A/N: I don't own Supergirl nor the characters within. This is the Secret Kalex Santa 2018 exchange fic I wrote for Daxolotl. I hope you enjoy.


Their first kiss was after a particularly rough and tumble mission – not hard, not too dangerous, but enough to leave Alex with scrapes and bruises and Supergirl flying off to contain one of the aliens on her own.

Still panting from an unglamorous wrestling match with the alien and wiping singed bangs back from her forehead with a frustrated grumble, Alex looked up at the familiar sound of wind buffeting against a body now occupying its space. "Hey," she started with an instant smile on her face.

"Hey," she expected back, or maybe even a, "You gotta be more careful, Alex!" as Supergirl flew in close to search her for breaks or subcutaneous wounds, x-ray gaze doing its uncomfortable job. Instead, in the middle of realizing her greeting was going unheard, the next splintered second Alex registered was Supergirl's strong arms caging her in as Alex's back firmly met a wall. "Oh!" she gasped, "Whoah, wait, what's..." Fingers brushing through the tips of her burnt hair and stroking along a bruised cheek bone, the touch both soft and purposeful, silenced her, muddling her thoughts further.

Supergirl stared at her. Her expression barely moved, only her eyes crinkling as she took her in, and with a low, breathed, "Oh Alex…" her body wavered, jerked, and then she was there. Lips parted, warm and soft... On Alex's.

Alex started, hands jumping before sliding and curling loosely on the defined waist of Supergirl's suit. She didn't have time to react to the shock that spiraled through her at the touch of lips to hers - it was already hot and effervescent inside her, filling and bubbling away at the aches and burns throughout her body - she could only try to catch enough air fill her lungs.

Just as Supergirl's body shifted to meet hers, lips releasing a sigh as they moved in again to mold around hers... Supergirl stopped. Froze. And pulled back.

Her eyes were dark. Wide. And full of so much panic that Alex instinctively exhaled, swaying forward in an attempt to cut off, stop the thing that was making her sister look like that... Only for those eyes to dart away, those lips to open, and, gaze snapping back to her, that body to take them all away.

Stumbling from the woosh of wind and loss of support, Alex had to press her hand to the wall to stay standing.

What…

What was that?

Alex stared down at the floor, not seeing it. Her heart throbbed in her chest, breath skittering out of her mouth, and it was only her many years of training that proved her capable of putting her hand on her gun in preparation to draw it as Agent Redmayne stepped into the room - not too hastily, but not too slowly, either. Read the room quickly, her old instructor had said, Quickly but accurately. Don't draw on a friend, but don't let a foe get the drop on you, either. So Alex didn't, relaxing and dropping her hand from her hip before she acknowledged the agent.

"Ma'am?" Redmayne asked, "Mop-up's here, and Director Henshaw's asking for you." The woman smirked. "I reckon Med wants a look at you, too."

Alex straightened, nodding. "Understood." As she started walking past Redmayne, she paused, taking pride in the fact that her voice didn't shake, and cleared her throat. "A word of advice, agent? The next time you're getting tackled by a raging Spensfar – try to dodge. They're heavier than they look."

Redmayne grimaced. "Yes ma'am." Waiting for Alex to step past her and out into the hallway, she raised her voice, "You know, you might want to stop by the hairdresser too!"

Raising her hand to feel her still singed bangs, Alex groaned.


Poking at the plaster on her cheek in the mirror, Alex looked up at the turn of a key in her lock. Setting her beer down onto the nearest surface – the box holding her as-yet-still-unused new sound system, courtesy of Vasquez as payback for a favor Alex had done for her, the tech computer specialist having… maybe not so surprising connections – and making sure her government issued taser was within reach, she turned towards the door.

Only two people had keys to the apartment: Kara, and her mother. And she doubted it was her mother.

"I brought potstickers and pizza!" Kara announced, two large paper bags and two boxes of pizza in her arms, looking not at all surprised to see Alex there, waiting for her. Walking past her towards the kitchen, she avoided Alex's eyes but smiled at her, "And soup from that Chinese place you like that always makes you feel better."

Alex had to swallow, watching Kara walk away from her. "And by 'Chinese place', you mean 'place in China', don't you?" she asked, following her foster sister, "Kara…"

"Yes!" Kara almost interrupted, a hand nudging her glasses up before smoothing down her plaited hair. She turned, gave Alex a slight smile, and turned back, making quick work of the set up; as she moved to grab a plate from the cupboard, Alex was already there. Kara's surprise was too manufactured, too practiced, and as Alex slid a plate into the Kryptonian's hand, she shook her head.

"Kara."

"Of course I went there," Kara continued, setting the plate down, then doing the same with another Alex handed her, the two ending up what Alex knew would be perfectly between the back of the wall and the lip of the counter. It had been one of the first things Alex had noticed about her new sister, after all – when she got overwhelmed or anxious, she had a habit of fidgeting with whatever was in front of her, arranging it all to be microscopically even. "You're hurt." Despite her avoidance of Alex, Kara's words were pointed on hurt. "Enough to be banned from the DEO for half a week."

Alex rolled her eyes, reaching across for the first box of pizza. "You sure you're not just rewarding my injury? And, no, that's only because my ribs are still soft from training last week," she lifted out a slice, humming at the satisfying strings of cheese that stretched out from its remaining neighbors, scooping them up gleefully onto her slice, "And I haven't been cleared to test out anything more from the Med Bay until my white blood cells are completely back to normal. Someone made sure the Director was nearby when I went to volunteer as 'tribute'." Alex made sure her words were just as pointed on tribute, a word Kara had snapped at her when she had been particularly annoyed with Alex's seeming disregard for her own safety if it was going to help others, or help her get to the others to help them survive. It was obvious who that someone was, too.

Shaking her head, Kara handed her a – smaller – bag of potstickers, purposefully ignoring the look Alex gave her. "Which is a good thing," she stressed, holding out some chopsticks for Alex to take too, "Last time, you didn't sleep until I – "

"Bundled me up and practically threw me into bed," Alex anticipated Kara saying; grabbing up her beer, she willed her cheeks not to burn at the – suddenly – possible new meaning behind those words. Instead, taking a sip, she watched Kara over the bottle.

Kara's gaze skittered at her, and then she was blinking, pushing her hair back from her face as she bent over to pull a good quarter of the second pizza onto her plate. "You were the one who threatened those scientists into rushing up their experiments. And I can't – I can't believe," Kara straightened, eyes flashing as she – finally – raised her gaze to look at Alex, "Even after everything, you would continue to endanger yourself so… so recklessly!"

Recklessly?

"Recklessly?" Alex laughed, shaking her head. She heavily set her beer and plate down onto the kitchen table, then turned back to meet her sister's accusatory gaze. "Do you really want to talk to me about being reckless when you're the one who acted so... I don't even know what, back there?"

Kara pulled back, and Alex caught the crease between her eyes. "Alex, I – "

But it was too late. Alex needed to get this awkwardness dealt with before it... Compromised... Broke so many different things. She raised her hands, shoulders lifting and spreading, her body unconsciously shifting into a position she felt confident in. "What the hell was that back there?" she accused, "Why the hell was my sister suddenly kissing me?"

Her words rang in her kitchen.

"Stop." Kara wrapped her arms around herself, shaking her head. "Stop."

Alex flinched. She swallowed. "Kara – "

But Kara wasn't done. She looked back up at Alex, the shining in her eyes behind her glasses stopping the words in her throat. "Don't use that word. Not for this. We've always been more than sisters."

Alex had to swallow again. "Kara." Her voice cracked. How could she be so angry, yet so terrified, too, of what was going to come out of Kara's mouth? "Where is this coming from?"

Kara shook her head. "Come from? It's been here! You know as well as I do that things have been changing! And I'm not just talking about becoming Supergirl or you coming out as DEO!" Kara inhaled deeply. "It started before that," she lowered her voice, body pulling in on itself again; but her eyes, she kept on Alex's – fiery, intense, deep. Alex couldn't look away. "And I know you must know some of what I'm talking about."

"Fine – yesgod," Alex didn't know what to say, what to stop on. She shifted on her feet, "No, I don't mean that. I mean… You've never – not once… And I never…" Heat flared in her chest. Kara's eyes were dangerous. They always had been. Alex buried her hands into her hair, shaking her head. "No, no, no. Even with 'changing', that doesn't explain you suddenly kissing me against a wall!" She inhaled roughly. "You didn't even ask me!"

"And I'm so sorry about that!" Kara's hands came up, waving frantically in the air. "Consent is so important, but I didn't even give you a chance to talk to me, first! You couldn't even tell me if you…"

Alex dipped her head, jaw clenching but listening, waiting for Kara to continue.

Kara sighed, her hands lowering to play with themselves in front of her stomach. Her eyes unfocused, and she dropped her shoulders, head lowering as well. Even with as strong as Alex knew she was, Kara looked small, and Alex's heart throbbed, stuck in her throat with the impulse of immediately stepping in and making it right. She'd been...

An older sister for so long, after all.

"It's not an excuse. It's not."

Kara's voice made Alex focus on her again.

"But I had been planning a way to come clean to you, tell you that I wasn't… Satisfied anymore. Just being…" Kara licked her lips, Alex's eyes drifting down before Kara's eyes caught her attention again. Those eyes

"I had it all planned out, okay?" Kara burst out, "Get you home, my apartment or yours, somewhere you felt safe, where I wasn't going to suddenly spring onto you that I had been having these feelings for years. That I wasn't, as I said, satisfied anymore just sharing the title of sisters. That you'd always been more. And even if nothing ever happened, I just… Needed you to know that.

"And then I'd even decided that if you were disgusted or – or angry, I'd just go home, or let you go home, and ask to transfer to a new branch in the DEO. I'd even volunteer to tell Eliza so she wouldn't get mad at you, then leave you alone unless – no, I mean until you'd decide that you were tired of being mad at me – because that's how big your heart is. We'd start as tentative friends, but eventually I'd get my… Sister back."

Kara's voice was husky by now, her hand lifting to push hair behind her ear. "And I'd do such a good job of pretending that I'd never made anything weird between us that it would be just like it used to be. Because having you in my life, even if not in the way I wanted, is so much better than not having you in it at all."

Alex swallowed, having to dash at a tear that threatened to slip down her cheek. How had she not seen this?

"But of course, I couldn't help thinking about you returning my feelings. And that's what…" Kara inhaled. "What I wanted the most. What I thought about before we got the call." And it was just on the tip of Alex's tongue to ask – when Kara shook her head, looking up, her eyes searing into Alex's again, "What I want. What I think about." She smiled wanly. "Because that hasn't changed.

"And it's all I could think about when I came back and saw you bleeding. Hurt. That I'd just made these decisions to confess to you… And if the fight had had a different outcome…" Kara's face crumpled, and she shook her head, forcing herself to continue through tears, "I mean, I believe in you, and I know you're always so prepared and able to take care of yourself, but there's still that what if. And I was still humming with adrenaline and the rush of the fight and you were so, so, so - - "

"So?" Alex somehow managed, her voice almost strangling in her throat.

Kara gave her the purest, most honest smile Alex had ever seen. "Beautiful."

Alex rocked.

"But that's not an excuse. And I know it's not. I shouldn't have done that. I didn't ask. Instead, I took. Like a… Bad person. So I'll apologize, but I won't ask forgiveness, because I shouldn't be forgiven for that. I'm so, so sorry."

It was gratifying to hear Kara's apology, it loosening something inside Alex's chest she hadn't realized was tight. Still, as her mind reeled, fought to make sense of all she was being told, she latched onto what was maybe the only spark of anger still inside her, deciding focusing on that instead of the way her whole perception of life was changing was the safer subject. "You have to know the only reason I didn't attack you was because it was you!"

"I know!"

"Good!"

Silence echoed between them, Kara sniffling quietly but not, to Alex's relief, crying anymore, and Alex herself… She just tried to make sense of the past few hours.

Had it really only been a few hours?

God.

As time stretched, and neither moved or spoke, the awkwardness seeping back in between them, Kara's slow, whispered voice made Alex look back up: "Okay, so, I know I should give you more time, and don't get me wrong, I want to, but I'm really, really hungry and the food's just sitting there..." Kara fidgeted. "Getting cold."

The laugh that pulled from Alex surprised her.

Kara smiled sheepishly. Tiredly.

And, "Go for it," Alex sighed, just as tired. It was time to finish her beer. And maybe get another. A cold one. "And while you're at it, heat my own up too, won't you?"

It was going to be a long night, and they had a lot to talk about.