One of the things Kara appreciates the most when she’s with Lena is that she doesn’t have to put up any sort of pretense. She doesn’t have to be the perfect friend, the perfect student, the perfect daughter; she can just be Kara, with no qualifier whatsoever and with no obligation saddling her except to simply . . . exist. It’s easy to lighten up when she’s with Lena, because there’s no expectations to be met; everything is familiar and effortless and natural, and Kara doesn’t have to try, because Lena will accept her no matter what.
And it is enthralling—the freedom being with Lena gives her—and so intoxicating, like the first sip of coffee in the morning and the first raindrop after a long drought and the first flower blooming in spring.
Kara treasures every moment she spends with Lena, tucking them into the pockets of her memory, slipping them into a cache engraved with Lena’s name, into that special place in Kara’s heart that Lena has claimed without her even knowing.
And she would have been content to spend the rest of her life in that sort of limbo, the midpoint between having Lena and not really having her, if that meant she’d at least be in Kara’s life. Kara would have settled on straddling that line, between what she has and what she wants, if that meant not risking losing Lena’s friendship.
But then comes that life-changing realisation, that truth wrapped around every word and every touch and every gaze, and Kara is suddenly subjected to a special brand of hell that she herself made.
And so, amidst everything within Kara screaming at her to not do this—to not give up the only net of truth in her life, apart from her sister—the pretense begins.
huff-le-puff danvers: hey what do you think of introducing lena to the gang
alexpecto patronum: cool
huff-le-puff danvers: really?
alexpecto patronum: yeah it makes sense
alexpecto patronum: you’re flying her to krypton as your fiancée and diana’s bound to ask her about your friends
huff-le-puff danvers: thought so too but i’m still nervous
huff-le-puff danvers: she’s like a different part of my life, you know?
huff-le-puff danvers: and i DO want her to meet the others because that’s like putting together two puzzle pieces
huff-le-puff danvers: but i’m just terrified something will mess stuff up
alexpecto patronum: risk is a part of living
alexpecto patronum: so go ahead if you think she’s worth it
huff-le-puff danvers: she is
alexpecto patronum: well then there’s your answer, kid
alexpecto patronum: good luck
Of course, first, she’s going to have to convince Lena to meet up with her friends. She’s not even sure why she’s so nervous to ask this when Lena’s already reached the Panic™ threshold Kara put for herself by wanting to introduce her to the Luthor family.
(She really should have thought this through. She’s blaming 45 percent of her current predicament to Alex’s rather quick action of telling their friends without even a warning, 45 percent to Non’s incessant need to meddle with Krypton’s affairs and ergo, with Kara’s life, and the remaining 10 percent to her own inability to say what she means when it matters the most.)
Still. The whole meet-the-friends thing is sort of a big deal—even more so when there’s an engagement involved, no matter that it is fake.
This is especially true for Kara, whose friends are family. She could just about hear the mild reprimand she would have received from them, not because of anything she’d done but because of the thing she hadn’t done, which would be to actually tell them that she’s dating someone.
Which, well, is not true at all, even though she’s so desperate that it is.
(And that’s a whole other can of worms she’d rather ruminate over when all parties involved are at least a thousand miles away, which—given how her breathing turns erratic when she doesn’t see Lena for even a day—is not likely to happen any time soon.)
At least Lucy already knows what’s really happening, courtesy of Alex, and her sister has also informed Lois and Clark of the truth—with the truth, of course, being that though Kara is really in love with Lena Luthor, Lena’s reciprocation is still a giant “unknown” (the quotation marks were her sister’s too, though Kara has no idea what she meant) variable as of the moment, and that the whole engagement is just a ruse to escape Non’s claws.
(Kara remembers Clark’s call, which was not something she’d want to repeat. Ever.
“Are you sure of what you’re doing? ” he asked.
“No, Kal, I’m not.” She sighed. “I’ve never been more unsure in my life. I hate lying, and our people deserve better than that. Rao knows how they’d act were they to catch the lie.”
“I’m not asking about how the plan will affect our people, Kara,” he said, so gently, and she bit back the beginning of a sob. “I’m asking about how this will affect you. Your heart is on the line, and you deserve better than a lie too.”
She found that she had no real answer to that.)
This leaves Winn and James, who are already nagging her about details, the former relentlessly blowing up her phone with questions and sad emojis and the latter sulking through passive-aggressive statements in their chat box.
(Kara already complained to Lucy why she didn’t tell James herself. “You, like, live in the same building, Luce.”
Lucy just laughed. “Are you kidding me? Imagine how much more fun it would be to introduce Lena—the person you fell in love with—to not one but two boys who tried to win your heart and spectacularly failed. I swear, the awkwardness of that conversation would add at least a decade to my lifespan. So no, this is all on you, Kara-babe. ”
“Rao, Lucy, I hate you so much.”
Lucy’s laughter merely grew louder, until Kara was forced to hang up.)
For the record, though, the nerves Kara feels aren’t due to apprehension that maybe Lena won’t fit in. It’s the opposite, actually; Kara is scared stiff that Lena would, in fact, slot herself into the space Kara has for her friends and family as easily as she did into Kara’s heart.
She’s scared because if that did happen, it would be so much harder for her to say goodbye when Lena inexorably decides to leave.
That, more than anything, is what made Kara hesitate, waiting and waiting and waiting for Lena to back out of their arrangement, to say that it would be better for Kara to just do what her council is telling her to do.
And every day that Lena doesn’t?
It just makes Kara feel like she’s careening towards the inevitable.
The opportunity to ask, however, presents itself with no warning.
“Hey, Kara?” Lena starts, from her place on the bed. She’s leaning against the headboard, and there are books and journals scattered about.
“Yeah?” Kara herself is lying on Lena’s carpeted floor, a bean bag beneath her head. She’s typing on her laptop, which is balanced precariously on her knees.
“Do you think we would have been friends if we met as children?”
At that Kara tilts her head, looking at Lena with amusement. “Of course.” She has no doubt about it.
Lena looks surprised. “Really?”
“Yes. Why not?” Kara goes back to typing. “Don’t you think the same?”
“I don’t know. I feel like younger you would have hated younger me. I was always moping, slinking about in the shadows like some sort of evil sorceress. And I was an insufferable know-it-all, according to most accounts.”
“Ah, so exactly the same, then,” Kara says in a deadpan tone, keeping her expression serious. “I fail to see what the fuss is about.”
“You—” Lena gasps in indignation, and Kara loses the fight with her own laughter. “That’s uncalled for!”
Kara only stops laughing when Lena throws a notebook right at her, making her yelp. “Hey!”
“Serves you right.” Lena sniffs, refusing to look at her. “And here I thought we were having a moment.”
Kara grins, and she sets her laptop down. She’s not going to accomplish anything now anyway. “Aww,” she sing-songs, “someone’s a sore loser.”
Lena opens a thick book almost vehemently, and she’s scowling at the pages. “Shut up.”
“Come on, I’m sorry, okay?” Kara crosses over until she’s kneeling beside the bed, and she leans on her elbows as she tries to catch Lena’s eyes. “I was joking. You don’t mope—you brood, which is an improvement because brooding adds panache to your overall ‘enigmatic heiress’ aesthetic. You’re not insufferable either. In fact, you’re very sufferable. So much. I swear, I could honestly suffer through you every hour of every day.” She can tell that Lena is trying not to smile; she catches the minute quirk in her lips. Ah. She adds, “Also I was totally serious about the part where we’d have been friends.”
“Go away,” Lena says.
“Lena,” Kara whines, and she sets her head atop her hands, trying for the best pout she has in her arsenal, “I’m sorry. I’m a jerk and I should confess all my sins. Have me suffer, O Sufferable One, but please don’t send me away.”
This time Lena cannot fight her amusement, and Kara’s heart flutters at her smile. “You’re such a dork,” she declares with familiar warmth, shaking her head.
“Yes, but I’m your dork,” Kara swiftly shoots back with a grin.
Lena looks genuinely taken aback by the quip, and hey, is she blushing? That can’t be right. “Geez, Kara, at this rate you’re going to ruin me for other fake girlfriends.”
“That’s the plan, because we’re going to be fake married.”
Lena tosses her head back and laughs, and Kara is helpless to follow the elegant line of her neck. “Okay, fine, I walked right into that one.” She grins fondly down at Kara. “You win this round, Kara Danvers.”
“Yes! This means I get a prize”—she pauses dramatically—“which is a nap.”
“I don’t remember us talking about any prizes.” Lena looks at something behind Kara—probably at her abandoned laptop. “And I thought you have a deadline tomorrow.”
Yes, that’s true, “But nap.”
“Fine.” Lena heaves a sigh. “But it’s not my fault if you end up cramming your article.”
“M’kay.” Kara slumps farther on the bed, half on it and half off. Her face is hidden on Lena’s blankets, now, and she likes that she’s surrounded by Lena’s scent. Still, though, it is not a very comfortable position.
Lena thinks so as well. She sighs again. “Hey, if you’re going to nap, better do it right. Up you get, Kara.”
Her phrasing makes Kara smile. “Now who’s trying to get me to bed?” she teases, though she’s pretty much half mumbling, really.
There are several thuds as Lena’s stuff fall off, and Kara turns her head just enough to catch sight of Lena looking out of her depth, blinking absently at whatever state of mess her floor is in now. “Are you all right?” Kara asks, when Lena remains quiet for several seconds more.
“Hmm?” She’s still staring at the floor, frozen in place.
Kara tries again. “Hey, Lena?”
“Hmm?” Okay, this is getting a bit disconcerting?
Kara squints, and she decides to use a different track. “Would you like to meet my friends?”
There’s a short pause as Lena finally snaps out of whatever trance caught her. She looks up, and her expression is one of astonishment. “You want me to meet your friends?” she says.
“Of course.” Kara frowns at the sheer incredulity in her tone. She shifts, so that she can look her right in the eye. “Don’t you?”
“No, I mean, yes!” Lena smiles at her. “I’d love to.”
“You . . . don’t sound so sure.”
“It’s okay if you don’t want to, Lena.”
“I want to, Kara.”
“Why am I sensing a but somewhere in there?”
“There’s no but,” Lena insists. “It’s just—”
“I knew it!”
“You don’t,” Lena argues, and she gives Kara a rather unimpressed look. “What I was going to say is that I just thought you don’t want your friends to meet me.”
“No!” It is such a preposterous concept that Kara scrambles to her knees on the bed, almost falling off herself in her haste. She edges over until she’s right in Lena’s face, her gaze resolute. “That’s not true at all!” Lena’s eyes widen at the intensity of Kara’s refutation, but Kara’s focus is in making her understand just how wrong that notion is. “I want you to meet them, I really do.”
“O-Okay,” Lena says softly.
“I’m sorry,” Kara apologises again. “I just”—she huffs—“whatever made you think that?”
Lena shrugs. “We’ve been friends for some time now, Kara,” she explains, still in soft tones, but now her eyes hold a bit of marvel, like Kara’s fervent denial doesn’t make sense. “And not once have you brought your friends over, despite your stories of how much you like spending time together. And when you do meet up with them, it’s always outside.” She smiles wryly. “I simply put two and two together.”
“And got five, apparently! That’s not even—ugh.” Kara puffs her cheeks then exhales, somewhat defeated. “I just thought you don’t like having visitors here,” she says.
That seems to confuse Lena. A lot. “Why won’t I?”
“You like the quiet. My friends and I together are the furthest thing away from quiet.”
“It’s true that I enjoy the quiet, but that doesn’t mean I’m, like, a hermit or something.”
“Yeah, well, I know that now.” She narrows her eyes. “Besides, you don’t bring people over either.”
Lena shrugs again. “I only have two types of friends—you and others. Those who fall on the other end of the spectrum are not in National City.”
That’s a sobering thought. “Oh.”
“People who invite me to parties and other such events are mere acquaintances, Kara. Don’t be fooled.” Lena offers her a dry smile. “You’re my only friend in National City.”
The sadness in Lena’s eyes is something Kara doesn’t want to see ever again.
future wife: hey about that meeting my friends
sluthorin my bed: yes?
future wife: is this friday ok
sluthorin my bed: it is
future wife: thanks, babe
sluthorin my bed: ah, so we’re moving on to pet names, are we? ;)
future wife: oh my god
She decides to contact Winn first. They haven’t hung out all that often lately, despite going to the same campus, what with their schedules clashing. (She resolves to rectify that next term, probably by finagling him to avoid night classes and to take some humanities units.) She knows he’s got Fridays off, though; she remembers him telling her about how he “negotiated” for a different class with his professor—which, to Kara, means he hacked the system and messed with the courses.
kara-oke queen: are you busy
schott to the heart: not really. why
kara-oke queen: may i call you
schott to the heart: sure
He picks up on the first ring.
“Speak and be heard, Your Highness.” His voice is muffled down the phone line, thanks to his heavy encryption to keep it secure (using a bit of code Alex says is better than her agency’s), but he still sounds every bit the boy she grew up with, the one with whom she hid behind while Alex dealt with the older kids bothering them.
“Hello to you too, Winn.”
He laughs. She hears something crinkling in the background, and she can imagine him sitting on his couch while eating potato chips and watching movies. “What’s up, Kara? Taking a break from your journalistic tasks? ”
“Something like that.” Kara inhales, holds her breath before saying, “So I have this thing,” in a rather serious tone.
His answer is immediate, and it is a reminder of how good a friend he is. “Yeah, okay, lay it on me.” He pauses. “Hit Schott with your best shot.”
Kara tries and fails to avoid giggling. “How long have you been sitting on that one?”
“Longer than I’d like to admit, honestly.” He doesn’t sound embarrassed about that at all, and her grin widens. “So, what can I help you with? ”
“Remember when Alex said I’m engaged?”
“Duh ”—she can almost see him rolling his eyes—“it’s only been like the topic of every conversation James and I had in the past few days. By the by, we’re still not forgiving you for not telling us Lena’s your girlfriend, much less your fiancée. We haven’t even met the girl yet! ”
“Yeah, about that—”
“You can make it up to me by cementing my position as your totally manly bridesmaid, even though it’s a very outdated tradition and heteronormative roles, in general, suck.”
“Winn, we made a pact in middle school that we’ll be each other’s ring bearer, I don’t know how much more ‘cemented’ anything could be. Also the thing is—”
“We should have made like, renewal vows about that so we’re sure that it’s solid. Also I want to make a clause regarding the attire because no way in hell am I wearing yellow. Pink I can manage, but seriously, Kara, no one can pull off yellow, not even someone as good-looking as moi.”
“You’re such a child.”
“Takes one to know one, baby.” He stops. “I meant that in a totally non-ironic way.”
“Okay, but you’re still not saying yes to my terms. Don’t think I won’t recognise diversion from you.”
“You’re the one who keeps interrupting me, actually.”
“Huh.” He exhales, and she can imagine his thoughtful frown. “Yeah, I guess that’s a fair assessment.”
“Now can we please get back to what I was saying?”
“Okay.” She takes a deep breath. “I want to introduce you to Lena. And by you I mean you and James.”
There’s a short pause. “So let me get this straight—”
Winn huffs, but she knows he is grinning. “Oh, wow, okay, and I’m the juvenile one.”
“Sorry, sorry. Carry on.”
“You want to introduce Lena—who is your girlfriend—to us—who have both tried and failed to woo you.” Winn chuckles. “That won’t end in disaster at all.”
“Lucy said something similar.” Kara chews on her lower lip, hesitating before deciding to tell him the truth now. “Also. The thing is. Uhm.”
“The thing is? ” he gently prods.
“Lena and I are not actually together.”
“No, yeah, I heard that. I mean. What.”
She sighs heavily and relays her current situation in as concise a way as she can.
“Wow,” he breathes afterwards.
“No, like, wow, your uncle is such a douche and you’re so, so screwed.”
She rolls her eyes. “I know that too, Winn.”
“Do you need a moment?”
“Sorry, sorry. I just. What the hell, Kara.”
“Exactly my sentiment.”
“I’m so glad I’m not in your shoes right now.”
“Thanks a lot.”
“And you love her. Oh my god.”
“Yes, Winn. I know.”
“James is so gonna freak.” She’s pretty sure she hears him squeal. “Oh, hey! We can form like, a club now. The ‘I Fell in Love with My Best Friend and I Don’t Know How to Deal with It’ Club. Activities include pining both close by and from afar, listening to Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and writing bad poetry.”
She can’t help but chuckle at his absurdity. “So does this mean Friday is a go?”
“As long as there’s plenty of food, yes.”
“Come on, Winn, this is me we’re talking about.” She scoffs. “Of course there’s going to be food.”
schott to the heart: james says he’ll bring booze and to ask if lena has any preferences
kara-oke queen: i’d really like it if she prefers me
schott to the heart: oh my god kara no