A story in which Lena's the one with the double identity, except they don't realize it.
Lena who knows Kara is Supergirl. They all good with it. The thing is, they’re busy.
James and Lena are going strong and steady, if a little boring.
Anyways, Lena's stopping by CatCo twice ish a week.
Kara is in and out as usual. Supergirl and Ms. Luthor are good. Kara and Lena see each other at game nights, but they're both busy and they both get it. They text a few times a week and both smile at their phones.
Kara nearly puts her hand through the printer at the sight of Lena walking in the building. She stops herself dead just in time, flinging her hand upwards with such a high velocity she manages to smack herself in the face. Nia stares. Kara shakes her head.
"It's fine," she says. "Just zoned out for a second there. What were you pitching again? Sorry."
Nia frowns skeptically but continues, Kara unconsciously smoothing her slacks and adjusting her blouse as the printer keeps spitting out pages with gusto. Kara is definitely watching the printer as she listens with one ear to Nia. She is not admiring Lena's ridiculously form-fitting slacks, matching blazer, and high neckline. It isn't even a sexy outfit, or anywhere near the spectrum of Lena's more scandalous or feminine fashion range. It’s just. Classy. Kara is always on the lookout for classy outfits, okay? Blame Nia.
"Damn, Lena looks good today," Nia observes.
Kara whips her head around, managing to raise one eyebrow in a mentor-disapproving way. "What?"
"Right, sorry, I mean, Ms. Luthor's outfit is on point this morning. That woman could rock a moldy potato sack, but I'll just say that as a fashionista, I think I'm obsessed with her wardrobe."
"Oh," Kara chuckles. "Yeah, she usually manages to outclass most other CEO's, even."
Nia grins at Kara skeptically. "Meet many other CEO's, do you?"
"I'll tell you about Ms. Tattoos-All-Over later," Kara promises. "It's more of a Supergirl story, anyway."
"Can't wait," Nia says, scooping up Kara's papers and pulling her own out of the stack. "Hey, do you think Lena would let me do a column or something on her fashion? Or, ooh! We could do a whole spread! I'm sure James would love to take photos, right?"
Kara feels her stomach tighten briefly for no particular reason, and she keeps her smile plastered firmly to her face. "You're welcome to ask, but don’t ambush her at game night. At least let the woman tower over you in her Versace when she has to turn you down for reasons of professionalism."
Nia grins wolfishly, and Kara makes a mental note to tell Cat that Nia was growing up a little too fast. "Challenge accepted."
(Lena, to Kara's eternal shock, agrees to Nia's enthusiastic request, with little hesitation but with final say-so. She schedules the shoot to take place three months from now, the earliest she can fit Nia in. Kara marks the date on her own calendar, and she doesn't know why. It's not like she's the fashion editor.)
"Okay, guys, new ideas?" James checks another box off his list and looked around expectantly.
"There's a toy drive the fire department is putting on tomorrow," Kara says, leaning forward. "It runs all through the week. Good chance to highlight something positive."
"I don't know," comes a half-sultry drawl, and Kara turns to see Lena enter the room, one eyebrow raised in devilish skepticism, black slacks formfitting and sleeves of her matching blazer rolled up. Lena leans against the doorway and looks at Kara, frowning ever so slightly. "What about a toy drive is newsworthy?"
Kar frowns back, shoving away the random notion that Lena looks good up against a wall. That is ridiculous. "It's a community service from good people, for good people. It's a worthy cause because they're also fundraising for the orphanage and accepting gently used clothes and shoes, giving those kids needed funds and items."
Lena crosses her ankles and twists her lips to the side, shaking her head slightly. "It sounds an awful lot like another photo op our pristine firefighting department doesn't need. Why not give the press to someone else?"
Kara recoils slightly, kind of shocked Lena would say that. "Because it's not about meting out the good press in equal measure where it may or may not be deserved. It's highlighting something worth noting in our society, no matter where it comes from."
"A toy drive," Lena repeats dubiously. "Is worth noting in our society."
Kara narrows her eyes. "It's not that it's a toy drive. It's that no one asked the firefighters to step up and help those kids, but they saw a need and they moved to fill it immediately. People who are giving selflessly to raise up other members of the community."
Lena sucks air through her teeth noncommittally. "Still seems like good press for a department that doesn’t need it. Have we considered running an op ed on the orphanage itself instead?"
"Yes," Kara says stubbornly. "I reached out to them yesterday. They told me themselves they'd prefer we publicized the event this time."
"This time," Lena echoes. "What about next time?"
"That's next time's game," Kara shoots back, distantly noting that several reporters' heads are ping-ponging back and forth between her and Lena like a tennis match. "Today, we can focus on the good in the community, because people need hope with all the polarization and violence going on. We'll add how the orphanage has been helped in the past but it's still not enough. We'll note how other similar drives go on throughout the year but this one is always the most successful because of how the fire department runs it."
"And why do we need to print something like that?" Lena has a carefully focused expression now, and Kara leans forward, practically simmering that Lena’s fighting her on this.
"Because we need more of this!" Kara realizes her voice was rising and pushes it back down. "This is the example we want to highlight with all the hate out there. There are few perfect examples, but if there's any, this might be it. 100% of funds raised and donations given will be going directly to benefit those kids. The orphanage doesn't take any administrative funds, the firefighters go and hang out with the kids even when the toy drive isn't going on. These are the kind of relationships and efforts that need to be showcased so people can have something to look up to, so we can prove and show that there are still good people out there, every day, fighting the good fight."
All at once, Lena smiles.
"Keep that in mind when you write it," Lena says, and her smile is a little different than that full, brilliant one. It's smaller, a proud, satisfied little smirk. Clayton sitting next to her claps her on the back at a point well-made and Kara huffs slightly, her whole body relaxing as she realized Lena wasn't disagreeing with her, but winding her up to get her to articulate. "Try not to shove it down the readers' throats, but keep all of those points still in there."
"Alright," James says, drawing the attention back to himself at the front of the room. "Kara's got the toy drive. What's next?"
Kara glances back to Lena, who has half a smile still playing on her lips. Lena seems to sense her gaze and glances over. Lena winks easily at her, and Kara ducks her head automatically to hide her blush, shaking it slightly, her stomach erupting in slight butterflies as Lena turns the elegant line of her neck back to face the front of the room.
Oh. Oh no. It couldn't be.
It's definitely, definitely not.
Kara had pushed it out of her mind. Totally and completely out of her mind. Her blood was pumping, she was passionate about firefighters and good deeds and helping those in need, not Lena, jeez. Lena was her best friend, and James' girlfriend besides. And her boss. The trifecta of things she was not passionate about. Not like that. Kara shakes her head at the floor as she paces towards her desk, eyes on her notes and not taking in a word.
Naturally, she crashes into someone.
"Oh! Sorry, are you--oh, hey, Kara."
Naturally, that someone had to be Lena. Lena running her hands down Kara's arms from where she'd caught at her shoulders in a way that definitely did not make Kara tingle head to toe.
Lena rolls her eyes, biting back a smile. "Do you want me to start calling you employee or something? Ms. Danvers, perhaps?"
"Just trying to keep it professional!" Kara says, holding up her hands, and Lena glares without any heat. "Anyway," Kara chuckles, "Thanks for the smackdown in there."
"Smackdown?" Lena says, stepping back and raising a mildly indignant eyebrow. "You have never been on the receiving end of one my smackdowns, Ms. Danvers. If you had, you wouldn't throw the term around so lightly. That was playing a light game of Devil's advocate to make sure you would rise to the occasion."
"Since when do I not?" Kara asks, incredulous, and Lena chuckles.
"Alright, let me take you to lunch to soothe your bruised ego then, Miss Ace Reporter."
Kara feels that megawatt smile of hers creep onto her face, uncontrollable. "Meet you at noon by the elevators?"
"Don't be late," Lena winks and is gone.
Kara exhales shakily. Seriously. What was going on with her.
Nia calls Kara in to the shoot to make sure Lena is comfortable, she says. Kara walks in (she just so happens to be in her favorite blazer with the sleeves rolled in a classic reporter-chic way, but that's not important that she looks her best today, okay) all confused and Nia rolls her eyes fondly. "Lena's a little camera-shy, even if she won't admit it. I don't think it has anything to do with having her picture taken, but because there are too many people that she doesn't know very well, hanging around watching. The problem is, we need all of them here--" Nia gestures at the lighting and make up, there are only four people plus Nia and James surrounding Lena, but Lena will probably always have some residual nervousness around crowds and cameras together, no matter how well she hides it, "--and James is busy making sure the best shots are actually taken. She just needs another familiar face, and," Nia gestures haphazardly at Kara's, "Yours will do."
"Gosh," Kara says sardonically, letting her voice carry to where she knows Lena will hear. "My face will do. What a compliment, Ms. Nal."
Kara glances over to Lena to see her roll her eyes fondly. "Nia, I told you, Kara can go back to doing her job."
"Her job is mentoring me," Nia counters, not missing a beat. "I need help, this is my biggest assignment yet. I'm not going to mess up a spread on the fashion of the CEO herself. Sorry, Ms. Luthor, but Kara stays."
Lena looks like she's just barely containing another eyeroll, but bites her lip and smiles instead. "Dramatic," she tsks, no venom in her voice, and Kara feels something like honey slide down her spine. She grins.
"Well, you know us reporters," Kara says, swinging a stool out next to where James will be and focusing her full attention on Lena. "We do have a flair for it." Lena huffs half a laugh. "Besides," Kara says, casting around innocently, "Can you really blame Nia for wanting her all-powerful mentor nearby in case the illustrious Ms. Luthor is suddenly in need of assistance? Who else would she call for help?"
"I think her boyfriend, perhaps," James says mildly, smiling as he enters the room, holding a fancy camera in each hand. Kara feels her own smile dim for a half-second before she forces it back up a notch. No. Nope nope nope no no no no. We do not. Absolutely not. James is our friend.
"Hey, I can take care of myself!" Lena cuts in, and Kara and James grin in unison.
"Of course you can, gorgeous," he says to Lena, who smiles in his direction before looking back to Kara.
"All-powerful?" she asks softly, a hint of incredulousness coloring her tone. "Humble, much?"
Kara stretches casually and shrugs nonchalantly. "Don't fight what's true," Kara tells her wisely, and Lena actually snorts with laughter. Kara hears the smooth click of a camera and looks over to see James grinning at the monitor set up next to them, the picture of Lena with her head thrown back in laughter appearing in beautiful detail.
James smiles at Lena. "Off to a beautiful start."
Lena smiles at him genuinely before focusing her attention back on Kara. "I'm thinking of changing your title today to Court Jester."
"Rude," Kara says flatly, pointing a finger at her sternly, and Lena's smile stretches wider. Kara feels her stomach twist. She ignores it.
Lena has, with Nia's help, brought a dozen outfits to showcase. (Nia came in dancing after she spent two hours at Ms. Luthor's fancy uptown apartment picking outfits last week because Lena didn't want to do the shoot in her apartment. "She's so nice Kara, and so gorgeous, she's just absolutely amazing and a total fashion genius on top of an absolute genius, she's just the coolest boss ever! That was the best morning of my life, I swear--")
They're planning to shoot all of them, but in reality might hit about eight of them with some mix and matches in between. Most of them are a professional type of chic, and after about four make-up touch-ups that Lena endures gracefully, she shakes her head when they come for her again.
"It's not about my face," she says, managing to not sound pissed off though Kara can tell she's half a stripe of eyeliner away from losing her cool. "It's about the clothes, right? I think I give off the professional vibe well enough." The makeup artist backs away wisely, and Lena smiles, just a degree more grateful than she was. "Hey Nia," Lena says, and Nia trots over like an obedient puppy. "What if we did part of the article as something about how to tailor slacks, or choose professional outfits? I think we have the opportunity to help others find their best professional feel with this, instead of just showing off what a billionaire's wardrobe might look like."
Nia's eyes light up. "Oh my gosh," she gushes all at once, fumbling for her notepad. "That's the angle. That's brilliant, Ms. Luthor. Oh, we're so doing that." Nia's scribbling frantically all at once. Lena glances over at Kara, almost subconsciously, and Kara beams at her. Lena blushes slightly.
"Okay," James says, looking back up from where he was so totally absorbed in conversation with the lighting guy that he missed all of that, and Kara and Lena both startle. "Who's ready for the next set?"
"Ready when you are, babe," Lena says, stepping off her stool and looking martyred for just a moment before putting her professional face back on.
Kara pulls out her phone and types quickly. "Hey," she says, drawing their attention to her, "What did the electrical engineer say when she got shocked? That Hertz."
James stares. Lena bursts into surprised and delighted laughter. Kara grins.
"You're earning your keep today, Court Jester," Nia mumbles, standing next to Kara.
"Shut up," Kara mutters back, watching James start to take photos, Lena loose and ready to go now.
"Kara," Nia says quietly, edging quietly, her voice gentle. "It's okay." Kara frowns at her in confusion, and Nia takes a small breath. "It's okay to feel that way."
Kara's eyes narrow and she opens her mouth, feeling herself start to stutter before she does, "What are you--I don't--Nia--"
"I'm just saying," Nia says quietly. "You're allowed to feel what you feel. No crime in emotions."
And Nia slips away, leaving Kara to watch with a steadily sinking heart as Lena smiles for James' camera.
"Alright," James says, several minutes later. "Those look great. Wanna pick the next one?"
Lena nods, pacing back towards her dressing corner and the clothing rack. "Kara," she says over her shoulder, a finger motioning in an absentminded come here gesture, and Kara scrambles off the stool immediately to follow. Lena pulls her sweater over her head as she goes, heedless of her sleekly styled hair. Lena waves a hand at the hairdresser rising to her feet. "I'll skip the hair from here on out, too, I think we have enough shots of it professionally done," Lena says easily, and the makeup artist pats the hairdresser on the shoulder as they both sit back down. Kara snorts.
Lena turns her head back at Kara and winks as she moves her hair into a messy knot on top of her head, casual and somehow still elegant and… how do you say… hot as fuck.
And now Lena's all messy bun and Kara honestly needs to get a hold on her mind because holy shit she should not be feeling like this at work about her boss and her best friend, jesus Kara. Lena's all messy bun and she's looking Kara up and down with an appraising eye and Kara tilts her head nervously in question. Lena's never been anywhere close to as mean or intimidating--at least not towards Kara--as Cat Grant, but she makes Kara just as nervous sometimes. Just as… squirmy. In a different way . Lena bites the side of her lip in thought and Kara blinks forcefully.
"Your blazer," Lena says thoughtfully. "Where's it from?"
"Uh, maybe the Rack?"
"Don’t," comes Nia's call, instant and warning, from twenty feet away and separated by a wall.
Lena chuckles but ignores it. "Trade ya," she suggests mischievously, grinning with a youthful kind of light Kara rarely sees. Kara pulls off her blazer.
Nia sighs when Lena rounds the corner--Lena had thankfully assembled the rest of her ensemble from the clothes rack she had brought over, Kara wasn't sure she could have handled switching pants with Lena at the moment, and Lena looks like a classy version of Kara's occasionally scruffy reporter-chic. (Nia approved of what she called her Friday Vibes, so leave Kara alone!)
Lena had topped off the look by trading out her contacts with a thick pair of glasses she rarely even let Kara see, and if Kara wasn't so busy trying to figure out why Lena had just shrugged and said her eyes were bugging her and let herself be photographed in them, she would have noticed just how swirly her stomach was feeling. Nia shakes her head with a muttered why do I bother sometimes that only Kara hears.
Kara helps Lena pick out her next outfit too, and her heart is thundering when she brushes Lena's shoulder as she takes her blazer for her, and goddamn if she isn't glad she's the one with the superhearing. Seriously, since when does she have a crush on her best friend, this is so inconvenient goddammit.
Kara blushes up a storm when Lena casually changes in front of her a minute later, too.
"Oh, shit, wrong blouse, hang on, hold this, will you?' Lena pushes her blazer in Kara's direction and Kara takes it without thought and then--whoa. Thought thought thought thought thought thought thought Lena's changing in front of her, just blouse pulling off, it's not like Kara can see anything, it's just that objectively speaking, pulling a blouse over your head like that is legitimately the sexiest thing ever.
And hands in the pockets of trousers like that? Also the sexiest thing ever.
Kara tells Lena as much a minute later (the second part, not the first part), Lena in front of the camera again and looking like she's trying hard not to be annoyed, Kara winking flirtatiously in an attempt to make it less of a serious compliment, even though the words have been screaming for escape since she first thought them.
"Stop flirting with my girlfriend," James says absently, fiddling with the settings on his camera. Kara ducks her head at the admonishment, knowing he doesn't mean it but also that he's more right than he knows, and she should seriously tone it down, this is inappropriate.
Lena laughs. "At least someone's flirting with me."
James clicks his tongue skeptically. "Who was it that gave me a lecture about professionalism this morning?"
"Sometimes you have to let professionalism go," Lena tells him, and Kara can't tell if she's kidding.
"Yeah James," Kara chips in anyway. "Like when a pretty girl is putting on a show for you."
James rolls his eyes without any heat to it. Lena grins at Kara, her eyes lighting up in a way Kara thinks is entirely unfair, hands still in those goddamned pockets like it's her job. "You think I'm pretty?"
"Uh, duh," Kara says, aiming for dramatic and unfortunately probably hitting something closer to dopily sincere. "You're like, fifteen out of ten heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and," she eyes Lena's beaming grin and makes a dumb, rash decision that she can feel herself regretting as the words exit her mouth, "Wearing those slacks should be illegal, by the way. It's completely rude to ambush someone looking that hot."
Lena's messy bun tilts dangerously off the top of her head as Lena tilts her head to do a squinty-eyed smile at Kara. Kara studiously ignores her stomach swooping. The camera clicks away. "Does someone maybe have a little crush on me, Kara?"
"Supergirl does," Kara tells her smoothly, wondering internally when she got this good under fire. Her head was buzzing in a way that made it hard to think. "She told me to pass along the message, asked me to wingman her, you know how it goes. Just doing my best."
"Well," Lena says, straightening after James has clicked the camera a few times, "Tell Supergirl thank you for me, will you?" Kara nods dutifully, solemnly. Lena turns away from Kara and looks back over her shoulder at Kara, posing artfully with her fingers still deep in her pockets of those slacks. "And you can pass along the message she's welcome to come flirt with me in person anytime."
"Really, babe?" James' voice sounds a little strained.
Lena rolls her eyes at Kara, who giggles, completely unable to help herself. Lena smirks.
(Kara does not feel a warm glow all day when Lena's downright seductive grin at her from that angle is one of the shots they print. She does not, Nia. Shut up. No, she wasn't looking at Kara. That's just her look. That's why she prints well, that's why you wanted to do a spread on her. Shut up. Go write your article.)
Nia finishes the shoot with a few preliminary questions for the interview next week and Kara hears bits of it and laughs out loud at one of Lena's not-particularly-amusing answers. Lena grins wryly and picks up a stray rubberband and shoots it at Kara. "Easy there, Court Jester. I might put you out of a job."
"Nah," Kara shoots back, winding her way in between the lights guy and the monitor to reach Lena's perch on her earlier abandoned stool. "You love my jokes way too much."
"I admit I was surprised by the Hertz joke," Lena says, rubbing at her shoulder in a way that Kara knows means she's sore and uncomfortable. "Who knew you had engineering material in your back pocket?"
"I looked it up for you," Kara admits. "Here, let me--" and before she can help herself, her hands are sliding onto Lena's shoulders, rubbing gently, with just the right amount of force behind it to work out the knots, and Lena's eyes roll back in her head. They've done this a thousand times before, it barely takes two minutes, and it always makes Kara happy, because Lena so rarely lets her do anything for her.
A thousand times before was never with Nia looking knowingly at her, one eyebrow raised like she'd been watching a pro do it all day. Kara shakes her head warningly at Nia, who looks dryly back before adopting an innocent expression in time for Lena to open her eyes. "Sorry Nia," Lena says, forcibly focusing back on her. "You had more questions?"
"No," Nia says quickly. "That'll do for the preliminary. Just let those things stew and I'll see you next week?"
"Sounds good," Lena says, closing her eyes again as Kara continues her ministrations. "Email Eve the details." Nia squeaks out a thanks and a goodbye and flees. The last of the people who were breaking set file out behind her, and all at once it's Kara and Lena alone. Lena seems to realize this the same second Kara does. She slumps back into Kara with a sudden weight and exhaustion, and Kara chuckles sympathetically.
"How are you feeling?"
"Like I need a foot massage and a whole pizza to myself from inside a bubble bath. Ooh, and the schematics from R&D for tomorrow."
"That good, huh?"
"Yeah. Don't stop doing that, please." Kara hmms in response and lets her hands work out Lena's tension, ignoring the quiet whisper inside her of get back to your desk, do your work, stop hanging all over a taken woman. Kara would, she thinks somewhat sadly, probably do more than she realized just to get a moment with Lena. "How'd you enjoy the shoot?" Lena asks, eyes still closed and voice almost drowsy, relaxed now there was no one else around but Kara. "It's not your typical domain."
"No, but I liked it. I like seeing all sides of journalism, every different little thing we can report on. I especially liked your pitch. Nia loved it."
"I saw her eyes light up," Lena says, smiling gently. "Sometimes it's easier to make her happy than you."
"You plan ways to try and make us happy?"
"With her, I just get lucky. You, I barely have to plan anymore. I'm just that good, babe."
Kara knows it was supposed to be a light, offhand and drowsy joke, but a warm feeling settles in her stomach anyway and she doesn't laugh, just squeezes Lena's shoulders. Kara hears her name, distantly, but it doesn't sound urgent. "You want that foot massage? I'm afraid I can't quite get you a pizza and a bubble bath, but I can do one of the three."
Lena's still smiling that gentle smile, but she shakes her head. "I think I'll manage." She rocks forward, out of Kara's hands and away from her body. Kara misses her warmth all at once and tries to ignore the disappointment of Lena not spending more time with her.
Lena stands after a moment, not even wincing at her heels, and Kara resists the urge to wrap her arms around Lena. This is absurd. Seriously? She can't seriously be falling in love with Lena right now. This is so fucking inconvenient. This can't be real.
"Mmkay. I'm going to work from home for the rest of the day. I'll see you later?" Lena's turned, her eyes are on Kara, who snaps out of her own head to offer back a grin.
"Good. And Kara," Lena says, reaching out for her hand, which Kara lets her take, immediately, without thought, "Thank you for being here today. I know it's a waste of Supergirl's time but," she rocks back, slightly self-conscious, "It really helped, having you there."
"Couldn't keep me away with a ten-foot pole," Kara promises, and Lena's answering smile, soft and sure, is all Kara needs. Kara pulls her into a hug, tight and warm, and Lena's hands on her back and her front pressed to Kara's is softer than anything she's ever felt in that moment, and it's so good. So good.
Alex texts How was your day and how's Kara supposed to say that I got to spend five hours with Lena and somehow I was still disappointed when I didn't get to give her a foot massage?
(Kara texts back that it was good.)
Lena’s fashion spread prints with the headline a quote from designer Anne Klein: Clothes Won’t Change the World. The Women Who Wear Them Will. Lena Luthor, Changing the World in These Clothes, shares how to Look How You Want for the everyday World-Changer. Kara keeps a copy of the cover and her favorite photo (the one of Lena laughing in a messy bun) on the fridge. The one of Lena looking over her shoulder at Kara, unseen by the camera, she keeps tucked away.
Lena has the hugest crush ever on Supergirl. She’ll openly admit it because she thinks it's hilarious as fuck to mess with Kara like that (and James if we're being honest). Everyone thinks she's kidding though, including Kara. And Lena thinks she's kidding too, at least, she was kidding the first time, then she realized she wasn't. Then it was just, whoops, and now it's a non-denial denial. Their usual interactions when Kara’s in her suit are punctuated by Lena’s constant train of thought chanting, shoulders, hair, jaw, collarbone, arms—
“Jesus fuck Kara, what's the workout regimen?”
“Pure Kryptonian rahzh, kah.” Lena blinks. Kara grins, a little wolfishly. “Muscle, ma’am. I’m afraid it’s not for sale.”
“Oh.” Lena blinks again. Shit, Kara speaking Kryptonian is hot. Really, really, really fucking hot. And that was probably not a thought that a woman in a happy relationship with a man should be having.
Kara swoops onto Lena’s balcony a few nights later in a downright distracting display of casual power and grace.
Lena clamps her jaw shut and raises an eyebrow, turning her chair to face Kara and attempting to look nonchalant. “Supergirl, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Ha, ha,” Kara says dryly, making her way to the chair across Lena’s desk and slumping in it tiredly. “Nice to see you too.”
“Hmm,” Lena says, examining her fingernails, “Did Kara pass along my message, and you’re here to take me up on my offer? I see you wore your most dashing suit.”
Kara raises a disinterested eyebrow, mocking Lena’s expression, her face deadpan. “And risk the wrath of the Guardian? My weak Kryptonian physique would never win against his defenses.”
Lena feels a little something chill as her smile slips away at Kara’s mention of James. “Yeah,” she says slowly, reaching for her desk, pulling herself closer, needing an anchor all at once. “Wouldn’t want that.”
Kara frowns. “Is something wrong? With the two of you?”
“No,” Lena says. She means it. Sort of.
“No," Lena repeats, even less gravitas behind it than the first time. She sighs as Kara lolls her head forward from her slouch, leveling Lena with the same pout she uses on Alex to get the last potstickers. Lena shrugs helplessly. “I don't know. It’s silly.”
“It’s not silly if that’s what you’re feeling.”
“When did you get so wise,” Lena mutters.
“Twenty-four years with nothing to do might do that to ya.”
Lena’s eyes snap to Kara’s, which hold a wry sort of self-pity. Kara waves her off. Lena sighs again, resigning that tidbit to the make sure Kara goes to therapy for this box in her brain (the box is growing alarmingly large). “I just don’t feel much anymore. Not around him. Not like I did.”
“You’re not a bad person, if that’s what you’re wondering. That’s what happened to me and him, actually.”
“Well,” Lena says, leaning back dramatically. “You’re a terrible person, so maybe I am.” Kara grins, and Lena smiles back softly for a moment. “I just think we both deserve better.” She says it quietly. The words almost escape. And then she realizes what she's said.
Her eyes fly up to Kara’s, who has a soft, understanding look. “Oh my god. We've been having petty little stuff come up. I don't really know what to do, the last person I had this long of a relationship with was Jack, and you saw how that ended. It's stupid stuff. So I let a lot of little things slide because I’m still so happy."
Kara looks like she doesn't want to push. Doesn't want to ask if Lena's sure the relationship is the source of her happiness or if it’s there regardless of him. Like that’s not to be asked today. "Oh my god," Lena says again. “I think I need to break up with him.”
“Maybe,” Kara agrees softly. Lena can feel a heavy weight off her shoulders lift at the admission. There's a hot pressure behind her eyes, in her throat. Kara smiles a gentle little smile, apologetic and understanding. Lena closes her eyes.
“I’m a terrible person.”
“No,” Kara’s hand is on her back suddenly, rubbing back and forth and comforting. “No, you’re a very good person.”
“I’m the worst.”
“You’re the best. Shhhh.”
Lena groans into her hands. “I, I.”
“What do you need?”
“Take me home? I don’t want to cry here.”
“Of course. C’mere.”
Kara flies Lena home and holds her while she cries.
("You wanna know something else we have in common?" Kara murmurs, mock-serious while gently wraps her arms around Lena, props her chin on Lena's shoulder. Lena leans her head sideways to rest against Kara's, exhausted. "He both got us black and white portraits of ourselves that are borderline stalker shots."
"I never should have showed you that," Lena groans, trying not to laugh.
"But Lena! Our weird portraits can be friends! Where are we even going to hang them?"
"Mine was of me asleep in bed, Kara. Yours you were in a park or something. Those are totally different dynamics. They are not going to be friends."
"Aww, come on. I don't care if you were wearing pajamas, we can still be friends. ….you were wearing pajamas, right? …oh, eewww.")
(That makes Lena laugh.
“What does that mean?”
(Lena has a feeling that’s not all of it, but she leaves it.)
Lena comes into CatCo newly single and still courteous with James, though it hurts, but not as much for her as it does with him, cause she just didn't really love him anymore, and Kara's heart goes thump thump-thump so loudly in her ears, because Lena's in that goddamn professional as fuck blazer but with an edgier kind of blouse and Kara's pretty sure the people on tv aren't supposed to be this hot, even Nia comments Lena's got an extra edge today, and wow is Kara glad she did her homework on this edgy article she wants to write because Lena goes after her like a dog with a bone, and for three and a half minutes Kara forgets how hot her boss is and just gets lost in the fight, and then Lena grins wolfishly all at once, and Kara gets weak in the knees as Lena gives her approval to write the article exactly like that.
Kara does not have a five-minute deep breathing session on the balcony to recover from that one. Lena finds her on the balcony and leans on the railing next to her, still smiling triumphantly, bumping her shoulder into Kara's and pressing there.
"I know I probably shouldn't say this here," Lena says in that professional yet affectionate voice that Kara so adores and makes her feel like jelly, not that she's thought about it at all, "But I'm really, really proud of you for that argument."
Kara lets her head drop so she can grin hugely at the planter beneath her before looking at Lena with a smile a bit more contained. "Yeah?"
Lena leans into her, smiling. "Yeah. And I'm really, really glad I came in today, because that was--"
"So much fun," Kara agrees, chuckling, and Lena nodded.
"I really needed that today."
"Good," Kara says, leaning into her in return, feeling warmth and comfort seep in immediately. "I'm glad that going after me could help you get over your breakup." There was a brief pause, and Kara slowly realizes with dawning horror what she said. "I didn't mean it like--it wasn't--I--"
"Careful, Ms. Danvers," Lena drawls loftily, barely holding back a laugh as Kara groans into her hands. "Or I'll start thinking you're lining up to catch the rebound."
"You're not gonna let that one go, are you?" Kara moans, ignoring that she most definitely does want to go for the rebound.
"Maybe after a few months," Lena says. "I'm sure you'll say something equally embarrassing by then and we can move past this one."
"Please don't tell James," Kara muttered, then shot upright as she realized she just said that too. "Oh my god, I--"
"I don't think it'll come up," Lena said calmly, smiling softly.
"Sorry," Kara muttered, and Lena shook her head.
"Don't worry about it. I'm not really sad. I want some time single, for sure.” Kara nods, relieved both that it’s a wise decision and that she can tell herself something to stop her heart from going wild. “But I'm not all broken up. What we had was good, and it ran its course. I appreciated everything he brought into my life, and that doesn't have to leave now that we're no longer romantically linked."
"As long as you're okay," Kara says, taking her hand.
Lena's fingers curl reassuringly around Kara's, pressing in softly. "I am," she promised. "I'll be even better after a few more rounds of going after you, though."
Kara groans again as her face turned tomato red, and Lena's laugh echoes the side of the building. Kara can’t even find it in herself to be embarrassed when Lena laughs like that.
(Nia definitely did not get a picture of Kara grinning, still red, at Lena laughing, with their hands intertwined and their shoulders pressing. Nia's got ships too okay.)
Nia is gentle.
That’s the most Kara can say.
But Nia had honestly been turning the mentor ship on its head since day one and Kara should really stop being surprised Nia was mentoring her here too.
Not that Nia would admit to it. “Lena looks really happy today,” she comments slyly, as Kara came back to her desk after a lunch with her. “Someone must have put her in a good mood.”
Kara hmms noncommittally and Nia smiles innocently.
“Well, we all know who Ms. Luthor’s favorite employee is.”
“Ms. Luthor! You asked me to remind you of your meeting with the—“
Lena’s nodded before Eve’s halfway through. “Thanks, Eve, I’ll be there in just a second.” Lena focuses back on Kara, hand shifting from the back of her chair to Kara’s shoulder. “You’ve got the—“
“Yep.” Lena backs away and paces quickly to James’ office, still calling over her shoulder.
Kara doesn’t even look up. “Uh huh.”
Lena re-emerges, carrying her blazer and purse. Kara holds out a hand wordlessly, and Lena deposits the purse as she shrugs on her blazer. “And then the thing with the—“
“Okay,” Lena says, taking back the purse as Kara scrolls down the screen without even glancing at her, the pair of them totally absorbed in finishing the task. “You just need the—“
“Triple yep,” Kara says, finally tearing her eyes away. “Go, you look great, I got this.”
Lena gives her a brief, grateful smile. “Okay. Don’t stay too late. I’ll check in after I’m done but I expect you’ll get the final stuff—“
“Tomorrow at lunch,” Kara confirms, pushing gently at Lena’s hip. “Get out of here, you can’t miss this.”
“I know, I know. Okay.” Lena bends down and cups Kara’s cheek, tilting Kara towards her to press a kiss to her cheek hurriedly. “See you tomorrow.”
She follows a slightly-frazzled looking Eve out of the office at a quick clip, already looking at her phone as Eve begins to brief her again. Nia ambles by in front of Kara’s desk, practically gloating.
“Am I on the invite list to the anniversary party?” She asks innocently.
There’s an attack at L-Corp. Kara’s on point, she swoops in and saves Lena. No lives lost, and the attack was targeting Lena anyway. A grenade was shot straight into her office. Kara heard her heart pick up as she shouted grenade and was off like a shot. She curled around Lena protectively as Lena’s office rained down on her.
Now Lena was getting patched up at the DEO, her black blazer spattered in dust and her collar stained with her own blood, and it was hard to say who was more furious. Lena was sitting in the medbay, steaming mad and with blood dripping off her skin in more than once place. Her teeth were clenched tight as she let Alex patch her up, Kara pacing like a caged animal and stopping to offer her hand so Lena could squeeze on something indestructible when she needed to. Lena had yet to take her up on that offer.
"Completely ridiculous," Lena was saying, "A grenade shot through my window with a modified sniper rifle, this is absolutely absurd--" Alex dodged a gesturing hand and glanced at Kara with a martyred look. Kara shook her head. She was not about to tell Lena to calm down. "--just thankful none of my employees were seriously hurt, that's the only upside in all of this."
"And that you're alive," Kara feels the need to interject. Lena levels her with a glare only slightly softened, and despite her Kryptonian invulnerability, Kara has to consciously resist the urge to shiver.
"Tell me you've locked them up already," is all Lena says in reply. Kara nods. "Can I see them?"
Lena bristles. "And why not?"
"Because they tried to kill you, Lena."
"And you wouldn't want to see who tried to kill you?"
"That's completely different--"
"What? Because they can't hurt you? If they're locked up like you say, they can't hurt me now."
"It's out of the question," Kara says firmly.
Lena glares back, the fire in her eyes a couple shades darker and angrier than when she goes after Kara in the newsroom. "No, it's not. You're not in charge of what I do or who I see."
"But I do control who the prisoners see," Kara growls.
"Actually," Alex cuts in coolly, looking up from the table she'd studiously been staring at, "I do." Kara whips her head to glare at her sister, as does Lena, and Alex stands calm under both their fire. "But more importantly, as your doctor for this incident, Lena, I say you stay put without any more excitement for at least twenty-four hours. So,” she peels off her gloves as she finally finishes Lena’s bandages, “The pair of you can table this fight until at least tomorrow, or," she adds with a mock serious scolding tone, "I'm grounding you both."
Alex's play works. Kara snorts in her attempt not to laugh, and Lena's shoulders visibly slump. "This isn't over, Danvers," Lena warns, pointing a finger at Kara, ignoring the fact that it shakes slightly. "Either of you."
"Okay, Luthor," Alex says, rolling her eyes. "I still need an x-ray of you, though, so you can either have all the fun of our machine in the next room, or…"
"Hold still," Kara says, pushing down her frustration.
"And what if I want to use the machine?"
"Uh huh." Kara steps closer to take Lena's face in her hands, carefully avoiding the gash on her forehead. "You spit blood on my cape on the flight over, we're not waiting on an x-ray machine, Ms. Brawler. Hold still." Lena sighs but let Kara gently manhandle her this way and that as Kara scans her.
"Hairline fracture on the rib," Kara informs Alex.
"That explains the pain breathing," Lena mutters, and Kara glares, letting one hand slip off Lena's cheek.
"The rest looks fine, but I'd check her for a concussion."
"Will do," Alex says professionally over Lena's martyred sigh. "Heartbeat?"
"Stop listening to my heartbeat," Lena says petulantly, and Kara raised an eyebrow, tapping a pinky finger on Lena's pulse point under her jaw.
"Would you prefer I take your pulse?"
"I'd prefer a genuine medical stethoscope," Lena says evenly, her voice still low, and Kara shrugs and releases her, trying to shrug off the sting as Lena focuses on Alex instead of her, knowing it was completely irrational and Lena was hurt and getting her not-hurt was the most important. Alex doesn't miss a beat, picking up her stethoscope.
"I’m sorry about the blood on your cape."
"Huh?" Kara picks her head up from the pillow. Winn had jerry-rigged a projector to play movies on the ceiling so Lena didn't have to lift her head, and Kara was lying on the next bed over in solidarity, still in her Supergirl suit, drifting between answering emails on her phone and using her notes to type up a draft of the article she was going to write about the attack. Lena had been forbidden from looking at screens and didn't seem to be taking it particularly well. She was especially not taking it well since Winn queued up all the Shrek movies in a row.
"The blood on your cape, you mentioned. I'm sorry about that."
Kara chuckles. "It's been through worse. It'll wash off."
"Lena. Don't worry about it. You're not serious?"
"No." Lena says. "I just really hate this movie. Thought it would be a good conversation starter."
Kara clicks her phone off and dropped it to the bed, turning to her side and propping her head on her arm to face Lena. "No one's allowed to hate Shrek! And as for conversation starters, you've had better."
"I'd chuck this pillow at you if I could move."
"Are you in pain?"
"Not especially. But I definitely would be if I threw this pillow at you."
Kara snorts. "You'd better not, then."
"Careful, I just might, no matter what it costs me."
"I'm trembling, Luthor."
"Quaking in those ostentatious boots," Lena quips, eyes still out of focus towards the ceiling, and Kara rolls onto her back, closing her eyes as she laughs.
"They're not ostentatious, are they?" Kara asks after a moment, dimly watching Donkey say something ridiculous, the volume turned down low. "I mean, you'd tell me if they really were?"
"They're very you, Kara."
"That doesn't help," Kara says, and she can hear Lena grin.
"No, they're not ostentatious,” Lena promises after a beat. “They'd come off as pretentious if you weren't who you are, but you really make them work. Trust me, the boots are hot."
Kara feels a swoop in her stomach spread a buzz through her veins at Lena's easy words. "Hot, huh?" she asks, hardly daring to breathe, eyes shutting tight.
"Don't go getting a big head or anything," Lena drawls, "But you as a whole are pretty hot in that suit."
Kara can feel her breath caught in her chest. "Yeah?"
"I mean," Lena says, her voice low with exhaustion, growling like the engine of an old car that's a really dumb comparison to make Kara, stop it, "There was an internet poll."
Kara bursts out laughing. "Wow, okay. Thanks."
Lena giggles, then sucks in a painful breath. "Don’t make me laugh, Danvers, it hurts."
"Are you okay?" Kara’s at her side in an instant, fingers hovering anxiously, her body blocking half of Shrek on the ceiling.
Lena presses fingers to her side gingerly, applying light pressure. She squeezes her eyes shut and groans, once. "Stupid bastards. They wrecked my favorite blazer, too."
"I'll get you a new one."
"No you will not, it was seventeen hundred dollars."
"I won't get you a new one. Let me help, though. Freeze breath?"
"I think an ice pack would be better," Lena says, adjusting her fingers carefully.
"Okay," Kara says. "Just a sec." She flies out of the room and comes back in a burst of superspeed, handing Lena an ice pack.
"Thanks." Lena hisses as she presses it onto her ribs over her bandage, under the rip in her ruined blouse. Kara’s pretty sure she hadn't changed because it would be too painful, but the blouse looks like it’s on its last legs. She pushes down the urge to say something.
"So, uh, wanna tell me why you're against using my help?"
Kara hops back on her bed and swings her feet. "No x-ray vision, no freeze breath, no checking your heartbeat…"
Lena blinks several times at the ceiling as she adjusts her hold on the ice pack. "I actually do prefer machines specifically designed for their purpose sometimes, Kara."
"You told me last week I'm better than any machine," Kara shoots back, trying to make her voice soft but not whiny.
Lena sighs. "And I stand by that. But Kara, you're not a machine… you're better than anything we could ever make. But it doesn't mean you have to bust your ass doing everything the machines can. You're my friend, not my personal assistant slash medic slash AI security team. I want to treat you better than that." Kara feels a warmth spreading slowly through her chest as Lena grimaces and adjusts her hold on her ice pack, gaze still fixed absently on the ceiling. "Plus, I actually do prefer to press an ice pack to something hurt sometimes, you know. Don't get me wrong, I of all people know that your powers are great in a pinch, but I don't want to treat you like an all-purpose machine. You're worth more than that."
"Oh," Kara says softly, and Lena snorts before groaning. "Quit laughing," Kara tells her.
"Stop being worth laughing at," Lena shoots back, and Kara grins.
"Watch Shrek, you hate it."
"I thought you said no one was allowed to hate Shrek."
"I'll let you break the rules." Lena lolls her head on the pillow lazily to grin at Kara with one eyebrow raised, that chocolate-melting definitely-not-seductive lazy half-smile turning Kara's insides to goo and making her smile big and helpless in return. Lena blinks heavily and lolls her head back facing upwards, eyes closing deliberately. Kara swings back into the lying down position on her own bed, folding her hands carefully on her chest and feeling like this was a sleepover. She chews her lip and let the moment stretch, somehow unable to stop smiling. "So," she says into the quiet after several minutes. "Did you, uh, participate in the internet poll?"
"Write your article, Kara."
"I'm just saying, as a reporter--"
"A reporter who might be unemployed soon if they ask the wrong questions."
"It's my job to go after the facts."
"If Mr. Schott breaks into my browser history, there will be hell to pay."
"I'm just saying, you could just tell me now. Friend to friend, if you think I'm hot."
"If you're seriously asking this right now, we need to work on our mutual definition of friend."
"I don’t see a problem with this at all,” Kara says, waving her hands to accentuate and fighting back a hysterical giggle. “I of course think you’re hot, you being hot is like an objective fact. I mean, if you want to rework our definition of friend, we can do that later. But right now--"
"Shut up and watch Shrek, Kara." Kara clamps her lips down over a smile. She chances a glance after a couple moments at Lena, who is lying perfectly still, her eyes still closed, just a hint of a smile playing across her face. "Stop watching me sleep," Lena adds. "I don't care if you are a superhero, it's creepy."
"Bossy," Kara mutters, still grinning as she lays back down and pulls her phone back out.
"Funny thing to call your boss."
"Shut up and watch Shrek, Lena."
"When I get out of here," Lena says in a perfectly even and calm tone, eyes still closed angelically, "I am going to throw so, so many pillows at you. And if you want to maintain this friendship, you are going to let them all hit you." Kara's laughter rolls off the walls until Alex pokes her head in to tell her to shut up and let Lena rest. "Yeah Kara," Lena says, still the picture of innocence with her forehead's half-open wound and ice pack on the ribs and tattered clothing, "Let me rest." She cracks an eye open and winks.
"You have three seconds to prepare," Lena says, sitting on the couch.
"Three seconds? For what?"
It’s game night, five weeks of Lena taking it easy later, and she has finally healed enough to smugly grin when Kara opens the front door for her and stretch, demonstrably free of pain and with her forehead sporting a barely noticeable scar (Kara had cheered and pulled her into a hug that Lena wheezed was going to re-crack her ribs). Lena’s now sitting next to her on the couch while James, Winn, and Alex argued about snacks in the kitchen and they wait on J'onn and Nia and Brainy.
"Remember what I told you in the medbay? Two. One."
Kara’s still frowning when Lena swings the pillow. "Whoa!" Kara blocks it instinctively, and Lena pulls it back to raise an eyebrow.
"Remember all of it," Lena warns, and Kara realizes what she means a half-second later. Kara sighs and pulls off her glasses, still on her face from earlier. She folds them carefully on the table and nods, putting on a mock-game face.
"Good choice," Lena says, with a deceptively sweet smile. She swings the pillow. "For Shrek. For making me laugh. The first time and the second." She punctuates each sentence with a light, even for a human, pillow to Kara's face, her side, her knee. "And," she pulls back the pillow and grasps it with both hands, raising it over her head to come down on Kara's head with double power, "For disturbing my rest." Kara fakes a wince with one eye shut as the pillow came down and accomplishes nothing except messing up her hair.
"Yep, I deserved that, that totally brutal physical punishment that was definitely not an immature and ineffective sleepover game. Feel better?" Kara asks, trying hard not to laugh.
"Much, thank you."
Lena chuckles. "I don't spend my time dreaming up ways of how to physically abuse you, you know, despite what the media says about me."
"Oh, you totally do," Kara argues. "You made me eat kale that one time, you made me eat broccoli that other time, and let's not forget the time you--"
"Okay, that's enough." Lena’s shoving at her shoulders, and Kara lets herself be pushed down, laughing.
"Guys? You wanna, uh, break up couples' night for game night?"
Kara glances over, bemused at Lena's fourth noise of annoyance in under a minutes. "What's got you so wound up?"
"I can just tell an entitled white man wrote this report."
Kara grins. "Read me a paragraph."
"Further, L-Corp's benefit to the community comes from its stature, its impressive example, and the wealth that flows in based on--I mean, seriously?"
Kara raises a skeptical eyebrow. "I must admit I do not follow."
"It's, okay," Lena stands, her impressively heeled boots still on as she stalked across her office, pacing dangerously, and Kara forcibly quells a dangerous delight in her stomach. "His intentions are good, but the benefits to the community, yes, we want to be a good example and a force for good and of course we want to help the community, but we shouldn't just be boldly announcing that we've been a benefit to the community after just four years, not in those terms. We can quantify our economic effects with numbers, we can list the charities we've given to and the causes we've supported, but--okay, I’ve lost you, haven’t I," Lena trails off, watching Kara's eyes, her fire slipping away as she catches Kara's gaze trailing blankly somewhere in the vicinity of her legs.
Kara has admittedly lost track of Lena’s words in favor of losing herself out of fantasies, fantasies in which Lena must get much closer to make her point, fantasies that involve the couch she’s sitting on and the floor Lena is pacing on, ones that involve Lena’s boots and--"What? No, I'm totally with you! Sorry."
"Something distracting, Supergirl?" Kara glances down.
"I did not realize I was still in the suit," she admits, patting her stomach idly, still covered in blue. "But to be fair, you're still in a suit too."
"We're in my office, Kara, I'm allowed to still be in a suit."
"And I'm not?" Kara pulls a face. "If I'm not allowed to be in a suit right now, we're gonna run into some issues of professional decency in your office, even if it is past eight pm on a Friday."
There’s was a beat of silence in which Lena flushes suddenly, but shakes her head before Kara can ponder why. "No, please," Lena says, her voice a little less smooth than usual, "Keep that suit on as long as you like."
"Ooookay?" Kara look skeptically at Lena, but Lena just shakes her head again. "You good?"
"You're right," Lena says suddenly. "It is past eight pm on a Friday. We should go out, do something."
"I'm in the suit," Kara points out unnecessarily. "I don't have a change of clothes on me."
"You could always go out like that," Lena points out.
"And further Ms. Luthor's publicly admitted gigantic crush on Supergirl? That'd play well in the press, I'm sure."
"Hey," Lena said, snapping shut her folder and looking mock-affronted. "I'm newly single, I can be seen with whoever I want to be seen with."
Kara frown. "Shouldn't that sort of be the case even if you're in a relationship?"
"Photographed by the paparazzi with whoever I want to be photographed with without worrying about the consequences," Lena amends, dropping her folder to her desk and sitting down on the table Kara has her boots propped on.
"And you want that to be … Supergirl." Kara raises her eyebrows in the way that always made Alex chuck a pillow at her head.
"What I want," Lena says, picking up Kara’s feet and propping her boots in her lap, sitting down where Kara’s feet were, "Is to go out with you. I don't care who you're dressed as."
"Go out with me…?" Kara leaves the end hanging, a question, her heart suddenly thumping heavy.
"Anywhere you want.” Lena’s tapping vague rhythms on the tops of Kara’s boots, absentminded. “We can go to my place or yours or anywhere in town, hell, the world, I don't care, Kara. You're my best friend and we've both just put in an eighty-hour week, let's put our work down and go have fun. Come on," Lena pleads, not noticing how Kara's heart had sunk back down at you're my best friend and putting on her pouting face that Kara could never say no to. She squeezes Kara’s shins. "I haven't seen you properly in forever. Let's have some fun."
Kara twists her lips to the side, her traitorous heart steadying back down to its normal tempo, but still thundering heavily with Lena looking at her like that, all attention focused on her. "Well, if you haven’t seen me properly,” she says finally, and Lena beams. "But I'm flying us, and you're not wearing that."
"What's wrong with this?" Lena asks, looking down self-consciously at her pristine blazer and fitted slacks, glancing back up to see Kara looking somewhere between amused and martyred.
"Absolutely nothing. Which is why you can't wear it."
"Come on. I've got something you can ruin where we're going."
Kara flies them to a roller derby rink several miles outside of Midvale.
Lena clutches Kara's arm tightly as they approach. "You didn't."
"Do you not like roller derby?"
Lena shakes her head, tongue between her teeth as she absently adjusts Kara's crooked glasses before stepping out of her arms, just a little. "I can't skate, Kara. Not like this. Are we watching a competition?"
"Oh. There's a match in an hour or two, I think. But there's a free skate 'til then. Plus, they have really great kettlecorn."
"Oh, kettlecorn, why didn't you say so?"
"You're being sarcastic." Kara accuses, feeling self-conscious about her choice already.
"Give the girl a prize," Lena mutters. She takes a deep, steadying breath, and adjusts the zip on Kara's hoodie she’s wearing. "Okay. Teach me to skate and I'm all yours, Danvers."
Kara grins. This was going to be fun.
This is not fun.
This is so absolutely the opposite of the definition of fun. Lena is always at least holding her hand and making these slight noises of panic that have her Supergirl instincts kicking in, but Lena’s right there. Eyes shining as she makes it four pushes against the ground without stumbling. Lips growling out really sexy and creative swear words that are making Kara sweat as Lena pitches forward--straight into Kara, who’s skating backwards in front of her to make sure Lena doesn't hit the ground.
Kara’s taught plenty of people to skate. Winn, for one. She had brought him here. It was a night of giggling and swearing and Winn groaning as ten-year-olds zoomed past him with ease. Kara had almost died of laughter but gotten Winn skating in the end, and it had been one of her favorite nights of their friendship. Kara had taught plenty of those ten-year-olds herself, kids who had seen her gliding with ease and asked for help. Kara was a sucker for their pouty eyes and never minded taking the time.
But Lena. Lena is a completely different animal.
Lena was all soft crashing into her and fingers clutching in a hard grip, ridiculously attractive concentration in Kara’s hoodie and a scientific mind that was puzzling through the phenomenon of skating out loud in a way Kara was unfortunately attracted to. And Kara has a front row seat to it all.
No. This is not fun.
Lena seems to think it was, though, after about half an hour of Kara's restraint to not just kiss your best friend don't do it don't do it don’t do it being severely tested. Lena slowly eases up her grip on Kara's hands, and Kara moves to skate beside her. Lena begins to move a little more steadily under her own power, not graceful by any means, but not as shaky as she was before.
Lena turns to Kara and glows. "Ok, I see why you brought me here."
"Yeah?" Kara grins back. (okay, maybe this was fun.)
"Yeah. I see that it could be freeing to the mind, once you get the hang of it. But learning a new skill--whoa, I'm okay, I'm good!" Lena rights herself before she falls all the way, arms pinwheeling wildly, and Kara bites back a laugh. Lena straightens up with total dignity, and oh, Kara is in love. "Learning a new skill," she continues, as though there had been no interruption, "Is deeply satisfying."
"Good," Kara says sincerely, resisting the urge to bump her shoulder into Lena's, knowing that because she was on unsteady wheels, Lena would probably go flying and break several bones at least. Bad idea. She laces her fingers with Lena's securely instead. "I'm glad you like it."
Lena squeezes her fingers into the back of Kara’s hand. "I do. Thank you for bringing me." They skate half a lap with Lena concentrating deeply before Lena lets go abruptly. "Ok, my feet are killing me, they didn't fit these things right. I’ll race you to the end and I'm calling it."
And with that, Lena reaches out and shoves at Kara ineffectively, before inexpertly picking up her pace and sliding down the track towards the curve.
"Wha--you little--" Kara takes off after her, catching up and beating her by a mile, Lena's laughter chasing her all the way.
"Ok, roller derby is a criminally underrated sport."
Lena grins and bumps her shoulder to Kara's, turning around to walk backwards. "Catch," she says, and Kara opens her mouth for Lena to throw a kernel of kettlecorn in. "Nice," Lena says, still pacing backwards down the long boardwalk in the dark. She throws another, which Kara catches, and another. Then she throws three at once, all heading in different directions. Kara misses them all. "Ooh," Lena says in fake sympathy, sounding like Alex. "The champion loses her crown."
"Hey!" Kara protests. "You threw three in different directions!"
"You have superspeed and x ray vision," Lena says, raising an unimpressed eyebrow. "And you couldn’t catch even one of those?"
"I wasn't expecting it!" Kara argues, and Lena sighs sardonically.
"Not really the argument you want to hear from someone protecting the city, now is it?"
"I think I've done just fine protecting you," Kara shoots back, and Lena rolls her eyes, turning back around so her back is facing Kara. "And I'm not wearing my glasses, since someone stole them!" It was true. Lena's still wearing Kara's prescription-less glasses, and Kara's heart was pounding loudly that it liked that fact very much, thank you. Kara's not entirely sure how Lena got them, but damn if they don't look good on her.
"Potato, potahto," she says over her shoulder, and Kara huffs. "If you can't even catch a kernel of popcorn, honestly…" Lena chuckles. Any trappings of annoyance Kara might feel drain away in the night. She can’t be mad. Not with the night so clean and clear, Lena leading the way down the dock, humming to herself as she devours the kettlecorn. "Who have you been texting all night anyway?" Lena asks abruptly, and Kara startles as she turns around, green eyes bright in the moonlight.
"Eliza," Kara answers, bemused.
"Depends. Do you wanna fly back to National City tonight?" Lena's I hadn't quite gotten there yet face is all the confirmation Kara needs. "Eliza's already asleep for the night, but she keeps the keys in the same place, and a couple pairs of my old pajamas are still there. She put clean sheets on the beds and sent me a very convincing shot of the stocked fridge for breakfast."
Lena looks half-skeptical. "I don't want her to go to any trouble."
"Too late," Kara says, rolling her eyes. "She wants to see you anyway."
"What, not you?"
"Well yeah, but she always gets to see me," Kara shoots back. "Duh. But you, you're special."
Lena blushes in the moonlight. "No, I'm not."
"I dare you to tell that to Eliza tomorrow over breakfast. See how she responds."
"We're having breakfast with her?"
Kara half-scoffs. "What, did you think I was going to bring you a five-star, ultra-romantic breakfast in bed while Eliza made herself scarce?"
"No," Lena says, the faded blush on her face rising back up sharply.
Kara's still bemused. "For a genius, you don't think things through sometimes."
"Yes, I hear it drives all the boys crazy." Lena's making a sarcastic face as her blush fades once more, and Kara groans.
"I don't care what it does to the boys. You're doing things to my heart when you don't think through things like your safety, Ms. Luthor."
"Hey, it's Dr. Luthor to you."
"What?" Kara yelps. "You let everyone else call you Ms., and I have to use the actual title? What kind of reverse favoritism is that, Dr. Lena?"
Lena looks like she has a reply on her tongue but swallows it in a laugh. "Dr. Lena?" she manages.
"Oh, shut up. It's late, and I'm tired. I flew you here."
"Is that a comment on my weight, Ms. Danvers?"
Kara shakes her head. "Your weight is perfect and it always be. I'm merely pointing out that one of us did the flying and one of us did not."
"Fine," Lena sniffs, disdainful all at once, and if Kara knew her one degree less, she wouldn't be able to tell she was joking. She widens her eyes dramatically, mocking Kara, and clearly resisting sticking her tongue out too. "Then fly me to bed, Supergirl." She holds out her arms dramatically, and Kara laughs loud and unrestrained before swooping Lena up, upside-down, and laughs even louder as Lena shrieks indignantly.
Kara wakes to the distinctive double-buzz of a DEO text. She blinks the sleep out of her eyes and checks it. Robbery/holdup halfway between here and Midvale. Alien aggressor. Wanna get it?
Kara thumbs in a lazy I'm on it, and rolls out of bed gently, shaking her head to clear it. She changes in a burst of superspeed and is at the window when she hears Lena.
"Yeah," Kara says, pacing back quickly to Lena's side. "I need to go handle a quick robbery holdup, I'll be right back." Lena's eyes move sleepily down her form, trailing back up to look at Kara with an unreadable expression in the dark. "Go back to sleep," Kara whispers. "I have to go, I'll be right back, I promise." Kara sweeps down and kisses her forehead gently, and flies out the window in a flash.
Lena's still sitting up, slouched against the headboard when Kara gets back twenty minutes later.
"You should go back to sleep," Kara tells her, but Lena shakes her head, eyes half-shut already.
"Wanted to make sure you were okay," she mumbles, and Kara's heart melts.
"I'm fine." She sits down on her own bed, the one Lena’s sleeping on, while she takes Alex’s, and Lena slides further into the sheets, curled against her warmth through the covers separating them, just the slightest. Kara holds out her hand proving herself whole. "See?"
Lena reaches out and takes it, covering it in both of hers, running a hand up Kara's still-suited arm slowly, all the way up the shoulder. She pauses, pressing lightly, and moves it to Kara's cheek. "Okay," she says after a moment. Her hands drop. She curls up tighter, her knees bumping the back of Kara's hips through the sheets. "Don't go again."
Kara has the I can't of I can't promise that formed, but the words don't come out. She just nods. "Okay," she says softly. Lena's already asleep.
Kara curls up in Alex's bed, (Here, you take mine, I'll take Alex's, it's fine, Lena, do you really want to sleep in Alex’s bed, I’ve always wanted to do this and I finally have an excuse, I mean it--) back in her pajamas again. She rolls over to look at Lena Luthor, sister of her cousin's biggest enemy, wearing a spare pair of her old pajamas, sleeping in her childhood home, totally at peace.
Kara rolls back to stare at the ceiling and smiles as she closes her eyes. Life could be so crazy. But she's pretty sure this moment is a good one, at least.
Lena wakes up late. Later than she's used to, by a lot. She pulls her phone towards her instinctively to see Kara's changed her background, again. Instead of a selfie of Kara sticking her tongue out in front of Lena’s background form, struggling on skates, it's now a selfie of Kara from what was clearly about half an hour ago. Phone Kara is yawning and holding up a notebook in the dawn, sleep in you crazy genius scrawled thickly across it in Kara's messy handwriting. Lena smiles with her whole body, curling up tighter in Kara’s blankets. She glances to Alex's bed to see it's empty, the sheets kicked to the foot of the bed and Kara's long soft sweater from the night before missing off the footboard.
Lena rolls back into Kara's pillows and takes a deep breath in, feeling cool and clean and Kara's faint scent in the sheets. It's a little different here, like Eliza uses a different detergent than Kara does in the city, but definitely something very Danvers that never fails to make Lena feel a little calmer--that's a little creepy, Luthor. Tone it down.
Lena breathes in deep again, unable to help herself, and dozes for a little longer.
She wakes at the gentle clink of silverware downstairs and pulls herself into the morning. She rolls out of bed and stretches, smiling at how unusually well-rested she feels. Lena shuffles downstairs after finding a spare high school sweatshirt of Kara's from the closet to pull on.
Eliza and Kara are talking quietly in the kitchen. Kara's technically manning a full griddle of sausages and bacon, her bare fingers are pulling the sizzling, half-cooked strips around so they're arranged for maximum efficiency, and it's already obvious she's eaten about a dozen strips that weren't fully cooked. Eliza is mixing pancake batter in an enormous bowl and shaking her head at Kara, who's grinning as she speaks quietly.
"I'm serious," Kara's saying, "They've gotten way better. Thrashed the other team. I know Alex would be half-proud and half-jealous, I've got to get her to go see a match."
"Match of what?" Lena asks, yawning.
"Lena!" Eliza, as Kara anticipated, is delighted to see her, and before Lena can finish yawning, Eliza's hugging her, her brand a little gentler than Kara's signature. Kara sticks her tongue out at Lena in a super-mature I told you so expression and Lena fights the natural roll of her eyes. "It's so good to see you," Eliza says, pulling back to grasp at Lena's shoulders. "Here, sit down, I was so excited when Kara texted, we never get to see you."
"She works too much," Kara supplies from the stove, casually betraying her while eating a sausage with the grease still sizzling and popping in her unprotected hands.
"Hypocrite," Lena accuses, sliding onto the stool behind the bar top. Kara grins back dopily.
"Oh, never mind that," Eliza says. "I cannot wait to hear all about your new projects. I read about the ones in the newspaper, Kara wrote a lovely series on your inventions, oh, and I loved the fashion spread, but what about the side projects?" Eliza looks conspiratorial as she leans in closer to Lena, reaching for the coffee pot and pouring Lena a cup, sliding her the brew like it’s not a bribe except it totally is, and all at once Lena understands where Kara gets some of her antics. "Can you tell me anything?"
Kara's looking suspiciously tight-lipped from the stove, clamping down on a smile as she dances to some music in her head, and Lena suppresses a giggle. "Well," she says, taking a sip and favoring Eliza with a matching conspiratorial smile, "Even though it's all confidential, I think I can probably tell you some things."
Eliza beams. Kara's internal music only makes her bop harder. Lena settles into her seat, feeling a long breakfast full of science and teasing and smiles and good food ahead.
It's a good morning.
Lena takes a photo of Kara and Eliza and shoots it to Nia with a "your newest fan. She 'LOVED' the fashion spread more than any of the science articles Kara has written about me."
Nia texts back YOURE MEETING THE PARENTS WTF
Lena: ??? We've all "met the parents". Thanksgiving every year?
Nia: Sorry. I mean, she brings you home?
Lena:… we were in the area last night, slept over.
Nia: Doing what?
Lena: we went skating at a rink she knows, watched a roller derby match.
Nia: ROLLER DERBY?? IS THERE A GAYER SPORT? SOFTBALL IS SHAKING
Lena: I know we kicked ass at pictionary at game night three weeks in a row but I don't understand anything you're saying
Nia: it's ok, I'll grill Kara about it later
Nia: don't worry about it. Go charm your girl.
Kara: leave Lena alone
Nia: I didn't do anything
Nia: sorry. I'll stop
Kara: thank you
Nia: … but you did bring her home??
Kara: I'm putting my phone on do not disturb
Nia: Kara YOU TOOK HER TO A ROLLER DERBY MATCH
Kara: IT'S NOT MY FAULT. I KNOW IT'S GAY. ALEX IS GAYER THAN ALL OF US AND SHE DID ROLLER DERBY ALL THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL, I AM WELL AWARE OF ITS INHERENT GAYNESS.
Nia: bUT YOU TOOK HER
Kara: SHE WANTED TO WATCH
Nia: hOW DID YOU END UP IN THE RINK IN THE FIRST PLACE
Kara: WE WERE SKATING OKAY
Kara: SHE HADN'T BEEN SKATING
Kara: SO I TAUGHT HER TO SKATE. THEN THERE WAS A MATCH AND WE STAYED AND WATCHED
Nia: you TAUGHT her to SKATE
Nia: were hands
Kara: seriously how old are you
Kara: everything was PG af
Nia: mhm. But was it PG13 feelings
Kara: oh my god.
Nia: I'm just saying! How did the two of you get out there in the first place?
Kara: she wanted to go out, it's been a long week, we wanted to avoid the papparrazzi
Nia: you are aware, are you not, that you speak in the royal 'we' when you refer to you and her right
Nia: it's very relationshippy.
Kara: I'm hanging up
Kara: and you can do the fact-checking on my latest three articles on Monday
Nia: I accept that. But girl, you gotta accept your feelings
Kara: It's not about my feelings, Nia. Those aren't important.
Kara put her phone face down on the nightstand and went out to join Lena and Eliza for a quick walk on the beach before she flew herself and Lena back home. She enjoyed the walk so much she didn't check her phone at all when they got back either, she and Lena grabbing up their stuff and going. Lena managed to grab both of their phones and froze for four seconds before clicking off Kara's phone and heading downstairs to join Kara.
Nia: of course your feelings are important! You taught me I'm not alone and you're not alone in this
Nia: I'm not saying you should do anything except acknowledge what's there
Nia: for what it's worth, she's head over heels for you, too. As an objective third party, trust me on that.
Kara sends back a single heart when she reads Nia's messages, an hour or two later in National City, after she's dropped Lena off back at her apartment and taken a shower and made plans for a movie night with Alex. She sends a single heart to Lena too, who's texted her a thanks for last night. And this morning. I really needed that.
Lena is off.
That's the only way she can describe it. Lena herself doesn't know what's wrong. Well, in theory. In practice, she's bringing up those repressed Kinsey-five-at-an-all-girls-boarding-school repression techniques and losing some sleep and adding some alcohol. Lena knows exactly what is wrong, and now that she knows, she doesn't want to admit it.
Doesn’t want to admit what that breakfast alone last weekend did to her. That breakfast full of finding out Alex did roller derby in high school, of Lena wearing Kara's sweatshirt and realizing it was a marching band sweatshirt, (it was all about control! It was great and I made good friends! Stop laughing, you did Science Olympiad and both are nerdy and awesome. No, Eliza, do not show her the pictures—ahhh, no, you pulled them out already. Of course. Lena, don’t even think about making this your new wallpaper—seriously, already?) of Kara stealing Lena’s food as per usual and Eliza’s eyes growing to the size of quarters for a brief moment when Lena stole some of Kara’s in retaliation and Kara said nothing. She can’t think about what that did to her. It did horrible, horrible things to her concentration to say the least.
"Lena," Kara says, waving her hand in front of Lena's face. Lena remains zoned out, lips slightly parted, fingers clutching tightly onto her glass of human-safe rum at the alien bar, tucked carefully into the corner of a corner booth. She's wedged between Kara and the wall, and despite their usual closeness and the tightness of the booth, Lena doesn't lean into her tonight like she always does. Kara frowns and snaps her fingers in front of Lena's face, shaking her from her daze.
"Did you just snap at me?"
"Depends. Did you just zone out for over five minutes, again?"
Lena summons the grace to look sheepish for a moment before swirling her drink, unaffected once more. "Depends. Did you order me that refill I asked for?"
"You haven't even finished your--aaand, you finished it." Kara sighs, half-bemused as Lena drains the glass before Kara can finish her sentence. She squeezes Lena's knee and pries herself out of the too-small booth. "I'll get right on that."
Lena takes a deep breath and glances across the table, where Alex and Nia have been chatting amicably, presumably about the inherent gayness of roller derby, and the suppression of discussions about homoerotic subtext in literature among adolescents, two topics they seem to have latched on to with concerning enthusiasm in the past week. Lena half wishes she hadn't texted Nia that photo. Alex glances up at Kara's absence.
"Sent your personal servant for a refill?"
Lena thinks about protesting at the comment and decides it's not worth it. "Something like that," she agrees, halfway to drunk and not seeing the point. She pauses, considering. "Does Kara act like my personal servant? Do I treat her like that?"
"What?" Alex shakes her head. "You don't treat her like that, no. I think sometimes she falls into old habits with you, though." Lena frowns in question, and Alex makes a face. "It’s like, you're the only one she's met since Cat who's, well, enough to get all of her attention and respect that she’ll act like this for. As Kara, anyway. As Supergirl, she meets much more impressive people, but she can't precisely show it the same way, plus she's different as Supergirl."
"Yes she is," Lena mutters, tucking away the rest of what Alex said in her When I’m Deciding if Kara Might Like Me box, and regrets the comment instantly as Alex and Nia both pause and stare at her. Their heads cock to the side in identical gestures, and Lena can feel the alcohol gathering in her brain to prevent her from making a good excuse, but just then, Kara slips back into the booth.
"One for the lady," Kara says, sliding the new drink into Lena's hand and sliding the empty glass out. Fingers on both hands brush, and Lena murmurs a thanks without picking up the drink for several long moments, wrapping her fingers around the tumbler carefully, trying to suppress the microscopic shivers that come from Kara's touch. Kara's dressed down tonight, in jeans and a t shirt, but that means there's still skin and tight denim, and honestly, it's just rude, Lena thinks, Kara practically cosplaying as Captain Marvel in civilian clothing, who everyone knows is a lesbian. It's even ruder because Supergirl was the one who stopped by to drag Lena out of the office on a Friday night, Lena is well aware how much that suit affects her, and Lena swears Kara's only gotten more attractive in that suit now that Lena's realized her feelings.
She just thought that, like, coherently, didn't she. Damn.
Kara's hand is waving in front of her face again. "Where'd you go this time?" Kara asks, somewhere between amused and concerned, and Lena composes herself. She bites back a dirty joke as a response. Those aren't nearly as funny anymore. She glances across the table to see Nia watching her, eyes slightly narrowed and far too knowing for a twenty-one year old reporter.
Screw it. Lena summons an easy drawl and leans back against the wall, raising an eyebrow gently. "Wouldn't you like to know, Ms. Danvers?"
Kara flushes just enough to be noticeable, and Alex grimaces and takes a sip of water, looking offended that the beverage has the nerve to be non-alcoholic when she remembers she's several months sober now.
It wasn't James.
That's all Lena can think, sitting in bed three nights later, sober once more. She stares at the clock on the wall, its silent ticking a comfort as she watches the seconds move by slowly. Inexorably. Time will keep turning, as will the world. Unlike Kara's.
Lena winces at her own thought and shakes her head. It wasn't James. It wasn't James that had been the source of her happiness. She knew that, long before she ended it. But it had been nearly four months since she ended things with James. She thought she had a good grasp on what made her happy. Doing good work, constant new stimulation, the sunshine in this city, Lex leaving her alone, Lillian being halfway tolerable, that good bakery down the street, that gym two blocks from there that helped her balance the good bakery, friends, being close to them, professional success--hang on. Go back to friends.
Who had been her very first friend, at least in this city? It certainly wasn't James. It was Kara. Kara, who had always made her smile. Kara, who had always brought the sunshine of the city with her. Kara, who had held her every time she cried. Kara, who had brought so, so many good things into her life and saved her so many times and was such a complex, beautiful enigma of a person that cranked up Lena's existence three and a half notches every time she was near--
Lena glares at the clock at the wall, showing it to be well past one in the morning somehow, and turns off the lights with an angry flick of her wrist, turns over, and screams into her pillows.
Kara, who has feelings for a woman. Kara, who was struggling with these feelings and was texting Nia about them instead of talking to Lena. Kara, who Lena wants to see be happily in love more than anyone.
Lena just wants Kara to be in love with her.
Lena flips over onto her back and brushes the hair out of her face, taking a deep calming breath. She smooths her MIT t shirt down and rearranges the covers neatly and primly. "You are a grown ass woman, Lena Luthor," Lena speaks the words calmly into the air. "You survived the emotional abuse of the Luthor household, you are the CEO of two companies, your hair is thick and long and shiny and in perfect health, and you have three degrees. We will not scream into our pillows like a repressed boarding school lesbian over a crush."
Lena flips back over like an angry twelve-year-old and screams into her pillow again. Four times.
Lena rolls onto her back, throat sore, and glanced at her phone on her nightstand, which had lit up. There was a text from Kara. Please tell me you're okay or I'm coming over there in 45 seconds.
Lena frowns. She sent back a I'm fine. Why?
Kara: I heard you scream a few times. Didn't want to invade your privacy if you were having a moment. but because it's you, it's much more likely you're getting kidnapped.
Lena: Is my rate really that high? I'm fine. Thanks for checking. Just reading a sad book. She chews her lip, trying to make it plausible. A really sad, emotionally wrenching book.
Kara sends back a single heart and Lena groans loudly.
I'll yell for Supergirl if I'm actually getting kidnapped. Until then, please ignore the screaming.
Sure thing, boss.
Lena slumps back into her pillows angrily and hates everything.
"So." Kara pokes at her fries before picking up three at once and eating them. "What book were you reading last night?"
"My own little home security system," Lena mumbles, and Kara has the grace to at least look sheepish as she focuses on her fries. "It was called A Little Life," Lena says, casting about for the saddest book she can remember. "I don't know why I picked it up again, it's literally the saddest book I've ever read."
"It's the saddest book you've ever read in your whole life, and you decided at nearly two in the morning that you needed to read it again?" Kara looks like she can't quite believe it, but also, she totally can.
Lena shrugs, trying to avoid the line of questioning. "It was nearly two in the morning, and you decided to listen in to my screaming? Kara, what if I was screaming because I had someone over?" Kara flushes a light red and ducks her head, eyes shooting up to meet Lena's, which were amused now. She mumbles something unintelligible, and Lena leans closer. "Sorry, what was that?"
Kara glances around the CatCo balcony before muttering, "I said, I didn't hear anyone else, okay?"
"And if I don't need someone else to make me scream at two in the morning?"
Kara flushes a deeper red. "You have an abnormally high rate of kidnapping, okay? Excuse me for panicking when I hear my best friend's muffled screaming halfway across town in the middle of the night!"
"I suppose that's fair," Lena says, leaning back to admire just how contrasting Kara's red face and green shirt are. "But if you wanted to sleep next to me, all you had to do was ask."
Kara actually chokes on her water. Lena can't believe she just said that. But she did, and she can’t pretend it was a mistake now. Kara coughs a few times before shaking her head. "Just promise me you'll yell for me, okay?"
Lena forces down an absurd amount of dirty thoughts about screaming Kara's name and reaches across the table to take her hand. "I promise." Kara squeezes back, and Lena feels her heart give a squeeze in return.
Nia could be a hunter in another life.
That's Kara's most coherent thought when Nia corners her at the printer again, definitely not staring as Lena sits down to have a talk with a junior reporter, gesturing with her hands and holding the reporter's full attention, and--
"You're staring kind of creepily."
Nia looks less than in the mood for games today, which suits Kara just fine. Kara shakes off the spell of watching Lena from twenty-eight feet away and focuses on Nia, who looks exhausted and waits for the printer to finish with Kara's things with her hands on her hips.
"I'm not staring creepily," Kara says haughtily, and Nia raises a lazy eyebrow worthy of Lena.
"Sure. How much are you printing?"
"Like forty pages, sorry." Nia shrugs and leans against the wall, yawning. "Sleep okay?"
"No. Bad dreams."
"Of the Dreamer sort?" Kara asks, on alert, and Nia shrugs again.
"Don’t think so. But my dreams aren't great even when I'm not dreaming like that. I think they build up, you know. Grow in clarity slowly."
"Have you been getting anything lately?" Kara asks, stacking up her papers.
"Yeah," Nia says heavily, reaching around Kara to grab her one sheet. "They all say one thing." She leans in close and drops her forehead to Kara's shoulder heavily. Her voice is quiet and saturated with an incredible amount of done when she speaks next to Kara's ear. "You and Lena need to do something about your obnoxious crushes on each other."
Nia hauls herself off Kara's shoulder with considerable effort and nearly staggers away. Kara watches her go with an unsettling feeling in her stomach. Nia poking gentle fun and shipping them when she's happy is one thing. Nia getting genuinely annoyed at her when she's never shown a hint of unhappiness with either of them…
Lena leaves her conversation with the junior reporter, having seen Kara standing thoughtfully by the printer out of the corner of her eye. Lena allows herself to walk closer to Kara for a reward for--well, for something. She deserves this.
"Printer jam?" Lena asks, and Kara startles.
"Wha--hey, Lena! No, just got lost in my head."
Lena nods, smiling a little bit at Kara being Kara. She watches Kara promptly zone out again, and disappointment and an overwhelming feeling of distance well up in her all at once.
Lena thinks about trying to pry who Kara might be in love with out of her. She thinks about again, that is. She's considered it several times before, ever since she saw those texts she wasn't supposed to. It would be fun to interrogate Kara, it always is, but then she thinks about knowing the answer, and her heart summons a meat cleaver to commit suicide with at the thought of Kara mooning after someone else. Because she clearly must hate herself, she thinks about it some more.
But all she sees is Kara, the line of her neck, the tan skin on her forehead, darker after a day in the sun, the gleam of her eyes, her steady hands and distracted gaze when multiple things are happening at once, the way it focuses in on Lena abruptly and takes her breath away.
So Lena lets Kara zone out, and smiles when Kara jerks back to attention, leaves Kara to her distracted, charming thoughts, and takes her leave with a nudge on Kara's hip that gets her moving again. She's still her employee, after all.
So, Lena's given up. On getting the truth from Kara. But that doesn't mean she doesn’t hate having a happy existence, apparently. The idea of Kara loving someone else sits in her brain like a constant, tiny firehose aiming straight for her heart. Maybe not so straight. But.
Lena does something she can't believe she's going to do. She goes to Nia.
Nia’s head is in her hands, and Lena’s waiting on the opposite side of the couch with baited breath. Lena had texted her asking her to stay after game night for a couple questions, and after an evening of fun with the superfriends, the questions she has are burning. Well. The one question.
Nia mutters something that sounds suspiciously like useless lesbians before gathering her strength with a deep breath. “Okay,” Nia says.
“Okay,” Lena repeats. Where is her boardroom persona? Where is the woman that could talk back to Lex while still chained to a chair in zipties? What about this conversation, this idea of someone else loving Kara, what about it made the woman that could shoot half-cocked laser fists at Mercy Graves without flinching disappear like a scared rabbit?
“Okay, so you read Kara’s texts, and you’re asking me who she likes?”
Lena pauses. “When you put it like that,” she says hesitantly, and Nia closes her eyes. “I—”
“Lena, if we can just remove all pretense of professionalism from this conversation for a quick minute?” Lena nods mutely, and Nia turns on the couch to face her, her movements eerily like Kara’s, minus the happy enthusiasm. “Let’s forget for a hot sec that you accidentally snooped on your best friend’s personal texts, okay, let’s just jump over that, and weave around real quick to what you’re feeling. Okay. So you don’t like that Kara might like someone?”
Lena can feel her face making faces it absolutely should not be making. “She can like whoever she wants,” Lena says diplomatically, trying to recover a shred of dignity. Why, for the love of god, is she so inexperienced and bad at these things?
Nia closes her eyes like she’s praying for patience. “You don’t like that Kara likes someone, yes or no.” She says. “Which is it?”
Nia lays a gentle hand on Lena’s knee, her face sympathetic now. “Lena,” she says softly, “It’s okay to like her.” Lena is silent, unhinged by Nia’s eerie knowing. “And it’s okay if you’re scared. She’s Supergirl, and your best friend, and the last person you were with was a man. And liking people is scary. I know. But.” Nia squeezes at her knee, “You are Lena Luthor. You are completely capable of handling a crush and acting on your feelings and taking what you want. You can ask her out, you can make this a relationship if you want. You can tell her your feelings and go from there. You can do whatever you want. But for the love of god, please do something about your obnoxious crush on her, it’s been awful the whole time I’ve been here.”
The warmth Lena had felt washing over her at Nia’s gentle words comes crashing down around her ears in a sharp snap. “The whole time? What are you talking about? I was with James.”
“I’m not saying you don’t care about James,” Nia says quickly. “I, just, uh, before I knew you were with him, I actually thought you were with Kara…” she makes an apologetic face, and Lena groans.
“Great. Add that to the therapy list.”
“You go to therapy? Right on. Someone in this group needs to.”
“Seriously,” Lena mutters, and Nia nods. Lena groans again. “So since I’m asking for love advice from someone fresh out of the college dating game, what do I do next?”
Nia chuckles. “I actually didn’t really date in college. Fun tidbit, being queer can often mean you have your dating experiences much, much later, and that’s totally normal. I was focusing more on myself than on others, which I get the sense you were doing too.” Lena nods, tucking away more into the Get To Know Nia More Because She’s Awesome box. “But, you can do what you’d want someone to do for you. Or what you know Kara would want someone to do.”
Lena frowns. “You don’t mean…”
“Oh, yes I do. You need to exaggeratedly flirt with her and, more importantly, you need to woo her. You gotta let her know you’re into her.”
“Please don’t use that word. And what about the woman she’s into?”
“You’re not supposed to know about that, remember? And blow them out of the water. They don’t matter. You’re her best friend. If you haven’t heard about this person, maybe the feelings have disappeared. It was a passing crush, or on some celebrity, or something else irrelevant. Use your pretend ignorance as bliss and go after your girl.”
“Don’t say it again,” Lena warns, but Nia is entirely too at ease now.
“Woo her,” Nia grins, and Lena groans.
Lena actually gets as far as googling “how to woo a girl” before nearly bursting into tears and busting out the wine. A lot of wine. Well, not that much, but enough compounded with the wine she had earlier that it makes a lot. So much wine she forgets it’s Kara she’s supposed to be wooing. So much wine she drunk texts Kara how do you let someone know you’re into them?
Which makes Kara show up at her place. Lena barely even startles at the knock on her balcony door, Kara looking gorgeously lazy in sweats and the same t shirt from game night not two hours ago. Kara looks suspicious but there’s nothing to be suspicious about—Lena’s laptop is closed and her phone’s internet tabs are all helpfully closed. Kara looks at Lena again, carefully assessing her, and Lena remembers all at once that it’s Kara she’s supposed to be letting know she’s into her.
Even drunk, Lena thinks Kara deserves better than an intoxicated confession.
“Gotten into the wine, have we?” Kara asks delicately, sliding all the glasses out of Lena’s reach slyly.
“It’s Friday,” Lena says defensively.
“Just be careful,” Kara says, her face serious, and Lena abruptly remembers Alex.
“Always,” she says softly, and Kara softens in response. “Could you do me a favor? Get me a glass of water?”
Kara visibly relaxes a little, and directs Lena to her dark bedroom, lit by the moonlight, stating she wasn’t going to tow her in there once Lena passed out. Kara follows her in with two glasses of water and sits down next to Lena, tucking Lena’s legs under the covers and slipping in after her. Lena giggles.
“I didn’t realize this was a sleepover.”
“It doesn’t have to be,” Kara says, looking nervous and tentative all at once, and Lena smiles, smoothing the crinkle in Kara’s forehead because it doesn’t belong there on a night so soft.
“I want it to be,” Lena says, and Kara relaxes again.
“So,” Kara says, wiggling in deeper and slumping against Lena’s headboard, and oh, she belongs here. “Who are we trying to let know that you like them?”
Lena thinks hard while Kara watches. “That,” Lena says carefully, focusing on her words and feeling an awful lot like when Sam interrogated her when she was sober, “Is not why I asked you what I asked you.”
Kara’s eyes narrow, and Lena can tell even from this state she’s excited at the challenge. “Yeah,” she concedes, “but it’d be a lot easier to help if I knew who.”
“I’m sure it would,” Lena says diplomatically, waving a finger and watching Kara watch it. “But that’s not on the table tonight.” She presses her finger to Kara’s nose and Kara goes cross-eyed. Lena takes her finger off Kara’s nose.
Kara’s eyes drift back up to Lena’s face, slowly. “You’re no fun,” Kara pouts, going straight for the big guns.
“I’m plenty of fun!” Lena protests. “I made Alex a new shield force field last month! And I just hosted game night! I baked a lasagna last week! I’m currently drunk!”
Kara’s giggling. “You are very drunk,” she agrees. “I don’t know how you’re not slurring.”
“Are you trying to take advantage of me, Ms. Danvers?”
“What?” Kara yelps, straightening up indignantly. “I would never!”
Lena giggles at her protest. “Okay. I have to go the bathroom.” Kara rolls her eyes and pulls the covers back so Lena can get out. Lena walks to the bathroom before stopping at the door. “Don’t listen, with your ears,” she says, and Kara raises her eyebrows.
“I will not listen with my ears,” she promises solemnly, and Lena nods, satisfied. Kara’s lying down and staring at the ceiling when Lena gets back, feeling marginally more sober but still pretty buzzed after splashing water on her face and brushing her teeth. “Did you enjoy yourself?” Kara asks, teasing and sounding like she’s just barely stopping herself from laughing.
“No,” Lena says, getting into bed again, and Kara does laugh.
“I’m sorry,” Kara says serenely, sounding not at all sorry and folding her hands on her stomach.
Lena frowns at the sight, just realizing what’s wrong. “You’re on my side of the bed.”
“I wasn’t aware we had sides.”
“Of course we have sides Kara, I’m a woman of class.” Kara’s laughing again. “I thought I was supposed to be the one laughing,” Lena says, still upset about her side of the bed, “Since I’m the one who’s drunk and all.”
Kara stops laughing after a moment, still grinning. “Come get it from me, then.”
Lena should know better. Wrestling with Supergirl over the left side of the bed is among her top ten dumbest ideas, including the time she was planning to make a portable watermelon launcher purely to be able to bean Lillian with a dangerously oversized fruit whenever she felt like it. But she takes one look at Kara’s face, in focus and defiant while the rest of her room is blurry, and Lena launches herself.
Kara clearly isn’t expecting her to move that quick, but she also isn’t Supergirl for nothing. If Lena was more sober, she would be able to tell that most of Kara’s effort is going into making sure Lena doesn’t hit herself on anything sharp or hard, but Lena chooses to believe that she herself is pushing down the Girl of Steel through sheer force of will and her mighty knowledge of physics.
“I’ve got you pinned,” Lena announces triumphantly after several moments, holding one of Kara’s wrists down next to her head and the other down by her hip. Lena is entirely on top of her, and Kara’s whole frame is shaking with laughter, shaking the bed beneath them.
“Okay, Luthor,” Kara wheezes, her laughter going silent but her body still shaking with suppressed giggles. “You got me.”
“Good,” Lena says, realizing all at once how exhausted she is, and releasing her hold on Kara’s wrists. She drops her head to Kara’s shoulder, curling up around Kara slightly. Kara is so soft when she’s not flexing. Lena really, really appreciates all sides of her body, but she really, really appreciates this side today. “I legally claim my side of the bed back then.”
One of Kara’s hands slides slowly into Lena’s hair, and Lena sinks into Kara further, humming in satisfaction, and Kara chuckles again. “Alright,” Kara says, and her other arm pulls the covers up around them, then circles around Lena’s back. She’s so warm. There’s a few moments of silence, then Kara presses her previous line of questioning. “So who’s the lucky person who has captured the affections of the great Lena Luthor?”
“No,” Lena says, voice slightly muffled from where it’s pressed into just below Kara’s shoulder.
“No? Their name is no? Boy? Girl? Non-binary? With a name like No, I’d think non-binary. Which is awesome, I love those people. You know there’s this planet where—”
“No as in I’m not telling you,” Lena says, before Kara can get into what is presumably a history of a planet full of beings who have no gender that Lena will just be frustrated she can’t examine the existence of with their dumb weak human telescopes. “I asked you how to let someone know you’re into them, not for an interrogation.”
“Grouchy,” Kara says, and Lena tightens her fist in Kara’s shirt in warning. “Fine,” Kara says. “But can I have a gender please? Or some distinguishing characteristics? Just so I can tell what this person likes?”
Lena hesitates. Kara is smart, smarter than she lets on half the time, but she’s pretty sure she can count on the clueless lesbian trope here even if Kara is bisexual. She’s pretty sure. If not, the point is for Kara to figure it out anyway, right?
“She,” Lena says slowly, and Kara smiles into Lena’s hair, grip tightening around Lena’s back in excitement. Lena knocks Kara’s chin with the back of her head, and Kara hmms and the hand on Lena’s back starts tracing patterns. It’s probably supposed to be soothing, but Lena just feels like Kara’s excitement is bleeding into her. “She,” Lena starts again, then gets lost. “That’s all I’m giving you.”
“What? No! Please, give me one more detail. Please, Lena?”
Lena props her chin on Kara’s shoulder to see Kara trying to use her puppy dog eyes despite her whole face shining with excitement. Lena gets distracted by a wayward thought. “Can you make your eyes glow without shooting lasers out of them?”
“I’m totally focused. On your eyes. Can you please make them glow? I wanna see.”
Kara sighs. “Just back a little off my face, okay?” She waits for Lena to lift herself up further before letting her eyes glow.
“Whoa,” Lena murmurs, watching Kara’s blues turn into molten lava in the dark, totally transfixed. She reaches a hesitant hand up to Kara’s jaw, her cheekbone, creeping towards—Kara’s eyes shut down.
“You’re not supposed to touch it,” Kara says, her tone admonishing. “It’s hot. That’s why they call it heat vision, genius.”
“Are you sure it’s hot before it’s totally lasers?”
“Well, was my face hot?”
“Your face is always hot,” Lena says automatically.
Kara’s face, still under Lena’s hand, gets hotter. “The internet poll?” Kara guesses.
“What?” Lena removes her hand, settling back down on Kara’s shoulder.
“You know, the—you’re still drunk. I’ll ask later.”
“Yeah,” Lena says. “I’m drunk. Stop asking me things.”
“Ohh, you’re not getting off that easy. I need one more detail about this girl you like, or it isn’t a proper sleepover.”
Lena pushes her face deeper into Kara’s shoulder, arms curling around Kara tighter, hiding from the question. “I don’t wanna,” she says petulantly.
“Please?” Lena groans. “Come on,” Kara wheedles, her voice turning promising, running tickling fingers up Lena’s spine. “I’ll make you breakfast in the morning. Whatever you want, babe.”
Lena knows, she knows, even drunk, the endearment isn’t meant romantically, it just slipped out, the way she herself does around Ruby or Sam, but still, it unlocks something in her chest. “Cinnamon rolls?” she asks tentatively.
Kara’s fingers swirl circles on her back that leave Lena struggling not to arch into Kara. She’s pretty sure she fails. “The best cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had in your life,” Kara promises, not mentioning what she’s obviously doing to Lena, her voice tantalizing. “Just one more detail.”
Lena thinks hard. And then she finds it. “Remember when I was screaming into my pillow a little while ago?”
“And I thought you were probably getting kidnapped, and you teased me about having someone over instead?” Kara asks wryly. “Yes. Continue.”
“I was frustrated about the situation with her.”
Kara’s hands stop in their ministrations on Lena’s back for a quick moment before stuttering back to life. Her palms smooth thoughtfully down Lena’s spine, tracing diagonal squares back up. “Hmm,” she says thoughtfully. “So your feelings are strong enough that you’ve reached the high schooler phase of bottling it up and screaming it out. I’d put that at a healthy six and a half out of ten. And it probably took you a while to get there, so maybe you’ve liked her for a while? Where do you know her from?”
Lena considers, before deciding it’s safe to answer with a neutral, “Work.”
Kara’s eyeroll is nearly audible. “That clears it up,” she mutters, tapping her fingers irritably into Lena’s back, and Lena giggles. “Okay, you’re gone, lightweight. You need to go to sleep, and I will think on how to let a woman know you’re into her and get back to you in the morning. Mmkay?”
“Mmkay,” Lena agrees, leaving the admittedly hilarious but also awful problem of Kara wooing herself for Morning Lena. Late Night Lena can be an ass sometimes. “Cinnamon rolls, don’t forget.”
Kara presses a kiss to Lena’s hairline, and it’s almost hesitant this time. Like she’s worried she won’t be able to soon. “I won’t forget,” Kara promises. “Go to sleep.” And Lena does.
Lena wakes alone. She can still smell Kara in the covers, and she ignores the thought in her head that says that’s creepy before groaning. She’s not entirely sure what made her vocalize her discontent, but waking up without Kara when she’s pretty sure she went to sleep with Kara seems like a good enough reason.
“Hey, sleepyhead.” Lena’s heart fires up again as she turns to see Kara walking in, carrying a heavily laden breakfast tray and focusing entirely on not dropping the precariously balanced masterpiece. Lena sits up and lets Kara place the tray over her knees before sliding in next to her, Lena pulling her hair up and Kara hovering down gently so not to displace the tray.
Lena looks down and bursts into laughter. “Kara,” she says, still giggling. “I love you, but I’m not going to eat twenty-four cinnamon rolls and a gallon of orange juice.”
Kara huffs. “Who do you think is sitting next to you, Lena? Come on.”
“Ah,” Lena says nodding. “I forgot, the Kryptonian garbage disposal is always here for me.”
“Always,” Kara agrees, mimicking Lena’s solemn nod. She hands Lena a fork and knife. “Dig in.” Lena does. And can’t help the borderline-pornographic moan that comes from her lips when she takes her first bite.
“Holy shit Kara,” she mumbles through a mouthful. “When you said best in my life, I didn’t realize you meant it.”
Kara, who’d stiffened abruptly at Lena’s moan, blinks. “Title of your sextape,” she grins, and Lena shoves at her shoulder. “Sorry, you set me up for that one. Just teed it right up.”
“Seriously, how’d you make these?”
“It’s a secret recipe you can pry from my cold, dead hands.”
“I don’t want you dead, Kara. I want you to make these at least once a week for me.”
Kara bites her lip. “I’m sure something could be arranged,” she mumbles, and Lena smiles, satisfied she can continue her newfound relationship with these cinnamon rolls. “But enough about me,” Kara says, already reaching for her fourth cinnamon roll while Lena works steadily on her first. “I was up last night thinking about you.”
Lena quells the dangerous excitement in her stomach and fights to keep her voice neutral. “Yeah?” she asks, focusing on her breakfast.
“Yeah. You and your girl crush.” It breaks the tension, and Lena rolls her eyes. “I even texted Alex a hypothetical, I didn’t use your name, don’t worry, and I have a plan for you.”
“A plan,” Lena repeats. This is a worse and worse idea by the second. Drunk Lena should not have texted Kara, she really screwed up that one. “You have a plan to help me win over a girl.”
“A foolproof plan,” Kara corrects. “It’s easy. It goes like this, okay, you ready?” Lena looks at Kara dubiously, and Kara smiles encouragingly. “Step one. You learn her love language, or love languages. Step two. You speak her love language to her. Step three, you be you, in her vicinity, and she will fall head over heels. Step four, after a few weeks, you ask her out, and that’s that.”
“Love language,” Lena says slowly, transferring a cinnamon roll to her plate. “Like, Italian, or French?”
She looks up to see Kara staring at her in alarm, her eighth cinnamon roll frozen halfway to her mouth. “Lena!” Kara says. “Did no one ever teach you love languages?”
Kara mutters something about bloody Luthor parenting and sucks the frosting off her finger before reaching over Lena (a process which plants a large amount of Kara on Lena, and combined with the finger sucking really does not help Lena’s coherent thought structure) to grab her phone. She types rapidly and pulls up an article before handing it to Lena. “Ok, read this. Basically, your love language is the way you communicate that you love someone. There are five languages, which are words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch. You know which one or ones you speak by thinking of what you would want from the people you love. Like, if hugs are the most important part of being with someone, it’s physical touch.”
“Is that yours?” Lena guesses, thinking of how much Kara relies on tactile sensation, and Kara grins crookedly.
“Yeah. Especially because for so long, I couldn’t. Did I tell you about Streaky?” Lena shakes her head, clicking off Kara’s phone and resolving to read the article later. “He was a stray cat, like me. I found him when I first came to Earth. I used to go out every night and feed him. I didn’t wanna touch him, I was so strong I could have hurt him. But I practiced being gentle, and then one day, I pet him, and he purred, and everything was okay. I felt like an alien for so long, and he helped me feel like a human.”
Kara looks up, a gentle smile on her face, and Lena can feel her heart melting at the thought of Kara having to practice being gentle. Fuck, she’s so gone on this woman. Lena reaches out, and takes Kara’s hand, deliberate.
Kara smiles. “See. You learned to speak my love language for me long ago. You already got it.” Kara leans back, reaching for cinnamon roll number twelve and closing her eyes. “Lena Luthor, that woman is never going to know what hit her.”
(Lena spends a carefully curated couple minutes later that day when she knows Kara is on the other side of the country running an errand for Clark screaming very loudly into her pillow.)
Lena decides to follow Kara’s plan.
The theory is excellent—touch Kara more, be near her more—but there’s a slight flaw in her plan. Kara thinks Lena is into someone else.
And Kara is inexplicably avoiding Lena, bit by bit. It’s little things at first—a mission that trumps movie night here, an article that stops her from catching a late dinner with Lena there. She falls asleep early and doesn’t text back until morning. She only catches lunch with Lena twice a week instead of three times. After two weeks of this, Lena figures it out. Kara is trying to give her space to flirt with someone else. It’s incredibly chivalrous and kind, actually.
Lena desperately wishes she wouldn’t. Lena’s also, despite her efforts to push the thoughts out of her mind, desperately worried that whoever it is Kara has feelings for is going to realize and gain ground. That they’re going to realize how wonderful Kara is, and that they’re into her too.
Lena needs to screw the careful lab safety and chuck all the chemicals in the concoction at once. She needs to go full throttle and hope to hell something works, because it’s not just not being with Kara romantically that’s bothering her anymore. It’s that Kara’s pulling away. And Lena might struggle but survive if Kara doesn’t like her back romantically, but she certainly won’t survive if she loses Kara’s friendship.
The stakes up Lena’s game to from strategic to reckless.
Kara’s having a shitty couple weeks.
Truly, truly shitty. Really, it’s impressive. Because they’re not shitty, per se. They’re just light on the Lena, and that’s what makes them shitty.
Kara’s really starting to feel the withdrawals of not having lunch with Lena three times a week by the end of the first week, and missing one of her at least twice weekly late and long dinners with Lena is just cruel. But Lena likes someone else now. Lena needs space. Lena needs space to win someone else’s heart, even if she won’t ask for it. Even if they haven’t talked about Lena’s crush again, despite Kara sort of wanting to but not really wanting to. Like a mama bird helping her baby fly, Kara backs away.
She really hates it.
Whatever fucking idiot it is that Lena’s into, they better make her happy, that’s all Kara has to say. This better be worth it. Lena’s smile would be worth it.
“Hey. Sorry. Zoned out.”
“I can see.” Lena looks gently amused, and it’s one of Kara’s favorite looks on her. She’s all soft and curled up, leaning gently into Kara’s shoulder on Kara’s couch, and Kara almost wishes she wouldn’t be. Since their conversation about love languages, Lena’s been far more touchy-feely, more tactile, like she’s determined to show Kara she loves her. It makes it really, really hard to concentrate when Lena’s pressed up against her. “Where’d you go?”
“I don’t know,” Kara lies.
Lena chuckles like she doesn’t believe her but lets it slide. “Okay.” She bites her lip in a stupidly attractive way. “I have a question.”
Kara hits mute on the Princess Diaries and angles herself towards Lena, giving her full attention. “Shoot.”
Lena bites the side of her lip again, and Kara clenches her jaw for a moment, praying for strength. “We were talking about love languages,” she says slowly, like she’s working out her words. “And I read up on them some more. A lot of articles were talking about primary love languages. But what if that’s not enough? What if someone speaks more than one?”
Kara leans her head into her hand, propped on the side of the couch. “I think someone can have more than one primary love language. I don’t know how scientific that is, but it’s also different with me for different people. Like, if someone’s long distance or we’re on different schedules, I can feel just as loved or make them feel just as loved with words. Or there are some people that I absolutely need my quality time with.”
“So they depend on the person?” Lena looks oddly intent on this, and Kara represses a sigh and pushes her feelings to the back of her head, because she’s sure Lena is working on this crush.
“I think,” Kara says slowly, “There’s more than one way to tell someone you love them, and you can’t go wrong with telling them in different ways. You could end up making them realize they speak a different love language when it comes to romance, too. Like, I certainly don’t work the same way with someone I’m into than I do with, like, Alex or J’onn. But I mean,” she lets herself drawl out her next words, grinning loopily at Lena, “If you can make someone realize they’re gay, I think you can make someone realize they like being loved in a different way.”
“I have never made someone realize they’re gay!” Lena protests.
Kara laughs. “I was talking about Maggie with Alex. But you definitely awakened at least three interns last year alone, Ms. Luthor, I saw the way they looked at you.”
“That was professional admiration!” Lena sputters, and Kara laughs harder.
“You keep telling yourself that.”
“Hey! I’m nowhere near as bad as the Girl of Steel.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that you haven’t seen the subreddit, clearly. You’re responsible for making more girls in National City gay than Cate Blanchett in Ocean’s 8, with all that spandex and those muscles and that jawline. And the hair,” she adds, reaching up to twirl a couple maddening fingers through Kara’s curls, and Kara can’t think all of the sudden as Lena’s nails scratch against her scalp, “And the cape, and the—”
“Hang on, what subreddit?” But Lena’s already off the couch to get more popcorn, laughing as she does so, patting Kara’s cheek like Kara’s adorable for not knowing. “Lena! What subreddit!”
Nia looks like she’s about ready to chuck Lena off a building so that Kara will have to come catch her and they’ll hopefully confront their feelings when Kara asks Nia how it’s going. Nia arrives early to Kara’s apartment for game night and looks like she wishes she didn’t.
“Kara, she’s all over you. She’s barely stopped touching you for weeks. She’s actively seeking your company and flirting with you at every turn! Barely three days goes by that she doesn’t leave you some gift she knows you’ll love at your desk and the whole office is exquisitely aware of this! Girl power up!”
“Nia, no, that’s not what’s going on,” Kara says desperately. “We had a conversation about love languages and she knows mine is physical touch and she’s trying to show me she loves me.” Kara keeps going over Nia’s loud and dramatically frustrated ughhhhh, “She also feels really bad because we haven’t been spending as much time together. I’m trying to back away to give her space, because she likes someone else and needs to win them over!”
“Did she say who she likes?” Nia is suddenly intent.
“No,” Kara says, half dejected and half thinking it’s better she doesn’t know. “She said it’s a woman, but she won’t tell me who it is. For all I know, it could be Alex.”
Nia actually hits Kara for that one. Kara frowns at the light, even for a human, blow to her shoulder, looking at Nia, who appears to be close to screaming. “She won’t tell you because she’s into you, you idiot!”
“No,” Kara says, shaking her head. “There’s no way that Lena Luthor is into me.”
“Why is this so hard to believe?” Nia asks, beginning to search Kara’s pantry, presumably for some alcohol. “You’re Supergirl. You’ve got the cape and the laser eyes and the gravitas. Everyone except Alex and J’onn are into you. Half the criminals you lock up are into you. Kara Danvers is wicked smart and funny and the most moral, upright person there is. It’s sexy and you’re the kindest person ever to exist on this planet, which is even sexier, trust me. I’m pretty sure the whole office has a soft spot for you, and those are the people who barely know you. Why shouldn’t Lena be into you?”
Kara shifts uncomfortably at the idea of everyone being into her and her not knowing it, but puts it away in Lena’s Make Sure Kara Goes To Therapy For This Box. “But she’s Lena,” Kara says quietly. “There’s no way.”
“Kara,” Nia says, gentle again, taking Kara’s hand. “There is all the ways.” She releases Kara’s hand and reaches for some chips, giving up on her search for alcohol. “But ignore that for a second. If you like her, why aren’t you going after her? She’s not a taken woman.”
“She likes someone,” Kara says again, emphasizing.
“I don’t see a ring,” Nia counters. “How’d you even find out she liked someone?”
“She drunk texted asking how to let someone know you’re into them,” Kara says, waving the question away, and Nia’s eyes get wide.
“And that’s when you had the conversation about love languages, and then she’s been all over you trying to show you she loves you.” Kara nods. Nia hits her shoulder again, harder this time. “Kara! Pull that Kryptonian head out of your apparently steel bear trap of an ass and get on it! She’s making moves! Seriously? Come on!”
“Nia, I…” Kara hesitates. Nia is making some good points, insults aside, she supposes. But she just can’t see it. In her wildest dreams, Lena’s with her, not some mystery woman. Lena’s hanging off of her arm, laughing at her jokes, kissing her and only her. Lena’s soft moments and her scary ones and every loud and quiet moment in between, Kara wants to be there for. She wants Lena’s attention. Wants it all, sometimes. And when she gets it, it’s like another hit on a drug she should be letting go, now that Lena’s into someone else. But it feels so good.
Kara looks at Nia, who can clearly see her wheels spinning and is rooting for them to spin some more. Nia nods like she’s trying to spur Kara onto the next point.
“Okay,” Kara decides. “No matter if she’s wants someone else or not, I’m gonna go for it.”
“Go for what?”
Naturally it’s Lena walking in the door. Kara can feel her entire body freeze up at the possibility of Lena having overheard that. “Go for you to be her partner at game night,” Nia covers, and Kara looks at her gratefully.
Lena smiles as she walks over, depositing more food on the island counter. She moves around to Kara and slides her arms around Kara’s torso from behind, propping her chin on her shoulder. “You’d leave Alex for me?”
“J’onn will be here tonight,” Kara says, leaning ever so slightly back into Lena’s softness and thinking that she could spend the rest of the night there. “Alex can go with him. I want you.”
Lena giggles in her ear, delighted, and Kara’s stomach has long since erupted into butterflies. “I’m honored,” she says, squeezing her arms before letting Kara go. “We’re gonna kick ass tonight, babe.”
Lena rounds the island again, moving to set up the snacks, and winks.
Kara twists her lips to the side. This whole letting herself be into Lena thing… she likes it.
(she also likes the way Lena hugs her when they kick ass at game night.)
It’s such a little thing. Honestly. The attempt is rather pathetic.
Lena falls towards the ground, face first, and catches herself on her elbows, groaning. She just replaced this blazer.
“Up, Luthor.” Hands grab her roughly and Lena kicks out, still on the ground. There’s a grunt of pain and she feels a savage satisfaction for a second, but then they’re back on her. They haul her up, still kicking. There are at least three goons, and Lena’s more resigned than anything else. Kara’s going to kill her for waiting this long. Lena takes a deep breath and yells for all she’s worth.
A fist knocks across her jaw. Lena gasps at the pain, reeling into the goon on her left, and when she stumbles back upright, a flash of red and blue touches down. An angry flash of red and blue. Supergirl glares once, dangerous, and just like that, the goons thud to the ground.
“Well,” Lena says, straightening up heavily. “That sucked.”
Then the world goes black.
Lena shifts, smiling as she sees Kara leaning at the door of her DEO medbay room. Lena jerks her head gently in a get in here gesture, adjusting the bandage on her elbow. “Hey yourself.” Kara smiles softly as she steps into the room, eyes dancing up and down Lena’s figure, covered in blankets but thankfully not in a hospital gown.
“How are you?” Kara asks, fingers digging grooves in the rail of Lena’s hospital bed.
“They got everything that’s bleeding bandaged up,” Lena answers, before catching sight of Kara’s face and reaching to take her hand. “I’ll be alright, thanks to you. Thank you, by the way, for saving me. And flying me here, you know I hate hospitals.”
“I do know.” Kara smiles thinly. “I’m just glad you’re okay. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without you either,” Lena admits, and Kara’s mouth flickers into a smile before letting it drop in favor of soaking Lena up. Lena’s staring at the floor, her hair a little disheveled and looking reluctant. “I don’t really want to go home alone now that they’re finished with me,” she admits.
“Come home with me,” Kara says impulsively. Lena looks up, but doesn’t reject the offer. “Please,” Kara adds. “I want to make sure you’re safe, and where are you safer than with Supergirl?”
She’s expecting Lena to make a sharp quip, to raise an eyebrow and give that half-smile. But Lena just says, “You’re too good to me, you know?” and she nods. “Okay,” she says, and lets Kara lead her from the medbay, slowly. Lena slows at the main balcony, leaning against the railing, and closes her eyes.
“You good?” Kara asks. “We can go get food or do something else, whatever you need. I can fly you out of here right now, just say the word—”
“Go out with me.” The words come flying out of Lena’s mouth, and Lena’s eyes open wide like she can’t believe she just said them. Kara’s mouth is open and gaping like a fish. “If you want,” Lena says, softer. “And not tonight. But let me take you out, Kara, please.”
“I,” Kara stutters. “I thought you were into someone else.” She leaves a lot left unsaid with that. A lot of please don’t let this be a falling for your rescuer or a pity date or a meaningless thank you friend date type things. But Lena shakes her head.
“I never told you who it was because it was you.” She dusts her knees and stands, gingerly. “I was just sitting here and I could have died again tonight and I couldn’t let another night go by without asking—” she cuts herself with a deep breath. “I understand if you’re into someone else, but—”
“There’s no one else.” Kara cuts her off in her need to say it. “There hasn’t been anyone else in a long time.” Lena’s eyes give away a mystery solved, and Kara wonders why Lena would have thought there was someone else.
“Then go out with me?” Lena asks it again, a little more sure and a little more timid all at once.
Kara can feel a smile growing on her face, a slow, sure smile. “I’d love to.”