"Keira!" Her assistant is in front of her, holding her tablet, ready to pay clear attention in only seconds.
"Yes, Ms. Grant?" Honestly, Cat considers the girl rather brave. She knows that Cat has had four scotches, Cat knows that she counts her drinks ever since one afternoon when she had started to pour her third and the girl had fumbled her way into her office to remind her that she was going to pick up Carter in an hour.
All Kara does is impress her.
"Have you ever wondered why you've been my assistant for almost three years, when no one before you lasted more than a couple months at most?" Kara pauses, had she?
"Not really, no. A lot of people have mentioned it. I just figured that meant I was doing my job." Cat's eyelids lower, that analytical look coming to her eye that always makes Kara feel like Cat knows everything and she knows nothing.
"You like your job." It's not a question, or an explanation. It leaves Kara a little lost. She nods in confirmation anyway. Cat stares at her for a long moment before moving on to give her more directions for the day. Kara scurries to follow her instructions like she always does, and Cat watches her with her chin in her hand.
Kara did like her job, it was clear. The girl was more expressive than anyone Cat had ever met. Every emotion she had was displayed in every part of her, all the time. It was why she couldn't keep secrets or be stealthy or convincingly lie to anyone. When she was happy, everyone knew it, and when she wasn't, everyone knew it. Cat would watch on the hardest days when Kara's usual sunny demeanor would disappear and random workers she couldn't bother to know the names of would swarm her the whole day, doing her meaningless favors and trying to help take on her workload, despite their own. Despite the fact that on those days, Cat was already lessening the load, softening her anger, trying to bring Kara to smile again.
It wasn't surprising to realize the whole office counted on Kara's attitude to keep running. That on days where the girl was unhappy, or absent, the function of the entire building seemed to decrease. Cat couldn't be mad, because she was so clearly affected as well. If all of her emotional barriers couldn't keep the girl at bay, what hope could anyone else have against her?
That, and nothing else, is why Cat is not truly fooled by the shape shifter. She lets it go, it's convenient to have a superhero assistant, and it's convenient if they don't talk about it, too. Even if sometimes it becomes the exact opposite of convenient, and she wants to shake the girl by her shoulders until she just talks.
No one else could be Supergirl. When she first puts the pieces together, they fit so clearly that it's startling. Kara Danvers, while meek and subservient as Cat Grant's assistant, was still the absolute ray of light that is required to be a superhero. She is so utterly good, that once the connection is made it's so obvious she becomes worried that other people might start to make it as well.
She pays strict attention to the girl, even more than before, after her revelation. Her worries fade a bit as she watches her interact with people, the way that everyone seems to adore her in a way that is so different than how people adore Supergirl. People want Supergirl to protect them. People want to protect Kara Danvers.
And the girl is just so genuine. Even with all the obvious, fake excuses, and the weak explanations, she's just so sincere and innocent that no one bothers to question her.
Cat has severely underestimated her. Again. For the trillionth time.
"Ms. Grant, you have a meeting with the board in 15 minutes, shouldn't you be preparing?" Kara peeks her head around the glass, reminding her of something that she has completely forgotten about in the midst of her thoughts. No other assistant she'd ever had would be brave enough to do that. She sends a grateful nod Kara's way and gets to work, shoving all of that aside.
Weeks later, Cat is faced with the true weight of Kara being Supergirl. The girl doesn't show up to work, there's an email in her inbox about the girl being sick, but she can see James at Winn's desk far more often than usual, she can see their concerned expressions and their desperate whispering.
Cat Grant is terrified, and Cat Grant is rarely terrified. And on the rare occasions where she is terrified, she takes immediate action to end said terror and get back to life as usual. The illusion she's drawn, where she's the most powerful woman in National city, and she's been protecting Kara and Supergirl all along, shatters in the face of the total hopelessness she feels that day. And then the shattered remains were pulverized into dust by the overwhelming relief she feels the next morning when she walks in and there's Kara, with her smile that might be a tiny bit dimmer than usual but it's there, she's there.
Kara has somehow become Cat's entire world, and the girl has no idea.
It becomes more common over the next couple of months, the absences. Cat doesn't ask questions, as much as she wants to.
An entire week without her assistant is hard to ignore, though. An entire week without Supergirl is impossible to ignore, not after the fight between her and another Kryptonian that had livestreamed the whole thing, luring Supergirl into a trap and proceeding to inject her with a little gun full of a glowing green liquid that rendered her powerless against him. Everyone knew what it was, it had been the only headline for a week.
Supergirl Injected With Kryptonite, Will She Survive?
Supergirl Gone for Four Days, Is She Dead?
Anonymous Source Claims Supergirl Will Make A Full Recovery
Supergirl Still Missing, Presumed Dead
Supergirl Confirmed Alive, Still Missing
Everyday was a fresh brand of torture, a new batch of questions. The only thing that soothed her was the consistency of Winn and James, their determined glares at any and everything they set their eyes on. They were hellbent on Supergirl making a full recovery. They believed in it, so she could too.
The next Monday morning, Kara hands her her latte with a bright, empty smile, and Cat sees the sun come up for the first time in a week and a half. Cat is surprised at how well the girl is exuding her usual positivity, even though it is so clear to her that it's all an act. The girl follows her into her office, clearly confused by her unusual silence.
"You're back." She says plainly, after taking a long drink. She's surprised that she's managed to stop the relief from bleeding into her tone.
"Yes, Ms. Grant. I'm so sorry for missing so much time." Cat ignores her.
"Supergirl is back this morning, too." It's true, Supergirl had been sighted several times in the early morning hours, back to her heroic deeds. Kara fiddles with her glasses, a nervous smile on her face that gives her away over and over again and Cat wants to shake her.
"We're all relieved for that."
"That isn't my point. You disappeared the day she did. You're coming back the day she is." Kara starts to interject, so she holds up a hand. "You're a pretty blond with blue eyes, Keira, and you're my assistant. Which means people are looking at you. I don't need people speculating or making outlandish connections. Take a few more days off." Kara stares at her, eyes wide with shock. Cat wants to laugh at her.
"I told you, go! I'll see you Thursday." The girl collects herself, and leaves, murmuring a thousand thank you's and apologies on her way out.
Thursday can't come quick enough. Cat drowns herself in scotch and tries her best not to fire anyone. Almost two weeks without her lovely assistant has made her life dull. She's angry at herself for sending the girl away, and angry at herself for not pushing her further.
Kara looks much better, fuller, happier, on Thursday. Cat has to restrain herself from giggling like a child. Kara is resilient, and whatever happened, she's working through it.
Her light is back. Her sun. The whole office's sun. It's like everything has clicked back into place, her office is functional again, her latte is hot and her world is no longer off balance.
How much she loves Kara is dizzying. Disorienting. Definitely unprofessional. And so, so unfortunate. She's disappointed in herself for wanting her, for wanting a superhero. For wanting someone as good and genuine and sincere as Kara all to herself.
She's in an impossible situation, not like any of the ones she'd been in before. Not like the ones that Supergirl could save her from. She can't save herself, either. She doesn't even really want to.
They're in the office alone together, it's a late night. Kara is as dedicated as ever, doing as much work as she can as quickly as possible without superspeed. Cat almost wants to tell her that she knows just to see her assistant blur through all of this extra paperwork that is keeping her away from her son, but still. It means she gets to peek over her glasses every once in a while at the concentrated look in the blue eyes across from her. Cat skims over the usual wonder that arises when she sees Kara doing such simple things, using her priceless time to do whatever Cat asks. Except go home, of course. Cat had tried to make her do that hours ago, but Kara knew that Carter was waiting for her, and that meant Kara refused to let her spend all night finishing this up. It makes Cat's heart swell with love and she wants to scream herself hoarse.
Cat takes a short walk to allow the girl to use her speed for a bit, not wanting to keep her in the office all night. She walks back slowly, up the stairs instead of using her private elevator. She steps out of the doors, seeing the girl through the glass walls from all the way across the huge room. Sure enough, her hands are moving in a blur, and the stack of papers is almost gone. When she takes a seat at her desk, there are just a few papers that Kara has set aside waiting for her personal signature, or other information that Kara doesn't have. She wants to kiss this girl who does nothing but save her and save her and save her. Instead she sends her away, and goes home to her son.
Carter's love of Kara is another thing that draws her in. His after school activities end mid march, and he starts spending his afternoons in the office. He pulls up a rolling chair to the side of Kara's desk and does his homework dutifully, and Cat often looks up to find Kara helping him with something with a soft smile on her face that makes her want so much more.
Kara starts bringing little gifts on days that she knows Carter will be there after school. It's a cool pencil that he raves about one day, a fidget toy the next, sometimes just a bag of his favorite sweets. No matter how simple, she's lighting up Carter's life the same way she does everyone else's. For the first time since her divorce, Cat doesn't feel totally alone as a parent.
It's silly. It's preposterous, Kara's her assistant, not Carter's other mother. But the way that Carter starts opening up is priceless, and it's all due to her assistant's shine. He rambles about her helping him with science projects and math homework and it's clear that he has a little bit of a crush and all Cat can think is that who couldn't?
When there's a super emergency near Carter's school, he sneaks out to try and help Supergirl. It's all on camera, thankfully low quality, a blurry young boy with mousy brown hair stepping fearfully towards the axe wielding psychopath that sent a beam of energy through a building that landed directly on top of Supergirl. She's still trapped, already injured from the axe.
Cat's heart stops when she recognizes her son on the tv in front of her. She begs Kara in her mind to please, please get up and save my baby boy, over and over again until her prayers come true. Drone footage zeroes in on the rubble moving, and then Supergirl shoots out of it and directly in front of Carter as the maniac swings his axe downwards, straight towards her son. Cat watches the orange tipped blade sink through the Kryptonian's skin like butter, straight through her back. Supergirl falls to her knees, axe inside her back, Carter pulled to her chest. And then she's gone, super speeding away so fast that no one even sees the blur as she carries Carter to safety.
"Mom?" Cat hears a moment later, coming from her balcony. She rushes through the doors takes in the sight in front of her. Kara, on her hands and knees shaking and panting, axe protruding from her back. Her son, staring down at Supergirl in horror, with blood smeared from his cheek to his shirt, Kara's blood. Cat gets down, putting a hand on Kara's face and making her look at her.
"What do I do? Supergirl, how do I help you?" The girl gasps for air, coughing and spluttering and Cat doesn't want to look at her.
"Get it out." Kara manages, and Cat feels so helpless because she's tiny and there is an axe stuck in her superhero assistant's back and she doesn't want to pull it out and what if she isn't strong enough and-
"Carter, go inside." He starts to protest, and she cuts him off with a severe look. "Now!" She raises her voice, something she never ever does with Carter, and that seems to make him realize just how serious she's being. Her hands grip the handle of the axe, and she pulls on it with all her might. It comes out easier than she thought it would, and Kara falls to the ground. Cat drops the bloody axe and goes to help up the hero.
"Can I call someone for you? That looks awful." She says, gesturing to the huge hole in Supergirl's chest that she's avoiding looking at. Kara should be dead. How can she be standing in front of her like this?
"No." She pauses, out of breath from one word. "I can get to safety." Cat looks down at her creme colored dress, considering. And then she hugs Kara, pulling her close.
"Thank you so much, Kara." The girl pulls away from her, eyes tired and hurt but not shocked. She nods in acknowledgment, she doesn't try to deny it, and Cat is relieved.
"See you in the morning, Cat." She picks up the axe. "Tell Carter to lay off the heroics until he's a little bigger." She manages a pained grin before she disappears.
Carter and Cat spend the rest of the day watching the news. Later on, Supergirl is back, mostly healed but clearly not completely. Still, there's a new determination, a new fire in her step, and she takes down the axeman without anywhere near the hesitance that she had in the morning. Carter is cheering her on loudly, but Cat's cheers within her own head are deafening. She's so proud, so impressed, so in love. Carter cries happy tears when the man is defeated, and Cat can tell how relieved he is, how guilty he felt before when they weren't sure that Supergirl would be okay.
Kara, like always, is there in the morning with a latte as though Cat didn't have to pull an axe out of her back yesterday. She takes Cat's instructions and does her job with the efficiency and smile that she always has.
"Keira!" She calls hours into the workday. Kara is in front of her in a flash, looking at her in the way she's been looking at her all day. Waiting. "Keira, Carter is working on his final project for his science class, and he's determined to have it be his best work. He asked me if you would be available to come over and help him with it." Kara lights up at the mention of her son, which makes her swoon just a bit.
"I would love to, Ms. Grant. I can always make time for Carter, just let me know when."
"He wanted to get started tonight. Would you like to come over after work? You could stay for dinner, Carter has been dying to see you since your week off." Kara absolutely beams at her, it makes her heart jump just a little.
"Yes, Ms. Grant. That would be lovely."
Kara shows up at her apartment wearing a hoodie with a dorky science pun on it and dark blue jeans, obviously dressed casual to do a project, and Cat almost shuts the door on her. Climbs in her bed. Pulls the covers over her head and never moves again. She thinks about that for a moment before moving aside to let the stunning young woman she's totally in love with into her home. Carter is there in seconds, grasping Kara's hand and dragging her through the apartment for a tour before they even say hello to one another.
Ten minutes later they're in the living room and she can see them from the kitchen, Carter going through his backpack and pulling out various papers and notebook, handing a pencil to Kara and holding his own out obviously, one that Kara bought him, with a proud little smile on his face that makes Cat so happy. And she can see from Kara's face that she adores every moment.
Carter is deep into his explanation of the project by the time Cat puts a lid on her cooking and joins them in the living room. Kara gives her a happy smile before refocusing on Carter's words, and Cat just watches them fondly. It's addicting, watching Kara love her son.
By the time the timer rings, Kara is drawing out designs as Carter tries to describe exactly what it is he wants to build. Cat notices how easily she does it, and realizes that the girl is an artist. Another impressive revelation that she shouldn't think about.
Kara is a lovely dinner guest who doesn't take seconds. Who stares at the bowl where she could take the seconds from, but doesn't. Cat has seen her eat, so she takes it upon herself to refill the girl's plate every time it's empty. Which is frequently. They eat and joke and talk and Carter is just so excited that Cat barely even speaks, content to watch the two.
Usually Carter would ask for dessert, or to play a board game, but he's so absorbed in his science that he just wants to get right back to it as soon as dinner is over. Cat lets them, sending them off to keep working for a while before she plans to send Carter to bed. When she does, he hugs Kara so tight that Cat would be worried if she wasn't Supergirl. Kara has been smiling with a twinkle in her eye all night, and the hug only intensifies it.
When Carter is gone, there's a long pause. They consider each other, Cat thinking of which question she wants the answer to the most, what she should ask first in case she only gets one question. They stare at each other for a long, long while, until Kara decides to move, pulling a box out of the pocket of her hoodie. She hands it over, and Cat opens it. Inside are two watches. One, brilliantly beautiful, silver and black and so sleek and professional it looks like it belongs on Cat's wrist. And another, smaller, for a child, with the house of El sigil on the face. Cat looks up questioningly, and Kara shows her how it works, how the face expands to reveal the large, house of El button.
"These are for you and Carter. Well, if you want to tell him I'm Supergirl. Or give it to him without telling him, somehow, if you like. I wish you had told me that you knew who I was, so I could give them to you sooner. When you press that button, I'll come running, okay?" Cat is overwhelmed all too quickly. She wasn't expecting a gesture like this. Something so special, so lovely. It brings tears to her eyes that Kara pretends not to notice because three years of assisting Cat Grant has taught her to.
"I didn't want complicate anything for you." Cat says, even though she wants to snark and pull herself away and out of all of these emotions.
"It's okay, Ms. Grant. I appreciate you so much. You've done so much for me."
"Kara, you almost died for my son yesterday." And it's the first time she really acknowledges it. It tears her apart.
"I'd do it a hundred times over, Cat. I love Carter." That pushes her over the edge, she's moving forward, propelling herself onto her toes so that she can reach the other girls mouth. A strong, steady hand finds her hip, and the other curls into her hair, pulling her so, so close. Their kisses are like molten lava and when Cat draws back, she doesn't go far, relaxed in Supergirl's impossibly strong embrace. There's no time for her to question herself, feel guilty. It's not the time for an interview or for an in depth conversation. Kara pulls her close again, their lips touch and it's so gentle. She can hear all that Kara needs to say in this, now. She can wait for the rest, she already has what matters.