how ridiculous it seemed, seen as she was standing in her own loft with three of the people who meant the most to her, she knew she had to go home – her home.  

Lena reached out then, and put a hand on her arm, giving her a tight squeeze. Alex nodded and was already dialling the DEO on her phone. Maggie was still giving her that understanding smile. Kara was glad that she didn’t need to try and explain herself.

“I have to go into the office, too,’ Lena said then. ‘Need a ride?”

Of course she didn’t need a lift. Kara could make it to CatCo in the time it would take Lena to walk through to the bathroom.

But it was going to mean extra time with Lena, so Kara smiled and nodded.

 

----

 

Despite the initial surprise of it all, Kara really did like her new office.

It was, ironically, one of the few places in this future where she really felt like herself. Her loft didn’t have the same feel anymore, now that Lena had moved in. It wasn’t just her space anymore, it was theirs.

But this office, this was all her.

The smell of it, the scent of Chinese food and candy and her perfume. The clutter on her desk, her photos and her magic eight ball and her bobblehead Supergirl figure (that Winn had bought her as a joke, Lena had explained). The way she could find exactly what she wanted in the first drawer she looked in, because even though she couldn’t remember putting it there she knew it would make sense for it to be there, and so it was.

The entire room was hers, and hers alone, and for once she didn’t feel like she was out of place.

As Kara typed away, finishing her part of the editorial, she tried desperately to focus. Her mind was in three different places; a small part on the article before here, a much larger part on wondering how her future self was responding to the treatment, but mostly worrying if her future self would be happy with her writing.

Was it narcissistic, to try and impress herself so much?

It’s not just me, she reasoned, its Snapper. I have a reputation to uphold.

But Kara had been trying to type for almost half an hour, and she still only had two paragraphs. She’d written, examined, erased and re-written so many times she’d lost count, never feeling satisfied. Surely by now she was a better writer than she had been when she was, well, herself. She had to put everything into it. Snapper would accept nothing less, and she didn’t want to get in trouble.

But the pressure was building again, and for not the first time that morning, Kara got up with a sigh and turned to the window behind her, to look out at the city.

Things had calmed down a lot since she’d arrived the day before. She could feel the release of tension, as if the city were a sentient being, exhaling in relief whenever she flew over it. And like her article she was writing (or trying to write) she hoped, when she woke up, her future self would be satisfied with it.

Kara took her glasses off and rubbed her eyes, feeling a headache coming on again. Being Kara, out of time, was becoming very confusing indeed.

She was almost happy when she saw smoke billowing off in the distance.

“Where are you going?’ Snapper called, as Kara strode from her office.

“Out for lunch.”

“It’s ten in the morning!”

He didn’t respond to the casual wave she threw over her shoulder as she headed for the roof, the top button of her shirt already undone.

But of course, when it rains it pours. After seeing to the warehouse fire, and deciding she might as well do as much as she could while she was out, she flew up right up high like Clark would do, and listened for anything else serious. Metropolis was in a little upheaval, also suffering the loss of their Superman, so she tended to there first.

She was on her way back from Nevada when the comms in her ear crackled to life.

“Kara?’ came her sisters voice.

“I’m here, is everything okay?”

“She’s waking up.”

A shiver ran down Kara’s spine, and then there was a loud crack as she accelerated so fast, she broke the sound barrier. She was sure the soundwave smashed some windscreens of the cars traveling down Route 66, but wasn’t in the frame of mind to stop and apologize.

Kara had to decelerate well before entering the city, but even then she flew into the DEO so fast, when she skidded to a halt she ripped up a long section of the flooring.

“Sorry!’ she called over her shoulder as she rushed toward the medical bay.

Winn was waiting outside, arms folded as he shifted weight from one foot to the other. He jumped when Kara appeared beside him.

“God,’ he breathed, ‘wear a bell or something.”

“Is she okay?’ Kara asked, trying to crane her neck to see.

The room where her other self lay was crammed with people in lab coats. Alex stood out from them, dressed in her all black agent suit and the only one not bustling about. She was standing, steadfast, at her bedside. Kara could just see her smoothing out the blonde hair from her forehead, no doubt whispering words of comfort.

And then alarms beeped, and Supergirl sat bolt upright.

Kara watched the scene, transfixed.

Everyone in the room stopped, except for Alex. She reached out for the other Kara, put her hands on her shoulders, told her she was okay, and that she was safe, and to just relax in a calm, firm voice. The other Kara’s eyes were alight in her disorientation; the lab technicians took a step back, but Alex just kept soothing her, and after a moment the red dissipated, and the other Kara started to take deep breaths and look around in confusion.

Winn let out a long sigh of relief beside her. “She’s okay.”

It was like an out of body experience. The med bay slowly emptied as the other Kara turned, so her legs were hanging off the edge of the bed. Her shoulders were hunched and she ran a hand through her hair. Kara wanted to listen in to what she was saying, and to what Alex was telling her, but Winn was fidgeting beside her.

“Go in,’ Kara encouraged.

Winn glanced at her. “But… you…”

“Exactly – me. I need you in there,’ Kara patted him on the back. ‘Go.”

Winn gave her one last look, before heading into the med bay. Kara watched him the whole way. He teetered on the threshold of the room, unsure; Alex and Kara, who had been in a tight embrace, looked around without breaking apart. Kara smiled at him, and then he rushed in, throwing his arms around both of them.

Kara felt her heart swell, but still turned away. It was an intimate moment, and it deserved privacy.

She walked back through to the control room, to sit down at Winn’s work station, ignoring the looks as she waited patiently. She reached into the pocket of her suit, retrieved the pager that Sara had given her, and pushed it firmly.

After a few moments, Supergirl walked into the main room, flanked by Alex. She was walking a little gingerly, but otherwise looked like she’d just woken up from long nap, rather than been in a coma for over forty-eight hours. Applause broke out once people realized what was happening, and a few agents rushed forward to pat her on the back and shake her hand.

Kara watched in interest, glad that everyone had seemingly forgotten her presence for a moment in the excitement. She watched her future-self greet everyone, considered the way she smiled and shook hands, the way she carried herself as she walked amongst everyone, insisting she was fine, and how no she didn’t need to sit down, and that yeah a chocolate milkshake would be great.

In her mind, Kara had built this Kara up to be a force to be reckoned with – the kind of person with a thousand yard stare and hard eyes, who had the same straight-backed, almost businesslike demeanour that Clark would often get whenever he walked into a room, and would make everyone else straighten up to attention too.

But as Kara watched, she saw that this Kara was really no different from herself at all.

She beamed at everyone, and laughed easily. She had that same, relaxed shoulders and swaggering walk that Kara knew herself to have. Even after being through such a terrible ordeal, she was quick to smile and quick to converse, and Kara was more relieved than she realized she would be to see that even after everything she would no doubt have been through, the untold tragedies that were to come in her future and from this Kara’s past, her light had not diminished.

“Kara? Kara!”

It took a second for Kara to realise that Alex was talking to her.

Kara blinked. Alex was beckoning her over.

With shaky knees, Kara got up from Winn’s chair and made her way over. Her blue eyes connected with identical orbs; the other Kara was watching her approach with wonder.

“Whoa,’ she breathed, examining Kara from head to toe. ‘Alex told me you were here, but still… this is weird.”

Alex chuckled, and folded her arms over her chest, looking at both of them in turn. “That’s one word for it.”

“I heard what you did,’ the other Kara said, taking a tentative step closer. ‘Coming all the way here to save me… us…’ she paused, and laughed. ‘Tenses are hard.”

Kara laughed also, and gestured at her. “Of course I came. No need to thank me.”

“Are you kidding? If it weren’t for you, I’d still be lying under the sun lamps in the medical pod. You’re a lifesaver. Literally.”

“How are you feeling?’ Kara asked, trying to ignore the bizarre feeling of talking to herself.

The other Kara blew air out through her lips. “One the mend, I guess. My tummy feels a little funky, but nothing a milkshake can’t fix I’m sure. Hey, you’re wearing my suit.”

Kara tugged at the end of her cape, suddenly feeling like a child being caught playing dress up’s in her mothers’ clothes. “I can take it off…”

“No, don’t be silly!’ the other Kara stepped forward, and took her by the shoulders. ‘Do you like it?”

She smoothed her hands down the front of her future suit, feeling the ‘S’ beneath her fingertips. She looked up at herself standing across from her; she had a knowing smile on her face.

“My turns feel sharper,’ she admitted.

The other Kara laughed. “It’s been so long since I wore the old suit, I forget how it felt. But I’m sure Winn would be happy to hear you say that.”

Kara allowed herself a smile, feeling herself relax a little. Alex, who had stepped away for a moment, had re-joined them now. She was clearly on the other Kara’s side of things, as she hovered just that little bit closer to her, hand outstretched as if only just holding herself back from taking her by the elbow.

Alex gushed then about everything that had happened over the past forty-eight hours, starting from when they had contacted Barry, to this Kara flying into National city, right up to this moment now. She talked about how Kara had cleaned up the city, and half the eastern seaboard quite frankly, and how she’d been such a big help in bringing about back some sense of normalcy.

As she talked, the other Kara nodded, listening intently, looking business-like and serious. She glanced over at Kara every once in a while, flashing her smiles.

Kara wasn’t sure why if felt so odd to hear Alex talk about her this way. Alex had always rained praise down upon her. But to share it with herself, like some sort of status report, and after the hype that had been building about this future Kara, and the way she had built her up in her own mind…

“Sounds like you’ve all had everything under control,’ the other Kara beamed, putting her hands on her hips. ‘Not that I would ever think you wouldn’t. Has it been really strange for you, being here? Did anyone catch you up on the last five years? Are you even allowed to be here? Isn’t this against some sort of time rule?”

Kara chuckled, finding it refreshing that, for once, she knew more than someone else did. She explained about what was to happen when she went home, and at the mention of J’onn, the other Kara let out a sigh and looked at Alex with an expression relief.

“Well that explain why I don’t remember any of this. I’m so glad J’onn isn’t here. Could you imagine the lecture?”

“If you think that just because J’onn isn’t here that you’re not getting a lecture,’ growled Alex, ‘think again.”

“It can wait,’ the other Kara said dismissively. She looked around. ‘I want to see everyone first. Where’s James?”

“He’s at work.”

“Maggie?”

“At the station.”

“Lena?”

Alex froze. She looked between both Kara’s, eyes widening. “I’m going to call her right now. I can’t believe I forgot… it all happened so quickly…”

As Alex stepped away again, phone already to her ear, Kara turned her attention back to the future Supergirl standing across from her – she was biting her lip, looking awkward.

“It’s okay,’ Kara said, taking pity on her, ‘I know about Lena.”   

“Oh, thank Rao,’ the other Kara breathed, putting a hand to her chest. ‘I really didn’t want to have to try and explain that to you. What did you think? When you found out…”

Kara didn’t know what to say. She did feel like she should explain though. She felt like she should tell herself about the night before, how Lena and her had talked about so much history, about how they had almost crossed a line…

But she didn’t even get a chance to try and start the conversation, because one of the analysts at the computers was hailing them.

“Excuse me, Supergirl?”

“Yes?’ both Kara’s answered.

The analyst looked between them with confusion. “Uh… ma’ams, we’re picking up a ship on our scanners approaching the city…”

“Track its trajectory,’ the other Kara said, stepping forward at once. ‘Where’s it headed?”

Kara followed her, slightly impressed with how she had adopted Alex’s DEO tone over the years. She watched the satellite image up on the big screens; it showed the birds-eye view of the city, and a small red blip flying over it. Its estimated direction was indicated with red lines, and it looked like it was going to land out in the desert... exactly where Kara had been dropped off the day before.

“It’s the Waverider,’ Kara explained. At the other Kara’s look, she elaborated: ‘My lift home.”

“You’re leaving already?’

The pager in Kara’s hand began to beep again, signalling to her what she already knew – they were ready when she was.

The other Kara was looking at her with disappointment. Kara supposed she was probably just as eager to talk to her, as Kara herself had been to talk to everyone else. While everything here now was a mystery to her, something exciting to discover, Kara was sure she represented nostalgia, preserved and fresh memories from things that would have seemed so long ago to the person standing across from her now. Like the feel of her “old” Supergirl suit, or the way it felt to be just starting out in her journalism career, or even the clearly foreign notion that she and Lena could be anything else but lovers, would have no doubt become hazy over the years.

Kara hesitated for a moment then. Her mind had been completely made up until that moment; for a split second, she was tempted to stay just that little bit longer, just to talk with herself.

But it was only a split second. And Kara pursed her lips, and the other Kara already knew what she was going to say.

“I understand,’ she said with a nod. ‘I’ll fly you out.”

“You should rest.”

“I’ve done enough resting,’ the other Kara tensed and flexed herself then; a tiny gust of wind blew from her, ruffling her cape and her hair – she was eager to fly.

They made it half way toward the balcony, when Alex caught up with them.

“I’ve called her three times and no answer,’ she explained. ‘I think she’s in a meeting but I left a mes-... hey, where are you two going?” When the Future Kara explained, Alex turned to her other sister. “You’re leaving already? I mean, I know you said so at breakfast but I didn’t think you’d go straight away.’

Kara laughed, feeling like there was an echo. “I have to get home. I know I said it’ll only take five minutes and by the time I go back it will be, but it’s been ages and I miss my family and…’ it had all spilled out in one long, quick mouthful. Kara sighed. ‘I don’t belong here.”

Kara was glad when Alex didn’t fight her on it. She just exchanged a look with her other sister, and then rushed forward to hug Kara tightly. A waft of her perfume caught Kara’s attention then, and she realized even that had changed.

“Thank you so much,’ Alex whispered in her ear. ‘For everything. We couldn’t have done this without you.”

“Tell the others I said bye,’ Kara smiled as they pulled apart. ‘I hope they’ll understand.”

“Don’t you worry,’ Alex stepped back and squeezed the other Kara on the shoulder. ‘Guess I’ll see you soon, then.”

Kara nodded, and then in a whirl of movement, she and her other self were through the window and up in the air.

The other Kara beside her started slow, but quickly began to build momentum, getting the hang of things quickly. And soon enough, she was doing loop-de-loops and barrel rolls and flying on her back, all with a giant grin on her face. Kara watched her, knowing that feeling.

“I just have to stop back at home,’ she called over the wind. ‘Gimme a second.”

Future Kara nodded, and stayed outside to continue flying around in a childlike glee while Kara ducked through the window of her loft, and headed quickly into the bedroom. In three seconds, she was dressed in her old Supergirl suit again. She paused to look in a mirror, and felt happy as a familiar facade looked back at her. She folded the future suit back up, put it in the drawer where she had originally found it, and took one last look around the apartment before flying back out the window.

“Do I get quicker in five years?’ Kara asked.

Her future-self smirked. “Wanna find out?”

 

----

 

Thump.

The ground beneath them crumpled as they both fell from the sky, creating little craters beneath their feet.

Kara straightened up, flipping her hair out of her face, and laughed. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

Her future self brushed dust from her shoulders, trying not to look smug, but failing. “I could almost keep up with Barry at one point. But he’s always one step ahead. And don’t even get me started on Wally.”

The Waverider materialized then; out of nothingness, the great ship flickered into view just beside them. The side doors opened, and the Future Kara rushed to the door with a grin.

“Sara!”

Sara Lance barely had time to respond, as the Future Kara floated up to the door and pulled her into a hug. Her eyes widened, and she looked through blonde hair, down at Kara smiling up at them.

“I see everything got sorted then?’ she asked, pulling herself away from Supergirl’s firm embrace.

Kara floated up to meet them too; the Future Kara was beaming at her.

“My Hero,’ she swooned playfully.

Kara rolled her eyes and shoved her gently. Sara was looking at both of them in turn with a curious, dazed expression on her face, before clearing her throat and backing away.

“I’ll just… I’ll be on the bridge,’ she muttered, pointing at them both, ‘Gideon, prepare for departure…”

The Future Kara turned to her past self then, her lips pursed. “It seems weird to say goodbye, doesn’t it?”

“This whole thing is weird.” Kara chuckled. ‘But I feel bad leaving without saying goodbye to everyone else… but I’m not really leaving, because you’re here.’ She sighed and rubbed her eyes, feeling that headache coming back again.

“They’ll understand.”

‘Lena was so good to me.”

“Yeah,’ the other Kara smiled then, in a dopey sort of way. ‘She’s like that.”

It was that same look Kara had seen on Lena’s face while they had been looking at photos the night before – an expression, when Kara tried to think of a word to describe it, could only think of lovestruck. Her eagerness to get back to her own time doubled.

“Oh,’ Kara reached into her suit, then and pulled out the phone. ‘You’ll probably want this back.”

Her twin took it, glancing at the screen, and groaned upon seeing eleven missed calls. “Snapper…”

“That’s my fault. I kinda just walked out of the office an hour ago.”

“You’d think he’d be used to it by now.”  The Future Kara laughed.

“I started your article for you. It’s not great… I’m sure you can fix it right up though, I only wrote a few paragraphs…’

Kara was rambling, she knew it. But the Future Kara just smiled, and then they embraced. Kara gripped her just as tightly as she was being held; one of the few moments where she didn’t have to hold back her strength.

“I know it’s ridiculous to say,’ the other Kara murmured as they pulled apart, ‘seen as we’re the same person and all, because of course you’re not going to let yourself die or anything… but thank you again.”

“You’re welcome. It’s been… enlightening.”

“I’ll bet,’ the other Kara smiled. She took Kara by the shoulders again. ‘I hope it hasn’t been too confusing for you.”

Kara didn’t want to lie to herself, so she said nothing.

“I know there’s probably a lot of gaps in your understanding, what with work and Lena and everything else, and I know it doesn’t matter what I tell you know, because you won’t remember any of it – trust me, I know,’ she laughed, and then fixed Kara with an intense gaze, ‘but I just want you to know, even just for a moment, that you’re going to have an amazing future.”

She backed away slowly then, until she was off the ship, hovering in mid-air. Kara stared at her; she looked so impressive in her suit, with her cape and hair softly blowing in the breeze, the big ‘S’ on her chest looking powerful and poignant. Kara could sometimes forget that she could look this way. It sent a shiver down her spine.

Supergirl waved at her, and then in a blur of colour and a gust of wind, she was gone.

Kara started after her until the dust had settled, took one last look at the silver towers of National City on the horizon, and then turned on her heel and headed back into the ship.

 

-----

 

Alex held up her phone, brandishing the timer at Kara. “Thirty seconds to spare. I’m impressed.”

Kara rushed forward more quickly than she intended, and pulled her sister into a hug – her sister. Alex laughed and grunted against her, but returned the embrace in earnest like she always did. Kara could see J’onn moving around in her peripheral vision, and knew he was about to step out to give them space.

“Nope,’ she stated. And without giving him a chance to argue, she grabbed him by the front of his jacket and pulled him in for a hug too.

The Waverider had dropped her off only a minute earlier. After a quick good-bye and thank you to Sara and the rest of the Legends, Kara had wasted no time at all speeding back across the desert and heading straight for the DEO building, through the offices and into J’onn’s office.

They had been standing in almost the exact same spot they’d been in before she’d left with Barry, and in what had been a split second of recognition for them as Kara burst in the door, and felt like an eternal moment for Kara.

Everything now seemed to click back into place, like adding the final piece into a large jigsaw puzzle. Kara felt the tension roll from her shoulders as she pulled back, and looked at two of the people most important to her in the whole entire world.

“Hey,’ Alex frowned, and reached out to brush hair out of Kara’s face. ‘Are you okay?”

“Yeah,’ Kara breathed, forcing a smile to her face. ‘Yeah, I’m just tired.”

“How long were you gone for?’ J’onn asked, hands on his hips. ‘For you, I mean.”

“Almost twenty four hours.”

Alex blew air out through her lips. “I bet you’ve seen a lot.”

Kara snorted. “You could say that.”

After a long moment, J’onn cleared his throat, muttered something about debriefs and Winn, and began to excuse himself from the room. “Come meet me in the medical bay when you’re ready,’ he said, hovering in the doorway. ‘Both of you.”

He shut the door then, and Kara took his meaning.

“Might as well tell me everything then,’ Alex sat her down, not letting go of her hand. ‘So… do I have grey hairs in the future? Should I start taking more vitamins?”

Kara ran a hand through her hair, and laughed. “No, but it was longer. Up to here…”

Alex looked down at the point on her shoulder where Kara’s finger touched. “Really? Hasn’t been that long since college. Does Maggie look different, too? Tell me we’re still together.”

It took almost an hour for Kara to get through everything. Not only was there a lot of information to share, but Alex kept interrupting with question after question, which would bring them to another topic, which would only bring up more questions.

“We got married in a church?’

“Dad comes back?”

“You’re Snapper’s assistant?’

“Winn has a boyfriend?

Kara wasn’t impatient at all; she just laughed at Alex’s disbelief, answered her questions, and kept talking. Alex’s hand never loosened its grip from Kara’s; as she sat there across from her, transfixed and fascinated by this future, Kara felt a weight being lifted from her. It was no nice to have her sister back. It was nice to be able to tell someone about all this – even if they were both going to forget it all soon enough.

When she was done, Alex sat back and looked just as dazed as Kara felt.

“Amazing,’ Alex breathed, shaking her head. ‘I wish I could have seen your new suit. Well, I guess I will eventually, but - … and you say Dad was around? Amazing. Amazing.”

Kara laughed. “I haven’t even told you about Lena yet.”

“What about Lena?”

Kara laughed awkwardly. “Well… her and I… live together.”

Alex frowned. “You move into her penthouse?”

“No, she moves into the loft.”

“Why? How do you keep the Supergirl secret from her if she lives with you? Where does she sleep?”

Kara bit her lip. Her hesitation to answer was enough for Alex to piece it all together.

“Oh,’ was all she said.

“Are you mad?”

“Of course I’m not mad. How can I be mad about something that hasn’t even happened yet?”

“You know what I mean,’ Kara gave her a look. ‘You’re not saying much. And when you don’t say much it’s because you’re mad.”

I’m not mad,’ Alex enforced. ‘How do you feel about it?”

Kara flashed back to yesterday – her yesterday – when Lena had first walked into her apartment. “I was surprised. But after everything…” she trailed off, looking into space.

“I’m not.”

“Not what?”

“Surprised.’ At Kara’s look, Alex just smiled with a shrug. ‘You talk about her a lot – like I did with Maggie.”

“That’s different.”

“Well, apparently, it’s not.” Alex was staring at Kara with that concerned expression again. ‘You’ve been through a lot, haven’t you?”

Kara sighed, and got to her feet, and because they were still holding hands, so did Alex. She had been through a lot. She’d seen so much, gone through a myriad of emotions, worked her ass off… but now she was home, it all seemed further away somehow – back in the future, where it belonged.

“No sense worrying about it now, is there?’ Kara said finally. ‘What happens, happens.”

Alex didn’t press the issue, and Kara was glad of it.

Hand in hand, they walked through to the medical bay together. Kara took in the sensation on looking around the DEO terminals, the agents walking around cradling guns and swiping through tablets, the way no one looked at her curiously because she was supposed to be there, with a fresh and strong appreciation. She knew the moment would be fleeting, so she embraced it, trying to take in every detail, comparing it to the future she had just returned from, before it was all wiped away.

J’onn was in the med bay when they walked in, standing under a very large lamp. When he saw them approach, he flicked it on, and a beam of light, red and hot emitted from it. J’onn indicated for her to step forward and stand under it.

“What’s this?’ Kara asked, fascinated.

“Red Sun lamp,’ he explained, flexing his fingers. ‘I can’t usually reach a Kryptonians mind, so we made this to make you susceptible to my telepathy. You feel any different?”

Kara took notice of her body. She tried to float off the floor, but she didn’t move. She blew out a little air, expecting to see ice, but saw nothing.

“No, but it’s working alright. Was this your idea?”

J’onn looked at Alex.

“I just thought it would be safer way,’ Alex said cautiously, ‘in case we ever needed to perform procedures on you, which clearly we do in the future. We don’t have any Kryptonite left so I couldn’t make needles out of it, so this was the next best thing.”

Kara remembered her future self, lying in the med bay almost identical to this one… and there had been lamps around. Kara hadn’t noticed the way it had made her feel before being near them, there had been so much going on. 

“Won’t take long,’ J’onn said kindly. ‘You only have to stand here long enough for me to wipe the memories, then we’ll turn it right back off again.”

Kara nodded, and squared her shoulders. “I’m ready.

J’onn seemed to move in slow motion; but he wasn’t really, Kara was just perceiving things too quickly. A flood of images flashed through her mind as his hands reached out for her – Alex with longer hair… James and Winn… her new Super suit… Lena…

“Just relax,’ J’onn soothed.

“Wait,’

His fingertips had barely brushed her skin before she was shrinking away.

“Kara, I have to do this.”

“I know. I know there’s an entire time stream to protect and this has to happen. I’m not stopping you for that. I just…’ Kara sighed, feeling hesitant. ‘Can you leave something? Even just a feeling. Can I remember that I had a good day?”

J’onn smiled at her, and nodded. “Of course. Anything else?”

Kara pursed her lips. “Actually, maybe just one last feeling…”

 

-----

 

(National City – 2022: Five minutes after Kara left)

 

Thump.

Kara straightened up from her landing, and walked into the office from the balcony.

And almost instantly, she was greeted by Agent Macintyre, who had an enormous chocolate milkshake in her hands.

“Here you are, ma’am,’ she breathed, thrusting it toward Kara.

Kara sighed happily, took it from her quickly and slurped half it down in one long mouthful. “Ruby, you’re a lifesaver.”

Agent Macintyre blushed, saluted, and dashed away, almost knocking over an approaching Alex. She only stopped long enough to mutter a “Sorry, Director Danvers” before disappearing completely.

“Look,’ Kara enthused, brandishing her drink, ‘what an angel.”

“She almost shot you yesterday.”

“Seriously?”

“Not you, the other you,’ Alex folded her arms over her chest. ‘Did she get home okay?”

“I assume so. I can’t remember.’

Alex afforded a soft snort of amusement, before fixing Kara with a stare. Kara stared into her milkshake, ignoring it.

“Did you get a hold of Lena?”

“She’s on her way.”

“She didn’t have to, I can just fly over there and…”

“You did a good job, y’know,’ Alex said, cutting her off. ‘Convincing her, I mean. You almost convinced me.”

Kara sighed heavily, her nostrils flaring. She looked up at Alex, her meaning clear. Her shoulders finally tensed again, their usual posture; her easy-going attitude was gone.

“She didn’t need to know.”

“It wouldn’t have affected anything.”

“I’m not worried about time lines,’ Kara said, a spike of irritation lacing her tone. ‘I just wanted to look at her, and remember what it used to be like before. What I used to be like.”

Alex gripped her shoulder. “You can be like that again.”

Kara looked at her. “When you say it, I believe it.

Alex wouldn’t ever tell her what it had felt like, to see her sister so unburdened again. They’d been through so much these past few years, that it had taken a toll on Kara. Of course it had; Kara always felt things so deeply, how could everything they had experienced not have affected her?

It had felt like such a long time since Kara had looked at her without that crushing weight on her shoulders. Kara was lighter than she had been in the past months, but still nothing like she used to be – nothing like the Kara who had just been standing with them was. Past Kara had been lighter, quicker to smile.

This Kara, her Kara, was well on her way, thanks to a lot of love and support from everyone, and Alex firmly believed she would back to herself in no time. But still, it felt too cruel to share her revelation with her, just like it had probably felt cruel to her do the same to her past self.

“Did she freak out about Lena?’ Kara asked, slurping on her drink. ‘Be honest now…”

“They actually got on pretty well.”

Slurp.

How well?”

“Director Danvers,’ came a call from the analysts nearby, ‘we’re getting reports of an alien attack on Grove Avenue? We’ve contacted Guardian but its half way across the city…”

Dread settled on Kara’s stomach. “That’s just around the corner from L-Corp.”

Alex didn’t get time to try and reassure her that Lena was probably half way to the DEO already; Kara was gone in a gust of wind. Alex caught her drink only just in time.

“I’ve missed her,’ sighed the analyst, turning back to her computer.

Alex smiled, taking a sip from the abandoned milkshake. “Me too.” 

 

----

 

Lena crouched behind the giant, granite foot of the Supergirl statue, breathing hard.

She glanced around, gun in her hand already. From her vantage point, she could see through the flying debris the innocent bystanders – parents out with their kids, joggers, businessmen and women out enjoying the sunshine on their lunch break – all scattering, trying to get out of the crossfire.

The alien was in a rage. With rippling muscles and scaly skin, it was having no trouble causing as much damage as possible. It had torn the fountain apart, ripped park benches from the ground and tossed them around like they weighed nothing, stomped and ripped craters into the ground. Lena’s car had only just avoided being flipped, thanks to the quick reflexes of her driver. He’d only just managed to swerve, avoiding the tree that had been lopped across the street, but they had still slammed right into the light pole, sending airbags off and cracking the windows, sending shards of glass everywhere.

He’d stayed long enough to help Lena out of the car, before she’d insisted he go get some help, and that she would be fine. And even then, it had taken the threat of firing him to get him to leave her.

Bruised and lacerated, Lena had run right into the square and tried to get as many people out of the area as she could, but in the confusion people were not too inclined to listen to her.

Ducking out of the way of another airborne object, Lena now found herself taking cover behind the giant Supergirl Statue.

Ironic, she thought for a moment.

She peered around again. The alien was standing over a group of teenagers, who were huddled together, cowering in fear. It had been ranting on and on about its girlfriend being taken in by the DEO, her being falsely accused, demanding Supergirl come out and face him, and was even more enraged now it had a proper, albeit unwilling, audience.

“Where is the JUSTICE?’ it screamed at the kids, as if they had anything to do with this madness. ‘She’s an angel! This is POLICE BRUTALITY!”

Lena cocked her gun, stepped out from behind the stature, and fired twice.

Neither shot hit the alien, but it was enough. He looked around, and roared, and began to lumber over. He was huge, but slow. Lena gestured for the teens to run; they did so, scrambling to their feet with cries of terror, before Lena kicked off her own heels and make a barefoot break for it herself.

She fired twice more over her shoulder, missing again, and ducked back behind the statue.

“LUTHOR!’ it bellowed.

Lena could feel its steps, it was getting closer. She checked her clip – she only had two shots left.

“You’re LUTHOR! You know SUPERGIRL! Bring her to ME!”

Lena shook her head with a smile. “Fat chance, buddy.’ She called. ‘Why don’t you try writing her some fan mail? Or just go tweet about your feelings like a normal person?”

“My girlfriend had my phone!’ he snarled. ‘And Supergirl ARRESTED HER!”

“Looks like you’re out of luck, then!”

The Alien snarled again, and then Lena heard a very loud ‘crack’, and felt a bone-rattling tremor roll up her feet and through her back, and then heard stone grinding and stone, and looked up to see the statue falling toward her.

Lena’s leg cramped; she tried to get up and move but her body couldn’t respond. She cried out in pain and tried to roll out of the way, but it was falling quicker and quicker…

And then nothing.

Lena, who’s eyes had clamped shut, looked up to see Supergirl standing over her, holding up the statue of herself. Her muscles were bulging, the chords of her neck standing out; her teeth were bared as she took the weight.

And then she looked down at Lena, and smiled a bright, dazzling smile.

“Hi, babe!”

Happiness exploded within Lena as she realized.

“It’s you!”

“SUPERGIRL!”

The Alien was standing nearby, cracking its knuckles.

Kara sighed, put the statue down gently, and then held a hand out for Lena. She took it gratefully, and let out a little cry of surprise as Kara pulled her to her feet more quickly than she anticipated. She caught her footing just in time to gently bump against Kara’s side.

“It’s you,’ Lena breathed again.

Kara smiled at her again, her hand lingering a moment in Lena’s before she stepped away. “Sorry, duty calls. Be right back.”

Lena sat back on the broken plinth that had once held up the statue of her girlfriend, cross-legged, not even caring that she was probably ruining her new Gucci dress in this mud pile. Heart pounding in her chest, she watched as Kara fought with the alien. He threw punches, but Kara dodged them easily. With every miss, he got angrier and angrier, but Kara didn’t even fight back, just let him swing away until he began to tire.

“I will END YOU.”

“Not at this rate you won’t.”

“You are DEAD.”

“Nope, just really hungry. I’ve been asleep for a while. Sure you don’t just wanna discuss this over a burger? I know a place…”

“You locked up my girlfriend!”

“Yeah? Well you nearly killed mine, so…’

WHACK

The alien went flying. It slammed right into the statue, cracking it along where Supergirl’s knee was, and the alien went limp.

“… take that,’ Kara said, dusting her hands off.

Out of the corner of her eye, Lena was aware that black DEO vans were pulling up; red and blue lights from NCPD vehicles were flashing as the police arrived; but she took no notice of any of it. Kara was at the centre of her tunnel vision, and she could do nothing as Kara strode over to her, scooped her up and lifted them both up into the air.

Lena had flown with Kara many times. She knew for certain that she would never drop her – that’s not why she clung to her so tightly.

They landed on the balcony of Lena’s office. Kara put her down gently as ever, but Lena didn’t let go. Kara laughed and wrapped herself around her, cape and all.

“I’m so mad at you,’ Lena said, her voice muffled in Kara’s hair. ‘When I’m done being so happy to see you, I’ll tell you how much.”

“I’m sure you will.”

“Don’t you ever do anything like that ever again.’

“I won’t.”

“You will, I know you will. You need back up, Kara, for Christ sake… you can’t just go storming into alien strongholds by yourself and…”

Lena didn’t get another word out. Kara’s lips were on hers, and that was enough.

It was like breathing oxygen again after a long time underwater. Kara’s mouth was hot, and Lena’s body rolled in toward her by its own violation. Kara couldn’t help the moan that escaped her lips, and neither could Lena. She had to put in serious effort not to grip too hard as she drew Lena into her.

It didn’t seem like it had been that long for Kara, not like it had been for Lena. But the energy between them was electric, like they hadn’t seen each other in weeks. Lena backed her up against the desk. Her hands were at different points; the fingers of her left hand dug into Kara’s hips, while her right cupped her face, trying to pull her closer. Lena could never make up her mind where she wanted to touch Kara first, so she tried to touch her everywhere at once.

Lena pulled away suddenly. She cupped Kara’s face in her hands, and looked into her eyes. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,’ Kara smiled. She offered her a quick, chaste kiss before adding, ‘I’m sorry I worried you.”

“When you showed up, I wasn’t sure if it really was you or not,’ Lena admitted. ‘Where’s the other you?”

“Back home,’ Kara wrapped her arms around Lena’s waist, linking her fingers together. ‘She left not long ago.”

“Oh. Was she okay?”

“Just eager to get back to get home, I guess,’ Kara admitted. ‘I would be. And I’m her.”

Lena nodded. Kara could feel how tightly she was still gripping her; her fingers were digging into her shoulders – not that it hurt at all.

“She mentioned you looked after her,’ Kara said.

“How could I not?” Lena chewed on her bottom lip then. ‘But I’ll admit that it got a bit… confusing.”

Kara nodded. “I imagine it would have.”

“Nothing happened,’ Lena said earnestly.

“It’s okay,’ Kara chuckled.

“Okay, yes, we slept in the same bed… and I accidentally kissed her this morning… but –“

“Lena, it’s okay. I’m not mad. And I believe you.”

Lena nodded and looked relieved. “Do you really not remember any of it? It’s bizarre to think you were just here.”

Kara thought for a moment, trying to think of anything from the day Alex said her past self had come from. “Not really. It was a long time ago. J’onn must have done a good job. He must have wiped Alex’s mind too. She didn’t remember any of this either, and I’m sure I would have told her everything when I went back. Do you remember?”

Lena shook her head. “You weren’t even out to me yet, then.”

Kara thought hard, trying to recapture a fragment of what had happened. She could sense something, but it was hard to focus on; like trying to hold water in her hand.

“I missed you,’ Lena whispered, stroking Kara’s face. ‘I don’t how I could of, when your past self was here, but it’s like… she wasn’t you.”

Kara leaned in then, pressing her forehead against Lena’s. This had been part of the reason she’d wanted to talk to her old self. She couldn’t remember how it felt not to feel this way about Lena. When she tried, her mind just shut down, as if it were simply just telling her ‘no’.

“You should probably go help,’ Lena said, jerking her head over Kara’s shoulder, toward the window.

“Yeah,’ Kara looked around, ‘I probably should.”

“I’ll head over to the DEO… just as soon as I can find another car. I already cleared my afternoon. You must be starving. We can go out for Schwarma.”

“Lena…”

“Okay, okay,’ Lena laughed and kissed her again, ‘burgers it is.”

Kara moaned in delight, both at the thought of food and Lena’s lips against hers, and Lena’s fingers in her hair, and the feel of Lena’s body against her own…

“Mmmkay,’ Kara pulled away slowly, ‘okay, I have to go. And you have to get changed.’

Lena looked down at herself. Her dress and legs were splattered with mud. Her bare feet were filthy. Her hair was in disarray from the wind, and Kara’s hands.

“Maybe I’ll just meet you at home, then,’ Lena chuckled.

Kara smiled, dashed back for one last, lingering kiss, and then backed toward the balcony.

It was then that a memory hit her, and she blinked, and laughed.

“What’s so funny?’ asked Lena. “Is it my hair?”

“I just remembered something. From that day.”

“J’onn left something behind?”

“Not a memory of being here,’ Kara smiled, ‘but I remember what happened next.”

 

----

 

(National City – 2017)

 

Kara knocked as she walked into the office, but Lena didn’t hear her.

Her head was bent over her laptop; an expression of firm concentration contorted her eyebrows, white earbuds were in her ears, her long dark hair was tucked behind her ears and her chin was resting on her templed fingers as she stared at the screen, deep in thought.

Kara clutched the paper bag in her hand tightly. She took advantage of the moment, admiring the way the sun was shining in through the window behind her, bathing her in a soft light and casting an angelic glow around her.

Kara was so taken by Lena, that she didn’t notice herself slowly moving forward. But the movement was enough to get Lena’s attention.

She looked up, blinked out of her reverie, and smiled as brightly as the sun behind her. “Kara!”

“Am I interrupting? I did knock…”

“Of course not, come in,’ Lena pulled the earbuds from her ears, and pressed a button on her keyboard. ‘I was just watching a Ted Talk on astrophysics.”

Kara laughed, let her bag fall from her shoulder and sat herself down across the desk from Lena.

“Easy listening?”

Lena sat back in her seat. “Is everything alright? I thought we were meant to be meeting for dinner later this evening. Did I get the time wrong?”

Kara didn’t want to say no, I just really wanted to see you, because not only would it have been embarrassing and strange, it would have been difficult to explain why – mostly because she couldn’t explain it to herself.

One minute she’d been in the med bay with J’onn and Alex – he was showing her the new Red Sun lamps they’d installed – and then the next, out of no-where she’d been overcome with the need to see Lena. J’onn had not even argued when she’d asked to leave the office so suddenly.

“Slow day at work,’ Kara finally said, and she brandished the bag she had brought. “Thought you might like a snack.”

Lena’s businesslike demeanour, which had already softened slightly upon seeing Kara, as it usually did, cracked completely then.

She sighed in relief; her shoulders slumped and she reached out for the bag. “Have I told you how much I adore you lately?”

Kara ignored the way her stomach clenched, undid her grey cardigan, adjusted her glasses, and handed her best friend a muffin.