The words hold in them a certain kind of gravitas, because Kara has never before said them out loud, not like this, not like the seams of her spirit are bursting with all that she’s feeling inside—with everything she has been, everything she is, everything she will be. She’s never said them this way, as if failing to do so will be an offense to her very being, because it would be akin to denouncing herself—denouncing a fundamental truth that has seeped into every part of her, making her thrum with a consciousness that feels ancient and glorious and freeing all at the same time.
The declaration settles tenderly around her, like a soft, thick blanket on a wintry night, safe and comforting. Somehow she feels lighter, but not like she’s just unloaded a burden, because she can never see what she’s feeling for Lena as a burden of any sort, no; it’s more like she’s weightless because she’s soaring, and her wings are made of every moment that she’s known Lena, every second stitched into the fabric of forever.
She feels her sister’s smile against her temple, Alex’s arms tightening in support.
“I know you do, dumbass,” Alex says, her voice full of pride and approval.
Kara snorts, because yeah, Alex definitely does—probably has known for far longer than Kara herself, even. She thinks back to all those times she contacted Alex just because Lena did something with which her heart couldn’t deal without going into overdrive, and yep— “I’ve been kind of blind, haven’t I?” she muses.
“You kind of have, yeah. You’ve always been oblivious to things that directly concern you,” Alex says, but Kara detects a measure of reluctant affection, and she grins. “For all the good that you are at taking care of other people’s needs, Kara, your own self-awareness kind of sucks.”
“Maybe.” She sighs. “I just thought roommates were supposed to be off limits, you know? Kind of like the ‘no homo’ thing but specifically for roommates.”
“Is that a thing?”
“I don’t know.” Alex pauses. “Also the term ‘no homo’ is all sorts of problematic, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I know, it perpetuates a negative connotation of same-sex relationships, because it automatically perceives that gay people cannot form friendships with those of the same sex without wanting to, like, jump them and stuff.” Kara huffs. “But that’s beside my point, Alex.”
“I’m just saying.”
“My point is I’m not supposed to feel this way.”
“Whether or not you’re supposed to feel a certain way doesn’t matter, Kara. Feelings are feelings. They have no rules.”
“That’s the truth.”
“I like rules. They make things easy. Like, ‘Don’t jump without looking.’ Or ‘Don’t report mere speculations.’ Or ‘Don’t fall in love with your best friend.’”
“You do realise that almost all romantic comedies in existence are built on the premise that people fall in love with their best friends all the time. People eat that shit up.”
“Precisely. My life, however, is not a romantic comedy, and I doubt it’ll start being one any time soon.”
“You’re already halfway there. I’d say you’re doing well on that front.”
Kara groans, as if physically pained by the truth that is her life. “Let me wallow in the pit of my despair, please.”
“Why are you even in despair right now? You’re gonna be spending a whole holiday with her, you get to hold her hand in public, and you get to show her off to your people—which, honestly, I look forward to because do you know how many messages Clark sent me about Kryptonians asking for their princess’s romantic escapades? It’s ridiculous how invested they are in your love life.”
“That’s what makes it worse! I just—” She sighs again, runs a hand through her hair. “I feel like I’m lying my teeth off.”
“Well, you kind of are,” Alex points out, sensibly, “at least about your feelings.”
She scoots back to glare at her sister, though it’s more of a half-hearted attempt at one.
Alex shrugs. “I thought I was supposed to be the emotionally stunted Danvers sister,” she says, with a self-deprecating smile.
“You’re not emotionally stunted. You feel a lot, you just don’t articulate it well.”
“Ha!” Alex scoffs. “Pot, kettle, black.”
Okay, Kara has earned that, she admits. Still. “Alex, I’m dying.” She buries her head again in the crook of her sister’s neck.
“You’re not,” her sister refutes. “If you died on my watch, Lena would probably murder me. So wait until I’m out of here before dying, thanks. I need the alibi.”
“She could murder me and I’d say thank you.”
Alex shrugs beneath Kara’s cheek. “She could murder you and I’d say thank you too.”
Kara laughs into her sister’s shoulder. “Rude.”
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding. If she murdered you, I’d make sure she gets life imprisonment, okay, and I’d set her entire Star Wars collection on fire.”
“I don’t like the thought of Lena in prison. It makes me sad.”
“Of course it does. She murdered you and yet you feel sorry for her. Honestly, how have your own feelings been such a secret to yourself all this time?”
Kara hums, noncommittal. The answer to that question eludes her even now. “Don’t send her to prison.”
“I couldn’t abet a murderer, Kara, I’m a federal agent. Catching them is sort of my job. Also I thought you said you like rules, you giant hypocrite.”
“Yeah, but Lena,” Kara says in her defense, as if that’s all the reason she needs, which, all things considered, is probably true. “Just think of it as a last request from your dead sister.”
“I can’t believe you’d make me commit felony from the grave. That’s a new low.” Alex takes a deep breath. “But yeah, okay, I won’t send her to prison. Though if someone else caught her, I won’t be able to do anything, okay?” She tries for aggrieved, but she just sounds mildly amused.
That’s good enough for Kara, though. “Thanks, Alex.” She shifts in her position, though she’s still leaning against Alex and Alex has an arm around her shoulder. “Do you think that if a Last Will had something about releasing the person’s murderer, the law would be required to comply, or does the law take precedence?”
Alex laughs. “I think it’s the latter, though I’ll ask Lucy to be sure, if you want.”
“Thanks, Alex,” she repeats. Kara doesn’t know how long they stay like that, quiet and still, but before long her eyelids grow heavy, and her limbs turn loose. It is so cosy, here with her sister, and soon enough, sleep calls as sweetly as ever, but something in Kara resists.
Sometimes, it’s that sort of stupor that draws out her innermost fears. Kara feels like she’s getting removed from reality, while also suspended on it, and her lips form words she’s been too afraid to say, before. “I can’t do this.”
Alex startles a bit, probably thinking Kara has already fallen asleep. When she recovers, her voice is soft. “Pretend you love her while pretending you don’t?” she asks.
“Yeah.” Kara’s throat feels tight. “Pretending I don’t love her will be like pretending the moon doesn’t need the sun to shine.”
Her sister falls silent for a while, in light of how much serious Kara sounds, how much she means every word. “You know, you can actually tell her,” Alex offers, her voice barely above a whisper.
Kara shakes her head. “I can’t.”
It takes some time for Kara to answer, but when she does, her voice is smaller than ever. “I’m scared.”
“That she doesn’t feel the same way?” Alex kindly pries.
Kara swallows thickly, but remains quiet, and that’s all the answer Alex seems to need.
alexpecto patronum: what do you say to a crying sister
huff-le-puff danvers: alex wtf
alexpecto patronum: wrong
alexpecto patronum: you say “are you having a cri-sis?”
huff-le-puff danvers: i will murder you in cold blood
alexpecto patronum: i probably deserve that
alexpecto patronum: but anyway
alexpecto patronum: are you?
“Please don’t freak out.”
Kara is reading on her desk, but she snaps her head up when she hears those words, which, despite the gentle tone used to utter them, are not the best words with which to start a conversation if one would rather avoid inciting any sort of unease and overall anxiety.
Lena stands in her open doorway, the picture of grace and sophistication, and Kara would have thought she’s perfectly calm were it not for the way she’s twiddling her thumbs and the way her jaw clenches ever so slightly. It’s a different look on her, nervousness, but she still looks as gorgeous as ever.
Which is so not the point. Rao.
She waves Lena over with what she hopes is a reassuring smile. Lena walks in, and she nods, like maybe she’s trying to convince herself of whatever it is she’s doing.
Right. What is happening?
“What’s happening?” Kara asks, aloud.
“You look cute in that jumper,” Lena says as she begins pacing around the room, and her hands are performing some kind of interpretive dance in the air, stealing Kara’s attention, “the puppy design definitely suits you, I promise I’ll learn how to cook that special falafel for you, my brother asked me to come to this stupid gala hosted by our parents because he doesn’t want to be grilled alone about current relationships and such, but I might have accidentally-on-purpose sort of told him that I have a girlfriend right now, so will you be my date?”
Kara just blinks at her for what seems like a solid minute but is probably, realistically, less than that, and her mouth is closing and opening like some sort of overused trash can. “Explain that last thing,” she finally manages.
Lena groans, before sitting down on the edge of Kara’s bed. There are spots of pink high on her cheeks. “As you know, my family often hosts galas and stuff, and I usually can get away with not attending by telling them that I have things to do. But this time my brother checked with my college dean—which is totally illegal, god, he’s such an ass—and he knows I’ll be free from any sort of academic responsibility, so I can’t use that as an excuse anymore.”
“So you . . . told him you’ve got a girlfriend?”
“Yes. And I only said that because I thought it would deter him from any sort of insistence about my attendance, because then, even if I did come, he’s going to be alone anyway. But I really should not have underestimated my own brother because now he’s even being more of a jerk, and he said two shields are better than one, he could hide behind the both of us, and basically I really do need someone to come with me because he’s not letting it go and it’s giving me a massive headache.”
And Lena is looking at her with those big green eyes of hers, and Kara is helpless against that power, okay, Lena is not playing fair at all. “You want me to pretend to be your girlfriend? In front of your brother, who is also a genius, and your parents?”
“Please,” Lena says, and oh no, she’s biting her lower lip. This is Serious™; Lena’s pulling all the stops here. Kara can physically feel her protective barriers falling away. “We won’t even have to stay long, I swear. Just long enough to maybe mess with Mother’s precious connections and my brother’s hair. Besides, it’s a step down from the fiancée thing. It’ll be kind of a rehearsal for our performance!”
“Rehearsal?” Kara echoes, less hesitant that she’d like.
“Yes, rehearsal,” Lena confirms, nodding vigorously. “We’ll be like professional liars.”
“I think you mean actors,” Kara says dryly.
“That’s what I said.” Lena grins. “Anyway, it’s a dry run, if you will, for when we have to act in front of your whole kingdom. Think about it. The crowd will be considerably smaller, no princess-y behaviour is required, and we get to practice making fun of relatives behind their backs.” And she looks so pleased with herself, and at the same time so hopeful, and Kara knows that her answer would have been the same even if Lena hadn’t put such an effort into convincing her.
She repeats the word screwed to herself about a hundred times, just so she’s sure her mind will get the memo and have it stick.
Because she is so, so screwed.
“Well,” Kara says, with a half smile that she hopes is hiding the screams of the damned, “with terms as enticing as that, how can I ever say no?”
Lena’s bright smile is worth all the mess her heart’s going through right now, with the palpitations and what-not, though maybe her heart is not agreeing with that.
Kara shrugs inwardly.
She decides her heart just has to suck it up.
huff-le-puff danvers: alex there’s a development re: lena
alexpecto patronum: what do you need
huff-le-puff danvers: strength of will
alexpecto patronum: oh well in that case you’re screwed
huff-le-puff danvers: i know that already but thanks for the vote of confidence
alexpecto patronum: anytime
“When will the gala be?”
“Last Friday of the term,” Lena answers. “It’s in the National City Metropolitan Museum. We can go to the airport right after, for the flight to Krypton. It’ll take, like, half an hour by car, I think. Plenty of time.”
“Oh, right.” Kara nods, and then she quickly shakes her head. “I mean no.”
“Hmm?” Lena cocks her head to the side, and oh Rao, how is she this adorable?
Kara blinks and tries to gather her thoughts into some semblance of order. “We’re not going to NCIA for the flight,” she explains, kind of haltingly, and she shakes her head again before continuing. “There’s an airstrip about three miles out of the city. Our jet’s going to pick us up there.”
“‘Our’ jet?” Lena questions, an eyebrow raised, and she sounds amused.
“I-I mean, uhm.”
“You have a jet?”
“Well, no, I mean, the one we’re using is my family’s.”
“And as the sole heir,” Lena says, “does it not fall under your ownership?”
“I—uhm, it’s not really—”
“Yes or no, darling.”
Kara huffs. “Okay, okay. Yes, it does.”
“Rich kid,” Lena teases. “Owning jets, huh? Such a lavish lifestyle.”
“Hey, you’re one to talk,” Kara grumps. “You have luxury cars for every occasion which is totally ridiculous.”
“Cars have nothing on jets, Kara. How can you even put them in the same category?”
“Okay, first of all, the jets are for international travel, which is, you know, sort of really necessary when dealing with foreign affairs and diplomatic relations. Second of all, Lena, you bought a new car last week because you used one of yours as a bet, which, I repeat, is ridiculous because who honestly bets cars in college? And third of—wait, what, why are you laughing, stop that!”
Lena’s is leaning on her elbows, set atop her thighs, as she buries her face in her hands, but Kara can hear her breathless laughter. “What the hell,” she gasps out, “you just admitted that you do have jets, Kara, come on.”
“How many jets do you actually own?”
“Please, tell me.”
“Are you not stopping any time soon.”
“No,” Lena says. “Come on, I’m proving a point.”
“What point would that be?”
“That you are good at hiding what you truly are, which, in this case, is an excessively wealthy woman of royal blood trying to be a normal college student.”
“Why is this even necessary?”
“Because, Kara,” Lena answers, and her smile is much sharper than usual, and it gives Kara a certain kind of thrill that she’s never felt before, “for the first time in my life, I think I’ll get to be the one accused of being a gold-digger when I introduce you to the Luthor household, and I’m looking forward to it.”
“Oh my god.” Kara tries to keep from laughing, but Lena looks so eager about this prospective development that she sort of just. Gives in. “You get excited by the weirdest things.”
“I know,” Lena agrees, as if it’s just a fact of life, and Kara knows it is. “So?”
Kara rolls her eyes, but, as she often does, she gives Lena what she wants. “Five, okay. I have five jets in my name.”
Lena’s crow of victory is so worth the trouble.