If there was one thing that Lois Lane despised it was feeling small and petty. She hated experiencing emotions that she logically knew she shouldn't have. That she should have grown beyond in her thirty seven years on this planet. To her, there was little worse than knowing she was being irrational and spiteful, yet still being unable to help those traitorous thoughts and even worse, feelings, from taking hold of her. Which is why she was immediately angry at herself for having an instantaneous feeling of jealousy at the sight that greeted her as she walked towards her balcony.
Honestly, it was ridiculous. She should be beyond this by now. Two years had come and gone since she first began to date Diana and now they were in a committed relationship. Hell, they lived together. She lived with fucking Wonder Woman. People should be jealous of her. And most are. It just so happened that right now, in this instant, Lois was the jealous one and it was directed at the younger, blonder, femaler version of Superman who had her hand on Diana's forearm. It didn't make any sense to feel this way. Lois knew where she stood with Diana. They were it for each other. Diana was Lois' and vice versa. There was a comfortable feeling of possessive belonging between the two of them and frankly, Lois enjoyed it.
The girl was impressive, Lois would give her that, and she certainly had the look down pat. She wore the uniform just as well as Clark, with the same ease and confidence, and it reminded Lois of Diana in her armor. Back in the days before tournaments, magical trickery, and lying near immortal mothers. These days the armor had been surrendered to Artemis after the loss of her title and Diana had taken to wearing a work casual version of superhero sports wear. Donning jeans, t-shirts that featured the Wonder Woman logo created by the Daily Planet, and boots. Maybe it wasn't as impressive as her compatriots but she looked damn good. Almost good enough that Lois could hold back the rage at seeing Artemis in the armor that, to Lois and everyone else in Metropolis, would always be Diana's. She doubted the anger would ever go away though. That armor was Diana's, just like the title of Ambassador to Man's World. Artemis wasn't exactly Miss Warm and Fuzzy and Lois didn't know who Hippolyta thought she was fooling. No one could ever surpass Diana's natural warmth and kindness. Artemis wasn't an Ambassador to anything if no one particularly liked or trusted her.
Enough about Artemis though. She wasn't dealing with Artemis. This was girl was something entirely different. Something that Lois had to contain herself from muttering what fresh hell was this as she got a better look at her upon approaching the balcony. They were much closer than Lois had first observed, sitting on the railing to the balcony, completely at ease with the fact they were several hundred stories up. Lois supposed heights didn't mean much when you had the ability to fly. Despite their powers of flight and all the other abilities they had, neither woman noticed Lois' approach, they were too absorbed in conversation.
"I feel freer since I became Supergirl," she confessed and Diana wore a thoughtful expression. "For the first time, I don't have to hide who I am and where I come from. Don't get me wrong, I understood why they had me do it... that it was to protect me from people who would want to experiment on me, people who would see me as a threat, but to deny who I was after seeing my planet destroyed, it was crushing in a way I don't think I can ever explain. I think it makes you die a little inside, spending your days having to pretend to be something you're not just to continue living." Supergirl shook her head and looked into the distance. "That's no way to live. I think maybe I even hated myself a little as my powers developed. It was easier to focus on being normal, to try and fit in, but I never felt like I belonged. How could I? I was from another planet and I spent years trapped in the Phantom Zone, remembering the look on my parents face as they put me in that shuttle and watching as my planet exploded into dust." She swallowed before she continued, "That's why I'm so grateful to be doing this now. I can finally show the world who I am. That I'm Kara Zor-El, a survivor of the planet Krypton, and maybe I can share everything good that came of our world as a way to keep it alive. If only in my own memories and actions. But lately it seems like Kara is getting lost in Supergirl and I don't like that. There isn't a separation. They're both parts of me. Except these days, it feels like I only have value to people when I'm Supergirl and I hate that."
"You are more than your abilities," said Diana solemnly, clasping Supergirl's shoulder. "Never doubt in that, Kara."
Supergirl, no, Kara... Lois noted, repeating the name silently to herself, nodded her head and offered a wry smile. "You're the smart one," she declared, looking at Diana with quiet admiration. It was an expression Lois had seen people wear countless times around Diana and she doubted a time would come when she'd stop seeing it. "Not bothering with a secret identity. You can just be yourself and not have to worry about anyone finding out."
"Forgive me for saying this," said Diana almost hesitantly and it was then that Lois knew this was something different. Diana never hesitated with Clark and Bats, or any of her other super friends, she was kind and caring but she never hesitated. She always told them how it was and that was that. She didn't really stop to consider her words in diplomatic terms. Diana wasn't rude but she never pulled punches. Verbally or otherwise. So to do that now with this girl told Lois there was something other than the usual we both beat up bad guys camaraderie going on here. "Have you ever tried to show your true self to others?" Kara opened her mouth to reply but Diana gently interrupted, "I don't mean by revealing yourself as Supergirl. I mean using the parts of your personality that you've kept hidden in order to pretend to be human, to be normal, as you call it. Until you can reveal the pieces of you that were concealed in order to simply survive you can never truly say you've shown others who you are completely. You're painting an incomplete picture of yourself. A shadow, if you will," Diana remarked and she dipped her head to meet Kara's eyes. "You cannot live your life as half a person, Kara. Everyone deserves to be whole."
Kara nodded her head, taking everything in everything Diana said. "You think I should tell her," she said, her tone questioning.
"I think you should allow her to know all of you," said Diana, offering an encouraging smile. "After all, how could one fall in love with half of a person? You cannot. Whatever affection they might feel would be shallow, a parody of genuine love, and I do not think that is what you seek."
It was at this point that Lois decided she had eavesdropped for far too long. She didn't particularly need to hear Diana giving love advice to her fellow superheroes. At least it was this girl and not Green Lantern. Two years she had known him and she still hadn't ever seen him smile. The thought of him in love was a little disturbing, actually. "You didn't tell me we had company, Princess," Lois announced her presence as she walked onto the balcony.
Diana immediately turned her attention to Lois, smiling sweetly and scooting off the balcony railing and walking to her. They shared a light kiss that was lingering and Lois sighed inwardly, relaxing as Diana's arm wound around her waist. "Lois," Diana said her name in that endlessly affectionate way that never failed to let Lois know of her own importance in Diana's life. "This is--"
"Supergirl, I know," said Lois dryly, taking a good look at the girl for the first time. She was tall, almost as tall as Clark and Diana, and there was an easy confidence in the way she held herself but it wasn't intimidating like Diana could be. It wasn't the stance of a warrior. A survivor more like. Someone who had seen horrible things but had made it through. There was a loveliness to her, a charming sort of optimism that surrounded her. It was like Bats and Clark had created a blonde super powered baby that divided their personality aspects. Lois smirked at the idea of it and made a note to tell the men her thoughts when she saw them next. Bats would be amused and Clark would probably be horrified. "It's hard not to know her with Cat plastering her face everywhere."
Lois watched with interest as Kara's face colored into a rosy hue and a shy, almost pleased, smile formed. That was certainly intriguing. She fully intended on pursuing this when Diana bumped their hips and gave her that silent look that said: Lois, no.
Heaving a sigh and rolling her eyes, Lois conceded to Diana who pressed a kiss to her cheek and murmured her thanks before turning her attention to Kara who was observing them with curiosity. "I apologize for Lois," said Diana, a playful lilt in her voice. "She has no filter."
"I have one, I just choose not to use it," Lois snarked, shrugging her shoulders. She poked Diana in the abdomen, grinning when the Amazon squirmed and moved slightly away from her touch. "Eventually you'll have to stop apologizing for me." Tilting her head to one side, she studied Kara closer, there was a look on her face, one that Lois easily recognized. It was longing and Lois didn't think it was for her or even Diana. This girl didn't have a crush on her girlfriend. That's not why she was here. She wanted advice, she wanted what Diana had, a relationship where the person knew her, inside out, and loved her anyway. Maybe she was reaching a little, she didn't know anything close to their full conversation but something told Lois she was right and her hunches were rarely wrong. This thought caused Lois to feel a sudden swell of sympathy and affection for the girl. It made her want to try and be a bit nicer. "I'll let you in on a secret," Lois drawled, leaning closer to Kara. "I only tease people I like. Everybody else I ignore."
"That's true," Diana agreed and Lois snorted, taking in the look of faux innocence her girlfriend was sporting.
"But you don't know me," said Kara quietly, echoing Diana's hesitation from earlier, looking at Lois in confusion.
"No, but this one likes you," Lois replied, jerking a thumb at Diana who arched an eyebrow at this. "That goes a long way with me. Besides, Clark is a friend of mine. The big blue boy scout has told me about you from time to time and he says nothing but good things. Which isn't surprising, considering you're family."
"You know Clark is..." Kara trailed off, not saying the words, and Lois couldn't help but form a wide grin in response.
"Yup," Lois declared, her lips popping on the word almost triumphantly. "I know tons of secret identities and I keep my mouth shut about them all. Journalist or not I figure I have a duty to preserve the safety of our world and outing superheroes doesn't really help anybody besides their villains." Her eyes narrowed as she considered one identity she didn't know. It was the one that vexed her the most because she was certain she wasn't being told just because he enjoyed the idea of driving her insane. "Eventually I'll get Bats to tell me his," she muttered. "He's bound to give in one day. I already have a list of suspects."
"That's why he won't tell you," said Diana with fond exasperation.
There was a moment of pause and then Kara took a step forward, a look of determination on her features as she offered Lois her hand. "Kara Zor-El, otherwise known as Kara Danvers," she said, smiling as Lois took her hand and they shared a handshake.
"Lois Lane," replied Lois with a cheeky grin, pulling her hand back to pat Diana on the cheek. "I assume you invited her for dinner." Not waiting for Diana's answer, Lois turned and walked back into their apartment. "Since you're a guest, I promise not to burn too much of it."
"That's a lie," she heard Diana say in low tones, causing Kara to laugh.
Later that night, Lois exited the shower, drying her hair as Diana pulled back the covers to their bed. "I like the kid, she's sweet," Lois remarked.
"I do as well, though Kara could hardly be called a kid," Diana said as she walked over to Lois and took over drying her hair. Lois sighed as Diana's fingers slid through her hair, smoothing out the tangles gently. "She spent over twenty years in the Phantom Zone and was awake for nearly every second. I cannot imagine what it was like, being in isolation for so long, after having seen her planet destroyed. Kara says she had little awareness of the amount of time that was passing, that it moved at a different pace in the Phantom Zone, but it is still awful to consider."
"She reminds me of Clark," said Lois thoughtfully, taking back the towel and tossing it into the hamper. She crossed to their dresser, pulling out an old Metropolis University track t-shirt and a clean pair of panties then quickly pulling them both on. "There's a certain optimism to her that he has. Always looking on the bright side and all that crap." She pointed at Diana and drawled, "You've got that same thing, Princess. Although," Lois paused to consider as she got into bed. "There is something around her eyes that reminds me of Bats, you know?"
Diana silently slid into the bed, reaching for Lois who huffed but grinned as she felt herself pulled against Diana's muscular form. They fit together perfectly and Lois never felt anything but content while in Diana's arms. Sometimes she was excited and content or sad and content or any other number of things and content but the feeling of belonging never went away. It was always present when they were together. "Kara has not had an easy life," Diana revealed in a murmur. "She was sent in a pod by her parents shortly after Kal but it was blown off course by the destruction of her planet. The last words her parents spoke to her were ones instructing her to care for her baby cousin but by the time she reached Earth he was fully grown. Her mission was no more and I imagine having that purpose taken from her was difficult. I think they are not as close as they should be, that Kal does not know how to treat her, and Kara is wise beyond her years. It is a mistake to think of her as a youth. She has survived far too much for far too long to ever be thought of in such a manner."
"You want to help her, don't you?" Lois questioned, turning in Diana's arms and resting her chin on her collarbone, peering up at her.
"Help is not the right word," said Diana slowly, her fingers sifting through Lois' hair as she considered it. "I would like to be a friend. She and I have much in common and I find the idea of spending time with someone who understands my motivations compelling." Diana smiled as she caressed Lois' cheek. "I will never find anyone who knows me as you do but often, in the League, I still feel as if my viewpoint cannot be grasped. Today, upon speaking with her, I learned that Krypton held many beliefs in common with Themyscira. There is a connection I feel with her that reminds me of what I share with my sisters."
"She's an outsider too," observed Lois, kissing Diana's palm and entangling their fingers. "This isn't her home, not really. It isn't the same with Clark. He was raised here, he didn't know what he lost but she knows, doesn't she? Hell, she saw it all happen." Lois shifted her weight, lying on top of Diana and leaning down to capture her lips in a slow kiss. "You should spend time with her. Doing your superhero thing or whatever." Diana followed after her when they parted, clearly wanting more and Lois smirked, chuckling as she pushed a lock of hair out of her eyes. "I like the idea of you getting to hang out with another woman when you're off saving the world. The League is too much of a boys club if you ask me. I don't know how you stand it."
"Thoughts of you often provide relief," Diana said, her voice low and full of promise, and Lois grinned. Laughing happily as Diana grasped her hips, lifting her up until Lois was straddling her waist. The Amazon's hands moving with seductive intent as they pushed Lois' shirt over her head.
And with that, all talking was done for the evening.
The primary reason Cat became a journalist was because of her utter loathing of liars. To her, there was nothing more satisfying than shining a light onto those who sought to bury the truth. While she would acknowledge some lies serve a purpose she found it was far and few between. Cat didn't suffer liars, her time was valuable and she refused to spend it on those she couldn't trust. That being so, she found herself wondering why exactly she had allowed this situation with Kara to go on as long as it had. Was it because she was impressed by the lengths that Kara had gone? No, if anything she was irritated by it and by her instinctual shock upon seeing Kara in the same room as Supergirl. She had acted a fool and said some utterly stupid things in response to it but it was beyond her comprehension, seeing them together like that. They shared the same face, the same voice, and she had been baffled by it.
Now that some time had passed, Cat could truly consider the situation. Kara had obviously used her abilities or her connections with Agent Mulder and whatever shadowy government agency he worked for to hide the truth. What Cat couldn't fully understand was the reason why. She thought she had made it clear that she wouldn't be revealing Kara's identity as Supergirl. That wasn't remotely her motivation. Cat thought then and now that Kara should be doing better things with her time than fetching lattes and answering phones. There was so much good she could do in the world and it was going to a waste here.
And yet, Kara had wanted to stay so very much, even going so far as to give Cat a speech about what this job meant to her. What Cat meant to her. Then when she refused to listen Kara somehow pulled off that double routine to throw her off the scent.
Perhaps it was a little impressive. If anything it proved what CatCo meant to Kara and Cat wasn't precisely sure why that was but her belief remained that Kara was far too good for the job she was currently holding. And it wasn't as if she couldn't do without her. Cat was nothing if not self sufficient. She had gone through an endless bevy of incompetent, lazy, and simply insufferable assistants before Kara and it never stopped her from succeeding. Maybe it raised her blood pressure and made her devour more M&M's than she liked but it wasn't anything she couldn't live with.
She refused to consider how lonely it would be to not see Kara's face greeting her when she walked off the elevator. That her days would seem longer and darker without Kara's sunny personality engaging her, bringing her out of the frustrated moods that arose from controlling a multi million dollar company. It was an utterly ridiculous and selfish reason to keep Kara where she was when she deserved so much more. Honestly. This wasn't anything she should even be thinking about. Reviewing all her illogical notions for keeping Kara as her assistant when she should have been promoted a long time ago.
Cat hated liars and as such, she hated lying to herself. She knew Kara never got those promotions because she didn't like the idea of being without her. That she had allowed her own personal needs to override her logic and that just wouldn't do. Things like that could cost you an empire. If you wanted to succeed you had to utilize every advantage you were given and make sure the employees you knew could excel were given the chance to grow and advance. Stagnation is the death of creativity and success, Cat had long believed that to be the truth. Change was a much needed part of life.
With this thought running through her head, Cat finally took notice of Kara standing in front of her desk, an entirely nervous expression on her face. It was startlingly similar to the one she wore when Cat found out she was mailing letters to estranged son's in order to arrange family reunions. Absently, Cat tried to keep her thoughts from roaming towards how relieved she was to find out Adam and Kara shared only one awkward date before resolving to be friends. That wasn't something she should be thinking about. Not with the way her mind was wandering today.
"Kara," Cat said her name slowly, arching an eyebrow in a silent question.
Immediately, Kara unfroze and beamed at her, forming that shining smile which never failed to appear since Cat had started calling her by the correct name. Her long used tactic of keeping people at a distance utterly failed with Kara, who refused to be insulted by Cat's insistence of getting her name wrong. As such, she felt it was nothing but petty to continue this effort because it certainly didn't discourage Kara. Why was she so easy to please? And was it only this way with her? Cat didn't know if she wanted the answer to be yes or no. "Ms. Grant," Kara said almost breathlessly, still beaming at her, "I have the contracts you wanted."
Taking the contracts, Cat carelessly dropped them on her desk and rose to her feet. "Kara," she said her name again, slow and with purpose, "follow me." With that, Cat walked out onto her balcony, leaning against the railing and placing a hand on her hip as she regarded her assistant. Kara was shifting nervously from foot to foot and Cat considered this. Was this really Kara? This anxious creature standing in front of her? Perhaps, but it certainly wasn't all of her. This was a small piece of her, the part she showed to the world the most often. It was smart, Cat supposed, showing off your weaknesses to obscure your strengths. Hiding in plain sight, if you will. "Kara," Cat repeated her name just because she enjoyed the way it formed on her lips. How it never failed to bring Kara to attention. "I want to know, where do you see yourself in the future? What is it you would like to do?"
"Ms. Grant...?" Kara questioned uncomfortably, shifting again, her teeth worrying at her lower lip. "I don't understand."
"Surely you don't want to remain my assistant forever," said Cat carelessly, studying her impeccable manicure and looking at Kara from beneath her eyelashes, watching as Kara's eyes went wide in surprise. "Where do you see yourself?" she asked again. "The art department? Web development? News?"
A long moment passed and then Kara swallowed, taking a step forward as she said, "I don't think I'm a writer. Not like you, and the others in the bullpen, but I love reading and I think I'm good at corrections." She offered a wry smile, adjusting her glasses as she continued, "I also have an MFA--"
"I know," Cat interrupted, tilting her head, "you got it at the same time as your MBA. If I recall correctly, you entered college much sooner than your contemporaries, didn't you? Something about accelerated learning that allowed you to graduate high school early?" Kara blinked at her, clearly shocked that Cat knew so much about her. Or perhaps more surprised Cat remembered it. Maybe she had been better at pretending not to care than she thought. "Really, Kara," Cat drawled playfully, arching an eyebrow. "Why do you think I hired you? You're quite impressive, you know. Despite the cardigans and stammering."
That smile was back again. The shining one that was nearly as blinding as the sun and Cat hated her heart for skipping a beat upon seeing it. Looking off to one side, staring at the National City skyline, Cat formed her best indifferent expression. "That's it then," she declared, tossing her hair to one side and putting her hand on her hip. This stance never failed to make her feel self assured and confident, something Cat needed in abundance as she really couldn't dwell on what she might be losing with this decision. "The online division needs a new Junior Editor for Arts & Entertainment."
"Ms. Grant?" Kara questioned, hurrying after her as Cat walked back into her office.
"Tell HR to start searching for your replacement," said Cat carelessly, sitting at her desk and looking through the contracts that Kara delivered earlier. "I would like you to train them, of course, in hopes of preventing the maximum amount of ineptitude but it wouldn't be for long. Two weeks at the most and then you can start your new position." Silence greets her and she can feel Kara's eyes on her. Eventually Cat gave in, heaving an exasperated sigh and looking at her. "What is it?"
"Did I..." Kara began but then she hesitated, looking down at her feet, before lifting her gaze, gathering her courage and standing much taller. It was interesting to observe and she thought in a small way it was like watching Kara tap into the aspects of herself she used as Supergirl. "Did I do something? Is it the situation with Adam? I know I overstepped my bounds but--"
Kara didn't ask what she really wanted to know. Why are you sending me away? What did I do to make you not want me around anymore? Cat knew that was lurking beneath her questions but Cat didn't want to give those answers. Not even to soothe Kara's insecurities which tore at her. This was for the best. She relied too much on Kara and it wasn't good. Kara was meant for better things than her, for better people, and just because she was called Queen of All Media didn't mean she was truly a woman of great importance. Her job was to report on people who were, she told their stories. Kara's story was important, and it was entirely hers, it wasn't Cat's, no matter how much she wanted to keep Kara close, and claim her as her own.
"You did nothing, this is my fault," Cat interrupted, looking at Kara with sincerity, believing every word she was saying. "I should have promoted you a long time ago, Kara. You're talented and you work hard for me, for this company, and you deserve to move onto greater things." Cat looked into those blue eyes, still so very wide and disbelieving, and she sighed softly. Standing up, she crossed to stand in front of Kara and unable to help herself, she reached for her hands. They were soft, much softer than Cat would've suspected, having seen them hold up the weight of collapsing buildings. "I'm a selfish person, surprising I know," she drawled in self deprecating tones, pleased when Kara released an involuntary burst of laughter, "and I wanted to keep you close. You help me so very much, Kara. More than I think you know but just because that's true doesn't mean I should keep you here. I've held you back, that's my mistake, and it's long past time for me to correct it. That's why you're getting this promotion. Not because of anything you did wrong. It's not a punishment. This is me, attempting to set things right."
"You never held me back, not once," said Kara quietly, her voice thick with emotion. "You've helped me so much and I was never unhappy as your assistant." At this, Cat lifted an eyebrow and formed a supremely skeptical expression. "Well, maybe, sometimes," Kara corrected, laughing, turning her head to one side and gathering herself. When she looked back at Cat she was the picture of self assurance and she said confidently, "I love working with you."
Her hands, they seemed to have a mind of their own, Cat thought as her left rested on Kara's hip and her right lifted up to rest flat against Kara's cheek. She tried her best to ignore the way Kara leaned into her touch. It was dangerous. This whole thing was. That was why she was doing this. Cat needed perspective and she couldn't do that when Kara was with her and besides, she meant everything she said. Kara deserved more than this, even if she didn't think so herself. "I'm glad that's true but it doesn't take away the fact that you're too important to stay my assistant," said Cat almost gently. Kara ducked her head and it was as if she was watching something inside her break and it hurt Cat. It hurt her more than she could properly understand and it made her want to take this all back. Except that she knew she was right. She couldn't fire Kara, not when she obviously wanted to be here so much, and had gone to such lengths to keep her job but she could give her everything she was due. It was more than right to acknowledge Kara's talents, Kara's talents, not Supergirl's, and that included moving her, unhappily as this apparently was, out of her position as a personal assistant. "This is for the best, Kara," said Cat quietly, moving back to her desk. "Trust me."
Silence, long seemingly unending silence, and then Kara said roughly, "Yes, Ms. Grant."
And then she was gone and Cat was staring at the damn contracts but not seeing one word of them. Trying to convince herself that she hadn't made a monumental mistake and wanting, more than anything, to forget the pain that had been lurking in Kara's voice as she said her name.
Precisely five days later, Cat has a new assistant. Her name is Marcy and she's nowhere as good as Kara and although Kara is training her, she still acts as if she's the personal assistant and not Marcy. Waiting for her every morning with a hot latte and scurrying into the office faster than Marcy when Cat calls out for her new assistant, deciding for whatever reason she'll be calling her Macy for the time being. She knows that Kara doesn't need to be doing this, that she should be spending far more time in Arts & Entertainment, collaborating with her new team and learning her place as a Junior Editor, but Cat can't send her away. It's difficult enough that she's surrendered Kara's place in her life to someone she's referring to as a department store chain.
Eventually, Cat decides to distract herself with the piles of research she's demanded her people gather on Maxwell Lord. She had long suspected there was a story there and she wants it uncovered already. No one who puts on such a squeaky clean man of the people image lived up to it in reality. In fact, Cat could count on one hand the amount of people she investigated that managed to surprise her by being shockingly good. Cat doubted very much Maxwell Lord would end up being one of those people. As such, she instructed her special investigations team to look into him. They were her true journalists, the ones who lived to uncover things people spent billions to bury and would threaten lives to keep hidden. Her thrill seekers, the best of the best, and now they were all focused on Maxwell Lord's not so little scientific operations and exactly why he hated her favorite superhero so very much.
Cat didn't want to think about why she was so invested in exposing him. It was easier to just go along with her employees assumptions that she wanted to bring him down for trying to ruin Supergirl's image. Since, due to her branding, Supergirl was thought of hand in hand with CatCo Worldwide Media. If the hero went down then she could, quite possibly, bring Cat's empire with her. And yes, maybe that was a good portion of her motivation but there was another part. The part she desperately didn't want to think about, the one which wanted to viciously destroy anything that threatened Kara.
Working in the field of journalism had made Cat talented at very specific things. One was spotting liars and another was recognizing threats and she knew Maxwell Lord was a threat to Supergirl and despite Agent Mulder and Kara's best efforts she also knew Kara was Supergirl. Thus, Maxwell Lord was a threat to Kara and Cat, well, Cat couldn't stand even the idea of that. Also, it did occur to her, once she got past her instinctive rage, that any threats to Kara would be possibly catastrophic to the city as a whole. She was sure they could recover if Kara was ever to leave or retire but something essential would be missing from the fabric of their lives if that happened. Supergirl was as much a part of National City as Wonder Woman was to Metropolis or Batman to Gotham.
All of the cities could survive without their heroes but they wouldn't be the same and people, one way or another, would suffer in their absence.
That being true, Cat was focused on exposing Maxwell Lord, and whatever he had planned for Kara. Special investigations had managed to dig up quite a bit of information but nothing pertinent enough to consider it an expose. Which is why she was currently looking at a list of viable sources. People who worked for Maxwell Lord that they considered to be potential whistle blowers. She liked to give her investigations team as much freedom as possible and she rarely assigned any stories to them, allowing the team to work independently, with only their editor and herself as oversight.
Perhaps it was because of the freedom she gave them or maybe the investigations they knew she led in the past that they often asked her opinion. They were wavering on who to approach. There were just a handful of options but they couldn't speak to them all. Only one or two at the most, otherwise they could risk giving themselves away and allowing Maxwell Lord to discover what they were up to. Which would bring their story to a grinding halt.
Studying the profiles, Cat considered the man staring at her from screen. Juan Bautista, a genetic engineer, brilliant and a family man. His wife and youngest daughter had been saved by Supergirl from a recent fire that had engulfed his daughter's daycare. This man had a personal debt to Kara, more than any of the others, he might be swayed if they could give him concrete evidence that Maxwell Lord wanted to harm Supergirl with his plans. Firing off a quick email to the team, she told them she felt Bautista was the best choice, but only approach him once they had some proof Lord wanted to harm Supergirl.
They had bits of evidence, small things here and there, but the thread was emerging. They were pulling it loose and sooner or later, Lord's plans would unravel and once they had that, they could go to Juan Bautista and finally discover the full extent of his plans. Cat just hoped they could do this before whatever he had in mind for Kara was set into motion. Part of her wanted to talk to Kara, to warn her, but there wasn't anything to warn her about. There was only suspicions and Kara was still insisting on pretending to be mild mannered and Cat didn't want to take that from her. Not yet anyway.
Not until Cat could actually help her.
Staring at the television in the corner of her office, Lois scowled at the sight of Artemis. Looking out into the bullpen she could see everyone was transfixed by Artemis doing battle with some freakish green looking creature. She held herself back from joining them, not wanting to deal with the stares and the silent questions on their faces whenever Artemis came up. Lois was a journalist at heart, she couldn't ever be an editor, and she certainly couldn't ever take Perry's place. That wasn't her. She wanted to write stories, that's all she ever wanted to do, but when Perry came to her talking to her about seniority and respect and the younger generation, Lois had given in and accepted her role as senior investigative journalist.
Whatever that meant.
To her, it was being stuck in this office, staring through the window and watching her coworkers react instead of reacting with them. Heaving a sigh, Lois studied Artemis again and she tried thinking of everything Diana had told her. That it wasn't Artemis' fault what happened, that it was her mother. Maybe that's what made her so angry. Lois knew something was up, she knew and she did what she did best, she investigated. She found the isolated and horrible living conditions the Bana-Mighdall Amazons were forced to endure and she revealed it all to Diana during their trip to Themyscira. Then she even discovered Hippolyta's sabotage of Diana during the new contest for an Ambassador to Man's World. How she used magic to grant Artemis some of Diana's abilities in order to give her a competitive edge. She did all that and it didn't make a difference. Diana still lost her title and Artemis was on her television, wearing Diana's armor, and trying to act like she was good enough to stand in Diana's shoes.
The part that really rankled her though, was that she understood why Hippolyta did it. When Hippolyta broke down and spoke of her visions, how one of them had been of Wonder Woman dying, Lois shared all of her same fears about losing Diana. She was a Queen and a leader to her people but Hippolyta was also a mother and she couldn't allow that vision to come true. It was a simple enough solution, make sure Diana wasn't Wonder Woman, and that would fix everything. Only Diana had no sympathy for her mother's motivations, saying they were cowardly and selfish, and she immediately warned Artemis.
Artemis didn't believe Diana, of course, saying she was jealous and merely wanted to scare her into giving up her newly won title.
Nothing Diana could do or say could convince Artemis otherwise and Lois knew it troubled her. These days Diana was a barely contained ball of outrage because she believed her mother had doomed one of her sisters to die in her place and Lois wanted to care about that. She wanted to share in Diana's sorrow and rage but she couldn't, not fully, because deep down she almost agreed with Hippolyta's decision. Just because the idea of a life without Diana was more devastating than anything Lois could imagine. Maybe it made her a bad person, someone undeserving of Diana's love, but Lois couldn't help feeling that way.
It was easier to hide behind her anger whenever Artemis appeared because if she let herself stop and think what she really felt, she'd only be disgusted. Honestly, Lois thought, leaning back in her chair and staring up at the ceiling. When had her life gotten this emotionally complicated. Oh, yeah. Right around the time she decided to involve herself with a super powered Amazon, that's when. Though she couldn't ever regret that particular decision.
Drawing her gaze back to the television, Lois blinked when a familiar blonde figure flew into the picture. Supergirl was there? Shit. That meant Artemis was playing in her sandbox. Which also meant she was in National City. Lois groaned as CatCo headquarters moved into frame and she stared up at her tacky popcorn marked white ceiling, counting down the seconds until an all too familiar ringtone sounded.
Seven minutes later David Bowie's Cat People blared from her phone and Lois answered it in droll tones, "What's new, Pussycat?"
"Don't call me that," Cat insisted, sounding imperious as ever. "Why is the New Coke version of Wonder Woman currently destroying my city?"
"I don't know," Lois replied, spinning around in her chair, trying to find solace in her increasing dizziness. "I'm dating the actual Wonder Woman, not the one slumming it in National City. I've got no clue why Artemis is there. Why don't you ask your caped girlfriend? She's flying around with her." Cat scoffed in response to this and Lois stopped spinning to consider Kara's conversation with Diana the other night. Quickly, she ran through everything she could recall Cat saying about Supergirl until she reached a very interesting conclusion that would be worthy of any gossip page. "You know, Kitty Cat, I've been around enough superheroes to know whenever someone is crushing on one of them."
"She's a child," dismissed Cat quickly and Lois raised an eyebrow at this. That was a very interesting position for ultra feminist Cat Grant to take. For as long as Lois had known Cat, she was loathe to dismiss anyone because of their age, gender, race, or sexuality. So to push away any assumption of romance by doing this... well. That meant Lois must have rattled her. Keeping this tidbit in the back of her mind for later, Lois scooted over to the window, staring out at the Metropolis skyline while occasionally glancing at the tv. "That piece you wrote a week ago on Lex Luthor," Cat said slowly and Lois came to attention. No matter what she said publicly as part of their little rivalry game, Lois respected Cat's opinion as a journalist. She was a damn good writer and had even better story instincts. "It was brilliant," Cat finished reluctantly and Lois couldn't help but form a huge grin. "I have something similar in the works for Maxwell Lord."
"Yeah?" questioned Lois, straightening in her seat. "You coming out of retirement to write it? I thought you reserved that honor for Supergirl alone." As Lois said this, she couldn't help but consider how special that had been. Cat hadn't written anything for almost five years. Preferring instead to focus on building up her considerable media empire. And yet, she wrote that first story on Supergirl. She put her personal stamp on the hero, ensuring with it how she would be treated in the media along with it. Maybe there was something to her offhand comment about Cat having a crush after all.
"No, I've got my team on it," said Cat lazily and Lois could practically see her studying her manicure with a smug smile. "Derrick Lewis is my lead journalist for special investigations now. You remember him, don't you?"
Grimacing as she thought about the brilliant young reporter that Cat had stolen from her six months ago, Lois snarked, "I remember him. I'm not the one getting closer to Alzheimer's age, Pussycat."
"Don't be jealous I only look half my age," Cat laughed and Lois scowled, hating that she was mostly right. She did look good. "Anyway, if it makes you feel better, I had to pursue him for a better part of a year before I could finally manage to snatch him away."
"Thanks for that," said Lois with dry humor and Cat chuckled in response. "Be careful though," said Lois after a moment, "I don't need to remind you how it can get when you're investigating lifestyles of the rich and famous. They've got the most to lose so they're always the most dangerous to deal with."
"I know but I didn't get to be among their number by playing it safe, now did I?" Cat responded.
Rolling her eyes and forcing herself to admit it was stuff like this that actually made her admire Cat Grant, Lois spun in her chair and replied, "Maybe I'll have Pulitzer Prize competition for once. That would be a nice change of pace."
Silence and then the sound of a door opening and wind rushing by. "Your girlfriend's stand in has apparently damaged one of our bridges," Cat declared. "As much as I appreciate the ratings, this is a little too much." The sound of a door shutting and Cat was barking orders at employees, no doubt wanting to put a spin on this story that was Supergirl positive. Which probably left Artemis hanging out to dry. "Lois," Cat returned to the phone call, "it appears I have even more destruction to cover. She's apparently taken the battle to one of our dams as well. I hope she leaves before she wrecks all our infrastructure."
Looking at the television and seeing Supergirl holding up the bridge while Artemis did who knows what, Lois remarked, "Me too."
There were certain professional relationships that Cat worked very hard to maintain. People she genuinely cared about and kept track of, both professionally and personally. To name a few, there were her former colleagues at the Daily Planet, the heads of all her different divisions, the anchors of her networks, and every member of her special investigations team. The latter was of particular importance to her because they represented her roots. What had gotten her to where she was. Good, solid, reporting. People who sought the truth and wouldn't be discouraged by endless doors being slammed in their faces. Cat loved anyone with tenacious ambition and that perfectly described every member of the team that was so close to her heart.
Which is why, from time to time, she enjoyed sharing dinner with them as they went over their various projects. All safe within the walls of CatCo headquarters, of course. She liked hearing from them, learning what they were interested in and what stories they had planned in the future. Only this dinner was different. Cat knew exactly what they were planning and now she wanted to know how far along they were in the process.
Derrick Lewis had secured an interview with Juan Bautista, while Madeena Hannan's source provided files which detailed a genetic engineering project involving a young woman only referred to as Jane Doe. A project which Juan confirmed in his interview with Derrick. All in all, it was coming along nicely and while Cat was immensely proud of each and every one of her journalists she couldn't help her breath catching in her throat as she heard Juan discuss Maxwell Lord's personal vendetta against Supergirl. She was almost hoping she was wrong in this case, if only for Kara's safety, but her team had done their job. They had found out the truth about Lord and his plans and now they had to iron out all the small details. Cat spent much of the night with them, going over the holes in the story, things that would have to be verified, as she had little doubt the full strength of Maxwell Lord's litigation might would be after them when this published. By the end of dinner, they resolved that the story should be finished by the end of the month, once everything was cleared by legal.
She thanked them all personally for their work, compliments coming easily when she was well aware of all their talents, and silently headed back to her office. Ready to finish off her long day with a few emails before returning to her empty penthouse. Or maybe she'd stay in the office a bit longer. This was Carter's weekend with his father and she was reluctant to return home when he was gone. It never felt right when he wasn't there for a prolonged period of time and it unsettled her, being in their home without him present. Cat often wondered how she would get through his college years.
Walking over to the bar, Cat poured a finger of scotch and walked out onto her balcony, enjoying the night air. There was something relaxing about the city at night and Cat wasn't sure how much time passed when a light step sounded next to her and she looked up to see Supergirl gazing at her. It was startling to see Kara like this, Cat realized, and she supposed it had to do with how different she presented herself. Certainly Cat could understand the need though. Who she put forth to the world was hardly who she actually was and it was much the same for Kara.
Except, unlike Cat, she was an actual hero.
"Supergirl," Cat drew her title out slowly, lifting up her glass of scotch, noting with a frown it was empty. Rising to her feet, she wandered back into her office and looked over her shoulder as she asked, "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Why are you investigating Maxwell Lord?" asked Kara almost sternly and Cat blinked, looking up from her scotch for a moment.
"I should tell you this why?" Cat inquired, setting the decanter down and staring at her former assistant.
"He's dangerous, tell your people to stop digging," Kara instructed and Cat couldn't help but laugh at this, walking past her and back onto the balcony.
"I'm sorry, when exactly did I give anyone permission to dictate what I can and cannot report on?" asked Cat sardonically, crossing her legs and taking a long drink of scotch. She had a feeling she'd need alcohol to deal with whatever Kara was going to say next. "I refuse to tell my journalists to back off a story which is an important one. A story, which happens to involve your personal safety, I might add. Did you know he's creating some sort of super soldier to fight you? He wants you dead or at the very least badly injured. I think that's something the people of National City have a right to know."
"Ms. Grant," Kara was almost pleading now.
"There it is," Cat declared, smiling into her scotch as she took another drink. Kara was standing over her, still and questioning, her eyes wide as Cat tilted her head back to observe the other woman. "It's funny, isn't it?"
"What," said Kara, more a statement then a question.
"How you both manage to say my name the exact same way," drawled Cat, lifting an eyebrow in amusement.
There was a moment of pause and then she was standing taller, her expression hard and her eyes narrowed, and she was so very impressive but she was still Kara and Cat wondered why they had to play this game. Why Kara insisted on pretending to be something she wasn't. Did she trust her so little? Or was it something else? Something ridiculous and noble that Cat would probably dismiss as idiotic? That seemed more likely.
"I thought we had settled this," said Kara, sounding every inch the hero she was.
"No, we didn't," said Cat slowly, drinking the last of her scotch as stood up and stared Kara down. "You performed a very impressive trick, worthy of Houdini, to put me off the trail but we didn't settle anything. Not while you insist on continuing to lie to me about this. Now," Cat continued, putting down her sadly empty glass of scotch before she eyed Kara with a speculative gaze. "We can keep up this charade but I know the truth and I've said it once before: you are meant for far greater things. You save people and I don't claim to understand what value you could find in me or this place but I do know my investigation into Maxwell Lord's shady dealings isn't something you should be concerned with. You're meant for something beyond my small interests."
"Cat," Kara uttered her name in a ragged breath, almost begging and it pulled at something deep inside her. It almost made her want to give in. Kara didn't help anything by stepping closer and adding, "Please don't do this. You'll be in danger."
Clucking her tongue and pressing her index finger to her lips, Cat cocked her head and considered Kara's expression. There was genuine pain there, a sort of quiet anguish if you will, and Cat couldn't imagine why she could be responsible for such a thing. She wasn't stupid, there were more than a few reasons to go with, all of which she was listing in her head but none of them made sense. Kara was Kara. She was good and kind and impossibly sweet and caring and all of those reasons didn't add up when they were put into consideration with her. That didn't stop Cat from wishing that maybe some of them were true. Despite all rumors implying otherwise, she was human and she did have a heart. Which is why Cat stepped closer, giving into temptation, reaching out to touch her cheek. Smiling when Kara leaned into her touch exactly as she had done just days before.
"It's all right to be scared, the important thing is to get past it," murmured Cat, allowing her fingers to stretch out in a gentle caress. Why was this girl so soft? She could withstand bullets and massive explosions, she shouldn't feel like the most expensive silk. It was almost intolerable. "You don't need me, Kara. Not really."
No reply came. Just Kara shaking her head and looking at her with impossibly sad eyes before she flew away. Cat remained where she was, watching until she was just a speck in the distance. All the while wondering if Kara would go back to lying to her tomorrow.