Actions

Work Header

It Wasn’t Meant to Be a Love Letter

Work Text:

Cat doesn't hide her birthday, not really. She just doesn't find it professional to celebrate it on company time. There was far too much to do before worrying about her birthday.

However, nearly every CatCo employee receives a signed birthday card from their esteemed boss. Kara's got all of the birthdays right in front of her, in a calendar.

And Kara's looked, multiple times, but Cat's birthday isn't there. She's done digging on the internet, she's even looked at Cat's Wiki page and even there the date changes every few days.

Heck, maybe Cat's changing it because Kara just can't find the right date.

She's there, again, prepping a card for Cat to sign, when it really hits her. She's been Cat's assistant for well over a year and she still doesn't know Cat's birthday. Kara'd gotten a card on her arrival-to-Earth day, hand-picked by Cat, but she still doesn't know Cat's birthday!

Carter. Carter is her only option. Lois might know but… the things she would owe the woman.

Kara clicks her pen and pushes back from her desk. She knows Carter’s nanny. She can definitely get another evening with the boy. She snatches the card off her desk and waits as the last of the board members exit Cat’s office.

Cat doesn’t look too haggard and there’d been no yelling, but either way, signing the card will brighten her mood. It always does. It’s kind of cute really. Big, bad boss enjoying the little moments where she can brighten her ‘minion’s’ days.

She can’t really wipe the smile that the thought triggers off her face, so, instead, she just smiles all the wider and walks into Cat’s office. Cat gives her the signature eyebrow raise, but she just hands the card over.

“Here’s the card, is there anything else you need right now, Ms. Grant?” She bounces on her toes. She just can’t help it.

“No, not right now. Just make sure I have the layouts from advertising by four.” Her pen glides across the card, her usual flourish giving the whole process an air of elegance. She’s rather beautiful to watch. She holds out the card and Kara reaches to take it. “What has you so bouncy on this fine Wednesday, Sunny Danvers?”

Ah, whoops, but oh well. “Just a new project, Ms. Grant!” Her eyes trail to the card and really, Cat’s handwriting is magnificent.

Kim H. Nobyl

The name swirls under the printed ‘Happy Birthday’ with Cat’s own signature under that. And, oh, Cat is in a good mood; she’s used her extra fancy pen.

She doesn’t press for any more explanation, just waves Kara out the door. It’s for the best, Kara has lots to do now. She needs to call the nanny and arrange a day with Carter… and also figure out how to get Carter to tell her what Cat’s birthday is.

Well, food would work on her…


 

It’s about three months until she can finagle her own, Cat’s, and Carter’s schedule to where she and Carter have an afternoon alone. Cat thinks she’s running errands… technically it’s not a lie. Not really.

Cat just deserves something nice, she does! Cat's quite nice under her prickly exterior and her eyes are always so gentle. This will be good for her… it’s a white-lie, right? She’s heard from Alex that those aren’t bad.

Yeah, a white-lie.

Carter walks over to her when she waves. They’ve interacted before, just not a lot. He’s a smart kid and maybe she can convince him that her cause is worthy.

“Hi, Carter! I came instead of your nanny, sorry for the surprise, but I’m here to spend the afternoon with you!” She puts on her best smile but Carter just nods. That’s… well… kind of to be expected. He’s a shy kid.

“Okay then, the car’s right over here.” She leads him away from the school and he remains silent. “How were classes? Did you learn anything new today?”

She gets another shrug and a mumbled, “Plants follow sunshine.” Well… that’s something to work with, right? Better than nothing at least.

“Oh yeah!” She plops down in the backseat next to him and smiles at Raeni, the only driver she trusted to keep this mission secret. “It has something to do with water right?”

Carter turns toward her a little, his shoulders relaxing back and oh, he’s such a good kid. “Yeah, the cell walls use water pressure to grow toward the sun.”

No wonder Cat’s so enamored with him.

“Really?” There weren’t many plants on Krypton, but Earth science always fascinated her. Botany though… it’s not that plants are boring, but, how could she be interested in plants when there were birds around? “How does the plant know where the sun is?”

Carter lights up a little more and oh no, this boy, he’s truly his mother’s son. Adorable.

“Well, there are little receptors in the plant that take sunlight in and turn it into a chemical that…”


 

She’s fifteen wiki articles deep before Carter is satisfied with their explanations on botany. It’s nearly five in the evening and Kara’s stomach is being rude at the moment. Honestly, if it could just calm down, that’d be great.

Carter laughs and ouch, ouch, but he takes her hand and leads her to the kitchen so all’s forgiven pretty quickly. Quicker when she realizes that Carter’s pulling take-out menus from the drawer he’s just opened.

“Pizza or Chinese?” He glances up and golly, this kid’s a keeper.

“Both?” She shrugs and Carter rolls his eyes. That’s far too much like his mother, and gosh, he’s got Cat’s eyes too. Gorgeous.

“You’re calling it in then.” And that same bargaining that quickly turns to commands… he’s learned from the best.

She reaches for her phone and Carter points to the circled items on both menus. The line clicks through to-

“Hello, this is National Pizza, what can I do for you?” and she nods to Carter before replying.

“Hi, I’m ordering for delivery to the Grant residency.” Carter trundles off as the woman on the other side of the line forgoes her ‘we don’t deliver speech’ in favor of the 200 percent tip Cat always sends back.

She hears the soft ‘shhh’ of water running and good, she doesn’t even have to convince him of a shower. That’s always nice. Now, for the best potstickers in the whole city…


 

“So, how’d you convince Nan to take the day off? And why did you?” Carter’s got half a slice of pizza shoved into his mouth and it’s the first truly disgusting thing Kara’s seen from him.

She coughs, because, uh, why would he think that? Her eyes must say her question well enough because this… what is he? 12? 13? 47? year-old rolls his eyes again and Kara’s pretty sure he thinks she’s dumb.

“Nan never takes off unless mom asks her to or it’s her kids’ birthdays.” Yeah, he definitely thinks she’s dumb, ouch. He crams another slice of pizza into his mouth, and she must wince because he grins at her and, ew, ew that makes it so much worse, ew.

“Uhm, ew, and well…” He’s probably going to find it out anyway. Plus, how is she going to get him to not tell his mother about Kara being here? “Okay, so, y’know your mom, right?”

O-kay, that’s definitely Cat Grant’s child. Wow, and she thought she had laser vision.

“Okay, yeah, so, anyway. I can’t find her birthday.” His look darkens and she backtracks, raising her hands to placate him. “Not her birth year! Just the day! See, well, she gives cards to all her employees, and it’s actually really sweet. Even though she pretends to be mean, she’s really not. But the point is, she even got me a card! And usually I get the card for people and take it for her to sign, but she got me one on her own which is really nice, especially since I hadn’t even been her employee for very long so I wanted to get her a card or maybe like, a little gift or something to show my appreciation because she can be hard to work for but she’s also really great and kind and inspiring so I wanted to, y’know, get her a birthday card like she did for me….”

Carter’s just looking at her. That’s the same stare that Cat gives her. Oh, it’s just as disquieting. Why are Grants like this?

“So, I need her birthday for that… which is why I wanted to talk with you… not that! Not that the rest of our day wasn’t nice! I’m not trying to use you to get to your mom! Or… oh no, that’s kind of exactly what I’m doing. Oh no, that’s terrible, I’m so sorry. I can try to find her birthday elsewhere, I just wanted to get the date right.” Oh she’d royally messed up, oh golly, he’d probably kick her out and-

“It’s April 24th.”

Oh? “Oh? Oh. Oh, okay.” She blinks and he looks like he’s holding back laughter and that’s just what she needs, fantastic, a 13-year-old laughing at her. Alex will never let her live this down. And- “Shit, that’s next week.” Oh crap, golly -darn “I mean, crud! I meant crud! Don’t curse, it’s really rude!”

Carter laughs, head back and, grand, now he really is laughing at her. But Kara can't help her own laugh. This 13-year-old with far too much sass, goodness.


 

She has seven days to decide what to get for Cat. She takes six of those seven.

It's… difficult. There's nothing she can get for Cat that Cat can't just go out and buy. So, she makes something instead.

Maybe it's dumb but… well, it just sort of fits Cat because Cat loves what she does and loves what she's built so? Kara can't help but agree; Cat's done amazing things and she's an amazing person.

But the small, wrapped present in her hands feels so, so underwhelming. The card's fine, a basic Happy Birthday with Kara's signature and a small note wishing Cat a nice day. She's just nervous because Cat might get angry?

Or hate it?

But she still leaves the card and wrapped canvas on Cat's desk while she's at a meeting. She keeps it discrete, of course, no need to draw attention to something Cat wants kept on the down-low. It wouldn't be professional at all if she went about making a scene.

She places the package in the middle of Cat's deck. But no, it's not that important. Not that Cat isn't important, just that the present isn't that important. So maybe to the side a little… yes, just beside the layouts for the opening of the new high school next week.

Golly, why the butterflies? It's just a small painting. A painting of CatCo at high noon, the sun shining over the multitude of glass windows and CatCo is beautiful and powerful, just like it's creator. So the painting fits, yeah.

But it isn't as realistic as some of the paintings Cat could go out and buy… but, no. No, it's a nice painting, it really is and Kara shouldn't be doubting herself like this. She should trust Cat. Trust that Cat might just appreciate the thought?

Yeah. Yeah and maybe find something to eat because her stomach really needs to settle.

No, Brian, I’m not following another one of your ponzi schemes. Now out with you.”

Welp, there she is. Kara scuttles back to her desk, standing to see if Cat needs anything. She gets a distracted wave as Cat answers a call on her cell. She won’t need anything for a while then…

Oh, except the edited version of Snapper’s newest updates! Woops, should have gotten that earlier.

Cat makes it to her desk and flops in her chair, ah, the phone call isn’t a pleasant one. Not that Kara would ever eavesdrop, just, if it’s Carter, Cat’s always so light in her movements. She should get Cat some water.

Cat’s fingers ghost over the layouts and skip to the letter, sitting on the covered canvas.

Oh golly.

Cat finishes her phone call and Kara can’t move now. She doesn’t want to attract attention. Oh golly, those butterflies are back. She can’t help but watch though, Cat’s curious look is… cute, really.

Oh golly, Cat’s cute. Oh but no, she’s not just cute, she’s gorgeous.

Oh no.

No. No.

Her fingers peel back the envelope and oh, she’s so graceful and her eyes flick over Kara’s handwriting and a tiny, soft- oh gosh, so soft- smile spreads over her face and her lips are so-

No.

No, Rao, no.

Her hands cover the canvas and oh gods above, the ocean is pounding around the building. There’s definitely got to be a problem with the cooling system. That can’t be a sound a heart can make.

The paper slips off the canvas and her lips part and all the air rushes from the room. Her eyes rove over the painting, the strokes in fine grey and gold, and her smile can’t be kept tamped down. Though the muscles twitching in her cheeks show how hard she’s trying and those green, green eyes that can swallow space and time and -

Oh shit.

Cat looks up at her and blinks and Kara breathes in so sharply she’s pretty sure Winn hears her. She swallows but those eyes are still staring at her and her mouth is moving and…

Thank you.

Oh.

Oh, all the weight of the world dropping from her shoulders couldn’t make her feel like this. Golly, the butterflies are gone and there’s just tingling through her whole system. She tries to squelch her smile, especially when Winn asks what’s going on but…

Golly, wa-pow, indeed.