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One Glance and the Avalanche Drops

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August 2004

Camp Weehawken.

The summer camp that was said to be a “safe space away from the pressures of school and extracurricular commitments” and a “cellphone-free environment that helps to strengthen bonds between kids.”

Lena had chosen to come here for the summer over tennis camp (her first time there was miserable) and even though Lillian had turned her nose up at the state of the place, she liked how secure the camp was. Her father, surprisingly, was also in favor, so Lena had packed her suitcases and drove down with her mother’s driver, George.

That was a month ago, and now her time at Camp Weehawken was coming to an end.

Just…not how she expected it.

Around her there are at least four different couples; alphas and omegas leaned up against trees or sitting on benches, making out with varying levels of enthusiasm and skill. It was the last night of camp, so the older teenagers had the rare opportunity to run around with less tight supervision as per camp tradition. In fact, most of the teenagers around her are canoodling with each other in some fashion, touching each other in some degree.

And Lena is— not doing that.

A small part of her had hoped that it would happen, that she would join the ranks of the mature omegas before her. That sleeping with one of the more attractive alphas at this camp would propel her into adulthood with aplomb. That she could finally see what all the fuss was about when her boarding school classmates tittered and giggled about it.

But that’s not at all what’s happening here. Not by a long shot.

Instead she’s sitting next to a girl who is possibly the most shy and awkward alpha she has ever met. (Not that she’s being particularly fun and flirty right now either, but that’s beside the point.)

They’re sitting close together, close enough to touch yet afraid to bridge the small gap between them. The alpha next to her, Kara, is running her hands over her knees in a nervous gesture.

She’s certainly not bad looking; her limbs are a little gangly, but her face has a soft, almost cherubic quality to it. She has a long nose, full lips, and bright baby blue eyes sitting behind tortoiseshell glasses. Her hair is thick, and falls over her shoulders in loose blonde waves. Overall, she would be a fun little tryst, could probably press Lena against the nearest surface and take what she wanted, but as things stand now, Lena wouldn’t bet that this girl was capable of touching or kissing her right now.

After an awkward, prolonged silence, Kara finally speaks.

“So…I’m pretty good at archery.” Is how she starts, and Lena holds back the worst of her scoff.

“Oh,” she hums, “that’ll be useful if you ever get stuck in Ancient Greece somehow.” Her voice comes out with a sarcastic drawl, and she cringes at herself for how scathing it sounds. This might be part of the reason why the other alphas from the neighboring school think she’s a frigid bitch.

But Kara doesn’t call her that. Kara doesn’t call her any names or scoff at her like she expects. Instead she laughs, chuckling low and soft.

“You’re funny.” She says it with a small amount of surprise in her voice, and Lena can probably guess why. She doesn’t exactly have a glowing reputation at this camp.

“I guess so.” She shrugs. “But people think I’m weird.”

Lena turns to look at her and Kara’s got this small smile painting her face, brightening her features. “Me too.”

She actually does scoff at that. “Yeah right— everyone loves you and your aunt is famous or something.”

Lena watches the moment where the smile leaves Kara’s face, and only a strange, stunted look is left in its wake. Kara takes a stuttering breath and then says—

“My aunt and her wife are getting a divorce,” she says quietly. “That’s why I had to go to camp so—”

Kara cuts herself off with a strangled noise and turns away. For a second or two Lena looks at the back of her head in confusion before she hears a sniffle and she realizes with dawning horror that Kara is crying.

This is not how this night was supposed to go.

While Kara is turned away, Lena looks around with what she can only assume is a look of mild panic, but everyone close enough to her to help is either lip-locked with another person, or leaving for their cabins to go sleep. It makes her want to scream and run into the woods, never to be seen again.

Instead she takes three long, calming breaths, and slides closer to Kara on the bench. Their legs touch as she moves closer and then, in what is possibly the most awkward move she’s ever made, reaches her arm around Kara’s shoulders.

“Look,” she says, “I’m not very good at this.” She starts, and almost immediately knows that whatever else comes out of her mouth is going to make this situation more unbearable, but like a train that’s gone off the rails she can’t seem to stop herself. “And I, uh, don’t really know you, but maybe this is a good thing. Sometimes you end up with the wrong person, and you have to leave to find the right one.”

Kara sniffles, finally turning to face forward, eyes a little puffy and red. “You think so?”

Lena stares in the same direction Kara does, her eyes unseeing into the dark of the trees. “Yeah.”

There’s another pause then, still awkward, still uneasy, and although Lena kind of wants to die, she manages to just sit there in silence, and the moment drags on and on until she thinks she might simply explode from embarrassment.

Finally, Kara says, “You say you’re not good at this, but that actually made me feel a bit better.”

Lena blinks. “What, really?”

“Yeah.” The alpha is smiling at her now, and Lena feels her face warm ever so slightly.

There’s a beat of silence where they just look at each other, and then Kara coughs, face turning pink. “Should, uh— do you want—” The alpha clears her throat and wipes her hands on her pants again. “Do you want me to finger you?”

She sounds confused as she says it, and it’s so detached from their previous conversation that Lena turns to look at the alpha, and starts laughing.

The sound whooshes out of her and she takes her hand back to clutch her stomach as she giggles, tears threatening to leak out of her eyes. Kara spoke as if she’s reciting lines for a play she hates, and it’s so misplaced, so absurd, that Lena almost feels a little bit bad for her.

Not bad enough to stop laughing though.

When she finally catches her breath, Kara is flushed with embarrassment but she’s also smiling again, less sad and dejected like before, and Lena will count that as a small victory.

“No,” she says, “but if you wanna take a walk around the lake, that’d be okay.” And Kara smiles so wide that Lena would think she’d just offered to buy her a new car for her birthday.

Kara practically leaps off the bench and turns to Lena, her eyes bright with excitement. And Lena follows, because out of all the interactions she’s had at this stupid summer camp, this one turned out to be one of the better ones.

It was also the first, but not the last time she spoke to Kara Zorel-Danvers.

~~~~~

March 2009

The members of Theta Xi thought it’d be a fun and sexy idea to host a “pajama party” halfway through the second semester, and Kara, stressed and damn near neurotic from her classes as a double English and Journalism major, was ready to let loose. Which is why her party outfit of a puffy yellow vest, striped shorts, and a baseball hat perfectly fit the atmosphere of the night.

And let loose she did. Three drinks of the suspicious kitchen punch and giant foam finger on her hand, Kara was riding the waves of warmth that came with being on the drunker side of being buzzed. She even invited her sister Alex to the party just to get her out of her own apartment and that, coupled with the drink in her hand, was making her night.

She’s dancing with some girl in lingerie (something she’s very appreciative of) until out of the corner of her eye she sees movement.

Kara looks up to find Kelly, James’s older sister, dragging a reluctant-looking girl over to the kitchen bar and fixes her a drink. Kara can’t help but be charmed when she notices that this omega is wearing bright red long johns.

Then she turns her head, and a memory flashes through Kara’s mind like lightning.

She recognizes that elegant nose, her sharp jawline, the arch of her brow, and the dark head of hair.

A shiver runs down her spine.

“Hey,” she swats at Alex’s stomach, “do you know that girl?”

Alex, drawing away from the novelty wine glass in her hand that’s the size of her head, turns and squints in the direction Kara is looking.

“The sexy pioneer?” She questions, running a hand through her shoulder length hair.

It’s at that point that the omega in question notices her staring, and once she makes eye contact her face draws into a familiar, contemplative frown. She starts moving closer to Kara and her sister.

“I think I know her.” Kara levels her ‘We Are #1!’ foam finger at her and moves towards her. Behind her, she hears Alex mutter “I’d have sex with a pioneer for sure” before she wanders off, but Kara only has eyes for the girl in front of her.

When they finally come face to face, Kara notes that her features are more striking up close, and that her out-of-place pajamas do little to hide her curves.

She clears her throat, foam finger pointed at the brunette’s face. “Do I know you?”

The girl in front of her smiles, her eyes green and lovely in the light from the spinning multicolored disco ball in the corner of the living room. “Hi Kara Zorel-Danvers of Camp Weehawken.” Her voice is lower than she thought, and smooth like velvet. “I’m Lena Luthor. You tried to finger me.”

Kara’s jaw drops as a blush lights up her face. Oh, she remembers Lena Luthor.

“Whoa!” Kara slips the foam finger off her hand, using her real human hand to motion to Lena. “Yeah! Wow, do— do you go here? What’re you—?”

“No, no, I go to MIT actually.” Lena says, “I have this family thing— I’m originally from Ann Arbor.”

“MIT? Wow, so you grew up to be a lot smarter than me.” Kara chuckles, leaning her hip against the wall.

Lena snorts. “Yeah, my neck gets sore.” She says it with that same blunt, sarcastic edge that she had as a teenager, and just like before Kara laughs.

“I forgot how funny you are.” Kara says, watching Lena from over the rim of her cup. The omega balks, squinting at Kara as if she’s grown a second head. But Kara catches a whiff of her scent, sweet and curling like gardenias, and notices it has a spark of interest laced with the confusion.

“People don’t really think I’m funny,” she states, shifting her weight.

Kara just shrugs. She’s not always super in-touch with her feelings, but she’s always been very good at knowing people. Reading them, learning from them, understanding them. And right now, her gut is telling her that Lena is someone good to know, someone fascinating, someone funny, and real.

“Well, I do.” She says it again, dropping her hand away from her face so she can make eye contact with the brunette in front of her. “You’re funny, and you don’t care what anyone thinks. It’s— it’s nice.”

Lena opens her mouth to respond and then closes it again, her eyes darting between Kara’s quickly. For a moment, her face is walled off, unreadable, before her mouth stretches into a small, hopeful grin.

“I have to go to this stupid thing tomorrow,” she says, “you wanna come with me?”

Kara feels like her stomach drops out from underneath her; Lena’s eyes are so much brighter than she thought they were before. So, beautiful. How did she not notice those five years ago at camp? And her smile is— her smile is even prettier. She has the sinking suspicion that Lena could tell her to go jump into Lake Michigan and Kara would do it, no questions asked.

Kara clears her throat again. “Yeah, uh, yeah. I’ll come with you. What is it?”

“Some stupid thing,” Lena says, smiling.

~~~~~

Some stupid thing. Those words ring in Kara’s head as she stands there, hands clasped in front of her, trying her best to look sad and penitent as the most depressing song she’s ever heard is played on some bagpipes.

When Lena dropped that question on her last night Kara had assumed, like any normal person, that Lena was talking about a stuffy luncheon, or maybe her grandmother’s birthday party, or a baby shower for a cousin she didn’t like that much, so Kara threw on the first pieces of clothing she could find, and drove them to the address Lena gave her.

In retrospect, she probably should have asked more questions. Questions like Hey, Lena why are you wearing all black clothes? Or Lena, how come you look so formal? But she didn’t.

So, here she was.

She can feel the disapproving eyes of all of Lena’s family and if looks could kill, she probably would’ve burst into flame and turned to ash by now.

Because Kara is standing next to a coffin, a coffin that holds Lena’s dead father, and she’s wearing khakis and a bright yellow University of Michigan sweatshirt.

Oh God.

She was confused when she pulled into a protestant cemetery, which then abruptly turned into horror when she realized that everyone else was dressed in all black and looking sad and despondent. And Kara is dressed like she was about to head to her Media and Social Change class.

(Even worse, is that everyone started reciting the Lord’s Prayer and Kara was left with the knowledge that she’s the only Jew in attendance.)

Lena doesn’t seem perturbed by Kara’s attire at all (and Kara suspects that this was part of her plan, since she didn’t even mention that they were going to a freaking funeral) and is accepting people’s condolences with ease. Her brother, an alpha named Lex, shoots Kara a curious look before shrugging and leaving to go mingle with some other alphas his own age. Lena’s mother, Lillian, looks Kara up and down, her face a mixture of disapproval and amusement, before she gets distracted by another well-wisher.

Kara knows that she’s never gonna live this one down. Alex is gonna give her shit for this for the rest of her life.

People come up to say a few words, talk about how great Mr. Luthor (Kara learns his name was Lionel) was, how much he loved his children, how devoted he was to his company, how he was a proud, strong alpha etcetera. And the entire time Kara fights the urge to run for the hills and disappear from society forever.

Eventually the service ends, and with it so does the spectacle of Kara’s yellow hoodie. Even so, someone’s grandmother is eyeing Kara with a look that can only be described as disdain and like she’s going to give her a lecture on proper funeral attire.

Kara has half a mind to throw herself into her car and pray to disappear but before she has the chance, the brunette is grabbing her elbow and pulling her towards her mother.

Oh no.

“Mother.” Lena says, “I’d like for you to meet Kara.”

Once again, Lillian sizes Kara up with a critical eye and she panics. In a move that Kara knows looks insane she pulls Lillian fucking Luthor into a tight hug.

Lena’s mother stiffens before she awkwardly pats Kara on the shoulder blade.

“And this is my brother Lex, and my best friend Sam and my other friend Andrea.” Lena speaks with an edge of dryness in her voice, as if she finds this entire thing tedious and is only going along with it for propriety’s sake.

Kara shakes each hand as Lena’s family is introduced; Lex seems about as uninterested in the funeral as Lena does but his handshake is firm. Sam is pretty, with olive skin and wavy brown hair, and Kara idly wonders if she’s single. After she releases Sam’s hand she turns to Andrea who immediately sizes her up, her brown eyes narrowing as she looks her up and down.

Kara has no idea (aside from her outfit) what she’s done to annoy the beta until Sam nudges her with her elbow. Almost immediately Andrea softens, and graces Sam with a warm smile.

Ah, so Sam’s not single then. Figures.

Kara catches Lena’s eye and notices the omega just barely contains her eye roll.

“Well— thank you,” she looks back up to find Lillian Luthor eyeing her again. She then turns to her daughter, eyebrows raised. “Lena, I didn’t know you were dating someone.”

“Oh, I’m not,” Lena says, eyes lighting up mischievously. “I just had a one night stand with her when I was fourteen.”

Kara is very glad she’s not drinking anything because she definitely would’ve choked.

At the moment, however, all eyes turn towards her with varying levels of interest and she feels herself start to sweat. She swallows, and grasps at something to say.

“It was a really nice funeral.” Is what comes out of her mouth, and Kara’s inner alpha cringes so hard her head starts to throb.

To the Luthors’ credit, they don’t really react to Lena’s quip or Kara’s word vomit; Lillian raises both eyebrows, and Lex just rolls his eyes. Sam and Andrea just share a surprised look before fixing Lena with twin scrutinizing stares all while the omega smiles serenely. Then Lillian ushers everyone away from the cemetery, and Kara takes the out gratefully.

She drives herself and Lena to the reception, located at a nice three-bedroom house in York, and Kara eats her way through half a dozen crudités and cucumber sandwiches before she excuses herself to the bathroom.

As she’s washing her hands she catches sight of Lena in the backyard; she’s standing by her mother, mingling and chatting with guests while Lillian smiles wanly. In the back corner, amongst the patio furniture, Kara can see Lex holding court with a bunch of other adults. He’s got a cigar in his mouth and seems to be winning a spirited game of cards.

She frowns, and turns away from the window.

Eventually, the reception dies down and Lena walks her out; the sun is halfway done with setting but it’s surprisingly warm for an evening in March. Lena is quiet as they make their way back to Kara’s Subaru and, when she glances at her from the corner of her eye, she looks tired.

“I’m sorry.” Kara finds herself saying, running her fingers over her car keys to distract herself.

Lena snorts. “Don’t be,” she says, and looks up at Kara with a small smile, “I’m glad you stayed.”

There’s a beat in their conversation where she catches a whiff of Lena’s scent; it’s relaxed and soothing, and the tension in Kara’s body bleeds out of her.

“Me too.” Kara matches Lena’s smile with one of her own and then slides into the driver’s side of her car. She starts the engine and rolls down the window. “Can I— should I call you, or—”

Lena’s smile falters. “Kara— you’re nice,” she says, “and if you’re lucky, you’re never gonna see me again.”

Kara feels her face drop and her inner alpha raises its hackles in protest. She wants to see Lena again, and get to know her now that they’re not fourteen anymore. She wants to understand what makes her tick, what she likes, what she dislikes, what she wants and what she doesn’t. She wants to know Lena, know her like no one else has.

Sensing Kara’s shift in mood, Lena reaches out a hand and squeezes her left shoulder. The touch sends a jolt of warmth up her arm, and it makes Kara want to reach out and pull Lena in close and touch her too, ask her to tell her everything about her.

But she doesn’t do any of that.

Almost as soon as she’s touched her, Lena is removing her hand, and stepping away from the car. Kara takes the hint and pulls away from the curb, out onto the street, and away from the house. The last thing she sees is Lena in her black dress, looking beautiful and lonely as she gets smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror.

~~~~~

May 2016

Lena is pissed that she forgot sunscreen.

She huddles under the nearest tent, rubbing at her bare arms and glaring at the stretch of blue sky.

She’s also pissed that her brother had gone and gotten himself arrested but he’s not really around for her to glare at right now.

Lex Luthor, CEO of LuthorCorp and alpha mogul, had been arrested a month ago for tax fraud and illegal weapons manufacturing in California State and, because he’s such a high-profile person, the press was having a field day ripping him apart in every newspaper, magazine, and tabloid in publication. What was even worse was learning all this over the phone from her mother, who had to take over the company during an emergency meeting.

In only a few short months, Lena will be expected to show up at his trial and testify against her own sibling, something she was dreading with every fiber of her being.

What was even worse were the journalists and paparazzi hounding her every footstep, like they’re expecting her, as an omega, to suffer some public breakdown over her idiot brother.

As if.

But even if Lena is made of tougher stuff than People Magazine makes her out to be, she still didn’t want to leave the apartment today. It was stressful enough having to avoid nosy coworkers at the hospital, and she didn’t want to deal with nosy people outside either. But Kelly and Andrea were a formidable pair and had eventually cajoled her enough to come with them so long as Lena could hide behind a pair of aviators the entire time.

What’s even more infuriating is that her two friends seemed to be right; this was nice, even if she finds the amount of sun she’s getting awful. She’d found some Andean coffee that she liked, and a tin of zataar that would work lovely with some chicken, but as the minutes dragged on it became apparent that the sun wasn’t going to let up and people were starting to notice her.

That, coupled with the moving mariachi band that was playing a rendition of “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls was setting Lena’s teeth on edge.

Curse the west coast.

Kelly had wandered off to a cheese vendor and was no doubt sampling their array of brie while Andrea walks around scrutinizing the different types of honey on display behind her, and Lena is contemplating slipping away and disappearing now that their backs are turned when she hears Kelly’s excited exclamation.

She turns her head and focuses in on the omega wrapping her arms around a redheaded alpha not much taller than her. She’s got short hair and is dressed simply in a t-shirt and jeans, but she’s eyeing Kelly with shy interest, and Lena wonders if they’ve met before.

Come to think of it, there’s also something familiar about her and Lena wonders if she’s ever met this stranger until the redhead turns and calls out “Kara!” and another alpha, this one blonde, bounds up to them happily.

Lena immediately recognizes her.

Kara Zorel-Danvers looks both the same and strikingly different compared to the two times Lena has spoken to her. She still has the same thick blonde head of hair, same tortoiseshell glasses, same scar above her right eyebrow. However, there’s a striking difference to her that wasn’t there before; her shoulders are significantly broader than they were back in college and when she hugs Kelly, Lena can see the flex of her muscles under her pale blue button down. She can’t help but note that adult Kara is far more attractive than college-aged Kara.

She also can’t help but remember that it was Kara’s cousin who broke the story on her brother and inadvertently dragged Lena’s family name through the mud.

Funny how that works.

Lena contemplates hiding somewhere nearby, like diving into the fountain twenty feet away, but as soon as the thought enters her head she hears Kelly call out to her, “Lena! Come over here!”

So much for that.

She huffs out a breath before wandering over to the group and is devastated to find that upon closer inspection Kara’s arms and shoulders are even broader than she thought. Fuck’s sake.

“Hi Kara.” The blonde alpha’s eyes are already on her, taking in her appearance, and grinning brightly.

Even more absurd than Lena running into the cousin of the man who damned her brother to three life sentences, is the fact that Kara’s scent changes when they lock eyes. It’s subtle, almost unnoticeable, but even so she senses the alphas excitement and heady scent.

(She also picks up on a thread of interest amongst the warm, cinnamon-like aroma but Lena chalks that up to wishful thinking.)

“Lena.” Kara says, her voice coming out soft. It makes the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. “What’re you— what’re you doing here?”

Against her wishes, Lena chuckles. Some stupid, sappy part of her is privately happy that Kara still remembers her name.

“I just moved here a week ago.” She replies, “I’m doing my residency at the Westwood Teaching Hospital.”

Kara beams. “That’s great! I’m glad you—” Kara cuts herself off as a hand appears on her shoulder, and another omega steps into view.

She’s around their age and pretty, with shoulder-length brown hair, long legs, and a look in her eyes that Lena can only describe as possessiveness. As soon as she touches her, Kara turns toward her, slipping a hand around her waist.

Lena can’t help but feel a small twinge of disappointment.

“Hi,” the woman says, a small smile on her lips.

Kara grins, “Siobhan, this is Lena.”

It’s almost like getting hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat, twice, in the span of five minutes. It shouldn’t be surprising that Kara, being an attractive, young alpha already has someone on her arm, and probably a dozen more waiting in line. It makes sense that she has a beautiful girlfriend who hangs off her and stares at other omegas with a healthy level of disdain.

Siobhan’s reaction isn’t entirely surprising, many people get like that with their partners after all. What is a surprising is the uncomfortable feeling pooling in her own chest; it feels cool and unpleasant, like a cold hand has reached under her rib cage and is spreading its fingers over her soft innards. Even more shocking is that her inner omega reacts too, practically gnashing its’ teeth in frustration.

It’s only by the grace of her polite, WASP-y upbringing that Lena doesn’t do or say anything stupid, like let out a growl. She’d never live that down.

She holds out her hand to shake and Siobhan takes it, her handshake equally polite.

There’s movement in her periphery and she notices that Andrea has joined the group and Siobhan, after giving Lena one more unimpressed once over, moves away to introduce herself to Lena’s friends, leaving her and Kara to look at each other.

Kara’s looking at her again, with that same soft look she has, one that makes Lena feel a little like jelly. Her eyes are the same too, bright blue like the ocean, but the look in them is older and more mature. There’s a surety there, a grown-up sort of confidence that wasn’t there before, but looks very good on her now.

She doesn’t understand why her stomach flutters the longer the alpha looks at her like that.

“How are you?” Kara asks, her voice quiet and gentle, and the defensive response that Lena has prepared for this specific question, dies on her tongue. Unlike all of her peers or the journalists who pester her, when Kara asks that question she sounds like she actually means it, that she genuinely cares about the answer.

“I’m— I’ve been better,” she says, settling for honesty.

The alpha’s face turns troubled. “I read about what happened,” she says, “I’m so sorry.”

Lena fights off the oncoming irritation and sadness and shrugs. “It’s alright.”

“It’s not, not really.” Kara’s answering smile is a little wry and a little sad. “And even if you’re okay, I’m still sorry.”

Lena shrugs, trying to seem unbothered.

She wracks her brain for a response, and her brain helpfully supplies one that is filled with sarcastic nonchalance. “Sometimes brothers do something extremely illegal and get arrested for it. It happens.”

The alpha frowns. “How’s your mom taking everything?” Kara asks, the same earnestness and sincerity lacing her words.

“Oh, well enough I guess.” She says, shrugging, “I think she’s more worried about making sure the company doesn’t sink under the media storm right now.”

Which is true; Lillian did have to step in as CEO at LuthorCorp when Lex was arrested in order to set everything straight while the company’s PR team tried to put out the fires on social media. She knows how much her mother is putting in to make sure the company stays afloat, and once upon a time Lena had cared about it too, had even wanted to work for her brother one day. Then, somewhere along the way, she saw what kind of man he was becoming, and what kind of direction the company was taking, and decided that she didn’t want any part of it.

“That’s tough.” Kara looks regretful now, and Lena finds herself getting annoyed by it.

“Oh, please. It’s fine.” She attempts to wave the alpha off, annoyed with where this conversation has gone. She’d like to go just one fucking day without talking about Lex.

She expects that Kara will get annoyed with her short tone, or reticent and back off, but she does none of those things. Instead Kara inexplicably smiles. “I get it,” She says. “When my parents died, all anyone did was give me these pitiful looks. It sucked. It made me wanna punch them.” Her gaze grows distant, sadness clouding her blue eyes before she shakes herself back to the present. “I’m not trying to do that to you Lena. I just— I just want to be there for you as a friend.”

She sniffs and rolls her eyes a little, “Kara. You can’t possibly want to be my friend after all of this. Your cousin is the one who broke the story.”

Kara shrugs, “But I do.” She’s got that same soft smile on her face again, and butterflies erupt in Lena’s stomach like some Pavlovian response. “I always have.”

Lena cocks an eyebrow at her, and drops her voice to a whisper. “Oh really? Like when you tried to finger me?”

The alpha laughs, loud and happy. “Hey! I’ll admit I was pretty clueless back then, but these days I know what I want. And I want to be your friend.” Kara reaches out and lays a gentle hand on her shoulder; Lena can’t help but notice that Kara’s hands are large and warm, and she fights a shiver when the alpha gives her a gentle squeeze. “For real this time.” Even more surprising, Kara’s touch actually soothes her omega, leaving her instincts purring and shivery with anticipation, even though her mind rebels at the thought.

Was Kara always so persuasive? Were her eyes always this blue and pleading? God, Lena can feel herself giving in, even if her good sense told her this was a mistake. In a last-ditch attempt to deter the alpha, Lena says. “Are you sure the niece of Astra Inze should hang out with a Luthor? My family is disgraced, you know.”

Kara opens her mouth to reply but Siobhan picks precisely that moment to reappear. “Oh, I love your aunt. ‘Great Scott!’” She leans into Kara’s side as she says it, and that uncomfortable feeling in Lena’s chest spreads its fingers even wider.

“Right,” she states. “Who doesn’t.” Fortunately for her, Kara’s girlfriend has given her an out, and Lena throws out a please let us leave look to Kelly. The other omega sighs, and shoots the redhead a small smile as they part ways. Kara’s alpha friend sighs dopily as she watches Kelly walk away.

“Yeah, we should too.” Kara adds in, but her eyes never leave Lena, “I’m serious though. We should—”

“Okay.” Lena cuts in before Kara can say anything else. She holds out her hand, and the alpha grins before depositing her cellphone into it. She can feel Siobhan’s annoyed gaze burning into the side of her head as she hands Kara’s phone back with her number, but she forgets about it abruptly when Kara’s fingers brush hers. She fights another shiver.

“We really have to be somewhere,” Siobhan pouts at Kara and glares at Lena, tugs on the alpha’s arm. Lena really has no desire to get into an omega-vs-omega pissing contest, so she smiles graciously and takes a step back.

But Kara doesn’t notice the tension and she grins at Lena again. “I’ll see you around?” It’s a hopeful question, one that makes Lena’s brain want to convey an answer that’s both polite but a firm dismissal but once again, her instincts best her.

“Absolutely.” She says sincerely, and Kara’s eyes brighten even more. Lena can feel Siobhan’s growing irritation so she plasters on what she hopes is a polite smile and Kara, beautiful and sweet Kara, takes it in stride.

“Alrighty, well, great to hang out!” she says, “Good to see you guys!” and she disappears into the throng of farmers’ market shoppers, hand in hand with Siobhan.

Kara’s redheaded friend gives Kelly one last soft look before she shrugs and follows after them, throwing out, “Take care, ladies,” behind her.

Lena crosses her arms and watches them go, noting that Kara’s behind is just as toned as her arms before she hears a snort. She turns and sees that Andrea is eyeing both her and Kelly with a cool, knowing look that she’s all too familiar with.

“What?” She and Kelly say it at the same time, and Andrea’s answering smile is amused.

“Oh, nothing.” She says breezily, brushing past them, “I want to go look at the herbs on the other side of the market. I’m making Sam try chimichurri tonight.”

She and Kelly then start up an animated conversation about how versatile flat leaf parsley is, but all Lena can think about is that same blonde alpha she somehow keeps running into.

After all, once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, but thrice? Maybe this is starting to become a pattern.

~~~~~

Present Day 2017

"What good is an alpha, who doesn’t treat you right!” the crop-top and skirt-wearing dancers mouth as they dance their way through another take of the song.

They’ve been at the shoot since 8AM and Kara’s starting to feel it in her knees, but she’s always liked TV musicals and she knows that this particular song is going to be stuck in her head for the rest of the week. But the dancers and actors are in fine form today, their movements sharp and precise, and she starts to get excited.

The rest of the crew, consisting of hair, wardrobe, and makeup stylists, are gathered around behind her watching, and nodding their heads along to the music. Their director, the middle-aged alpha powerhouse known as Olivia Marsden, taps her foot to the beat as she watches from the monitors.

The final note rings out, the dancers strike their final poses, and after a beat Olivia slips off the headphones she’s sporting. “Cut.”

She’s nodding her head as she stands from the chair and motions for her AD, James.

He grins. “That was great guys!” His voice is low and warm, and it booms across the stage. As far as AD’s go, James is one who’s easygoing and very polite. Kara’s always liked him and in the recent months she’s worked on the show, he’s become a good friend too. “We’re gonna do another take so everyone take five!”

The cast all wipe their brows and clump up in groups to start chatting, and that’s Kara’s cue. She’s a first team PA and as such, works directly with the cast, getting them to and from wardrobe and makeup to the set, and gets them anything else they might need. It can be tedious, especially if the actors are rude, but it’s a good position to be in if she wants to get her foot in the door of a writer’s room.

But first, she has to get one of the actors a Pepsi.

Once four o’clock rolls around the crew finally breaks for dinner and Kara follows behind one of the leads, Sari, away from the set.

Kara watches as the small blonde follows her alpha co-star, Benji, to his trailer.

“Hey, Benji! Great scene today! You looked great.” She gushes as he walks up the stairs. Kara watches as he throws out a laugh and a “thanks” behind him before closing the door. Sari visibly deflates.

Kara looks around, makes sure no one is in immediate earshot, and then walks up to the omega. “Sari. I told you, you should play hard to get.”

Sometimes working directly with the actors builds a bit of a repartee, and Kara is now the confidant of several nineteen-year-old actors. Kara likes people, and being able to talk to actors was really nice, especially if she’s on her feet for twelve hours, four days out of the week.

But the platinum blonde before her sighs in frustration, “Ugh, I’m incredibly easy to get.” And with a morose look at Benji’s door, Sari walks off to her own trailer.

Kara doesn’t have much time to feel bad for her because another omega appears to her right. She nearly jumps out of her skin when Lucy, bright and energetic, seemingly materializes out of thin air.

“Hey Kara,” she says smiling, “I just wanted to ask: was today the day you needed to head out early to see your aunt?”

Lucy was one of the producers and, like James, was all around kinder and less terrifyingly blunt than other crew members Kara has met in the industry. She’s very pretty, with bright hazel eyes and a short bob of brown hair, and is part of the reason why Kara has a job in the first place.

“Yeah that’s today.” She says, tucking her hands behind her.

“Great! I’ll see you tomorrow.” She says beaming, and Kara matches her smile, and turns to leave but Lucy stops her. “Oh, and— tell your aunt I love her show.” She’s still smiling but Kara feels oncoming dread. She hopes that Lucy wont—

“You know, ‘Great Scott!’ and all that.” She’s still smiling as she says it, even though she’s just uttered the phrase that triggers an almost Pavlovian response of disgust in Kara’s gut.

Instead of voicing that, Kara just gives her another smile. “Yeah I’ll let her know.”

~~~~~

Kara leaves work and drives to Malibu.

Her aunt Astra is an actor, but not just any actor. She was the main character on the classic 1980s sitcom Great Scott, before becoming a Hollywood powerhouse. Her face is everywhere; on TV, on billboards, on magazines, even on those unskippable YouTube ads that make Kara want to toss her laptop out of her window.

And yet, despite her two-dimensional presence everywhere else in Kara’s life, she seems to have trouble being actually present for many of the moments in her niece’s world, a fact that does not bother Kara whatsoever, no sir.

It still doesn’t bother her even as she has to give her name to her aunt’s security guard so he can open the gate.

Astra’s mansion is massive; a Mediterranean style house with two acres of land, six bedrooms, a swimming pool, a hot tub, a basketball court, a movie theater, and a tennis court. Kara had moved in when she was nine after her parents died; it was always too big, and with how her aunt’s room was in another part of the house, she woke up many nights crying, calling out for help and not always getting an answer. It only started to feel like home when Astra married Eliza and she and her own daughter, Alex, moved in.

And when they moved out, Kara left with them.

The thought flits through her mind as she parks her car in the long circular driveway. Kara makes her way along the arched opening through the front of the house and out into the large and manicured backyard. There were several limestone steps lined with flowers leading down to the back lawn and then, wearing nothing but an uncomfortably small speedo and bikini top, was her aunt Astra, stretched out in a yoga pose and holding a pair of 5 pound weights.

Kara rolls her eyes before making her way down the steps.

“Hi Astra.” She greets, and the older alpha whips her head around once to see who it is, before turning back to correct her warrior one.

“Hey!” Astra chirps, “Check it out: vinyasa yoga and the army ranger workout.” She turns her head, her smile turning a tad maniacal, “I combined them!”

“Wow that’s— very impressive,” Kara states. Astra steps out of her pose and twists her torso to loosen up her back.

“I’m gonna do a video I think,” she says, “Vinyasa Power! I should call someone about making an ad.”

Kara snorts, “Yeah, I can almost see where your muscles are.”

Astra’s face falls into an irritated glare at the quip. “Very funny,” she says, tossing her weights to the ground and placing her hands on her hips. “Hit me.”

Kara blinks, “no.”

“Oh, come on, you’re not gonna hurt me.” Astra cajoles, “come on hit me.” She slaps her abs for emphasis, “give me your best shot.” She follows it up with a flex, accentuating her already very toned body and grunts out, “Come on, quick! Before I give myself a hernia!”

Kara fights the urge to grimace. “Um. No thank you.”

Astra stares at her for a moment before shrugging and stepping out of her pose. “You’re right. Let’s smoke some weed,” she says as she whips a robe on, and marches out of the backyard.

Kara follows Astra into the massive first floor kitchen where her aunt then takes out a grinder, papers, and large bag of weed buds that’s about the size of a toddler’s head. Astra talks as she fashions a joint, grinding the leaves and then sifting them into the paper she has laid out before her.

“This is really good stuff,” Astra says as she rolls the joint, “it’s so relaxing that I didn’t even flinch while watching CNN the other day.”

Kara sits down at the kitchen island, drops her messenger bag on the ground. “That’s good.”

“So, how’s the show going?” Astra asks, licking the paper closed and twisting off the end.

“It’s great.” Kara says automatically, and when her aunt fixes her with a look she adds on, “I mean, it’s about high schoolers who sing and dance and blog. Like Glee.”

Astra nods like she understands. “At least you’re writing, that’s what’s important.”

Kara winces. “No. No I’m— I’m an assistant.”

Astra pauses, joint hanging from her lips. “Well…at least they’ve seen your writing.”

She flicks the switch on her lighter and Kara sighs, “Not yet.” Her aunt looks up at that and Kara reaches for her messenger bag and pulls out some papers stapled together. “But I wanted to get your opinion on this episode that I wrote.” She hands the papers to Astra, who takes them as she takes a puff from her joint. Kara is a little worried about her script getting too close to fire, but the other alpha doesn’t seem to care.

Astra looks at the first page, eyes scanning over the words, and she removes the joint from her mouth and beams at the paper with pride. “That’s my niece,” She says, eyes bright. “I’ll take a look at this— and then, I’ll call somebody.” She’s got that determined look in her eyes, the same kind she gets whenever there’s a challenge to be bested, and balks.

“No. Please don’t call anyone, just— just read it and tell me what you think.” This was the real reason she came to visit her aunt; Astra was, beyond her inability to think of anyone else’s feelings, an industry professional, and since Kara needed help breaking into said industry, she could think of no better person to help her. She just didn’t want the opportunity handed to her because of who her family was, she wanted to earn it. Just like everyone else.

“Okay.” Astra nods, takes another puff of her joint, and then purses her lips. “So, are you seeing anyone?”

Kara actually does grimace this time, and takes the joint when Astra offers it. “No.”

“Let me rephrase: are you seeing anyone special I should know about?” Astra asks, and Kara shakes her head.

“No.” Kara says, and she really wants to leave it there. Siobhan had broken up with her eight months ago and while Kara wasn’t too upset with having the relationship ended, it still made her cringe.

“Not since Siobhan.”Astra scoffs, “It’s been a year my dear.” She pats Kara on the back reassuringly, “It’s time to move on.” Kara opens her mouth to say something, possibly to deflect and change the subject, but pauses when a Pomeranian skitters into the kitchen out of nowhere.

“You got a dog?!” Kara exclaims, hopping off the stool to kneel down and scratch the little animal behind the ears. Curiously, the Pomeranian comes right up to her, like it knows her, and Kara thinks it looks just like—

“Freckles!” A familiar voice chimes in and Siobhan, Kara’s ex-girlfriend, scuttles in and swoops the dog into her arms wearing only a pink bikini.

Kara sucks in a breath sharply, sharp enough that she immediately chokes and starts coughing. Her throat is twinging from abrupt invasion of oxygen and she holds a fist in front of her face while she hacks up a lung. Siobhan, probably upon noticing that she’s just upended Kara’s life, jogs out of the room, dog in hand, hissing out expletives as she goes.

Kara coughs and wheezes, trying to get her bearings. She feels like the gears in her brain have turned on overdrive, and all of her thoughts are going too fast the for her to grasp. She feels the familiar sting of tears in her eyes, both from the coughing and her own embarrassment, and another feeling, one that has her inner alpha snarling.

Rage.

A rage that only gets worse when Astra pats her back lovingly, as if she hasn’t done the emotional equivalent of slapping Kara in the face.

“Kara, I wanted to tell you— in fact, I was about to tell you—”

Kara gets her coughing under control with a final wheeze, and pushes Astra’s hand away. “How long?” She says, her voice low and raspy. When Astra doesn’t reply right away Kara bears her teeth. “How long?”

Astra sighs. “Not long. It was— ah— we met around Hanukkah,” she says, looking contemplative.

Kara feels her stomach drop down to her feet. Her aunt started screwing her girlfriend two months after their breakup. Her aunt has secretly been dating her ex-girlfriend for almost six months. This isn’t happening.

“We ran into each other at a party,” Astra barrels on, heedless of Kara’s mounting horror and fury, “and we got to talking. About you, mostly.”

That does it.

Kara damns all her years of therapy, breathing exercises, and meditative emotional processing that Eliza paid for in favor of letting her alpha take charge. It’s almost immediately gratifying, clenching her fist, twisting her hips, and delivering a fierce punch to Astra’s gut.

Gratification that quickly turns into pain when she realizes just how muscular Astra actually is.

Astra doubles over and groans in pain the same time that Kara twists away and yells “fuck!” and clutches her hand to her chest. They stay like that for a couple seconds; the both of them groaning in pain, trying to get their bearings.

The scene would probably be comical if it wasn’t so uniquely awful.

When Kara finally stands up straight, Astra has the joint in her hands again. “You’re having sex with my ex-girlfriend?!”

Astra takes another drag of the joint. “Well— yeah but,” she turns, and fixes Kara with a pleading look. “She’s really hot.”

Kara hears Astra’s words, and everything in her head whites out completely. In that moment, Kara’s soul leaves her mortal body, and floats up into the atmosphere of earth, and screams a little.

This is it, she thinks, I’ve officially shed my mortal coil because my life has become too stupid to be real.

“Listen Kara, I’m not the perfect aunt—”

“That is the understatement of the year!” Kara snaps, and just barely manages to reel in the instincts that demand she tear Astra’s throat out. How can she, her aunt and the only living biological family she has left, do this to her? After everything she’s put Kara through, she just wants to keep breaking the foundation of their relationship until there’s nothing left. It’s jarring and laughable, but more than anything else it fucking hurts.

She turns on her heel and snatches her bag from the floor. Astra protests as she does so but Kara doesn’t care as she opens the backdoor, and slams it closed on her way out.

~~~~~

“Do you need a massage? I think you need a massage,” Alex says worriedly, patting Kara’s shoulders. “You’re really tense.”

“Gee, I wonder why.” Kara’s voice is as dry as a saltine, and she can practically hear Alex wince beside her. She can’t see her of course, because she’s currently face down on the bar top, icing her sore knuckles and holding a beer in the other hand.

“Sarcasm from Kara Danvers?” She looks up to watch as M’gann dries out a glass with a towel and gives her a pitying look. “You had a rough day huh.”

Oh really, what gave me away, Kara thinks to herself. She sped out of Malibu, almost dying in the rush hour traffic, and ended up at Al’s bar for a drink. She called Alex on her way over and explained what happened, and now her sister is dutifully trying to make her feel better.

“Oh, my god Kara!” There’s the sound of hurried footsteps and Kara knows that Nia has joined the group. “Are you tunnel buddies with your aunt?” Kara groans, and slumps further into her seat.

“Sure Nia, announce it to the whole bar why don’t you.” Bless Alex, at least someone has some compassion for her.

Nia hisses in sympathy. “Sorry bud.”

Kara just answers with a groan, lightly hitting her head on the wooden countertop. This is the kind of situation that happens to characters in movies to make the audience laugh, and Kara certainly feels like someone is laughing at her; maybe a whole theatre full of celestial beings are howling merrily at her misfortune right now.

“Can I get a shot?” She grumbles, “can I please get a shot?”

“Oh god, how often do you think they have sex?” Nia blurts and if Kara could sink further into the floor, she would.

“Actually— make that three shots.”

“Normally I would ask you if that’s a good idea but considering the circumstances—” Kara raises her head and watches M’gann line up three shot glasses and pour vodka into each one. “These are on the house.”

“Thank you.” Kara doesn’t even recognize her own voice right now, it’s so lifeless and raspy, but she supposes that’s the result of finding out your aunt was secretly fucking your ex-girlfriend behind your back.

Nia pats her back. “You need to get even with her.” She says, and then gasps in excitement. “You should have sex with one of her ex-girlfriends!”

“Why is that your solution to the problem?” Alex asks, sounding genuinely perplexed. Kara finally sits up, knocking back the shots one after the other with precision. She usually doesn’t drink much, but she thinks that her shit day warrants a well-deserved drink. Or five.

“I dunno, it seems like revenge is best served sexy.” Nia shrugs, and Alex shakes her head in disbelief. “Like Kara should get on top of Astra’s ex like Astra did with—”

“Can we talk about something else? Literally, anything else.” Kara cuts in, not at all ready to hear Nia finish her sentence. If she has to hear about what her aunt does in bed with her ex-girlfriend she’s gonna flip.

“Okay,” Nia shrugs. “What did you do to your hand?”

Kara looks down at her right hand, covered by an ice pack, and resolves herself to just forget this day ever happened. To really just erase it from her memory for the rest of her life forever.

“I want a double rum and coke stat.” Kara says to M’gann, and then adds, “Please.”

The beta cocks a concerned eyebrow at her, but at Kara’s pleading look she shrugs and starts mixing the drink.

“Kara? Are you sure about—” Alex’s concern is good, it really is, but Kara’s mind is elsewhere and she needs it to stay that way if she wants to retain her sanity.

“Trust me, Alex, this is good. This is fine,” she says, and when M’gann sets the drink down in front of her, Kara grabs it and takes two large gulps for good measure.

“This is a terrible, self-destructive plan.” Alex says. Her voice is sarcastic with an edge of worry to it.

Nia pats her back again. “But it’s a strong plan, and we are behind you one-hundred percent.”

~~~~~

It’s late, it’s a little muggy out, and all Lena wants to do is lay down on her couch with a glass of wine and watch the new documentary on Mesopotamia that came out on Netflix the other day.

It had been an awful day at the office; she had to pump two separate penises, remove an arrowhead from a college student’s thigh, and then listen to a mother from Orange County rant to her about the dangers of vaccines. By the end of her shift, Lena was ready to tear her hair out and possibly rip whatever poor unsuspecting soul a new one if they so much as looked at her the wrong way right now. In an effort to cheer herself up, she called ahead for take-out, and was looking forward to digging into her large shrimp salad.

But when she walks into Al’s she doesn’t expect to see a familiar blonde head of hair slumped over one of the tables. Kara has pressed the right side of her face down onto the table, and clutches her cocktail glass like a lifeline as she scrolls through something on her phone.

She momentarily calculates how she can sneak into the restaurant, and grab her order without being noticed; it’s nothing against Kara, far from it, it’s just that Lena is grouchy, her skin is sticky with dried sweat, and she knows her hair is a mess. But just as she’s about to slip in, Kara lifts her head, and her gaze zeroes in on Lena like she’s a beacon.

Fuck’s sake.

She sighs, fully steps into the dining room, and walks up to the alpha. Once she’s close enough she gets a better look at her; Kara’s face is flushed, her blue eyes a little glassy, and she’s perched her glasses on top of her head. The kicker is that even despite her pathetic looking appearance, she still looks as gorgeous as ever, much to Lena’s annoyance.

“Hi Kara.” She says, and the alpha blinks up at her uncomprehendingly for a couple seconds, before her face breaks into a smile that doesn’t meet her eyes.

“Heeeey Lena.” She slurs, “how's the—” Kara breaks off to hiccup and then continues, “how’s th’ doctoring going?”

Lena cocks an eyebrow at the woman in front of her. “Very well thank you. Why are you drinking alone?”

“Psssh— oh, you know—” Kara sits up, looking less composed as the minutes tick by. “I’m jus— just having a blast here.”

“Right.” Lena catches the eye of the waitress, Eve, and motions her over. She notices that the other waiters are stacking chairs, and the remaining patrons are donning their coats. “Well, the bar is closing, so do you have a ride home?”

Kara looks around surprised, as if she hadn’t even considered the possibility of the bar closing. “Uh— I– Alex maybe—” Kara frowns, “I mean she had to— to put out a fire so maybe not.”

As cute as Kara is, Lena can only take so much drunken stuttering right now. She refrains from rolling her eyes, and schools her features into a look that’s more pleasant when Eve walks up with her take out bag.

“Are you here to get her?” Eve asks, looking down at Kara with a look that’s both pitying and annoyed.

“Oh, no— I—”

“Aw,” Kara drops her phone onto the table with a pout, “my phone died.”

For fuck’s sake.

Even turns to look at her pleadingly, and Lena sighs. She honestly deserves a medal for being as nice as she is, and Kara definitely owes her for this bullshit.

“Can you help me get her into my car?”

Together, she and Eve sling one of Kara’s long arms (when does she have time to build muscle like this, jesus christ) and walk her carefully out of Al’s. Kara, for the most part, is thankfully compliant if heavy, and spends the entire time mumbling about how "Great Scott was a terrible sitcom anyway." Lena doesn’t comment on any of it, and manages to muscle her passenger door open and, with Eve’s help, shoves Kara into the front seat.

“Oh my god, thank you.” Eve finally says once Kara is buckled in and laying floppily against the window, staring at the street lamp with an unnecessary amount of concentration.

Lena sighs, checks the integrity of her take out, and when she sees that the packaging is still intact she sighs with relief. “Don’t mention it.”

Even gives her one last parting grin before walking back inside, and Lena crosses around her car to the drivers’ side. It’s only when she’s buckling her seatbelt that she realizes that she doesn’t actually know where Kara lives.

“Kara,” she asks quietly, “what’s your address?”

“I live on the hill.” Kara slurs, her eyes drooping.

“Great,” Lena says sarcastically, “that tells me absolutely nothing. Kara, what. Is. Your. Address?”

“Uhhhh,” the alpha knocks her head against the glass none too gently and Lena is momentarily worried about her window’s integrity. “Um, it’s north?”

Lena sighs, presses the start button on her engine, and grips the steering wheel. It’s clear that Kara is entirely useless tonight and if she wants to get home, she’s going to have to do it hungover and in the light of day instead.

She just hopes that she can still watch her documentary, even if Kara is going to be passed out on her couch the entire night.