Kara has spent the better part of the morning fending off her coworkers curious about her next "big story". She knows Nia was only covering for her while she was gone and couldn't actually know how long Kara would be gone, but did she have to be so over the top with her excuse? To be fair, the lie was actually a pretty good one for Kara’s long absence. The downside is now she has to try and figure out a way to find “the biggest story of her career” and subsequently write it.
Andrea herself had come to track down Kara to grill her about it. What’s the story? Is it an expose? On the outgoing or incoming administration? When do you think we can go to print? Kara had hemmed and hawed like it was her damn job, and she almost broke her glasses twice with how much she was fiddling with them, finally squeaking out an excuse that Ms. Grant had explicitly forbidden her from speaking about the piece until they were ready to print. Thankfully Andrea bought the lie and Kara had fled the scene with a rush of intense relief and made a beeline for the snack cart so she could stress eat her feelings.
Arms full of snacks she retreats to her desk and sends an email to Cat to see if maybe there was a big life/career changing story she wouldn’t mind Kara tagging along on, and then begins the arduous process of decluttering her email inbox for lack of anything else to do. It’s mindless and mundane but Kara leans into it. It helps her focus on something other than her harrowing experience in the Phantom Zone. The memories creep up on her when she’s idle for too long and she would rather not have to relive those memories any more than she must outside her dreams at night. The last few months have been so stressful between crisis, the anti-monitor, Lex, Leviathan, not to mention everything that’s happened with Lena. The emotional rollercoaster that has been their relationship has been exhausting, and then on top of it, her second harrowing experience in the Phantom Zone, and now she’s back at her day job…and she’s just tired.
So, she reads her emails because it’s safe and easy and she doesn’t have to worry about any life and death stakes or ruminate over her relationship with Lena, which, when she reflects on it, makes her nervous. Not because she has any lingering doubts about Lena’s motives or loyalties, because the other woman has been doing everything she can to atone, not to mention she almost single handedly rescued Kara from her exile in the Phantom Zone and saved her from being killed by her own brother. No, she’s nervous in a…good way? An anticipatory way? Ever since she got back her interactions with Lena have been… charged…charged in a way that Kara’s never really experienced before. The conversations they have had since her return home were completely innocuous and simple. Things like…
“How are you feeling?”
“Tired, but good, now that I’m home. You?”
“Fine. Better now that you’re home.”
Totally innocent and normal…but there’s something in the way Lena looks at her and a quality to her words that sends shivers down Kara’s spine.
Kara bites her lip when she recalls the following day, reaching out to Lena when they finally had a moment alone without her sister or friends hovering in the same room.
She stretches her hand out to grasp Lena’s and realizes it’s the first time they’ve done this in months, long unbearably lonely months without her best friend. Kara’s eyes water in relief when Lena doesn’t pull away, because Kara hadn’t wanted to breach Lena’s personal space. Hadn’t felt like she had any right before, while they were still navigating this new tenuous reestablishment of their relationship. Kara was worried Lena would reject her touch, so she had kept her distance at first, but Kara can’t help herself, she missed Lena so much and just wants to feel the comfort of her again. Her breath stops a moment in surprise when Lena slides her palm against hers so she can lace their fingers together and looks at Kara with a tremulous smile. Then Lena practically flings herself into her arms and Kara almost sags to the floor in relief and happiness and holds Lena as tight as she dares. Lena clings to her, and heart and chest have never felt so full.
“Don’t leave me again,” Lena says into to her neck, small and watery, and Kara presses firmly, cheek to temple.
And it’s such a reckless promise to make for so many reasons, but Kara doesn’t care. It’s Lena. She never could deny her anything, especially not this. Not when Kara never again wants to leave Lena's side.
They stand there for long minutes, Kara doesn’t care to keep track, she just holds and sways ever so slightly, and commits the feel of Lena against her to memory. When they finally do pull away, they don’t go far, still in the circle of each other’s arms. Kara wants to say something, anything really but she’s taken in by Lena’s soft teary gaze and feels herself pulled as if drawn by a magnet, and Lena’s leaning toward her too...
“Kara! Lena! We’re about to order food! Hurry up!” Alex’s voice jolts Kara, and Lena’s no longer in her arms but a few paces away and looking in the direction Alex comes, she feels bereft and so annoyed at Alex. And while Kara seriously contemplates sororicide, she can’t help but to admire Lena’s flushed neck and face even as her expression is schooled into perfect nonchalance. She hopes Alex doesn’t notice the red she feels in her own ears and cheeks.
It’s been a few days since then, but she and Lena have been texting, hesitant, infrequent, and haltingly. Dare she even say a little flirty? Trying to find their footing again, and eventually, they fall back into old habits and familiar rhythms of communication.
It surprises Kara, though it really shouldn’t, because Lena has always been so thoughtful, when she gets a phone call the morning of her first day back to work, this very morning in fact.
“Hey, Lena!” and Kara knows that she sounds a little too elated to be talking to Lena, but Lena’s answering chuckle at her over bright response banishes any of Kara’s embarrassment.
“Good morning, darling. I just wanted to wish you well on your first day back.” Kara stops mid step on the sidewalk, almost trips herself in fact, at Lena’s term of endearment. Kara takes a moment to appreciate because it's been such a long time since Lena has used it. She didn't how much she missed that easy affection from Lena, until all she had had for months was a spiteful 'Supergirl' thrown in her face and never her name. If Kara's this flustered by a such a small thing she realizes it might be prudent to pause and step to the side for this conversation, if only to prevent injury to the sidewalk and others walking past.
“Oh! Thanks!” Kara says breathlessly, and beyond pleased, and she can feel how wide the smile on her face is. Wonders idly that she might look unhinged. “It’s sweet of you to call. You didn’t have to do that,” but she's glad that Lena feels like she can call Kara again, it's one of the few times the last couple weeks that they have and Kara hopes it will continue, increase even.
“I know, but I wanted to wish you well." Lena pauses and then teasing, "I’m looking forward to reading your groundbreaking piece cowritten with none other than the illustrious Cat Grant.” Lena had been so very amused when Nia had shared with the others what she had told everyone at Cat Co. about Kara’s absence, and took every opportunity to bring it up.
Kara groans. “Don’t remind me! Please. I beg you change the subject,” pouty and petulant, Lena chuckles again and Kara imagines perfectly what Lena looks like right now and is over come with the urge to ditch work and fly over to see Lena right now instead. Maybe find a way to wipe off the smug grin she probably has on her face…
“Alright, if you insist,” she agrees easily, but Kara can still hear the smile in her voice.
There’s a slight pause, then she hears Lena take a steading breath, and hears a slight change in tone “I…Well, I was actually hoping we could meet up for lunch, my treat...for your first day back to work.”
She and Lena haven't had lunch together in so long, Kara remembers after their falling out that she wished she could remember the last lunch they went on, wished that she knew that one would be the last so she could have treasured it, to be able to recall it during the rough times ahead. This would mark the first time since their reconciliation that they went to lunch, and now coupled with the slightly flirty texting and that hug her sister interrupted Kara wondered...was this a date? Was Lena asking her out? Like out. Out? Or just like friends out? Like they used to do? Was she just being a nice friend? Or did she want-.
“Kara? Are you still there?” Oh, Kara has been silent too long and Lena sounds a little nervous.
“Yep! Yeah! Yes, I’m still here! I haven’t gone anywhere!” her free arm is gesturing wildly, and she probably ,maybe definitely, looks unhinged, then realizes she hasn’t answered Lena’s question. “And yes! Yes, I’d love to get lunch! With you. Together. Just me and you…” sweet Rao, she was talking too loud and too fast and rambling, wasn’t she? She hears a quiet breath of relief and can hear Lena's racing heart. Kara tries not to home in on these little things normal humans can’t hear because she knows they are private, but she can’t help it. Lena laughs fondly at Kara’s word vomit, and they agree on a time and place to meet and hang up.
Lena’s parting, “See you later, darling.” Dissipates all of Kara’s embarrassment once again and she practically starts floating to work. At least she does until she realizes that she might actually be going on a date with Lena Luthor, then she promptly feels queasy. But in a good way?
So, it’s imperative that Kara not have to think and dwell on any number of things that have happened recently, but mostly if she thinks too much about having lunch with Lena this afternoon she might spiral herself into a panic attack. Or worse, let her nerves get the better of her that she tries to cancel, which she simultaneously absolutely does and doesn’t want to do.
Kara is almost grateful for the stream of coworkers that grill her this morning about an article that does not in fact exist, because it helps her to forget for a moment her own nerves.
She’s mindlessly munching on potato chips, focused so intently and squarely on getting through her mountain of backlogged emails, feeding chips into her mouth in consistent intervals, crinkle on full display, when a throat clears next to her. She jumps, inhaling a chip and she’s certain if she wasn’t made of steel, she would probably have died from the sharp edges that would have cut up a more human throat. She coughs a few times to clear her airway and feels a hand lightly thumping her back.
“Sorry about that Kara, I didn’t mean to startle you,” says the decidedly male accented voice. Kara reaches towards the far edge of her desk for her coffee and takes a moment to drink while also consciously moving out of William’s immediate reach. She clears her throat a few times, then answers.
“It’s alright. No harm done. What can I do for you, William?” He settles himself on her side of the desk instead of the more polite and professional opposite side, looking far too comfortable in her space. He crosses his arms leaning slightly down toward where she’s sitting in her chair, smiling sweetly at her. Kara frowns, feeling a little uncomfortable, and pushes her chair back so she can stand and create some space between them. She starts tidying all her garbage and wrappers for something to do waiting for him to speak.
“I wanted to see you. You were gone a long time and you never answered any of my messages or returned my calls.” The smile he directs her way is pleasant enough she supposes, but his next words make Kara pause her cleaning, “You left without telling me.”
The slightly entitled tone he uses rankles Kara in way that she doesn’t like, all thoughts of trying to find an excuse about why she didn’t return his messages fly out the window. "Excuse me?” she says taken aback; she straightens up to her full height from where she was hunched from tossing some trash in the bin next to her desk. Turns fully to face him.
“Why didn’t you call me to say Cat Grant had pulled you in for something big? I had to hear it second hand from Nia. And you were radio silent the whole time,” the way he says it, like he should have been her first call makes her skin crawl. Kara tries to keep her temper in check, it isn’t exactly unreasonable that William expected to be kept in the loop. William isn’t a bad guy and she has been encouraging him, but she still end up crossing her arms and feels her face go hard.
“Did I miss something, where exactly do you come off thinking I owe you an explanation about my whereabouts and actions?” she says hotly.
He looks genuinely surprised at her outburst then scoffs lightly, “Because we’re you know…” he trails off and Kara stares at him in disbelief.
“That we’re what? We had one date. How does that translate to me checking in with you? What, you wanted me to ask your permission?” she says throwing as much rebellious sass into that word as she can, he looks alarmed and tries to backpedal.
“No, no of course not, I just thought we were on our way to something more. Of course, you don’t have to check in with me, I was just worried about you.” His tone is sincere and the look on his face is horrified at her suggestion.
Kara a takes deep breath and forces herself to relax her shoulders and uncross her arms. She’s not angry with William, not really, her emotions have kind of been all over the place lately. Honestly, between everything going on and her unexpected reconciliation with Lena, she’s been anywhere between oh shit I’m going to die and holy shit I think I’m in love with my best friend, and through it all she had quite frankly completely forgotten about William. That more than anything makes her feel like an ass. He’s not exactly in the wrong and he doesn’t deserve to bear the brunt of her anger especially when he has no context about anything that’s happening in her life.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t’ve bit your head off like that.” She sighs, she has never been good at these kinds of talks, but she can’t keep leading him on, especially not now when she’s trying to figure out what’s going on between her and Lena. “Look William, I need to talk to you about…” and draws her hands together and hunches her shoulders, ready to dive in when her eyes flick over William’s shoulder and her breath catches.
She can feel all the uncomfortable tension of having to speak to Willian bleed out of her when she locks eyes with Lena on the far side of the room, the tension replaced by pleasant surprise instead.
Kara is rooted to the spot by Lena's intense single minded and focused gaze, she watches Lena strut towards her sporting a sharp crisp maroon suit. Lena cuts a devastating picture all high heels, determined efficient steps, red painted lips, hair pulled back in her signature intimidating CEO look. Lena smirks and lifts an eyebrow at Kara as she draws closer, apparently pleased by whatever expression Kara’s face wears.
She remembers to breathe and takes a few steps around William to greet Lena and calls out as the dark-haired woman approaches.
“Lena! What are you doing here?" then adds hurriedly trying to course correct, "Not that I don’t want you here, but I thought we weren’t meeting for lunch for," she glances at a clock on the wall, "another forty five minutes,” Kara feels jittery and can tell she's about to start spewing incoherent nonsense. However, any rambling she might have continued is abruptly cut short because Lena just smiles beautifully as she draws closer while Kara is speaking. She doesn’t halt a few steps away like Kara anticipates, no. Lena walks right into Kara’s space, slides a hand around Kara’s waist in a half hug and plants a firm kiss to her cheek, her body feels like it lights up, and she leans into it without any permission from her rational mind, eyes fluttering closed.
In fact, all thought promptly evacuates Kara’s mind and she feels a blush creeping up her neck, swift and raging. She has no words. She knows her expression is plain surprise, but she can’t help but feel immense pleasure at the gesture. Lena just kissed her, and in a decidedly not platonic way if her lingering lips were any indication.
Lena laughs oh so lightly, smiling fondly, and Kara’s brain shorts again when Lena reaches up to wipe the mark she’s left behind, the hand around her waist dragging scorching marks as she brings it up to Kara’s face.
“Hello, darling, I had a meeting with some investors a few blocks away, and my next appointment rescheduled so I thought I would come pick you up and we could go together,” and Lena’s tone is so affectionate and fond that Kara practically melts into a pile of goo right then and there. “And I wanted to give you this,” Lena presses something into her hands, and Kara realizes that Lena has given her a small vase full of plumerias.
“Thank you,” Kara whispers, because these flowers mean something to both of them, and her heart races because she knows that flowers have meaning, and Lena hardly ever does anything without intention and carefully planned action. “They’re beautiful,” she breathes gazing into her eyes like a lovestruck teenager (and let’s be honest that’s pretty much what Lena has reduced her to), and Kara knows that Lena knows plumerias stand for love and new beginnings.
She smiles at her in a way that Kara can tell Lena knows her message was understood, well received, and accepted.
“I know your lunch break isn’t for a little while yet, I thought I might go bother Andrea until you’re ready to go. I don’t want to distract you from your important work,” and with the way she emphasizes that word Kara knows she is teasing again about that damn article, but instead of griping about it Kara says the first thought that comes to her mind without filter.
“I like when you distract me,” it comes out low and flirtatious, and suggestive in a way Kara has never really been comfortable with speaking in the past, but Lena seems to have brought it out in her, and it feels so easy to banter with her in this way.
It’s Lena’s turn to flush, her expression is equal parts pleased and surprised, but the businesswoman has never been one to be flustered for long, and answers Kara’s words with a smirk and smoldering, “Noted.” That hit’s Kara low in her belly, and Kara really wants to-
There’s a throat being cleared to Kara’s right and for the second time today William has made her jump. A wave of mortification passes through her for so many reasons, the least of which is that during the whole of her entire exchange with Lena she has completely forgotten about William, again. She’s not embarrassed about her interaction with Lena, only that there was some outside party privy to it. Lena seems to have been under a similar trance and also hadn’t noticed their audience but, as always, she recovers quickly enough to cover what would have been an awkward silence or stuttered bumbling from Kara.
“Mr. Dey, lovely to see you again, I hope you’re recovering well from your wound,” she says with perfect dignity and aplomb, and were it not for the lingering flush in her cheeks Kara could swear Lena hadn’t just been caught blatantly flirting with her.
“Yes, I have, thank you, Ms. Luthor,” William says kindly, looking thoughtful, as his eyes flit back and forth between Lena and Kara, and rests a moment on Kara’s hand currently curled around Lena’s bicep. She resists the urge to remove it under his scrutiny.
“Glad to hear it,” Lena nods to him and turns back to Kara.
“I’ll let you get back to work, come find me when you’re ready, darling,” she says, warmth filtering back into her voice when she addresses Kara. She nods, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. Kara lets her hand drag down Lena’s arm, palm and fingers grazing elbow, to forearm, to wrist and catches Lena’s fingertips at the last moment, their arms stretching out fully between them, the gap growing, as Lena slowly pulls away. Lena smiles small and secret squeezing her fingers once in farewell before turning away heading towards Andrea’s office.
“I didn’t realize you and Lena were back on speaking terms,” William says behind her, and Kara really needs to stop forgetting he’s around because she startles again. For someone with super hearing she’s really letting one human get the drop on her way too many times.
Kara turns back toward her desk and contemplates where she wants to put Lena’s flowers, somewhere she can look at them without too much trouble, “Yeah, she reached out to me and apologized for reacting so harshly,” she says distractedly positioning and repositioning the flower vase and various items on her desk. It’s such an oversimplification of what really happened but she doesn’t owe him anything and even that tidbit feels like too much in hindsight. Kara knows that she’s fiddling with the vase because she wants to avoid a conversation with William, but she needs to do this otherwise it’ll just get harder and harder the longer she puts it off. She takes a steadying breath and turns to William and finds him staring off to the side in the direction Lena left with a look of concentration, and flicks his gaze back to Kara like he’s puzzling something out.
“Listen, William, about what I wanted to talk to you before,” she looks down at the ground for a moment looking for the right words, “You’re a nice guy but I think it would be best if we keep our relationship strictly professional,” there, that’s clear and succinct and even polite. Kara waits in the wake of his silence. He just looks at her for some time, eyes searching her face, then tilts his head, almost as though he wants to ask her something but then catches himself and seems to thinks better of it. And Kara knows immediately that he wants to ask about Lena, but he doesn’t, probably realizing it’s none of his business and she feels grateful to him for respecting her boundaries, he really is a nice man.
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” he says instead, disappointment lacing his words, but he seems more resigned than upset.
Kara drops into her chair with a relieved breath whooshing out of her lungs when William finally leaves, glad to be done with that whole fiasco.
She perks up when she sees a new email on her computer from Cat.
I find it hard to believe that you’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel in terms of investigative journalism in National City, I know I taught you better than that. Surely there’s something even you could sniff out, especially with your super connections. What about your girlfriend at Luthor Corp? With a brilliant mind like hers…I wonder what exactly she sees in you…she must have some groundbreaking technology that will revolutionize the world, her family does seem to have a penchant for actions with global impact. That being said. Keep a look out, I may reach out…
Kara finds herself blushing at the computer screen. Did Cat actually think that Lena was her g-…but why would she? Cat had only ever been around at the beginning of their friendship, she couldn’t know, she especially couldn’t know about what happened the past year during their falling out. Not to mention what was happening between them right now. Cat couldn’t know yet, not when she and Lena were still figuring it out in the moment. Kara herself hardly knew what was going to happen between them from one moment to next, she just felt like she was hurtling headlong towards something new and exciting. Also, she was a bit put out that Cat had to go and be a know it all even in Kara’s personal life despite not being around the last few years.
She glances at the clock and decides it’s close enough to lunch time that she can get away, gathers her things and goes in search of Lena.
Any of Kara’s nerves from this morning vanish as they chat amicably about their day on the elevator ride down in a way reminiscent of their old ways. Lena is telling her about a new project her R&D team has started when they reach the bottom floor and spill into the busy lobby, Kara listens intently, completely enraptured by Lena’s passion asking questions and making comments where appropriate, that she unthinkingly draws Lena close with a hand around her waist as they navigate the rush of people going about their days, gently guiding Lena to one side or the other depending on the press of humanity around them. Kara is so focused on simultaneously guiding and listening that she doesn’t notice the short pause in Lena’s words when Kara places her arm around her, nor the momentary underlying quiver when she starts again a second later.
Their car is right outside the building when they emerge, and the driver, Harold, comes around to open the door as they approach. He’s been driving Lena around for the last few years during the day shift, an older gentlemen widowed and technically retired from the Luthor Corp financial department, but he’s always liked cars and driving around, so he approached Lena about maybe taking him on as a chauffeur. Which, of course she agreed to immediately. Kara knows he has a soft spot for Lena who in turn has a soft spot for him. Harold gives them both a wide beaming smile and greeting which they return in kind. Kara offers her hand to help Lena in for which she is rewarded with a beautiful smile, Lena’s pearl white teeth on full display, and a heartfelt thank you, darling that has Kara blushing to the tips of her ears.
She’s just put one foot in when Harold’s voice catches her attention as he says, “Welcome back, Ms. Danvers, it’s good to see you, you’ve been sorely missed,” his eyes are heavy with unspoken relief. Harold more than anyone had probably seen the results of the great schism in their friendship and the toll it must have taken on Lena. Kara’s eyebrows scrunch together in unexpected emotion, but she smiles kindly at Harold through the sharp pang in her chest and the regrets of the past.
“It’s great to see you too, Harold, I’ve missed being around,” she says softly, then adds low but emphatic, “In fact, I plan on sticking around indefinitely, as long as Lena will have me,” she says with sincerity, and steps fully into the vehicle.
“Very glad to hear it, Ms. Danvers,” he responds, just before he shuts the door for her, and makes his way to the driver’s seat.
“That’s good, because I plan on keeping you around indefinitely,” Lena says when Kara turns to her, and runs her hand down the length of Kara’s arm and laces their fingers together, squeezing gently, and Kara can’t help the goofy smile that splits her face and Lena's answering smile in return is everything.