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Other You (Interdimensional Love Triangle)

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Kara floats through the portal and into the S.T.A.R. Labs warehouse, phone clutched tightly in her hand. The device immediately starts buzzing and beeping, but she ignores it, like she ignores the voices of her friends in the main lab, and flies out an open window, shooting straight up into the sky once she’s cleared the building.

Kara flies a few lazy loops high above the city, basking in the bright sunshine of this Earth, but the need to talk with Lexie is burning within her, and she impatiently cuts her flight short and heads to her usual spot. She’s tried a few other places over the past week, including the rooftop of the building across from Phaenomena, which had felt just a bit stalker-y, before she settled on this little lakeside park. There’s a wooded area, far away from any traffic or security cameras, that she can fly into and out of to avoid detection.

She scans the park for any nearby heartbeats, then drops straight down into the middle of the trees, landing in a crouch beside a giant pine. Kara brushes off her slacks and adjusts her glasses, then steps casually through some underbrush and onto the walking path. She follows the trail out of the copse, nodding at a couple carrying a kayak down to the water’s edge as she hurries over to what’s become her usual bench.

Kara sits forward, elbows resting on her knees, takes a deep breath, and touches her phone screen. A smile breaks out over her face as she scrolls through the 16 text messages that have accrued over the past two days. They’re mostly little slices of Lexie’s life; anecdotes about work, pics of her dinner, gifs of animals being cute.

Kara opens up her reply box, and after a long moment of staring at the blinking cursor, types, Hey, you still at work?

It's been surprisingly easy and fun texting with Lexie these past days. Her witty humor with a dollop of playful flirting, the teasing with just an edge of more, makes for an excellent conversation partner. She never fails to make Kara smile, or worse, blush into her palms when she drops casual innuendos between texts. She's smart and genuinely interested in details about Kara’s day, despite how little Kara can actually tell her.

Unfortunately.

Hmm, short answer. She must be busy, Kara reasons, willing her disappointment to go away. It's fine!

I'll leave you to your work then :)  just wanted to say hi

She bites her lips and boldly adds, and that I was thinking about you.

Even the mere fact Kara is able to type things like that makes her feel dizzy somehow. It's almost surreal.

A reply comes instantly.

Oh baby wait don't leave

That's new. Kara reads and rereads the petname, heart in her throat, a hot flush fast spreading to chest.

She takes too long to answer and another text pops in.

I'm at this meeting and it's as tedious as I feared it'd be. Having a hard time concentrating. My hero, saving me from boredom <3

Kara snorts, and the tension dissipates. Lexie can be such a dork sometimes, which was another nice surprise.

Shouldn't you be focusing on the important things being discussed? Won't others notice you're texting?

She makes sure to include an annoyed looking emoji, chuckling at herself. She wishes she could see Lexie’s expression right now.

I shifted my phone into my lap, ready to feel your vibrations. The table hides it well. Besides, I'm the boss ;)

Kara groans, amused at the silly cocky message, and more than a little bit intrigued too, she admits, despite herself.

That's…not a topic she wants to discuss. The suggestive image conjured though remains in her head.

Behave. You need to set an example there, boss.

Nah, no one I fancy to boss around here.

Kara shakes her head, but her mouth is dry and she's forced to cross her legs, failing to find a more comfortable position on the bench. Stupid, flirty Lexie…

She looks up at the sky, watching birds fly freely for a moment, thinking her next message through. She feels a tad out of her depth here. Even when she was an habituelle of dating apps and blind dates, she'd never really found herself in situations where she would even consider…what, sexting? Flirting coyly via texts?

Kara’s cheeks feel on fire. She's being ridiculous, nothing is going to happen.

But she's only used those sites to set up date locations, always more keen to first cement a connection with the other person face to face, before ever entertaining other thoughts. She already has a connection with Lexie, though, a very strong one. Maybe that's what scares Kara—the ramifications of something like this too big to ignore.

Before she can fret more, her phone buzzes again, Lexie’s worry palpable.

Hey I was just teasing

Kara doesn't want Lexie to feel guilty over her humor, though.

I know, I know.

She takes a breath, steeling her nerves, and quickly types more, but you're not gonna get anyone willing to let you boss them around by slacking off.

Kara feels her belly swoop as she waits. She's not even sure what she’s implying exactly, but teasing Lexie back is quickly becoming one of her favorite past times – the perfect distraction for her troubles at home.

You know I can get a plane ready for California in less than half an hour, yes?

Kara grins, giddy, bright patches of color along her cheeks.

Behave, she repeats. I'm sure the meeting has an actual purpose :p

She checks the time and sighs. I have to go back to my boring editing work now. Gotta finish this article before submitting it. close deadline, or I'll be in trouble.

Really, now?! You're already in trouble missy. I expect a cute selfie to my phone for 8 pm

Kara hides her high-pitched laughter with a cough. She could stay more, chat for a little bit longer, but she's already pushed herself further than she had expected to.

Mmh, I'll see what I can do. TTYL :*

Later baby

--

After so much fussing over how to act and what to say—or, not to say—Kara feels silly in the face of how easy it is to feel comfortable in Alex’s company. It’s…it’s still her sister, her whole world, all the awkwardness conjured in her head gone.

They’re meeting the others at the alien bar in a little more than an hour, but they decided to have an early dinner at Kara’s first. The initial, brief silence had quickly ebbed into small talk as they dug into their Chinese take-out, and now Kara is giggling softly as Alex mockingly complains about some newbie agents she had to train.

Kara feels her chest warming pleasantly at their closeness. It feels like forever since they’ve spent some quality time together.

With Alex, she never has to be Supergirl, constantly on the defense and ready to leap away to save the day. There’s no one to impress. She can simply curl up on the sofa for a movie marathon, make herself into a small ball tucked against Alex’s warm side and just relax.

That’s how they’re currently seated, and the low rumble in Kara’s chest that builds up her throat makes Alex jerk back, look down at her with a knowing little smirk. Alex has always loved to make Kara laugh, and that hasn’t changed in the last years.

“Um, you going to finish that?” Kara asks, glancing away after noticing just how close their faces have gotten. With a surreptitious shrug, she retreats slightly from Alex’s side-hug, unable to stop her heart from racing madly behind her ribcage.

It’s the first time tonight she’s reminded of Lexie.

“Whoa, took you longer than usual to ask. Here, take it.” Alex chuckles, reaching out with one hand to grab the forgotten cupcake on the coffee table, placing it into Kara’s turned-up palms.

“You’re the best,” Kara says, biting readily into the sugary treat, happy to move on from the little slip up.

Alex curls her arm around Kara’s shoulders, pulling her close again. Kara freezes for a moment, the action making her swallow heavily, before she’s able to relax again.

“You too.”

“Hmm?”

When Kara turns her head and looks up, she’s struck dumb by the honest expression on Alex’s face, its intensity a bit bewildering.

“W-what?”

In lieu of a reply, Alex strokes a hand through Kara’s hair, an intimate gesture that sends tiny shudders through Kara’s spine, scratching slightly at the scalp. Her hand curls around the back of Kara’s head then, keeping their gazes locked.

Kara is hyper aware of the touch, the warm pressure of each finger, like she can feel every individual point of contact pulsing against her head. Her neck warms up, and something inside her just aches. With a dry mouth, she tilts her head into her sister’s palm, relishing in the touch—itching to press even closer, something bubbling beneath her skin to move.

She’s tried a thousand times to put into words how she feels around Alex, has tried to get her to see herself the way Kara sees her – beautiful, selfless Alex, she's her hero – but she’s never quite managed to describe the way the tenderness in Alex’s eyes just surrounds her, the way her smile is enough to make Kara feel wholly taken care of, the way even brief caresses linger on for hours after she’s moved away.

And touching is a second language to them, hardly having to think about reaching out by now, they’ve held each other so often that their muscle memories just know. And here, Alex holds her, surprisingly still with just one hand, the only things moving their heartbeats so in sync, Kara scared by the ways hers leaps and bounds for joy and nerves—so ready to just keep offering itself into Alex’s hands, time and time again.

“I said, you too.” Alex takes a breath, seeming to gather her thoughts. “All my life… it’s been about you.” Kara can’t help it, she flinches, guilt gnawing, but Alex’s palm is steady at her neck, gentle. “It was imperative that I looked out for you, sure, but never something I did unwillingly. I protected you, I still do…or at least, I try, because I want to. I always want you to feel safe. You’re the most important person in my life, Kara.” Alex stares intensely into Kara’s eyes. “You know that.”

No, sometimes Kara forgets that, and it’s honestly not that hard lately with the new addition in Alex’s life.

This is everything Kara has been waiting to hear for a while, and it makes her unbelievably happy, so fast so soon. Her eyes sting, overwrought with sudden emotion, to the point of dizziness. If she were to pry open her chest, she’s sure butterflies would fly out.

“Alex…” she pauses, heart in her throat, trying and failing to voice the enormity of her feelings.

Sometimes her sister knows just what to say, exactly at the right time. It’s incredible. Perhaps what she’s started with Lexie has befuddled her, but this is unrivalled.

“I love you,” Alex declares, simply, the easiest truth between them.

Kara smiles tremulously, echoing the sentiment. “Me too. Always.”

This declaration is strangely timely. Maybe she doesn’t have to say much after all, Alex already in tune with her thoughts. Kara wonders if Alex has sensed something is off with her. She swallows uneasily, feeling guilty despite herself.

Perhaps she should share, shed some clarity about her behavior these past days…

Unable to do that if Alex can still see her eyes, Kara leans back, turning to press her face to her sister’s chest, inhaling the familiar scent, soothing her like nothing else. Alex moves accordingly, puts her chin on Kara’s head, smiling slightly and pulling her deeper into her torso, loving the Kryptonian kind of warmth tight against her body. Eyes closed, Kara focuses on Alex’s heartbeat, gathering strength.

She feels at her safest in Alex’s arms, but this is not easy.

She keeps her voice as light as she can, but ripples move through her all the same. “Have you ever wanted something—”

But Kara pauses, unsure what she wants to say exactly, because worrying Alex now is out of the question. The moment the stilted words leave her mouth, though, she knows she’s made a mistake. Alex tenses and stiffens against her all the same, suddenly on high alert; it’s impossible for her to ignore the risk potential, always the protector.

“Wanted what?”

Kara squeezes her eyes shut, burrowing her nose deeper into the soft cotton of Alex’s shirt, the heat radiating off her skin that Kara can feel even through Alex’s clothes grounding her here.

“Kara?” Alex sounds rather curious now.

She’s spared from having to answer when a ringtone suddenly blasts into the quiet of the room.

Alex startles and Kara scrambles to her feet, grabbing her mobile phone with slightly trembling fingers.

“Hello?”

“Kara, where are you? We’re waiting here all alone! Move your booties, James is complaining his beer’s getting warm.”

It’s Winn.

Kara hears James shout something in the background, his deep voice loud and playful, and she relaxes minutely. “We’re coming guys, calm down. We were eating cupcakes.”

“Cupcakes! Traitors!”

Kara hangs up with a laugh, shaking her head. When she turns and looks back at Alex, the agent has an unreadable expression on her face, arms crossed.

Kara swallows, and gives Alex what she hopes looks like a normal smile. “We better hurry, the boys are whining already.”

--

“I walked around like that all afternoon and no one told me!” Winn says dramatically, his arms flailing as he talks. He jabs Kara with his finger and she pretends to flinch. “You! You were my friend, and you didn’t even say anything.”

Kara looks around the table. James is laughing loudly at Winn, and Alex is chuckling quietly behind her beer. Warmth suffuses Kara and she blinks quickly, her eyes blurry for just a moment. She shrugs and shakes her head, taking a quick sip of her ice cold peach tea. “You fell asleep at work. You’re lucky Ms. Grant didn’t fire you instead.”

“But I had to stay up late to finish Dragon Age Inquisition! I couldn’t sleep when I only had 12% of the game left, right?” Winn looks pleadingly around the table. James shakes his head, still smiling, and Alex just shrugs. “Seriously?” Winn leans back in his chair, seemingly wounded. “Nobody? How are none of you gamers?”

Alex sets her beer down. Her foot nudges Kara’s under the table as her hand settles on Kara’s knee. Kara’s entire body buzzes as Alex presses closer to her to lean over the table. “Kara’s terrible at video games. We tried to play some when we were younger, but between her strength and hand-eye coordination that was so bad—”

“Hey!” Kara’s able to find her voice then. “I’m pretty sure Eliza made us stop after she had to buy us a sixth controller in less than a month.” Kara jostles Alex’s shoulder with her own.

“At least two of those were your fault,” Alex laughs, her hand sliding up Kara’s thigh and squeezing playfully.

“Yeah.” Kara pushes through the slight shakiness in her voice. “I’m not the one that put a hole in the wall though.”

“Damn, Alex,” James says, half-admiringly. “A hole?”

“Not a big one,” Alex answers defensively. Kara snorts. Alex rolls her eyes. “Fine, it was a decent-sized hole.” She turns to Kara. Kara blinks as Alex looks at her with a soft, soft gaze. “Kara took the blame for me, though, said she slipped and put her hand right through the wall.” Alex squeezes Kara’s thigh again, then pats it twice before withdrawing her hand completely and turning to face the rest of the table. She picks up her beer and takes a long sip.

Kara catches herself watching her sister swallow and guilty jerks her eyes away, taking a hasty sip of her own drink, hoping to cool the flush she can feel working its way up her neck.

Has Alex always been so tactile? Kara feels touch-starved, every little movement making her stomach clench. Maybe she's been avoiding her sister too intensely, because her own body is rebelling against her right now.

“So, Winn,” Kara says, leaning slightly forward, desperate to distract herself from the warmth she feels along the entire right side of her body, where Alex is still pressed so firmly against her. “Did you ever figure out who did it?”

Winn sets down his glass. “Oh, do you mean, did I ever find out who wrote ‘Property of CatCo’ on my forehead in permanent marker? No, no I did not.”

James chuckles again, and Kara can feel Alex shake next to her in laughter. Kara smiles slightly as she reaches up to push her glasses more firmly on her nose. “Actually, it was Sharpie,” she admits casually, with a grin.

“Ooooh!” James jabs Winn with his elbow.

Winn stares at Kara in betrayal, eyes widening. “And I thought we were friends,” he says, shaking his head.

“I’m sorry,” Kara laughs, her nose crinkling. She leans halfway across the table to pat his arm. “Ms. Grant made me do it. I had to go to six different craft stores to find the right shade of hot pink.”

Winn pouts and crosses his arms. “It took it a week to wear off,” he says petulantly, forever the drama queen.

James throws his arm around Winn’s shoulders and shakes him good-naturedly. “I bet it made Ms. Grant smile every time she saw you though.”

“She called him into her office for the littlest things. I think he spent more time with her that week than I did,” Kara says gleefully. Alex snorts next to her and leans back in her chair, her left hand coming to rest naturally on Kara’s back. Kara tenses for a brief moment, and then her body melts, feeling secure in that familiar touch. She resists the urge to purr when Alex’s hand starts to rub soothingly across her back.

Kara can't help it, she closes her eyes, and focuses her senses just on Alex’s touch, blocking out the sounds of the bar, of the other aliens around her, and of Winn and James—Winn and James! Kara’s eyes snap open and she jumps out of her chair. This is not the place to get lost in daydreams of Alex. “Who wants another drink?” she asks with a forced smile, ignoring the three surprised stares at the table. “Next round’s on me!”

Without waiting for a reply, Kara whirls around and hurries over to the bar. She groans when a familiar dark head pops up from behind the counter. Of course Mon-El is here.

Well, he's definitely good for one thing.

“Give me a new drink.”

“Hello to you too. What's the matter?” Mon-El grins at her, already turning to gather some ingredients. “Something strong?”

“Please.” But then Kara pauses, realizing she shouldn't get drunk right in the middle of emotional discoveries and crisis. It wouldn't be smart to lose focus now, especially considering how much of a lightweight she is. “Actually no, um, just a club soda for me. Three beers for them, though.”

“Mmh,” Mon-El hums with a little nod, staring her down.

“What?”

“Did you do anything to your hair?”

“W-what, no?” Kara shakes her head, confused by his comment. He can be so odd sometimes.

Before she can ask more, her ears pick up the unmistakable heartbeat she's grown used to hearing so often recently. Narrowing her eyes, she turns in the direction of the door that opens up less than a minute after.

Maggie strolls in, tousling her hair, bike helmet under her arm, trademark dimpled smile blossoming on her face the moment her eyes land on Alex – sickly cute. She heads to the familiar table, greeting Winn and James first, before settling on the free seat at Alex's side, curling her arm around the agent.

There we go.

Kara sighs, the good sensations within evaporating right in front of her.

Alex and Maggie are gazing at each other, seemingly oblivious to anyone else—tender and private, that look nearly undoes Kara completely.

It feels voyeuristic to be witnessing it, yet Kara can't look away, can't do anything to stop her heart from clenching in bittersweet pain.

“Kara?”

She startles, realizing her jaw is tight from holding it so rigidly, her back uncomfortably straight.

She forces a smile, turning back to Mon-El, who's holding out the drinks for her. “Can you give me another bottle? Maggie's just joined us.”

“Sure.”

Balancing the various bottles with surprising dexterity, Kara walks back to her friends.

“Hey,” Maggie greets her, genuine affection in her voice, “aw, you got me a beer too. Thanks.”

Kara likes to think she'd normally cope better, but spending the whole day with Alex has spoiled her now. Even her bubbly persona is deserting her in face of this shameful jealousy, leaving in its trail nothing but heat.

“No prob,” she murmurs, sitting down, not failing to find irony in how Alex is now seated right between the two of them.

Problem is, now that Maggie is here, she's going to be angled mainly in her direction, of that Kara is sure.

With a twist of her lips Kara withdraws into herself, too used to the sinking sensation in her stomach by now, burning together with self-reproach and endless guilt.

The group chats for another bit, but Kara hardly adds any input, just barely making an effort to appear her usual self. She knows she's being morose, but after getting a taste of how things used to be, the claws of disappointment are stronger than ever.

She wishes again, for the thousandth time, that her phone could work and reach Earth-1 easily - the desire to distract herself and text Lexie a pull too big to ignore. She needs to ask Barry again.

Eventually Alex and Maggie move toward the pool table and Kara can breathe once more.

She hates feeling like this, helpless to her thoughts and emotions. She scowls down into her club soda, not even following her friends discussion topic until James mentions Alex‘s name.

“What?” Kara snaps her eyes in his direction, drawn in, full attention now.

“I just said it's nice,” James repeats, nodding at the happy couple playing pool together amid giggles. “What they have. It looks… easy.” He shakes his head, smiling ruefully.

Kara bites her lower lip – they could have been happy, once, it feels forever ago she had a crush on James. Winn chimes in, clapping his hands together, “Alex has smiled more these past couple of months than she ever did the whole time I've known her. With Maggie around, she’s not that scary, right?”

James laughs at that, but Kara can only hold onto the table for support. She knows—she knows—but it doesn't mean this awareness makes it easier.

She's grateful Maggie has been such a great girlfriend to her sister, but by comparison Kara feels…

She doesn't know exactly what she feels, everything still so raw and confusing. Her vision blurs for a moment, but Kara powers through it until she feels more centered. She really shouldn’t, but still turns around to stare at Alex, watch the way she expertly maneuvers the cue stick between her hands, how intently she focuses and shoots the ball straight into a pocket.

“Awh, man!” Maggie groans, pouting exaggeratedly when Alex grins at her with a teasing raised eyebrow. Alex yelps when Maggie pinches her side in retaliation. “No gloating, it’s not attractive.”

“Oh, really?” Alex husks, standing at full height and staring down at her shorter girlfriend with an indecent smirk.

Kara swallows harshly and looks away, ears picking up on Maggie’s low hum regardless. She doesn’t need to glance back to know they’re kissing.

This isn't working.

Before she can spiral even deeper, Mon-El sits next to her on Alex's now empty chair. He lightly shakes the glass he's holding when their eyes meet.

“Drink?”

Kara’s about to say no, again, aware of how little it takes to get her drunk, when she catches the sound of Alex’s heart rate increasing. Her eyes automatically seek her sister out, just in time to see Maggie lean in close to Alex, her hand on Alex’s hip, and whisper something in her ear that has Alex biting her lip and blushing lightly.

Kara swallows and looks down at the table top. Maybe a drink will settle the churning in her stomach. She takes the glass from Mon-El. “Okay. One shot.”

--

“You sure that’s the play you wanna make?”

Maggie’s voice comes from somewhere behind her, but Alex ignores it, intent on calculating the angles needed to sink the five ball.

“I’m just sayin’,” Maggie’s voice is right in Alex’s ear now, her upper body flush against Alex’s side, “looks like a much easier shot to sink that three in the side pocket.”

Alex scoffs. “I like a challenge,” she mutters, not letting her attention waver from the white cue ball in front of her as she leans over the table. That’s all it is, she’s just taking the more difficult shot to give Maggie a fighting chance. It’s definitely not the fact that from this end of the pool table she’s not being constantly bombarded by the sight of Mon-El’s painfully obvious flirting with Kara.

Do James and Winn approve?

Alex is just sliding her pool cue towards the ball when the unmistakable sound of Kara’s laughter rings out behind her. Her body jerks slightly, and her cue glances too far off the side of the ball, sending it spinning into the side of the table, missing its target completely. Alex grits her teeth.

“Bad luck,” Maggie says, a bit too gleefully for the sympathetic pat she gives Alex’s shoulder.

She walks around the side of the table to study her options, and Alex gives in to the urge to look back at their table of friends. Mon-El is passing out another round of shots, his fingers lingering on Kara’s as she takes the glass from him. Alex ignores the sudden impulse to go kick him out of her seat, out of her place, beside Kara. So what if Mon-El has a crush on Kara? Everyone does at some point.

Alex takes a deep breath, her fingers tightening around her pool cue as Mon-El places his arm on the back of Kara’s chair and leans closer to Kara to whisper something in her ear. Alex is two steps closer to her sister when Maggie’s voice calls her back. “Your shot, babe.”

--

Kara blinks, her vision slightly fuzzy as she stares at the third? fourth? shot in her hand. She gropes for the edge of the table with her right hand, and once she finds it, carefully sets her glass down. Kara plunks her elbows down on the table and props her chin in her hand, sighing and ignoring the boys as they laugh at some terrible joke Winn makes. Her gaze drifts across the bar and settles, as it has all night, on the pool table near the door.

Alex is leaning over the table, her back to Kara as she lines up her shot. Kara licks her lips as she watches Alex’s thighs flex. The visual is interrupted when Maggie steps up behind Alex and leans over to whisper in her ear. Alex shakes her head and laughs, but Kara can see her cheeks flush red.

Kara pouts. She should be the one playing pool with Alex. “I’m awesome at pool,” Kara mutters, snatching her shot off the table and downing it. She stands abruptly, needing to be somewhere else, some place where she isn’t subjected to the constant—totally acceptable!—flirting between Alex and Maggie. Kara takes a wobbly first step and stumbles into Mon-El, who wraps an arm around her waist to steady her.

“Hey, you okay, Kara?”

Kara bats at him ineffectually as she steps out of his embrace. She stumbles again, and he catches her with hands on both her elbows, holding her upright. Kara huffs. “Lemme go.”

Mon-El raises an eyebrow. “Can you stand on your own?”

Kara frowns and straightens up. Her body sways forward, towards Mon-El. “Nope.” She laughs and grabs his arms to keep from falling.

Mon-El laughs with her for a moment, then grows quiet, staring down at Kara.

“What?” Kara tries to deflect the attention, ducking her head and self-consciously reaching up to play with her glasses, but since she’d taken her glasses off at some point and left them on the table, she only succeeds in poking herself in the eye. Mon-El says something, but she’s too busy rubbing her eye and watching the floor spin beneath her to pay attention to him. “Hmm?” she says, when she can finally look up.

“I said you're cute when you're drunk.” Mon-El offers her a lopsided grin, rubbing her shoulder.

Kara pff’s at him, waving her hand around. “Whaaat, I'm not drunk!”

She does feel dizzy, but the warm pleasant kind, and at least there's nothing else to obsess over.

Perhaps this drinking thingie is not too bad.

--

Alex groans as Maggie sinks her third stripe in a row. She's trained her well. Too well. Between keeping an eye on Mon-El’s wandering hands and Maggie’s sudden hot streak, Alex is actually in danger of losing this set. She finds herself caring less and less about the game, though, as she listens to the laughter and shouts coming from Kara and the boys.

“Earth to Alex.”

Alex blinks and jerks her head around. Maggie’s staring at her with a slightly amused look on her face. “Your shot,” she says, gesturing at the table.

Alex nods and strides around to the far end of the table. She’s bending over, lining up an easy shot, when she hears Kara’s snort-laugh. Alex’s body jerks up, her pool cue sending the white ball rolling harmlessly down the middle of the table as she watches Mon-El put his arm around Kara’s waist.

“You know, if you’re trying to take it easy on me, you’re being really obvious about it.” Maggie saunters in front of Alex, leaning over the table and making quick work of her last stripe.

Alex barely notices, too caught up in trying to control the churning in her stomach as she watches Kara stumble into Mon-El’s embrace, strong arms ready to curl around her. The pool stick creaks in Alex’s hands as Mon-El wraps his hands around Kara’s arms next.

“Eight ball, side pocket,” Maggie calls out. Alex blinks and turns back just in time to see the black ball drop into the pocket beside her.

“That’s game,” Maggie says with a smirk as she strolls back over to Alex. She props her hip on the pool table. “Not that I’m one to look a gift horse in the mouth,” she continues, “but is there something you wanna talk about? What’s got you so off tonight?”

Alex huffs out a quick breath. “It’s nothing,” she says, flashing Maggie a quick smile. Under Maggie’s raised eyebrow, Alex relents. “It’s Mon-El,” she admits, narrowing her eyes and staring past Maggie at the offending Daxamite. The tight band that’s been squeezing her chest all night loosens slightly when Kara takes a step back from Mon-El.

“The bartender?” Maggie glances over her shoulder. “Kara should be careful,” she says, turning back to Alex. “That guy hits on anything that moves.”

“Yeah, he’s being very handsy tonight,” Alex mutters, staring past her girlfriend once more. Mon-El’s mouth is still moving, even though Kara is clearly not paying him any attention, gaze focused on the ground instead.

Kara finally looks up, swaying on the spot, and Mon-El reaches out and caresses her shoulder. “Oh, hell no,” Alex growls, tossing her pool stick down on the table. Her face feels hot as she stalks over to her friends. It’s a good thing she’s not the one with the heat vision, because if she were, Mon-El would be feeling a sizeable sizzle right now.

When she reaches their table, Alex slides right in between Kara and a surprised Mon-El. Kara’s just picked up another full shot glass and Mon-El’s still touching her shoulder. Alex elbows his arm away from Kara and deftly plucks the glass from Kara’s fingers. She ducks her head slightly to look Kara in the eyes. “Hey, Kar,” she says gently.

Kara blinks at her suddenly empty hand then looks up. “Alex!” Kara exclaims happily. She throws her arms around Alex’s waist and lays her head on Alex’s shoulder, tucking her face into Alex’s neck. “I missed you,” Kara slurs softly, her lips brushing briefly against Alex’s skin.

Alex feels hot again, even as a shiver passes through her body. She wraps her arms around Kara’s back, suddenly self-conscious of the eyes of the bar upon them. “Me too,” she murmurs, the words so low that she’s sure only Kara could hear them. She squeezes Kara and speaks a little louder. “You ready to go home?”

Kara sways from one foot to the other. “Wanna dance,” she mumbles into Alex’s neck. Her hands press flat on Alex’s back and pull her in closer as she shuffles them in a slow spin.

“I can take her home,” Mon-El volunteers eagerly, stepping up beside them and reaching out for Kara. Alex tugs Kara and lifts her slightly to stop their movement, giving Mon-El her best death glare over the top of Kara’s head. He drops his hand and immediately takes a step back. “Or not,” he says with a hard swallow.

“Good call,” Maggie agrees, slapping him on the shoulder as she walks past him. She nods at Kara. “Need any help?”

Alex shakes her head. “I think I’ve got it,” she says as she shifts Kara into a standing position.

Kara tilts her head and blinks slowly as she grabs Alex’s shoulder to steady herself. “Maaaaag-gie! Hi,” she says, swaying forward.

“Hi, Kara,” Maggie says with a fond, amused smile.

Kara squints her eyes as she leans closer. “You’re so tiny!” Kara exclaims. She straightens up and taps Alex on the cheek with two of her fingers. “Alex! She’s so tiny! I bet I could pick her up.”

Kara stumbles one step towards Maggie, ready to do just that, before Alex wraps her arms around Kara from behind and hauls her back. She ignores the low-level buzz that travels over her skin where Kara presses against her. The tingling has always been there, magnified when Alex has been drinking. Alex glances at her girlfriend, whose eyes are crinkled in mirth. ‘Sorry,’ Alex mouths, nodding at Kara.

“S’okay,” Maggie says with a smile. “You good to get home?”

Alex glances down at Kara, who’s taken one of Alex’s hands in her own and is studying it intently. Alex shakes her head. “I think we’re good. See you tomorrow?”

“Yep.” Maggie leans in and kisses Alex’s cheek, lingering for a moment. “Text me when you've put this one to bed.”

Kara goes stiff in Alex’s arms, and then she’s twisting and squirming to get away. Maggie steps back and Alex squeezes Kara, jostling her lightly. “Say goodnight to everyone, Kara.”

“Goodnight, everyone,” Kara says dutifully. She wraps both arms around Alex as they shuffle to the exit. Kara pokes Alex in the side as they stumble out into the night air. “I could’ve picked her up,” she says petulantly, crossing her arms as Alex guides her into the back seat of a parked taxi.

Alex rolls her eyes and gives the cab driver Kara’s address.

--

Alex drags a not quite cooperative Kara through the threshold of her apartment, cursing under her breath at how irresponsible it has been to let her drink this much.

She should have stepped in sooner.

Kara swears she's not drunk, but Alex knows the signs, can recognize them, eyes closed, and her sister is a major lightweight. She's definitively at least past tipsy by now, if her random stumbling and giggling are of any indication. She's gripping Alex's arm a tad too bruisingly. The novelty and amusement of seeing Kara drunk has worn off quickly, after last time.

And it's Mon-El’s fault, again.

Alex grits her teeth, pushing on Kara’s shoulders to keep her from leaving the couch she's settled her on. It's hard to control a buzzing, inebriated Kryptonian.

“Stay.”

Alex heads to the kitchen, picking up the orange juice from the fridge and retrieving a clean glass.

“Alexxxxxx,” Kara whines, “I'm hungry.”

Despite her sour mood, Alex chuckles. Of course.

“No sweets for you.” She searches through a couple of shelves, finding some chips and packages of crackers at last. It'd be nice to have more carbs around, but it's way too late for take-out.

When she returns, Kara lifts her head, her smile on the side of sleepy. Something warms inside Alex's chest at the sight.

“Here. Eat and drink this.” She pats Kara’s hand when their fingers touch as she gives Kara the food she'd found.

Kara scarfs down the crackers in record time, barely stopping herself from finishing all the chips too. She pauses with a tilted head, looking back at Alex.

“You eat too.”

Alex frowns, but before she can question her, Kara pushes a handful of chips right into her face, crumbly slim fingers pressing against her lips.

“Kara!” Alex huffs out a laugh, backing away when crumbled chips fall into her lap. “Really…”

Kara giggles at her, pinching and grasping at the hem of Alex's plaid shirt to save all the chips she's crushed. She shakes the material in her grasp, exposing a flash of skin in the process, Alex's stomach muscles jumping at the sudden cooler temperate.

Alex circles Kara's wrist and immediately Kara lets go. “Sorry…” she murmurs, sounding more contrite than necessary.

Alex frowns again, but doesn't press. She takes a sip of juice from Kara's glass and then rests on the back of the couch, bleeding out the tension from her shoulders.

This night couldn't have ended sooner.

A gentle poke at her side makes her flutter her eyes open again.

“I'm done,” Kara exclaims, smiling widely as if she's accomplished something big.

Alex rubs her head fondly and watches in fascination as Kara presses back against her palm, obviously pleased by the caress.

“C’mon, sleepyhead. Time to put you to bed.”

Kara is surprisingly obliging, following Alex in silence as they move toward her bedroom. Kara lazily brushes her teeth, mind hazy enough not to use any super speed. When she walks to her bed, Alex is sitting on it, hands on her thighs as she waits.

“Hi,” Kara says, grinning.

Is Alex going to stay?

“Hello again,” Alex echoes with a little smile. It's impossible to stay mad at someone this adorable. She pats the space beside her. “Ready for bed?”

Alex had thought about putting Kara to bed and leaving, but it's clear her sister has other ideas. Kara flops down on the comfy mattress and lifts her arms, asking for a hug.

Alex chuckles under her breath and complies, curling her arms around Kara’s shoulders, drawing her close. Kara exhales warm air against her neck, nosing the skin there happily, holding the thin torso against hers less gently than usual. She tugs at Alex then, no warning, forcing her to stumble on top of her.

“Kara!” Alex laughs, wide-eyed, surprise coloring her voice. She rolls away to the side after a moment. “Pajamas first.”

Kara doesn't move, just grins lazily. “Help me.”

Alex huffs and puffs, but it's all an act. She's always going to say yes whenever Kara asks. She kneels on the mattress, aiding the silly alien’s suddenly very heavy limbs. She lifts Kara's arms, stripping her of the light pullover she was wearing, pointedly focused on the way the action makes her blond hair stick in all directions. Kara just giggles.

“C’mom. Raise your butt.”

“You're a butt,” Kara retorts, batting Alex's hands away from her waist, and thumbing at her pants button on her own.

Alex doesn't move as Kara lifts her hips, clawing at her pants to pull them down. Alex rolls her eyes. She tugs at the material too, helping her sister disrobe quicker. She doesn't have all night.

Who would have thought Kara was going to be such a silly drunk? The thought makes her smirk.

Kara looks up at her, all trust and affection. Alex quirks her lips for a moment before looking away. Pajamas, right.

She goes to the drawer in Kara's room, but in a flash her sister is in front of her, moving way too fast for someone experiencing their second hangover.

“No!” Kara actually yells, taking hold of both Alex's hands, firm, dragging her away from her secret place. The star! She—she can't see Lexie’s gift! That's important!

Alex frowns, utterly befuddled by the panicky shout. “O-okay…” She can't help but look down at Kara, still in her white underwear. “You gonna sleep like this?”

She's a tad uncomfortable in a way she can't explain, something familiar nagging at the back of her head. She forces a disapproving little smile on her face, crossing her arms around herself.

Kara just falls back on her bed, seemingly oblivious to Alex’s thoughts. “Yep! I'm hot.”

Alex just stays at the corner of the bed, tense and confused, glancing down at her sister one moment, the next back at the drawer. A sigh leaves her lips.

“Alright, well, goodni—”

Kara pouts, lifting just one hand to point in her direction. “You don't strip?”

That makes Alex cough a harsh laugh. “No Kara. I'm not staying.”

Kara's face falls in such a heartbreaking manner that Alex's stomach clenches. Those unfairly big, cute puppy eyes should be illegal.

So much for the impressive DEO training.

Alex sits on the end of the bed and leans down to unlace her boots. Okay, just a couple of minutes, she thinks.

Kara yelps at that and claps her hands together, her excitement warming up Alex's spine like nothing else. She immediately curls next to her sister, as Alex lies down, trying to find a comfortable position while still wearing tight jeans.

“Go to sleep,” she murmurs against blonde curls.

“Dun wanna…” Kara says, the alcohol and the rush of having Alex back in her arms finally slowing her down. She can feel the tendrils of sleep wrapping around her head, tantalizingly so, but she stubbornly keeps her eyes open, not keen on missing any moment - not now that she's alone with her sister.

Her chin rubs deliberately on Alex's shirt. Alex just wraps her arms more securely around Kara, one hand splayed at her back, the other clutching her hip.

“Why did you let that idiot push you into drinking this much?” she finally asks, the worry ever present.

“Mon-El?”

“Do you know any other idiot? Wait, don't answer.”

Kara giggles, far too used to Alex disliking most of her male friends initially. She'll grow to like Mon-El too.

“Well?”

“Hmm…” Kara presses with her face against Alex's chest, truths and thoughts spinning in her head in a maddening circle. She can't tell Alex how dark and hot jealousy sometimes burns within her. “Maggie drinks.”

That isn't the answer Alex was expecting. She quiets down, struggling to put into words why she doesn't worry about Maggie like she does for Kara. Kara—she's her little sister, alien superpowers or not, she worries, she just does. Maggie is used to drinking anyway.

“That's not same,” she argues weakly, but Kara just hums. Alex brushes her fingers across Kara’s bare low back.

They stay like that in silence, wrapped around each other. It's something Alex has missed, without even realizing it wasn't there. With each tick of the clock, her eyes grow heavier.

She should text Maggie as promised, let her know that everything is fine. Then she should move, leave before Kara wakes up on alert again, demanding her attention, but it's surprisingly hard. She can’t force herself to do that, it seems, not when Kara has settled comfortably half on top of her, all that Kryptonian weight pulsing like home.

Alex is too comfortable to feel guilty, too at ease to actually leave. This was her favorite position for a long while back in Midvale, after all - the familiarity bringing back fond memories to the front, despite the fact that Kara usually doesn't skip pajamas.

But Alex finds she doesn't mind.

She’s had a long day, Alex reasons, exhausting at the DEO base, no solution in sight for their latest cases, and the alcohol at the bar just makes her lazy in a way she hasn’t been in a while. All she wants is to sleep, to close her eyes and press closer to her sister.

Kara’s warmth seals the deal, lulls her to oblivion—she’s always run a little hotter than normal—and this is home.