Kara thuds her head against the island of Alex’s kitchen as she releases a long, low whine.
“Come on, it won’t be that bad. She’s probably forgotten about it,” Alex says.
Kara lifts her head, folding her arms to rest her chin on them while she pouts at her sister.
“She’ll remember, and it’s going to be horrible!” Kara complains.
“What’s going to be horrible?” Kelly asks, rounding the corner from the hallway and pausing to kiss Alex on the cheek before pulling an apple out of the fridge.
“Kara’s going to the dentist,” Alex supplies with a nod and no small measure of amusement.
“Oh. Well, lots of people are nervous about the dentist, Kara. I’d be happy to go over some calming exercises with you-”
Kara’s groan cuts off Kelly’s polite offer and she raises an eyebrow at Kara’s uncharacteristic rudeness.
“I’m not scared of the dentist,” Kara mumbles.
“Quite the opposite,” Alex says, grinning at her fiance. “Except Kara keeps embarrassing herself, and it keeps getting worse.”
“I should just get a new dentist,” Kara complains. “Save her the trouble and me from the humiliation.”
“It can’t be that bad,” Kelly says, looking between the sisters and hesitating when they both cringe. “Can it?”
Kara buries her face in her hands, cursing her need to get cleanings every six months.
“You should tell Kelly what happened,” Alex says. “Maybe she can help.”
Kara straightens, gripping the edge of the marble island and glowering at the amused spark in Alex’s eyes.
“Fine. But only because I know you’ll tell her as soon as I leave anyway and you’ll make it seem way worse than it is,” Kara huffs.
Alex grins over at Kelly, patting the stool next to her to encourage Kelly to sit as if Kara is about to tell them both a fun story.
Kara wishes it was just a story.
She sighs, adjusting her glasses as she tells Kelly about her move to National City and her adventures in acquiring a new dentist.
A year Before
“Finally!” Kara cries as she hangs up her cellphone, dropping onto her new, second-hand couch that has the perfect level of use to be comfortable, just starting to toe the line of ragged.
Alex frowns at her from the kitchen where she’s organizing Kara’s silverware into the drawer. “Are you going to help? When you asked me to move you in, I didn’t think I’d be doing all the work.”
“Sorry,” Kara says, ambling over to start unpacking her Tupperware and deciding how she should organize her new space. “I finally got a call back from a dentist!”
“Yours! I think they thought I was your wife, so they put me to the top of the waiting list because of a personal connection or whatever?” Kara explains as she scrunches up her nose.
Alex snorts a laugh.
Kara had been calling doctors and dentists and vets - for Streaky - for weeks in anticipation of her arrival in National City. All the waiting lists were full, and Kara had been struggling to find a good dentist.
She wasn’t scared of the dentist. Not at all. Kara just didn’t like new places, or change in her routine, the unknown, or how dentists tended to ask her questions Kara couldn’t answer because of all the rubbery fingers and tools in her mouth.
She wasn’t scared. She was uncomfortable.
Still, Kara liked getting cleanings done so she suffered through her awkwardness in the name of oral hygiene.
“You’ll like Dr. Luthor. She’s great,” Alex says, eyeing Eliza’s old teapot with a critical gaze as she unpacks it. “She doesn’t expect you to talk unless you want to. Hey, is this mom’s? She said I could have it when I moved out.”
“But it matches so well with my blue fridge,” Kara pouts, pulling the teapot to her chest and Alex rolls her eyes, muttering about favouritism and little shitheads.
The white marble floors shine around the thin black carpet that leads to the receptionist's desk, and Kara inhales the muggy scent of clove oil and disinfectant.
Kara was almost late because she took a wrong turn and had to double back and run three blocks, so she leans against the counter as she tells the receptionist who she is, trying to keep her breath even.
The woman smiles and gestures to chairs in the waiting room, all empty, so Kara takes the one in the corner furthest from the door where she can keep an eye on her surroundings and see through the big window at the front of the office that shows people puttering about.
A man is trying to reel in a dog who is determined to pull his human toward adventure, people smoke on the stoops of office buildings and apartments, and pigeons gather on the sidewalk.
It’s too much for Kara to take in, already uneasy with having to go to a new dentist, so she looks around the ascetic office instead.
She considers reading a magazine, but they’re all outdated and she’s read them already, or from news rags Kara would sooner use as tinder for a fire.
Devil’s ivy hangs from a wiry brown basket over Kara’s head, trailing down the corner and along the receptionist’s desk.
She focuses on that, letting the thriving leaves of the vining plant comfort her as nature always does and she works on counting her breaths.
In for seven. Hold for five. Out for eight.
She repeats it eleven times before the false-wood door opens and the metal kick-guard reflects the sun into Kara’s eyes.
Kara jolts from her seat, almost tripping over her feet as she scrambles to stand, and when she looks up her face heats because her new dentist absolutely saw her stumble.
Her new dentist with pale green eyes that can’t decide how much blue they want to hold, and dark eyelashes that curve like waves.
Kara dips her head to adjust her glasses as an excuse to keep her gaze trained on the floor instead of the woman’s face.
“I’m Lena. Follow me, please,” she says, holding the door open for Kara to scoot through before leading her down the hall and into exam room two, where the large silver number decorates the door.
Lena holds that door open too, and Kara hazards a glance up to see Lena’s kind smile as she gestures to the beige chair in the middle of the room.
Kara settles into it, kicking her legs up and leaning back, thankful that even though everything is new she can at least sit in a cozy chair as she stains her shirt with nervous sweat.
Lena follows in after her, pulling a folder from the plastic mailbox screwed to the wall under the light switches and her brows furrow.
“Ah, Danvers. Alex’s… wife?” Lena guesses and Kara scrunches up her face in disgust as she shakes her head.
“Sister. I’m adopted, in case you’re wondering why we look nothing alike. Most people do. I just moved here,” Kara corrects, clasping her hands together and squeezing hard.
“Welcome to National City,” Lena says, the corners of her eyes crinkling as she smiles and settles onto a rolling stool with a red leather top.
“Thanks. It’s nice here,” Kara says. The city is loud, but Alex is here and that’s all Kara cares about.
“It is.” Lena nods before rifling through the file again. “I’ve got your records here, and things look good, but I’d like to take my own x-rays if that’s alright. I also like to ask patients to gauge their comfortability level on a scale of one to ten, and let me know of any accommodations I can provide.”
Kara’s face heats up under Lena’s steady gaze, her mind a bit foggy as she takes in the new information.
“You can take an x-ray. And… I don’t like new things so I’m probably about a five-point-seven? Changes in environments are hard, I mean, but I’ll be better next time, I promise.”
“You’re fine. I can deal with a five-point-seven,” Lena waves away with ease before she stands, donning blue rubber gloves and unpackaging the little plastic things that always cut Kara’s gums when she bites down on them, but she’s familiar with it, at least, and finds comfort in that.
Lena though, is patient and explains everything before she makes Kara open her mouth. Kara knows it makes the appointment last longer and a small part of her feels bad for making the next patient wait, but mostly she’s grateful that Lena is so intuitive to how nervous Kara is.
And it doesn’t help the Lena is so… pretty, while being so kind. It’s distracting, and yes, distraction techniques are useful most of the time, but not when they cause Kara to make a fool of herself.
After Lena takes the quick x-rays and goes over her findings with Kara, she rolls over her tray of sterile instruments and as she unpackages them, she asks, “What’s your favourite part of the city so far?”
“The park!” Kara says with no hesitation. “There are way more bees than I was expecting in the city - different species of bees, I mean - and the trees are huge! Their mycorrhizal networks must be very well developed.”
“Mhm,” Lena agrees with an absentminded nod as she tears open a sheer blue package with a hooked metal tool inside. “Very cool how fungus helps other plants communicate and thrive.”
Kara gapes at Lena slightly, not used to people knowing what she’s talking about, and then she beams at Lena.
“Yeah. Very cool.”
“Are you a botanist, then?” Lena asks.
“Sort of? I mean, I help museums procure rare plants sometimes and make sure they’re obtained ethically, but my official titles are environmental scientist and conservation scientist. I make sure nature’s safe, and help fix it if it’s not. I get to help make policies to protect what little nature is left on the land we stole, and sometimes I get called to court to make statements, or make suggestions to researchers who are experimenting with tech they want to implement to clean air or water,” Kara rambles, happy to see Lena nodding along and making interested hums, or raising her eyebrows as Kara talks about her favourite thing.
Kara shakes her head, remembering her manners and not wanting to talk about herself too much, she asks, “What about you?”
Lena raises an eyebrow at her, green eyes searching and slitted as she asks, “Are you asking me where I work?”
Kara opens her mouth to confirm, and then she blushes because Lena is literally holding a suction tube and wearing purple scrubs. In a dentist’s office. Which she owns.
Instead of words, Kara emits a choked squeak as her face heats up.
Lena sets her instruments down with a chuckle, hiding her amused smirk behind the mask she loops around her ears.
Kara wants to say something to fix her blunder, but she can’t think of anything so she just stays quiet, and Lena slowly reclines her chair, easing dark sunglasses over Kara’s glasses to protect her from the movable overhead light.
She tells Kara to open her mouth and Lena sets to work.
Alex is failing to hide her mirth as Kara recounts the story for Kelly, who steals a sip of Alex’s coffee.
“That’s not bad, Kara, you just asked her where she works. Sure, it’s a bit embarrassing, but everyone makes social blunders like that from time to time. It’s like when Alex puts the cereal box in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard,” Kelly says.
“That was one time, and I’d pulled a double. Let me live it down!” Alex complains and Kelly grins at her with a shake of her head.
“I wish that was the only embarrassing thing I did,” Kara says as she pushes her glasses out of the way to drag a hand over her blushing face.
“There’s more?” Kelly asks and Kara nods, whimpering at the memory flashing through her mind.
“Oh, it gets worse,” Alex says.
“Way worse.” Kara sighs, recounting her next encounter with Lena.
Six Months Before
There are people filling most of the chairs in the waiting room, but it’s fine. Kara’s been here before and her seat in the corner is empty and she draws comfort from the familiarity of sitting in it. Two young kids play with colourful wooden shapes and move them across the wires they’re attached to, and it doesn’t even bother Kara as they chatter and squeal, their mother reading an old CatCo magazine.
Eve, the receptionist, looks fondly at the children and smiles when she catches Kara’s gaze.
“Kara,” Lena’s warm voice cuts through the din of the children’s playing, and Kara beams up at where Lena holds the door open.
“Hello, Lena. Still a dentist, I see,” Kara says, trying to make a joke to erase any tension she feels about her last encounter here. It was just one social mistake, no big deal.
Lena grins at her as Kara walks through the door, quietly chuckling as she leads Kara down the hall.
She keeps walking past the door with the shiny number two, and Kara hesitates by it, shuffling on her feet as Lena turns with a tilted head.
“We were in exam room two last time,” Kara says, pointing to the number.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t consider that,” Lena says as she glances down at her watch. “We can wait for Sam to be finished with her patient if you want. She should be finishing up soon, and we’d just have to wait for the chair to be sanitized.”
Kara bites her lip, twisting her fingers as she considers the offer. She knows it’s irrational, that the difference between room two and three probably isn’t very big, but she still doesn’t like it. She shakes her head anyway.
“No, it’s okay, I just didn’t expect it. It’s just a cleaning, I can do it.” Kara clenches her fists in determination, and Lena hesitates.
“You sure? I don’t mind waiting.”
At Kara’s nod, Lena continues to exam room three, where everything is the same, except the mailbox is a translucent blue instead of grey, and the chair in the center of the room is white.
Kara frowns at it, sure that the beige one is superior, but she settles onto it anyway, trying to convince herself that everything is fine and that it’s not a Big Deal.
In for seven. Hold for five. Out for eight.
In for seven. Hold for five, Out for eight.
It doesn’t work as well as it normally does and Kara fidgets with her phone, fumbling with the case as Lena clips the polyethylene paper to cover Kara’s chest.
Like last time, Lena speaks in a calm, quiet tone, explaining what she’s doing before she does it, and from behind the dark shades protecting Kara’s eyes from the light, Kara focuses on Lena’s green ones.
There’s an edge about Lena that seems at odds with the gentle way she speaks to Kara, and where most cleanings are prodding and sharp, Lena’s patience doesn’t waver as she gently scrapes Kara’s teeth.
It’s not pleasant - there’s metal in Kara’s mouth - but it’s more tolerable than most cleanings, and Kara keeps a steady focus on Lena’s eyes to distract herself from the Wrong room and the Wrong chair.
They're two slightly different colours, and Kara starts a debate with herself to determine whether Lena’s eyes have central heterochromia or complete heterochromia.
It works. It’s easy to be distracted by Lena’s unwavering gaze, and it works.
At least until there’s a knock at the door, which Kara also hadn’t expected and her hands clench around her phone like a vice as she jolts in the Wrong chair, the cracked leather pinching her thighs through her yellow sundress.
With a sigh, Lena pulls away from Kara’s foam-filled mouth, opening the door and pulling an x-ray sheet out of a folder one of her employees hands to her.
Lena holds it to the light before making a suggestion and closes the door once more, turning to wash her hands in the sink.
The foam in Kara’s mouth feels like chalk all of a sudden and she wants to spit it out but she knows she’s on a timer and has to hold it there. The chair is too hard, and the number of the room too odd, and all the little differences feel like weights against Kara’s lurching stomach.
Donning a new pair of blue latex gloves, Lena sits back on her stool and as she slides by Kara’s chair to pick up her instruments again, Kara’s phone slips from her grasp.
She tries to catch it (Alex will kill her if she cracks another screen) just as Lena turns away to pick up a tool, and Kara’s phone clatters to the floor as her hand comes down on Lena’s butt.
Kara freezes, her eyes widening because her mouth is full of the stupid foam so she can’t even explain what happened, and Lena’s back straightens before she turns slowly, an eyebrow raised above her sharp gaze.
Kara can’t see what face Lena’s making behind the mask, so she holds her hands up in surrender, shaking her head as much as she can before pointing down to the floor where she thinks her phone landed.
Lena’s eyes flicker down to the floor before cutting back up to Kara.
“You dropped your phone?”
Kara nods as vigorously as the liquid in her mouth will allow, hands still held up.
“And you thought slapping my ass was proper procedure for getting my attention?” Lena asks, and Kara makes a muffled cry through the foam as she shakes her head, wide-eyed and panicking.
This is what happens in room three!
“It was an accident?” Lena asks with a tilted head, and Kara nods, hoping the whine of relief she lets out doesn’t sound too pathetic. Lena hums and turns from Kara to take off her gloves. She opens one of her drawers, pulling out a stress ball, a fidget spinner, some silly putty, and a Rubik’s cube. “Will any of these help you calm down?”
Kara glances over her options and points to the silly putty.
Lena hands it over to her, picking up Kara’s phone and tucking it under Kara’s thigh before washing her hands again.
Kara pulls and smushes the putty as Lena finishes up the cleaning, and when Lena finally lets Kara rinse her mouth out, Kara feels like she needs to talk in order to live.
“I am so sorry! I just- my phone was falling just as you turned, and I wasn’t paying attention and I missed, obviously, but I swear I didn’t mean to! I’m all about consent!” Kara says, trying to fiddle with her glasses but knocking the sunglasses that cover them into her face instead.
She pulls them off with a huff before leveling Lena with a serious look as her face throbs with the amount of blush rushing there. “I promise it was an accident, and I’m very sorry that I… sma-smacked your butt.”
Kara’s face is as red as the stool chair, she’s sure of it, her heart hammering with the certainty that she’s about to be tossed out of the building at best or sued at worst, but when Lena peels the mask from her face, the corners of her mouth are tilted up.
“It’s better than the time Cat Grant’s son punched me in the face and gave me a bloody nose in his panic when I tried to numb his gums,” Lena says, her red lips pulling up into a lopsided grin.
Kara chokes out a laugh, wiping her hot forehead before tucking her (not shattered) phone into her pocket. “I’m really really sorry.”
“Accidents happen, though I will become suspicious of repeat offenses,” Lena says, but her eyes shine with amusement and Kara lets out a nervous chuckle before Lena continues. “Exam room two next time, then?”
“Yes please,” Kara murmurs, her shoulders slumping in defeat as she hands the silly putty back over to Lena.
By the time she’s done telling the story, Alex is doubled over in laughter even though she’s heard the story before (many times, much to Kara’s chagrin), and Kelly is working very hard to keep her lips from twitching too much.
“So you accidentally touched her butt,” Kelly starts, and Alex lets out a loud cackle as she pounds her fist on the counter, still doubled over. Kelly clears her throat, trying not to join in. “But she understood it was an accident, and still tried to make you comfortable.”
Kara groans before she pouts over at Kelly, Alex straitening up and pulling her lips in to stop laughing.
“I’m going to make a fool of myself again, and it’s going to be even worse, because she’s so pretty and nice, and she knows things about fungus, and I’m very anxious so I have to get high on nitrous oxide so she can pull out my stupid wisdom teeth, so I’ll be even worse !”
“Kara,” Alex says as she levels Kara with a gentle smile. She slides her hand over the top of Kara’s, squeezing hard. “You’re fine, and there’s nothing wrong with you, okay? There’s nothing to make worse. Everyone on the planet says and does silly things on laughing gas. There’s a whole Youtube channel dedicated to it, and you having a brain that works differently than some peoples’ doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. I’m sorry for laughing.”
Kara’s chin wobbles as Alex talks and Kelly rounds the island, opening her arms in the offer of a hug that Kara nods at.
Alex joins in too, and they sandwich Kara in a sister hug until she can breathe properly again.
“Do you want me to go with you instead of just picking you up after you’re done?” Alex offers and Kara softens further, resting her head on Alex’s shoulder before pulling away.
“No. You’re right,” Kara says. “You’re both right. She’s seen people high before and has probably heard all kinds of stuff, and I’m just me; nothing special. She has hundreds of patients. And… it is a bit funny when I’m not panicking about it.”
Kelly chuckles as she rubs Kara’s back. “You’ll be fine. Just remember to breathe, and if you need it, call one of us.”
“Thanks, guys,” Kara says, pulling them both into one final hug before checking her watch.
Lena is already waiting for her when Kara pushes through the glass doors, and she smiles as she leads Kara to room two.
“How’s work?” Kara asks, trying to fill the silence while Lena prepares her tools and the nitrous oxide machine.
“One of my younger guests got hungry,” Lena says as she lifts a finger wrapped in a small bandaid. Kara hums as she nods.
“Yes,” Kara says, taking on a sage and wise voice, “I have heard that cannibalism is a common workplace hazard when it comes to dentistry.”
Lena’s eyebrows shoot up before she laughs, biting her lip and shaking her head as if trying to dispel her happiness.
“You’re-” Lena cuts herself off with a smile, shakes her head again, and sighs before turning to the gas tank and asking Kara if she’s ready.
“Yes, but I would like to apologize in advance,” Kara says, her eyes turning to nervous slits as she grimaces. Of all the patients Lena deals with, Kara can’t be the only one to notice how beautiful Lena is. Patients probably tell her all the time, and Kara takes a deep breath to center herself.
“Why,” Lena asks with a raised eyebrow, “what are you planning to do this time, miss Danvers?”
“N-nothing!” Kara scoffs as her cheeks flush. “It’s just - every time I come here I end up doing something embarrassing, and I’m gonna be high soon, and I already have no filter and ramble enough as it is, and you’re like... really, v-very pretty, and um, I’m probably going to say that. So I just wanted to apologize in advance.”
“For calling me pretty?”
“Okay. I’ll forgive you.” Lena’s crooked smile makes Kara’s stomach swoop. “If you call me pretty, that is.”
“Thanks,” Kara says, and she wants to cover her face with her hands, but she doesn’t. Instead, she looks down at her feet and wiggles her toes as she focuses on her breathing, taking comfort from the familiarity of the room.
“Are you sure you want the nitrous oxide and not a local sedative or a stronger sedation so you sleep through it?”
“No, I like when you explain what you’re doing and I’m not comfortable being asleep, but I’m too nervous for just a numbing needle, so… I guess we just have to deal with whatever embarrassing attempts at flirting I’ll make,” Kara says as she blushes more.
“Just double-checking,” Lena says, her eyes shining with... fondness? Kara isn’t sure, but she focuses on them as Lena secures the small nasal hood over Kara’s nose and reclines the chair.
Lena explains what she’ll be doing as Kara gets used to breathing through the mask for a couple of minutes before Lena asks her if she’s ready and turns the dial to add nitrous oxide.
When Lena pulls out a large needle, Kara doesn’t even wince.
She just feels… sweaty and happy, which is weird because those don’t seem to go together, but Lena’s there, and Kara can’t see her face, but her eyes are smiling so everything must be okay.
Kara feels like she’s underwater, gently waving in the slow current, and she giggles at the thought of being seaweed.
The reflection of her mouth in Lena’s protective glasses should be jarring, and Kara can see the drill and the pliers but she doesn’t feel a thing. She looks down a little, trying to make sure she didn’t actually turn into seaweed somehow.
“Open your mouth wider,” Lena says, and it sounds like she’s underwater too, and time must work differently in the ocean because everything is over before Kara knows it.
“How are you feeling?” Lena asks as she stores her equipment away and tosses her gloves into the bin.
Kara’s brows furrow as she considers the question while Lena removes the supply of nitrous. She doesn’t feel a single thing. Not her mouth or her limbs or the beige chair. She settles on, “Floaty.”
Lena chuckles at her and nods. “Sounds about right. Should wear off soon.”
“I should call Alex! She’s picking me up. She’s the best. Best sister ever,” Kara says, pulling her phone from her pants pocket to facetime her sister who picks up on the first ring. Kara must have been speedy about calling, and she giggles at the alarm on Lena’s face.
“Kara? Are you okay?” Alex’s voice cuts through the room.
“I am so okay!” Kara says, though her voice is muffled by the wads of squishy gauze in her cheeks. “I’m on drugs. I’m seaweed.”
“She’ll be fine soon,” Lena says and Kara turns her phone around so Alex can see Lena too.
“Look!” Kara says. “My dentist looks like a model.”
“Yeah, Kara. We have the same dentist. I’ve seen her plenty of times,” Alex drones out and Lena’s cheeks go a little pink. Maybe. It’s hard to tell.
“Do you think she’s pretty? I do,” Kara says to her sister, who coughs out a laugh.
“Sure. You want me to come pick you up?”
“What do you mean ‘ sure?’ You don’t have to pretend she’s not pretty just because you have a fiance. Kelly has eyes, I’m sure she’d agree with me.”
“Jesus, Kara, fine, she’s pretty. In like, a totally not weird, patient-doctor, I have eyes and it’s my job to notice things kind of way,” Alex says and Lena chuckles.
“Should I tell her how pretty she is?” Kara asks.
“Maybe when you’re not high as a kite and literally drooling.”
“I’m drooling?” Kara reaches up to wipe her mouth but she doesn’t feel anything. She pouts at Lena. “Lena, why didn’t you say anything? Have I not embarrassed myself in front of you enough?”
Wordlessly, Lena hands Kara a wad of neatly folded paper towel, and Kara wipes her face, pulling it away to see reddish slime.
“Gross,” Kara says before she gasps. “Lena! Can I see my teeth?”
“Okay, I’m coming to get you,” Alex says but Kara ignores her. The prospect of seeing her teeth far more interesting and Alex hangs up with a groan.
Lena hands Kara a clear plastic pill bottle with four large teeth inside, and Kara’s eyes widen. She didn’t expect them to be so big.
“Holy molar,” Kara says, laughing at her own bad joke before beaming at Lena. “Like holy moly, get it? Can I tell you a joke?”
Lena settles back on the stool next to her before saying, “Sure.”
“When’s the best time to go to the dentist?”
“Tooth hurty. Get it? Like, two-thirty? Tooth hurty? I got good jokes.”
Lena grins at her, and eggs Kara on with the small agreement of, “Mhm.”
“What kind of awards do dentists get?”
“Little plaques. But the royally good ones get crowned.”
“Good joke.” Lena places an elbow on the side of Kara’s chair so she can rest her chin in her hand, and Kara beams at her, wiping her mouth again in case she drooled some more.
“Brace yourself, I have more puns. Let me fill you in,” Kara says, earning a chuckle in response.
“This is a lot of dentistry humor.”
"There's a lot of puns about getting drilled and fingering cavities but I decided not to mention those." Kara waves a dismissive hand in the air as Lena chokes out a laugh.
Kara continues, unbothered. “You know why I’m so nice to my dentist?”
“You have fillings too.”
“Remember that time I slapped your butt? It was acci- dental . It’s funny because it’s both true and a joke.”
“Okay, okay, okay, this one is my favourite. Why did the tree go to the dentist? To get a root canal. Get it? It’s funny because trees have roots, and I like trees and you’re my dentist. There’s a lot of levels to it.”
“You know a lot of tooth-related puns.”
“I did a google search so I would have things to say instead of telling you that you’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met,” Kara explains as her limbs start to tingle, and Lena bites her bottom lip.
“How’s that working for you?”
“Pretty well, I think?” Kara drops her bottle of teeth to press her fingers to her swollen cheeks, puffed up by the gauze in her mouth. She can feel her face again, along with her fingers which she flexes and wiggles. “I think the drugs are going away.”
“Yeah, it doesn’t take long.”
“The movies lied to me,” Kara mutters as she picks up her jar of teeth. She studies them in silence that’s broken by the ticking of the clock on the wall, and Kara starts to count along with it until she can keep track of her numbers.
It takes less than twenty minutes for her to feel completely normal, and beyond the haze of her general mortification at her behaviour, everything is fine.
Lena lowered her chair at some point, and Kara bites her lip as she waits for Alex to arrive.
“Are you sure it’s okay if I wait in this chair? You don’t have any other teeth to remove?” Kara asks, determined to look at anything but Lena.
“You’re my last patient today,” Lena says.
The clock on the wall reads one-thirty, which is an early end of the day in Kara’s opinion, but she’s no dentist so she doesn’t comment beyond, “That’s lucky!”
Lena smiles at her with a small shake of the head.
“Actually, Kara, I was hoping we could talk?” Lena shuffles her weight from foot to foot a little, twisting her fingers together and glancing down at the floor.
“Oh? About what?” Kara asks. Her heart starts to beat faster at the possibility that she’s about to be fired as a patient, but the phone on the wall beeps and Lena presses the intercom button.
“-Doctor Luthor, Alex Danvers is in the waiting room-”
Kara lets out a relieved sigh as she pushes off from her seat, and Lena opens the door for her.
“Nevermind, it’s fine,” Lena says with a casual wave of the hand. “I don’t want to keep your sister waiting.”
Kara considers pressing, but she doesn’t want Lena to fire her. "Okay. Um… do I make a checkup appointment or something? I don't know the rules, I've never had my wisdom teeth removed before."
Lena shakes her head a little before her eyes widen and she says, "Yes. Yep. Tell Eve I said to schedule you in within the week if that works for you?"
"Sure!" Kara says, glad that despite her horrible puns and general inappropriate behaviour, Lena is still willing to take her as a patient. "I'll see you soon then!"
Kara walks back to the waiting room with a smile as she pulls her debit card from her pocket, getting ready to pay so she doesn’t make Eve’s job harder.
Alex ambles next to Kara as Eve hands over the debit machine, and Kara hands her the jar of teeth which Alex grimaces at.
“Should I schedule you for another cleaning six months from now?” Eve asks.
“No. Lena said she wants to see me again within the week. To check my wisdom teeth. Or the holes, I guess,” Kara explains, shrinking under the confused and calculating gaze Eve levels her with.
Alex says, "I didn't get a checkup appointment when I got my wisdom teeth removed." She crosses her arms with a petulant frown and Kara shrugs.
“Maybe yours was an easier extraction?”
Eve snorts a quiet laugh and then clears her throat, offering Kara a slew of dates and times to choose from.
After picking one, Alex leads Kara to her car, and on the way home, she only teases Kara a little bit.
Six days later the swelling and bruising around Kara’s jaw are gone completely, and through her mouth is still sore, she doesn’t suffer through the constant, coppery taste of her own blood anymore which she takes as a good sign.
When she pushes through the door, Lena is leaning up against Eve’s desk but her purple scrubs are gone, replaced by a form-fitting, plaid green flannel and tight jeans that cling to Lena’s curves, pulling Kara’s eyes to Lena’s black high-heeled boots that match her belt and leather jacket.
Kara gapes at her, doesn’t know what to say, and can’t recall all the conversation starters she memorized before coming.
Eve glances between the two of them before rolling her eyes with a shake of her head.
Lena’s arms uncross as she smiles at Kara, tilting her head toward the door. “Ready?”
Kara nods, putting in an effort to keep her gaze up as Lena leads her into the hallway.
“We’ll have to go to my office, I’m afraid. All the exam rooms are being used, but don’t worry. This won’t take long and isn’t intrusive.”
“O-okay,” Kara stammers, following Lena to the very back of the hallway where there’s a small plaque with Lena’s name emblazoned on the door. White tile gives way to thin blue carpet, and Kara smiles at the slew of plants that sit on the windowsill behind Lena’s tidy desk.
Instead of sitting in the large desk chair, Lena leads Kara to a white leather loveseat, gesturing to a mini-fridge with an offer of water.
Kara declines, and though she made the appointment with Eve, she has the distinct impression that this meeting has very little to do with teeth.
“You’re not in scrubs,” Kara says, letting her eyes flick over the soft-looking shirt that makes Lena’s eyes even more luminous.
“It’s my day off,” Lena says as she turns to face Kara on the couch. “I’m sorry for my unprofessionalism, but I may have had ulterior motives when scheduling this appointment.”
Kara adjusts her glasses and clears her throat as her stomach twists. She’s sure Lena is going to fire her. “What is it?”
“I think I have to fire you,” Lena says, and Kara’s stomach feels like someone dumped a bucket of caterpillars into her insides. She bites her lip, trying not to let on how sad she is that she won’t be able to see Lena anymore. “As a patient, I mean.”
Kara sighs. “That’s fair. I’m still really sorry about everything, by the way.”
“No, don’t worry about it. That’s not why I have to fire you.” Lena reaches out to place a comforting hand on Kara’s thigh, but thinks better of it halfway and drops her hand to the space between them instead.
“Oh gosh, did I do something else? I thought I remembered everything! what else did I say?” Kara asks, trying to think over all the mortifying things she’s said and done, but Lena interrupts her panic.
“No, Kara, you’re fine. You’re great, that’s the problem. I -” Lena sighs, twisting her fingers in a rare show of nerves “- I like you. Quite a lot, which is rare for me. And I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but I can’t ethically continue to be your dentist.”
Kara blinks at her, waiting for the words to make sense as the seconds tick by, and Lena bites her lip as she waits for Kara’s breathless response of, “You like me?”
“Like as in you want to be friends?” Kara asks.
Kara’s brows furrow as she puzzles out the meaning, and when she does her eyes widen. “Oh!”
The light dusting of pink that decorates Lena’s cheeks turn all of Kara’s squirmy stomach caterpillars into butterflies, and she takes a deep breath as she tries to keep their fluttering under control.
“You like me,” Kara says, grinning from ear to ear as a laugh bubbles up from her chest.
“I do.” Lena nods.
“Well, that’s lucky, because I like you too. Quite a lot,” Kara repeats, and Lena’s nerves melt away to be replaced with a dimpled smile Lena seems unable to control. Kara adjusts her glasses, chuckling nervously under Lena’s soft gaze.
“You’re terribly endearing,” Lena says, splaying the fingers of her hand out and gently touching Kara’s pinky with her own. Kara bites her lip as she tries not to squeal, stretching her shaking hand over top of Lena’s with a nervous smile.
“I’m really glad you think so,” Kara laughs out and Lena chuckles with her, lacing their hands together.
“I do. And I’ve set everything up with Sam, who will be your new dentist. Everyone says she has a better bedside manner than I do anyway, and I let her know to schedule you in exam room two, always, and that you like consistency,” Lena rambles, and her efforts to make Kara more comfortable with the change make Kara’s chest expand with warmth and she squeezes Lena’s hand.
“Thank you. It’s… worth it,” Kara murmurs, blushing at Lena’s crooked grin. “What now?”
“I don’t know. I don’t date very often, and never a patient before,” Lena says, her grin turning coy as she raises an eyebrow, “but I think it’s about time I branch out.”
It takes a second, but Kara gasps at the pun, her mouth spreading into a smile as Lena chuckles.
“You’re amazing,” Kara says.
“Was there ever a seed of doubt?” Lena asks. “I’m very frond of you too.”
“Oh my gosh, this is the best day,” Kara chuckles, her nose scrunching up at Lena’s puns. “You don’t have to try that hard, I already like you, Lena. Probably since the first time I saw you,” Kara admits through a blush, and Lena nods in agreement.
“You had me at aloe.”
Kara tilts her head forward as she chuckles, grasping Lena’s hand with both of her own. It’s definitely worth switching dentists.
“I can’t be-leaf you right now,” Kara says, and Lena tilts her head back in a laugh, her eyes crinkling at the sides.
“Well, Kara Danvers, I’m free the rest of the day, so if you’re amenable, I’d like to take you out. On a date,” Lena says, her hand shaking a little under both of Kara’s.
“I would like that. I’m free,” Kara says.
“Thistle be the best date ever,” Lena says.
Kara beams down at her.
She has no doubt.