Bourbon hit the bottom of the glass tumbler with a small splash. Cat stopped at one finger's worth. With a tilt of her head, she poured again, doubling the amount in the glass. Capping the decanter at the bar in her office, Cat took the glass and began to meander around the room.
She knew every corner and cranny of this office. Cat thought coming back would feel strange somehow. Instead, it seemed like almost no time had passed, like she had been on an extended vacation and had always intended on coming back. Maybe she really had always intended on coming back.
Stopping near the door and glancing to the bullpen, Cat observed that only a few people remained at CatCo. The work day had ended a while ago, but she didn't want to leave, not just yet. There was a habit that she had been looking forward to getting back into.
With slow steps, Cat made her way around the sofa, trailing her fingers along the back of it as she walked. There were so many memories in this place. Now that she had tried and failed to leave, she didn't think she could ever go again.
Cat came to the balcony door and pushed it far enough that it propped itself open. The tiny smile that had been tugging at her lips all day returned as she stepped outside. A small breeze wafted through her hair and she could barely smell the ocean. She loved this space.
Coming to sit in one of the easy chairs on the balcony, Cat sat back, sinking into it with a deep breath out. She took a sip of her drink and closed her eyes for a moment, soaking in the familiarity of it all. Only one thing was missing, and Cat knew that one thing would come along shortly.
She opened her eyes and slipped off her high heel shoes. Wiggling her toes, Cat relaxed even further. Turning her head, she took a look around the balcony. There were just as many memories out here as there were inside. Standing again, Cat went to the edge of the balcony, resting her arms at the top.
She had always enjoyed watching the city change from day to night. The sun had dipped behind the skyscrapers and only its last light remained. The transition of the sun's soft, orange glow to the city's urban lighting had always fascinated Cat. She took sips of her drink, continuing to gaze out until orange had turned to purple and little squares of light could be seen all over the downtown buildings as people working into the night turned on their office lights.
This was the perfect ending to a triumphant day. Cat had returned to CatCo with much fanfare. Everyone was thrilled she was back, even Snapper seemed relieved to relinquish some of his responsibility back to her. James had been even more relieved. He had cleared his things out of the office the day before, eager to return to his place in the art department.
Then there was Kara. Her smile became wider as Cat remembered Kara's reaction when they'd first seen each other that morning. Cat had gotten in early, eager to get back to work. Despite the crack of dawn hour, Kara was already there.
Cat walked into her office and caught the young woman refilling her candy jar. A take out cup from Noonan's was on her desk. Kara looked up and beamed from ear to ear. Cat couldn't help but return the smile. Before she knew it, she was wrapped in Kara's arms.
“I'm so glad you're back,” Kara had said as she held onto Cat.
Cat didn't flinch away from the contact. In fact, she had absentmindedly let her purse fall to the floor as she lifted her own arms around Kara. “Me, too, darling.” Kara's hair smelled like the Pacific and Cat couldn't believe she had ever tried to run away from this woman.
There hadn't been much time for catching up that morning. So, when the day was done, Cat came out here and she waited. She knew Kara would come.
Knitting her eyebrows, Cat suddenly thought that she might like to add something to this little late night habit of hers. She came back inside the office and sat down at her computer. Opening her music application, Cat clicked on the “most played” tab. There it was, at the very top. Cat's favorite piece of music, The Lark Ascending.
She heard the notes playing in her head before even clicking the play button. Cat had been listening to this particular work since she was young. Her father had played it often. She remembered coming into his study while it was playing and seeing him sitting back with his eyes closed, appreciating the sounds.
Her father had taught her to enjoy music using this piece. He would invite her sit with him and explain to her the math behind the notes, keys, and chords. Then, after breaking down the numbers associated with the music, he would tell her to close her eyes. Listen to the music, Catherine. Can you see the lark? Her father taught her to use her imagination to the fullest.
More recently, though, when she listened to this piece that was so dear to her, Cat didn't see the lark when she closed her eyes. With every airy lift into the violin's upper register, Cat saw a flash of red and blue flying through the clouds.
Cat hit the play button, then the repeat button. She quickly cast the app to the sound system in her office and turned up the volume so she could hear it outside. After a brief orchestral introduction, the familiar light hearted notes sounded from the lead violin.
Cat breathed out deeply, instantly calmed by the music. She made her way back out to the balcony and took a seat on the sofa, leaning back, eyes closed, ears open, like her father used to do when he listened to it. She was still waiting.
The violin soared upward with high notes that, at times, were almost inaudible. Next, it would plummet back into the lower register, only to be supported by the orchestra and brought back up. She could see it as clear as day in her mind, the flitting movements of the noble lark, ascending from the ground, high into the air, and cycling back to the ground only to charge up again.
As she continued easily imagining the bird in flight, the lark’s dull colors began to transform into something brighter, something bolder. Every time Cat played the piece now, Supergirl was the only thing her mind could conjure. Cat thought Kara's light hearted nature fit with the music. After all, the music reflected triumph and joy and every good thing that Cat saw in Kara.
The Lark Ascending used to always remind Cat of her father. Now, it always brought her thoughts to Kara. Maybe that's why she wanted to listen to it here. Maybe that's why she had been listening to it so often during her absence from CatCo.
Suddenly, Cat was roused from her thoughts when she heard a soft knock on the propped open glass door. Not bothering to look up, Cat just patted the space next to her on the small sofa.
“Come sit with me, Kara.”
When quiet footsteps followed, she finally looked up to a smiling Kara, who eagerly came to sit with her. The two women looked at each other for long seconds. They were both happy to simply be in the other's company after so long apart.
Kara settled into the sofa and said, “I've never heard you listen to music out here.”
“Yes, well, this particular piece matched my mood tonight,” Cat told her.
Kara barely scooted closer to her. Her arm was resting on the back of the sofa and Cat knew that Kara wanted to touch her as much as she wanted to touch Kara. “What mood?” Kara asked.
Cat swiftly went through her mental dictionary, trying to think of the right word for how she felt right now. All she could think to say was, “Happy.”
Kara's grin widened when she replied, “Me, too.” A few moments of comfortable quiet passed before she asked, “What song is this?”
Cat took a sip of her drink. “It's called The Lark Ascending. It was written over one hundred years ago.” After a pause, she added, “And it was my father's favorite piece of music.”
She watched Kara's bright smile soften. Cat wasn't one to share intimate details. She knew she had never mentioned her father to Kara before. However, the longer she knew Kara, the more she wanted to tell the woman everything about herself.
Cat continued, “We used to listen to it all the time.” This time, it was Cat who scooted a few inches closer. “Close your eyes and listen.” Kara obeyed and closed her eyes. “The violin part was written to mimic the sound of the lark. Now wait.” Cat waited for the music to swell. “Can you see it? A little bird singing on his branch and then… right here,” she paused so Kara could hear the slight crescendo, “he takes off into the air, climbing to the heavens.”
Opening her eyes, Kara said, “It's beautiful.”
Cat gave a small nod. “I could always see a lark in my mind before.” She met Kara's eyes and asked, "Do you know what I see now?” Kara slowly shook her head. “I see you, Kara.” Cat lifted her hand and lightly rested her fingers on top of Kara's hand at the back of the sofa. With a slight tilt of her head, Cat finished, “My little bird.”
Kara's eyes dipped down for a second and a few locks of her long hair fell over her shoulders with the movement. Cat thought she was so beautiful. When their eyes met again, there was no fear in Kara's, only trust.
Kara was the first person in Cat's life who had taken the time to chip away at Cat's carefully erected outer defenses. After she made her way in, Kara took up residence in her heart, pushing out the darkness and letting light back in. It took leaving for Cat to realize she needed that light. It made her alive.
So, here Cat was, finally ready to do everything she could to hold onto Kara. As she watched Kara, watching her, Cat pushed her pride away and decided to take the chance she should have taken a long time ago.
Putting down her drink and standing to her feet, Cat held a hand out to Kara. “Dance with me, Kara.”
Kara's contented expression instantly morphed to anxiousness. Her lips parted and her eyes widened. After taking a second to recover from the surprise, Kara quietly said, “Um, this doesn't really seem like music you would dance to.”
With a tiny shrug of one shoulder, Cat replied, “It's not.” She kept her hand extended, willing Kara to take it.
Confident green eyes held apprehensive blue ones. Slowly, Kara's gaze slipped down and settled on Cat's outstretched hand. With a smile forming across her rosy lips, Kara took the hand and stood.
Taking Kara's other hand, Cat whispered, “Come here.” With a gentle tug at her hands, Kara came closer until the front of their bodies brushed.
Cat had wanted this for so long. She didn't care if this might be the only time she ever had Kara like this, she was going to revel in the moment. She lifted Kara's left hand to her shoulder and rested her own hand at Kara's hip. Then she lightly laid her left hand in Kara's right.
Meeting Kara's eyes again, Cat lightly pushed against her hip and their feet began to move. They took small steps this way then that way, not moving in any particular direction. The music faded as it reached the end of the movement, but it was only a few seconds before it started over and the happy notes floated back out to the balcony.
Kara was right, it wasn't music that one would dance to, but they swayed together in perfect rhythm. As the minutes went by, the two women began to melt into each other, moving closer. Cat leaned in, determined to soak in every second, and touched her cheek to Kara's. She felt an easy pressure as Kara pressed even tighter to her, returning the affection.
The tones of the music turned from fast to slower, but Cat didn't hear it. The only thing her senses could register was the feeling of Kara in her arms, the scent of Kara's skin, and the sound of her breathing. Cat didn't even realize it when her hand found its way from Kara's hip around to the small of her back. The fingertips of her other hand traced their way down Kara's forearm and came up to settle in the slope where Kara's neck met her shoulder. Cat would have sworn that being this close to Kara was the same as flying.
The silence was broken when Kara said a hushed, “Cat.”
When nothing came after, Cat prodded, “Yes, darling?”
Cat reluctantly pulled her cheek from Kara's. “This is me, taking an opportunity I should have taken a long time ago.” When Kara's expression only seemed confused, Cat said, “I could have asked you to dance whenever I wanted, but I let so many things get in the way.”
“So you left?” Tears welled in gorgeous, ocean colored eyes and Cat thought her heart might break at seeing that her absence had caused Kara pain.
“I should have stayed. I was wrong.” Cat smiled and joked, “Mark the date. I don't say that often.”
Kara chuckled lightly. “I know you don't.” Moving her own hands tenderly to Cat's face as their feet continued to move, she asked, “What now?”
The response Kara received was perfection. Cat's eyes flicked down to her lips and back up. She smiled the softest smile at Kara before slipping a hand around the back of Kara's neck, easing her closer.
Cat brought their lips together in a kiss that was warm and slow. It was tentative, yet meaningful, and it made Cat want more. She pulled back enough to take a breath and felt Kara's fingers in her hair, combing to the back of her head and pulling her back in.
The next kiss was anything but tentative. The two women pushed into one another, placing kiss after kiss at the other's mouth until Cat parted her lips and pressed her tongue against Kara's bottom lip. Kara immediately opened her mouth and the kisses deepened.
Hands began wandering and Cat felt a flush spread through her body. Her only coherent thought was how in the world someone made of steel could be so soft.
Finally, the need for air won out and they separated. Cat's mind refocused and she heard the music playing and realized they'd stopped moving with the sound. In fact, her feet weren't even on the floor. Kara had wrapped her arms so tightly around her that Cat's toes had left the ground and so had Kara's.
They hovered only a few feet from the balcony floor. Cat's arms didn't tighten around Kara's shoulders. She knew she was safe. She only leaned her forehead against Kara's and they slowly descended to meet the cool floor again.
Her toes made contact and Cat moved her arms from Kara's shoulders to settle at her chest.
With both sets of eyes still closed, savoring the moment, Kara quietly said, “You make me forget to stay on the ground.”
“You make me forget that I'm supposed to,” Cat quickly answered.
Eyes opened and gazes locked. As they stared, The Lark Ascending started over once again. This time Kara took the lead position, gripping Cat's ribcage as Cat brought their small hands together. Their feet started moving in unison again to music that wasn't written for dancing. It was written for flying and that's exactly how it made Cat and Kara feel.