Kara notices subtle changes in Lena’s behaviour ever since that night, and she doesn’t really know what to make of those.
To be honest, she doesn’t know what to make of anything at all, at this point.
And it’s not like the changes are bad, no. They’re just . . . wildly confusing.
For instance, sometimes, Kara catches Lena watching her with a certain glint in her eyes that Kara can’t decipher, and Lena doesn’t look away even when Kara meets her gaze. Instead Lena just smiles, and Kara gets flustered (naturally) because it is Lena’s mysterious little smile that seems to hold a million secrets, and all Kara wants to do is discover each one and perhaps (definitely) yank Lena into a kiss.
For the most part, though, Lena stays the same, with all her playful winks and teasing laughter and constant adoration, and Kara stays in love with her because she’s Kara and loving Lena Luthor is the truest, purest thing in the universe for her.
And Kara will not change it for the world.
kara-oke queen: how do people actually tell other people they love them
schott to the heart: you came to wrong guy for the right reasons
kara-oke queen: winn i’m serious
schott to the heart: i know
schott to the heart: but god kara
schott to the heart: don’t you know how she looks at you?
kara-oke queen: what do you mean
schott to the heart: it’s like
schott to the heart: she’s a freaking compass and you’re her north pole
Lena drags her to a shopping trip two weeks before the Luthor gala.
Or, more accurately, Lena tries to drag her to those high-end shops uptown, saying that they should probably look for clothes that would keep them from being torn apart by the Luthor clan, because “They’re the most superficial people on the planet, Kara, and though I would like nothing more than to attend the stupid thing wearing gym clothes, no can do. I’m not risking their stupid judgment when I’m investing effort into making sure I avoid their scrutiny by bringing you there in the first place.”
Kara looks up from her phone. “Yeah, I get that.”
“So let’s go?”
“Nope.” She chuckles at Lena’s confused expression. “There’s a shop, in Fifth Street. I go there for formalwear because one, the craftsmanship is incredible, and two, the owner’s Kryptonian.”
“Oh?” Lena looks interested.
“Yeah.” Kara waves her phone. “I was just calling them, actually, to make an appointment for a fitting today. Are you good to go?”
“Grab your keys.”
“Aren’t you a dominant one.”
Kara pinches the bridge of her nose, knocking her glasses askew. “Please grab your keys and kindly drive us to where we’re supposed to be.”
“Well, okay, since you asked so nicely.” Lena looks at her, lovely and impish and divine. “And I’d have you know that the only place I’m supposed to be is with you, darling.”
Lena whistles when they arrive at the shop, located in one of the most upscale streets in National City. “Fancy.”
“Says the woman who drove us here in a Bentley,” Kara retorts, rolling her eyes.
“Says the woman who has five jets,” Lena shoots back.
Kara huffs, ushering her past the door. “Am I not living that down?”
Kara’s defeated grumble is cut off by an enthusiastic greeting, and she turns to see an older woman waiting for them with a large smile.
“Welcome, Your Highness!” the woman says, curtsying. “It’s so good to see you!”
“Hello, Tala,” Kara says warmly while pointedly ignoring Lena’s elated smirk, “Rao’s light be yours.”
Tala straightens up, her smile even wider. “Rao’s light be yours,” she returns. Then she looks at Lena, her smile knowing. “And you must be our princess’s girl.”
Kara’s cheeks predictably grow warm at the notion of Lena being her anything, and she can feel Lena staring at the side of her face. “Right. This is my girl . . . friend. My girlfriend. Lena.” She clears her throat, before finally meeting Lena’s eyes.
Lena is looking back at her with something Kara can’t name but desperately craves, and the smile that graces Lena’s lips then makes Kara grateful of every decision she’s ever made. Lena reaches between them to twine their fingers together, gently squeezing, and then she turns to Tala, offering her other hand for a handshake. “Hello, nice to meet you.”
“The honour is mine,” Tala enthuses, and she takes Lena’s hand. But instead of shaking it, like Lena expects her to do, she brings it to her forehead in a gesture of deference.
“I—uhm—” Lena flounders, her own cheeks reddening this time, clearly taken aback. She looks to Kara for help, but Kara simply smiles at her, shrugging. “Thank you?”
“Oh, no, Lady Lena,” Tala says as she releases Lena’s hand. “It is you that I should thank for bringing happiness to Her Highness’s life.” She looks at them both with grandmotherly affection, folding her hands together on her chest. “It is such a pleasure to see her eyes this bright again.”
Kara looks down at that, as she feels her cheeks reaching temperatures that couldn’t be healthy for a human being. She wonders how many prayers she should say before Rao let the ground devour her whole.
(A dozen doesn’t seem to be enough. It’s an on-going experiment.)
“Look at you two,” Tala continues to gush, “still getting flustered in each other’s presence.”
“Right.” Kara clears her throat again. She moves to fiddle with her glasses, but she brings up the hand entwined with Lena’s instead of her free one.
And in a fleeting decisive moment, she smoothly transitions to pressing a kiss on the back of Lena’s hand.
She hears Lena’s surprised intake of breath, and she just hopes that this is okay—because oh Rao they haven’t discussed the parameters of physical affection yet —and that Lena won’t feel violated or something.
(Kara inwardly screams at herself for not discussing consent. Stars, she’s such a mess, and this is totally unforgivable— consent is important and people can’t just go kissing other people’s hand!
They really need to talk about this.)
“Tala here is the best seamstress on Earth,” she says, eyes finding Lena’s, and to her immense relief, she finds fond amusement instead of censure. Kara’s lips quirk in a small smile that hopefully conveys her apology, nonetheless. “She makes clothes that feel like they’re an extension of you, your own skin.”
“Oh, you flatter me, Your Highness,” Tala says, but she looks thrilled with the compliment, preening ever so slightly.
“I only speak the truth,” Kara asserts with a lighthearted grin. “And well, I do apologise for the short notice.”
“It is no problem,” Tala assures her. She tilts her head, waiting for Kara’s nod, before turning away to lead them deeper into the shop. “Your patronage always comes first.”
“I appreciate it.”
Lena is looking around and she leans to whisper, “Are there no other shoppers?” when she notices that the place is indeed empty except for them and a couple other employees.
Despite the low tones Lena used, however, Tala still hears her—not a particularly hard feat in light of the aforementioned lack of people around them—and she answers before Kara can, “Of course, there aren’t. I am a self-respecting Kryptonian, and closing my shop is no big deal if it is to better serve the heiress to the throne.” She sounds proud of this fact, the same way soldiers are proud of serving their country.
Lena raises an eyebrow, impressed. “Ah.”
“Her Highness is most beloved by her people,” Tala carries on, grinning kindly at Kara despite the obvious bashfulness on Kara’s face, “and we wish only the best of Rao’s will for her.”
“Tala,” Kara mumbles, sort of helplessly.
“All right, as you wish.” Tala raises her hands, placating, but a teasing edge remains on her lips. “Shall we begin measuring instead?”
Lena laughs at how relieved Kara sounds, and laughs even louder when Kara shoulder-checks her in retaliation. “Very mature,” Lena says while Tala then enters a designated measuring room.
“Don’t be mean.” Kara huffs. She gently pushes her towards the door. “And don’t give her grief.”
“I am appalled that you think so lowly of me,” Lena says with mock-hurt, and she grins when Kara merely rolls her eyes. “Okay, darling. I shall think of you whilst we’re parted,” she laments, expression one of exaggerated anguish, a hand gripping the doorpost as if afraid to let go.
“You’re such a dramatic nerd.” When Lena just raises an eyebrow in expectation, Kara relents. “And yes, of course, I’ll think of you too.”
The door closes to Lena’s delighted laughter.
Kara peruses Tala’s extensive collection of scarves and hats while she waits, admiring the elegance suffusing every stitch and the care with which every piece was made. She has always liked how meticulous Kryptonians are about their craft, and she feels a fierce kind of pride about that facet of their culture.
She has selected quite an assortment of scarves (to be used during their winter break in Krypton, of course) by the time Lena and Tala exits the room, and she notes with interest the spots of pink high on the former’s cheeks while the latter sports a terribly pleased grin.
“All done?” she asks, carefully draping the scarves on one arm.
“Yes, Your Highness,” Tala answers, her eyes twinkling. “You know, you’ve done really well, choosing such a fine young lady to be your girl.”
Kara’s eyebrow quirks up, even as her blush returns and Lena’s intensifies. What is happening right now? “Thank you,” she manages, her syllables mercifully sounding as they should and not like strangled noise, as is often the case when she’s talking about Lena, “though honestly, my wonder lies on how I even got to have her choose me as well.”
Lena’s eyes find hers, then, hooking Kara in with the force of their magnetism, and a thousand unspoken words seem to swirl in their depths—tinted with the colour of spring now—and Kara would have quite happily stared at them for as long as Lena allows.
“Ah,” Tala coos, “how wonderful young love is!”
It is a good thing Tala then focuses her attention to scrutinising colour swatches and scribbling her notes, for at her words Lena visibly blanches, eyes widening in alarm, and Kara’s pretty sure she has that exact same expression.
She flails a little bit (a lot) inside, barely even managing to school her face into one of amused passiveness. She’s not really sure if she’s successful or not, for it feels like every facial muscle is openly staging a rebellion against her, but despite that, she has no choice but to carry on and act as if Tala did not just bring up the thing —the truth —that Kara so desperately guards with everything she is.
So Kara gathers her wits, no matter how scattered they seem to be at the moment, and huffs a laugh—a dishonest sound that grates brutally down her throat. She shrugs at Lena, the movement stiff and heavy with all the things she can’t say.
She watches as Lena’s throat bobs in a seemingly painful gulp, and she watches as Lena composes herself and again dons that confident, playful mask she always has when encountering a new problem with a particularly tricky and needlessly complicated solution. The smile she sends Kara now has a sharper edge that Kara shouldn’t find thrilling, and the spring in her eyes seems to turn itself into a wintry blue.
(Kara still hasn’t figured out if the changing colours in Lena’s eyes are more dependent on the lighting in their surroundings or on her own moods and thoughts.
She reckons it is a bit of both.)
Lena is staring at her with that inscrutable yet mesmeric glint in her eyes, and Kara can’t look away.
There’s also a challenge in there, buried somewhere between each breath, and Kara doesn’t understand how even without speaking, Lena gets her so captivated that she is left completely unable to parse her own thoughts.
“Now,” Tala then says, breaking whatever thrall has fallen upon the two, nearly making Kara jump out of her own skin, “shall we decide on the colours, or shall I finish with your measurements first, Your Highness?”
She shakes her head a bit, trying to grasp some left-over thread of sanity. “Red,” she says.
“Pardon?” says Tala.
In answer to the questioning quirk of Lena’s brows, Kara lifts one of the scarves she selected, even as she continues to address Tala, “She looks wonderful in red.” Lena’s lips curve up into a consenting smile, and Kara releases a breath she’s not even aware she’s been holding.
Tala makes a sound of comprehension, and Kara finally turns to her, handing her the scarf. Tala carefully takes it, beaming. “This is—oh, splendid. The colour of the House of El.” She glances at Lena, then back at the fabric, then at Lena again, approval apparent in her expression. “Yes, yes, this will do marvelously.”
“I’m glad you think so too.” Kara then looks at Lena. “Is that . . . Are you okay with that?” she asks, suddenly apprehensive that she overstepped, but Lena just gives her favourite half smile, and any worry Kara might have had soon evaporates.
“Sure, Kara,” she says, and she is Kara’s rise and ruin, “that’s okay with me.”
“You look at her like she hung the stars, Your Highness,” Tala murmurs while taking Kara’s measurements. Her knowing gaze is not unlike Alex’s before Kara admitted how she feels about Lena. “She is the one, isn’t she?”
Kara doesn’t know how to refute that, and she doesn’t particularly want to, anyway. “Yes.”
“Does the regent know?”
“Ah.” Tala hums, adjusting the tape. “What are you going to do about it?”
“I’m not sure yet.” Kara sighs. “But, please, I . . .” she trails off.
“I won’t say anything.” Tala smiles at her. “Your grandmother would not forgive me were I to ruin her darling girl’s plans.”
Kara grimaces. “My grandmother would have my hide were I to fail to come up with any plan at all.”
“What scares you so?” Tala asks, because she’s known Kara practically all her life, and she has an uncanny ability to read between the lines.
“I’m . . . I don’t know. How to tell her.” Kara chuckles, self-deprecating. “I wouldn’t know what to do when she tells me she doesn’t feel the same way.”
Tala then lays a hand on her shoulder, forcing her to meet her eyes. “Oh, Little Star,” she says, using the nickname her grandparents had given her, “You need not fear that. You might look at her as if she’s responsible for every constellation there is, but she looks at you like you’re the universe itself.”
Tala grants her silence to let Kara spend the remaining minutes thinking about that.
“I shall have the dresses delivered on Wednesday, so there’s enough allowance should adjustments be needed.”
“Thank you. I really am sorry it’s on such short notice.”
“Though more time would have been ideal to ensure perfection,” Tala allows with a grin, “I am confident enough to know that the dresses will still be magnificent. You need not worry, Your Highness.”
“Oh, I’m not worried,” Kara tells her. “I trust you.”
Lena pauses when Kara starts to lead her out. “Wait.”
“Oh.” Kara shrugs. “It’s taken care of.”
“What?” She crosses her arms.
“You paid for mine too?”
“Kara,” Lena sighs, “you know I was joking with the gold-digger thing, right? Because I can pay for my own dresses.”
“I know that. But it’s not about the money, Lena.”
“What do you mean?”
She shrugs again. “It’s a Kryptonian shop. The bill will be sent to the castle.”
Lena blinks at her. “Excuse me?”
Kara waves a hand vaguely behind her. “Kryptonian royalty don’t bring cash or cards to their transactions with Kryptonian shops. Payments are made through the Minister of Royal Finance.” She scrunches her nose. “It’s kind of like a royal tab, I guess.”
Lena looks at her for a long moment before shaking her head, chuckling, the sound low and sending a frisson of . . . something along Kara’s spine. “I keep learning new things about you every day.” Then she takes Kara’s hand, dragging her towards the door.
And Kara will follow her anywhere.
jimmyny cricket: winn’s right
karasmatic leader: are you two gossiping about me again
jimmyny cricket: that’s not relevant
jimmyny cricket: as i was saying, winn’s right
jimmyny cricket: we agree on this
jimmyny cricket: she’s awesome, kara, and she obviously loves you
jimmyny cricket: don’t let the chance slip past, okay?
karasmatic leader: thank you, james. that means a lot
karasmatic leader: wish me luck
jimmyny cricket: not that you need it but
jimmyny cricket: good luck
The conversation of what being in a fake relationship entails comes soon after.
It’s more for Kara than for anything else, because she doesn’t want a repeat of that mini-heart attack she had over whether it is appropriate to kiss your (girl)friend’s hand in public. (Granted, it’s in front of just one person, but that’s plenty public.)
“Right, so,” Kara begins, settling on the dining room table, opposite Lena, who is eating a peach.
And licking the juice on her fingers.
Kara has severely miscalculated.
Lena must have noticed the stupid look on her face as her eyes rove over Lena’s entire . . . Lena-ness. “Yeah?” Lena asks, when Kara doesn’t show any sign that she’s speaking any time soon.
Kara shakes her head. “PDA?” she blurts out, and Lena freezes.
Kara shakes her head again, and she realises she must look like a big dumb dog right now. “I mean, I assume PDA needs to happen in the gala if we’re to convince anyone we’re dating?”
Lena clears her throat, wiping her hands on a napkin. “Yes, but we won’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with.”
“Or you,” Kara hastily adds, because that’s an equally important thing.
“Or me,” Lena agrees, smiling. “The point is, if we’re in any way uncomfortable with what’s happening, or any line is crossed, we give the other a signal, and we stop. Okay?”
“Personally, I’m fine with holding your hand the entire time, if that’s the only thing you’re comfortable with.” She grins. “And, you know, touching your arm or back to stir you through the crowd, especially when we’re trying to avoid my idiot of a brother.”
“I thought we’re attending in the first place because of him?”
“Well, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try.”
“Okay.” Kara nods to herself. “Right. Good.” She frowns. “I mean, not the avoiding part. Well, yes. But more the hand holding. Also the arm and back thing.”
“So we’re good?”
No, not peachy.
Don’t think of the peach.
Or the way the juice dripped down her fingers, and how—no, Kara, stop.
“Right, would you like one?” Lena offers her a peach, her expression endlessly amused, and Kara almost whimpers.
“Are you sure?”
“Are you really okay?”
Kara groans as Lena laughs, starting on another peach, her gaze perceptive and teasing in equal measure.
This is going to be a long day.