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Bloom into You

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Lena adjusts her dark sunglasses as she struggles to stay close to Sam. It’s a difficult task with the crowds passing between the wooden booths and collapsible tables on either side of them, all donned with checkered tablecloths and varying types of fresh, locally grown food or canned goods.

It’s scorching out, and Lena has long since pulled her dark hair back into a high ponytail. The sun beats down on her head, and Lena grits her teeth at the headache she knows she’s going to get.

“I can’t believe you convinced me to go suburban momming with you,” Lena complains as yet another person bumps into her shoulder. It’s like the farmer’s market is some parallel dimension where nobody cares that she’s a Luthor. She might find it refreshing if people didn’t keep stepping on her heels and invading her personal space.

Sam snorts at her, throwing a smile over her shoulder before she says, “You need to get out of the office more. It’s sunny, you’re surrounded by great food, and I bought you coffee. I don’t know what else you could want.”

“A bottle of scotch and a week’s worth of sleep, for starters,” Lena mutters. 

“If only the person in charge of your schedule were a reasonable human being,” Sam teases. Lena rolls her eyes but doesn’t respond. Sam is right. Lena works far more than she should, and she doesn’t often give herself time for activities like this. Not that she’d have chosen to come here of all places.

The market is not the worst place Lena has been, and the fresh air is nice at least. People smile as they pass by, and though Lena doesn’t know anybody but Sam, it’s not as horrible as she thought it would be. Strangers don’t smile at Lena frequently.

They stop at a stall filled with honey jars glowing as the morning sun shines through them, and Lena thinks maybe the farmer’s market isn’t such a bad place.

“Oh! I forgot I need tomatoes, too,” Sam complains, making a show of hitting her forgetful self in the forehead before she grins at Lena. “Can you go to the booth at the end over there and pick some up? The sisters who run that stall grow the best ones.”

Lena’s gaze follows Sam’s pointing finger. A half-dozen stalls away at the very end of the row, a slim redhead unloads baskets of vegetables from the bed of an orange truck. It’s more rust than paint, and the woman hands the baskets to someone behind the booth that Lena can’t see.

Lena squints with suspicion at the mischievous glint in Sam’s eyes. 

“Why aren’t we going together?” Lena asks.

“Because you’re bored and this will be faster,” Sam huffs before turning back to barter with the skinny bearded man behind the honey jars. Lena rolls her eyes again. Never in her life has she bartered for tomatoes at a farmer’s market, let alone in heels and a suit. She looks ridiculous amongst the jean and flannel-clad shoppers, and even more out of place amongst the muddy overalls or tank tops the people who run the stalls are wearing. She grits her teeth the entire walk over.

As soon as Lena is close enough to see the woman behind the booth, her cheeks turn pink. She’s glad it’s sunny enough to blame her blush on the heat, and Lena has half a mind to turn around without buying anything at all.

It’s obvious Sam set this up, because the woman wears a tight, white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up, her biceps and forearms flexing as she arranges her vast array of produce. One of the olive-green straps of her dirt-stained overalls threatens to fall off her shoulder, and her honey hair falls in loose waves around her shoulders. Her glasses are in a perpetual state of almost sliding off her nose, and she has a white daisy tucked into the front pouch of her overalls.

She’s attractive in a mindless and endearing sort of way, but the broadness in her shoulders offsets her adorableness, making Lena’s stomach clench at the alluring mix of strength and gentleness.

“Can I help you?” the woman with cropped reddish hair interrupts Lena’s gaze, and she’s glad to be wearing dark shades, hopeful that she wasn’t caught staring at this handsome blonde stranger.

“Yes,” Lena clears her throat as she pushed her glasses up as a makeshift headband to control her flyaway hairs—cursing the humidity. Lena glances over her shoulder, but Sam is nowhere to be found. The elderly man at the honey booth gives Lena a thumbs up, and she’s quick to look away. “I need tomatoes.”

The redhead nods. “Cool. We’ve got-”

“Ah, shoot!” The blonde woman interrupts with a panicked cry, so Lena glances at her again.

She has got the poor remnants of a pulverized tomato in her hand, the juice of it dripping onto the ground and splashed across her overalls.

“Kara!” the redhead complains, looking like this is not at all an out of the ordinary occurrence.

“I didn’t mean to, Alex, I was…” Kara’s eyes flit to Lena before her cheeks flush an endearing pink. “I was just-”

“Distracted? Smooth, sis,” Alex snorts as she pulls a grimy hand towel from the bed of the truck, throwing it at Kara’s face before adding more baskets of carrots and zucchini to the display. Kara wipes her hands on the already filthy towel before tucking it into her back pocket.

The corners of Kara’s eyes crinkle as she smiles at Lena, and the glow of the honey jars in the rising sun have nothing on a smile like that. Lena clears her throat again.

“My friend Sam sent me over.”

“Arias?” Alex asks with a raised eyebrow.

“She’s so nice to us!” Kara gushes, “and Ruby is so smart.” 

While Kara rambles about how amazing Sam and Ruby are, Alex squints at Lena’s heels, though she doesn’t say anything.

“I dressed for brunch,” Lena defends, and Alex smirks with a shake of her head, obviously of the opinion that Lena looks overdressed for brunch as well. Lena sighs. “Although I’m not sure what else I would have worn if I’d have known I’d end up here today.”

“You look great,” Kara exclaims, then looks down as she adjusts her glasses. It leaves a smear of dirt on her cheek that Lena shouldn’t find adorable. “Ah, I mean, uh, how do you know Sam?”

“She’s my best friend,” Lena says.

“Oh, you’re Lena?” Kara beams, stuffing her hands into her pockets and bouncing on her heels. “Sam talks about you all the time. She always says how nice you are, but she didn't mention that you’re this pretty.”

Alex rolls her eyes behind Kara’s shoulder, shaking her head as she mutters, “So smooth.”

Kara’s cheeks turn pink again, and she can’t even blame the sun because she’s in the shade of her tent.

Lena’s not faring much better. She gulps, unused to compliments in general, and especially ones that feel so earnest.

Lena bites her lip to try to hide her grin, unsure of how to proceed. She didn’t expect to be at a farmer’s market today, and she certainly didn’t expect to be complimented by a beautiful stranger with a smile comparable to the rising sun.

Lena is not quite sure what to do in this situation. She’s not prepared for it, and she’s incredibly out of practice when it comes to… whatever this is. Flirting? Maybe Kara is this nice to everyone. Lena shakes her head and asks, “So, the tomatoes?”

“Right,” Kara chuckles. She picks up a small weaved basket with six large tomatoes in it, handing them to Lena with a bashful smile. “I picked them this morning. They’re’ on the house.”

Alex fails to stifle a sigh, and Kara scratches the back of her neck with another nervous chuckle. An earthy-sweet aroma emanates from the basket, and Lena’s brows furrow at the greenish-yellow tomatoes within it.

“They’re better if they’re allowed to ripen off the vine,” Kara explains excitedly. She’s uninhibited in her passion, pointing to the basket. “And kept somewhere shady and cool, but not in the fridge!”

“Oh, okay. Thank you,” Lena says around her smile. She has never cared about proper fresh-picked tomato storage, but learning might not be so bad if Kara was the one to explain it. But these aren’t even for Lena. “I’ll tell Sam.”

“Will, I uh… see you around?” Kara asks, shuffling on her feet as if her nerves can’t escape without the movement.

Lena glances at the tomatoes and back at Kara’s earnest, blue eyes. There’s something there she doesn’t recognize, but it pulls at her, and the idea of visiting the market again isn’t as horrible as it was before. It’s not a horrible thought at all, and Lena thinks perhaps Kara might be flirting with her. Maybe.

“Hope so,” Lena settles with before she grins and walks away, pushing through the crowd that’s a little less annoying, under a sun whose heat feels more like a caress than a burn.

Sam is waiting at her silver minivan with a smile that’s all too knowing, and Lena scowls at her, ignoring Sam’s raised eyebrows as she shoves the basket of tomatoes into Sam’s arms. Lena gets into the passenger seat without a word.

“You’re the most dramatic person I know,” Sam snorts with an eye-roll as she starts the engine. Out of habit, she glances at Lena’s buckled seatbelt before she reverses out of the lot, gravel shifting under the tires.

Lena glares daggers into Sam’s profile as they make their way onto the highway, heading back toward the heart of National City. “You talk about me to vendors?”

“Only the cute, muscular ones I know you’d like,” Sam waves off.

“I can fire you.”

“I’m too important,” Sam laughs, using her signal and looking over her shoulder before changing lanes. “Did you get Kara’s number?”

No, I didn’t get her number!”

Sam frowns. “Why not? Because she sells vegetables for a living?” 

“That’s not why!” Lena scoffs.

“She’s exactly your type,” Sam argues. “I saw you checking her out, and I know she’d like you, so what’s the issue?”

“I wasn’t sure she was flirting,” Lena admits. “I thought maybe she was that nice to everyone. She seems like the type. Plus, she’s at her place of work, so I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable.”

“Oh my god, you are so gay,” Sam huffs.

“Whatever. It’s not like it matters anyway,” Lena says, careful to keep her voice as casual as possible. “I don’t have time for dating, Sam. It took weeks of bothering me to get me to spend today with you.”

“You made time for it,” Sam implores, levelling Lena with too much compassion and understanding with her big, sad eyes. “I just want you to be happy, and Kara is so sweet. You deserve that. I think you’d like each other.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Lena mutters. She sighs and drops her head to the headrest. She has a whole company to run. Lena doesn’t have time to date, it doesn’t matter how nice Kara is.

Still, it feels good to have a friend like Sam to worry about her. Lena hasn’t felt cared for in a long time.

She hasn’t felt her heart skip a beat in a long time, either—hasn’t gotten sweaty palms or a swooping stomach. Not until today, when she saw that charming little daisy tucked into Kara’s overalls. Lena hasn’t been on a date in… too long.

“And her sister is hot,” Sam teases, making Lena chuckle.

“Did you miss the ring on her finger?”

“Her wife is hot too. Her name is Kelly. I’m pretty sure they’d both be up for a date,” Sam explains with a wide smile. “I’ve flirted with them both, and neither has minded so far. I’m thinking of asking them out.”

“Both of them?” Lena asks.

Sam shrugs. “Why not? I like them both. I think they both like me.”

“The weight of your ego is the reason I have reinforcement beams holding up L-Corp.”

Sam laughs, leaving Lena to stare out of the window as they head back into the City.


Three weeks go by, and Lena hasn’t had a break. Or, Lena hasn’t taken a break, despite the fact that Sam and Jess, her secretary, work so hard to make sure Lena has them. Lena has always worked. It’s who she is. She helps because somebody should, and she has the resources. To be inactive with her privilege would equate to being negligent, so Lena works hard to better the world and to enable others to do the same.

It’s not that Lena thinks she has a debt to repay due to her objectively horrible family's mistakes. She has been through therapy, she knows she’s not at fault for her family’s decisions, but without work, what does she have? An empty apartment with whatever furniture the decorator thought would look nice, and a shelf full of expensive scotch.

She pinches the bridge of her nose. It would be so easy to go back to the market, find Kara, and maybe flirt with her a little to see her endearing nervous fumbling. The thought of it is enough to make Lena’s cheeks warm. It’s ridiculous. Lena is an expert at controlling her emotions, but when it comes to Kara, she can’t help the warmth that spreads through her chest or the butterflies in her stomach. It’s pathetic, and Lena doesn’t even know her. God, what would it be like if Lena did?

Getting any closer is a terrible idea, and Lena refuses to allow herself to be so vulnerable. What if Kara decides Lena is a horrible workaholic and not worth dating? There’s too much that could go wrong, and after years of learning to mitigate risk, Lena is sure she’s making the right choice by staying as far away from Kara as she can.

Sam, on the other hand, has different plans. She knocks on Lena’s door before strutting over, perching on the edge of Lena’s desk with a smile that’s two parts winning and one part guilty.

“What did you do?” Lena sighs. Her shoulders slump, and Sam’s widening grim promises irritating inevitability.

“I have a new project for you.”

“Isn't this supposed to go the other way around?” Lena asks.

“Listen,” Sam huffs with an eye-roll. “We’re always looking for positive community engagement, right?”

Lena lifts her chin as she frowns in suspicion, glowering. Anyone else would scamper away at a look like that, but Sam continues undeterred.

“And it’s always good publicity for you to be the front-runner for these types of things. It improves our image, right? You’re always happy to help!”

“Sure,” Lena agrees, her voice thick with apprehension.

“I’m glad you agree. What if I told you I had a way to bring in loads of good publicity while you engage with a third-party person that is willing to donate both time and resources to help improve the community under L-Corp’s name? CatCo has even agreed to write an exclusive about it.”

“I would say it sounds too good to be true,” Lena scowls. Even after so many years, few independent contractors are willing to partner with L-Corp.

“It’s true!” Sam beams as she throws her hands in the air. “All you have to do is help someone open some community gardens, show people how to grow crops, donate food…”

“Community gardens?” Lena’s heart stutters before restarting at double-time, and she glares at Sam, who has the decency to wince.

“Don’t be mad,” Sam pleads.

Lena slumps back in her chair, groaning as she puts the puzzle together. “You reached out to Kara Danvers, and she agreed to work with us. You set this whole thing up because I didn’t get her number? Sam, you’re-”

“A great friend who loves you and wants you to be happy?”

“The bane of my existence?” 

I’m not the one who told you her last name,” Sam teases, raising her eyebrows in challenge. “You totally looked her up.”

Lena wills herself not to blush. 

So what if she researched popular farmer’s market contributors and learned that Kara organizes and runs most of the events? What does it matter if Kara has published books about composting, hydroponics, optimal gardening techniques, and a few general plant-care guides? It doesn’t mean anything. It’s not at all endearing and impressive in equal measure. It means nothing that Lena watched Kara’s TED Talk. Twice. That’s what Lena tells herself.

“Did it ever occur to you that I have reasons not to be dating?” Lena complains. It’s useless. Sam knows her too well.

“Did it occur to you that I’m the one you turn to when you need to complain that you work too much? Remember when I helped you come up with a schedule that would optimize your work-life balance? Did I get mad when you ignored it? No. Remember all those wine nights where I was nothing but supportive when you talked about wanting to find someone? I remember. And I care. A lot.”

Lena slumps forward, resting her forehead on her folded hands as she mutters, “I hate you.” 

“I love you, too.”


Friday comes faster than Lena would have liked. She rubs her clammy palms on her suit skirt when Jess calls on the intercom, letting Lena know Kara has arrived. She looks down at her outfit—a red silk blouse tucked into her charcoal skirt with a matching blazer. She’s wearing her favourite heels, and it’s like she’s starting her first day at boarding school all over again, but worse, because she’s a grown woman, and she should be past the nerves that go hand-in-hand with having a stupid crush.

Lena is being ridiculous. This is a business meeting, and Kara is here for a mutually beneficial transaction. That’s all it is. She clears her throat, telling Jess to send Kara in. She’s not prepared to see her again, and Lena’s hands clench around the arms of her desk chair when Kara struts into her office.

“Figured I’d clean up a little,” Kara says with a nervous chuckle. She wipes imaginary wrinkles out of her pine green chinos, the fabric around the shoulders of her navy shirt straining with the movement. Her hair is pulled into a ponytail, and Lena grins at Kara’s choice of footwear. She has completed the look with brown leather work boots, so cracked and worn that they look fit to fall apart at any moment.

Kara bites her lip, her eyes flitting down as she blushes and asks, “Is it… okay?”

Lena shakes her head at herself, getting out of her chair to greet Kara. “Of course. You look fantastic.”

Lena cringes at herself, but Kara releases a breath of relief and her shoulders loosen at the compliment.

“I wasn’t sure they’d let me in here if I was covered in mud,” Kara jokes. “I’m glad Sam reached out. I’ve been wanting to do community gardens for a while, but the city didn’t respond to any of my letters or emails. Or my phone calls, or my tweets.”

If Kara had gone to city hall in person, Lena is sure they would have been unable to refuse her. Her pout is a force to be reckoned with. Lena hopes the power of it is never used against her.

“Being a Luthor has its perks,” Lena admits before she gestures to the glassware she keeps on her shelf. “Water?”

Kara shakes her head, so Lena turns on the large wall-mounted television instead, grabbing her iPad to send a map of the city to the large screen.

“Then let’s get started,” Lena says, slipping into the comfort of work. 

“You got it, boss.” Kara puts her hands on her hips, standing next to Lena as they look at the highlighted map of National City.

“We’ve been approved to build in any area highlighted in yellow,” Lena explains. She should try to keep this professional. It’s a business meeting and nothing more.

Kara hums as she assesses the screen, tilting her head to the side as she frowns. Her eyebrows furrow a little, and with her hair up, the cut of her handsome jaw is all the more defined.

Even as cleaned up as Kara is, she looks out of place amongst the pristine items that decorate Lena’s office. There’s a warmth about Kara that doesn’t quite belong amongst the ascetic design—as if Kara radiates too much authentic character, making the rest of the office feel like a frigid magazine display. It basically is one, but it’s never been quite so obvious until now.

Lena’s office is a showcase, and Kara is too genuine to fit comfortably inside it. Lena bites her lip, convincing herself once again that not pursuing Kara is the best choice. 

They’d obviously never work anyway. Kara is too warm, too kind, and all Lena has to offer is an austere office and an even more monochrome, lifeless apartment.

“We should go out,” Kara says after a few minutes of studying the screen. 

“Pardon?” Lena squeaks.

“You know, go see what these places really look like,” Kara explains with a gesture to the highlighted zones. “I know this spot is surrounded by office buildings, so we won’t get enough sun there. Any gardener will tell you to check your spot in person before planting anything.”

“Right. Of course,” Lena nods along, trying not to blush at the way her heart is racing. 

Obviously, that’s what Kara meant. Even beginning gardeners know that—Lena has been reading up on it in preparation for her partnership with Kara. For work, not because Kara is the one who published the books Lena has been studying.

“I can call my driver,” Lena offers, turning off the TV before grabbing her purse from her desk and sliding her iPad inside it.

“No need.” Kara smiles as she lifts car keys from her pocket. 

There’s a happy little carrot keychain smiling as big as Kara is, and it takes everything Lena has not to melt.

Lena shakes her head, smiles, and says, “Lead the way.”

 

The inside of Kara’s rusty truck isn’t as bad as the outside. At least not in the front seat. The backseat has a tattered blanket covering the cushions. Dried leaves and fur are woven into the ragged material. Aside from a bagful of empty candy wrappers that Kara throws into the back seat with a nervous chuckle, the front is clean. The smell of exhaust emanates from the cushions and there are a few cigarette burns on the upholstery, but the radio and dashboard have been updated into a strange mix of modern and retro.

“The truck was Alex’s in college, but we made it more eco-friendly a couple summers ago,” Kara explains as she starts it up. It doesn't rumble as much as Lena expects it to. “She used to smoke pot in here a lot.”

“Didn’t know you were that type of gardener,” Lena quips, chuckling at the nervous way Kara scratches her nose. 

“I’m not…” Kara clears her throat, her eyes flicking to Lena before going back to the road. “It’s more of a side hobby.” 

Lena raises an eyebrow at her and smirks. “You grow pot?”

“For occasional recreation!” Kara defends. “It’s legal here!” 

Lena laughs as Kara turns a corner, the tips of her ears red.

Traffic is light with most people at work, and as they make their way through the city, Kara analyzes each plot of land out loud, detailing the benefits and disadvantages of each spot. 

“Not enough sun,” Kara says as she drives past a potential site without stopping the truck. 

“Too much sun,” she says at another. ‘Too soggy,’ ‘too dry,’ and ‘not enough wind protection,’ are other rejections Kara declares at several of the locations they visit. It might be frustrating if it were anybody else, but Kara looks so cute with her nose scrunched in distaste or bouncing on her heels to check the ground.

Lena pretends she didn’t read Kara’s introductory gardening book, so Kara explains how she can tell if a spot is good or not, pointing out the height of nearby buildings or trees, and calculating how much sun shines on the grass throughout the day.

It doesn’t hurt that Kara cheers at a few of the old pop songs that sound from the truck’s radio as they move from one spot to the next. Lena chuckles as Kara sings along to Britney Spears like a goof, uninhibited and delightful.

She’s far too charming for her own good, and so genuine about it—as if it’s never crossed her mind to pretend to be something she wasn’t.

By the time they’ve visited every plot of land, Lena has had to reschedule several meetings, and Kara’s stomach rumbles louder than the music on the radio.

Kara’s eyes widen as she glances at the clock on the dash. “Oh shoot! I didn’t realize how late it was getting. I’m so sorry, Lena. I’ll drop you off, and we can schedule a meeting to go over the best of the plots I didn’t veto.” Her chuckle is nervous, and her knuckles grip the wheel a little tighter.

“I’m free now,” Lena says before she bites her lip, hoping Kara won’t refuse her offer. “We can talk about it over dinner if you like.”

“I love dinner!” is Kara’s enthusiastic response. “Do you like pizza? I know a great place nearby.”

Lena smiles. “Pizza sounds great.”

 

It’s a caboose.

The whole restaurant is the back end of a train, parked in the driveway of a corner store, and the heat from the kitchen rises from a little steam dome affixed to the top of one end. The drive rods and cranks are all wrought iron painted black to match the decorative wheels, and the burgundy paint of the caboose is worn from weather.

“I don’t think steam comes from a caboose,” Lena says as they park in front of the store. 

“Do not ruin the pizza train for me, Lena,” Kara complains, all too serious in the dim light. The sun has ducked behind the tallest buildings, casting everything in twilight shadows, but the streetlamps have yet to turn on. “I'll get the food, and you can get us a table.”

There are several picnic tables in front of the caboose, all painted a matching red. A couple of tables are tucked under a large gazebo, but the rest sit in the open. Fairy lights are strung up in crisscrossing patterns between the store and the gazebo, lighting the whole area up in hazy orange as moths flit around the bulbs.

“Do you have any food or beverage preferences?” Kara asks. She peers down over the rim of her glasses, and Lena shakes her head. 

She shouldn’t be nervous, but her stomach flutters. With the gentle lights, the setting sun… it’s almost date-like. Probably. Lena hasn’t gone on many dates, certainly none lately. Let alone ones where pizza is served out of a caboose. Not that this is a date.

Lena sighs at herself before picking the table closest to the truck, and Kara waves at her from the line. A few families eat together at the other tables, sharing fries and milkshakes. 

Her phone vibrates and Lena rolls her eyes before pulling it out of her purse, knowing who it is already.

Sam: Jess said you’ve been out with Kara Danvers all day ;)

Lena: Tell Jess she isn’t getting a bonus this year. /s

Sam: Are you getting a bonus ;)

Lena: Stop sending me winking faces. 

Sam: Is that a yes?

Lena: We’re discussing which locations would be best for the community gardens.

Sam: Ugh, Lena! It’s been all day! Aren’t you tired of working? Don’t you want to jump her bones?

Lena’s eyes flit to where Kara talks to someone inside the caboose. She uses her hands when she talks. Her broad shoulders make the feminine curve of her waist look more trim, and her thighs and backside stretch her green pants in a way that’s much too alluring. Lena bites her lip, looking back at her phone when Kara turns to smile at her. She rolls her eyes at Sam’s latest text.

Sam: ;)

Kara ambles back over with an entire large pizza box and three milkshakes balanced on top of it. Lena can’t help but raise her eyebrows, and Kara chuckles as she sets everything down.

“I didn’t know what kind of milkshake you like best, so I got one of each,” Kara explains as she sets the drinks to the side and opens the pizza box. She points to the different dressings of each quarter of the pizza as she continues. “This is the caboose concoction. You’ve got your classic pep and cheese, peppers and mushrooms, hot peppers and olives, and pineapple and ham.”

It’s a monstrosity. 

The dressings are contained to their individual quarters, but Lena has no idea how two people are supposed to consume so much food.

“Oh shoot! I should have asked if you like pineapple on pizza. People have weirdly strong opinions about that.” Kara smacks herself in the forehead as she sits down, but she isn’t able to keep her frown in place with so much food in front of her.

“I haven’t tried it before,” Lena admits.

Kara turns the pizza box so the pineapple quarter is closest to Lena, beaming over the lid.

“You have to!” Kara exclaims. She looks so hopeful, with rosy cheeks and shining blue eyes that Lena is helpless to resist. She takes a slice, frowning at the odd mix before taking a bite of it. 

Kara raises her eyebrows expectantly as Lena chews, and Lena blushes. 

“It shouldn’t work,” Lena says, “but it does.”

Kara grins. “You like it?”

“I do.” Lena nods.

“Yes!” Kara pumps her fists in the air before she turns to point back toward the caboose. “There’s another on my side, Adam!”

“I will die on this hill!” someone—presumably Adam—yells back. 

Kara laughs as she turns back, licking her lips before taking an enormous bite of a slice decorated in jalapeños. She gestures for Lena to pick one of the three milkshakes. Lena picks the strawberry one because she can at least trick herself into thinking something she consumes on this date is healthy. At this meeting.

To get back to the matter at hand, Lena pulls her iPad from her purse, placing it next to the pizza box after she taps over to the city map. It’s covered in red ‘X’s now too, and by the time Lena is full from half her milkshake and three slices of pizza, they have five plots selected, scattered throughout National City for equitable access.

Kara eats everything. She leaves not even crust behind, and when Lena hasn’t touched her milkshake in a while, Kara finishes that too.

By the time they’re done, the sky is a deep navy, and moths flutter around the fairy lights above them, tapping against the glass bulbs. Lena checks the time, her eyes widening. 

She has been with Kara Danvers for over ten hours and feels like she could go for more. It’s jarring. Lena is used to being alone. She likes solitude. She often needs it as an opportunity to recharge, but Kara isn’t draining at all. Kara breathes life into everything around her, plants and people alike. Like the sun incarnate.

“I should take you back to the office.” Kara winces as she says it—as if spending time with her requires an apology.

Lena would refuse out of politeness, offer to call her driver instead, but she doesn’t want to waste a second of offered time, so she says, “My apartment is closer. I’m done for the day.”

“Workaholic boss give you the night off?” Kara teases as she stands, tossing the remnants of their food into a nearby bin, careful to separate everything into the appropriate containers.

“You’ve been talking to Sam,” Lena complains, frowning at Kara’s crooked grin.

The way Kara’s head tilts back when she laughs—so open and carefree—is gorgeous. That kind of openness is one of the most beautiful things Lena likes about people, and it looks breathtaking on Kara.

“She might have mentioned that you don’t get out of the office much,” Kara admits. She opens the passenger door for Lena, closing it with a gentle smile before running around to the driver’s side. “Neither do I, really. I mostly work in the garden or write at home, and organize the markets, so it’s not like I’d judge you. But I had fun working with you today.”

Kara beams, her gaze lingering on Lena’s face before Kara shakes her head and starts the truck again.

It wasn’t a date, Lena repeats in her head. Maybe she’ll believe it if she says it enough. 

Kara hums along to the quiet radio as Lena directs her through the city, and despite their silence otherwise, Lena is at ease. She’s comfortable with Kara, which should be scary. It should terrify her, but it doesn’t, and when they pull up to Lena’s building, she doesn’t want to leave. Even after so many hours spent together, Lena doesn’t want this night to end.

“Today was, um...” Kara murmurs over the radio. She glances down at Lena’s lips, but is quick to look back to Lena’s eyes. “I had a nice time.”

“I had a nice time, too.” Lena swallows, her heartbeat pulsing in her ears. She wants to lean over, to see if Kara glanced at her lips for a reason. She wants to kiss Kara Danvers.

Instead, Lena smiles, unbuckles her seatbelt, and gets out. Her doorman opens the door for her with his usual polite smile.

“Will you call me?” Kara hollers from the curb. She has leaned over to roll down the manual window, and Lena laughs as she looks back. “To schedule our next, uh, meeting, I mean?” 

“Sure” Lena nods, pursing her lips as she fails to smother a smile, rewarded by Kara’s winning grin.


Lena texts Kara over the following days, informing her that some city contractors will be building garden boxes at their selected locations. Kara sends back three different articles about the aesthetic perspective of gardening, the functionality, and a final one on how to choose a layout. Lena reads them all. 

They text back and forth over the next few days as they decide what suits their needs, and Lena works hard to keep it strictly professional. It’s a difficult task considering that Kara sends Lena example pictures and plot diagrams, each with thoughtful opinions and commentary full of passion and care.

Talking to Kara is easy. She’s direct in her explanations, and always happy to go into more detail when Lena asks. Lena even calls her a couple of times when Kara’s texts start to get long, and the sound of Kara’s fervent love of her work makes Lena smile. There is no escape from Kara’s infectious happiness, not even over the phone.

“Do you have any preferences in design?”

“We should keep it basic, but nice, you know?” Kara explains over the line. “Maybe cedar—that’s the best wood for garden boxes, and most people like the look of it anyway. It won’t distract from the park either because of the natural material, if that’s within budget.” 

Lena hums in agreement. She’s leaning on her headboard, Kara’s book about composting open in her lap.

“Whatever you think would look best,” Lena says.

“This is going to be so great, Lena! I’m glad we met.” Kara is so earnest as she says it, so open and genuine, and Lena bites her lip as the words wash over her like a comforting blanket.

It makes being honest in return easier, and Lena smiles, taking a deep breath before she murmurs, “Me too, Kara.”


Lena squints up at the sky, her hand hovering over her eyes to block out most of the sun as she scowls at it. She’s sweating through her clothes—she researched ‘ gardening outfits ’ on the internet and made do with what she already owned. Dressed in her oldest jeans and the only flannel she has, Lena is worried about heatstroke. She’s supposed to give a press release and pouts as she pulls her hair up into a high ponytail. She had spent so long straightening it, but the heat at the back of her neck itches. She undoes the buttons of her plaid green flannel too, revealing her grey tank top. She rolls the sleeves up until they’re settled below her elbows.

She smirks as the first news van rolls up. Maybe from her jail cell, Lillian is reeling at the sight of Lena in jeans on television. It’s petty, but it makes Lena feel better despite the heat.

Lena smiles when Kara pulls up in her beat-up orange truck. She’s back in her dirt-covered olive green overalls, again with a white t-shirt underneath. She has a yellow suncap flower tucked into the front pouch this time, and when she sees Lena, Kara beams. The sun has nothing on a smile like that.

“Woah!” Kara laughs. “I hardly recognized you, miss Luthor.”

Lena blushes, glancing down at her clothes for the hundredth time that day. “I thought it was more appropriate than a suit.”

“Gosh, yeah, you look…” Kara trails off as her eyes rake over Lena’s hips, then her chest, lingering there for a smidgen longer than appropriate for a cursory glance—not that Lena minds at all. She smirks and raises an eyebrow, making Kara blush and scratch the back of her neck. Her blonde hair is braided, but it already has flyaways sticking up around her ears, and Lena wants to brush them away from Kara’s blushing cheeks.

“You look great,” Kara stutters. “You look the part, I mean. Of someone who is opening a community garden.”

“As do you,” Lena teases, her eyes roving over Kara’s muscular arms. Lena grins as Kara looks down to adjust her glasses, trying to hide her growing blush. Lena would spend the whole day making Kara smile like that if she could, but more news vans pull up, and a small crowd of people has amassed beside the several empty garden plots that now decorate the park’s grass.

“Duty calls.” Lena nods over to the gathering and Kara follows behind her. 

Lena had Jess email over the prepared speech so it wouldn’t surprise Kara to be mentioned as a partner, and so Kara would be able to come up with her own portion of a speech if she wanted to.

Lena knows how to work a crowd, and Kara doesn’t add much in the way of words, but she stands next to Lena and their audience responds just as well to Kara’s friendly presence as Lena herself does.

Kara is good with words—which makes sense given her several published books—but the way she talks to people is so personal, even when she doesn’t know them. By the time Kara has finished going over the activity plans, people are excited to try their hand at gardening, and Kara is eager to help, walking amongst the rows and offering kind advice along the way.

Lena stays on the sidelines to make sure the water station is stocked, that sunhats are available for the children if needed, and to verify that an ambulance is nearby if necessary, but hidden from view so as not to arouse panic. It’s rare for Lena’s plans to be this flawless, but working with Kara is easy. And enjoyable. They make a good team.

The park is big enough that none of the surrounding buildings throw shadows onto the garden, but some nearby trees offer shade in the evenings. The garden sits a few yards back from the stone path that runs through the park, a smaller one leading up to the garden boxes. They sit in rows, and families crowd around them, all eager to talk to Kara.

“Having fun?” Lena jumps at Sam’s voice, turning to glare at her.

“What are you doing here? I gave you the day off.” There goes her genius plan not to have Sam witness the way she stares at Kara.

Sam grins. “Which means you can’t tell me what to do.”

Lena glances back at Kara and then at Sam again.

“I heard about the kid’s event, and thought Ruby might want to try it out,” Sam explains, but her eyes linger on where Alex and Kelly set up a display table with their young daughter. They’re working together to straighten the checkered tablecloth before lining up waters, juices, and snacks.

“Sure you did,” Lena says, raising a suspicious eyebrow.

“I did!” 

“Okay. Where is Ruby?” Lena asks. 

Sam’s eyes scan the crowd and then the park, and Lena chuckles as she looks over Sam’s shoulder. In the empty field on the other side of the path, Ruby kicks her soccer ball around, balancing it on the surface of her foot before kicking it away again. 

Sam turns back with a wince, saying, “Maybe I was wrong to assume she might have an interest in gardening.”

“You came here to torment me and to flirt with married women,” Lena says.

“I’m pretty sure they’ve been flirting back,” Sam shrugs, unperturbed. “Polyamory is a viable life choice. I’m interested in dating both Kelly and Alex. They’re great moms to Esme, and really nice people. You’re just jealous that I’m about to be dating two beautiful women, and you can’t even flirt with one.

“I can flirt,” Lena argues. “I’ve been flirting.”

Sam grins, her eyes sparkling in that winning way they do when she’s outwitted Lena. 

Lena scowls, annoyed at herself for falling into yet another one of Sam’s conversational traps.

“Oh?” Sam teases, bumping her shoulder into Lena’s and laughing. “You've been flirting?”

“Shut up.” Lena blushes and rolls her eyes, grateful when Kara’s cheery voice interrupts whatever aggravating taunt Sam would throw at her next.

“Who wants to learn how to grow beans?” Kara hollers from the middle of the garden boxes, and children abandon their families as they flock toward her, cheering and bouncing on their way. Kara bounces along with them, just as excited to teach as the children are to learn. They each get two seeds, a decomposable plant pot, and sit around a pile of dirt on a blue tarp. Lena had a table set up so they could work there, but the children and Kara ignore it, choosing to sit in the grass instead, staining their knees green.

“So you’ve been flirting. Have you asked her out yet?” Sam elbows Lena.

“No…” Lena sighs. “I will. When we’re done today. I didn’t want to ask her out while we were working together.”

“Are you sure it had nothing to do with you stalling?”

“Shut up, Sam.”

“I’ll be relieved when you do it. I want you to be happy. I think you could be really happy with her. The kind of happy people search their whole lives for, you know?”

“I think I could be, too,” Lena murmurs. 

One of the kids that circle Kara suffers a forceful sneeze, and thrusts the cup of dirt in his hands upward as he tries to cover his mouth with his elbow. It showers dirt onto Kara and a few of the other kids, but they’re elated at the misstep, laughing and cheering at the mess—even Kara.

Lena nods over Sam’s shoulder again, where Alex and her daughter have joined Ruby in kicking the ball around, playing a match together. Sam’s eyes sparkle as she watches.

“This’ll be a cakewalk,” Sam states before she winks at Lena, walking over to where Kelly watches the group of kids. The photographer from CatCo, James, takes pictures of the event from beside her.

A few of the kids in the circle now wear complimentary sunhats, which are a few sizes too large, but they look adorable. Kara wears one too, the clasp of it loose around her jaw, and her braided hair a mess under it.

She dusts the dirt from her pants before standing up, waving Lena over to the group. Lena, with nothing else that needs her attention, complies, smiling all the while. 

“Don’t you all want to thank Miss Luthor for organizing this event today?” Kara asks the group. 

They all talk in unison and at varying levels, and though Lena doesn’t understand a single word of it, the overall cacophony is positive. Above the rest of the children, a redheaded girl yells, “Thanks for the beans!”

“You’re welcome,” Lena laughs. Most of the kids run off to show their families their little pots, which look like cups of mud, but the kids are too proud for that to matter. Lena hopes they all grow, that they all get beans.

Kara hands her a compostable cupful of dirt. She pokes her finger into the soil before dropping a couple of bean seeds inside and covering them up. She pours a bit of water from her water bottle over top.

“For you,” Kara says, her eyes crinkling with her smile, and how could Lena ever refuse such a thoughtful, soggy gift?

“I love it,” Lena replies, her voice soft. She does love it. It’s ridiculous. She wants to grow beans, and she wants to send Kara pictures of them. “I’m pretty confident I can grow beans.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I’ve been reading some interesting books about plant care from one of the state’s front-runner gardening experts.”

Kara’s blue eyes widen and her lips part as if in awed disbelief. “You read my books?”

“I like to know that the people I partner with measure up to their reputation,” Lena says, shrugging as casually as she can manage, but she can’t hide her grin.

“How do I compare?”

“You, Kara Danvers, exceed expectation.”

Lena can only describe the fluttering in her stomach and the warmth in her chest as adoration, and she knows she has a goofy, crooked grin on her face, but she can’t help it—doesn’t care to try to hide it anymore. Not when Kara looks so bashful, kicking the toes of her ragged work boots into the dirt with a shy chuckle.

“You know… I think I change my mind,” Kara drawls with a forced casualness and a pleased smirk that promises something mischievous.

“What about?” 

“You don’t quite look the part for the organizer of this event.” Kara’s nose scrunches with her fake wince, and Lena raises her chin in suspicion.

A slow smile spreads across Kara’s face before she pulls another of the beige sunhats from the dwindling pile on the ground. Her grin is far too excited for Lena’s liking, and Kara laughs.

“That would be a good shot for the article,” James calls as he walks over. Kara nods before she places the hat on Lena’s head, throwing her arm around Lena’s shoulder before she smiles at the camera. Lena smiles at Kara, and before she has the presence of mind to look toward James, he has already taken a few shots.

It’s not Lena’s usual press smile, she can feel it in the ache of her cheeks. It’s the genuine kind that Kara so easily brings out in her, with double dimples and a scrunched nose.

When James shows her the photo for her approval, Lena can’t help but laugh at it. She and Kara lean into each other, both beaming, the bustling community garden on display behind them. Lena looks like she’s having fun, and she is. It’s so easy with Kara—having fun—even in full sun in the California heat.

“It’s good,” Lena nods and James grins at her. “You’ve got a good eye.”

“People like authenticity. I think I’ve got a good shot of that here.” He places the cap on his lens before he says farewell, claiming his boss might threaten to fire him again if he isn’t back with some good shots soon.

“I think this day was a success,” Lena proclaims as she surveys the pickup crew cleaning up the tables and tarps across the grass. A few families and elderly people still work in their gardens, plotting maps or digging holes.

“I had a lot of fun,” Kara exclaims. “We make a good team.”

Lena smiles at the ground before she meets Kara’s soft gaze. A crinkle appears as Kara furrows her brow, looking over Lena’s shoulder toward where Sam leans against her minivan. Alex has her arm wrapped around Kelly, and they both listen with interest to whatever Sam is offering, while Ruby and Esme play ball in the field together.

“Is Sam… flirting with Kelly and my sister?”

Lena chuckles. Sam is a great PR rep. She could convince a fish that water would make it drown. It’s why Lena hired her, and aside from that, Sam is one of the kindest people Lena has ever known. If Kara is any indication, Alex and Kelly must be good people, too. Lena shrugs. “It would seem so.”

“I thought she was just being nice to them this whole time.” Kara’s eyebrows raise as she fidgets with the straps of her overalls, but then she shakes her head, laughing. “Whatever makes them happy.”

Lena snorts, gazing at Kara. She doesn’t want to say goodbye yet, doesn’t know how to ask Kara to stay longer, or how to ask Kara out. Her research was unhelpful. Most of the advice was to ‘just say how you feel,’ or to ‘speak from the heart.’ Useless. Aggravating and useless advice.

“Do you maybe want to come over?” Kara asks. Her voice is purposefully steady—as if she has practised trying to sound confident. Her eyes are wide, and she adjusts her glasses before she continues. “To see my setup, I mean. If you want. You know, because you were interested in my books, so I could show you some gardening stuff.”

Lena can’t help but laugh, and the sound of it almost startles her. Kara shuffles from foot to foot, her hands stuffed deep into her pockets. It’s adorable, and Lena resolves to think of a plan to ask Kara Danvers out on a date on the ride over.

“I’d like that,” Lena agrees.

Kara’s beaming smile is all the reward she needs.

 

Kara lives about a half-hour away from the city, surrounded by forest and vineyard fields. The truck blows a thin cloud of dust along Kara’s long, dirt driveway as they pull onto it, and Lena keeps a steady hold on her cup of dirt so it doesn’t jostle around too much. 

The house at the end is rugged but sturdy, with peeling periwinkle blue paint and white trim. Her expansive lawn is hugged by trees, but instead of grass, Kara has several garden plots.

“How do you keep track of it all?” Lena can’t help but ask as Kara leads her across the uneven stone path beside the banister of her white porch. It wraps around the house with wooden chairs and porch swings, like Kara couldn’t decide what part of nature she wanted to look at the most. 

“It’s a lot of work, but Alex, Kelly, and Esme help a lot. And I love it,” Kara explains. She picks up a pair of fraying gloves from the porch, tucking them into her back pocket as she continues. She climbs up the side of her banister, holding up a finger to ask for Lena to wait before she disappears. Her footsteps thunk on the deck as she jogs back, asking, “Are you afraid of dogs?”

“I love dogs,” Lena affirms. 

She wasn’t allowed animals inside of Luthor Manor, so Lena’s only friend was Iris, her dark, thoroughbred show horse that was kept in the stable out back. Kara grins before she disappears again, and Lena puts her plant pot on the porch to keep it safe. The tell-tale clicking of nails on wood is the only warning Lena gets before she’s surrounded in a whirlwind of black and white fluff.

“You are being so rude,” Kara complains as she follows her dog. “Come.”

The dog pulls away from Lena as if Kara’s command has it magnetized, running back toward Kara and sitting before her with a wagging, energetic tail.

“Good boy!” Kara compliments before she digs a couple of treats out of her pocket. “Gentle.”

The dog is polite as he accepts the treats, and Kara releases him with an ‘okay.’

He’s calmer as he approaches Lena the second time, but just as happy to say hello. She lets him sniff around at her feet before offering her hand, and his tail continues to wag in slow, wide arches, so Lena pets him. He sits on her shoes, staring up at her as his tongue hangs out of his mouth.

“Wow,” Lena chuckles. He has bright blue eyes, wide with curiosity, and splotches of black across the white fur of his face, almost like freckles.

“Sorry, he’s still learning how to greet guests. I should have warned you,” Kara says with a sheepish smile. “He doesn’t have too much practice with that.”

“He seems pretty well-mannered to me,” Lena says.

“He’s the best!” Kara agrees, and the dog yips. “His name is Krypto.”

“Like the super dog?” Lena grins over at Kara as she scratches Krypto’s soft ears. 

Kara blushes but smiles through it. “You know about that show?”

“Supergirl was my hero growing up. I loved those comics,” Lena admits. She was never insecure about her interests, exactly, but the girls at boarding school hadn’t been kind about it.

“Me too! I went as her every year for Halloween.” Kara bites her lip as she grins down a Lena, who blushes, looking at the ground.

“Tell me about gardening,” Lena asks when Krypto ambles away from her to stiff at the grass in the backyard.

“Well, certain crops grow best when planted together. They feed the soil, and then each other. It’s a symbiosis, and they work together to grow! Isn’t that neat?” 

Lena nods along as she follows Kara through her well-tended garden patches. They sprawl across the land like a quilt blanket around Kara’s home. Kara points out her watering system, but explains how it isn’t automated—she likes to let the rain do most of the watering, and only uses her hydro system if absolutely necessary.

Kara is so happy as she talks about the experiments she’s running for fun, or regales Lena with tales of rabbits who can smell the fear of a gardener. It’s why she got Krypto in the first place. The scent of a dog does a pretty good job of keeping pests at bay, and Kara had always wanted a dog anyway, so it works out great.

Kara goes so far as to open one of the lids of her composting system, showing Lena the pile of earth inside. 

“It’s not gross if you do it right, I promise. Come look,” Kara explains when Lena wrinkles her nose. The dirt inside the bucket looks the same as the dirt Lena had supplied for their gardening event, and the smell that rises from it is earthy and rich, like coffee, almost. “You have to keep a balance of carbon and nitrogen, offsetting the decaying remnants of plant life with sawdust or shredded newspaper to keep the moisture levels optimal and aerated.”

Lena smiles as Kara talks. She sounds like her books—a very cute textbook—but Kara is so excited in her explanations that Lena can’t help but feel happy with her. She could listen to Kara all day.

Kara’s favourite part of her property is the large greenhouse at the very end of her lot, and she almost wiggles with excitement as she opens the translucent door.

The whole room is hot, with muggy air that clings like steam. It makes Lena’s clothes stick to her. At the front, there’s a wooden workstation with ceramic pots and small tools hanging on a pegboard, and small watering cans tucked underneath. Several plant cuttings are growing roots in water or beginning to grow new leaves in transport cups.

Kara leads the way, her muddy gloves hanging out of the back pocket of her overalls, and Lena follows through the lines of crops. Kara has rows of different plants, all vibrant and thriving in the humidity. Metal bars and sprinklers run across the ceiling, some basket plants hanging between them. Thick leaves of kale grow from tilted milk crates lining the walls, hanging from hooks around the rungs of wooden ladders. Beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and even corn grow across the rows of crops Kara has, so thick that Lena can barely see through the foliage.

Kara ignores it all, leading Lena to the very back of the greenhouse. The concrete tiles they walk across have moss and weeds poking through them, and bags of Kara’s specialized mulch and compost are tucked under the tables in rucksacks.

At the very back of the room, there’s a pergola. The deep wood is hard to see through the vining plants that cling to it. Small, blue flowers hang from the foliage, more blooming in short garden boxes around the base. When Kara steps underneath, she turns around with a wide grin, hands spread out as if presenting a prized possession.

“It’s lovely,” Lena says. The sun struggles through the translucent ceiling, making everything glow a hazy yellow. Lena has never seen flowers at Kara’s stall, except for the ones she tucks into her overalls. The flowers have nothing to do with why Lena is in the greenhouse, nothing to do with what Kara wanted to show her, and Kara grows them simply because she likes to. And she wanted to share that with Lena. She wanted to share something that makes her happy with Lena.

It makes her palms sweaty, though Lena blames that on the heat. Her stomach swooping can only be blamed on Kara—on her charm, on her caring nature, and on the way her blue eyes go soft every time they fall on Lena. It steals the breath from Lena’s lungs, and as Lena meets Kara underneath the pergola, she’s willing to admit that perhaps Sam was right.

She does like Kara. Much more than a business meeting or a friendship could ever account for.

Kara is looking at Lena with kind eyes, trailing her calloused hand across Lena’s hip until it settles at the small of her back, and Lena’s heart races before easing into a comforting, steady calm. Her shoulders relax, all the breath in her lungs escapes in an airy exhalation, and Kara stares, steel-blue eyes flicking between Lena’s eyes and her lips.

Lena licks her own before Kara closes her eyes as she leans in, pausing close to Lena’s face and waiting there as if Lena would ever refuse her.

“I would like to kiss you,” Kara whispers, and Lena’s eyes flutter as she tilts her head, closing what little distance exists between them.

The kiss is gentle at first. A sweet press of lips as soft as the petals that surround them, but then Kara’s free hand tangles in the hair at the base of Lena’s neck, and her tongue drags across Lena’s bottom lip. A small part of Lena doesn’t believe it’s happening, and she fights the way her hooded eyes long to close, but she doesn’t last long. Kara’s kiss breathes life into her. Lena gasps into the kiss, eager for more. She grasps at the pockets on Kara’s overalls to pull her closer before a hiss emanates around the room, and Kara pulls away with wide, panicked eyes.

“I didn’t realize time,” she says, her voice as pinched as her eyebrows. She pulls Lena into her chest and wraps her muscled arms around her, holding Lena there as water shoots out of the several dozen sprinklers that hang above them.

Lena squeals while Kara does her best to shield her. Although the water isn’t cold, Lena whines as she gets soaked. She peeks around them, and though she’s being showered by tepid water in a muggy room and her clothes cling to her sweaty body, Lena hasn’t had this much fun in a long time. The way the mist falls through the struggling sunbeams amongst the vibrant green takes Lena’s breath away, as does the woman holding her, who throws her head back in laughter that exposes her sharp collarbones and jaw.

Water droplets cling to Kara’s glasses, slide down both of their faces, and Lena smiles anyway, placing her hands on Kara’s damp cheeks to pull her into another kiss. When they pull apart the second time, Kara chuckles.

“Come on.” Kara tugs Lena back out of the greenhouse, and they don’t stop. They run through the garden patches hand in hand, back to Kara’s house with Krypto racing around them, eager to partake in this strange new excitement.

They’re both panting by the time they file through Kara’s back door, the screen creaking open and shut before Lena closes the door behind them. They’re in a mudroom, with a washer and dryer waiting to be useful. Kara pulls some clean towels out of a nearby closet, tossing one to Lena with a giggle. After drying off her face and doing the best she can, Lena’s clothes still cling to her. The air conditioning makes her shiver.

“Do you want to borrow some clothes?” Kara offers as she takes off her glasses to wipe them uselessly with her damp shirt.

Lena’s teeth chatter as she nods. Kara leads her through the house, Krypto following behind. There are plants inside too—hanging from baskets, trailing atop windows, and sitting in mismatching pots in window panes. Amongst the green, Kara’s walls are full of photos, and though Lena has never set foot in this house, it’s what she always imagined the concept of home to be.

There are memories of Kara’s life lining the walls—group shots of friends and family, surrounded by thriving plants. Kara’s furniture is well-worn, and the blue couch is draped with blankets and full of pillows. She has bookshelves filled, littered with more picture frames and diagrams of foliage. Kara has more personal items in her living room than Lena has had in her whole life, but instead of cluttered, it feels inviting, embracing, and welcoming all at once.

“The bathroom is through there,” Kara points to a white door with cracked paint. Lena hadn’t realized she’d stopped to stare, and her cheeks burn as she takes the clothes Kara offers.

The grey NCU sweater feels like a hug after peeling off her damp clothes, and Lena is quick to warm back up in the soft fabric of Kara’s worn sweatpants.

When she goes back to the living room, Kara is already sitting on the couch in a blue hoodie. Krypto lies on a chair in a sunspot next to the window and Lena pauses there, overwhelmed with the stark sensation that she is exactly where she should be. Kara smiles when she looks up at Lena before lifting the corner of her blanket in invitation.

It’s not something Lena is used to, but melting into Kara’s side feels like the most natural thing in the world. It’s like the first sip of coffee in the morning or a relaxing tea at the end of a long day. It feels like Lena has done it a thousand times, and she never wants to stop experiencing it.

“Will you stay for a while?” Kara murmurs it like a secret, and Lena’s eyes flicker closed as she smiles. She feels freer than she ever remembers feeling. With a content sigh and a fluttering stomach, Lena nods.

She’s pretty sure she’s going to stay forever.