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Lena doesn't like blood, but she sure has a lot of it on her person. Some of it is hers, some of it isn't. The recognizable splatter of an arterial vein complements the little elegant coral number she'd been wearing tonight. It's not unlike the expressionist, abstract paintings she'd admired in the pretentious art scene back in the 40s. Normally she doesn't dress up for torture, but she'd had to attend a stupid house meeting before her rendezvous in the sewers. Andrea had criticized her for not making enough appearances.

"The girls really look up to you."

Whatever.

She has a first rate bastard to kill. Albeit, not the bastard that is currently painted all over her clothes. This bastard had tried to run, had stabbed her with a rusty and broken sewer pipe. Could a vampire get tetanus? She'll know soon enough. But he had to die. He was running back to master, as far as she could guess. And he'd confirmed something pivotal.

Lex is here. Here at National City University and masquerading as a biochemistry adjunct professor. She'd had her suspicions, hence the years long stakeout as Tess Mercer, the upstanding trust fund heiress and community contributing sorority sister. But this was the first real clue that he was here, that it wasn't a red herring, a misdirect, some false stand-in.

It's been a long time since she'd been this close. She'd been sad to kill the informant, sadder still to be covered in blood and disposing a body, but there was a price to pay for taking her creator out of this world. Lex had killed dozens, if not hundreds more.

He'd even killed her.

"Father?" Lena can still remember, on the ground in the dirt and grime, staring up at a facsimile of the only picture she'd ever had of her father, a young bald man with an arrogant smirk.

"Oh no," he'd replied. "He's dead. I killed him. We had too much in common, I'm afraid to admit, and I'm a prideful creature."

Then, he'd come closer, and Lena had seen the fangs.

Lena shuffles along in the dark, the throb in her side steady and oozing. If she's ever earned a single iota of good will on this earth, she'll be able to sneak into the house without anyone seeing. If someone does see… all of her hard work is ashes in the wind. Her cover will be blown. She'll be forced to pack up and retreat, and Lex will have won again.

Again and again and again.

She gnashes her teeth and begins the strenuous climb up the side of the sorority house, every upward handhold an agonizing ascent. She's likely leaving a nasty trail of bloody handprints. A hose will fix that, right? It's normal to hose a house off at night, right? Otherwise, people will call the police. She hates the police. Or maybe people will just think it's Halloween decoration. Either way, she needs to hurry.

Luckily, her window is still unlocked. As she scrabbles her way inside, Lena's ears perk, her nose twitches. Something's not right. Someone's here.

Standing up from the floor, she looks across the room to find… a sorority sister. It's the pretty one, the blonde. In her room. Somehow behind a door Lena knows she left locked. The sister's mouth is shaped prettily in an 'o', shoulders tight. She looks guilty. She looks caught.

Kara Danvers stares at her, and Lena Luthor stares back at Kara Danvers.

"Why are you in my room?" she asks in a snarl, eyebrows drawn.

"Why are you… covered in blood?" Kara replies with maybe one-tenth of Lena's accusation, but that's still a lot for her. If Lena is remembering right, this girl is somewhat mousy. Always smiling. But she looks serious now and kind of scared when she motions to the Jackson Pollock piece on Lena's clothes.

"My period?" Lena attempts.

Fine. It's completely unconvincing, but she's literally bleeding out. She's not at her best. This is not her A game. The wheels in Kara's head obviously keep turning, and that's when Lena notices her left hand is half-submerged in Lena's centennial chest, a hundred years old and made of rich mahogany wood. It's sitting on her bed like it's not an open Pandora's box of Lena's deepest, darkest secrets laid bare.

Great. Now Lena has to kill Kara, too.

Lena advances quickly on her, crossing the room before Kara can so much as blink.

"No, wait—" Kara has enough time to plead, but Lena's already knocking her sideways onto the bed with a feral growl that she'll admit is unbefitting of an alleged trust fund heir and paragon of community.

Lena pins her to the bed by the wrists. She's not super strong, but she's a little stronger than most humans. She's stronger than Kara which, by the way, those are a lot of muscles flexing and writhing beneath her. Kara's wearing a cute, pink tank top and sweat pants, like she'd been dressed for bed. The top edges up as they writhe around on the sheets, Lena attempting to secure leverage, and Lena catches a snatch of golden skin, the hard line of abdominal muscles.

Okay.

She’s hurt, and she’s also kind of in bloodlust. It's fine. She takes an uncharacteristic pause, maybe even an unnecessary squeeze of Kara's bicep, before her attention flits back up to Kara's face, rigid in fear.

"I'm going to ask one last time," she breathes, and Kara's eyes dilate a little. An ocean blue.

Stay focused.

"Why are you in my room and why are you going through my things? My very private things."

And stop saying the word private.

"I—" Kara starts, but she's interrupted by the door suddenly swinging open. Both their heads swivel hard to find Andrea Rojas, their house sorority officer, standing in the doorway. Lena's caught off guard for the second (third? does getting stabbed by a pipe count?) time tonight. It's starting to really seem like she doesn't have any of that universe good will.

Andrea doesn't say anything at first, assessing them with scrutiny. Then, she smirks.

"Am I interrupting a little lesbian action?"

Lena blinks. Of all possible conclusions. Maybe she does have some of that good will.

Lena glances quickly at Kara, who has gone fully scarlet.

"Yes," she answers, stilted. "Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening. Lesbian action."

Andrea's eyebrows pinch, but her gaze slides downwards.

"I don't know what you two are into, but is that… is that blood?"

"My period," Lena answers automatically, and Andrea leans away from her even though she's already standing at a ten foot distance.

"Ew."

"Hey," Kara pipes in defensively, flexing her wrists under Lena's hands. "She’s got a heavy flow."

That surprises Lena. Why is she playing into the lie? Does this girl want to die?

"You need to see a gynecologist about that, Tess. And I'd be wary," she motions south, looking at Kara, "of whatever's happening down there, Kara. What do they call this in the lesbian community? Red wings?"

This is worse than disposing a body, honestly.

"Thank you!" Lena practically shouts. "Can you get out now!"

Andrea doesn't move.

"I came to tell you your service hours are due."

"Okay! I'll submit them later!"

Andrea smirks again and closes the door.

Lena groans and drops her head to Kara's shoulder before harshly remembering herself and jerkily lifting off of the other woman. If Kara is going to cover for Lena, she's probably not a threat worth killing, anyway.

"Where are you going?" Kara asks, making a face at some of the blood that's gotten onto her tank top. She rubs a thumb at it.

"I'm going to shower. I don't know if you've noticed the blood Monet on my favorite dress," Lena quips sarcastically.

Kara winces.

In the private en suite attached to her room (a perk of paying some of the most expensive sorority dues in the country), Lena gapes at her reflection (yes, she has a reflection.) There's the usual black hair, red lips, but the blood isn't just on her clothes. There's a spot on her face, quite a bit behind her left ear.

"God, why didn’t you tell me I looked like Carrie?"

"I tried, also, a lot has been happening!" Kara answers from the other room, high pitched. "Is that—is it yours?"

"Some of it."

Lena can hear Kara stand from the bed and cross manically back and forth over the expensive wool carpet. A few rounds of this, and she decides to head to the door. As Lena wipes the blood off her face, she can hear Kara open her mouth again, the muscles work in her jaw (Lena does have very good hearing), but Lena cuts her off.

"Half the house is waiting outside the door, you know. Listening."

"What? Why?"

"I don't know, voyeurism?" Lena deadpans.

"How can you hear them?" Kara stage whispers, and Lena rolls her eyes, popping her head out of the bathroom to glance meaningfully (and threateningly) at Kara.

"Just stay here."

Kara's mouth closes, and she dutifully sits on the edge of Lena's bed again, careful not to get more blood on the goose down comforter. While Lena quickly showers, she washes her many sins away, bright red and spiraling condemningly down the drain. After, she feels fresh and new. Not quite pure, per se, but something between a downright killer and a convent nun. She prods at the wound with a finger. It's not bleeding, there's no blood left to give, but it's not exactly closed. It's just a hideous flap of skin covering a gaping hole.

Gross.

Shivering, she wraps herself up in a towel and brushes through her hair. Kara is blushing by the time Lena emerges again.

"You still look…"

Lena smirks slightly, almost positive she knows what Kara is about to say.

"Not good."

Oh. Lena sours.

"Well, I’m injured."

She angrily grabs pajama pants and a t-shirt from her bedroom dresser. She disappears to change before returning to the room, crossing to the other side of the bed where her charger and current book are.

"What happened?"

"I don't want to talk about it," Lena snaps, ripping the covers back. Kara stares at her with confusion as Lena situates herself under the sheets.

"Well, are you okay?"

Lena doesn't answer, taking a calming breath before she murders Kara once and for all.

"How do we fix it?"

"We don’t do anything."

In the intervening silence, Lena turns over to look at Kara, pulling the sheets roughly up to her chin. Kara's pouting. Fuck. She thumbs at the blood again on her tank top.

"Can I borrow a different shirt?"

Lena throws her hand up, motioning to the dresser. "Whatever."

Kara stands and begins rummaging through Lena's dresser drawer, eventually settling on one of Lena's shirts from a charity event that they'd done last summer. Lena thinks Kara had been washing a car at the event. In a bikini or something. Lena hadn't been paying close attention. For hours on end. And she pretends she's not watching now, but she is. While Kara's back is turned, Lena's following the geometric line of her broad shoulders, taking in the modest glance thrown her way before Kara replaces the tank top with the t-shirt, stripping it up and above her arms. She's not wearing a bra. If Lena had any blood left in her body…

When Kara returns, a sheepish blush still lingering on her cheeks, she loiters awkwardly at the foot of Lena's bed.

"Shouldn't I go back to my room?"

"We're supposed to be, I don't know," Lena makes a smashing motion with her hands before she realizes it's possibly the most embarrassing thing she's done in one hundred years and abruptly stops.

"If we're dating," she clears her throat. "It wouldn't make sense you'd be going back to your room."

"Oh, are we dating?" Kara asks a little too hopefully.

Lena rolls her eyes and turns over. After a moment's pause, she can feel the dip in the bed as Kara gets under the sheets. Lena reaches to snappily turn off the bedside lamp, but it doesn't distract from how awfully warm Kara is, breathing, pulsing, alive and next to her. Maybe it's the wound, maybe it's bloodlust but Lena finds herself suddenly admitting,

"Feeding."

"What?" Kara asks quietly.

"Feeding would fix it."

"So you are…"

Lena turns back to look at Kara, bringing them face to face but still a few feet apart.

"I am a what?" she prompts.

"You're a…" but Kara takes far too long to finish her sentence, chewing on a lip with those perfect white teeth.

Lena rolls her eyes again.

"Please, let's not reenact a scene from Twilight," she says with impatience. "You saw what was in my box. Which you were not invited to see, by the way. You know what I am."

Kara looks down and away, guilty and thinking.

"Your real name is Lena? Lena Luthor?"

It almost makes Lena mad to hear it, but she nods curtly. It has been a long time since anyone said her name. It's not so bad on Kara's lips.

"Had you guessed?" she waves the feeling away, the idling thoughts about Kara's mouth. "Is that why you were in my room, snooping?"

Kara shrugs, as good as a confirmation.

"You could," Kara starts to say instead, and Lena instantly has an idea where this is going.

"No," she interrupts quickly. Her entire body tenses at the proposal Kara is likely suggesting, and she feels a reciprocal spasm of pain in her abdomen. She's weak. Achy. The wound is worse than she'd thought, and she squeezes her eyes shut to both blot Kara out and try to maintain control.

Why hadn't she thought to drink when she'd been in both a literal and actual bloodbath? Murder had never come natural to her. She always panics.

"You could feed on me," Kara finishes inevitably.

Lena ignores her.

"I haven’t given blood in the last 90 days," Kara continues at an enthusiastic pace, as if this information will improve her chances. Like she's a blood bank applicant. "So, it shouldn't hurt me. How much do you need?"

Lena opens her eyes again to stare at her fellow sorority sister. This obviously isn't the first time she's been found out. It's not even the first time she's fed from a willing human. But it is the first time said human has gazed at her so helpfully, so cheerfully, at the prospect of being drained by a bloodthirsty creature of the night.

"Wait a second, you don't have me under thrall, do you?"

"What? No. Kara, I do not have—"

"With those green eyes. Black hair. Those lips. Are you making me do things?"

"I don’t have thrall!"

"Okay, then. As long as there is consent and this is voluntary, let me help you."

"No!" Lena whisper shouts back.

"Will it turn me into a vampire?"

"No, I’d have to kill you. And you’d need to drink my blood. In that order."

"Then, what's the hold up?"

"The hold up? Kara. Why would you want to help me?" Lena demands. "I'm a vampire. You don't even know me."

"We've known each other for three years."

God, have they? Three years is nothing, a blip, a long weekend given the amount of time she's been alive. Lena barely knows what year she's in. Are they seniors? She's already earned three separate doctorate degrees, what's another undergrad?

"But you don't know this side of me."

Kara shrugs off the rebuttal.

"It seems like a good cause."

"A good cause?" Lena scoffs. "I had to kill someone tonight."

Kara pauses at that.

"Were they bad?"

Lena slaps a hand to her face, moving onto her back. This girl is so annoying.

"Of course he was."

"Then, I'm sure you had a good reason."

Lena can't believe her ears. Is Kara naïve? Is she that trusting? Tuning into her body, Lena can hear the steady thrum of her heartbeat, perhaps a little higher than normal, but then there's the even in and out of her breathing, the earnest eyes.

"You were going to do it before, anyway," Kara continues, breathing the words into the space between them like a slumber party secret. "When you found me in your room. When you pinned me to the bed."

"No, I—" well. Maybe she was.

Her side aches painfully in reminder. She glances back at Kara, gazes at the rosiness to her cheeks, the radiance of her skin, even in the dark. She's so full of life. Everything about her, her disposition, her appearance… it's the polar opposite of Lena.

"Are you sure?" Lena asks, letting her fangs extend. "You're sure you want to do this?"

Lena had expected horror, fear, even some sort of regret, but Kara only stares at her mouth in amazement. She starts smiling like she's holding a kitten.

"Oh my god, your fangs, they're so small."

Lena jerks her head back.

"They are—they are not small!"

"They’re so adorable!"

"Do not call them adorable. Look, when I bite you, I don't need much. I'm going to lick the area after. It'll instantly heal. No trace. Got it?"

Kara nods her head like she's agreeing to return a book to the library, something transactional, not like she's letting a monster drink her lifeblood.

"Also, if it’s voluntary it can be… pleasurable. So. There's that. Be warned."

Kara blushes a little again, and Lena takes that as consent to moves closer under the sheets. She pauses for an awkward beat, not quite sure what to do next. Tell her to assume the position?

"Are you ready?" she forces herself to say instead.

Kara nods again, less curt. Her heart rate has increased. Lena girds her metaphorical loins and crawls back on top of her, this time under the sheets. She doesn't know why, but she pins Kara's hands above her head again. It just feels natural, more comfortable to treat her like prey, even for a little bit. She settles her legs snugly between Kara's, balancing hip to hip. She looks up, locking eyes with the oceanic depth of Kara's and breathes out once more, fanning over Kara's face.

"Don't move."

Fortunately, Kara doesn't, and Lena reaches up to set aside some of Kara's thick blonde hair, revealing a beautifully arched tendon in her neck.

She pauses, distracted momentarily by the thrumming red hue emitting from Kara's skin, a kind of electromagnetic vibration. Lena would think it a trick of the light if she didn't know better. It's not an ability that's triggered often, being able to see the blood rushing in Kara's veins, emitting a pulse in time with her heart. Lena doesn't even totally understand it. But she knows it's some sort of predator effect, that it happens when a prospective victim is scared. Or aroused.

Pushing that thought from her mind, Lena picks a spot somewhat at random. She's not relishing the tension spiraling in the pit of her stomach. She should get this over with. The spot just so happens to be just below Kara's pulse point, and she drops her face down, unconsciously letting her lips graze the soft skin below. It's always like a kiss, isn't it? Kara goes rigid in response, taut, and canting her hips up and into Lena's. It's an invitation, as far as she's concerned, and Lena can't help but answer. She bites down.

The first taste of blood is always like a memory. It's not tangy or metallic. It tastes like the whole person, like their every lived experience combined into one taste. She knows how healthy they are. Their vices; whether they do drugs, chemicals, alcohol, nicotine. She knows how active they are, what they eat, how they sleep. And Kara tastes… well, healthy. Like the red, red oxygenated blood that comes with exercise. She tastes warm, vital, hot. Hot, yes, that's an apt adjective. There's a… sweetness, too. Like a dozen or so assorted donuts. Or even a whole pie. Pecan? Whatever it is, she tastes good. She tastes like a dessert, hot and fresh out of the oven. Delectable.

Lena's so lost in the sensation, she almost moans. God. No matter how many times she does this, it never is. It's always intimate. Feeding is like being the person, however fleeting. And the pleasure often runs both ways (Kara doesn't need to know that.)

As she swallows, Lena can feel her wounds heal, her skin knit together, the fresh rush of blood course through her system. She becomes sleepy and lethargic. Sated, she lulls to a stop, licking perhaps a bit too long, lathing long after the bite punctures have closed, long enough that it's become a sort of lazy, meandering kiss.

Wow, get a grip.

She pulls back in a jerk. She finds one of Kara's legs has risen higher, heel off the bed, thigh tensing and pinching at Lena's waist. She stares at it confusedly for a beat too long. Was Lena, in fact, getting lesbian action?

"Hm," Kara hums. Her eyes shiver open and closed, focusing and unfocusing on Lena dreamily. Lena can't quite look away from the sight, but after a moment she awkwardly dismounts Kara's body.

"Good night," she says briskly, turning over on her side and away from Kara. She flexes her hand open and closed on the comforter while she waits for Kara to say something.

"How come you sleep at night and can go out during the day?" she finally breaks the silence.

Lena sighs.

"Kara, can we talk about this in the morning?"

"Okay."

As they get settled, Lena can't see Kara, but she can still hear her. She can still smell her; floral, sweet, and clean with just the tiniest hint of blood. It's intoxicating. Lena can feel her, too, flush with warmth in the sheets but stiff. She's clearly not sleeping.

"Just so you know," Kara says softly into the dark. "I cuddle in my sleep."

"Jesus Christ," Lena breathes out with a slip of her Irish accent.


When she wakes, it's with the ghost of Kara's arms around her. Lena has a fading, dreamlike memory of it; large hands smoothing over her stomach, a warm nose pressed to the base of her neck. She groans loudly, wanting to scream into her pillow.

Instead, Lena reaches out blindly to the other side of the bed. Eyes fluttering open, she sees that Kara's not there. A little spike of panic tenses her limbs. What if she told someone who she really was, that Lena drank her blood? But before that train of thought can progress, Kara comes barreling back into Lena's room, sweaty and gorgeous.

She's smiling huge, clad in workout regalia the likes of which Lena maybe owns three pieces of. It's clear she's about to say something loud and incriminating when Lena raises her finger to her own lips. Kara's mouth shifts into a repentant 'oh,' and she closes the door. While her back is turned, Lena can tell through the formfitting spandex that Kara does indeed have the ass of an angel.

Lena's still looking down when Kara turns back. Does she catch Lena staring? Who's to say. Kara merely smiles brightly, and Lena notices… a hickey adorning one of the more prevalent tendons of her neck.

God. Will her shame ever end?

"You have—you have a," Lena says groggily, voice still rough. She motions to her own neck.

"What?"

It's too early for this.

"Never mind."

Kara's eyebrows pinch in confusion, but otherwise her cheery disposition does not waver one single watt.

"Ready to go to class?!" Kara asks with the excited intensity otherwise reserved for children on Christmas Day.

"Why are you already awake?" Lena grumbles.

"I went on a run!"

"It's not even 8 AM."

"So?"

"So, no," Lena pulls her covers petulantly back over her face. Kara rips them back down again.

The nerve of this girl.

Kara is somehow closer, too, having rounded the bed to Lena's side. The warmth of that radiance is a little uncomfortable this up close.

"If we're supposed to be dating," Kara says in a chiding tone that's too reminiscent of a second grade teacher. "You'd probably walk me to class."

What is this, Lena thinks, the 50s? Not her favorite time period, to be frank.

"You know we're not actually dating, right."

"The whole house has already seen this hickey."

Lena cringes.

"So, we should probably play the part."

Well, she can't argue with that.

Lena gets out of bed with another loud noise of displeasure, careful not to come into contact with Kara as she edges past her. God, who is the scary creature of lore here, anyway?

"I suppose you want my letterman's jacket, too?" she mumbles sarcastically. She has to get her power back somehow, but Kara only looks over her body critically.

"You don't play sports."

It's a statement, not a question.

"Excuse me, I am very athletic."

She's not.

Kara rolls her eyes good-naturedly and grabs at Lena's hand, pulling her with remarkable strength towards the closet and bathroom.

"Come on, get dressed or we're going to be late."


For someone so allegedly concerned with punctuality, being led around National City University campus by Kara Danvers is like being tugged aggressively by an over enthusiastic golden retriever intent on stopping to say hello to the thirty or so strangers they pass along the way. Everyone seems to know her. It's like she's a Disney princesses walking through a 19th century French village and serenading each and every villager. It's almost disgusting (but not quite), and Lena merely looks on in rigid appraisal behind a huge set of designer black sunglasses and a shade of blood red lipstick she wears like armor. It's a habit she's never quite shaken from decades ago.

Around them, almost every student is carrying a tall, steaming cup of coffee, or pumpkin spiced lattes judging from the smell. They pass groups of students posing for selfies on the hay bales, holding a seasonal corn husk, and pretending to hide in the various pumpkin patches decorating the campus. There are giant half-barrels of orange, red, and maroon mums adorning each of the entrances to the buildings, and it's crisp fall weather, too, a chill breeze blowing a strand of Lena's hair across her face before she can catch it. Although when she reaches up to fix it, she finds Kara already pushing it back behind her ear for her. Kara drops the offending hand after, opting for something even more invasive; holding Lena's hand in hers.

Crime after crime.

What the fuck, Lena thinks. How far does she really plan on taking this fake relationship? Is Lena going to be married by spring?

But she says nothing, the coward. Kara doesn't notice her turmoil, leaning in to whisper to Lena conspiratorially, her breath warm on Lena's ear.

"Ready to tell me how you're able to be in the sun?"

Lena takes a moment to consider the question, using her free hand to push her sunglasses further up her nose. Anything for a respite from whatever… this is. The truth is, the sun is not comfortable. It itches. She burns very easily, abnormally so. She wears a profuse amount of sunscreen and sticks to shadow whenever she can, declining lurid trips to the beach or tanning ostentatiously on the quad, both activities her fellow sisters often partake in.

But why can she be in the sun at all? She doesn't know. Lex can't be in the sun. Vampires Lex has created can't either, but she doesn't want to sound stupid in front of Kara so she opts for something vague.

"It's more of an allergy."

Kara is undeterred by this less than forthcoming answer, however, and immediately asks another question.

"And why do you have a reflection? Is that also common?"

Lena sighs loudly.

"I'm just special, Kara."

"Have other people found out who you were? You know, other than me?"

Lena presses her lips together, patience thinning under the line of fire.

"Yes," she answers resolutely.

"What happened to them?"

Another complicated question.

"If I told you I killed them, would you stop talking?"

"Mmm," Kara fake ponders. She squeezes Lena's hand infuriatingly. "No. And I know you'd never do that."

Lena sighs again, rolling her eyes. Albeit, the effect is diminished when Kara can't see them. Kara continues to stare at her, awaiting an explanation.

"Look, the answer is boring. People get tired of me."

"That can't be true."

"It is," Lena insists. "I'm on a mission, and it's all that matters. I travel around the country, the world, at a moment's notice. Trust me, the glamor wears off."

Kara still seems skeptical.

"What's your mission?"

Lena hesitates. It's not exactly a secret. Literally everyone in the vampire world knows what she's been doing, what she wants.

"I kill the weak, soulless progeny of my brother. And some day, I'll kill him, too."

The delivery, Lena feels, is exceptional. Worthy. Her chin jutted out just so, her tone dropped to a threatening timbre. Even her fangs slightly peak, it's impressive. But Kara looks no more terrified, no less impressed, she only gazes at Lena with thoughtful blue eyes.

"You're a vampire who kills other vampires?"

Lena deflates a little, becoming prickly.

"Is that so hard to believe?"

"Why your brother? Did he make you?"

Lena nearly hisses at the question. "That's enough."

Kara takes the hint at being silenced but still mopes a little, kicking a pebble down the path with her foot as they walk.

"Gosh, you didn't have to use thrall."

"Kara," Lena's voices pitches in frustration. "I do not use thrall."

Kara evidently doesn't believe her, and they walk to the end of the quad in a persistent, uncomfortable silence.

"The real question is how did you know?" Lena prods Kara with her index finger (the muscle she hits is deliciously hard.)

Kara doesn't answer immediately, engaging in her own share of stalling by guiding Lena by the elbow out of the way of an incoming Frisbee. The boy who chases after it fully stops to stare at Lena, mouth agape. Lena ignores him. Kara scowls in his direction.

"Watch where you throw that thing," she warns with more hostility than Lena's ever heard her use. It makes her smirk. Until Kara speaks again, condemning and out of earshot of the boy,

"You obviously don't even need thrall. Look at the effect you have on people."

"Once again, I am not using thrall—wait. Don't change the subject," she prompts as they continue to walk, another poke, this time to the bicep.

Fascinating. Just as hard.

"How did you guess who I was, what I was?"

Kara scratches at her ear.

"You never eat."

Lena pauses in surprise.

"I eat."

"You don't. Not really. You've never asked me about my meal plans."

"Your what?"

"I make several girls in the house meal plans," Kara tells her proudly (and slightly defensively given she clearly thinks Lena should know what she's talking about.)

"They're very popular. My sister thinks I could sell them, but you never asked for your own. Then, I noticed you never ate breakfast. Or lunch. I've only ever seen you with coffee. I thought you had an eating disorder."

She says the last part at normal volume as a group of girls pass by. Gossipy, they all turn to look at Lena, eyeing her up and down, before continuing down the path.

"You’re going to be the meal plan if you don’t keep it down."

"Oh, sorry," Kara hushes herself.

Honestly, though, Lena does eat. For her cover, at least. It's just not very enjoyable. There are some rather uncomfortable body processing consequences, too. She'd rather not get into details.

"Does it make you sick? Eating?" Kara whispers more quietly. Her eyes are so sincere.

"Sort of. But… food doesn't really taste like anything. It's just depressing."

"But caffeine works?"

"Caffeine works."

"What about other chemicals? Substances?"

"I missed Woodstock because I passed out the whole day on peyote. Then, I got lost in the woods."

Lena doesn't know why she's telling Kara any of this. It’s been awhile since anyone has known. She's probably being desperate, reckless. Loneliness has made her weak. Maybe in her incredible old age, she’s finally become soft. Or senile. Maybe she’s met her time limit for good judgment.

The comment was aiming for a laugh, but Kara doesn't look amused, merely scolding.

"Lena… You should be more careful what you put in your system."

"Please, my system is not alive."

"You're dead?"

"I’m not dead. Suspended, maybe. I'm not sure."

"How do you not know?"

Lena's temper flares again.

"Are we done with the questions?"

Kara tugs at the cute strings of her backpack. They've stopped outside of a building that must be where her class is, and Kara glances at it, shifting from foot to foot while weighing a mental decision.

She's at least fifteen minutes late for class, that much Lena knows. Lena herself has nowhere to be. She's pretended to have mono for weeks. She can't bear another physics lecture for the fifth or sixth time.

"I want to examine you," Kara finally states.

Lena snorts.

"I get that a lot."

"No, I mean," Kara blushes again. "Will you meet me in the Health Sciences building after my classes? At 2:00? The lab on the 3rd floor?"

Lena is poised to say no. She loves saying no, but she also can't decide whether she's tiring of this charade or not.

"Tess!" a feminine voice interrupts them. "Hi!"

God, it's one of the freshmen pledges, one of the puppies always eager for her approval and attention.

They're forced to drop the conversation as the girl nears closer, reaching to hug Lena (which she hates) and squeezing her elbow after.

"Your skin is so beautiful, Tess. I'm so jealous."

Lena smiles wanly, putting her college student façade back into place.

"I swear by all of Gwenyth Paltrow's products," she mimics. "They're revolutionary."

The girl appropriately oooh's and ahhh's before she glances briefly at Kara. Lena notices that Kara doesn't seem to be enjoying the interruption.

Hm. Jealous?

"By the way, you two are so cute together."

Oh. Right. Lena's smile wanes.

"We have somewhere to be," she tells the girl without ceremony. (What was her name? Ashton? Caitlennifer?  Blakely?)

The girl, nameless, nods eagerly.

"I'll see you later?"

"Sure, babe."

"Great!" she walks off, looking positively buoyed.

"See?" Kara leans forward. "You just made her leave. That was definitely thrall."

"No, it—" Lena breathes out hard. "Just go to class."

"Okay," Kara smiles before closing the gap even further between them and kissing Lena on the cheek.

"Bye!" she rushes through the two front doors, leaving Lena standing there and rooted to the spot.

After a long moment, she touches her cheek with a finger before shaking her head judgmentally at herself and stalking off.


Lena convinces herself that it's only morbid curiosity that drives her to visit the Health Sciences building at 2 PM. And boredom.

She stares up at the building. She hadn't even known this campus had a Health Sciences building, much less a lab on the third floor. Either way, it boasts flattering architecture, four stories high with floor to ceiling glass windows covering most of the outside. The rest is wrought in ornate white stone and large bricks. Lena can see several sleep-deprived, overly caffeinated students inside, papers sprawled across comfy foyer chairs and on top of round coffee tables. Pre-Med majors, if she's guessing. They always have that look about them, like notecards of obscure human anatomy are constantly flitting across their vision.

It reminds her, actually, that she doesn't know what Kara studies, why she might be in a building such as this. Was she also Pre-Med? Lena could imagine that kind of brilliant naiveté, that trust in the greater good motivating her to become a doctor. It would explain why she was so interested in Lena's anatomy.

Although… Lena doesn't wager that her interest is purely academic.

Smirking, she heads inside, past the lobby of students and up a winding staircase. Everything seems very clean, like the building is brand new, and it's sprawling. She passes several lecture rooms and even a large hallway with the engraving "Grant School of Nursing" fresh cut into the artfully curated concrete wall above. She lingers. Was Kara a nursing student?

Spotting the small array of medical labs further down the hall, she moves towards them. They look equipped with tools for practice exams, each one with a closing door and transparent glass walls. They seem soundproof. At least, they'll have privacy from Kara's big mouth.

Speaking of Kara, Lena can see her in the last room, pushing her black rimmed glasses up her nose as she assembles a tray of disinfected utensils.

"Lena," Kara smiles, looking up as Lena pushes inside. The scalpel in her hand goes still, and Lena eyes it reluctantly.

"You know, just because I might be a cadaver doesn't mean you get to dissect me."

"Ha, ha ha," Kara laughs awkwardly. She quickly stows the scalpel into a drawer. "I wasn't planning on using that, it just came in the packaging with the other tools."

"Mhm," Lena nods skeptically, jumping up to sit on the examination table.

"So, doctor," she kicks her feet playfully in the air and drops her voice a scandalous octave or so. "Exactly how thorough is this examine going to be?"

Kara's face goes a little pink.

"I'm—I'm not a doctor," she stutters out nervously. Lena tilts her head.

"No?"

"I'm studying Kinesiology. Nutrition is my minor. I guess, actually, my BS will be in Health Sciences. I've taken a lot of chemistry and biology classes, too, and—"

Kara's rambling continues, but Lena's mind stops abruptly on that word. Chemistry. Has Kara met Lex, the fake adjunct professor? Has he noticed her, gaze lingering during a lecture a bit longer than usual? Had he used his charming smile, his flowing vocabulary? Had Kara felt the thrill of being seen, capturing the interest of such a genius mind?

A hot flare of possessiveness overtakes her.

"So, what will it involve then?" she cuts Kara off, snapping a bit too hotly.

Kara pauses, her mouth still open. It shuts, then opens again.

"Just the basics. Heart rate, blood pressure, temperature. Do you mind?"

Lena shakes her head, and Kara pauses hesitantly for a moment before she reaches first for the stethoscope. She looks cute when she pops the buds into her ears.

"May I?" she asks again with a soft smile, indicating that she'd like to touch Lena. Lena merely nods, and Kara approaches slowly, like Lena is a wild animal.

Okay, maybe that's fair. Maybe Kara also has very good bedside manner. She moves closer, bending over Lena, who's still seated on the table. She brushes Lena's cashmere sweater aside and places the cold metal diaphragm on the flat of her chest. Lena stares up at her without reservation, watching the pretty flutter of her eyelashes as Kara concentrates. She can smell her again, floral like sunflowers. Sweet. She's still wearing the devastating spandex pants and sneakers from this morning, but she has a pastel purple fleece on, sleeves rolled up to the elbow and flattering the muscles in her forearms.

"What can you do with a Kinesiology degree, anyway?" Lena finds herself asking with zero brain to body connection.

"You can do lots of things," Kara answers, pink lips piqued upward. "Fitness training. Physical Education. Physical therapy. Not quite as glamorous as nutrition, though."

Lena's not sure if she's ever heard nutrition described that way.

"There are… glamorous realms of nutrition?"

"Sure. Celebrity chef type things. Sports, too. But if I end up doing something with my minor, I’d like to do oncology nutrition for patients who really need the right vitamins."

Lena nods. Of course. Right. Kara's a fucking saint.

"Okay, switching to the cuff," Kara indicates the blood pressure tool and has Lena extend her arm out. She squeezes Lena's fingers assuringly before strapping it over her arm. It should all feel condescending, like she's treating Lena like a child, not a centurion, but strangely it's not.

"I saw your last name in that box," Kara adds, too neutral for Lena's taste, eyes trained downwards at the digital numbers on the screen. She's clearly going for conversational, but it's obvious she really wants to know.

"Luthor. Is that the same as that huge pharmaceutical company?"

Lena breathes out a quick, shallow breath as the cuff pinches her arm tighter.

"It is. But it wasn't always my last name. Originally, it was Kieran."

Kara glances up at her.

"Really? Not the same as your brother?"

"Half-brother," Lena explains curtly.

"Oh," Kara answers, the understanding dawning as she looks back down at the screen. The cuff begins to loosen. "So, where did Tess Mercer come from?"

"I've had to use a lot of different names."

Kara hums in acknowledgement, but doesn't ask anything more about the touchy subject.

"Will you stand now?"

Lena obeys without comment.

"I'm going to touch you again," Kara tells her. "Starting here."

She presses her hand to Lena's side, just above her hip, and nods when Lena allows it. She follows it up, mapping every knobby bone of her spine with a firm press. She grabs an Otoscope when she's finished and quickly looks in both of Lena's eyes with a bright white light.

"Wow, heterochromia," she whispers to herself.

"I wouldn't go that far," Lena quips, but Kara doesn't seem to hear. Instead, she's gently pushing Lena's hair back to check her ears and—

"Oh my gosh, I've never noticed. Look at these little elfin ears!" she cries, running a finger along the slightly pointed top of Lena's ear.

Lena swats her hand away. "Stop it."

"Definitely unusual," Kara comments, still smiling, but she lets Lena's hair fall, covering her very not Elfin ears once again. Kara jots another something down in her notebook, likely something extremely insulting, before turning to look at Lena again.

"Vision?"

"Perfect."

"Hearing?"

"Extremely acute."

"Really?"

"You know Veronica down the hall?"

Kara nods, looking intrigued.

"She's a serial masturbator."

"No!" Kara laughs.

"Siobhan is having explosive diarrhea every. Morning."

"No, no, that can't be good. Please don't tell me more."

"Don't want to put that in your notebook?"

"No," Kara shakes her head. "Let's move on. Where are you from?"

"Ireland."

"Interesting. And how old are you?"

"A little over one hundred."

"Ancient," Kara observes, making another note. Lena's about to break that pen in half.

"It's rude to comment on a woman's age."

Kara ignores her, biting the cap of her pen. Normally, it's a habit Lena hates, but she can't help but find it a little… well, it's not that bad.

"So, the wealth makes sense, it's been a long time."

Lena shrugs.

"And you don't have physical powers?"

"I've never really needed them."

"Because you use thrall."

"No."

"What’s the weirdest thing you've lived through?" Kara blitzes forward.

"The internet."

"What about it?"

"Are we done?"

Kara smiles like she's been caught, red-handed. But she pushes her luck.

"One more question?"

"It better be good."

"Why did you join a sorority?"

It's Lena's turn to laugh. Of all the things to ask…

"I wanted to make friends," she answers, mocking. "Why did you? You don’t seem like the type."

"What makes you say that?" Kara asks distractedly, biting the pen cap again as she makes a note.

"You're too nice."

Kara looks up at that. Her smile is a bit admonishing.

"Unlike you, I actually did want to make friends."

"You seem like you have plenty."

Kara's smile turns thoughtful. Almost sad.

"When I was a kid, I was kind of an embarrassing nerd," she tells Lena while she turns to put her notebook away.

"No way," Lena says, sarcastic. Kara laughs, and it's such an easy sound. She reaches for a measuring tape on the cabinet table.

"I'm adopted and an immigrant, so it was hard to adjust to America. I was really into science, and I was home-schooled by my adoptive mom. She's a bio-engineer. I skipped a few grades. Stand here?"

Lena complies once again without argument.

"A few grades?"

"I'm actually more than a year younger than everyone in our class. I thought a sorority would be an easy way to have built-in friends when nobody would hang out with a sixteen year old."

She shares this all without any ego, so humbly, but it really is a marvel that she's so far ahead in her studies. Lena might be bothered by the age gap, too, if it hadn't already been more than eighty years.

Kara unravels the measuring tape and lets it drop to the floor. She raises the end to the top of Lena's head and takes note of the number.

"You're just in the sorority? No other groups?"

"Some sport clubs," Kara admits with a sheepish smile.

"Of course. That's why you're so ripped."

"I'm not that ripped," Kara argues amicably.

"You’re absurdly muscled for a human."

"You say that like you aren't one."

"I am most assuredly not."

"I don't know," Kara protests, gazing down at her list of metrics. "Everything here is pretty normal other than a very slow heart rate. Temperature?" She offers a thermometer.

Lena reluctantly places it under the pad of her tongue for the perfunctory sixty seconds.

"Wow, okay," Kara remarks when she takes it back. "Why are you still so cold?"

"Rude."

Kara touches Lena's arm again with concern, testing and rubbing for warmth. Lena can almost feel that rare tinge of human heat. Almost.

"Drinking blood doesn’t help?"

"It helps a little. At first. But it's short-term."

"Hm." Kara hums, thinking. She doesn't take back her hand for another few seconds.

"So, what's the diagnosis, doctor?" Lena drops her voice again, teasing. "Am I dying?"

It produces the desired result, Kara's blushing again. But she's also digging into the drawer behind her and producing something, hidden by the palm of her hand.

"You were an excellent patient," Kara says, sincere. She hands Lena a lollipop.

Now, it's Lena's turn to bush. She doesn't even know why. It's silly. To detract from the matter, she unwraps the lolli and pops it into her mouth. Kara leans back against the counter, tracking the movement with her eyes.

"Can I ask about your brother?" she says next, and Lena finds herself in a full-body clench.

"Is it an off-limits topic?" Kara probes further.

"I guess not, no," Lena removes the candy from her mouth, pressing it against her lip. Kara's eyes briefly shift down.

"When he killed you…" she starts, and Lena wishes she had said it was off-limits, "did you drink his blood?"

"No."

"But I thought you said—"

"I told you. Special."

"Was he a scientist?" is Kara's next question.

It's jarring. Weirdly accurate. Her brother had been a mad scientist of sorts, true, and with that genius came the typical delusions of grandeur. The god complex.

"Why do you ask?"

"As your half-brother, you might’ve shared similar DNA. Maybe that’s why you have so many anomalies. Sun, reflection, your smaller fangs—"

"They're not that small—"

"You don’t need blood that often," Kara continues. "I'm not an expert, but I'd say everything here…" Kara trails off, indicating her chart, notebook, and medical tools. "It presents kind of like a virus. He didn't turn you, he killed you. But he infected you first."

"With a virus?"

Kara nods, and they lapse into a weighted silence, Lena thinking about what all this could mean.

"It makes sense, doesn't it?"

Maybe.

"He's here, you know," she tells Kara impulsively. Stupid. Kara's cute blonde eyebrows thread together.

"Well, NCU does have a really advanced microbiology and virology lab. Maybe he's trying to get access to that?"

It seems so obvious when Kara points it out like that. Lena's a little peeved she didn't think of it herself.

"You could…" Kara offers tentatively, "try to cure it. If you wanted."

"Why?" Lena bristles. "I want to kill him."

"Couldn’t curing it, kill him?"

"How about we start with killing him and then work on how to solve a very complex, inexplicable vampire virus?"

Kara, clearly stubborn, is not finished. Her jaw sets into an attractive square.

"What's your next step?"

Lena tries to take a realistic measure of the situation before answering. She barely knows Kara. Three years, max, and none of which involved more than a passing conversation and a healthy appreciation for abs and biceps. Then, Kara's snooping through her room and violating each and every one of her deepest secrets. Lena drinks her blood. And now they're fake dating and Lena's getting a tonsils exam.

"What's in this for you?" she asks. "Why are you being so helpful?"

Kara seems taken aback by the question. She takes a breath to speak, reconsiders it, and releases it.

"I just—I care."

Lena wouldn't believe that from virtually anyone else. Why should she believe Kara? She shouldn't tell her anything.

She's practically already told her everything.

Maybe there's a reason she's never made any headway with Lex until now.

She's dumb.

One hundred and two years of near misses and down time. There've been men, women, but no one's tried to help her. Maybe Kara finally can.

"So, you asked earlier…" Lena starts, "why I joined the sorority. I joined because one of my brother's human familiars is in it."

"A familiar in Kappa Omega?"

"Yes."

"Who?"

Lena breathes out, heavy.

"Eve Teschmacher."

"But she… doesn't live in the house."

"I know."

"And she's so sweet."

"Trust me, it's an act."

"What if he's blackmailing her? What if she's a victim in all this, too?"

Lena closes her eyes, breathes through her nose. She moves towards the door ready to leave.

"Leave the judge and jury for later, okay? I want to find my brother first. She'll be at our Halloween party Friday night and maybe she'll bring Lex."

Before Lena can leave, Kara stops her, holding her gently by the arm.

"Aren't you worried that if… you kill him, you might die, too?"

"It's only fair."

"That's not fair."

"I honestly don't care, Kara. You don't know what's like to be alive for a hundred years. I've waited years for my brother to make a mistake, planning meticulously, and then he slips away like an eel. You have no idea the patience this takes."

After Lex had killed her, Lena had woken up in the River Liffey. Her first memory… was the smell. She can barely remember who she'd even been before that. When she was human. It was so long ago.

Kara frowns at the words, and she's hovering close, close in Lena's personal space. Her eyes flick downwards, and for a dizzying moment, Lena thinks she might kiss her.

But the moment passes.

"You can let me go now, Kara," she says, voice gravelly.

Kara robotically releases her arm, still staring at Lena for a touch longer.

"Okay, but you didn't have to use thrall."

"Oh my god."

"And I'm coming with you to that party."

"No—"


Lena caves. That's what a solid week of your fake girlfriend pouting at you will do. Kara is going to the party, anyway, and it's a convenient cover. Especially since the whole sorority and half the campus already think they're fucking.

Whatever.

They agree to meet outside of the frat at around 9 PM, which makes no sense since they live directly across the hall from one another and could easily walk together. But Kara had insisted that they surprise each other with their costumes. Something about keeping 'the mystery of their relationship alive.' It's been two weeks. A nanosecond in vampire time. Lena had rolled her eyes. She's lived through too many Halloweens and has never once found the holiday remotely mysterious. But whether or not she's taken some painstaking care for her costume this evening, she won't admit.

When she climbs down the house stairs, everything is in place. The thick winged eyeliner. The dark lipstick. The fish net stockings. All twelve piercings. The knee high, buckled leather boots. She's frankly at odds with every single thing in the house, which just underwent a $13 million dollar renovation last year and now boasts a marble-clad foyer, a baby grand piano, and a 1930s chandelier from the Waldorf Astoria.

It's a bit much. And in her 90's-punk-rock-goth regalia, it's two worlds colliding. It makes her smile. When she passes a few of the other girls, their mouths drop open.

Excellent.

Lena wanders outside and further down the street, heading across the spotless, hexagonally crisscrossed lawns of sorority and fraternity row. Halloween decorations hang from every open door, dozens of pumpkins piled high and carved into lewd gestures and words. Well. That's on brand for the frats.

As she's staring at one particularly sexual arrangement of two skeleton inflatables, Lena spots a flick of movement on the edge of several neatly-trimmed boxwood hedges. It's a black cat sidling its way up between the two houses. It looks at Lena with curious, golden eyes before pausing and sitting on its hind haunches.

After a careful moment where they regard each other with mutual interest, Lena makes her way over.

"Hello," she says, bending down to be closer to its eye level. The cat rubs against the boxwoods before choosing to rub against her leg instead.

How friendly. But they usually are with her.

She makes contact, reaching out to stroke a hand along its surprisingly soft fur. She lets the touch linger, receiving a litany of feelings and images. The mouse it had chased and caught earlier in the evening. A warm home, bright with yellow light. Partygoers, coming and going raucously down the street.

There, she tells it.

She stretches the tendril of their connection further. It's not a direct communication, not nearly anything like words. Lena can only think to describe it as a slide show of pictures, scents, and sound, and give and take of sensory imagery.

Eve, she tells it with a catalogue of her identifying features. Blonde. Saccharine sweet smelling. Light steps.

Yes, the cat purrs back. It has seen her going into the rowdy house at the end of the block. Where the party is. It's avoiding that area.

Lex, Lena asks next. The tall stride. The ball head. The pungent smell. The sharp teeth of a predator.

No, it answers with both a tinge of concern and curiosity.

Lena sighs. That'd be too easy, of course.

Avoid him, she tells the cat, and it meows at her.

"Thank you," she adds, this time aloud and with a farewell pet and scratch to its cheek.

"Lena," a voice calls out behind her, and the cat startles, darting back into the hedges. Lena's ripped from the connection.

"Were you…" Kara starts very slowly. When Lena turns to look at her, she's standing on the concrete pathway not far from her and is the human equivalent of heart eyes. "Were you talking to that cat?!"

"No," Lena answers lamely.

This does nothing to quell the excitement on Kara's face. In fact, she looks ready to erupt.

"You can talk to animals?!" she practically shrieks into the night.

Lena quickly crosses the lawn and slaps a hand over Kara's mouth.

"Can you please keep it down?"

Kara nods several times, each with jerky, barely-contained enthusiasm. Lena releases her hand.

"Are you in control of yourself now?"

"I just can't believe—" Kara rambles, but Lena ignores her. Her attention is drawn to the paper cup in Kara's hands.

"Oh, yes, this is for you," she offers it to Lena. From the smell, it appears to be her favorite coffee order. A double Americano, no extras.

"You know my coffee order?"

It seems inherently romantic. More romantic than their otherwise fake relationship, but what does Lena know.

Kara nods excitedly again. She's very close, Lena realizes, that crazed manic expression still set into the features of her cute face.

"You can talk to animals."

"I thought we were past this," Lena sips her drink. It's hot. Divine.

Kara waits, clearly unwilling to drop the subject.

"You can talk to animals?"

Lena shrugs a shoulder.

"Not all of them. And I wouldn't call it talking."

"Which ones?"

"Cats, ravens. Bats."

"Bats!" Kara yelps, and Lena nearly restrains her again. "What do bats talk to you about?"

"They are—" Lena waves a hand in front of her face. "Confusing. They think in sonar, like maps. It's weird."

"Tell me more!" Kara nearly screeches again. "Are they your familiars? Can you tell them what to do?"

"Please shut up. We're late to the party," she goes to take Kara's hand (like she has some sort of fake girlfriend related brain damage, is she just a woman who takes fellow sorority sister's hands now?) and drags her further down the sidewalk. It's also the first time Lena looks down, taking in the full measure of Kara's costume.

"Wait—," she pauses, and Kara knocks into her back as they stop abruptly again. "What are you wearing?"

The answer is easily ascertained and is therefore mostly rhetorical. Lena can see without any help at all that Kara is wearing a black, boat neck sleeveless top and red leather pants.

Kara is wearing leather pants.

Lena has a sudden, very ardent desire to touch, to smell that material face pressed in close like it's a brand new sofa.

"I'm Buffy," Kara holds up a giant, sharpened stake by way of explanation. Jesus Christ. "The Vampire Slayer."

"That is threatening," Lena tears her eyes up from the pants. She glances warily at the stake. "You realize that."

"It’s not for you!" Kara stage whispers again. It's easily the most annoying thing she does. She glances furtively around the street, which is beginning to thrum with Halloween revellers. "It’s for Lex. I want it to strike fear into his heart."

Lena snorts. It's not an attractive sound.

"He is not going to be afraid of you. Plus, you’re not helping me."

"Yes, I am."

"No, you’re not."

"Yes. I am."

"No. You're not—"

"This again?" Kara interjects.

"I hope I’m not interrupting a lover's quarrel?" a voice slides up behind them, silky smooth.

It's Andrea, of course, queen of the World's Worst Timing. She pauses on the sidewalk and surveys them with another smirk and raised eyebrow. She's dressed as a devil with a cute little tail and glittering horns. She looks great.

God, Lena hates her.

Andrea forces herself between Kara and Lena, taking both of their arms in hers imperiously as if she's a countess in a faraway court, ready to take them on a turn around the garden. Instead, she leads them closer the frat house party.

"Let's go ladies," she gently encourages. "Tonight is for mirth and mischief, not fighting."

Lena wants to growl. Getting ordered around by a woman a quarter her age is always an ever present ordeal.

Andrea guides them up the front walkway, and Lena can already hear the ear splitting bass, the roar of the party inside. There's a bath tub full of ice and Miller Light on the wraparound porch. Classy.

Andrea drops their arms and melts into the party in a cloud of elbow hugs and air kisses. Lena and Kara linger at the door, taking a moment to adjust to the loud music and the blinding strobe lights in Halloween colors of green, purple, and orange. There's even a DJ dressed as Ghost Face. Everyone is wearing a costume, in fact, although the relative degree of impropriety varies. There's quite a bit of skin on display. Lena thinks again of Kara's leather pants and looks down, once more, to appreciate them.

"Let's get a drink," Kara grabs Lena's hand, and Lena doesn't object. She's overwhelmed.

Also, it feels good. Kara's been fairly touchy lately. She's even stayed in Lena's room a few nights. Cuddling. For the sake of their cover, of course.

"Have you seen Eve?" Lena calls over Kara's shoulder. "She's here."

"Not yet."

Kara arranges them into a line at an actual bartender (this must be a fancy party). There were even a few shot luges made of ice near them, a girl getting sprayed all over the face with tequila and laughing loudly.

"Another!" she shouts in a slur.

Kara turns back to Lena, hovering close (as ever) in Lena's normally jealously guarded personal space. Kara seems to be the exception to every rule. Even now, she has a smile like she's about to say something stupid. And Lena lets her.

"What would you like? A blood light? A longneck?"

Lena closes her eyes, long suffering.

"Do you have a favorite blood type?" Kara continues, more serious, and Lena opens them again with a sigh.

"That's not really how it works."

"How does it work?"

Lena isn't game for another round of twenty questions, so this times she fires back, on the offensive.

"Since when are you single, anyway?" she asks as they shuffle forward in line. "Wasn't there a boyfriend type hanging around the front door for a while?"

"Oh, Mike?" Kara answers, looking surprised by the line of interrogation, her eyes shifting in slight discomfort.

"Yes," Lena can't help a slight lip curl. "That one."

"Oh, he wasn't that bad," Kara inclines her head. "We broke up last semester."

"We all called him pube face, you know."

Kara looks scandalized, but the smile is still present in the corner of her mouth.

"No, you didn't."

"Yes, we did."

"He's an accounting major," her shoulders square up a little, like that's some sort of valid defense. Everyone knows business majors are demons. They're worse than vampires.

"Snooze."

"He's got a good future going for him!"

"You can do better."

Kara shakes her head at Lena indulgently, like she's not all that insulted by the merciless jabs at her former boyfriend. When they make it to the front of the line, Lena convinces Kara to join her in a tequila shot (or three, it's mandatory to enjoy parties like these), and they both make it back to the sizable dance floor in the middle of the house with an extra cold beer in hand. There's thick fog swirling around the room, sourced by a fog machine Lena can't locate, but it has her holding Kara's arm to make sure that she doesn't disappear into the mist.

It's odd to feel that way. Lena doesn't… typically rely on anyone. Her life has been lonely, punctuated only by temporary, short-lived relationships. She doesn't have friends. If she did, she's not sure what she would tell them about Kara. The last one she'd had was Samantha Arias, both a friend and a former paramour. She'd also been a vampire. She was slain by Lex.

Thinking of Sam makes Lena experience an uncomfortable stab of vulnerability, the kind that pairs excellently with a touch of self-destructive behavior. She wants to dunk her head into the nearest batch of Jungle Juice and bob for Everclear soaked apples. Instead, she does the next best thing.

She squeezes Kara's bicep. "Do you want to dance?"

"I don't dance," Kara admits sheepishly.

Lena begs to differ when Kara has a body like that one. She grips her bicep harder, ignoring the answer, and drags Kara further into the fog and writhing mass of sweaty bodies.

"Girlfriends dance together," Lena says by way of weak argument.

Kara smiles, half-convinced, half-aware of the misdirection.

"You said we weren't really dating."

Lena doesn't have a comeback to that, choosing instead to corral Kara's arms around her waist, to encourage their lower halves to take the same rhythm to the vibrating beat of the blaring music. It's not like dancing is hard in this era of time. It's nothing like the foxtrot or the ragtime era.

Regardless, Kara's skin is warm under her fingers. Lena drags her hands up her arms, back and forth, until finally winding them around the base of Kara's neck, tickling there. Kara shuffles with uncertainty, their hips briefly coming into contact. She takes a sharp inward gasp, but her expression remains uncharacteristically intent and discerning, the way she might stare at a beguiling puzzle. (Or a jelly donut.)

"What's this?" Lena unwraps her arms. She picks at a silver chain around Kara's neck, dipping into her shirt collar. Kara doesn't answer, pupils still big and black, so Lena draws it out. At the end of the chain sits a big, giant cross. It's comically large. She holds it contemplatively in the cradle of her palm.

"That doesn't hurt you?" Kara asks, brows threaded and voice quiet underneath the suppressive music. Lena might not have heard her at all without enhanced hearing.

She drops the cross back onto Kara's collar bone.

"I’m Irish Catholic," she delivers, dead pan.

Kara laughs at that, neck tilted back, suddenly looser. Lena can see that tendon again, highlighted in the bright neon lights. She sees the fading remnant of the hickey she'd left the week before. When Kara's eyes return to her, they're still happy and bright blue.

"You should know," Lena says, seductive, letting her arms sink back around Kara's neck. Their hips are in line again, pressing together. Lena can feel the slide of Kara's leather pants against her fishnet stockings, and one of Kara's hands squeezes tight at her waist.

"Vampires are very possessive."

Kara's eyes dart up and down from her mouth, as if she's hearing the words in slow motion and just now catching up.

"You have an exquisite neck, did I tell you that?" Lena runs a fingertip up the cord-like visible tendon. Kara swallows and makes it all the more pronounced.

Then she suddenly smiles wider, unexpected, and in Lena's experience so far, it's a cause for concern.

"Oh my god, your cute little fangs are out."

"What? No—" Lena raises a hand to her mouth, but Kara pushes it away.

"Yes."

How unrefined. Lena reels, seeking to retain the high ground.

"How long have you been interested in women?" she blurts.

Just fantastic.

"I—I'm not—"

"Remember freshmen year?" Lena quickly adds.

"Hm, no," Kara tries to deflect.

"You showed me your favorite underwear. Was that straight?”

Kara bites her lip.

"Tell me."

"Stop using thrall. It's not fair."

This time Lena laughs rather than experiencing the typical flash of homicidal intent when Kara accuses her of thrall.

"I’ve got news for you, darling," Lena replies with a smug lilt of her lips. "I'm not using thrall. I never have."

Kara swallows again, and more than slightly inebriated, Lena's grown tired of waiting. Palms running down to Kara's shoulders, she pushes her backwards and up against one of the stately columns supports all around the large living room. This partially blocks them from the dance floor, affording them a sliver of privacy from the otherwise giant party raging around them. The air whooshes out of Kara as her back makes contact, and Lena braces a hand next to her head on the white painted wood. Kara's skin lightens up, slowly at first, until Lena can see the telltale red hue, her quickly beating pulse, and the shadowy outline of her veins expanding and constricting.

Obviously, the arousal is mutual.

"What're you doing?" Kara breaths in question.

"Playing the part," Lena replies, her voice equally husky.

"Right." Kara seems a little deflated by that response, but she's no less close to Lena's lips. In fact, she's the one that closes the gap.

When Kara kisses her, it's nothing if not thorough. She's desperately seeking an answer to one of the many questions she's posed to Lena, back and forth, since the very beginning. Lena reciprocates with her own questions, with her own single-minded examination.

Why this blonde girl? Why this reaction? Why now?

She dips her tongue into Kara's mouth, testing for limits, but she finds none. Kara's a current of water, undammed. An avalanche of melted ice in spring. Lena’s hair is down, and Kara is roughly working her hand through it until she reaches the back of her head, thumbs hinging behind Lena's “little elfin ears.” She angles Lena’s mouth to the side and parts her open fully. It's a trust exercise to submit like this, no different than the many forms of dance she's learned. Lena likes the control but rapidly finds it slipping, the tables turning.

Not usually prone to impulse, she's surprised to find her hands are greedy. Lena shamelessly gropes Kara's stomach under her shirt while Kara takes liberal fistfuls of her ass.

Okay, that’s a little unfair. Is it revenge for Lena's earlier comment about "playing the part?" She doesn't care. Not when Kara bites Lena’s lip, and she groans.

"That’s my job," Lena pulls back, staring at Kara's blush pink cheeks.

"Should I leave a mark on your neck then?" Kara's quick to reply.

Touché.

While Kara loses her train of thought to kissing Lena's neck, Lena's other senses slowly reawaken to the smells, the sounds of the party around them. Focusing, Lena suddenly sees Eve over Kara's shoulder. She's playing with her hair and flirting with some polo-wearing frat boy.

"Eve," Lena says quickly to Kara, who promptly disengages to listen. "Something's different."

Eve's heart rate is incredibly slow. She looks… cold. Her features, more pale.

"She's—she's not alive. She's been turned."

"She’s a vampire?" Kara answers like she's struggling through a fog to talk to Lena. Lena can't help but sympathize. She nods, gazing back at Kara as she cranes her neck to look around the pillar.

"But she looks the same," Kara says. Her arms are still tight and warm around Lena's waist. "She’s not as pretty as you. I thought—"

"We all glitter in the sun?"

Kara turns back, appraising Lena's face.

"No, I thought she'd become, I don't know, inhumanly beautiful like—" Kara cuts herself off.

"Like what?"

"Like you?" she flushes again.

Lena smiles, flattered.

"Special, remember? I told you being me isn’t a vampire trait. Trust me there’s plenty of ugly vampires. My brother included. He’s bald."

Kara looks horrified.

"Like Nosferatu?"

"Yes," Lena lies with a smug smile.

There's a flicker of moment, and Lena watches Eve make a hasty excuse, cross the floor and disappear into one of the hallways of the house.

"Come on. Let's follow her."

Leading Kara by the hand, they push through the raging mass of the party. Kara barely sidesteps a full beer getting spilled on her. Much of it splatters over Lena's boots instead. It's evidently not the first. The floor is wet.

Disgusting.

After, Lena pauses briefly to listen at the first few doors along the hallway. She's greeted with the unwelcome and vulgar sounds of sex and the use of illicit drugs until she reaches a quiet one at the end of the hall. A woman's voice, Eve's, whispers hurriedly and one way into what must be a cell phone.

Lena quickly throws open the door, Kara right behind her.

As soon as Eve looks up, however, Lena knows she's made a mistake. Eve smiles, fangs fully extended. She slides the phone into her back pocket. She'd never been making a call at all.

"Lex said you were smart," Eve mocks with an overly confident smile.

Lena sneers. "I doubt he'd say the same about you."

Eve's smile falls away.

"A lapdog of Lex's? I can't imagine you have an IQ point to your name."

Eve bares her teeth again, not a smile, a threat. "Fooled you, didn't I?"

"Darling," Lena condescends. "We're literally here to kill you."

"We are?" Kara mumbles to Lena, which she ignores.

"So, who exactly did you fool?"

"Well, he knew you'd be here. And he sent me to kill you. A privilege of the highest honor."

"You're an idiot."

Kara places a hand on Lena's shoulder, clearly reading the rising and altogether murderous tension in the room.

"Why are you helping him?" she asks, and Eve seems to notice her for the first time, a flicker of recognition in her eyes.

"I'm in love with him."

"Gross," Lena comments, and Eve growls at her again.

"Did he threaten you?" Kara persists despite it all, and this time, Lena actually throws Kara a glare. This is hardly the time, but something unusual flickers in Eve's expression.

"Your family?" Kara asks.

"It's none of your business."

She turns back to regard Lena again with judgment. "You think he doesn’t know what you did to Quintin? You were sloppy."

Lena can't help but lift an eyebrow. How could she forget getting stabbed by a rusty pipe? That asshole.

"Me? I didn't do anything. Maybe one of the underage minors Quintin likes to keep company with finally gave him what he deserved."

Eve narrows her eyes again while Kara gapes at Lena in horror.

What? She'd told her he was a bad guy.

But it's another mistake to look at Kara, however briefly. While she's distracted, Eve lunges at Lena, pinning her to the far wall. Her hands are wrapped around her neck, and Lena can't fight back, not when Eve possesses the typical vampire strength, the speed.

"Wow," Eve comments, derisive. "You're so weak."

But then Kara is lunging onto her back and pulling her hair, her clothes, tugging on whatever she can get at.

"Get off of her!" she yells, trying to poke Eve in a perfectly mascara'd eye.

Eve hisses and turns to throw Kara off of her back and across the room. Kara luckily lands spread eagled on the messy and unmade bed, but the momentum carries her off it. She lands in a heap on the floor where Lena can't see her.

"Now, where were we?" Eve turns back to Lena, fingers already closing around her windpipe. Lena's starting to see stars trying to breathe, but once again, the door bursts open.

Eve releases Lena, her eyes flashing up as a woman rushes into the room.

"Alex!" Kara exclaims with excitement, getting to her feet and breathing hard.

"Alex?" Lena says at the same time, throatily and gasping as she runs a palm over her own neck.

Alex skids to a stop, a stake in one hand and an axe in the other. She's dressed in all black.

"Lena? Kara?"

"Do you know each other?" Kara and Alex say at the same time.

"Jesus fuck," Lena croaks, barely able to speak. She indicates Eve, who is fully pivoting to Alex. Lena can see the thread of tension in her shoulders though, the fear as her eyes lance from the stake to the axe to Alex.

"Can we focus? Vampire to slay?"

"That’s rich," Alex snipes. "Coming from you."

"Do your job!"

With a grunt, Alex swings the axe at Eve, who steps back just in time. She swings again, and the blade sinks into the dry wall, jammed into a wooden support beam. Eve catches Alex by the arm, but Alex is already swinging, striking her hard in the face with a fist. Eve actually stumbles backwards. Damn, Lena thinks, Alex must be strong. Then, Alex is ripping the axe out of the wall like some sort of medieval Goliath of legend, and Lena knows the next swing has struck true when there's a wet spray of an arterial vein all over her face.

Unfortunate. She's covered in blood. Again.

When Lena pries open her eyes, she sees Eve limping, the axe buried in her thigh, but she hasn't given up yet.

She raises a silver knife.

"A gift from your brother."

Lena raises her arms in defense, but the blow never lands. The tip of a pointed wooden stake explodes from Eve's chest, and she promptly keels over, covered in blood and mess and gore.

Kara stands behind her, her hand still outstretched. Lena stares at her with dread in her stomach, and after a moment, she swallows.

"In light of this new information," she says slowly. "Your costume is especially on the nose."

Alex rolls her eyes at Lena, turning to check on Kara.

"Explain."

"Lena’s my girlfriend?" Kara shrugs.

"What?" Alex says at the same time Lena says, "No."

But there isn't time for a chorus of more arguments because suddenly Lena hears even more people approaching the door.

"Not again," she grumbles.

"The others are taken but this one should be open—" she hears Andrea explaining, and instantly she appears in the doorway with a posse of several guys (and girls) in tow.

What was she planning? An orgy? Andrea, ever the trained eye, immediately spots the blood on Lena's clothes.

"Really, your period? Again?" she says like Lena's a lost child.

"Yeah."

But Lena is spared further condescension when Andrea's gaze flicks over the room, and she notices the dead (truly dead this time) body on the floor. Her mouth convulses in fear, prepared to scream, but Lena is quicker.

"Stop," she raises a hand, her voice unnaturally deep. It hits the room like a shockwave, a rumble, an unnatural reverberation of energy.

Kara and Alex become unnaturally still, but Lena can see Kara's eyes contort into triumph. She wishes she couldn't.

"I knew you had thrall," she manages a victorious whisper.

"Not now," Lena hisses because the confusion on the men and women's faces begins to slip. Lena has to maintain total concentration, and often times eye contact, to keep the control. She takes another breath.

"What a show," she smiles strained and starts clapping her hands.

The group begins to clap dully as well, faces still slack and unfocused.

"Give it up for our great actors for tonight's Halloween performance," Lena gestures to Alex and Kara. "Bow," she tells them, and they both do so, extremely rigid.

Lena turns back to Andrea.

"Now leave and forget all about this. And for fuck's sake, close the door on your way out, Andrea."

Andrea nods lethargically and closes the door as everyone crowds out of the room.

Alex suddenly shakes her body out, shivering as if something disgusting has passed over her.

"Don't be so dramatic," Lena condemns.

Alex snarls and places a protective hand on Kara's shoulder.

"I had it under control."

"You absolutely did not."

"How'd I do?" Kara interjects instead, smiling.

"Well. You blew my cover," Alex cuts across her. "And you killed a vampire in front of witnesses."

"Not to mention destroying my one chance to catch my brother. He'll surely flee now."

"But I saved your life?" Kara adds with a shrug and a grimace.

"Yes," Lena's willing to acknowledge. "You did do that. But you've also been lying to me. You're a vampire hunter?"

Now that the adrenaline is winding down, Lena's anger is beginning to broil as Kara pulls at her fingers.

"Not really. My sister is." Kara motions to Alex, and that sure is a surprise.

Sister.

"Kara," Alex curses in admonishment. "Are you just going to tell her everything?"

"So, you knew the whole time?" Lena continues in accusation, still feeling more than a little manipulated.

"I didn't know, not until I found your box. But I always watched you... I've had a crush on you since freshmen year. Andrea knew."

"Of course," Lena grumbles.

"And my sister knew about Lex, and that there were other vampires on campus. I thought maybe you were one of them, but when I talked to you I knew you weren't helping Lex. I knew you were good."

"How could you possibly know that?" Alex snaps.

"We have a bond, Alex. We're in Kappa Omega. Sisterhood, you know."

Alex rolls her eyes, and Lena never wants to hear that word in reference to Kara again.

"But you didn’t tell me," Alex persists.

"I didn't think you'd believe me."

Alex gazes at Lena, lingering condemningly over all the blood on her clothes.

"I'm not sure I do."

"Shut up, Alex," Lena barks back and pushes a blood-encrusted piece of hair behind her ear. "How long have you had Lex on your radar and haven't done a thing? You're just as impotent as I am."

"Not this time! We'd have had him if it wasn't for you!"

"Going to get another one of my informants killed? Samantha Arias ring a bell?"

"She's alive!" Alex shouts over her. "And she's been working with us. So, shove that up your tail pipe."

Lena reels at this new information, but Kara smacks her lips loudly, her eyes a bit dazed, and Lena can hear her making a weird sound with her tongue.

"I need to google if swallowing blood can give me a disease."

"Well, it was vampire blood, so. You're probably fucked."

Kara's eyes are suddenly much more dilated than they had been on the dance floor.

"Oh, wow," Kara says in a very high sounding voice. "I feel GREAT! Let's go back to the party!"

"Alright," Lena replies with piqued interest.

At the same time as Alex shouts, "NO!"

But Kara's already halfway out of the room, touching the walls with far too much intimacy. As Lena and Alex follow, she hears Alex hush a threat out under her breath.

"So, my sister is now high and you're allegedly dating? I'm going to get you for this, Luthor."

"Whatever."