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Asking Too Much

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“Move my four o’clock to two. The three o’clock should never have been there in the first place, so cancel it and put security on alert. Cancel everything on Friday and don’t give reasons unless anyone actually threatens legal action. Are we clear?”

“Yes, Ms Grant.” Kara pushes her glasses back up on her nose, although there’s little point in clinging to her disguise this morning. It’s been 36 hours since Cat exposed her, and they’re both being quite careful to say nothing about it. “I got a reminder from your mother about-”

“Was she rude?” Cat snaps to attention, actually putting her phone down on the desk. That usually only happens when Carter is mentioned, or Lois Lane scoops CatCo on anything.

“No… more than usual? It was fine, she just wanted me to remind you that you haven’t RSVP-ed for the gala.”

“That’s not all she said, is it?”

“Can we please pretend that it was?” Kara is nothing if not hopeful.

“No doubt she pointed out that I’m lucky to even be invited, since every other new board member has an academic pedigree,” Cat sighs, massaging her temples. It knocks her reading glasses to a funny angle, and Kara has to suppress the urge to reach out and straighten them. “Oh, she won’t come right out and say I bought my place. But she’s thinking it loudly enough for half of National City to hear. Even without your hearing.”

“Right.” Kara cringes. Does she explain she can’t actually read minds? Or just ride out the first jab and try to impress Cat with her calm and collected attitude. “Do you want me to update your driver, or…?”

“He can pick me up at 8. Tell him to just circle the block a few times, I’ll be back out by 8:30.”

“But the museum director-”

“Will greet me at eight, once you tell him to. Honestly, Kiera. I thought you’d be super-attentive today. Really on the ball.”

“You’re not staying when the party is basically in your honor?” Kara is never going to get used to powerful people and their whims. “Won’t people talk?”

“I’m leaving early to prevent that. It means they won’t see me for long enough to wonder why I’m attending solo. I do not need another referendum on my romantic life, especially not with my mother there to chair it. Shouldn’t you be making calls?”

“Right,” Kara agrees, relieved to be banished to her desk again. “I can call around, if you need someone to stop them from talking…”

Cat’s glare sends her scurrying away, the look alone more effective as any rays that Kara could fire in return.

***

Three hours later, when she’s done fielding calls and firing off emails with just a little bit of super typing speed, Cat summons her with a quirk of her head that 99 people in 100 would have missed entirely. When Kara enters the inner sanctum, Cat nods at a large box some courier brought in while Kara was otherwise occupied.

“Try it on,” Cat announces. “There’s no cape, but it should fit.”

“Uh, here?” Kara looks around at the glass walls of the office.

“Take the box elsewhere. I’d avoid phone booths, though. Or the dry cleaning bill comes out of your next paycheck.” Cat is poring over a new layout, not bothering to look up as she issues her commands.

“Do you not like this shirt, or…?” Kara has never been told to change before, even if she favors a wardrobe more Forever 21 than anything Cat would usually wear.

“It’s perfectly harmless, bordering on bland,” Cat replies, pushing the layout aside. “It is not, however, suitable for a formal event. Like the one we’re leaving for at 8.”

“We’re… I’m … what?”

“You pointed out that having someone with me would shut people up. You are the nearest person, and your presence gives me the added bonus of getting actual work done in time that would otherwise be wasted.”

“No, I get that. It’s just…”

“You had plans? Saving the city?”

“Well, technically there’s nothing to save right now, no. And I’ve been thinking we should probably talk about the other night, and all the things you think you know but-”

“The dress.” Cat waves her fingers vaguely in front of her face. “We don’t have much time if we’re going to find something acceptable to do with that unconditioned hair. Sergio will be here any minute.”

“I didn't make an appointment with him-”

“I sent him a text when I decided you were coming with me. I’m not entirely dependent on you, and I was hoping to avoid this stuttering indecision. So for the last time, can you make your quick change?”

“Sure,” Kara grabs the box and tries to make it look cumbersome as she balances it on one fingertip all the way to the restroom.

***

So, okay. Either Cat Grant has a really good eye for figures, or a fancy enough dress will flatter anyone in the right range. The invoice was tucked into the box, the price tag already removed from the deep blue dress. It cost more than three months’ rent and the shade is way too close to Supergirl’s costume to be anything other than another nudge. Kara’s simply grateful that the shoes aren’t Kryptonian red to complete the mockery, but they’re stiletto heels that even Kara’s exceptional center of gravity needs a bit of practice with.

Thank God the office is all but empty. Winn, locked in some firewall rebuilding exercise, looks up just long enough for his jaw to drop. Kara gives him a nervous smile and keeps going until she hits Cat’s empty office. Not that it stays empty for long.

Cat emerges from her private en-suite with Sergio in tow. He’s fussing with some kind of clip that has Cat’s hair pinned up. That shouldn’t even be possible with hair that length, but more than once Cat has called the man a miracle worker. Focusing on the hair, with those few strategic rogue curls, and Sergio’s hands, stops Kara from having a little jaw drop of her own.

Cat’s dress is darker than midnight and the split high on her thigh seems just as dangerous. It’s strapless, bringing the pale, inviting angles of her collarbone and defined shoulders into sharp relief. So often Kara’s admired Cat’s outfits because of the fit, assuming the expensive fabrics were making the lines look so right. Now in the fluorescent lights of the office, Kara can see the structure is all Cat. All those Pilates classes in the calendar that cause such headaches to work around are very clearly paying off.

“Kara!” Sergio quits fussing over Cat to greet her like an old friend. They rarely meet in person but Kara has covered for a few double bookings on his behalf, letting him keep his most famous client happy, and saving herself from finding Cat another stylist. He’s almost as tall as James, though more slender in build. His brown skin glows even up close, shaming Kara into remembering how many nights she barely remembers to wash her face before bed. “I hear that tonight Cinderella is going to the ball!”
He’s working on her hair without waiting for an invitation, releasing the tight ponytail and tutting under his breath before Cat can get her shot in.

“That had better not make me the evil stepmother.”

“Of course not, Ms Grant,” Sergio replies with an ease that Kara envies. “I’m thinking a loose curl here is our night-saving option here. Kara, I’m coming at you with a hot-brush in thirty seconds. I’m warning you because you’ve clearly never encountered one before, darling.”

The hiss and scent of hairspray hits Kara next and she almost gags, catching herself just in time to watch Cat switch out her earrings for long strands of gold that catch the light from almost every angle. Her matching necklace looks like a slender rope, but connecting the clasp has her cursing under her breath. Before Kara can offer, unsure if that’s even appropriate, Cat has moved across the office towards her and turned her back right in front of Kara.

“Necklace,” Cat barks. “Yours are the only free hands,” she offers as explanation when Kara hesitates. It’s true, since Sergio already has a whole chunk of Kara’s hair wrapped around something hot. Kara swallows loudly enough for people ten rooms away to hear it, and takes the two ends of the necklace from Cat’s hands, brushing their fingertips in the process. It’s apparent with the shock of invisible electricity that this is what Kara has always feared: a full-blown crush. Every bit as bad as how she gets flustered around James, but here there’s no consolation friendship to relax into.

“Is that okay?” Kara asks when, miracle of miracles, she actually gets it fastened on the first attempt.

“You tell me,” Cat says, turning around in a tight spin that even Clark would envy. “It’s quicker than a mirror.”

“Looks great,” Kara gasps, using her super strength to force her hands not to give a cheesy thumbs up.

“Sergio, you might be a miracle worker,” Cat says with a nod. “Even half-done, that is a vast improvement.

“Don’t you mind Ms Grant,” Sergio teases from somewhere behind Kara’s head. “You looked plenty pretty before, Kara. It’s just with my help you’ll make a bigger impact on the room than Supergirl.”

The crackle of tension doesn’t halt his curling, but it puts tight smiles on Kara and Cat’s faces, as though pulled by an invisible connecting thread.

“You have three emails to finish that,” Cat declares, clacking off to the area behind her desk, tapping frantically on her iPhone. Kara feels Sergio pick up the pace, muttering in Spanish under his breath. Kara squirms under the rest of Sergio’s attention, her toes already starting to pinch in the pointed shoes. Sergio drops the last curl right as Kara’s phone signals that the driver is waiting downstairs. It’s Kevan tonight, and she’s glad of that at least because he’s definitely her favorite of the roster. He knows better that to play music or brake harshly. There’s no telling how mean Cat will get the closer they get to the museum, and Kara will take any help she can get.

Kara isn’t expecting to be nodded towards the private elevator, but she manages to step inside without stumbling. The mirrors on each side let her see the magic Sergio has worked with her hair, and in combination with the dress it’s the fanciest she has ever looked. Including being a bridesmaid and prom combined.

“Not bad,” Cat pronounces, looking up from her phone only when the doors have shut and the elevator is in motion. “But you need this.” She fishes lipstick in a gold tube from her bag, and Kara giggles when it’s offered to her.

“I can’t.”

“We have similar coloring, it won’t clash. And that dress overwhelms you with no color on your face.”

“You really know about all this stuff,” Kara sighs in response. “But it would be weird, I think. It’s already weird you’re dressing me up like a Barbie. No offense, I mean-”

“Oh for God’s… it’s because you don’t know how to apply it properly, isn’t it?”

Sometimes Kara which one of them has x-ray vision. Cat’s ability to cut to the heart of bluster and hiding the truth is really unsettling when it’s focused on Kara herself.

“I sometimes wear a clear gloss-”

“Here,” Cat tucks her clutch under her arm (toned, bare, instantly fascinating when the bicep flexes). She uncaps the lipstick and twists it once. With her other hand she clutches Kara’s chin, and isn’t particularly gentle about it either. “Stop pouting, or I’ll miss half your lip.”

Kara tries for a smile but it’s more like a grimace. Thankfully Cat is deft in applying the creamy coating, and it’s lightly perfumed in a way that Kara likes very much. It reminds her distinctly of Cat, though she’s certainly never been close enough to smell the lipstick on her. Maybe it’s just that it smells like money, like being perfectly put together and never being caught putting the effort into it. Either way, when Cat steps back and puts the lipstick back in her purse, offering a tissue to Kara, she’s genuinely smiling.

“Blot,” Cat commands, and there’s no denying she’s pleased with her handiwork as the elevator pings and they’re striding out across the foyer, Kara feeling as confident as she did the first time she flew in the finalized suit. She tosses the used tissue in the trash as they pass, and on impulse she quickens up and opens the door for Cat before Kevan can get out of the car to do it instead. If Cat has an opinion on the change she doesn’t mention it. After Kara folds herself and her dress into the other side of the backseat, the car slides effortlessly into motion, Kevan meeting her eyes in the rearview mirror and nodding at her new look.

“Stay by my side the whole time,” Cat says when the silence has stretched out to breaking point. “And keep at least you between me and my mother. More buffers are preferable, so work on that.”

“Got it.”

“You gave him the 30 minute instruction?”

“Yup.” Kara flashes an apologetic look towards Kevan. He smiles and shrugs his shoulders. “So once you’re done with the ropeline, I’ll stick to you like glue.”

“Well, that’s unfortunately… sticky sounding.”

“Sorry.” Kara looks out of the tinted window at National City flying past, a blur of neon and the last of the evening light.

“And show some initiative, Kiera. Do you think I wasted that dress on you to stand in the shadows? You walk in there with me. Which means lose the glasses.”

“But…”

“Yes.”

“You’re not taking me, your assistant, to this event. Are you?” Kara feels the rage build behind her eyes and she slams the button for the privacy screen. “You’re taking Supergirl.”

“I thought if I asked for that, you’d say no. What’s that saying about permission and forgiveness? Going with my mousy assistant makes nobody talk. Showing up with Supergirl, that will be headline news. Mother can suck on that.”

“I didn’t agree to this.” Kara is dismayed. She was worried all the glamor would rub away her Kara Danvers disguise, but to be dragged to an event as Supergirl outright is not a good idea. Alex will have an actual fit, just as soon as she’s done watching over Hank while he recovers. “I want to go home.”

“I think you know there’s nothing stopping you.” Cat turns to her in the backseat. “You can overpower me and any locks on these car doors. Transport is hardly an issue. But I am asking you now to do me this favor.”

“And you’ll owe me?”

“And I won’t reveal, for now, that Supergirl has an alter-ego. Seems fair, doesn’t it? I get access to Supergirl for making sure that nobody else does.”

“I suppose I don’t have a choice,” Kara answers, her throat tight. “Does it bother you that everyone will assume you’re, you know, a lesbian? And Supergirl too, by default?”

“People can assume all they want. At least in my case they’ll be half-right. And if you don’t want people to think you like women, you should probably stare at them less. Did you really think the woman who uncovered Supergirl can’t spot a harmless crush at twenty paces?”

“I, well, I uh…”

“It’s sort of comforting to discover this bumbling thing wasn’t an act the whole time,” Cat sighs. “Unfortunately, it’s also quite attractive. Still, this is a business arrangement. No need to even hold hands, and Supergirl’s heteronormative story will live to fight another day. I’ll make sure our coverage makes you as straight as you pretend to be.”

“I’ve had enough of my life exposed to public scrutiny,” Kara defends herself. “And I don’t even know what’s going on with… that. Do I really need to throw myself to the wolves?” Complaining about her own situation is a handy distraction from Cat’s admission of her own bisexuality.

“Remember I’m one of those wolves. Maybe even the pack leader. But I don’t need to tell you what even the speculation could do for a lot of people out there forced to remain in the closet. You’d never have to actually come out, but like I said this is business. You’re safe, Supergirl. Unless you choose not to be,” Cat finishes as they pull up in the line of cars depositing people on the red carpet.

Kevan gets the door this time, letting Cat step out first and the camera flashes go off like cosmic rays. Kara knows she can stay in the car, knows she can make her escape through her own side without anyone ever noticing, but Cat is waiting in a way that gives her pause.

Sure enough, Cat extends her hand towards Kara. It’s an invitation that feels like both a threat and maybe some kind of opportunity. Kara takes a deep breath, deeper than the valleys of Kandor, and makes her decision.

Chapter Text

She tells herself that she’s doing it for other people.

For the confused kids scared to correct the parent talking about a future husband for them, or getting singled out at recess for how their voice is too high and they like a pink t-shirt most out of all their clothes. She does it because she’ll never have a chance to ask her parents if they still love and accept this part of her. She does it because Alex and Eliza wouldn’t even blink before hugging her and loving her anyway, and Jeremiah too if he’d been alive to do it.

Kara takes Cat’s hand, feels the years of hard work and handling paper beneath the expensive moisturizers, because this is one secret she can stop holding onto. She steps out of the town car and balances first time despite the heels. The lights are no less blinding, and for a moment she can see what someone staring down her heat rays must see right before she blasts them. It gives her a moment’s pause, but Cat has sensed her victory and is propelling Kara along the red carpet with her.

“Ms Grant?” Kara whispers before they reach the throng of photographers. She wishes for a moment that this was part of James’ beat, that she would see a familiar face amongst the flashbulbs and glowing screens. “What would you say if we, well, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, but-”

“Spit it out.” Cat leans in to snap it, and it creates a fresh flurry of flashes. Just what Kara is trying to suggest, in fact. She sees her chance with Cat’s immaculately powdered cheek almost touching her own, and kisses her quickly. Cat’s whole body jerks, but she pulls back just enough to treat Kara to a searching stare. “Oh, I see. Give them something to talk about after all? I won’t forget this, Kara.”

“I don’t think you’ll get a chance,” Kara says with a nod to the paparazzi. It makes her smile to say it, and even wider when Cat actually laughs in response. “How long before someone recognizes me, do you think?”

“Not long in that color,” Cat admits with a wicked grin. “But if they’re slow on the uptake, just do that ridiculous hands on your hips stance. Even the Daily Planet stringer will pick up on that.”

Kara groans. She has a few more steps before the chaos really starts, and right on cue she hears the murmurs starting to build. It’s at a volume that Cat can hear when the first person yells ‘Supergirl!” over the other continuous shouts to get Cat’s attention.

“We’re up,” Cat mutters, barely moving her lips. Lips Kara realizes she’s staring at now, but that kind of sells the whole idea, right? “You’ll have to take the lead, Supergirl. I don’t want a lawsuit.”

“Oh for the love of…” Kara adjusts her hand so they’re truly holding hands, fingers entwined. It can’t be mistaken for simple guidance now. She steps closer, into Cat’s personal space, rewarded by a shockingly demure smile from Cat. It’s going to be the shot everyone runs with in the late edition, Kara knows enough about journalism by now to know that. The mighty Cat Grant blushing like a schoolgirl with Supergirl on her arm.

The volley of questions is genuinely impossible to distinguish, and Kara doesn’t feel like activating her super power again. She picks up the pace though, remembering Cat’s own advice from months ago to some starlet or other, about always leaving them wanting more. It’s practically a riot behind them by the time they reach the steps.

“There’s press inside, too,” Cat warns her when they can hear themselves think. They pass through the columns of the museum’s grand entrance, banners for the foundation hanging between them and blowing gently in the breeze. It’s one of the most beautiful settings Kara has ever found herself in, and that feeling only intensifies when she steps fully inside the building. Grand marble staircases and old stone form a cavernous space, lights strung artfully from every corner. It’s a constellation, Kara thinks, and she has to remind herself to breathe.

As arranged, the director and relevant dignitaries are waiting in a sort of reception line for the red carpet guests. Maxwell Lord, not having made the board this time around, has already gone in. Kara checked that much on her phone while they were in the car. Cat is hopefully the last and grandest entrance of the guests of honor, which is precisely how she likes it. As they fawn over Cat, Kara is aware of person after person noticing her. She maintains a perfectly aloof expression, keeping in step with Cat and linking their arms when the handshakes are too effusive for just one of Cat’s hands.

“Oh, crap,” Cat groans as they step into the banquet hall. “Ready to be my human shield?”

Katherine is bearing down on them like a comet, her expression livid. Kara has bravery to spare, but even she blanches at the sight. She tries to steer Cat towards the Mayor, someone even her mother wouldn’t dare to interrupt, but Katherine is apparently used to being avoided and cuts them off at the champagne bar.

“Kitty, you won’t believe what I’ve just been told.”

“If it’s the ending to the Goldfinch, I really don’t want to be spoiled,” Cat fires back. “It’s my bedside book this week.” Kara happens to know that isn’t true, that Cat devoured the book in two days at least a month before it was actually released. She has to make time to read it herself at some point.

“Well you know I have no truck with these computer phones, but the obsessives checking theirs are chattering about you dating Supergirl? Is that why your coverage has been so obsessed with her?”

“You do know I’m standing right here?” Kara asks. “Invisibility isn’t actually one of my powers, no matter what they speculate on Reddit.”

“Mother, Supergirl. Supergirl, my mother, Katherine Grant.” Cat is radiating tension even in this simplest exchange. It makes Kara faintly furious on her behalf. She forces herself to focus despite the growing repetition of her title around the room. “And you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. You know that.”

“But if National City’s only superhero were dating?” Kara chimes in again. “I think I could do a lot worse than your brilliant and accomplished daughter, don’t you?”

“I’m sure you think so, dear. Tell me, what does Supergirl have by way of PR these days? Or were you hoping my daughter would run your media campaign for free? You haven’t exactly had the best of starts, have you?”

“Mother!” Cat hisses. “You don’t have to fawn over her, but you’ll show her some respect. Don’t talk to her like that.”

“First your idiot assistant, now your pet superhero,” Katherine sighs. “Is there anyone I’m actually allowed to talk to, Kitty?”

“There’s always Carter,” Cat suggests. “If you can pick him out of a lineup.”

“You know, honey,” Kara interjects, putting her arm across Cat and starting to move her away from what is turning into a scene. “I hear Maxwell Lord is looking for you, and I need a chat with him as well.”

“Great,” Cat says in a monotone, still glaring at her mother. “Let’s do that. Mother, I’ll see you later.”

“Wow,” Kara exhales as they skirt the dancefloor in search of a quieter corner. She’s painfully aware of exactly how many people are watching them, not even pretending to be doing anything else. Cat doesn’t even seem to notice their eyes on her. “She does not let up on you, does she?”

“I don’t want your pity,” Cat sneers back at her. “Plenty of successful people come from difficult families. It’s what makes us so driven. You should know that, foster child.”

“Hey!” Kara protests. “I know she gets under your skin, but you do not get to lash out at me. God, don’t you even remember your own pep talks?”

“You mean about being angry at the right thing?” Cat relents, her shoulders slumping a little. “Fine. You may have a point. You’re very bossy when you let the big S out, aren’t you?”

“It’s not actually an ‘S’-” Kara begins, but she sees Cat’s journalistic interest pique like a taxi’s available light clicking on. “Another time,” she course-corrects. “Oh look, Lord found us.”

“Supergirl,” he greets her with as much smarm as usual. “I’d say look what Cat has dragged in, but I imagine you know her tolerance level for feline puns.”

“Not high,” Kara agrees. “Are you enjoying the party?”

“I wasn’t until I heard about Super is the New Black happening out there on the red carpet. Talk about hidden depths, Cat.”

“It’s cute that you think she’s the first woman I’ve dated.” Cat pulls Kara just a little closer then, arm wrapped around her waist. “But alas no. Just like this isn’t the first board I’ve been made a member of.”

“Congrats on that,” he replies, looking like he means anything but. “You know, a more cynical guy would think this,” he gestures with his glass still in hand towards the two of them. “Is just some publicity stunt. Maybe PFLAG want Supergirl as their spokesperson or something. I mean, I’m just a guy who sees all the angles.”

“You think I’m faking a relationship?” Kara can’t believe anyone would assume that so quickly. “That’s a little insulting. Especially given your relationship with the truth, Mr. Lord.”

“Hey,” he holds up his hands in surrender. “I’m just pointing out a possibility. I’ve known Cat here a long, long time. I’d never be so crass as to ask for proof.”

“This is the longest 30 minutes of my life,” Cat murmurs, squeezing Kara’s waist. Kara registers the contact, but she’s already launching herself on her next mission.

“I don’t appreciate being doubted,” she announces, and just as casually as though she had done it a thousand times already, she turns in Cat’s half-embrace and kisses her soundly on the lips. Cat had been about to say something else, because her lips are parted when Kara’s kiss lands. It turns out to be an excuse to take things way past a simple peck, and Kara doesn’t have the most experience when it comes to kissing? But like with fashion, she knows it done right when it happens to her.

Cat tastes like peppermint and vermouth and there’s that lipstick too, just the same as on Kara’s own lips. Not letting go of Kara’s waist, Cat brings her other hand up, her fingertips featherlight against Kara’s cheek. That moment alone makes Kara so very glad they hadn’t grabbed drinks yet, but the kiss is over all too soon. She actually sighs when the moment ends.

“Max.” It’s a curt dismissal, and Cat is leading again as they weave through more of the crowd. One moment they’re out in a corridor and the next Cat has pulled them into a room that wasn’t even visible behind oak paneling. “I had plans from the renovations,” Cat offers as explanation when they’re shut in the mauve-colored space. There’s a chaise-longue and brass lamps, and but for the cubicle doors and sinks in back, Kara wouldn’t have known it was even a bathroom at first glance.

“Ms Grant, I am so sorry-”

“If I don’t call you Kara in public, you can’t call me Ms Grant,” Cat reminds her. “And no nicknames or endearments, either. Cat or nothing.”

“Right. Cat. I am so sorry. He was just being so… ugh. And your mother is a real piece of work. I just felt like-”

Cat silences her with one graceful finger over Kara’s lips.

“It’s okay. This is my charade you’re perpetrating. I wonder if anyone had the presence of mind to snap us with their phone.”

Kara’s phone buzzes. That’s her alert for Supergirl mentions, so probably that means a yes.

“If I crossed the line,” Kara insists, moving away from Cat’s touch. “I will resign this instant. It’s crazy, a few hours ago my biggest concern was that you’d out my identity, and now look where we are.”

“You really do look good in that dress,” Cat considers, tilting her head in appraisal almost as if Kara hadn’t said anything at all. “Trust me, you’ll be the first to know if I don’t want you to do something,” she answers at last. “Now we can end this night here, or we can spend a little more time cementing this story. It’s entirely up to you.”

“By cementing you mean sticking it to Lord and your mom?”

“That’s a fringe benefit, yes.”

“Then I’m in,” Kara resolves. “For anything up to public indecency charges. Can’t have Supergirl tossed in prison, can we?”

“When I said before that I liked this side of you?” Cat dodges the implication without breaking a sweat. “I think I was lowballing it. You’re a revelation tonight, Kara.”

Kara’s phone rings, and she doesn’t need Alex’s assigned ringtone to know who’s most likely to be looking for her.

“Would you mind if I took a minute? I’ll catch you up, I swear.”

“No problem,” Cat assures her. “I might be able to handle some business if I don’t have you on my arm as a distraction.”

Kara isn’t sure who Cat means will be distracted, but her stomach does a stupid little flip of assuming anyway. The minute Cat has cleared the doorway, Kara curses and slides a finger over her phone screen to call Alex back.

“Kara,” Alex doesn’t even let a full ring elapse before pouncing on the call. “What the hell is going on?”

Chapter Text

“I didn’t tell you that Cat knew,” Kara repeats when there’s a break in her sister’s ranting. “Because nothing had happened yet. If Cat had said anything about exposing me, then I would have called. You had Hank and all that mess to deal with.”

“That is not the point,” Alex shoots down the weak argument. “Supergirl works fine at a distance, when people see her swooping in at speed and disappearing again. You really think it all holds up to gossip magazine scrutiny? TMZ counts the cellulite dimples on actresses’ butts, for crying out loud!”

“Giving Cat this headline buys her silence,” Kara assures her. “Sometimes you have to accept that I know what I’m doing. I’m not 13 anymore.”

“Cat now, is it? Wow, this really is going to your head.”

“I’ve called her Cat in front of you before!”

“Not in that tone you haven’t. When did you pick up the swanky dress, anyway?” Alex is still a big sister despite the stakes, and she can’t stand being left out of the details of Kara’s life.

“Well, Cat had it brought in. Then she had Sergio, her hair guy, do my curls and-”

“Wait, she had her hair guy at the office?” Alex interrupts. “How did she explain that Supergirl was waiting for a beauty appointment?”

“Well, duh,” Kara replies. “He was doing my hair as Kara. I must speak to the guy at least twice a week and… oh. Oh no.”

“There it is,” Alex crows, although it sounds like she actually is trying not to gloat too hard. “There’s always a slip. Don’t you know the rule, Kara? Three people can keep a secret…”

“... As long as two of them are dead,” Kara finishes. “Oh this is bad, Alex. He could be on Twitter right now, blowing up my whole life.”

“Well, we’re monitoring all mentions of you on social media and there’s nothing beyond OMG! and rainbow flags at the moment. He could be touting it for an exclusive somewhere right now, though. Why break it on Twitter when you can get money from the real press, right?”

“You sound just like Cat,” Kara whines. “I have to go fix this, don’t I?”

“I don’t know how but yeah,” Alex confirms. “You gotta. Get yourself out of that party and I’ll meet you at your office. In case the whole 'Supergirl needs a favor' approach doesn’t work.”

“Alex, I don’t need a militia showing up.”

“That stopped being your call when you booked the cover of Vogue,” Alex snaps. “Call me when you’re at CatCo.”

“Great,” Kara whimpers as the call clears, resting her head against the tiles on the wall. She has to go find Cat, which was a lot more appealing when there was just some fake kissing involved. Now it’s bringing her a problem, and Cat would much rather Kara brought her solutions.

She opens the door and steps back into the world, strains of classical music hitting her through the din of voices and glasses clinking. Finding Cat isn’t difficult, a sort of semi-circle of gossips has formed to one side of her, shuffling along by a step or two every time Cat shifts position or moves on to the next congratulatory person. Kara wishes she could stand back and watch Cat in her element like this, but there really isn’t time.

Kara joins the throng just in time to hear the end of Cat’s comment.

“... well, when Supergirl asks you to dinner, you don’t haggle over which planet.” The group around her dissolves into polite laughter, the ripples of which stop on seeing Kara. “Speak of the hero,” Cat continues, reaching for Kara’s hand. It’s very, very weird how natural it feels to just take it. To fall in beside her hot and successful boss like she’s always belonged there, at her side. No lurking in the corners with a notebook or taking voice memos. Kara’s being presented, and yes it’s as Supergirl, but Cat actually seems proud to be seen with her. That’s new and frankly kind of cool.

It’s just a shame Kara has to shatter the mood.

“We have a problem.” She almost nuzzles Cat’s neck leaning in to say it. “Sergio. And oh, I just realized Kevan, too. They saw me as Kara and the news is going to say-”

“Shit!” Cat squeaks, but her smile doesn’t falter. “Well, ladies and gentlemen,” she announces to the crowd around them, barely drawing breath. "Duty calls for Supergirl. If you could just clear a path…”

The crowd parts like the Red Sea for them, and Kara strides through gratefully, ducking her head a little to stop people looking too closely as they make their way out. The whole time people are trying to get Cat’s attention, and Kara’s too, but they remain tight-lipped. When they get back to the stairs at the front of the museum, the ropeline goes wild all over again. Cat considers the sight, frowning.

“Text Kermit,” she decides, and Kara has her phone out and dialing before she even thinks to correct the name. “Tell him to report to my office. Text Sergio the same thing. If they already know, they’ll think it’s a payoff meeting. That suits us just fine.”

“How are we going to, you know, get back? Should I go hail a cab?”

“Kara, Kara, Kara.” Cat actually drops her head to Kara’s shoulder, hiding her face from the waiting photographers. “If Krypton gave you super-enhanced muscles, why couldn’t the brain have been one of them?”

“Hey!” Kara protests, but Cat is sort of curled into her now as they stand on the steps, and it feels really, surprisingly good. Kara wraps both arms around her, pulling her closer and mentally repeating that it’s just to sell the idea of them really being a couple. Cat’s shampoo smells like sandalwood, and before she can stop herself, Kara presses a playful kiss to the top of Cat’s head.

“You’re not that much taller,” Cat grumbles. “You just don’t usually have the heels as an advantage.”

“It looks convincing though. I mean, I guess,” Kara assures her. “So, it's cold and we’re not standing here all night. Which means you want… you want me to… Cat!”

“Less outrage, more romance,” Cat reminds her through gritted teeth. “Come on, the first thing anyone is going to ask me is what it’s like to go flying with my super new girlfriend. I wouldn’t want to be inauthentic. Only my hair color and my current nose are anything less than the real deal. You wouldn’t want to destroy the Cat Grant brand, would you?”

“You are seriously impossible,” Kara sighs. “So what, we walk out like we’re going to the car and then take off from the curb?”

“You’re a natural.”

“You’re pushing your luck.”

“Don’t talk to the press,” Cat warns her as they move apart and fall into step side-by-side. Kara unconsciously goes ahead and holds out her hand to guide Cat down the last few steps. It’s the superhero-ly thing to do after all. “As of now, I am the only journalist to speak to you on the record. I intend to keep it that way.”

“Yeah, we just have to worry which ones Sergio and Kevan pick.” Kara is still fighting the waves of panic, but as long as Cat has a plan she feels like the situation is retrievable. Never mind that Cat’s short-sighted scheming has possibly caused the problem in the first place. It hasn’t caused any problems for Cat, though. If she uncovers Kara as having been kept close to her the whole time, it just adds to the Kryptonian-whisperer image. They reach the curb and Kara ignores the shouts of Supergirl to take a safer grip of Cat. With one arm around Cat’s waist, Kara nods and Cat wraps her own arms around Kara’s neck to secure herself.

“Drop me and I’ll kill you,” Cat reminds her, and then they’re shooting up into the murky clouds in a dark sky.

“I think we made an impression,” Kara informs her, glancing down at the explosion of flashes. She’s stunned on straightening up to see that Cat has her eyes squeezed shut. “Uh, Cat?”

“I don’t technically love heights,” Cat says through gritted teeth. “So the sooner this is over, the better. No need to loop the loop on my behalf, Supergirl.”

“Why would you ask me to fly you anywhere then?” Kara demands, completely exasperated now. They’re flying at a measured speed, since Cat’s cellular structure might not appreciate breaking the sound barrier. “We could have taken the car like you do every other day. Not to mention the fact that your office is over 20 floors up and you spend a surprising amount of time out on your balcony. Do I need to get into how many hours you’ve racked up on the CatCo jet?”

“All of which I have done while being very quietly terrified,” Cat points out. “What’s the point in having fears if you don’t conquer them?”

“But you’re missing so much,” Kara tells her. “I haven’t ever flown with anyone but my sister until now, and I always thought the first time I took someone they’d be all wide-eyed and amazed.”

“It’s the sky, Kara. I’m only concerned if we’re falling out of it.”

“National City is really beautiful from up here.”

“And I’m a Metropolis girl at heart,” Cat insists. “This was just the smartest place to build an empire, I’m not particularly attached to the place.”

“Oh.”

“So sorry to disappoint you. Send the Tourist Board some flowers to make up for it or something.”

“You know, I put myself out on a lot of limbs for you tonight,” Kara feels her courage rev up with the wind speed. She lands on a handy helipad and sets Cat down where she can grab onto a railing. “God knows what we’re going to face now with the guys. But I realized back there that this whole situation is a win/win for you. If I’m exposed as Kara Danvers, you’re just the savvy boss who took me under her wing. But for me? Everything I care about will be ripped away from me. Family dinner, being able to take a night off, or even walk down the street without being noticed.”

“And I don’t sacrifice these things?” Cat has opened one eye now, and she looks almost as angry as Kara feels. “I don’t live my life under a microscope?”

“You chose that,” Kara spits the words at her. “I was sent here as a child and nobody ever suggested I could do something different. You? You could be … a librarian! Or a hedge fund manager! Or a nurse. Well, maybe not a nurse. I came here with these powers to find my cousin already saving lives. How could I not step up to the plate?”

“You always have a choice, Kara,” Cat argues. “You kept this light under a bushel for years. Nothing to stop you doing it for the rest of your life.”

“And my sexuality!” Kara continues, undeterred. “I’m not even close to done working that out, and now you’re forcing me into being some kind of gay icon!”

“I gave you a choice,” Cat reminds her. “You didn’t have to do anything you didn’t want to do.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“Simple is for children and idiots. Complexity is not a vice, and I would think someone living a double life could at least appreciate that.”

“I’d appreciate it a lot more if I didn’t have to go beg two relative strangers to keep my secret! Not to mention my sister is going to kill me. This is just too much. I didn’t want this!”

“You’re angry again,” Cat summarizes.

“You think?” Kara splutters back at her. “And don’t worry, this time I know exactly who I’m angry at. And why.”

“Well, why don’t we go fix this little problem then?” Cat suggests, releasing her death grip on the railing and taking an unsteady step towards Kara. The winds are high tonight, especially at this height, on top of one of the huge multinational banks that litter National City’s Financial District. “I have no problem writing a couple of checks.”

“That doesn’t solve everything,” Kara sighs. “But you’re right, we should-”

A violent gust of wind catches Cat in the middle of her next step, and Kara didn’t factor in that humans can’t alter their gravitational pull according to the conditions. It doesn’t help that Cat weighs next to nothing, but even faster than Kara’s reflexes can react, her boss is swept towards the open edge of the helipad. There’s nothing to grip on the way, though Cat’s manicure takes a hit as she scrabbles at the tarmac the one time she’s close enough.

As she disappears over the edge, Kara is already reacting. Cat barely drops more than a few floors before Kara swoops underneath and catches her in both arms, cradling Cat as they climb back to a safe flying height.

“You opened your eyes,” Kara comments a moment later, having watched Cat drink in her surroundings.

“Like I said, only when I’m falling out of the sky,” Cat reminds her. “Although there’s something to be said for this mode of travel. It feels much safer. A plane can crash, but you’ll never drop me, will you?”

“Only on purpose,” Kara warns, but the relief at having saved this particular moment is a palpable thing expanding in her chest. “We’re going straight to your office, right?”

“Of course.”

“I don’t remember us leaving all those lights on,” Kara peers at their destination and uses a blast of x-ray vision to see through the solid parts between the glass as well. She sees Alex, brandishing her service weapon and shouting at the men around her. They’re gathered around something on the floor and some of the agents are moving to guard the doors out to Kara’s desk and the other one to the balcony. “That doesn’t look good.”

“What doesn’t?” Cat asks, squinting towards the office. At least she has a decent sense of direction.

“Okay, when we land on the balcony we might get rushed by some federal agents but don’t worry. My sister is one of them.”

“What are they doing in my office? God, wasn’t it enough the mess they made after Leslie? You know, I have some dirt on the Attorney General that I’m not sure shouldn’t be made public tonight.”

“Cat!”

“What? The ass deserves it,” Cat insists. “Not that anyone is going to notice anyway, with all the Supergirl coverage.”

“Even in our papers?”

“You think I’m going to break the internet and then let the Planet scoop me?” Cat scoffs. “Honestly. It’s like you haven’t been paying attention at all.”

“Well, we are talking about that,” Kara announces as she flexes her legs forward to land. “But first, I need to get my ass kicked by my big sister.”

Chapter Text

“There you are!” Alex comes barreling out of the balcony doors to hug Kara. “I mean, uh, nice to see you, Supergirl.” She steps back into that wide stance Kara’s become used to seeing. It means Alex is primed and ready for something serious.

“How did you get here so fast?” Kara asks.

“I was already in the van downstairs when you finally called me back,” Alex admits. “Listen, you need to stay out here. This is an active crime scene.”

“Because I got my hair styled?” Kara gasps. “Okay first of all, that is rude-”

“I meant Ms Grant. We’ve got two bodies,” Alex interrupts. “And we’re pretty sure from their wallets that they’re the hairdresser you mentioned, and an agency driver by the name of Kevan?”

“Oh my God, no!” Kara grasps blindly and gets Cat’s hand grabbing hers in return.

“I don’t see paramedics,” Cat inserts herself calmly into the conversation. "Are you sure they’re actually-”

“Trust me,” Alex addresses the answer to Kara. “Almost a full 360 on the necks. I’m sorry. Ms Grant, can you tell me why they were in your office?”

“I asked them to be.” Kara is relieved that Cat doesn’t lie. The texts would catch them out in an instant, anyway. “Although I’m surprised they made it here faster than we did.”

“I did take the scenic route to buy time,” Kara admits. “And I wasn’t exactly going full throttle, not with a passenger.”

“Ka-, I mean Supergirl, I need you to go confirm the identities for me. I’m sorry, I wouldn’t ask but we have no idea what’s happening here. And I need to know whether this is us or the NCPD.” Alex waves the other agents back inside, leaving just the three of them on the balcony. Kara wishes they had wraps or coats, but Cat isn’t showing that the cold affects her at all.

“Surely a murder is a matter for the police regardless?” Cat seizes on it instantly, but Kara drifts out of her grip and goes to see the bodies.

How the hell did they get there so quickly? And with enough spare time to be murdered? She double-checks her phone, but neither man actually responded. So the timeframe is open to some wiggle room, but that doesn’t make anything any clearer right now. Her breath catches in her throat as she sees Sergio, so full of life barely an hour ago, flat on his back in front of Cat’s desk. Alex wasn’t lying about the severity of the neck twist. There’s a strange smell in the air that Kara can’t place. It’s tickles some buried memory in the back of her mind, and she nudges the tech to see if he can get some kind of air samples.

Kevan has crashed through the glass top of the coffee table, and that’s a lot harder to look at. Kara pays him enough respect to look properly, in case she misses anything, but her super hearing is pricked to attention by some angry gesturing from the balcony, where Alex has cornered Cat alone.

“...she is your assistant and I don’t care what you’ve found out, this is taking so much advantage. It doesn’t matter how famous you are, Ms Grant. We have ways of keeping people quiet.”

“I’ve had run-ins with plenty of FBI agents over the years, Agent Danvers. Let me tell you, you’re nothing like any of them. Except for your tendency to trash my property.”

“Listen, lady-”

“Don’t ‘lady’ me. Your sister in there could probably lift this building if she put her mind to it. She is far, far more capable than you’re giving her credit for.” Kara smiles at that, despite herself. “What are you really scared of? That she won’t need you to fight her battles anymore?”

Alex clenches her fists, and Kara debates whether interrupting or letting them play it out is worse for her emotional state.

“Kara is a sweet girl. She might be strong, but she’s not a cynic like you or me. She doesn’t know when she’s being used.”

“I’m using her?” Cat laughs. “That makes sense, with how the rich and powerful are known for using their assistants for leverage. Couldn’t possibly be the other way around?”

“It’s not the assistant you’re using, and you damn well know it!” Alex is losing her temper, and Kara knows then it’s time to take one for the team.

“It’s definitely them,” she announces a split-second later, as though she hadn’t overheard a word. “I don’t know who did that, but it would take a lot of strength. Probably superhuman. Your tech is taking sample, because there’s this weird smell...”

“He’s not really a tech,” Alex explains. “We weren’t coming here on anything official, remember? Do I need to get more people in?”

“Maybe? It could be nothing, but it’s weird enough for me to notice.”

“I only smelled blood,” Alex tells her. “I’ll get someone to check it out. Can you escort Ms Grant downstairs? I’ll let you know when we’re done with you two.”

“Am I in danger?” Cat wants to know. “Because my son is at home with a sitter, and I have decisions to make if I am.”

“You could be,” Alex admits after Kara stares her down. “But you could also be a suspect.”

“I was with Supergirl. You can check, oh I don’t know, the entirety of western media?”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t pay some accomplices.”

“Hey,” Kara wades in to break up the sniping. “Alex, I can take Ms Grant home and watch over her and Carter. That way she’s also available to you for questioning.”

“Hmm, superhuman strength, able to move faster than the human eye can perceive. And oh, with a motive to see that both of these men never spoke to anyone ever again. I don’t know, Supergirl. You make a pretty compelling suspect, too.”

“Cat!” Kara squeaks in alarm. “What are you doing?”

“I think the below-the-line people call it ‘playing devil’s advocate’,” Cat replies, clearly enjoying herself. “What do you think, Agent Danvers? Or did you have incentive to protect your sister’s secrets for her? You really seem to embrace this knight in government-issue armor identity you’ve created for yourself.”

“Alex would never do something like this. Not just to protect me,” Kara scoffs.

“Oh, I’d kill for you if I had to,” Alex corrects, and it’s clear from how her eyes widen that she didn’t mean to admit that. “It doesn’t mean I did it tonight.”

“Classic she said/she said,” Cat decides. “Have security give you the files, that will clear both me and Kara. I hope it clears you too, Agent. Wouldn’t want another police brutality scandal on our hands. Or whatever branch of brutality you actually work for, anyway.”

“Kara, you can just go home. We’ll send agents with Ms Grant. For her protection.”

“No way,” Kara wishes she had her actual suit and not this dress that rustles when she moves. It makes her feel more capable of standing up to Alex, or Hank, or just about anyone. “Until I know what happened to Sergio and Kevan, I am not letting Cat out of my sight.”

“You know she’s not really your girlfriend, right?” Alex snaps. “Come on, Kara. You’re not even gay.”

“About that,” Kara hedges, wishing Cat wasn’t watching like a new episode of Empire just appeared on screen. “We should probably talk about labels, and … stuff?”

“Seems the ‘S’ suit isn’t the only thing coming out of the closet tonight,” Cat teases when Alex is struck speechless by Kara’s half-confession. “I know, I know,” she adds at Kara’s exasperated sigh. “It’s not an ‘S’. You realize this means you have to tell me what it actually stands for?”

“Ask my cousin,” Kara sasses back. “Alex, if you’re just going to stand there, I’m taking Cat home to Carter. You know how to reach me.”

“Kara, I’m not… you know, I just didn’t expect… why didn’t you tell me? I told you about everything I did on spring break, all four years!”

“I didn’t know what I was telling you, exactly,” Kara fends off the question as best she can, gesturing for Cat to come back into grabbing range so they can get going. “Listen, it’s not a big deal. I want to get out of sight before the reporters start storming the building. Or well, half of them work here. You know what I mean.”

“We are talking about this,” Alex has her sternest tone back. She sounds exactly like Eliza, though she’d never admit it. “I mean it. We’re talking about all of it, and no later than breakfast. Understood?”

“Yes,” Kara sighs in agreement. “You can handle everything here?” Cat steps into position, throwing her arm over Kara’s shoulder like it’s something they’ve done twice a day for months.

“Yeah, kind of my job to handle it, Kara.”

“Good, then.” Kara swears she can feel tears starting to prickle behind her eyelids, but she will not let either of these women see her break down. It’s because of the shocking deaths, she tells herself. Not that Alex didn’t exactly warm up to the queer revelation, or that she basically forgot how to breathe at the mention of Cat possibly being in danger again. She circles Cat’s waist and waits for her to hold on with both arms, before kicking them both off the balcony and heading for the mansions out on the coast.

“Cat?” Kara asks as they clear the downtown limits. It’s unlike her boss to be this quiet, unless she’s writing. Or procrastinating when she should be writing. Kara appreciates the free minutes to clear her own head, but a silent Cat is nobody’s idea of relaxing. “We’d like to thank you for flying Supergirl Airways,” she dorks out a moment later. “If you have any questions, your pilot is happy to answer them?”

Cat groans against Kara’s shoulder. Well, that’s something. It’s only when Cat tilts her head that Kara sees she’s been crying.

“Uh, windchill stings a bit,” Kara offers. “I’ll slow down, it’ll stop your eyes from watering. Sorry, I forget about humans sometimes.”

“I’m crying, okay?” Cat practically growls. “Two people are dead in my office, and I can’t help thinking it’s something to do with what we set in motion tonight. What I set in motion. And I know I said you can’t get angry at work, or cry, but sometimes the whole human thing has other ideas.”

“I wanted to cry too,” Kara confesses. “I’m glad you didn’t see them. It was awful, Cat.”

“I’ll see the autopsy pictures,” Cat informs her. “The least I can do is make sure their deaths are properly investigated.”

“They will be, with Alex on the case. Her boss is a good man, too. They’ll get it done, I promise.”

“Sergio’s been doing my hair since the day I found out I was pregnant with Carter,” Cat says a moment later. She’s quiet, painfully so, and Kara has to use her extra senses to hear over the wind. “I was scheduled for highlights and he make some joke about not using peroxide in pregnancy, and I just blabbed the whole thing.”

“Did he keep your secret?”

“I suppose he did. I forgot about that. I was only six weeks pregnant when I told him. He could have made money from an exclusive even then. Or at least leveraged some of my more competitive rivals.”

“So we would probably have been okay?”

“We don’t know he ever left the building,” Cat reminds her. “Something isn’t right here, and if your sister can’t get to the bottom of it, I will.”

“You’re just as determined as she is.”

“She doesn’t like me much, does she?” Cat asks as her house comes into view, lights on in every room. “What have you been telling her about your nasty boss, hmm?”

“Nothing much,” Kara lies, lining up her approach to land just outside Cat’s kitchen. “She’s just protective. My parents put a lot on her, giving her an alien foster sibling to look out for all the time.”

“Oh please, alien or not you’ve always been a goody two-shoes. I bet the worst thing she had to get you out of was Mathletes.”

“It was Latin club, and… no, you don’t get anymore background. Not until I’m sure you’re not writing about me.”

“A little trust, Kara,” Cat suggests as they land. “I haven’t done it yet, have I?”

“Is Carter still up?”

“It’s barely nine,” Cat reminds her. “Of course he is. Speaking of which, I have to assume he’s been following all the Supergirl news. He’s either going to be heartbroken or the happiest boy alive. You won’t do anything to upset him, understood?”

“Why would I upset him?”

“Promise you won’t.”

Kara holds her hands up in surrender. “I promise.” She’s ready to make another wisecrack until she looks inside the kitchen and sees Carter at the island. Hair still wet from his bath and already in pajamas, he’s staring at his iPad in something that looks like disbelief at best and heartbreak at worst. Cat stiffens at the sight of it, steeling herself for the conversation ahead.

“Remember your promise,” Cat mutters as she keys in the security code and they step inside the kitchen.

Chapter Text

“Carter?” Cat slips off her heels once they’re inside, holding both in one hand as she rounds the island and stands on tiptoe to kiss Carter’s curls where he perches on the high stool. “I’m sorry it’s another late one, sweetheart.”

He finally looks away from the screen. “Mom is it true that… Holy crap!” Kara blushes. She has been officially noticed. “Mom, you’re really banging Supergirl?”

“Carter!” Kara and Cat gasp almost in unison. “That is no way to talk about women,” Cat continues alone. “Apologize to Supergirl, this instant.”

“That’s okay.” Kara waves it away with nervous hands. Carter states her down, so like his mother in that moment that it’s deeply unsettling.

“I’m sorry, about the banging comment. The kids at school… I pick things up without realising sometimes. You look kind of different in person.”

“Must be the dress,” Kara suggests. “I’d put my suit on but it’s honestly harder when I’m not already wearing it under something.”

“If you’re staying, you should change,” Cat interrupts. “Down the hall, third door on the left. Grab a robe and i’ll come find you something more practical once I’m done here.”

“She's staying?” Carter can’t contain a squeal of excitement. He covers it really fast though, his face back to indifference almost faster than Kara can catch.

“We’ll talk about that in a minute,” Cat tells him, directing Kara to get a move on using just her eyes. Kara kicks off her heels and scurries off in search of the promised robe.

She enters that third room on the left after counting the doors three times to be extra sure. Previous visits to the house have never gotten her beyond the foyer, to collect or deposit some papers or item Cat couldn’t live without for the next few hours. Kara can see that semi-familiar foyer further down the hall, and it feels as far away as Krypton from what she’s doing tonight.

It should be a guestroom, or at least some kind of storage space. Kara’s pretty sure after two seconds that she’s in Cat’s own personal bedroom though, and the only visible robe is on the back of the door. It’s white and fluffy and monogrammed, but Kara doesn't see any alternative. She strips slowly, not wanting to tear the dress when she’s done so well already. When it’s off she drapes it over the chair in front of the vanity, placing the shoes on the floor beside it. It won’t get her a gold star for tidying her room, but it’s one less thing for Cat to get pissy about.

Left in just a strapless bra and panties, Kara feels surprisingly comfortable. She’ll hear anyone approaching with plenty of notice, and so she takes a moment to look at herself in the handy full-length mirror, the wooden frame a deep reddish-brown to match the sturdy furniture that contrasts against the muted pastels everywhere else in the room. She hasn't looked at her body properly since that terrible day she found herself without powers, and she’s relieved to see that everything seems to be just as she expects it. Since her adrenalin reboot she hasn’t even scarred from the cut to her finger.

Cat seems to be taking her time with Carter, and so after a few minutes of toying with the bottles on the dresser, Kara slips the robe on and revels for a moment in how it feels like being hugged by a very gentle polar bear. She sits on the edge of the bed, primed and ready. A few minutes later, just as she’s getting restless, she hears bare feet starting to head down the hall.

“Is there somewhere I should hang the dress?” Kara asks, because she’s trying desperately not to make it weird that she’s sitting on Cat Grant’s bed. Which is, incidentally, the size of a Caribbean island and maybe the closest Kara has felt to flying without actually, well, flying. That’s without even lying down on it. “Or I can take it to the dry cleaners for you in the morning?”

“It’s yours.”

“Ms Grant, I couldn’t possibly-”

“Think of it as part of the overtime I never pay you.” Cat doesn’t walk in and take over the room like she usually does. Instead she paces a few steps back and forth in front of the bed, and Kara, with her hands on her hips. “I just lied to Carter.”

“You did?” Kara isn’t expecting this line of conversation. “About me?”

“Two people who know the truth about your identity are dead,” Cat reasons, still pacing. She’s not looking at Kara though, and that’s unusual. Cat could out-stare Medusa if she really put her mind to it. “So while I promised myself that I would never lie to him, I’m doing it for his protection. We are dating. You are Supergirl. Kara the assistant does not get mentioned, not until we know what the hell is going on. Does that sound like something you can handle?”

“Does it mean I’m staying over tonight?”

“Yes.”

“Oh. Okay. I mean, I wanted to anyway. Just in case.” Kara tries to smile in a way that’s more happy than panicked, and from Cat’s bemused glance it doesn’t seem like she’s succeeding.

“You need to change,” Cat reminds her. “I said we would come and tell Carter together how we met, and why we decided to date. He knows about the whole bi thing, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

“Right.”

“Don’t ‘right’ me. I could see you mentally preparing a dictionary definition as the first slide of a PowerPoint.”

“I was… absolutely doing that,” Kara admits, blushing. “I don’t know a whole lot about kids. Teenage boys especially. The last time I was around them they mostly wanted to get access to Alex.”

“Let’s start with clothes,” Cat changes direction and crosses the large room to one of the doors on the furthest wall from Kara. “The Judy Blume narrative we can deal with another time.”

“Right,” Kara says, with a whole lot less pep this time. “Anything will be fine. If you have some sweatpants and a t-shirt, I’ll just-”

Cat glares at her, before opening the door and letting some automatic light illuminate the space. Kara almost staggers as she’s drawn towards it. She doesn’t follow fashion, not in the expensive, know the designers way that Cat so clearly does, but she has always had a weakness for pretty things. Maybe it’s the legacy of coming from somewhere that’s nothing but ash, or the fact that being recognized in just one costume is a little limiting, but Kara knows a wonderland when she sees it.

Closets like this aren’t supposed to exist in real life. Kara’s seen them on Scandal, or in that movie about Vogue, but those are exaggerated for effect. She had no idea that real, human people could have closets the size of her apartment, with so many clothes and accessories laid out in rows of color and sophistication like this.

“It’s clothes porn,” she accidentally whispers out loud. Cat glares again, but she’s clearly fighting a smile. “No wonder you always look like that.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Cat decides a moment later. “Pick something comfortable, I suppose.”

“You can’t turn me loose in here and say pick something. For a start, no way anything tailored for you even fits me. So anything sort of… loose? Or long?”

“Not really my aesthetic,” Cat reminds her. “But come in back, I have some workout things I haven’t sorted yet. Here,” she halts in front of shelves with neatly folded stacks of gray and black. “These are too long. And this… isn’t terrible. Well, maybe it won’t be on you.”

Cat hands her what is pretty much the designer version of sweatpants and a t-shirt. Kara rolls her eyes but accepts them without pointing out it’s more or less exactly what she asked for. She waits for Cat to depart the closet, but instead she picks out some pajamas from a whole other set of hangers.

“Uh, should I-”

“I thought you could change quickly?”

“Right, but your privacy-”

“Kara,” Cat sighs. “Is this really any different from the locker room at the gym?”

“I don’t really work out in public places,” Kara reminds her. “When you can lift the instructor and the heaviest bench weights together, with one hand, people tend to remember that.”

“You’re telling me you can do all this and you don’t even need to work out?” Cat is scandalized, clutching mulberry satin to her chest. “A person could really get to hate you, Supergirl.”

“Anyway,” Kara says with a shrug. “I’ll go change out there, and when you’re ready we’ll go talk to Carter?”

“Well, hold these,” Cat demands, thrusting the pajamas into Kara’s hands. “And if you could just start the zipper on this for me? Vera does exquisite things with necklines, but unzipping is humanly impossible.”

“Sure!” Kara’s voice is high and she’s suppressing a giggle. A nervous giggle. She steps in close enough to unzip the gorgeous black dress that’s hugging Cat’s torso like a second skin, and with less fumbling than she honestly expected, the zipper is coming down. Only Kara forgets the ‘start’ part as soon as creamy skin and the bottom of perfectly-aligned shoulder blades are exposed. She only stops when the hint of black lace comes into view, stepping back as though she can actually feel being burned.

“See you out there!” She announces in a strangled voice, rushing back to the bed and changing before her words have finished hitting Cat’s ear drums. Cat emerges a minute or two later, completely unfazed.

“I’m trusting you not to screw this up,” Cat reminds her as they leave the bedroom. Kara’s still getting over the whole in Cat Grant’s bedroom, naked back, zipper situation. Her brain takes a second to catch up.

“You want me to tell him how we met?”

“It’s safer. That way I don’t lie about anything else, not directly. It also stops me from telling him anything you think it’s safer not to disclose. I don’t know what kind of enemies you have, but I’ve made damn sure Carter is safe from mine.

“I can make up a good story,” Kara reassures her. Like eye-microwaved coffee, it’s using a special skill to get in good with the boss. Only this time it’s a skill Kara actually honed in college. Eliza will be thrilled that it’s finally paying off after worrying about her at CatCo for so long. “Keep it simple, a few basic facts. He’ll work out the rest for himself. He’s really smart.”

“Yes,” Cat preens. “He is.”

“Hey,” Kara says when she gets back into the kitchen. Her feet are bare and in a million years she never thought she’d feel comfortable in what everyone at the office calls Cat’s ‘batcave’. Carter has put his iPad aside and he’s waiting for them at the counter, a tall glass of milk in front of him. “That looks pretty good,” Kara thinks out loud. “Do you mind if I…” She gestures to the glass for Cat’s benefit, and instead of pointing out where the glasses are, Cat detours to fetch Kara some milk of her own. This night is just a whole mess of firsts.

“So,” Carter blurts. “You’re really… dating my mom?”

“We don’t have to start with that,” Kara reassures him. “It’s weird for you, I get that. No kid your age wants to know about their mom’s love life.”

“You love her?”

“It’s a turn of phrase,” Cat interjects, placing Kara’s milk down on a coaster and taking the stool next to her at the breakfast bar. As if they do it every day, Cat leans in and brushes a strand of hair out of Kara’s face. It’s always falling in her eyes when she doesn’t have her handy glasses to keep things under control. They both look quite strange, hair and makeup still done to the nines, but their clothing as casual as can be. “Let her talk, honey.”

“Okay,” Carter agrees, taking a big mouthful of milk and practically daring Kara to do the same. Figuring it plays into the Supergirl mythos, she downs the contents of her glass in one gulp.

“I haven’t seen you since the train,” Kara reminds him, because it hopefully keeps the following morning totally separate from who he thinks she is. “How’s school been?”

“You don’t have to do that,” Carter groans. “I didn’t think Supergirl would be every bit as bad as my dad’s girlfriends. Pretending you give a crap? No need.”

“Carter,” Cat warns.

“That’s valid,” Kara continues. “But the difference is we’ve met before. I’m not trying to get in with your mom; she’s already dating me. So we can just talk. Or whatever you want, really.”

“Do you play computer games?”

“Not very well,” Kara lies. “I don’t like that the controllers can’t feel how hard you’re hitting the buttons. Also I have to get a lot of replacement controllers. People don’t ask me to game with them much anymore.”

“Right,” Carter snorts, his kind of laugh Kara knows, but he tries to tamp it down. “Mom, do we have to do this?”

“Yes,” Cat insists. “It won’t take long. You have school in the morning, and bedtime isn’t that far away.”

“I’m pretty tired too,” Kara admits with a huge yawn. “I mean, walking in heels is way more exhausting than, say, pulling an oil tanker.”

“But at least you didn’t pollute half the coastline this time,” Cat offers, helpful as ever. “Sweetheart, we just want you to understand. If you read anything -- anything -- other than what we tell you, in the papers or online, then you’ll know it’s made up. Okay?”

“I met your mom a few weeks ago,” Kara picks up the thread. “You must have seen that kickass cover story, right?”

“She was mean about you,” Carter reminds her.

“Some of those… criticisms were valid,” Kara says, barely gritting her teeth at all. “I still have a lot to learn about this place, and the people who live here. It’s just in the course of trying to do that, I met your mom. And I think she might be one of the most fascinating people on this whole planet. I won’t take her away from you, and I know that even if we go on a ton more dates,” Kara delights in how Cat tenses at that. “Or if this was the last one tonight. I know that the whole time you have always come first for your mom, and you always will. I wouldn’t date someone like her if she was any other way.”

“Cool,” Carter responds. Kara supposes that’s the best she can hope for in teen-boy-world.

“So you’re going to be okay with this?” Cat is nothing if not persistent. “You won’t come home angry from school and demand that I stop hanging out with Supergirl?”

“I don’t think so?”

“You’re allowed to change your mind on that,” Kara tells him. “Even if you’re okay now. All sorts of things can happen, and we both agree that nothing that happens between us is allowed to make your life more difficult.”

“Supergirl, my mom is Cat Grant,” Carter points out. “I don’t think there’s much you can do to make life any crazier than it already is.”

“I’m glad you think so,” Kara admits, heaving a quiet sigh of relief.

“I’m going up to bed now,” Carter decides. “You don’t have to come say goodnight like usual, Mom. It’s different if you have a guest.”

He’s so stiff and formal sometimes, so utterly well-behaved. Kara used to think it was the product of growing up with so much money and access, but she’s beginning to suspect it’s Katherine’s legacy or influence, despite Cat’s continuing very best efforts.

“I am still coming to say goodnight,” Cat tells him, because really, whoever thought that was up for debate?

“That could have gone worse?” Kara breathes when Carter has disappeared off into the house. “I promised I wouldn’t hurt him, and I don’t think we did. Right?”

“Carter isn’t always great at letting things show on the surface,” Cat confides, slipping down from her stool. “He’s a wonderful mimic, and so smart in the way that he considers all the options and presents what he thinks someone wants to see. I have no idea where he gets it from, because I am the opposite of a people pleaser.”

“You keep the shareholders pretty pleased,” Kara suggests. “But no, I mean, point taken. Totally.”

“We should go check the coverage,” Cat announces, plucking a bottle of white from the separate wine cooler that Kara hadn’t even noticed in the huge kitchen. “You’re not really tired yet, are you?” She snags two glasses, and motions for Kara to follow. They pass the bedroom and suddenly there’s a staircase leading down into what would be a basement in any other house, but with a shudder Kara thinks of all the times Winn or someone at work has joked about a dungeon.

“Your living room is downstairs?” Kara asks as they walk towards a door at the end of a short hallway. “That’s kind of cool.”

“Living room?” Cat repeats, face scrunched. “Oh no, we’re not going to pop on the news and hope for the best. Come,” she instructs. “Make yourself comfortable.”

Inside, Kara is not actually as surprised as she might be to find a slightly more comfortable version of Cat’s office at CatCo. The couches are darker, much more inviting. The screens on the wall are perhaps a little less in number. But this is definitely a mode of working, a way of living, that clearly works for Cat Grant. Kara wishes it didn’t make her feel sort of desperately at home too, in a way she doesn’t want to think about.

“I got a text from Alex,” Kara tells her as Cat fusses with a tablet screen and the televisions on the wall hop through various channels of live news. There are scrolling twitter feeds on others, Facebook trends and Instagram hashtags. It’s even better than what they have set up in the office, and Kara supposes that’s to be expected on Cat’s personal system when she can tweak everything without the slightest concern for office politics or slighting any given department. “They’ll have a load of agents on you all night. Safe distance. I’ll fly home when we’re done here, and if you just tell me when breakfast is I’ll be back so it looks like I spent the night?”

“Oh, that doesn’t work for me,” Cat murmurs. Kara doesn’t know if that’s a response to her or something on the tablet that Cat hasn’t lifted her eyes from. She waits, unwilling to disrupt the quiet between them. “We’ll get caught, there’ll be weirdness. Not to mention there are probably God knows how many photographers camping out at the security gates right now to get the first morning after shot. Escape is, I’m afraid, not an option. Not even at supersonic speed.”

“You know, it’s possible that it sounds a little scary when you talk like that,” Kara mentions, covering up the fact that she’s thrilled to be staying. “But I can crash on this couch. Holy crap, this is comfortable.”

“Nuh uh,” Cat looks up this time, squinting because she doesn’t appear to have any of her ubiquitous pairs of glasses to hand. “My room, in case Carter has a nightmare. You never know when he might come knocking.”

“Jeez, Ms Grant,” Kara jokes, barely able to believe she’s saying the words. “Anyone would think you’re actually trying to get me into bed.”

“Well, would you look at that?” Cat points to the biggest of the screens on the wall. “We made second item on the 10 o’clock.” And Kara can’t be sure, the same way that sometimes stopping a bomb is just closing your eyes and hoping, but she thinks that Cat might be blushing. It might be her foundation in this warm light, or just great bone structure, but she’s studiously pointing out something that any other time she’d expect Kara to work out and comment on for herself.

“So we did,” Kara responds, trying to focus on the news and not her sleeping arrangements. “Wow, did I really look like that? Sergio did such a great job and he…”

“I know.” Cat comes closer, reaching out to pat Kara’s shoulder and then squeeze it. “We’ll watch for a little while, and then if you need to… talk… about your feelings?”

“Oh no,” Kara shakes her head. “I can’t make this about me. But thank you?”

“You’re welcome,” Cat could retreat then so easily, but she’s caught up in the coverage again. That must be why she forgets to remove her hand, and a moment later she squeezes again. Seemingly at the sight of them taking off from the red carpet together. Kara can feel herself getting lost in what might be a moment when her earpiece annoyingly beeps to signal incoming from the DEO.

“Alex?” She answers. “I just replied to your text, what’s up?”

“It’s Hank,” he replies. “Miss Danvers, we have some news about the incident at your office earlier tonight.”

“I’ll come in,” Kara tells him, despite everything Kat just said about not leaving. Telephoto lenses can’t keep up with her anyway.

“No, it’s better that you don’t,” Hank cuts her off. “The thing is, here’s what we found…”

Chapter Text

“Never mind what you found,” Kara snaps, feeling empowered to make demands because of Cat’s presence by her side. “Why isn’t my sister calling to tell me herself? Did something happen to Alex?”

“Agent Danvers is undergoing decontamination protocol right now, but she’s fine. What I need to confirm with you is that Ms Grant didn’t enter her office when you returned there tonight.”

“She was on the balcony the whole time,” Kara says, confident that she’s right. “I entered the crime scene, though.”

“The smell you identified at the crime scene was sodium thiopental,” Hank continues.

“It was more like garlic,” Kara corrects him.

“That is what it smells like, mostly,” Hank suppresses, almost, his sigh of impatience. “It wasn’t detectable to the human agents at the scene because of the blood and other chemicals present. There were some tests performed with your cousin that suggest Kryptonians find it very easy to detect and distinguish scents from each other.”

“So it’s like truth serum,” Kara summarizes. “It doesn’t work on me, clearly, or you’d have pulled me in. Is it really that dangerous?”

“It was mixed with other more toxic agents. Whoever used this, presumably as truth serum, had no intention of letting the subjects survive. Our team is breaking it down now, but we’ve never seen this combination of chemicals before.”

“Which means it’s alien,” Kara groans. “Director Henshaw, have you checked on Astra and her henchmen?”

“They’re on lockdown,” Hank dismisses her. “We have constant video monitoring.”

“If you say so.”

“I do say so. I suppose your sister already gave you a talking to about tonight’s public display? I thought we had an agreement about not letting the people of National City get to know Supergirl too well.”

“Plans change,” is all Kara can think to say. “But while I’m happy to work with you at the … FBI … that doesn’t make me your subordinate.”

“Doesn’t seem like you have any problem remaining Cat Grant’s subordinate,” Hank grumbles.

“Was there anything else?” Kara is exasperated now, not just because Cat is pretending to give her space, retreating to the other side of the room where she is definitely not touching Kara’s shoulder anymore.

“Agent Danvers will be in touch,” is how Hank signs off. Kara’s relieved when he beeps out of her ears and her thoughts.

“Who’s Astra?” Is, of course, Cat’s first question.

“That’s a story I really can’t share with you,” Kara replies, although she feels the tug of unburdening in her chest. “Trust me when I say it’s the only way to keep you and Carter safe.”

“We’re not safe now, are we?”

“I don’t know,” Kara admits. “I really never intended for you to work it out. Now all this…”

“There’s very little point in worrying over things already done,” Cat decides a long, quiet moment later. “There’s work to be done, not least clearing out voicemails and getting our emails back under control. Please tell me it goes without saying that I don’t want you actually replying to anything?”

“Of course.”

“I’m going to speak to whoever’s on the late desk,” Cat continues, situating herself at her desk. “There’s no way they get to do their own copy on this.”

“Do I want to know what you’re going to say?” Kara asks.

“You have to start trusting me sometime,” Cat points out. “We’re already pretty deep in this.”

Kara sighs, and grabs the laptop from the table, logging into her CatCo accounts. All hell has broken loose, and as much as she doesn’t want to admit it, within five minutes of steady work, she’s thankful for the distraction.

***

“Isn’t this late for you?” Cat asks nearly two hours later.

“Why would 11 be late?” Kara asks. “Oh right, because you think I’m a Girl Scout.”

“With a cape,” Cat amends. “Wait, do you even need sleep?”

“Of course I do,” Kara half-lies. “It’s just that the yellow sun on this planet is more restorative to me than sleep alone.”

“Well, bring a book to bed or something. I can’t stand people lying awake next to me, breathing pointedly about how awake they still are.”

“That sounds… oddly specific?” Kara ventures. “Do you have books? I don’t see any.”

“I hide them from my mother,” Cat tells her, standing to open a panel in the wall. “Not that she’s here often, but it spares me the lecture on how her friends in publishing could help me build a real collection that would address my shortcomings. She makes lists.”

“Do you need to talk? About your... feelings?” Kara regrets the offer the minute she makes it, but it’s really only an echo of what Cat asked her before.

“God, no,” Cat snaps, motioning towards the bookcase. “Pick out something and meet me upstairs.”

***

Kara knocks when she finds the bedroom door closed. Did she misinterpret this whole time? Was Cat talking in code about the sleeping arrangements? Kara’s ready to flee when Cat throws the door open.

“Just come in,” she instructs. “Honestly, will every move need to be written out on scented notecards? With calligraphy?”

“Well, we’re still new,” Kara argues as she closes the door. “A little awkwardness isn’t going to seem that weird.”

“I don’t do awkward.”

“Well, you’re not really doing me either, so I guess that’s okay.”

Kara wants to die the minute the words are out of her mouth. She is on a really bad run these past few minutes. Maybe she should just rip the pages out of Jane Eyre and start stuffing them in her mouth. There has to be some damage control somewhere.

“Can you sleep in that?” Cat looks Kara up and down. “I have pajamas, if you want them.”

“This is fine,” Kara insists. “So, uh, do you have a side?”

“Yes, the middle,” Cat announces, getting in on the nearest side of the still-massive bed. “But I’m willing to compromise, one night only.”

“You think one night is enough?”

“I’ll call the whole thing off if it turns out we’re putting Carter in danger,” Cat tells her as Kara makes her way around the bed and eases carefully under the seriously soft sheets. They make the robe from earlier feel like sandpaper. “I know we haven’t discussed a gameplan, but I can style this out as a publicity stunt. Not that I’ll call it that, but the media does what I say, remember?”

“But you told Cassie on the desk to write-”

“Never mind what I told her. People won’t remember that in a week when there’s a new story. One way or another, there’s always a new story.”

“Thank you.” Kara doesn’t really mean to say it, but she’s glad when she does. Cat looks at her suspiciously, wondering why there’s thanks being given at all. “For not telling my secret. For letting me know there’s a way out, and you’re not going to hold me to this fake relationship forever.”

“That you know of.”

“That I know of,” Kara admits, but she’s smiling now and Cat can’t stop her. “Although, this fake thing might be the closest I ever come. Sure, everyone thinks they want a super girlfriend, but trust me, they don’t. They don’t stick around for more than one night, either. It’s either scare everyone off, or live a lie. Not exactly great prospects.”

“If we’re trading sob stories now, you should hand out tissues first,” Cat answers, apparently unmoved. She waits for Kara to lower her head to the pillow and pushes something on her phone screen that plunges the room into darkness. “There’s a lamp, if you want to read,” Cat mentions a moment later, anticipating Kara’s awkward question.

“Thanks.”

“Oh, stop thanking me. I’ve taken shameless advantage of you and further exposed you. Because, in case you haven’t noticed, everything you just said about your pathetic romantic status is depressingly close to my own. Men are intimidated by me, or they’re not and then they cheat or neglect me to make it clear how much they don’t fear me. It’s the definition of a lose/lose, and I haven’t had much more luck with women. In case you thought that was some magic solution.”

“It’s not?”

“Sadly, no. But I’ll keep your alter-ego secret, Kara. The story of the century, and I guarantee it will never make it into print. Consider that my thank you.”

“Wow,” Kara breathes, glad they’re lying in the dark so Cat can’t see her welling up. “You’re welcome, I guess.”

“Of course I am. Do you think you can sleep with me here?”

“Ambien pretty much guarantees it,” Cat tells her, and the eye roll is practically audible. Her breathing evens out soon after, and Kara’s left staring at the ceiling. She could put the light on and read, sure, but the oblivion of sleep sounds much more appealing. She thinks idly about whether there’s a Kryptonian form of Ambien, but before she can finish the thought, sleep has claimed her.

***

Kara wakes up gently, feeling the sun on her face. It’s her favorite way to wake up, and why she often sleeps on the tiny balcony outside her apartment, counting on her flying powers to kick in if she ever topples over.

What is distinctly different this time is that there’s someone lying on her left arm. Hopefully the same person who has casually thrown their leg over Kara’s, effectively pinning her in place. Pinning her until she flips them like an omelet anyway. Panic sets in for a second until she hears a tiny, delicate snore. One that she recognizes from a few too many slept-off hangovers and creative power naps.

“Ms Grant?” She whispers. The snoring stops abruptly as the events of the previous night come slamming back like a barely believable slideshow in Kara’s memory. “It’s, uh, Kara. In case you forgot.”

“Soft,” Cat grunts against her shoulder. “S’okay.”

“Is it though?” Kara can hear her pitch getting higher. Not only that but she really, really needs to pee. “Ms Grant, we didn’t really discuss cuddling…”

Cat withdraws her limbs with the recoil of a cobra. Suddenly she’s wide awake, blinking at Kara from the safety of her own pillow.

“I didn’t mean to-”

“It’s fine,” Kara overemphasizes. “Totally fine. Cuddly sleeper? I get it. Uh, I’m just gonna grab the bathroom first, and then we can talk about breakfast with Carter-”

“Mom?” Carter comes shuffling in, staring at his iPad again. Kara realizes two things very quickly. One, that Carter is clearly not so used to Cat having overnight guests if he just strolls into her room; and two, that Cat has definitely undertaken some martial arts training with how deftly she pulls Kara back into bed.

Into bed and under her.

Kara quite literally forgets how to breathe.

“Carter,” Cat hisses at her son. “We have talked about knocking on doors. Haven’t we?”

“What?” Carter looks up, sees them in bed together, and blushes furiously. “Oh, I just wanted to know if Supergirl was coming to school with us, or if I can get the driver to take me in early?”

“I don’t know…” Cat is clearly drawing a blank. “Can we discuss this at the breakfast table? I don’t think early is a great option. Why would you want to do that?”

“Well, everyone is going to be talking about this,” Carter waves a hand vaguely at them. Kara understands everything about human genetics in that moment. “So I wanted to find a good hiding spot until first period.”

“Carter…” Cat sounds sad. Kara sees her opportunity and wriggles out of bed again.

“You two should talk,” she tells them. “Carter, hiding is not always the best plan, okay? But I’ll be in the bathroom if anyone needs me.”

“Supergirl?” Carter stops her in her tracks. “If anyone tries to get money out of me over this - or beat me up - will you come and kick their asses?”

“I’d love to,” Kara tells him. “But I’m pretty sure your Mom is about to discuss the importance of fighting your own battles with you.”

Cat groans in agreement or defeat from the bed.

“You know there are easily 200 reporters at the gate, right?” Carter turns back to Cat, deciding Supergirl is no help to him right now. “Jeff showed me on the security feed.”

“200?” Cat is a little shrill now, and Kara escapes to the en suite while she still has the chance. At least behind a closed door, she can start unpacking why it felt so. damn. right. to wake up next to Cat like that.

Chapter Text

“You really think Carter will be okay?” Kara asks as they head back to the school’s side gate. After dropping Carter off as Cat and Supergirl, Kara is changed and ready for the car to take them into the office.

“Asking me that once every 90 seconds is not reducing my anxiety for him,” Cat responds through gritted teeth. “We have to trust that he can handle the situation. That he is who I raised him to be.”

“Oh, he is,” Kara answers, completely confident in the assertion. “In that case, he’ll be just fine.”

Their car pulls up and it’s a new driver, one Kara doesn’t recognize. She lets him hold the door for Cat and slips in on the other side, notepad at the ready. When they’re belted up and the car is in motion, the new guy seems to come to a decision.

“Ma’am, will we be collecting Supergirl en route this morning? The dispatcher said to ask you directly.”

“No,” Cat shuts him down quickly. “But… thank you. For asking.”

Kara allows herself a small sigh of relief. No one has looked close enough to see the resemblance in her. That gives them a small hope of getting through today intact. Alex’s only instructions have been texts telling her to be ‘as normal as possible’ until they find out more. Kara suspects her sister will be nearby for most of the day, whether she admits it or not.

When they arrive at the office, Cat seems to expect Kara to follow her into the private elevator.

“Normal, remember?” Kara reminds her. “I’ll get your latte, and then there’s a couple of people I need to speak to. They already know about this, so apart from our situation, I need to make sure they’re safe, too.”

“I assume Olsen knows,” Cat sighs. “Friend of the family, I guess you’d call him. Who else?”

“Well, Winn is my best friend-”

“You told Wilma?”

“Ms Grant…”

“Fine,” Cat waves it away. “Meet me upstairs. And be ready to spend the whole day being as un-Super as possible, understood?”

“Totally.” Kara is kind of relieved to dash off to the coffee shop.

That relief is short-lived, because James and Winn are waiting by her desk and trying to look nonchalant. Naturally, they are both failing massively.

“Not a word,” she hisses at them while walking past with the coffee. “Meet me in the place. Two minutes.”

There’s no way they won’t mock her mercilessly the minute they’re in private. Handing off the latte to Cat (not even superheated, just in case), Kara leaves the office like it’s any other day. She just wishes Cat’s fingertips hadn’t brushed hers while taking the cup; that never seemed to happen before.

“Cat Grant?” Winn’s voice is tight and high, like he can’t even believe he’s saying his own boss’s name. “What the hell happened after I went home last night?”

“I can explain,” Kara begins. She realizes she and Cat didn’t actually discuss what to reveal or not. Since Winn and James have known for months and not been harmed, Kara has to suspect it’s her change in ‘relationship’ with Cat that’s been the trigger. That might give them a way out of lying to Carter, which would be great. Cat will be thrilled, but Kara has to run it past Alex first to see what the evidence suggests. She realizes she’s lost in the thought, a goofy smile on her face. Right. Time to stick to the status quo, such as it is.

“Kara?” James is brimming with concern, moving closer like he might offer her a hug. Kara can still see how gorgeous he is, how insane those arms are, but it’s like the dial on her attraction to him has suddenly been turned down. “Is everything okay? I’ve seen that exact expression on your cousin’s face, and it was never good news.”

“I’m fine,” she bluffs, having no idea how she actually is. She tries to lean against the desk like she doesn’t have a care in the world, only to knock the mouse and keyboard for one of Winn’s many terminals flying to the floor. He scurries to pick it up before she can help. “So here’s the deal, Cat has kind of a crush… on Supergirl.”

“But she doesn’t know who Supergirl is from 9-5?” James confirms, sighing in relief. “I thought you were gonna tell us she knew. You’d be a dead superhero walking if she did, right? Queen of all media tells that story so fast even your head would spin.”

“Right,” Kara agrees, laughing nervously. “Can you even imagine? So she asked Supergirl out last night, and I thought well why not? It might get some good press for a change. And if I didn’t, well… that cover story would be more like my eulogy if I rejected Cat Grant, don’t you think?”

“So she’s only dating Supergirl,” Winn works it out for himself. “Those pictures from last night, though… Cat got some action. You want to explain, or…?”

“I don’t think I have to explain myself to you?” Kara tries to soften it as she fires back, and it only partly works. “I mean, to anyone. This is a few headlines for Cat, a few fancy dinners for me, and no harm done.”

“And the crime scene here last night?” James is in the management structure, Kara realizes too late. He hears everything. “That wasn’t anything to do with your date?”

“Disgruntled employees,” Kara lies, feeling awful the minute the lie leaves her lips. “They were trying to mess with Cat’s office, but they did the real damage to each other.”

“Anyone we know?” Winn asks.

“Drivers,” Kara feels actually sick at continuing to brush it off. “So yeah, I did a couple of hours on the coverage last night. Anything else this morning I need to be prepared for?”

“There’s not a lot of actual news because you two didn’t speak to anyone,” James informs her. “The photo coverage is insane, though. I didn’t even know there were that many angles, and it’s kind of my job, y’know?”

“Phew,” Kara says for emphasis. They head back to their own floor in companionable silence until the lift doors open. “Okay, I have to get back in there. Let’s hope a bunch of positive press makes her easier, huh?”

“KEEEEEEEEEIRA!” Rings out across the bullpen.

“Not so much,” Winn says, and it still sounds pretty sympathetic at least. Kara tries for her most professional smile, and heads back into Cat’s den.

“You called?” Kara asks, slipping into the office and closing the doors behind her. She doesn’t look up properly until turning around again, and she actually staggers a bit at seeing her face beaming back from so many of Cat’s omnipresent screens. Well, in some she’s tucked into a standing embrace, or clinging to Cat, or generally looking way more coupled up than even she realized while doing it. “Holy…”

“I couldn’t have orchestrated it better myself,” Cat says approvingly. “You know, there’s a real reporter’s instinct buried somewhere in you. The top of the head kiss thing is inspired. We practically look like newlyweds.”

“Newlyweds?” Kara repeats. “Uh, you’re not getting any ideas, are you? Be-because, I mean-”

“Calm down,” Cat waves a hand towards her. “Not everything I say is part of some Machiavellian plot.”

“Just most of it,” Kara mutters to herself.

“We’ll take tonight off,” Cat decides. “Let the speculation build. Tomorrow there’s a Rainbow Flag event. I was invited anyway, but now it won’t be one of those desperate ‘look at all our straight allies’ kind of red carpet. We’ll hit Barney’s in the morning, make sure it’s Ria and not either of the other two shopping for us. Get your sister on the phone as soon as she has an update for me. And eat some breakfast, for God’s sake. You look two seconds from fainting, superhero or not.”

“You know,” Kara says, rubbing at her temples. “I’m more than happy to do my job and keep my cover. I really am. But when it comes to the other stuff, the massive PR favor that I’m doing for you? It would be nice if you actually asked.”

Cat’s head snaps up like Kara just said print media was dead.

“I’m sorry, is there not enough romance in our fake relationship for you? Feel free to send yourself some flowers on the corporate account. Make sure the note is appropriately thoughtful.”

“We didn’t even really decide if we were going to continue. Sergio, Kevan, and now if Carter gets picked on-”

“Don’t try to manipulate me with my son,” Cat warns. “Not that I don’t applaud the tactic, especially from you, but I don’t think it’ll have the effect you’re hoping it will.”

“I didn’t mean to start a fight.”

“Our first one,” Cat mocks. “Be sure to blog about it. That reminds me, did I ever ask you about a Supergirl blog? I’ve been meaning to.”

“Uh, no? Is also my answer to the idea of the blog, just so we’re clear.”

“Fine.”

Cat is eyeing the bowl of M&Ms. She must be more stressed than Kara has picked up on so far. Kara starts mentally moving the day around to accommodate everything that’s been happening. A beep in her ear suggests Alex is ready to talk, but she’ll be doing the first round way out of Cat’s earshot.

“Will that be all?” Kara is ready to move on. She isn’t usually in the closed office this long, and after last night it’s all starting to feel a little claustrophobic.

“Would you?” Cat asks, moving some papers around on her desk. She clears her throat, actually looking pained at having to say the words. “Come with me to the Rainbow thing?”

“That wasn’t so hard, was it?” Kara tries to lighten the tone with some teasing. “I’ll make sure there’s space in Supergirl’s schedule.”

“This is all I ask,” Cat sighs. “Don’t forget to put your sister through to me when she calls. I want to know what happened to Sergio.”

***

Kara’s just calling Alex back when she hears the distant sounds of a helicopter in distress. She ducks away from her desk with the usual lack of notice, changing and springing out into the clear blue sky in 15 seconds flat. She reaches the chopper in ample time, saving some visiting Japanese businessmen and landing them safely on the roof of their corporation’s offices downtown.

Intoxicated by the perfect flying conditions, Kara takes the scenic route back to the office and decides to get Alex’s call out of the way at the same time. Her sister doesn’t pick up for a long time, and Kara’s almost given up when she finally barks “yeah?” down the line at her.

“You were looking for me,” Kara answers. “I’ve been pulling broken helicopters out of the sky. Your decontamination went okay?”

“It’s always a blast,” Alex deadpans. “How’s working for your lover?”

“Alex!”

“Come on, things are heavy enough. You have to expect me to have some fun with this.”

“It’s really not funny. We’re going out again tomorrow night, so get your jabs in early.” Kara allows herself something like a barrel roll at the thought of stepping out on Cat’s arm again. She’s pretty glad no one can see her right now.

“I saw that on radar,” Alex delights in bursting that particular bubble. “Why have we never talked about you liking girls? Did you really think I would judge you?”

“No, you were too busy truth seruming your spring break confessions to Cat to judge me,” Kara reminds her. “I always figured I had enough identity issues without looking for more gray areas. Not that it’s… I like who I like, okay? Though I don’t think I could get a Cat Grant in my regular dating life, do you?”

“Don’t see why not,” Alex counters. “But don’t sell yourself short. Cat might be interested in Supergirl, but she can’t function without Kara. I just worry if things stop working out for her, she’ll sell you down the river quicker than a fading newscaster.”

“She really isn’t like that,” Kara promises. “I’ve worked with her for a while now, and she’s basically a decent person. She’s a great mom, too.”

“Enough!” Alex pleads. “Your crushes are just as pathetic on women as they are on men, at least.”

“Did Hank find out anything else? Is Astra still contained?”

“She’s here. As far as we can tell she hasn’t been out or had access to anyone, but there’s been some strange electrical activity so we’re checking that out now. It doesn’t feel personal, though. I know as an agent this isn’t exactly tradecraft, but something feels… off? It doesn’t have that alien gut feeling about it that your stuff usually does.”

“That’s a good thing, right?” Kara pushes for confirmation. Alex not being sure sends her own internal compasses into disarray. “Could be some run-of-the-mill, coincidental crime?”

“Except for the fact that they were killed in your office.”

“Cat’s office.”

“Right.” Alex sounds like she might have stumbled onto a new idea, but she doesn’t seem to be sharing.

“I’m heading back to the office,” Kara tells her. “Taking the coastal route. You should get out of your bunker today, if you can.”

“Oh, I am,” Alex answers vaguely, confirming Kara’s suspicion that her sister is hanging out near CatCo all day today. “Fly safe.”

Kara ends the call and focuses on her speed for a moment. She swoops over the part of the coast that Cat’s house stands on, an architectural marvel standing apart from all its neighbors. It’s easiest to follow the route they took to drop Carter this morning, but as Kara turns towards the school, her super hearing picks up a panicked kid’s voice yelping “stop it!” over and over.

It’s Carter.

She’ll call Cat when it’s resolved, Kara promises herself. Right now, her only priority is getting Carter out of whatever trouble he’s found himself in.

Chapter Text

The school looms into view moments later, Kara flying at near-record speed. The DEO tests had been inconclusive on an absolute maximum, but she can feel bones and sinews straining against the rushing air. It’s a reassuringly old-fashioned building, no doubt modeled after expensive European prep schools, and Kara has to swerve at the last second to avoid busting up some seriously fancy stained-glass windows.

Getting her bearings, she sprints across the courtyard, ignoring the excited squeals of kids milling around at recess. Some adult or other yells at her, but Kara is beaming x-ray vision at the cloisters in search of whichever little punks are responsible for Carter’s desperate pleas. She sees him and hears him in the same second, his resigned “go to hell” hitting her ears as she spots a much larger boy holding him over a trash can.

Kara grabs him and rights him as he’s in the moment of being dropped. Carter clearly isn’t expecting to be back on his feet, and he stumbles a little. The boys around him start laughing until they realize the blue blur that changed Carter’s direction is now a very solid, very pissed superhero.

“Holy shit, it’s true!” the troll who dropped Carter yelps. “We were putting you out with the trash like your dyke mom, and here’s her bitch girlfriend to save your ass. No wonder you’re such a pussy, Grant.”

“You touch him again,” Kara warns, stepping between Carter and the bully, “and next time you’re getting barbecued.”

She snatches his expensive bookbag from his shoulder and tosses it in the air. Before it can start falling, she ignites books, gym kit and god knows what else with a fiery blast of laser eyes. It falls into the trash can, the blaze intensifying as it hits new material.

“I told you she was a psycho,” said a pale, blonde kid who looked like he just stepped out of a Victorian Abercrombie. Kara turns her glare on him, and that is enough to send them all scrambling.

“Miss… Girl!” A small woman in pink tweed comes scuttling across the yard toward Kara and Carter. “You are not authorized to be on school grounds.”

“I was protecting this student from bullies,” Kara defends herself, arms folded over her chest just beneath the crest of the House of El, emphasizing her status in a way she knew would make Cat proud. “Because I notice not one teacher or assistant is supervising the children at recess.”

“The school has a policy of non-intervention at break times,” the woman fires back. “And since you’re not a parent here, I don’t believe it’s any of your business. Carter, did you invite this … person here today?”

“No, Vice Principal,” Carter answers. “But she did stop me from getting my head split open.” He’s staring at the ground, his lip trembling as he speaks. Kara almost loses her mind when the woman steps up to Carter and actually touches him, tilting his chin up.

“What have we said about eye contact, Carter?”

Carter struggles for a second, but meets her eye. That satisfies her, and she lets him go. Kara steps between them, almost as incensed as she had been at the boys.

“Carter, does she do that to you often?”

“No,” he says. “Just sometimes, when I’m stressed.”

“Does your mom know?”

“No!” Carter is horrified. “Supergirl, don’t say anything to her, please.”

“We usually deal with Carter’s father,” Vice Principal Nastyface interrupts. “We find him much more reasonable than Ms. Grant.”

“Trust me,” Kara warns. “If you think she’s been difficult up until now? You have no idea what’s coming.”

“Supergirl!” Carter pleads.

“Why don’t you go get a fire extinguisher?” Kara says, nodding to the trash can in disgust. “Carter, we’re going to have a quick chat before you go back to class, okay?”

The bell rings. Vice Principal nastyface mutters something about “lateness not being tolerated” while flagging down some older kid to fetch the extinguisher. Kara resists the urge to slap her through the artfully constructed wall with its grand mosaic tiles.

“Carter, I don’t want to upset you, but your mom needs to know about this. She pays a lot of money for this school, and even if she didn’t, that teacher has no right to do that to you. Nobody does. Does anyone else-”

“No!” Carter shakes his head, face flushed again. “I get sent to the Vice Principal sometimes when there are… issues. Mom knows that much, but she says to use it as an opportunity to speak truth to power.”

“Of course she does,” Kara groans, smiling all the same. “I’m not your parent, Carter. I swear I’m not trying to be, even though I like your mom. But you shouldn’t have to take crap from people just to avoid upsetting her. Trust me, she can handle it.”

“She’s busy, though.”

“I think you know she’s never too busy for you, kiddo.”

“I am way too big to be ‘kiddo’,” Carter informs her, suddenly dry. “You’re not my mom. You’re not really anything to me. And I have to get to class.”

“Carter-”

“I would like it if you didn’t narc to Mom. But I guess I can’t stop you.”

He takes off at a jog then, and Kara finds herself at a loss. The Vice Principal turns then, ready to recommence hostilities, and Kara decides a speedy takeoff is slightly less inappropriate than flipping her off, so she continues her journey back to the office.

She hasn’t, unfortunately, outflown the telephone conversation that already has Cat pacing her office. There’s no point using her super-hearing; Kara already knows the content of the call. She fusses with the stationery on her desk, then marches herself into the office the minute she hears Cat stab at the screen with her thumb to end the call.

“I can explain-”

“Not here,” Cat growls at her. “Come.”

They take off down the hall and Cat turns into the largely unoccupied suite of offices for the board members. They occupy prime real estate in the building but are rarely present for anything but monthly or quarterly meetings. And the holiday party, Kara remembers. Last year’s almost devolved into a riot until Cat told her to get an emergency karaoke machine in there.

Kara’s trying so desperately to block out the memory of being talked into singing Adele when Cat drags her through a door she never even noticed before. Suddenly she finds herself in what appears to be a hidden bar;there are crystal decanters lined up on one surface, and a panoramic view along one wall.

“How did I not know about this room?” Kara demands. “Are you Alice in Wonderland? Always with the secret entrances.”

“I value my privacy in a very public life,” Cat says through gritted teeth. “You might want to start taking notes.”

“Listen, I had no intention of going anywhere near Carter,” Kara launches into apology and self-defense mode. “The trouble is once I get to know someone and like them, they kind of jump ahead in line when it comes to my super-hearing.”

“Your super-hearing has a Disney FastPass?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Kara sighs. “Anyway, he was getting some grief from seriously the worst little bunch of punks I have ever come across, so I had to do something.”

“I heard. I assume some casual homophobia was at the root?”

“So they said, but I think they were just looking for any excuse,” Kara confirms. “And I bet she didn’t tell you, but that horrible Vice Principal was actually laying her hands on Carter and forcing him to make eye contact. You say the word and I’ll go back there and put her through a wall, Cat. I swear, I’ll do it.”

“She. Did. What?”

“I know! Carter says it’s fine and nobody else has ever done it. But he gets sent to this woman whenever he has a problem in class, and I thought you’d want to know. He begged me not to tell you, so I am really sorry if I’m doing this wrong. But he’s just a kid, and I know you’d want to know so you can protect him.”

“I’ll kill her,” Cat says, her voice soft and dangerous. It’s barely noon, but she pours them both a large shot of bourbon in heavy crystal glasses. Kara is actually glad of it as she knocks hers back, the burn in her throat a welcome distraction as the liquid slides down. “And you did the right thing.” She points at Kara with one elegant finger even as she’s still clutching her glass.

“I did?”

“Whatever else I’ve dragged you into, you protected the one person I love more than life itself. I don’t even think it was all Supergirl. It might just be, disgustingly enough, the kind of person you are. I won’t forget this, Kara.”

“He’s a really great kid; you know that. I just can’t stand bullies, and that’s all those little jerks were.”

“Anger looks much better on you than … whatever it usually is with you. Compassion, or puppies, or something.”

“Thanks, I guess?” Kara can’t even let the dig deflate her. Cat is grateful, and somehow that feels nearly as good as saving Carter in the first place.

“You need me to call your car around?”

“It’s even better when you round off a compliment by being good at your job. I’m taking the afternoon. Tell the CFO to bite me when he complains about our meeting.”

“I don’t think you should give him ideas,” Kara warns, only half-joking. The guy definitely had a certain vampire quality about him. “Can I come in here when I need to get out of the office?”

“No.” Cat doesn’t even pretend to be remorseful about saying it. “But you’ll know one more place to find me, won’t you? Assistants trade in knowledge, after all.”

“Right,” Kara takes one last longing look at the view. “I’ll get back to the phones.”

“Kara,” Cat catches her by the wrist as they’re approaching the door. “I really do appreciate this. It’s above and beyond, really.”

“It was nothing.”

“You threatened to flambé a fifteen-year-old,” Cat reminds her. “Luckily for you, I’ll be making sure that doesn’t make the news cycle tonight.”

“Thank you,” Kara responds, and only then does it finally hit her. She threatened a minor. She burned another person’s property just to intimidate children. Nasty, horrible, spoiled children, but kids all the same. Hank’s words about her temper are echoing somewhere in her memory and she forces herself to swallow the sick taste in the back of her throat. “Tell Carter I said hey?”

“Oh, he’ll hate you now for blabbing,” Cat says with no small amount of glee. Her smirk is positively electric. “Can’t be the favorite all the time, Supergirl.”

And with that, she’s gone.

Kara trudges back to her office a minute later, glaring at the pile of very real and unavoidable work that’s waiting on her desk. Given how she feels about her actions at the school, the punishment at least feels appropriate. Winn appears with lattes not long after she starts tackling the scarier depths of Cat’s mail, and she hugs him in gratitude.

“Have you been drinking?” He asks as they part, clearly smelling the hint of bourbon still on her breath. “One day as Cat Grant’s girlfriend, and you’re as much of a lush as she is!” It’s supposed to be teasing, but his eyes are hard. Kara doesn’t like that look on him.

“Hey, you know those rumors are exaggerated because she’s a woman,” Kara reprimands. Okay, Cat can put away a surprising amount of alcohol for a tiny woman, but even with pills in the mix she remains alarmingly functional. Kara’s had the 6am voicemails to prove it.

“She out for the day?” Winn asks, nodding towards Cat’s empty office, the sun illuminating it perfectly through all the glass.

“When did you get so interested in the boss’s plans?” Kara mocks him. “Not getting a crush there, are you, Winn?”

“Hell no!” He protests. “I just like knowing when we can relax around here.”

“Amen,” Kara jokes, throwing more invites into the shredder. She idly considers the Rainbow Flag ball coming up tomorrow. She has no idea how she’s going to survive shopping with Cat’s professional shopper, not to mention another red carpet. “The office is so much calmer with no boss.”

The thing is, Kara realizes a moment later that she hasn’t felt all that relaxed since Cat left for the afternoon. Her days of almost collapsing in relief because Cat had an appointment with her manicurist seem like a dim and distant memory. Somewhere in all the insanity of the past few days, Kara has started to feel better when Cat is around than when she isn’t.

Chapter Text

“No headlines today?” Winn asks as she arrives with the lattes. “I mean, apart from the hostage situation…”

“I didn’t do much,” Kara confides. “Honestly, I was back home for Bones without having to DVR it.”

“Oh, you’re who’s still watching that,” Winn teases her. “Dude, not even Buffy would have shown Angel loyalty for this many seasons.”

“I stick with things until the end of the story,” Kara shrugs. “If you’re going to mock my taste in television, you don’t get the extra Danish this morning.

“The spare danish is a false premise. You usually stress-eat the spare Danish because Cat has-”

“Speaking of,” Kara interrupts, hearing Cat grumbling to herself in the elevator. “I’m up.”

“When she asks you to set up dates with Supergirl,” Winn asks, leaning in close enough to be discreet. “Do you have to call yourself and pretend to be having the conversation?”

“It hasn’t come up,” Kara tells him. He means well, he always does, but he’s being invasive in that way he has sometimes that sets her teeth on edge. It’s the same well-meaning Winn schtick that always her feeling like a bad person because he gets offended by her doing things that don’t involve him. “Good morning, Ms Grant,” she adds after the ding of the elevator.

“Latte,” Cat snaps, but she’s already got her sunglasses off and dangling from her fingers. No hangover, that’s a good sign. “Find out who approved the piece on Hillary’s hair - because apparently we traveled in time back to 1992 - and call them up here. When you’ve done that, call whoever sits next to them and have them start packing up ‘92’s desk.”

“Ms Grant, you remember how we talked about firing people before coffee?”

Cat’s glare allows no further argument. Kara tosses the spare Danish to Winn and picks up her phone to do the summoning. There’s a limit to how many people she can save, and in this job there is definitely no super suit. Eventually Josh from the morning news team comes through the office, winking flirtatiously at a couple of women en route. Clearly he thinks this is a congratulatory meeting, so Kara’s sympathy starts to evaporate. It’s completely gone by the time the shouting match starts in Cat’s office.

Finger hovering over the newly installed panic button near her desk, Kara is relieved when she doesn’t have to summon security. Josh storms out in a fury, kicking a few chairs along the way. She isn’t sure she could have resisted throwing him out herself, and that would have been an even bigger problem.

Cat has appeared in the doorway of her office while Kara was distracted by James’ departure. “Car in five,” Cat tells her. “And Kara, don’t you have that appointment you were babbling about? Make sure you forward the phones.”

“You didn’t want me to come with you? You said ‘we’...?”

“Meaning me and Supergirl,” Cat reminds her, rolling her eyes in disdain. “I need to be at Barney’s in 15 minutes. She’s meeting me there.”

“Right! Totally.” Kara is relieved and impressed in roughly equal amounts. Cat actually thought ahead and prevented other people from meeting Kara then seeing Supergirl. “You uh, have fun shopping. I’ll go to my…”

“Gynecologist, wasn’t it?” Cat supplies, incredibly unhelpful and barely containing her glee about it. “Now, if you’re quite done oversharing, Kara.”

Cat sweeps out, purse over her arm and sunglasses wedged back in place.

“Have fun at the doc,” Winn mutters from behind his screens, clearly mortified on her behalf.

Kara finishes her own latte and trudges out to make her quick change in time to take the town car with Cat instead of having to fly into Barney’s like the latest window display centerpiece. She hasn't even had a chance to ask about Carter yet, but with the overstepping yesterday it might be safer to wait for Cat to volunteer the information.

“Hey,” Kara says, feeling ridiculous slipping into the car in full costume. Maybe it’s time they discussed a casual version for everyday events. Super… jeans? “Nicely done. I almost blew it this time, didn’t I?”

“I can do the thinking for both of us,” Cat suggests, pushing the privacy screen button forcefully; the driver is barely able to take his eyes off Kara in the rearview mirror. “And I’m not risking a personal shopper as good as Ria, whatever your current theory is.”

“It won’t take long to pick another dress, will it?” Kara asks hopefully. She does the majority of her clothes shopping online from the same three stores where she trusts the sizes. The idea of a huge department store with a personal shopper makes her feel vaguely terrified. She’ll fly into burning buildings before she would sign up for this sort of thing on her own.

The car slows not long afterward and Cat steps out like a woman on a mission. Kara follows through her own door, holding her chin up and ignoring the stares and murmurs as they cross the sidewalk and enter the store. The personal shopping suite is up on the fifth floor and Cat makes a beeline to the elevator like it’s a walk she could do in her sleep.

“Should we be holding hands or something?” Kara ventures in the elevator. Cat peers at her over the sunglasses like she just suggested something brilliant. The glasses removed again, Cat takes Kara’s hand with her free one, and they step out to Ria’s rapturous greeting looking every bit the couple.

“Cat! Darling! I can’t believe you brought me the ultimate Barbie!”

“Hey!” Kara protests, not letting go of Cat’s hand quite yet.

“I say it with love,” Ria insists, the Spanish inflection to her accent warm and welcoming. She’s smaller even than Cat, but curvier, and her clothes look like they were made exactly for her and no one else. She’s wearing a burgundy wrap dress that Kara would definitely try on before getting intimidated by, and the boots in black leather rival her own for how high they reach on the legs. “But that costume is everywhere, and now I’m the one who gets to put you in something new!” she said excitedly. “And don’t worry, Cat,” she adds. “I’ve got a few new treats for you, and your swimwear order is ready early if you want it?”

“We’ll see,” Cat says, non-committal. “I want to see what you’ve come up with for her first.”

“Right this way,” Ria tells them, leading them through to a spacious room with strategic mirrors in every corner and plush chaises that instantly make Kara want to sprawl out on them like the subject of a pre-Raphaelite painting. Another member of staff appears with three glasses of champagne on a silver tray. Kara takes hers and tries not to think about whether this is officially crossing over into day drinking.

“So this is my dress-up montage, huh?” Kara asks as Ria flicks through the racks for the first of a frightening number of things on hangers. “I always thought there’d be cooler music.”

“Oh, we can change that,” Ria offers, bringing Kara a flame-red dress that looks about three inches wide. “Cat likes a little classical to set the mood is all.”

“I’ll take it from here,” Cat announces, lifting her champagne glass. “Ria, there’s a few little extras I need you to get for me. Supergirl, you can start getting changed. Where is the zipper on that suit, anyway?”

“Where’s the changing room?” Kara asks quietly to Cat, clutching the expensive scrap of a dress.

“We’re standing in it,” Cat points out, the unspoken ‘Keira’ at the end dying on her tongue. That’s interesting Kara thought. Cat is not used to being insulting to Supergirl, and Kara can see that finally working to her advantage. Cat murmurs a few instructions to Ria, who disappears beyond the curtained doorway, and Cat turns to Kara in impatience. “I may be the boss, but we don’t actually have all day.”

“A little privacy would be nice,” Kara grumbles, but she’s a little preoccupied with the fact that Cat clearly knew about this open dressing room concept before they arrived. She could have just ordered something in, or sent Kara out with specific instructions, but instead they’re standing here alone in this room, both waiting to see if Kara was going to take off her clothes. Speaking of which, they haven’t discussed how this - Kara checks the tag - four months’ rent worth of potential dress will get paid for.

“Ms Grant?” Kara ventures, detaching her cape as distraction. “If I’m going to be paying for the outfits, and I think maybe I should if I’m keeping them, we might need to go hit the sale racks.”

“Cat in public,” she hisses. “Lovers, remember? And don’t be ridiculous. I don’t pay you enough to buy from the outlet, never mind anything in this store. Consider this expensed for the solid work you’re doing on my personal brand. And besides,” Cat added, “no girlfriend of mine will be caught dead in last year’s runway rejects.”

“Only if you’re sure,” Kara says tentatively, sucking in a deep breath and unzipping the suit.

She could have whooshed it off at the usual speed, but that feels ridiculous given the situation. She’s also harboring a growing curiosity about why Cat hasn’t excused herself from the room. That same part of Kara wants to know if Cat is paying attention to the simple task of unzipping her suit and letting it fall on the floor. Has it ever taken this long to make one piece of metal move over another? Maybe it’s the overly sensitive hearing, but Kara can hear each individual tooth of the zipper as it exposes another inch of her side. The room is climate-controlled to a perfect temperature, but Kara shivers as her skin is bared to her own gaze and maybe, hopefully, Cat’s too. Kara already knows that she’ll be dreaming at some point about performing a much more deliberate striptease for Cat. She can’t entirely deny she hasn’t had dreams like that before, either.

Even though it seems like the most unbearable slow motion, it really can’t take forever to remove one fairly simple piece of clothing. Mentally throwing out a quick thanks to Rao that this morning was peaceful enough to allow for seeking out matching underwear and not just the first clean things in the basket, Kara steps out of the suit at her ankles. Suddenly very embarrassed, Kara scoops it up and tosses it on the nearest chaise.

When she finally dares to look up, standing there in her underwear and red boots, she catches Cat looking, only for her to glance away. She pretends to be checking her phone, champagne still in hand, but Kara can see from here that the screen is still locked. Kara knows the trick to this, the victor in a thousand staring contests with Alex in her childhood. She just has to focus on Cat a little longer and… there it is. Another look. Cat couldn’t help herself, and when she stares at Kara this time there’s no mistaking the heat in her glance; it’s downright predatory.

Well, huh. As Alex would say: hypothesis confirmed. Maybe dating Supergirl isn’t going to be as much of a chore for Cat as she’d like Kara to think. That could be her rapidly developing and undeniable crush talking, but Kara doesn’t think so.

She kicks off her boots and yanks the dress over her head. There is, thankfully, more material than it seemed at first, but God it clings. Somehow it makes her feel more naked than just her underwear did, and that’s the professional assessment from someone who wears spandex and the world’s tiniest skirt on a daily basis. It takes her a minute to work out where the gaps are supposed to go, baring part of her abdomen and back, a strategic band on each thigh at different heights. She’s seen these dresses on actresses on the Oscar red carpet; not for a minute did Kara ever picture one on herself.

Glancing back at Cat, Kara sees that her boss has remembered how to use her phone and is stabbing at the screen with her thumbs, clearly irritated by some interruption from the outside world. It gives Kara a moment’s privacy, of sorts, to adjust to this new version of herself. It feels like she’s been doing that a lot lately.

She crosses the space to the full-length mirror by the window, walking awkwardly because her thighs are pressed together by the tightness of the skirt. With her hair down and the elegant tailoring, Kara has to admit she looks pretty good when she surveys her reflection. A moment later Cat is at her side, her expression less disapproving than usual.

“Couture,” Cat murmurs. “You’re a revelation. If I’d know you could pull off these things I’d have sent you here months ago. This isn’t your look for tonight, but put it on the pile if you like it.”

“I thought we were only getting one dress?”

“Clearly the plan has changed. Ria’s working on casual options now, and we’ll find a seamstress to incorporate that stupid symbol if you want. This is the invention of Supergirl and her wardrobe, it’s just a little later than it should have been. Who helped you the first time, anyway?”

“Uh, Winn?”

“Oh, get a gay guy to help. Well at least that makes sense.”

“He’s not gay,” Kara explains, although it’s not really Cat’s business. The overhead light flickers and it pulls her attention for a fleeting second. Cat’s already moved away, rifling through the racks for something else.

“If you’re going with red,” Cat decides, pulling out a full, floor-length gown. “This is the statement you’re going for. And the sleeves are practically cape-like. God, I’m good.”

“What are you wearing?” Kara ventures to ask. “Do we have to coordinate? Is that a thing?”

“We don’t want to clash,” Cat answers. “But I did have a brilliant idea in the shower this morning, so that’s taken care of. It works with what you’re wearing, certainly, if you end up in this.”

“Mind if I do it superspeed this time?” Kara asks.

“Why would I mind?” Cat asks, holding out the dress. A moment later Kara is changed and Cat is holding the empty hanger instead.

Kara considers herself in the mirror again. Okay, so her bra won’t work with the seriously plunging neckline. The front is really two strips that come up to her shoulders, exposing her stomach and skirting the edge of actual exposure. The skirt of it clings at the hips - and yes, the ass, Kara confirms with a turn - but it flows out over her calves. Cat was right; the pinned split sleeves do give the impression of the cape, and blood red really makes Kara feel like a movie star. It’s a shade or two darker than her own cape, but she knows that the pictures won’t show much of a difference.

“Scratch that, I’m not good. I’m brilliant.”

Cat is behind her now, fussing with the sleeves. She runs her hands over the tops of Kara’s arms and positions her slightly differently. It looks much more relaxed, and Kara realizes she’s holding herself with Cat’s brand of casual poise rather than her own more rigid posture.

“If you lose the bra you’ll get the full effect,” Cat suggests, her voice a little deeper than before. “I mean, you can’t wear it tonight, so…”

“How will I… I mean, what if I move around a lot and, y’know?”

“Tit tape,” Cat sighs, although her t’s are perfectly enunciated. “You don’t exactly put the ‘girl’ in Supergirl, do you?”

“Well, I’ll just get some of that, then,” Kara flushes as she says it.

“You won’t have much issue anyway,” Cat is walking away now. “You’re young. Perky. The tape is just security in case the dress snags.”

“How are we… oh, Cat!” Ria exclaims, her arms full of clothes. “I don’t know why you come to me when you have this eye yourself.”

“Expediency,” Cat replies. “You bring me all the wheat and no chaff.”

“Are those leather pants?” Kara squeaks, looking at the new items Ria is unloading for her. “Cat, we need to talk about this whole casual thing…”

“Trust me, Supergirl,” Ria interrupts. “If I had a body like yours and a girlfriend like her? I’d show it to her in leather pants. It’s a missed opportunity otherwise.”

“Right,” Kara nods a little too much. “What girlfriend wouldn’t do that? You want me to try those first, hon?” Cat warned against pet names, but frankly in a post-leather-pants world, Kara isn’t so stringent about the rules. Cat swallows hard, clearly affected by the very suggestion. Kara just smirks at her.

“I wouldn’t complain, darling,” Cat says eventually, her voice shakier now. “I’ll just see what tops we’re dealing with.”

“Oh, these will be fine with just the bra for now,” Kara says airily, borrowing heavily from her reserves of Supergirl confidence. With a whoosh, she’s changed. Cat’s jaw drops, and it’s definitely an instant contender for Kara’s top five most satisfying moments.

“On. The. Pile,” Cat says, throwing something green at her. “With that blouse.”

Kara tries the blouse too, smiling at her own daring. Somewhere in this chaos she’s finding a way to enjoy herself. It’s kind of hard not to like how that feels. She reaches for the next thing in the pile, a wrap dress not unlike Mia’s, but in a deep navy.

Whatever happens tonight, Kara is engaged in a fake and very public relationship with someone who’s clearly attracted to her, maybe even as much as Kara is attracted to Cat. She gets to go into a night of hand-holding and casual caresses and hell, maybe even more kissing, with someone who isn’t as indifferent as Kara first assumed.

She’s been in some dangerous situations since taking on the persona of Supergirl. In the flattering light of Barney’s personal shopping suite, not one of them feels as dangerous as what she’s getting herself into with Cat Grant.

Chapter Text

Kara drums her fingers on the soft leather in the back seat of the Mercedes. She flicks through her phone with the other hand, able to change the music playing through the car’s speakers. It’s not a real date she tells herself, just as she’s picking the ❤ Date Night  playlist that Alex put on her phone at least 10 disastrous dates ago. When the super hearing picks up the familiar rhythm of Cat’s stilettos leaving the building, Kara jabs randomly at a Van Morrison track and shoves her phone back in the tiny black clutch.

Kara can’t remember the name of tonight’s driver, but he’s one of Cat’s regulars. He’s waiting beside the car and making small talk with the doorman, no doubt about the fact that Supergirl is waiting outside Cat’s apartment building. Her larger, more family-friendly home is too far out of National City for everyday use, though Cat insists on making it back there every night that she has Carter. This penthouse she keeps for quick changes, unscheduled hangover naps and somewhere to invite people that she doesn’t trust to come to her real sanctuary.

When the car door opens and Cat slides in, barely breaking stride, Kara has almost backed herself out through the opposite door in something between anxiety and anticipation. Only suddenly, it’s like she can’t move.

Maybe it’s that the pendant at Cat’s neck, a very tasteful ruby and diamond arrangement, is actually the red kryptonite her mother’s hologram warned her about. On closer inspection, Kara notices that it’s a circular necklace with dropping strands of diamonds beneath the rubies, like sunbeams set on fire over ice. The red, Kara notices, matches the bold lipstick on Cat’s mouth, and it’s almost exactly the red of Kara’s dress.

Focusing on everything above the neck is safe, though the lines of Cat’s throat are distracting in their own right with soft waves of blonde hair falling around them. If Kara keeps her attention there while Cat is looking at her phone and not even acknowledging anyone else is in the car yet, she can do this. She can get through this evening and come out of it with her sanity intact.

That probably won’t be the case if she lets her eyes start tracing downwards, taking in the satin lapels of a tuxedo jacket. A jacket with a neckline plunge to rival Kara’s dress, and absolutely no shirt or bow tie to go with it. It’s pretty much all necklace, black satin, and the creamy soft ‘v’ of bare, bare skin.

“I don’t like the new one,” Cat announces, before Kara can get caught up in the tailored black pants hugging Cat’s thighs, the satin stripe down the side as the suit requires. The hems are well above the ankle, tapered to give the best, slightly devastating view of elegant ankles above blood red Prada heels. Kara recognizes them from the last lot of shopping deliveries she took from the office to the penthouse last month.

“New, uh, what?” Kara has to clear her throat to get the words out. Her lips are dry despite the new lipstick chosen by the Sephora girl on the way home.

“New stylist,” Cat jerks her head, making the waves bounce and settle, the soft ends of her hair skimming the upturned collar of the tux. “I know they can’t all be Sergio, but this one talks about her children.”

“I’m sure your assistant will get you someone new in the morning,” Kara answers, flicking her eyes towards their driver and reminding Cat exactly which characters they’re playing now. Drama club was never this exacting; understudying Maria in the Sound of Music did not prepare Kara for this at all. “You look amazing. But you probably know that already.”

“I do,” Cat confirms. This time she slips the phone into her own bag. It’s a tiny jeweled thing that Kara would expect to be carrying for the rest of the night, if she were still on assistant duty. Should she offer as Supergirl? Is that some weird relationship dynamic thing that Kara should have researched? She’s heard of guys being left holding their girlfriends’ purses, and nothing very positive seemed to come from that.

“I didn’t mess up anything?” Kara asks, and then she gets the full weight of Cat’s gaze on her. Cat, usually so fond of light and natural makeup, has gone full vamp to complement her more dramatic style. Her eye makeup consists of smoky gray and dark liner that make her impossible to look away from. Kara finally understands what it’s like to be caught in a tractor beam. “I mean, the hair is from YouTube and I only really changed my lips, but I brought some things if you-”

Cat leans across the limited space between them, scrutinizing Kara at close range. Kara closes her eyes for a moment, telling herself it’s only to show Cat the silver shimmer on her eyelids.

“Perfect,” Cat declares, her face still closer than Kara is used to. “But when Nayla sent this over,” she adds, skimming her own necklace with one fingertip. “She gave me some options for you as well. I think this one completes the look.”

She hands over a navy leather box, and Kara accepts with fingers that barely tremble at all. Inside is a sparkling diamond, suspended on a barely visible thin wire of a necklace.

“Cat, I can’t-”

“It’s a loan, silly girl,” Cat scolds, taking it back and lifting the necklace from its plush cushion. “Lift your hair. Please?”

Kara surrenders, pulling her hair to one side and lifting it gingerly in a side ponytail, hoping it won’t wreck the 40 minutes she spent getting it perfectly straight. It’s the only straight thing about her right now as she sits in exquisite agony while Cat fastens the necklace for her. Cat, who never does anything carelessly, huffs in frustration as it won’t catch. Her wrists are resting on Kara’s shoulders, and the way she’s concentrating would be adorable if Kara could remember to breathe. They are definitely close enough to kiss, but without an audience Kara has no excuse.

She’s close to fainting when Cat’s steady fingers complete the job, and she retreats to her own side of the backseat without even a second glance. Kara feels the stone at the base of her throat, touching it absently in wonder, and sits back for the rest of the short ride to the party.

The car is idling at the curb before Kara has finished collecting herself. Cat is primed and ready to go, their arrival perfectly timed to land them on the red carpet. She turns to Kara as the driver opens the door, her expression a bit too mischievous for Kara’s liking.

“Follow my lead tonight.”

With a deep breath, Kara does exactly that. She steels herself fully into Supergirl mode, luxuriating in her strength and the constant hum of senses that she can activate at any moment. She grips Cat’s extended hand this time with confidence, and steps out of the car with careful movements that expose the expanse of her legs, just like a million starlets have done before her. The crowd goes wild in waves; first the assembled fans of various attendees and then the paparazzi. First it’s just a dull roar, then the snap reflexes of photographers send the lights flashing. Moments later the glow of screens and phone flashes join the madness.

“Well, they haven’t gotten bored,” Cat murmurs, barely moving her lips as she speaks. She’s done red carpets and television long enough to know the dangers of lip-reading. “I’m going to take questions, but you keep that air of mystery going.”

“Worried I’ll embarrass you?” Kara teases through a beaming smile. Cat responds by trading holding her hand for an arm draped around her waist. Kara has to adjust her steps, but she fits perfectly, pulled tight against Cat’s side.

“Ms Grant!” “Cat!” “Supergirl!” A hundred shouts ring out in the night air, overlapping and getting lost in each other. Kara feels like a flower girl in the world’s slowest wedding march. A step or two, pause and pose. Cat guides her with the lightest of touches. A tug at the hip means turn, a squeeze means hold it there. Cat uses her own body to frame them correctly, making sure light and angles are kind to them both. Kara relaxes into it; she knows Cat won’t do anything to diminish the sight of Supergirl at her side.

“Who are you wearing?” Someone yells from in back, and with a surprising compassion for the overlooked reporter, Cat answers that first.

“Saint Laurent.” She projects her voice just enough to be heard, the French pronunciation perfect.

“Should I?” Kara mutters.

“No, we can’t risk any future endorsement deals,” Cat answers, quite seriously. She tilts her head toward Kara to say it, and it must look startlingly intimate. The flashes certainly increase.

“Do you call her Supergirl in bed?” someone yells from the front. Cat flinches. He’s from the Planet; Kara is fairly certain he’s their main West Coast stringer. Kara’s trying not to think about the images that have just popped into her head, and wonders if Cat doing the same. If she is, she covers it will by smiling even wider, picking out some random person in the throng and waving at them like it’s her long-lost friend.

It doesn’t get any better with his follow up. “Are you paying her, Cat?”

She’s gone rigid at Kara’s side, her touch at Kara’s waist suddenly light. In that moment Kara’s really glad Cat doesn’t have laser vision, because her look is deadly enough all on its own.

“That’s enough posing for now,” Kara decides, because under these circumstances ‘follow my lead’ could quickly turn into following Cat into battle. Nobody needs that on the second date. Fake date, she reminds herself.

“Oh, not quite,” Cat argues, back to all smiles. “The kiss the other night, you were okay with that?”

“Yeah? Um, why?”

“Because I’m about to show you the deluxe version.”

“Here?” Kara squeaks. Hopefully her shocked look can be written off as Cat saying something suggestive.

“To sell it,” Cat is gazing at her now, and it’s not the appraising stare of the workplace. She’s sort of… soft around the eyes. It’s downright adoring, and Kara blushes to be on the receiving end of it. She had no idea Cat Grant missed her calling on the stage. “Trust me?”

“Go big or go home, right?” Oh, oh, oh. She has a feeling she may immediately regret her ‘game for anything’ response.

Cat’s grip on her hip tightens, and with her other hand briefly on Kara’s shoulder, Cat manages the pretty impressive move of quarter-turning Kara in her arms and dipping her, Old Hollywood style. Kara can hardly breathe, but she can’t stop smiling either as the crowd whips up into a brand new frenzy. Their reaction is nothing compared to the moment Cat’s lips land on hers.

Kara thinks her heart might burst out of her chest. For a second, she wishes she was from one of those planets whose people were blessed with two hearts; being around Cat like this leaves her in need of a spare. She’s barely keeping her balance, one leg bent to take her weight until she remembers that floating and flying are pretty much the same thing. She doesn’t leave the ground, that feels like showing off, but it makes her a lot lighter for Cat to hold.

At least she has an excuse for not remembering basic details like that. Her thoughts are scrambled as Cat’s warm mouth claims her own. The kiss is slow, almost gentle at first, but it’s too intense to be either of those things. Kara’s lips part automatically to let Cat tease with exploratory flicks of her tongue. They seem to be making out forever, Cat’s fingers in her hair and her hand at Kara’s hip. Yet the minute Cat pulls away, righting Kara and pulling her right back to her side, Kara feels cheated that only a few seconds elapsed.

“You can’t buy a kiss like that,” Kara announces to the crowd. “We have a party to get to, excuse us.”

“What happened to not talking?” Cat asks through gritted teeth. They make it off the red carpet without further incident, but they do receive a lot of curious looks from the attendees in front of them. Apparently nobody else has stopped for some PDA on the red carpet, judging by the whispers.

Yet another chairperson of something comes to greet Cat, this time greeting Supergirl just as effusively. Kara remembers her from the pre-event research she always does for Cat; she’d read resumes and watched video from previous events. Renée invited Cat personally, and Kara knows Cat’s been dying to meet and talk to her at length. Kara watches Cat’s shoulders relax as her journalistic networking mode kicks in, and Kara slips back into the passive smiling mode she’s perfected as an assistant.

“You have no idea what you’ve both done for the cause this week,” Renée says, steering them towards the official reception area inside the hotel ballroom. “And Cat, I’m not asking you to make any other big statements, but I’m feeling a little genderfluid solidarity with that look.”

“Thank you. That gown’s almost as amazing as the work your organization’s done for homeless youth, Renée.” Cat’s a total charmer when she wants to be, and Kara fights back a pang of jealousy.

“Well, at least I could get that right. You try getting heels like yours in a 14. But I’m glad I didn’t go with red,” Renée replies. “Nobody wants to be upstaged by Supergirl.”

“She can’t help looking that good,” Cat sighs. “I hope the extra publicity helps.”

“The Rainbow Flag website already crashed twice because we couldn’t handle the donation traffic,” Renée informs them, both proud and a little concerned. “We’ll take it.”

“I’ll have my assistant call our IT boy for you,” Cat offers. “He does wonders with that kind of thing.”

“We’d be grateful. I have one more itsy bitsy favor to ask you, Ms Grant.”

“Cat, please.”

“We hoped to have Neil Patrick Harris and his husband for the first dance, but they’re having some kind of adorable moppet situation with their kids. Is there any chance you and Supergirl could get the crowd started when the time comes?”

“Da-dancing?” Kara sputters. “Oh, I don’t know about that. I mean…”

“Of course we will,” Cat answers for them. “You’ll give us the nod?”

“You’ll hear the band, but sure,” Renée responds. “You’ve got at least half an hour. Grab some liquid courage if you need it, Supergirl.”

“Sure, right after I dig up Arthur Murray and get some lessons,” Kara grumbles as Renée strides off to meet the last of the VIPs. “Seriously? Dancing?”

“Part of the deal when you’re Cat Grant’s newest lover,” Cat teases her. “Though I’m surprised anyone your age can make a Murray reference. While I’m teaching you some steps over there,” Cat points to a curtained area in the corner. “We need to have a talk about something else.”

“We do?” Kara swallows around the sudden lump in her throat. This night went from manageable to terrifying a lot quicker than she expected.

Chapter Text

“Isn’t it a bit soon for ‘we need to talk’?” Kara blurts the minute they’re out of sight. “I don’t know much about celebrity relationships, but I think they usually last at least a week.”

“Did you hit your head when I wasn’t watching?” Cat has her hands on her hips, and not in the proud superhero way. In fact it’s more gripping her own hips to stop her slapping people way. Kara’s seen that move one too many times. It’s usually only critical when accompanied by an impatiently tapping… ah. There it is.

“Um, no?”

“We need to talk about your name,” Cat clarifies, turning back to Kara after inspecting the curtain for gaps. “If you could avoid Cosmo’s 10 Signs You’re Breaking Up in the meantime…”

“My name,” Kara repeats, exhaling fully. “Okay, cool. Because of what the guy said about… about bed.”

Cat has the decency to look slightly embarrassed at the mention of it.

“I can’t seriously call you Supergirl in public. At some point - soon - we’re going to have to sit down with someone. I’m leaning towards Diane, because Barbara hasn’t spoken to me since I stole her house seats for Hamilton.”

“Actually, she wasn’t thrilled that you counter-programmed her ‘last’ show,” Kara corrects, because if she’s learned anything as an assistant, it’s how many people are pissed at Cat Grant on any given day. Including Barbara Walters. “Plus the whole retired thing. Do we have to do that?”

“Does your cousin have an alter-ego?” Cat knows the question is a risk, judging by how she narrows her eyes while asking, but Kara is fine with deflecting. After the mistake of revealing Clark to Winn, she won’t be doing that again anytime soon.

“He’s off-limits,” Kara tells her, beginning to pace as they talk. “I guess we can’t go with Kara. It would take no time at all for someone to put it together.”

“Obviously,” Cat says, tracking Kara’s movement with her eyes. “Does that mean Kara is your actual name?”

“Kara Zor-El,” she answers, feeling the old pride straighten her spine just a little. She stops walking. She’s the last daughter of Krypton, of the great house of El. Her world may be dead and gone, but as long as she is one of the last few survivors, she’ll carry those ashes with her.

“That’s… a mouthful.”

“It’s better than Kitty,” Kara snaps. She’ll put up with a lot things, but mocking the name her parents gave her is not on that list.

“You know full well it’s Catherine,” Cat snaps right back, and in the developing argument Kara finds a little normality. “My father called me Cat. But you, I think Zora… no, El… Ella…?”

“El is fine,” Kara doesn’t want the name tampered with more than is necessary. “We can tell people it’s a nickname, for something hard to pronounce in Kryptonese. They don’t need to know any more than that, right?”

“It might stop me from calling you Keira in public,” Cat sighs. “But we’ll stick to Supergirl whenever possible; certainly when I’m talking about you, and not to you.”

“Right,” Kara sighs. “Because we’re all about that brand.”

“You’re catching on.”

“Do we really need to dance?” Kara whines. “I’d really rather go back to the kissing than the dancing.”

“How very thirsty of you, El,” Cat teases, but her eyes are bright with what might just be excitement. She steps in closer to Kara, taking her hand. “Tell me you’ve at least seen a movie? Hands in position, please.”

That much Kara can do. Cat is leading, which probably wouldn’t have been up for debate even if Kara had recently won Dancing With The Stars. She’s about to make the joke, but realizes it might give Cat the idea to book her on the show just for the publicity.

“When I step backwards, you lean into it,” Cat instructs. “When I come at you, go back a step to make room for me. When I turn you, you turn. When I hold you in place, you keep that position. Understood?”

“Sort of like outside,” Kara suggests. Why, oh why, can she not stop bringing that up?

“A lot like that, yes, only to a count of four. I don’t think even the gays will expect us to waltz.”

Cat begins to steer them around the limited space, and if walking in heels wasn’t bad enough, Kara almost falls every fourth or fifth beat.

“You… were not kidding.”

“I’m not in the habit of lying,” Kara huffs, before catching herself. “I mean, about anything other than my identity.”

“We’ll go slowly,” Cat says, clearly pained. Brilliant as she is, Cat is not a natural teacher.
Kara wonders if it’s as frustrating as trying to teach someone how to fly. She wasted a whole summer trying to do that with Alex. No amount of Earth’s sun could make a human fly, though. Despite their numerous attempts at countering the laws of physics, the only tangible result of their effort was Alex’s broken arm. She never did admit how much it hurt, and Kara’s still a little upset at being the cause for any of Alex’s pain. She has a feeling that this dance might not take as long as a summer of flying lessons, but the process might be just as futile. A few stumbling attempts later, Kara is forced to apologize.

“It’s really not my thing. I don’t want to embarrass you, Ms Grant-”

“Cat,” she corrects automatically. “You’re too tense, that’s all. Tell me, are you all born floating, or did someone actually teach you how to fly?”

“I had lessons, I guess,” Kara finds it hard to remember. For so long she’s been trying to carry a whole world in her mind, every piece of advice her father gave her, every peaceful moment with her mother. Until Alex had unearthed the hologram, it had been eleven waking years since she’d seen either of their faces. She’d lain awake countless nights trying to picture them, telling herself she hadn’t forgotten the details, but feeling them fade away all the same. Then, at the press of a button, something very close to her Mom came flooding back. Kara hadn’t realized how much she’d been clinging to that small victory until now.

“My mom taught me,” she continues, almost scared to say it aloud and cast another sacred memory to the winds. “I remember going into the sun chamber, and I could fly for maybe 30 minutes after that.”

“Sun chamber?”

“We couldn’t fly on Krypton, the gravity was much stronger than Earth. It’s only when we’re exposed to radiation from your sun that we acquire these superpowers. I thought my cousin had talked to the Planet about all this?”

“He left a lot out,” Cat says pointedly. “Or Lois did when she wrote it.”

“He was a baby when he left,” Kara tells her. “I was 13, and I remember what it was actually like. He only has the stories that came with him, and everything I’ve told him since.”

“But he’s… that would make you…”

“Remember how you felt about your real age being exposed by the hack?” Kara nudges gently. “Things like that, it’s not about you being in the media. It’s… it’s just mine. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to share it all.”

“They didn’t die in a fire then, did they?” Cat is possibly just trying to distract Kara from her own feet - it might, kind of, be working - but she asks the question with more compassion than Kara’s ever heard before.

If this is Cat the journalist, no wonder The Cat Grant Show was jokingly nicknamed ‘Cat’s Confessional.’ She has a way of making a person want to tell her anything, no matter how dangerous. It’s why she holds the daytime chat record for most affairs confessed, and for public outings. She has Kara monitor mentions of The View and The Talk even now to make sure they don’t catch her.

“Not exactly,” Kara admits. “It was an explosion, of some kind. Like a supernova? Only a whole planet instead of a star. I tell myself it was probably instant. They wouldn’t have suffered. I’ve spent a long time trying not to be mad at them for sending me away.” She’s so close to crying that the tears might spill over at any moment. “For giving me up,” she adds, voice crushed to a whisper.

“Trust me,” Cat answers, taking her leading hand from Kara’s and touching her chin very lightly. It’s the single kindest thing Cat has ever done for her. “There’s no way they took that decision lightly. No parent could.” She looks more tired in that moment than Kara has ever seen her. Cat is always gorgeous, but she wears her few regrets like barely-concealed bruises.

“This… isn’t exactly fake romantic, is it?” Kara has to divert them. Cat’s divulgences come with a cost, and as soon as she realizes she’s given another part of herself away, Kara will bear some consequence for it at work. An especially mean remark, a cold shoulder, maybe a particularly spiteful errand to run.

“No, but you haven’t missed a step in three whole minutes,” Cat says, clearly quite proud of herself. “I knew distraction would do it. You finish the filing ten times faster when I talk to you as you work.”

“Not fair.” Kara tries not to pout. She drags herself back from the verge of crying. “I didn’t know you wasted so much time analyzing me.”

“Well you know what they say. Keep your friends close, your enemies in Metropolis, and your assistants under observation.”

“I don’t think anyone says that,” Kara argues. “Not even you.”

Cat laughs, the genuine laugh usually reserved for Carter or the occasional private call, and Kara swells with happiness to have caused it. It’s the perfect antidote to the sadness of talking about her family and Krypton. She barely even notices they’re dancing, she’s letting Cat guide her without thinking twice about every movement.

“You’re losing the beat,” Cat admonishes a few seconds later, because Rao forbid a nice moment last. “Sing something if you have to, you can make up words to whatever they put on out there. It’s only when your mouth is moving that your feet can do the same. “I don’t need you breaking my left foot with both of yours.”

“Still so mean,” Kara sighs. “This whole thing isn’t mortifying enough? I have to sing in front of you, too?”

Cat stops mid-step.

“I see.”

“Wait-”

“No, no.” Cat pulls back completely, seeming to close in on herself as she folds her arms over her chest. “I forgot myself for a moment, this is better. You’re only doing this - the mortifying chore of being linked with me - so I’ll keep your secret. This will go a lot more smoothly if we both remember exactly why we’re here.”

“That is not true,” Kara protests, but Cat is turning away from her. Kara sees the decision she has to make laid out in front of her.

Does she let some of the regular frost settle in their relationship, get back to being boss and employee first and foremost? They’ve done enough to establish the relationship already; as long as Supergirl continues to be seen in public talking to Cat, the illusion will remain. In just a few more news cycles, they can write it off as a fling that ended quickly.

Or should she choose this new and unspoken current between them? Does she want to live in the world where Cat puts her lips on Kara’s lips? And hell, even if it’s for show, they’re two of the best kisses Kara’s ever had. Does she prefer a world where they touch, mutually and equally, far beyond the occasional grazing of a collar or steering with an elbow in their workdays? Cat’s clearly willing to give as much as it takes to be convincing, and it’s up to Kara to accept it or turn it down.

“Cat, please.” That doesn’t stop her. She’s heading out of the only privacy they have, and Kara doesn’t hesitate to whoosh herself right in Cat’s way. “I didn’t mean what you think. I’m worried about making a fool of myself, don’t you get that? Falling, or saying the wrong thing. Making people think Supergirl is an idiot when they need her to be above reproach.”

“Listen, why don’t you save your breath and go tell Renée that we’re skipping out early?”

“No, you listen.” Cat bristles at that. She might be amused when Kara stands up for herself some of the time, but she is not in the mood for it now. “I was enjoying myself. And okay, maybe not the sad tales of a Kryptonian orphan part, but I don’t tell people that stuff lightly. I don’t tell anyone, in fact. I have every reason to hold my breath and never tell you another private thing, but I want to do it anyway.” Kara pauses, takes a steadying breath. She can’t tell if her words are having any effect yet.

“If doing this is good for CatCo and keeps me in a job, great. If it makes you happy to be scoring the big headlines? Even better.”

“Oh god, you’re gushing.” Cat goes right for the disgusted impression, but Kara knows better than to settle for that by now.

“And if you don’t think it’s the coolest thing in my life for people to think I’m your girlfriend? You haven’t been paying attention. You’re quite the catch, Miss Grant. Even just for pretend.”

“Fine,” Cat waves a dismissive hand, but it doesn’t seem to come as easily as usual. “Consider my ego suitably soothed.” Outside, the quiet muzak gives way to the sounds of a live band warming up.

“Does that mean…”

“We’re up.”

“Oh God,” Kara groans, as Cat takes her hand once more and leads her out into the milling crowds skirting the dancefloor.

“Ladies, gentlemen… neither,” Renée announces from a microphone placed in front of the band, getting the requisite polite laugh and a few hollers of appreciation from the crowd. “I’m sure you know already that this is the most successful Rainbow Flag event in our 10-year history. I’ll be back later to talk about fundraising and the work you’ve made possible, but it occurs to me that in a room filled with this many queers, we’d better officially start the dancing before someone spontaneously goes into the splits.”

Cheers go up then, the applause warm and widespread. To Kara it sounds like the crowd could fill City Stadium, with enough left over for the National Bowl. She touches her ear, hoping she’s somehow missed a call from Alex or Winn with a huge non-fatal emergency that needs her immediately.

No such luck. Sometimes a superhero really can’t catch a break.

“Please welcome to the dance floor, our guests of honor this evening,” Renée continues. “A late addition, but you’ve been obsessing over them on Twitter for days now. Let’s have a big round of applause for Cat Grant, and her partner: Supergirl!”

The roar goes up and hundreds of tiny flashes fire as Cat practically drags her into the center of the polished floor. If Kara went limp, it would look similar to her aunt’s condition when she deposited her at the DEO.

The band are playing something that Kara thinks she might actually recognize, a fancy instrumental version of that song about stars and eyes that was on the radio a lot for a while. Cat sets them in position, and the crowd starts to simmer down.

“Come on, Supergirl,” Cat prods. “Talk to me, because we start moving… now.”

It’s happening before Kara can stop it. She stumbles on the second step, but the heel holds and she’s back by the fourth.

“I’ve never been more terrified,” she whispers, and in the interests of nobody reading her lips, she slides her hand from Cat’s shoulder blade to her waist, pulling her close. Now they’re dancing cheek-to-cheek, and somehow that makes it easier again. Cat is moving for both of them, Kara reacting and trying to think of something else to say. “But you have to see them, Miss Grant. They’re all looking at us, and it’s not you they’re jealous of right now. They’re jealous of me. I’m being led around the floor by the most powerful woman in National City,” Kara doesn’t qualify that like she usually does in her own head. “And any one of them, including the gay guys, would kill to take my place.”

“You don’t have to lay it on thick.” Cat tries to make it sound like a warning, but Kara can actually feel her smile move from fake to genuine as the muscles in her cheek twitch.

“You said I had to talk,” Kara insists. “I’m going to close my eyes, okay. Don’t let me fall,” she pleads.

“Don’t let you fall?,” Cat ask a moment later. “Did you not hear me before when I said I don’t like heights?”

The gasp of the crowd is just background against Cat’s words, but it’s enough to make Kara open her eyes again. They’re still dancing, to the beat and everything, but she’s unintentionally lifted them at least a foot off the floor.

“I’ll put us back down,” Kara offers, embarrassed she’s done it without even realizing. She hasn’t been this careless with her powers since back at the Danvers’ house.

“Don’t you dare,” Cat hisses. “Do you have any idea the coverage this gets?”

Kara’s about to reply, but the telltale beep in her ear makes for an interruption she no longer wants. She can only pull a face in apology as she says “what’s up, Alex?”

“Winn, actually,” he tells her. “We’ve got what looks like a bridge about to collapse. They’re trying to evacuate, but the traffic is all backed up on I-”

“On it,” Kara tells him. “Cat, I have to go.”

Cat nods in understanding. For just a moment Kara wonders how many dates, real ones, Cat has ended in a very similar fashion. They land a second later, Cat the one to almost trip, unused to landing. Kara steadies her, moving away with reluctance. Cat holds on to Kara’s hand until the last second, and it’s a real movie goodbye.

“Duty calls,” Kara says sadly to the people nearest them, which includes Renée. She looks back at Cat, styling it out but still a little abandoned in the middle of the dancefloor. Other couples take Supergirl’s exit as a cue, filling the space around Cat, cutting across Kara’s view of her as she moves towards the exit at regular speed. On the other side of the doors, she changes and blasts off in record time, calling Winn back for details.

She resists the urge to look back one last time, x-ray vision and all. Kara isn’t sure she wants to see what she’s left behind.

Chapter Text

“Which bridge, Winn?” Kara skips the hello.

“Same one you almost snapped with a plane. Wait, you don’t think anyone will link the two, do you?”

Kara groans. Of course they will. If the journalists overlook it, Maxwell Lord will set them right back on track. “Be there in a few,” is all she says, because the bridge is looming ahead of her.

The scene is worse than she expected; huge chunks of concrete are already crumbling into the sea and the suspension lines shrieking under the extra exertion. Although many of the cars have been abandoned by now, some are wedged between other cars or crashed into the side barriers with people still inside. It won’t be a quick job to dislodge what has to be at least 15 people in five or six different vehicles.

Kara gets to work, and she doesn’t realize she’s humming the damn song until the first rescued person looks at her a little funny.

She deposits the last of the grateful citizens back on stable ground and wonders for a moment whether it’s weird to head back to the gala. Cat has probably left anyway; if Kara concentrates she should be able to pick her voice out of the cacophony and see if she’s gone home to Carter. Before she can concentrate, something very fast and very solid hits her right in the back.

The water comes up much quicker than she’s expecting, and Kara barely has a chance to hold her breath before she hits. What air she manages to hold is knocked from her lungs by the sudden shock of freezing cold.

That? Should definitely not happen.

Kara thrashes around, desperately seeking the surface. She’s never had to swim before, not exactly. It’s always been more like flying through the water. Now her limbs feel like lead and she has no idea which way is up. Even her increased lung capacity is tested after a long time of kicking out for the surface, and just when the burning in her chest becomes unbearable she feels arms wrap around her, the rhythmic kicking by her legs directing her in one direction at last.

She breaks the surface and sucks in air with desperate gratitude. At her back is Hank, of all people. As she turns to thank him he rips a glowing green rock from her cape, hurling it an impressive distance across the water. Almost instantly, Kara starts to feel better.

“How…” is all she can gasp.

“The bridge damage was not caused by human action,” Hank explains, striking out for shore and watching to make sure Kara can clear the water. It takes a shocking amount of effort, but she blasts herself onto land and waits for him to join her via human methods. “We arrived just in time to see you take that hit from your aunt’s husband. He must have stuck the Kryptonite to you on impact.”

“That stuff is a nightmare,” Kara complains. She looks up at the bridge and thankfully doesn’t see any cameras pointing back at her. “I thought I was going to drown.”

“You might want to take some swimming lessons,” Hank suggests, frowning at his soaked uniform. “We would have left you to splash your way out until your sister told us-”

“Oh my god!” Alex yells as she scrambles down the bank to them. “Why didn’t you just fly out? I was standing there joking about how you can’t swim and then you didn’t come up at all. Dammit, Kara!” Alex drags her bodily off the ground and hugs her tight. Kara relaxes into it.

“Kryptonite,” Hank explains over Kara’s shoulder. “Get it together, Agent Danvers. Supergirl is just fine. And in public.”

“Right,” Alex reluctantly lets go. “If you can’t have a sister, I don’t want the Planet and the Trib reporting that I’m after Cat Grant’s girlfriend.”

“Ha ha,” Kara groans. “God, why would anyone ever do that for fun?”

“Well those aren’t exactly peak swimming conditions,” Alex points out. “Let’s get you in a van and dried off, huh? I know you can’t catch cold, but we should go see your aunt and find out what her husband was trying to do.”

“That’s exactly where I hoped this night was going,” Kara grumbles.

“It can’t all be dances and dates,” Alex warns. “Especially if people are coming after you. What if these criminals start coming for you in crowded ballrooms?”

“Okay, this night is crappy enough without thinking about that,” Kara argues. “Can we maybe put a pin in it until we grill Astra some more?”

“Sure.” Alex doesn’t look happy about it, but they’re approaching one of the anonymous black DEO vans. Kara gets in quickly, happy to be out of sight for the first time in hours.

***

“Aunt Astra?” Kara has changed into some cargo pants, topped off with a black polo shirt from Alex’s locker. For the first time she really feels part of the DEO, not just one of their science experiments allowed to run free. “I suppose you know why I’m here.”

“I have no idea,” Astra admits, eyes tracking Kara as she skirts the room, keeping as far from the green glow as possible. “Your hair is wet.”

“Your husband tried to drown me.”

“Non hurt you?”

“Of course he did. Why do you look surprised?”

Astra takes a few steps within her small prison, considering its buzzing walls for a long moment. Kara wonders if this is the moment she’ll make a break for freedom. “Those were not his orders,” is all Astra finally says.

“It seems you’ve lost control of your little army,” Kara taunts.

“Better that than betraying my own family,” Astra jibes right back. “Though my gossiping guards tell me you seek love with one of these humans. Tell me you have higher standards than that.”

“I’m supposed to be alone forever?” Kara asks, startled at the unfairness of Astra’s newest tack. “Not all of us got locked up with a partner, dear aunt. I’m the only Kryptonian woman left alive, or so I thought. Was I supposed to hide under a rock?”

Astra shrugs. “You’re defensive of this woman. How utterly predictable. You’d better hope Non doesn’t decide she’s the easiest road to you…”

“He wouldn’t!” Kara has been trying so desperately not to think about that. It’s the one concrete reason to stop this thing with Cat: immediate danger to her or Carter. “No, let me rephrase. He had better not. Because if you thought I was angry before? Any last hope of a truce will die right there and then.”

“Why do you insist I want a truce?” Astra laughs as she says it, but in the sickeningly green room it sounds hollow. Kara’s head is pounding, and her knees are starting to tremble.

“Because I know you,” Kara reminds her. “The real you, before this cult took hold of you. You’ll tell someone here what Non is up to, and soon, or I’ll stop standing between you and the full might of my army. Trust me, if they have their way, you’ll be begging for my help. They annihilate first and ask questions later.”

“Don’t make threats if you can’t follow through, little girl,” Astra warns, her eyes wide at Kara’s outburst. For a glimmering second, it looks something like pride.

“That’s what you keep forgetting,” Kara answers as she slams the panel to open the door and leave the cell. “I’m not a little girl anymore.”

 

***

“She threatened Cat, didn’t she?” Alex is waiting in the corridor, toying with her security pass.

“If you’re going to eavesdrop, why bother making me repeat it all afterwards?” Kara feels she’s making a reasonable point. “And she’s out of the loop. I think she’s shown some kind of weakness and they’ve given her up to us. Maybe killing his own wife is a step too far for Non.”

“I think that’s a little naïve,” Alex scoffs. “It’s way more likely she’s here as some kind of plant. We still haven’t worked out that electrical disturbance when those men were killed at your office. It’s pretty likely you were the target then as well.”

“But not Cat?”

“No,” Alex admits. “But everywhere you look now she’s Supergirl’s plus one. Even before the dating thing, she positioned herself as your one contact, the one person with access. She has to know how reckless that is.”

“She does,” Kara sighs. “You’ve seen her in action, Alex. It’s gonna take a lot of effort to talk her out of this.”

“Because she wants to sleep with Supergirl,” Alex chimes in. “And you’re not very good at pretending, Kara. Your ‘giddy new girlfriend’ thing is so not an act. You’ve already admitted you have a crush.”

“Cat does not want to sleep with me,” Kara protests, barely smothering a giggle in time. “Listen, I still feel pretty rough, so I’m going home while I still have the energy to fly. It’s a long time until sunrise.”

“Sure.”

“And can you make sure your agents aren’t discussing me or Cat, or anything else about Supergirl, in front of my aunt? She’s dangerous enough without them doing her research for her.”

“Pretty bossy for someone whose ass we just plucked out of the water.” Alex peels herself from the wall and comes across to squeeze Kara’s arm. “Don’t scare me like that more than necessary, okay?”

“I’ll try,” Kara summons her best fake smile. “Let me know if she starts thinking about switching sides.”

“We’re a long way from that,” Alex tells her. “Fly home, ladybug. You’ve done all you can tonight.”

Kara uses a speed burst to get her to the nearest exit, not caring that kicking it open sets off some kind of alarm. She’s safely hurtling through the sky before the first shout goes up. Alex can tell her off for that tomorrow.

She’s home in a matter of minutes, landing on the roof and performing a tired but routine check to make sure nobody has noticed her from nearby windows. Her building is high enough that she’s barely overlooked, but now more than ever Kara knows she can’t take chances.

Slipping in through the window, she’s aware of someone breathing just outside her front door. Although it costs her precious energy, Kara beams her x-ray vision at the solid metal and is frankly stunned to see Cat, still in her uber-glamorous tuxedo outfit, sitting with her back to it. Any ambiguity is dismissed when Kara spots the now-empty martini glass beside her; Kara’s pretty sure she stole that from the abandoned gala.

“What are you doing here?” She asks as she slides the door open. Thankfully Cat is aware enough to brace herself, but for a second it looks like she’s going to topple back on the floor.

“I heard reports Supergirl had drowned,” Cat answers. “And while I was pretty sure that wasn’t true, I thought her girlfriend should either be with her or out of sight until the story cleared itself up.”

“By cleared itself up, you mean you put the whole night team on it, didn’t you?”

“A girlfriend can’t worry?” Cat demands, accepting Kara’s hand and being lifted bodily to her feet.

“You’re not technically-“

“Details,” Cat interrupts. She waits for the door to close. “It occurs, however, that I shouldn’t be waiting around at Kara Danvers’ apartment for Supergirl. You’re going to need a lair.”

Kara bites her tongue. Of course Cat would use that word.

“So at some point you can get caught doing the walk of shame, by any chance?”

“We’ll make a journalist of you yet,” Cat says, patting Kara’s cheek fondly. “What are my odds of getting a decent martini here?”

“Well it’s my apartment and not the bar at the Four Seasons,” Kara points out. “So not high. I don’t think I have any vermouth, anyway.”

“You have Scotch,” Cat announces triumphantly, lifting the bottle from the kitchen counter. Alex is going to be pissed her stash is being depleted. “Does your sad apartment have any sad little glasses in it?”

“Yes,” Kara tries not to snap. “What happened to you being nicer to me while we’re dating?”

Cat shrugs, accepting the glass and pouring herself a generous few fingers of Johnnie Walker.

“Why do people think you drowned?”

Kara motions to the couch, glad she tidied the place yesterday. She sits on one end and waits for Cat to take the other. Instead Cat plops herself right in the middle just like she does in her office. She leans into Kara, because apparently her aversion to personal space doesn’t apply to her assistant and superhero fake girlfriend.

“I had some trouble in the water after I rescued the people on the bridge,” Kara tries as much of the truth as she dares. Cat is a bloodhound when it comes to shaky lies. It’s kind of a miracle it took her so long to unearth Kara’s secret identity in the first place. “I guess people like to tweet things are worse than they are?”

“I suppose I should ask why you’re dressed like an off-duty Marine,” Cat takes in the costume change, eyes shrewd. She takes a mouthful of Scotch. “But I’m sure it’s perfectly mundane. Tomorrow we’ll have to find a Supergirl-worthy property. I can’t think of anything in my portfolio that will do.”

“Cat-“

“It’s probably deductible, and if it isn’t, my accountants can get creative. Yes, I like that. Philanthropy is one thing when it’s supporting the opera, or some orphans. But being benefactor to a superhero? I think that puts me in an exclusive club of one.” Cat seems very pleased with herself.

“This isn’t Dickens,” Kara reminds her. “I’m not asking for that kind of help. I’ve done just fine so far, and I love this apartment.”

“You can keep it,” Cat insists. “Even sleep here, some of the time. Besides, isn’t it safer for everyone else in this building if the bad guys think Supergirl is out on a mountain somewhere?”

“Well – yes,” Kara has to admit. “Speaking of safety, there’s something we have to discuss.” She can do this. She can fake breakup. Cat will probably be relieved, loaded glances or not.

“I was thinking the exact same thing,” Cat replies, much to Kara’s relief. “Someone’s eventually going to notice that we have a conference before every moment of PDA.” Short-lived relief. “It’s too negotiated. If we’re in third date territory, at least as far as the public is concerned, then it has to be more spontaneous.”

“More natural?” Kara clarifies, her voice strained. “Like we do it all the time.”

“Exactly,” Cat points at her in confirmation. “Now I’ve checked with you multiple times and you say you’re fine with this. So from here on out, I want you to promise that you will shut down anything that makes you uncomfortable. There will be no repercussions from me, I promise you that.”

“You’re kind of decent about all this stuff.” Kara doesn’t mean to say it so plainly, but she’s tired tonight and the words just keep coming out.

“Yes, well,” Cat rolls her eyes as she finishes her drink. “Let’s just say plenty of men in my position tried to take advantage when I was in something like yours.” Kara frowns at the thought of sleazy bosses trying to corner Cat. “Oh don’t get all chivalrous. I handled them just fine. And got my column, my show, and then my damn company despite them. Nobody stops Cat Grant.”

That dogged determination reminds Kara that she should be trying to call this whole thing off. Instead, she lets her gut instinct do the talking.

“Since you’re here anyway, do you think we should practice the PDA thing? That’s the best way I can think of to make it look like second nature.”

“You’re asking me to make out?” Cat blurts, almost dropping her drink. Gathering herself, she places the glass on the table. “Kara, if this is some romcom idea about…”

“What do you care?” Kara huffs, impatient now. “You want convincing, I’m offering convincing, Ms Grant.” She frequently worries that she doesn’t have enough experience for these things, but there’s a natural deference in the way she’s interacted with Cat all this time working for her. She’s gambling, but playing the innocent card seems like her best option right now.

“That sounds suspiciously like Kara, not Supergirl,” Cat accuses, but she’s sliding closer to Kara even as she says it. “Not,” she adds, at the sight of Kara’s smile falling. “That it’s a problem. I just didn’t realize Kara was… an option in this.”

“We’re the same person,” Kara hates this dichotomy, hates having to plead with people to see her, to understand her. “Everything you’re doing with Supergirl is public, sure. But privately it’s been me, Kara, the whole time. I don’t know how to separate the two. Not completely.”

“I don’t want you to,” Cat admits in a whisper. “But I do want to… practice.”

“Good,” Kara whispers right back. The apartment has never been so quiet, and even without her super hearing their breathing has become noticeably different. She leans the rest of the way in to kiss Cat’s lips, and Cat is right there to meet her.

“Oh,” Cat sighs long moments later, when Kara strikes out for new territory. If she doesn’t take this risk, this one shining chance, she’ll spend the rest of her life frustrated. She’ll forever wonder just how good it would be to have this part of Cat, so far beyond the office and the boardroom. She can’t live that way, at the mercy of ‘what if’; Kara’s done that quite enough for one lifetime.

Tonight she can risk kisses that pepper Cat’s sharp jawline, receive errant caresses from Cat’s lips on her throat, and then on the hollows of her collarbone. They trade control like an invisible baton in these endless minutes, all in the guise of showing each other what they can do. Only it feels a lot more like a set of instructions for what the other likes.

“Good practice,” Kara murmurs against Cat’s ear, before nipping at her earlobe. Cat’s removed the dazzling rubies from earlier that match her necklace, and for a brief second Kara’s instinct is to go looking for them. She doesn’t want to bear the brunt of Cat’s annoyance if they end up lost. That stupid idea evaporates when Cat tangles her fingers in Kara’s recently-dried hair, scratching at the nape of her neck before pulling Kara tightly into a long, searing kiss.

“Are we believable yet?” Cat gasps when Kara finally relinquishes her mouth. Cat doesn’t release her grip on Kara’s hair, holding her just inches away from her face. “Or do we need something more advanced?”

Kara considers, watching the way Cat’s pupils have already dilated, listening to the thunder that her heartbeat has become. She’s the storm that’s sweeping Kara’s body right now, throwing out her better judgment and the dire warnings from Astra and Alex alike. If time is running out, if a war is coming and they’re all at risk, Kara doesn’t want to face it without trying this. How can it be anything other than fate that Cat showed up at her apartment tonight? Until this week Kara didn’t know if Cat even thought about Kara having a place to go home to each night.

“We should advance,” Kara murmurs, but Cat catches every word. Cat’s eyes track the progress of Kara’s hands as they sink lower, fumbling for a second on the single button of the tuxedo jacket. “That’s why you came here tonight, isn’t it?”

“Kara…”

“Please? It’s just the one thing I need to hear. Then we can have everything that we clearly both want.”

“This,” Cat lets go of Kara’s hair, and for a frozen moment Kara thinks she’s blown it. Only then Cat places both of her hands on top of Kara’s, and together they part the unbuttoned lapels in agonizing slow motion. The bare skin from earlier was really just a tease, Kara realizes as her mouth goes dry. The delicate curves exposed to her now are more beautiful even than the necklace that still hangs above them. “Is why I came here tonight,” Cat finishes. “Don’t dare me to say things you can’t handle.”

“Oh no,” Kara corrects, freeing her hands from where they’re still grasping the soft black material, still grasped by Cat’s hands. “I think I can handle this just fine.”

Kara drags her thumbs over hardened nipples and Cat drops her head back in something like surrender. Her breathy little moan is the last piece of encouragement Kara needs.

Chapter Text

“You see,” Kara continues as Cat arches into her touch. “From now on you’re always going to know what it’s like when I touch you. How your body reacts.”

“Oh God, you’re a talker.” It doesn’t sound like a complaint, not when the last syllable dissolves into a hiccupping little moan.

“I am,” Kara decides. She never has been before. She’s also never had her boss half-naked and trembling on her couch, so this is just going to be one of those nights for rolling with the firsts. “That doesn’t mean I can’t listen to instruction. I think you know I take orders very well, don’t you?”

“Suck,” is Cat’s only response. As Kara lowers her head to flick at one nipple, Cat has her fingers threaded through Kara’s hair again in an instant. She pulls lightly, just enough to let Kara know that her movements will be guided, almost controlled. It’s exactly what Kara was hoping for.

In the meantime she gets Cat’s jacket the rest of the way off, and never one to waste precious time, Cat is unbuttoning her perfectly-tailored pants in anticipation. Kara lifts her less easily than usual, her strength still partially burned out. Kara has every intention of taking them to the much more comfortable bed, but Cat has other ideas about steering them.

That’s how Cat ends up against the wall, her back bared and pants riding low on her hips. Her necklace sparkles in the light and Kara does one last check to make sure those really are rubies and not anything that might be altering her behavior. The thing is, she doesn’t feel strange. It feels nothing but natural to be ravishing her boss against a brick wall.

“Wow,” Kara can’t hold back the whispered declaration. Cat smiles, not the tight little smirk she uses to deflect comment, but an unhindered broad smile that Kara realizes she doesn’t see often enough. “I don’t know what I want to do to you most.”

“Touching would be a good start,” Cat suggests, hooking one leg around Kara’s hip and pulling her flush against her. “This isn’t MoMA, you won’t be thrown out for fondling the works of art.”

Kara rolls her eyes and kisses Cat again, because that is apparently something she can do as many times as she likes right now. Cat responds by running her fingers in featherlight streaks down Kara’s back. For her next trick, Cat pulls the borrowed polo shirt up and over Kara’s head, knocking her hair loose from the careless pinning to let it dry.

“No floating,” Cat growls the warning against Kara’s throat, before twirling her tongue lightly over Kara’s pulse point. She doesn’t have the heart to point out that she probably couldn’t right now even if she wanted to. With her upper body practically bared, Kara unhooks her bra and tosses it aside next. Cat seems more than happy with the development, judging by the way she rakes her nails down Kara’s back as a reward.

And oh, Kara can really, really feel that. The sting is delicious, and it doesn’t fade instantly like any other mark on her skin. Twisting for a second, she can make out her reflection in the window panes, and the livid pink lines look fantastic against her otherwise pale skin. She drops her own pants in something like celebration.

“Don’t be gentle with me,” Kara pleads, kissing her way down Cat’s body until Kara can yank Cat’s pants down around her ankles. Cat kicks the black material aside and her lace thong is barely an obstacle at all, but Kara slips it down her legs for the visual alone. Kara almost forgets how to breathe when Cat steps right back into her killer heels, blood red and all she’s wearing now except the jewelry. “I want to feel this.”

“I could say the same to you,” Cat retorts, tugging at Kara’s hair again. Kara is cupping Cat’s bare ass, the wall scraping lightly at her knuckles as she grips. Leaning forward and down on her knees, Kara presses a different kiss this time, close-mouthed and light to the immaculate strip of pale curls that leads directly to where she plans on lavishing a whole lot of attention. The tease alone is enough to have Cat’s hips tilting towards her. Kara rests her face for a moment against Cat’s hip bone, as defined as the rest of her sculpted figure, and soaks in exactly what she has free reign over right now.

“Kara,” Cat interrupts. “Do I strike you as a patient woman?”

“No,” Kara answers quite honestly. “But there’s no harm in learning to be.”

She starts by running her thumbs over the top of Cat’s feet, tracing around the edge of the shoe leather. Cat huffs quietly, but her knees lock and she leans back against the wall again to support herself. Kara takes that as permission to go at her own speed. Cat’s ankles are as elegant as the rest of her, sensitive to the scraping of short nails as well as massaging fingers.

“Tease,” Cat hisses as Kara massages her calves, digging at the muscles that quiver under her touch. The backs of Cat’s knees prove dangerously ticklish, and Kara plans to revisit that at the first given opportunity. Cat shifts her stance, almost fatally impatient by this stage, and Kara has to summon more resolve to keep from pouncing.

It’s then that she decides she doesn’t want to do this on her knees. Not the first time, not when it could be the last time. She’s going to make Cat Grant come undone, and Kara is damn well going to see every reaction on that beautiful face while she does it.

She rakes her nails up Cat’s thighs as she stands. Kara uses her height advantage to press Cat hard against the wall, grabbing her hip to take control of their shared stance. Their foreheads touch as Kara leans in for another kiss, this one softer and surprisingly gentle. Cat grasps the back of Kara’s neck, determined not to let her retreat too far. They’re too close now; walking away would be unbearable.

“Are you wet for me?” Kara breathes as Cat kisses her neck again. “I think you are. That’s not pretending, Cat. That’s all for me, isn’t it? And what you want me to do to you?”

“Then do it,” Cat demands. “I didn’t have you pegged for a sadist.”

“You shouldn’t throw around words like that,” Kara answers, a little shocked at herself. “I’ve done all kinds of research.”

“Sadist? Or pegging?”

“Both,” Kara fibs, hoping her bravado holds. She already knows she’ll have to clear her browser history after some frantic Googling tomorrow. “But right now, I think we can keep it simple.”

They certainly can, judging by the happy sigh of reaction from Cat when Kara finally slides a finger between her thighs. Cat is certainly wet, and Kara explores cautiously, adding two fingers to stroke and navigate the new territory. The first time she grazes Cat’s clit, Kara’s rewarded by Cat biting down on her collarbone, hard enough to leave another mark that won’t fade until morning. Sex like this, specifically sex with Cat, is making Kara think she’s had her priorities wrong all this time. Who needed to fly when driving Cat crazy with just her fingers was an option?

When Kara presses her fingers inside, Cat practically mounts her. It’s pleasant for Kara to feel some strain in her back muscles to keep Cat held and balanced, although her legs gripping Kara around the waist are doing most of the work. Her heels clatter to the floor behind them. Kara keeps up her slow but relentless strokes, building gradually to sharper thrusts, and with Cat at this angle it’s impossible to resist flicking at her nipples with rapid flutters of Kara’s tongue.

It’s the addition of a third finger, coupled with Cat rubbing her own clit after fondling Kara’s breasts for a pleasingly long time, that sends her over the edge. Cat slumps dramatically in Kara’s embrace, breathing hard and flushed deep pink across her face and chest.

“You okay there?” Kara asks. She’s going to have to set Cat down soon, so finally completing the trip to her bed seems like the logical thing to do. By the time she lowers Cat to the mattress, she’s already rallying. She looks up at Kara like she’s the most delicious dessert, and Cat isn’t going to need a spoon. Kara almost withers under the predatory heat of Cat’s glare, but that could just be her knees weakening at being suddenly wanted so very much.

“I don’t do this for just anyone,” Cat rasps, her voice rough from the moment she’d screamed “Kara” at the peak of her climax. Sure enough, she smacks Kara’s thigh until she takes the hint and goes from straddling Cat’s hips to straddling her face. Grasping the headboard and wishing she’d had the sense to buy a freestanding bed instead of this against-the-wall thing that gives her no leverage, Kara almost screams at the first swipe of Cat’s tongue.

An article last year said that Cat’s mouth was the key to her fame and fortune. Kara’s pretty sure she’d give Cat a billion dollars to keep doing that deliciously slow licking for the next lifetime or so. She’s already worked up from a night of kissing, dancing, almost dying, and finally getting to touch Cat without any pretense. Cat adding virtuoso tongue work into the equation feels like it might be enough to make Kara actually explode. It only gets worse, which means unbearably, painfully better, when Cat grabs Kara’s ass and massages it as she works her magic.

The chances of holding out are slim, but Kara tries her best to make every second last. She’s practically grinding against Cat’s mouth by the time she comes, and if she thought she’d done okay with her few sexual partners before this, the blinding white light suggests they never did anything this right. It’s already so much stronger than anything Kara’s ever done to herself, and for a brief moment as she rolls over to recover, she considers touching herself in this very bed, Cat watching from the armchair beside it. Would Cat correct her, direct her to even more pleasurable touches and stronger orgasms? Kara rides out a few aftershocks imagining how she would.

Cat leans up on one elbow, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Kara almost lunges into the kiss, desperate to taste herself on Cat’s lips and tongue; the sensation does not disappoint.

“I’m tired,” is all she can think to say as Cat studies her post-kiss, tucking Kara’s hair behind her ear. “You want that side?”

They wriggle their way under the sheets, the air in the room too cool for bare skin now. Kara fusses with the pillows a moment too long, because when she turns back to Cat, she’s already dead to the world.

***

Kara’s exhausted, but of course she’s not truly asleep. She’s been mimicking it for so many years that she actually forgets she could speak or move at any moment. Her body is in rest mode, and that’s why she lies frozen when Cat slips out from under the sheets.

There could be a million reasons. The cheaper fabrics are irritating her skin. She has to pee. She has to offer a prayer to some unknown deity before sunrise, or the world will end. Kara wishes so hard it could be one of those, and not that Cat is picking up her clothes and her heels with not-quiet-enough grace as she moves through the near-darkness of the apartment.

When Cat struggles to open the heavy door that Kara never has to worry about, it’s a last opportunity to call out and stop this from ending in silent weirdness. Just as Kara summons the courage, Cat gets the mechanism to roll. She’s out into the National City night, and even with super speed, Kara has the distinct impression she could never catch up.

***

She gets to work late and without Cat’s latte. If she wants to fire Kara, Kara is more than in the mood. The scratches on her back healed within ten minutes of the sun rising, but Kara has dressed as conservatively as she knows how, the plaid shirt and cardigan the closest thing she has to armor outside of her super suit.

Only when she gets there James and Winn are milling at her desk again, the least subtle guys of all time. She’s about to scold them when she sees that Cat is already entertaining a visitor, none other than Lucy Lane. James looks like there are hot coals in the soles of his shoes, and Winn is quick to pounce on Kara the minute she walks up to them.

By the time she’s assessed Cat’s genuine laugh and ignored James’s request to super-eavesdrop, Lucy is out and confusingly raving about how nice Cat is. Even in the biggest moments of her crush, seeing Cat as ‘nice’ would be a stretch even for Kara. It’s just not an adjective that ever applies.

While she’s waiting for Winn to contact the FBI, she decides it’s time to confront Cat and see where they truly stand after last night. There’s been no mention of another public date, but no plan to abandon the relationship either. Superpowers or not, Kara doesn’t appreciate being walked out on, and Cat is damn well going to know that.

“You left,” Kara accuses, cornering Cat in the anteroom off her office. “You could at least have sent a text to say you got home okay.”

“I had to go change,” Cat says with one of her dismissive waves. “Don’t get clingy, that is not what this is, Keira.”

“Don’t do that,” Kara warns. “Don’t belittle me. You knew my name last night when you scr-”

“Enough.” Cat snaps. “You know I had to get out before anyone saw me, and that’s just the common sense reason. If you were the super assistant you claim to be, you’d know that on mornings after Carter stays with his father, I pick him up and take him to school. That’s why some of my days start later. You’ve never once asked me why.”

“You take him to school? But his father is all the way across-”

“I want him to see me every day, unless I’m out of National City. I don’t want me not being in his life to ever become his default state.”

“Right.” Kara feels crappy for bringing it up. “Does that mean that you’re still, y’know, with Supergirl and…?”

“I can’t think about that right now,” is all Cat will give her. “Did Lucy Lane say anything to you on the way out? I want you to use whatever your bond is with James and get me an estimate on how close she is to saying yes.”

“Absolutely, Ms Grant,” Kara snaps back into professional mode. She isn’t going to get anything else out of Cat in this mood. She has to go with Winn anyway, and it doesn’t seem like Cat will be looking for her anytime soon. Kara feels guilty that her best friend’s suffering serves as a welcome distraction, but she’ll take it where she can find it today. Hopefully Winn Sr. will be back behind bars before any real damage can be done.

***

It’s bad enough that she abandons Winn at Cat’s request, but Kara is pretty livid when Cat dismisses her again with scornful talk about millennials and allusions to what may or may not be happening between James and Kara. It would be irritating any other day, but after recent events it feels downright petty. Kara likes so many things about her boss, even the things other people fear, but the pettiness is maybe Cat’s least appealing quality. Alex would be proud of Kara for seeing the balance at last.

When she brings the papers Cat asked for, it’s not entirely unexpected that Cat makes another play for the Winn interview.

“Honestly,” Cat sighs as Kara stonewalls her once again. “I don’t know how many exclusives you expect me to sit on. It’s not a huge enough favor that I keep your secrets? You won’t throw a friend or two under the bus as a thank you?”

“Is that a threat?”

Cat is stunned by Kara’s tone. That doesn’t happen often. Cat looks ready for the fight, too, almost spoiling for it in fact. Whatever is showing on Kara’s face right in that moment gives her pause though, and it’s almost like a new superpower to be able to make Cat Grant, Queen of All Media, back down in the heat of the moment.

“No,” Cat mutters. “But I reiterate what I said about Diane before. If you won’t give me exclusives, you will stop them from going anywhere else. Understood?”

“Yes, Ms Grant.”

“We should decide,” Cat adds, seemingly apropos of nothing. “On the next date. It should be less obviously public, but I’ll have a stringer or two alerted. You know the drill by now.”

“I was thinking,” Kara responds, presented with yet another opportunity to follow Alex’s sound advice. “I’d like to do some less formal things. All the dresses, it’s too much. And maybe we can do some things in the day, to avoid eating into your time with Carter. Or with him, unless you think that might mess with him too much?”

“That’s… surprisingly thoughtful.” Cat looks at her, still suspicious. “I’ll take it under advisement. Go back to consoling Whip over his daddy issues.”

“Sure?”

“We’re fine, Kara,” Cat insists. “Please, try not to be that girl? Adults do adult things. The world doesn’t end because they do.”

There’s a hundred things Kara could say to that, but she has a demented Toymaker to track down and Winn’s meltdown to avert. She takes the excuse to be absent when it presents itself.

***

Her first instinct, after straightening her glasses, is to jump off the balcony and fly to Cat. Which is ridiculous, not least because the kiss wasn’t Kara’s idea. Then there’s the small fact of not being able to cheat on or betray someone when they don’t even think you’re really dating. Especially after they sleep with you and then try to pretend nothing happened.

She toughs it out and shows up for work the next morning in one of the dresses Cat picked out for Supergirl. It’s a sort of raspberry pink, the white belt her own addition. Her arms are bare and her hair is pinned, and if any of that reminds Cat which lines and planes of Kara’s body she might have enjoyed, that’s just fine.

Unfortunately the day ends with Winn declaring his love for her in an awkward and undeniable way. It’s not that Kara hasn’t known this whole time, but she feels a chill in her bones at the way he tells her. Like her forcing herself to love him back is all that stands between Winn and becoming a monster like his father. She never once asked for that responsibility, and she doesn’t think she could fake it even if she tried. Kara doesn’t want to know exactly how Winn has gone from being her sweet and reliable friend to someone who thinks he might be a ticking time bomb.

Walking away from him is excruciating and totally contrary to the helpful impulses she carries deep within her. Stumbling across James and Lucy, with all their balcony-related smooching, doesn’t exactly do much to improve her mood. She wants to speak to Cat, more than anything. But with so many witness still around, that’s definitely a job for Supergirl.

Landing on the far end of the balcony, it takes her a moment to notice what’s off. The lights are actually out in Cat’s office. She’s already gone for the day, and without the customary stop at Kara’s desk to berate her or make an early start on the next day’s impossible demands. In fact, it seems the CEO of an entire corporation has waited for Kara to step out of sight to make an escape.

So whatever they are, it probably isn’t fine.

***

“Is it me or is it just all boobs and murder now?” Alex complains as they hit the credits. “I mean, more than it used to be.”

“I think we should catch up on Homeland next week,” Kara suggests. “I’m starting to lose the will to live with this season.”

“I should get going,” Alex says, standing and stretching. “You need to tidy up in here at some point. All this celebrity dating is bad for your organization levels.”

“We can’t all be military disciplined,” Kara shoots back at her.

“Okay, but maybe underwear can stay out of the living room?” Alex picks up a scrap of black fabric and throws it at Kara’s head. “Wait, when did you branch out from days of the week underwear?”

“I, um, some outfits have lines and I-”

“Oh God!” Alex kicks out at the table, putting the pieces together as soon as Kara blushes and fumbles her words. “What happened to breaking it off? You listened to my very sage advice and decided to take it up a notch? If I didn’t know you hear me better than literally anyone else, I’d ask if you’d gone deaf lately.”

“Alex, I know you’re trying to protect me, but Cat showed up here talking about how a girlfriend worries, and we needed more practice for the cameras… it just got out of hand!”

“Spare me the details.” Alex is genuinely furious, and Kara hasn’t seen her this angry in a long time. “I’ve dedicated my career to keeping you safe, and the minute you have some freedom, this is how you repay me? Taking bigger and bigger risks?”

“Alex-”

“I’m going back to work,” Alex shuts her down. “I’m gonna have to do a bunch more planning to keep you and your girlfriend safe. Thanks for that. Thanks a whole bunch.”

Alex storms off before Kara can even think to stop her. The reaction to her night with Cat is so far removed from the sympathy over Winn, and Kara’s first reaction is to get angry with her sister. Is it really the worst thing in the world if Kara gets a little action? The cold shoulder from Cat is bad enough, but Alex flipping out hurts even worse.

It’s just after 11, and Kara realizes it’s time to finally get out of her stupid suit. She’s just fast-changed into her most comfortable pajamas and washed her face when her phone trills back to life. She’s more than a little surprised at the name on her caller ID.

“You never call,” Kara blurts, because it’s true. “So um, what’s up?”

“I’m coming to National City, Kara. We need to have a real cousin-to-cousin talk.”

“Kal-El…”

“Non-negotiable, Kara.” He sounds grumpy. Sometimes Kara is really tired of him not remembering who the actual elder is. This disrespect would not have been tolerated on Krypton. “Lois has some business too, so I’m flying out with her.”

“As in carrying her, or…?”

“By plane,” Clark says through gritted teeth. “I’ll swing by your office around lunchtime, okay?”

“Doesn’t sound like you’re giving me a choice,” Kara snarks right back at him. “See you then.”

 

Chapter Text

Cat is locked in a conference room for some merger meeting from the moment she snatches her latte out of Kara’s waiting hand, so the morning is relatively uneventful by CatCo standards. Winn is moping, suddenly helping any employee in the building with minor IT issues so long as it gives him an excuse to be away from his desk and as far from Kara as possible.

There are a lot of interview requests and downright intrusive emails waiting to be handled. Kara’s lost in the tons of correspondence when something soft in a paper bag collides with the back of her head. She bends down and discovers a donut, a little squashed from the impact.

“Hey,” Alex announces, all dressed up in an FBI-agent-around-town suit and white blouse. There’s no sign of her purse though, so this is hopefully just a short visit. Kara doesn’t want her sister around when Cat gets back from her meeting. Alex has her aviators on even though they’re indoors, a sure sign that she’s doesn’t want Kara to look her in the eye. Kara stares her down regardless.

“Yes?” Kara asks when Alex doesn’t say anything else, just stands in front of Kara’s desk with her thumbs hooked into the waistband of her pants. “Did we have an appointment, or…?”

“Oh come on,” Alex groans. “I showed up. I brought an offering. Are you really going to make me grovel?”

“Let’s see.” Kara considers the donut for a moment, before pulling it out of the bag and taking a satisfying chocolate-and-sprinkles bite. “Mmmmffffmmmm you” is what comes out when she tries to say “I forgive you.” Thankfully, Alex speaks fluent Kara-ese, which is pretty much just English with a mouth full of food.

“Good, because Hank is on the warpath,” Alex warns, leaning over Kara’s desk and pretending to read her notepad. “It seems your little cousin left Metropolis early this morning. Superheroes switching cities makes Hank pretty nervous.”

“He’s coming for a visit,” Kara admits. “Well, Lois is, and he’s tagging along. I assume to give me crap about Cat. Just like everyone else.”

“I said I was sorry,” Alex answers, even though she did no such thing. “And there’s still some crap to be given there, Kara. Which I will be doing later, after I get all the gossip about it. It occurs to me that getting pissed at you seriously limits my ability to hear the juicy details. I mean, no offense, but it has to be better than the sad stories of boys kissing you.”

“There’s no way I am telling you about that,” Kara informs her, reflexively checking to make sure Winn hasn’t come back to overhear Alex’s last remark. “Do I need to do anything about Hank?”

“You might want to get your cousin to check in and say hi,” Alex suggests. “We’d expect you to check in with local DEO now if you go to Metropolis. Or anywhere else in the world, honestly.”

“It feels a little bit like being tracked.”

“We try to keep that to a minimum,” Alex insists. “I know it’s all a bit grim and official sometimes, but I guarantee that nobody is gonna mess with you. Not without getting me on their ass.”

“You’re a good sister,” Kara tells her, glad to mean it despite a night of being very cranky on the subject of Alex. “Are you hanging around to see Clark? When was the last time I had you both in the same room? Was it really that Christmas in Metropolis?”

“Four years ago? Yeah,” Alex confirms, standing up and finally pushing her sunglasses up on top of her head. She looks pretty exhausted. “I’ll skip the reunion, if you don’t mind. I’ve got enough of your relatives to handle right now.”

“My aunt giving you grief?”

“She’s keeping me up nights,” Alex admits. “She likes to talk almost as much as you do, and I can’t ignore any of it in case she decides to give up her anarchist buddies.”

“I think they see themselves more as revolutionaries?” Kara corrects, before picking up a commotion from the lobby with her super hearing. “I get the feeling my company is here.”

“He’s not coming as Clark?”

“Nope. Which means I’m not coming as Kara Danvers,” Kara explains. She surveys the room before dashing to the stairwell and back, clothes appropriately changed.

“It’s Supergirl!” The shout goes up in no time at all. Nobody seems to care that she’s standing near Kara’s desk. They all assume she’s there for Cat— the kind of person a superhero chooses to hang out with.

“Sounds like my cue. Be careful, okay? No super antics that I have to keep off the six o’clock news.”

“What on earth could you have to do with the six o’clock news?” Cat says from somewhere behind Alex. In the Kal-El disruption, Kara forgot to be vigilant about her returning boss. “You don’t work in our news department, do you?”

“No, ma’am,” Alex answers, clearly desperate to flee but winking at Kara because big sister duty is always, always messing with little sister at any opportunity. Especially when it comes to her love life.

“Well, you’re not unattractive,” Cat continues, looking Alex up and down like a new piece of overpriced art to purchase. “Do you actually know anything? That’s not a dealbreaker for morning news.”

“Me?” Alex straightens up, ready for a fight. Just as Kara’s about to protest, Alex thinks better of it. “Nothing I can tell the world about, put it that way.”

“Cat?” Kara interrupts, because the elevator is pinging and she doesn’t have much time to warn.

“Supergirl,” Cat responds smoothly, before tacking on a slightly awkward, “darling.”

“My cousin came to visit,” Kara trips over the words, but the doors are sliding and there’s no damn time. “And he brought his friend.”

“Your cousin?” Cat’s eyes light up. Kara wishes this was the first time she’d seen Cat so lit up with excitement, but unfortunately she’s seen it in another context, and that isn’t likely to be repeated. “Get James Olsen in here. I want a family photoshoot for the next magazine. Don’t even argue, it’s happening.”

“Fine,” Kara snaps, although it isn’t even remotely. “But Cat, he’s bringing-”

“Kitty!” Rings out a familiar voice. “Guess who’s coming to lunch?”

Cat’s expression runs through a full fifty shades of shock, horror, and barely contained rage. It’s like watching a stop motion version of someone deciding to commit bloody, terrible murder. Kara actually takes a half-step back before Cat summons her best PR façade and turns to greet Lois with open arms.

“Lois!” She drops her arms before her bluff can be called. “Usually we get the blood moon and storm clouds before you arrive.”

“National City can’t even get the weather right? Color me shocked.”

“Hi,” Kal-El gives the dorkiest little wave from where he’s standing one step behind Lois, then returns to that ridiculous hands-on-hips pose that Kara has been trying really, really hard not to slip into. She’s pleased when Cat takes up a position right at her side. “Alex, it’s really nice to see you again.”

“I was just going,” Alex explains. “You have fun catching up.” She strides off toward the elevator and Kara has never been more jealous of her.

The entire office has ground to a halt, at least on the work front. People are standing on their chairs or desks to get a better view of the Super cousins meeting, though Kara suspects that half of them are more interested in seeing Cat meet with her professional nemesis.

“My assistant appears to be AWOL,” Cat tells them. “But please, let’s step into my office.”

They’ve just stepped inside the giant fishbowl when James comes jogging in, his trusty Canon Rebel hanging around his neck. Kal-El looks genuinely pleased to see him, and their bro hug is the biggest display of grunted greetings and backslapping that Kara has seen outside of the Superbowl. Cat is watching Lois the whole time, smirking when Lois seems annoyed at the epic bromance rekindled.

“James, get the balcony set up for shots. We’re going to need some sky for a backdrop. Have one of your art geeks bring in something branded, too. This is a CatCo shoot, and no one should forget it.”

“Shoot?” Kal-El looks at her for explanation. “What’s your girlfriend talking about?”

“Surely you get that us being out together like this is a big deal,” Kara snipes at him. “I know you’re a bit of a farm boy, but even you can’t be that naïve after all these years in Metropolis.”

“I came to talk to you-”

“And we can talk and get our photo taken at the same time,” Kara shuts it down. She can’t help but be glad to see the big dolt all the same—he takes a deep breath and her heart swells with fondness for him. “I thought you’d jump at the chance to work with James.”

“You mean Jimmy,” Kal-El interrupts, laughing.

“He prefers James,” Kara fires right back. She can love Kal-El and want to kick his butt at the same time. “People change.”

“Speaking of change,” Lois pipes up, draping herself over one side of the sofa nearest the window like she’s been living in Cat’s office for half her life. “How did this happen between you two crazy kids?”

“No exclusives for you, Lane,” Cat is already circling, taking a seat opposite and motioning for Kara to join her. “Supergirl only talks to CatCo media outlets.”Where’s your little boyfriend today? Couldn’t afford the plane fare?”

Kara and Kal-El exchange looks over Cat’s head. He nods in recognition of her keeping his secret, despite everything.

“It’s nice to see you again, Lois,” Kara takes over before anything can get tense. Her reward is feeling Cat stare daggers at her for the politeness. “I loved your piece on the feminization of the boardroom.”

“It would have been more relevant if you had a quote from, say, an actual female CEO,” Cat can’t help but interject. “But thoroughness never was your wheelhouse, was it?”

“Careful, Kitty,” Lois warns, sitting up straighter. Her shoulder-length hair is glossy and poker-straight. Kara wonders if it still looks that way after Kal-El has taken her flying. “Don’t scare off your heart-of-gold hero by showing your claws.”

“Should we go see if Jimmy’s ready?” Kal-El asks, his voice a little high and tight. Kara jumps up at his suggestion.

“Try not to kill each other in the meantime,” Kara leans in to murmur. Cat smells amazing, and she’s almost drunk on it for a second. She’s wearing the Jo Malone perfume Kara likes best, the notes of freesia lingering above everything else Cat includes in her daily routine. These agonizing past few days without free access to Cat have only served to make Kara realize how much she’s come to enjoy the proximity.

She leads Kal-El out onto the balcony where Jimmy has dragged the furniture out of the way. They stand and watch him set up his tripod as an art department intern appears with a backboard he can barely carry, the CatCo logo emblazoned on every square inch of it. It’s only when the intern stops to stare at them that Kara realizes she and her cousin have adopted the exact same pose, arms crossed over their matching crests.

“You can go,” James chides the intern. “Come on, Supercousins. Let’s get this done before Cat starts suggesting props.”

“Are we gonna talk?” Kara demands, dragging her feet as they make their way into position. “Anything you have to say to me, you can say in front of James.”

“Oh you two got close, huh?” Kal-El teases them both. “If I hadn’t seen you dating Cat in every media outlet from here to Saturn, I’d ask if there was something going on between you two.”

“Lucy moved out here, man,” James speaks up, and Kara tries not to notice that he doesn’t ever deny the idea outright. “We’re really working things out.”

“I’m so pleased for you, Jimmy. She is one great girl, the total package. C’mere.” Another round of bro-hugging it out. Kara resists the urge to roll her eyes, barely.

“Okay, so we’ll start with some basic mirroring,” James suggests when Kal-El gets back in position. “Flex a little, some flowing capes, all that jazz. Do what feels right, and we’ll get creative if we have to.”

Kara chooses her pose first, before the hands on hip nonsense takes hold. By the time they’re playfully smacking each other and laughing out loud, Jimmy has just about filled the first memory card.

“I missed you,” Kara admits, as they attempt some chummy arms-over-the-shoulder shots. “I’m trying to do my own thing here, but that doesn’t mean we never get to see each other.”

“I told you how proud I am of you, right?”

Kara shrugs. She isn’t looking for that, but it sure is nice to hear.

“A few more compliments wouldn’t hurt, Kal-El.”

“Well maybe we’ll get to that after we talk about how monumentally stupid you’re being lately.”

“Hey!” Kara pulls away, and Jimmy mutters something about getting another stick. “Don’t do that. Don’t ambush me after letting me get glad you’re here.”

“Kara, come on,” Kal-El continues. “There’s a reason they made sure a male Kryptonian came to earth. Clearly they knew a female in the spotlight would be seduced by celebrity culture. I don’t blame you, I really don’t. National City is kind of a fluffy place. They don’t take life seriously here.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Listen, I’ve been on earth a lot longer and-”

“You spent half of that time shoveling manure,” Kara reminds him. “Don’t tell me how National City works, you’ve never been here for more than a day.”

“Kara-”

“Don’t throw my name around like that,” Kara warns him. “I don’t want anyone associating this with my day job.”

“And I told you to use a completely different name, for exactly this reason,” Clark persists, fully on his high horse now. “You don’t listen. You think because you’re older than me you can do whatever you like.”

“My name was all I had left!” Kara reminds him. “You don’t know what it’s like to miss hearing people say your name.”

“We are not getting into this again,” Kal-El warns. “This isn’t a grief contest.”

“Playing nicely?” Lois asks from the balcony doorway. “Your voices are getting a little raised out here.”

“Let me see what you’ve got,” Cat instructs James, pushing last Lois with a well-aimed elbow. She flicks through the camera display, tutting and frowning at almost every shot. “Clearly it’s amateur hour.”

“I think James knows what he’s doing,” Lois offers. “I see you haven’t stopped micromanaging.”

“It’s called striving for perfection,” Cat shoots back. “Try it some time. Gather round, Kryptonians, it’s time to show you how to rock a magazine cover.”

“Cat, we don’t have to-”

“You always let your girlfriend boss you around like this?” Kal-El mocks quietly. “Not exactly heroic, is it?”

“Okay, first of all, if you must know, she’s not even my mmmmmf-” Kara’s angry declaration is silenced by Cat’s mouth on hers, the camera handed off to James in the same fluid movement.

“Darling,” Cat says it much more enthusiastically this time. “I know you don’t like the word, but let’s not downplay our little romance, hmm?”

Kara knows it’s probably just a ploy to irritate Lois, but she can’t help the surge inside her at renewed contact with Cat. The kiss was every bit as devastating as the others, and Kara feels like she just leapt off the balcony without realizing. It’s a little disorienting to find she’s still on solid ground.

“You want more pictures?” Kara manages to fumble out the sentence.

“Yes,” Cat confirms. “With one notable addition. Superman, if you can just take up position here,” she directs him into the left side of the shot, a straight swap from where he was before. “Give me your best serious face, some crossed arms. Like someone just threatened a bald eagle right in front of you.”

Kal-El looks wary, but Lois has obviously trained him well enough in the media dark arts. He strikes the pose, and with his dark hair pomaded within an inch of his life, the super suit and everything, he looks every bit the hero he truly is. Once more, Kara is a little ashamed of her bickering. She misses this idiot every day he’s not in her life.

“Now you, sweetheart.” Cat has never used that word for anyone but Carter. Performance or not, it makes her a little giddy, which is nothing compared to how she feels when Cat kisses her again, slow and sensual. Kara actually whimpers when Cat relinquishes her mouth, and she isn’t even that ashamed to be so transparently needy. “Your best look is ‘desperately turned on’,” Cat whispers. “Work with it, and give me your version of that pose.”

“What’s the notable addition?” Lois asks.

“Me,” Cat answers, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. She clasps her hands over Kara’s shoulder. Then Cat raises her leg, bent at the knee and draped over Kara’s hip, in a blindingly obvious display of possessiveness. Kara’s instinct is to grab that leg and share in the intimacy of the gesture, but she holds what Cat instructed. It’s scarily easy to feel like a strutting hero when Cat’s breath is tickling at Kara’s hair.

When Jimmy has captured what feels like a thousand more shots, Cat pulls away from Kara’s side. They try a few more setups, Cat between both of them with a hand on each House of El crest, looking back at the camera over her shoulder. Kal-El suggests they both lift her like a cheerleader, and just when Kara thinks he’s crossed the wrong CEO, Cat agrees with a sigh. Kara gets her top half, of course, but she’s tempted to smack Kal with some laser vision when he spends a little too long holding on to Cat’s legs, bare beneath her pencil skirt.

It’s only when Kara stops staring daggers at him that she notices Winn, back at his desk and watching them sadly with his hands in his pockets. It’s not exactly sadness, though. There’s something darker around his eyes that she doesn’t like one bit. She shakes her head and looks away, feeling terrible for projecting the problems of his father onto her dear, sweet friend.

When they put Cat down, she’s about to say something bitchy to Lois, who’s definitely sulking over by the door. That’s when Cat puts two and two together. Kara can almost hear the ‘click’ in Cat’s brain, even though that’s not possible even for Supergirl. There’s something about this goddamn balcony that supercharges Cat’s reasoning skills.

“I don’t believe it,” she sighs, reaching inside her pale gray blazer and retrieving a pair of black-framed glasses. She stalks the few steps over to Kal-El and practically launches herself at him as she puts the frames in place. “Well, hello there, Mr. Kent.”

“Miss Grant-”

“No, no,” Cat waves away his protests even as he hands back the glasses. “I knew you had to have an alter ego too, once Kara came out. I just let it lie in pursuit of bigger stories.”

“You mean in pursuit of getting Supergirl into bed,” Lois barges over to interrupt, adopting a defensive posture between Cat and Kal-El. Kara has no idea how to fix this, and she’s frozen to the spot.

“Kara was already in my life,” Cat points out. “Once I realized her true identity, I found a safe, public way for us to be together. What’s the harm in that, if it’s clearly what we both wanted all along?”

“Kitty-”

“Enough!” Cat snaps. “I’m sorry you didn’t have the brains to date the public persona instead of the private one, but that’s what second place does, dear Lois. But I think you know what we have to do now?”

Lois hangs her head for a few seconds. “I do,” she grumbles, moving away from Kal-El and taking her place at Cat’s side.

“What is wrong with both of you?” Cat demands of Kara and Kal-El. “Lois and I are journalists, and in my case so much more. On what planet do people with secret identities seek out public truth-tellers for romantic entanglements?”

“I’ve said this to you all along, Clark,” Lois agrees. “It’s quite literally the dumbest thing either one of you could have done. You’re both very lucky that we’re ethical women who’ll put safety before the story in this one instance. We barely make the exception for national security, but there you both go, suppressing our First Amendment rights with your killer smiles.”

“That wasn’t bad,” Cat congratulates Lois through gritted teeth. “That said, we’re stuck with you super dummies now, so the least you can do is take us to lunch somewhere. It’ll have to be business-casual though. Lois isn’t dressed for anything better.”

“This is Prada,” Lois exclaims, clearly wounded.

“Your sister shares the same incorrect belief that labels alone are enough,” Cat sighs. “Speaking of the superior Lane, James you should fetch your girlfriend and join us.”

“You’re suggesting a… triple date?” James asks, trying very hard not to wince. “Actually, we have plans, Cat. Maybe another time.”

“Tell my sister I’ll see her for dinner, after my speech,” Lois reminds him. “Go, James. Flee while you still can.”

James does not need telling twice. He takes his camera and tripod, bolting for freedom before the chance is snatched away.

“Double date, then,” Kal-El tries to smile his way through it. “Wait, Kara-”

She hears it, too. The unmistakeable sound of terrified people screaming, and what sounds like the crackling whoosh of some very big flames.

“Go,” Cat sighs, as though she waves Kara off like this every day. “I’ll text you which restaurant.”

“Keep the blood and grime to a minimum,” Lois warns.

Kara takes off first, pleased that Kal-El is letting her lead the way in her own city. She has no idea what the last hour means for what the hell is going on between her and Cat, but she has the sinking feeling that lunch will clarify things, whether Kara wants that clarity or not.

Chapter Text

“Not bad teamwork, right?” Kal-El asks as they hurtle toward a landing.

“Your freezy breath is pretty impressive,” Kara agrees, because she’s big enough to admit he’s a little more polished at that. “Although I did carry four grown adults from the building at a time. Nobody seemed to care much about that though.”

“I’m sure they-”

He shuts his mouth in the face of Kara’s glare, and they head toward the employee washroom at Noonan’s to clean up. Nobody stops them or even asks them what they’re doing. There’s only superficial soot to clean off, but Kara can’t help noticing she’s not the only one reluctant to engage super speed to finish the task.

“I’m going to ask her to marry me,” Kal-El blurts as they dry their hands. “I mean, not now. Not as… this. Clark will.”

“Oh,” Kara wants to just be happy for him, but there’s niggling doubt about their conversation from earlier. “You came out here to lecture me about how to be a public superhero, or taking risks or whatever? And you’re getting married as your alter ego?”

“She has to say yes first,” he points out. “Come on, you’re not dying to squeal just a little bit?”

“Fine,” Kara admits, and she gives in to the requisite squeal-bounce-hug combo. It’s such a relief to wrap her arms around someone and hug full force without hurting them, although it does make him wheeze a little. It’s just not worth bringing up again how Kara is technically stronger for first encountering Earth’s sun as a teen. “Congratulations, you giant dork.”

“We should seriously sit down and talk about the other stuff, though,” Kal-El persists. “I admit maybe I was a little patronizing before-”

“I’m dating Cat,” she interrupts, confident that for now the illusion will hold. “Anything that changes that fact is not on the agenda right now. If you want to let me pick your brain about Maxwell Lord instead, we can discuss the possibility that I might have my very own Lex Luthor lurking out here.”

He holds his hands up in surrender. “That I can do. We’ll take a spin after lunch?”

“Actually, as soon as we’re done here, the DEO would like you to pay a courtesy call. You know Hank, right?”

“Oh our paths have crossed,” Kal-El confirms, scowling. “Though I’d rather him than Lois’s dad.”

“How are you going to get your proposal past him?”

“First of all, it’s 2016 Kara. Lois is not her father’s property.” Kara is a little stunned by the sudden feminist upgrade in her cousin. “And second of all, I’ll use Jimmy’s plan for proposing to Lucy, since he hasn’t gotten around to it yet.”

“His… he has a plan?” Kara doesn’t know why she still cares. Honestly, it’s more reflex than anything else to feel hurt about James and Lucy. She actually thinks they make a great couple. And when she considered the choice between a newly-single James and Cat… even before the mind-blowing sex, Kara can admit to herself she would choose Cat every single time. This realization landed hard in the back of her thoughts and took hold.

“Of course he does,” Kal-El teases. “Anyway, the plan is to do it in public, with witnesses. Let Lois say yes before he can object. It’s that or eloping.”

“I hear Saturn is lovely this time of year,” Kara teases, her realization about Cat troubling her now. A couple of hours ago they were barely interacting, but just one performative kiss and Kara’s ready to take a bullet for her all over again. Well, a kryptonite-laced bullet at least. “But we should really get out there. Cat’s at least two martinis deep by now, if not three.”

“Lead the way,” he tells her once more, and Kara accepts the gesture gladly. He really isn’t that bad. Lois has been a good influence on him.

“Oh please,” Cat is in mid-flow when they take their seats. “If anyone is responsible for Sarah Palin, it’s you. You couldn’t stop telling everyone how you dared the Senator to put her on the shortlist.”

“Well, Miranda told me that you called Tina to talk her into going back on SNL.”

“Miranda will say anything to deflect from the fact that she married her assistant. Third time’s a charm, or so she claims.”

“They’ve been together for nine years—that beats both husbands combined,” Lois fires back. “I see you made it back intact,” she directs her comment to Kara, her smile conspiratorial. “Just in time for Cat to tell us more about people falling for their female assistants,” she adds in a whisper.

“Can you even spell discretion, Lane?” Cat snaps, distracted by the screens around the bar going blank for a few seconds. “Saved the world again, darling?”

“Just another office that didn’t have decent sprinklers,” Kara explains smoothly. “It should be on the next bulletin, the mobile news crew was there.”

“Of course they were,” Cat preens for Lois’s benefit. “Best in the business.”

“What’s good here?” Kal-El interrupts. “Man, I hate eating in the suit.”

“We’ve discussed a casual range for social occasions,” Cat offers, actually sounding quite genuine. “If we find the right designer, menswear won’t be a problem.”

“I don’t know,” Lois interjects. “The more I see Kara in action, the more I think he’d suit one of those little red skirts.”

Kal-El chokes on his water.

“We should order,” Kara takes one for the super team and tries to divert the beautiful but terrifying women sitting opposite them. “Did you want to know what’s good here?”

“She’ll have the Cobb salad,” Cat announces, feigning annoyance. “Anything else would excite her tastebuds too much. Now we just need one of the waiters to stop cowering behind the espresso machine and actually take our order.”

Cat is notorious in this restaurant. That’s why she usually has Kara as a buffer for the staff. Unfortunately the assistant who tips them well and keeps them in business with latte and muffin orders alone can’t make an appearance right now. Eventually, one of the waitresses summons her courage, and Kara lets herself relax for a moment as everyone orders.

“I’ll have the cheeseburger,” is all she gets a chance to say before the windows nearest them explode in a hailstorm of jagged glass. She swoops around the table to shield Cat with her cape, relieved that Kal-El is doing exactly the same for Lois. Cat clings to her as less fortunate people are peppered with the shards, and Kara strokes Cat’s cheek with her thumb. It’s easier than promising things will be okay, because when Non and his henchmen come whizzing through the now-empty windows, Kara isn’t sure okay is even an option.

“Kal-El!” Non greets him. “We’ve been waiting for you.”

“Leave him out of this,” Kara yells, detangling herself from Cat’s grip and urging her to take shelter under their table. As an afterthought, Kara unhooks her cape and drapes it over her. It’s a little Walter Raleigh, even if that was a myth, but she has to do something. “Your problem is with me.”

All around them people are scrambling for the exits, some of them bleeding. The aliens supporting Non start taking pot shots and laughing; up close, Kara can see they’re not all Kryptonian prisoners. That familiar surge of rage propels her upward and she kicks weapons from the hands of the first few before they realize what she’s doing.

Kal-El does his part too, zipping around and knocking them around like pins. Not all of them can match Kryptonians for strength, that much is apparent very quickly. Kara tracks Non the whole time, especially cautious that he might launch some other form of Kryptonite at her. He looks a little rattled by how quickly they’re overpowering his gang. She wishes in that moment she’d spent less time resenting Kal-El’s fussing and talked about recent events with him instead.

“You’re disobeying your general,” Kara snaps at Non once the bulk of the combatants are knocked out or restrained. “By coming after me.”

“Our general is lost to us,” Non barks. “In her absence, I’ve been promoted. Killing you is my mission, you spoiled little girl.”

“You can try,” Kara gets up in his face, but he still doesn’t strike her. “But I don’t like your odds.”

“Neither do I,” Kal-El adds, coming to hover by her shoulder. “I’ve read accounts of you from Krypton. You’re no match for one of us, never mind both.”

“Earth has made you soft,” Non spits, disgusted with them both. “Look how you preen in your childish costumes. But you were not raised to be soldiers. There’s more than one way to hurt an enemy.”

Kara realizes his intent as he raises his hand, but that’s still too late even at her speed. The blaster in his hand isn’t anything she’s seen before, but the percussive wave is enough to knock her out of the air as it passes her. She’s scrambling on the wooden floor to get to Cat.

Cat, Cat, Cat. It’s the only thought in her head, louder and faster even than her heartbeat. The cape will help, she tells herself. If only Cat has had the sense to stay under it. If she’s leaning out to get video, or even just record the audio, which is so absolutely what she would do…

The scream goes up before Kara can get to the table. It’s cut short, horribly short.

As she’s yanking at the tablecloth it occurs to her that the voice didn’t sound like Cat. She knows yelling, shouting and screaming in that voice, and that sound was not it. Kal-El is throwing punches at Non when Kara looks back over her shoulder. She looks back under the table to find Cat clambering out from under the cape, clutching at Lois’s slumped body.

“You are not dying on me, Lane,” Cat snarls at her, trying to shake her back to consciousness. “Come on!”

“Get back under that!” Kara pushes her aside, so relieved and still so horrified at the same time. Cat barely makes it before a second blast comes, and it’s agony when Kara uses her own body as a shield for Lois. Whatever that frequency is, it’s not friendly to alien tissue.

“Kara,” Cat is there when Kara opens her eyes again. “What the hell is happening?”

Kal-El is there then.

“He fled, the coward. You girls okay under here? What was… Lois? Lois!”

He pushes Kara and Cat aside with uncharacteristic carelessness, and Kara can only watch on in horror. Cat brings the cape over her, pulling Kara into a hug with one arm and a wary expression on her face.

“She’s breathing!” Kal-El announces a moment later, and Kara hears the first sob race up out of her throat. Thank Rao. “Barely,” he amends. “We need to get her to the DEO. Now!”

“The DE… what?” Cat pounces, but Kara warns her off with a look. If ever there was a not now moment, this was it. It’s enough to get her emotions in check, though. Sometimes being irked at Cat is a gift.

“Due east, two minutes tops. You’ll see the bunkers on the hillside,” Kara tells him. She’s pretty sure he’d find it from determination alone. “I’ll come too, I just need to make sure everything here is-”

“You’ve done enough!” Kal-El roars at her. “You left us here like sitting ducks because you were too busy defending your love life to protect us all. I can’t even look at you right now.”

With that, he’s gone.

Kara makes a half-hearted attempt to follow, but she can’t bear to move away from the warmth of Cat’s hold, the tightness of her grip like a tether that stops Kara from floating away.

“This wasn’t your fault,” Cat says a moment later, her voice rough with emotion. “I tried to get her to come under the damn thing with me. I thought if you left it, it must be for a reason.”

“I only thought of it on a whim,” Kara admits. “Some instinct, maybe. He didn’t have a chance to develop that instinct because I haven’t told him everything that’s been going on. Sergio, Kevan, how I almost drowned the other night.”

“I thought that was bad reporting?”

“That man, he’s… sort of a relative. He hit me with something that weakens me, and I almost drowned. I never learned to swim… I never had to.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Cat snaps. “You weren’t a baby when you left. You live by the ocean, for Christ’s sake.”

“And I can fly,” Kara bites right back. “That includes through water. By the time I was old enough to learn, most of the bodies of water on Krypton were too polluted. The lakes were acid, the seas just toxic. My planet was dying.”

“Will Lois die?” Cat asks in a whisper. “And was he aiming for me?”

“Why does everyone assume I know?” Kara can feel the limits of her ability to cope fast approaching. “I don’t know anything, I just fight whatever shows up in front of me.”

She wants so badly to be strong, but this chaos feels endless. For every problem she solves, fifteen more arrive to take its place. Countless criminal aliens and a man she barely knows all want her dead because her mother punished them for their crimes. Her cousin could lose the woman he loves because Kara got too caught up in double dates and photo shoots to warn better-qualified people about the lurking dangers in National City.

Cat could have been killed. Even just thinking the words makes Kara want to throw up right at her feet.

“You know more than me,” Cat points out, and that might be the first time in her life Cat has ever uttered that combination of words. Kara recognizes the gesture and meets Cat’s worried gaze, barely able to focus as the tears threaten to spill.

“It’s not enough,” Kara admits. “I’m not enough.”

“That’s not what this is,” Cat corrects her. “Leaders don’t win every battle. Certainly not in the first handful. Who can help you? You have people, I know.”

“Supergirl?” Comes the shout as heavy boots crunch across the glass. It’s Alex, because of course she would be with the first responders. Kara peeks out from under the table, verifying that it’s safe to emerge. DEO agents in their tactical gear are already securing the fallen criminals, and others are helping terrified, injured civilians out from behind the furniture to safety.

“Your sister can help you,” Cat realizes. “Because she’s ‘FBI’, right?” She waggles her fingers around the name, which doesn’t even irritate Kara though it should. “Or shouldn’t that be ‘DEO’, like your cousin said?”

“You can’t know about that,” Kara pleads. “Please, if you start talking about it…”

“Supergirl!” Alex repeats, checking Kara over before pulling her into a hug. Alex has a tactical vest jammed on over her suit, and she looks just as terrified as every other time she’s rolled up to a scene of destruction featuring Kara. “Kara,” Alex murmurs into her shoulder. “What the hell is going on?”

“Is Hank back at base?” Kara asks. “Lois got hurt. It was some kind of… sonic pulse? I don’t know, but it hurt me. Kal-El took her there.”

“Hank’s there, and the med team,” Alex reassures her, gripping Kara’s biceps just like she’s done since they were kids and Kara needed calming down. “Was it your uncle?”

“He’s not my uncle,” Kara spits. “He’s just married to my aunt. Who, he claims, is no longer their general.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Cat erupts at Kara’s side. “I can look the other way to a point, but Jesus Christ this is a whole science-fiction novel. George RR Martin puts out less content than this!”

“Miss Grant, we’re going to have to ask you to come with us.” Alex has switched right into professional mode. “We’d prefer if you did so without restraints.”

“Alex, no!” Kara stands between her sister and Cat, defiant.

“This isn’t your call,” Alex cuts her off, directing Kara toward the restaurant exit and the waiting shiny black vans. Cat follows with agents at her back. “You both need to be debriefed. We can’t keep fighting whatever this is by the seat of our damn pants. We will gather intel, and we will make a plan. And you will both help us until I say you’re done!”

The yelling makes Kara reconsider arguing back.

“Huh,” Cat says after a beat. “I told you she could help you. Come along, Clarice. Take us to your shadowy government facility.”

“You’re taking this surprisingly well,” Kara blurts once they’re alone in the back of a van. “You could have been killed back there. Lois still might…”

“But I wasn’t, so we have to hope she won’t be,” Cat corrects her. “You saved me. And that sister of yours is exactly what we need: competent.”

“More competent than me, you mean?”

Cat leans over and tilts Kara’s chin up out of her sulk. “Don’t fish for compliments. It’s not becoming.”

“What do you care if I’m becoming?” Kara knows she’s pouting. She wishes she could help it. But Cat is still touching her face, and she’s so, so close. “I’m just your fake girlfriend.”

“The relationship is fake,” Cat corrects. “The caring… ugh, you’re determined to back me into some kind of emotional declaration, aren’t you? I’m not your Mr. Darcy, Kara.”

“No, but you are my Ms Grant,” Kara points out. “And I didn’t know you were my anything.”

“If we can avoid assassination for a day or two, maybe there could be another date,” Cat suggests quietly. She withdraws her touch as she says it, folding her hands on her lap and looking intently at them instead. “A real one, not for the cameras. If you won’t agree to that, maybe a repeat of the other night at least.”

“You’re propositioning me while basically under arrest. You realize that, right?” Kara is floundering now. She hadn’t expected this turnaround. “Right after the nearly dying that I mentioned before?”

“Life is short,” Cat says, shrugging. “Oh God, you’ve got me resorting to cliché.”

“I know a way to stop that,” Kara suggests, leaning the rest of the way in.

“I didn’t know you had it in you,” Cat whispers, before Kara claims her lips with a heated kiss. “Oh look, more cliché.”

“I won’t let anything happen to you,” Kara pulls back just enough to let Cat know she’s completely sincere. “Consider me your bodyguard from now on, if you have to.”

“Roleplay so soon?” Cat gasps, mocking once more. “I didn’t know you had that in you either, Danvers.”

“I mean it,” Kara insists.

“I know you do.” Cat strokes Kara’s temples with her thumbs, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead. For a moment, when their eyes meet again, Kara can see the residual fear there. Trust Cat to be flirting her way out of a panic. “And it means more than I’m ever, ever going to let on. Understood?”

Kara nods. The vans rumble on at high speed, and when Cat leans into her for comfort, it feels more natural than Kara could have ever expected. She just wishes it was enough to tamp down the sickening guilt she feels about Lois, and the fear that her cousin might never forgive her.

Chapter Text

It takes exactly fourteen seconds for Cat to erupt.

“Are you kidding me?” She demands of everyone in the general vicinity. “When I said shadowy government facility, I didn’t say you could put a hood on me.”

“Cat-”

“You let them!” Cat turns on her then, or at least vaguely in the direction of Kara’s voice. “Oh we are going to have a long talk at some point about your responsibilities to CatCo. And to me, personally.”

“Really not the time,” Kara reminds her, and Cat quiets down temporarily. “Can we see Lois? I want to know she’s okay before we do anything else.”

“That’s not protocol,” Alex warns her, but they have to pass the medbays to get to the interrogation suites anyway. “You can look in, but let the docs work. There’s nothing you can do for her right now.”

Kara ignores Alex’s attempts at soothing and presses her palms against the window of the medbay where they’re working on Lois. Kal-El is badgering one of the medics while two others are scanning Lois and injecting her with something. Kara sees now that there’s a trickle of blood drying under Lois’s nose, and the skin around her eyes is starting to darken with bruises. Despite that she looks completely fine, almost as though she’s just lying down for a nap in her pantsuit.

“What are they doing to her?” Cat demands, raising her hands towards Kara although they’re cuffed. Kara steps away from the glass, taking Cat’s hands for a second and lowering them. “Shouldn’t she be at a real hospital? I have the city’s finest doctors a phone call away. I could help if you people would let me.”

“If the origin of the blast is alien tech, and I’m pretty sure it was, then the best place for her is here,” Kara explains. Kal-El would have taken her to Cedars if they could do any of this for her.”

“We really need to talk,” Alex urges them both on again. “Through here. We’ll take your statements together; there’s no time for comparison and all the other stuff we’d usually do. We can lose the hood,” she adds, closing the door behind them.

“Do dingy bunkers have catering?” Cat asks the moment Kara gently slips the hood off. Alex unlocks the cuffs, and makes it perfectly clear through body language alone that she would rather leave them on.

Cat’s hair is mussed and her expression furious as she blinks rapidly to adjust to the garish strip lighting. She strides across the room, takes a seat on the far side of the table, and crosses one leg over the other. Her blazer was abandoned back at the restaurant, but she’s still spellbinding in a royal blue blouse over a gray pencil skirt. Kara’s beginning to wonder how she ever gets any work done at all with this woman on hand to stare at. Her fingers itch for some charcoal and good quality sketching paper.

But for the decor, Cat could be holding court in her own office. “I’m sure your sister must have complained more than once about how I insist on a piping hot latte at regular intervals.”

“This isn’t Starbucks, so you’re out of luck,” Hank answers, joining them in the room. “Miss Grant, we’ll be asking you to sign some things before we go any further. As you can appreciate, discretion is paramount.”

“Nice try, Agent Mulder,” Cat narrows her eyes, but doesn’t budge an inch. “I’m not doing anything that impinges on my First Amendment rights. Never have, never will.”

“This isn’t a civics class,” Alex slams her hands on the table. “We need your help to protect Kara, and everyone else. You need to sign so we can talk about these things with you, because otherwise your only choice is at gunpoint.”

“Alex!” Kara has no choice but to intervene. She feels sluggish from the shock of seeing Lois hurt and seeing Kal-El so upset. He’s probably punching holes in the walls by now. Not to mention the stomach-somersaulting conversation with Cat, practically minutes after thinking she might be dead or injured, too. Kara barely knows what planet she’s on, emotionally speaking, and this is all escalating far too fast.

“Kara, tell your thugs that Cat Grant bends for no one,” Cat demands. “It’ll save us a lot of time and pointless arguments. You want to know what I saw, I’ll tell you. I already know enough if I wanted to expose your little operation. Like the fact that we’re in the desert. You shouldn’t let sand get dragged into the corridors. I could hear it.”

“There’s not much to tell,” Kara takes over, still holding onto Alex’s arm from where she pulled her away from the table. “We were at lunch after Kal-El and I handled that office fire. Before we could finish ordering, Non and his crew crashed the party. They must be following me. Or have really great taste in burgers.”

Alex frowns. Okay, so not exactly the time for jokes.

“I have no idea what that pulse was, but it was enough to hurt me. I felt it in my bones, Alex.”

“How did she avoid what happened to Lois?” Alex adds, flicking her head towards Cat.

She was thoughtfully protected by a superhero’s cape,” Cat answers instead. “And yes, I tried to protect Lois with it too, before anyone starts judging. She was too busy chasing after her boyfriend.”

“They came in through the windows,” Alex recaps, since that much was obvious from the shattered glass. “Did you have any warning? Kara, did you hear them approach?”

Kara shakes her head. “It just happened.”

“Although,” Cat adds, lost in thought for a second. “Maybe their electrical… pulse was what made the screens all black out right before they trashed the place. But the picture came right back.”

Hank shoots a look at Alex. Apparently that means something. Kara’s scrambling through her memories. There have been other electrical problems, but she can’t seem to focus properly.

A shout goes up from the hallway. Kara peeks out through the door to see Lucy being restrained by two agents in full tactical gear.

“I was a Major in the United States Army, get your alien-loving paws off me!” She shrieks, wriggling free of one as the other clings on to her arm despairingly. “If you think you’ve got trouble now, wait until my father hears that you’ve hurt one daughter and imprisoned the other!”

“Let her see her sister,” Kara snaps, then Hank is pushing past her to handle it. She slips back into the room where Alex is still glaring at Cat. “We should go talk to Astra. Turn the room down and I’ll do it.”

“Astra?” Cat picks up on it, because of course she does. “With a name like that I’m going to assume she’s the aunt. Isn’t it a little soon to meet the family, darling?”

“You’ve met all the family you need to worry about,” Alex tells her firmly. “I’m going to go check on Astra before you see her. Wait here.”

Kara watches her sister leave before turning her attention back to Cat. For a famously impatient person, Cat seems almost sanguine as she sits on the metal chair, bouncing one Louboutin as it dangles from her toes. That kind of nonchalance is beyond Kara at this moment. She grips the back of one of the other chairs, only letting go again when the screech of bending metal alerts Cat.

“Tense?”

“You have no idea,” Kara admits. “It’s been kind of a crazy day. I never thought I’d see you in a place like this. I… I don’t know what I thought.” She shakes her head. Putting all of this strangeness into words has never been her strong point; it’s always been easier to smile and be the nice, adaptable girl who’s just grateful there’s a planet for her to live on. “You okay?”

Cat shoots her an inscrutable look. Enough confessionals for one day, then. Kara paces the room a few times until Alex returns.

“She’s ready for us.”

“Well Kara is not leaving me alone if that’s what you were thinking,” Cat announces. “I don’t trust you not to spirit me away for rendition somewhere. And if that hood comes back out, I won’t be held responsible for my actions.”

“Don’t give her ideas,” Kara warns. “You can come with, but wait outside. I don’t want my aunt knowing any more about you. You’re already on her list of ways to get to me.”

“Am I?” Cat asks, and damn, it’s almost playful. Kara can’t afford to entertain the little flutter at Cat’s expression.

“Kara, we can’t let her walk around here. Or come into contact with other aliens. I know she’s your girlfriend, but there are rules.” Alex wriggles out of her tactical vest, dropping it on the floor and straightening out her blouse. It’s crumpled, and she frowns at it. Kara knows it’s in comparison to Cat; everyone gets critical of their clothes in her presence.

Cat shoots Kara another look at the use of ‘girlfriend’. Yeah, that’s going to need some explaining. Of course Cat would assume that Alex knows the real story. Kara’s real problem is that Alex does and is saying these things anyway. Alex might just get a smack around the head when they’re in the Krypton-bowl seeing Astra.

“Cat, please wait here?” Kara pleads. “I’ll fly you right back to anywhere you want to go as soon as we get all the information we need.”

“Fine,” Cat huffs. “But someone had better rethink that coffee policy. Fast.”

Kara sighs, zips along the hall to Alex’s office and brings Cat a cup of the only decent coffee in the building. Cat smiles in appreciation, but covers it quickly by taking a sip.

“You are so fucking whipped,” Alex grumbles as they walk down the hall. “Seriously, you can’t blur the assistant and girlfriend lines that much.”

“She’s not really my girlfriend,” Kara reminds her. “Actually, I don’t even know if that’s true. She just asked me out, for real.”

“Before or after the people getting knocked unconscious?”

“In the van,” Kara admits. “I mean, it was… she was pretty scared! And we talked a little bit. I guess that was overdue.”

“I can’t believe you had sex with her,” Alex hisses, poking Kara in the ribs. “I mean, I can because, y’know… who wouldn’t?”

“Okay, this is officially weird.”

That might qualify as the understatement of the year. Kara doesn’t know when her life got complicated enough to be discussing sex with her day-job-boss, while walking through a secret government facility with Alex. On their way to see Astra no less, the aunt Kara loved so desperately and thought dead for so long; the rediscovered piece of home that would rather see Kara perish than bend her principles.

 

These three women are so important to Kara, to her happiness, and the only common thread between them is Kara herself. She’s the one who has to keep each of them happy, and right now lifting the whole planet sounds like an easier task. Kara is relieved to see the cell door ahead.

“Non said they’ve given Astra up as lost, so don’t expect much from her. Or me,” she jokes. It’s still alarming how often she has just one shot at getting something right with so much constantly hanging in the balance.

“Use it to your advantage,” Alex insists, picking up on Kara’s nerves, or maybe her lack of focus. As a sister and as an agent, she’s always been great at the well-timed pep talk. “She clearly still loves you, and that might be all the leverage we have.”

The door opens with its customary quiet whoosh, and Kara lingers in the doorway while Alex rounds the pod to lower the Kryptonite levels. Astra is lying on the platform that serves as her bed, eyes closed and unmoving.

“We want to speak to you,” Kara announces. Astra cracks one eye open just a fraction and waits for Kara’s approach. “I’ve just had an interesting chat with your husband. Seems he’s promoted himself to General in your very convenient absence. Did you know he wasn’t marrying you for love, or…?”

“Arranged marriages were common, as you well know,” Astra answers eventually. Her voice cracks in places, her tone beyond weary. “Since you’re still standing, I suppose I should ask who he came after this time.”

“Kal-El,” Kara sticks with the half-truth. “He came to visit. Civilians bore the brunt of Non and his thugs.”

“Your civilian?” Astra sits up, sensing blood in the water. “Though your colleague here won’t tell me much about your life these days.”

“Her civilian is just fine,” Cat says from the doorway, and Kara almost hits the ceiling, dulled powers or not. “Others weren’t so lucky.”

“You cannot be here!” Kara is attempting to bundle Cat back into the hall before Kara even knows what she’s doing, but Cat stands her ground with surprising strength. “How did you even-”

“Everyone’s occupied with Lois,” Cat explains. “I just waited a few seconds and followed you. This place is uglier than I imagined.”

“She follows you into battle?” Astra calls out. “Better than I expected from a human.”

“This isn’t battle,” Kara growls at her, spinning back around and stalking towards the cell. “Because you already lost. General Lane and his needles will be here soon. His daughter was injured in the fight, maybe killed. You’ll tell us what Non has planned for me, and National City, or I’ll let him torture you.”

“You think I fear him?”

“She said needles and torture,” Cat chimes in. “Even if you’re not scared? Your face clearly is.”

“Cat!” Kara is really going to have to get her out of this base altogether.

“What’s the point in your little stunt here? It sounds like no one’s coming to get you. What do you have to lose by sparing yourself something awful?” Cat is in the doorway now, engaged in the debate. Astra, seemingly despite herself, is intrigued. “And you clearly have a soft spot for Kara here. Any idiot can tell from the way you watch her.”

“It would not be honorable to give up my fight,” Astra answers, after a moment. “My niece will join my cause or die with the rest of you.”

“Your cause?” Kara watches Cat but sees Alex discreetly pulling her service weapon from her belt.

“Saving the planet, as Krypton could not be saved,” Astra launches into her stump speech again, but Cat has no patience.

“Right, so saving the planet but killing everyone on it?” Cat confirms. “That seems a lot like missing the point. Regardless, you’re not really getting the most out of this whole imprisonment thing.”

“Okay, that’s enough out of you.” Alex marches over, ready to bodily throw Cat back down the hallway. She actually has the gun trained on her. Cat doesn’t even flinch.

“I should leverage my information?” Astra asks, right before Alex gets hold of Cat. “Interesting. Which army do you lead? I don’t think you’re a civilian at all.”

“Stop talking to her,” Kara pleads, unsure which of them she’s actually trying to exert influence over. “Just stop.”

“In exchange for a more comfortable confinement,” Astra decides. “I’ll give you one piece of information. Valuable intelligence.”

“Intel first,” Alex orders. “If it pans out, we’ll get you a cell that only has Kryptonite in the door. It’ll be less… sickening.”

Astra narrows her eyes at Alex and considers. “You’ve been trying to manipulate me for days now,” she says. “Just when I thought we might reach an understanding, you bring Kara and this woman to manipulate me. I wanted to trust you, Alex.”

Alex? Kara mouths at her sister. Oh they are going to be having a conversation about that the absolute second they’re clear of this room.

“You can trust us,” Kara says instead. “You must know by now I want you to see reason. I don’t want to hurt you anymore. If you want to save this planet, if you mean it, I want you to join our side.”

“Kara!” Alex shouts. “What are you doing?”

“Oh little one,” Astra sighs. “Life is not that simple. You have a traitor in your ranks,” she adds, in Kryptonese. “The one who can talk to machines. I’m tired. Come back when my new accommodation is ready.”

“Let’s go,” Alex commands, directing them both outside before jamming the green glow back up to full confinement level. Kara feels woozy right away, stumbling as she leads Cat out. Cat grips her forearm, clearly alarmed.

“What’s wrong?”

“Kryptonite,” Kara jerks her head back towards the room. “It weakens me. I’ll be fine in a minute.”

“Why would you put her in a room that weakens her?” Cat accuses Alex over Kara as she bends forward to catch her breath and tamp down the nausea. “I thought you were supposed to be protecting her.”

“Don’t tell me how to do my job,” Alex gets right up in her face, jostling Kara as she does. In a second, she’s going to have to recover enough to separate them. “Kara, what did she say to you? I caught ‘talking’ and ‘machines’, but the rest of the words I didn’t know. They sounded military, somehow.”

“I have a traitor in my ranks,” Kara translates as she stands up fully. Cat doesn’t let go of her arm. “Someone is feeding her - them - information about me and my whereabouts. She said they talk to machines?”

“It can’t be anyone here,” Alex surmises. “They can only track an active comms link, and you weren’t talking to me today. Or the first time, if we assume that your office has vengeful Kryptonians too.”

“I want to see Lois,” Cat announces. “I’ll sign… something. Not carte blanche, but a standard NDA about this location and its facilities.”

“That’s not-”

“Someone has to calm Lucy down,” Cat argues. “Wouldn’t you rather get one Lane under control before the General arrives?”

“Be my guest,” Alex snarks, clearly hoping that putting Cat near Lucy and Kal-El might get her knocked out, at least by accident. Kara shoots her a look that stops just short of laser vision, and Alex holds her hands up, clearly caught. “Medbay is on the right. Do not go anywhere but there or the interrogation room. Hank won’t let you once he notices you’re out, anyway.”

Cat nods, taking one last look at Kara to make sure she’s recovering, before striding off down the hallway. It definitely sounds weird to hear stiletto heels in the DEO for a change. Kara looks at her sister expectantly.

“You know who also talks to machines, right?” Alex leans back against the wall, and once again Kara sees the exhaustion in her sister. It makes her want to whisk them out of there, put Alex to bed with a glass of warm milk, and stand guard until all those little shadows are slept away. “You’ve got to look in your own backyard.”

“It can’t be anything to do with Winn,” Kara scoffs. “You’ve just named the person least likely to work against me.”

“Unless he thinks he’s helping you,” Alex points out. “Maybe he thinks if you get turned to the alien side, you’ll want him as thanks for selling out humanity. Just you and him and a bunch of aliens? I think he’d like those odds for you finally giving him a chance.”

“Suspecting Winn is like… suspecting you!” Kara tries to laugh it off. She’s forcing herself not to think of earlier, of that darkness around Winn’s eyes as he watched them. It was just the burn of being left out, the residual pain of being rejected, Kara told herself. She had been friends with him since the moment they met at CatCo, and he had gone above and beyond to help and protect her, even before he knew about Supergirl. “You’re way off base, Alex. For all we know my aunt is just messing with me. Winn never even met her, so how could he be helping anyone?”

There’s a disturbance from the direction of the medical bay, a huge clattering that Kara already knows is some shelving being ripped from the wall and tipped over. Alex’s reflexes are almost as good, but Kara speeds ahead, stepping in front of Cat as soon as she locates her. The disturbance, as Kara suspected, is caused by her cousin. Hank is beside him now, calming him with a hand on his shoulder.

“Kara!” Kal-El sounds desperate as he yelps her name. “They’re saying there’s nothing more they can do. They’re going to let her die!”

“That can’t be true,” Kara argues, but she sees the way the doctors are retreating, shoulders slumped in defeat or busying themselves with IV leads. “Come on, there has to be something.”

“Get her to a real doctor,” Cat insists, grasping Kara’s arm again, but this time it seems that she’s steadying herself. “She is not dying because I couldn’t convince her to take cover with me. I’m not allowing it.”

“Enough,” He snaps. “Get away from her, and take your tubes away from her. There’s only one person who can help us now.”

“Kal-El,” Kara speaks carefully. “What do you mean?”

“There’s a man I know,” Kal-El tells her. “Something of a miracle worker. I’m taking Lois, and I’m going to find him. Don’t even think about trying to stop me.”

“Will it save her life?” Lucy asks from where she’s standing over Lois, holding her hand.

“I hope so,” he tells her. “There’s no guarantee.”

“He’s an alien?”

“A god,” Kal-El corrects. “Lucy, you know I would never try anything that would hurt her any further.”

“Then do it,” Lucy decides. “But you’re taking me, too. Get on with it, before my dad gets here.”

“You’re sure?” Kara asks, but Lucy dismisses her with a glance. It’s easy to forget they have no real relationship in this identity. They’re barely real friends when Kara is plain old Kara Danvers. The doctors unhook Lois as requested, and Kal-El takes her carefully in his arms.

“Let me,” Lucy takes her sister into something like a standing hug, made all the more difficult by Lois’s unconscious state. Kal-El supports them both by wrapping his arms around them. Kara wants to offer to help, but she knows when she isn’t wanted. She also knows that National City cannot afford to be left without a protector right now.

“I’ll come back to help when I can,” Kal-El tells Kara, walking out to where he can safely take off without injuring either Lane sister. Otherwise, Kara suspects he’d just as soon blast out through the rocks. “I’m sorry about before, Kara.”

“Go,” she urges him. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got this.”

“You should go home and rest,” Alex suggests, although she needs to follow her own advice more than Kara does. “You know we’ll call if there’s any more alien activity.”

“What, I should just… Netflix and chill until something else goes wrong?” Kara is incredulous. Alex can’t seriously expect her to just… Cat has her hand on Kara’s shoulder, and she’s leaning in to whisper.

“That can be arranged,” she says, the words barely audible to anyone but Kara.

“What did I…?” Kara is completely confused.

“You know how when you first arrived, you used to not entirely get idioms?” Alex reminds her. “You should probably Google things instead of just repeating them. Looks like you haven’t quite ditched the habit.”

The doctors are clearing up the medical supplies, and Kara can hear at least one of them suppressing some giggles.

“You said you’d fly me home,” Cat reminds her, taking Kara’s hand. “You need to learn to grab an opportunity for a break when it presents itself.”

“I’ll call,” Alex promises.

Kara sighs, leading Cat out into the corridor toward the same exit Kal-El has just left from. She doesn’t have to ask or instruct; the minute she stands still, Cat moves into position with her arms around Kara’s neck.

“Up, up and away,” Cat commands. With no small amount of relief, Kara does what she’s told.

Chapter Text

“You really meant it about coming here instead?” Kara asks as they land in the middle of her living room. “I didn’t mishear you in the windrush?”

“I meant it,” Cat confirms. “Unless you’d feel more relaxed at one of my houses?”

“No, this is better,” Kara tells her. “Why do I need to feel relaxed?” It’s difficult not to worry when Cat throws around a word like that. She doesn’t always mean what other people mean when it comes to common terms like stress, relaxation, or reasonable force. “Some nights it’s kind of a relief just to see your own boring life laid out in front of you.”

“Because you’re doing too much,” Cat explains. “Oh, I know what it looks like. I’m not so lacking in self-awareness, Kara. I know what burning the candle at both ends - then setting a whole box of candles on fire for good measure - looks like. And luckily for you, I’m going to help you find a way to handle it.”

“You are?” Kara feels her shoulders slump. “But I didn’t ask for help.” She doesn’t want pity about her screw-ups, not from Cat.

“You should,” Cat folds her arms, defiant once more. “Even superheroes need someone to turn to. You Kryptonians shouldn’t be so proud.”

“We’re actually… asking for help is a good thing in my culture. I think the problem might be too many human influences. Bad ones.”

“Sure, blame the host planet,” Cat teases. “I want to try something. Kara, do you trust me?”

“Of course I trust you.” Kara had been grabbing water, but she puts the bottle down and goes to take Cat’s hands. After their conversation in the van, she suspects she’s allowed to do these things now. “I just got you into a top secret facility. You know the one secret that could ruin my whole life. And I don’t give my cape to just any rando.”

“That word doesn’t sound right coming from you.” Cat scrunches her face at Kara. “But I suppose at least you used it right. Honestly, how did I not notice all these contradictions in you until a couple of weeks ago? Promise me you’ll never work for the CIA.”

“Not much chance,” Kara answers. “You were pretty impressive today. Thank you. I don’t know how to… I’m sorry about Lois. Do you need to call Carter?”

“We’ve been texting. He prefers that, most of the time.”

“Right,” Kara sighs. “Did you really want to watch Netflix? I can make you a profile so you don’t mock my viewing history. And I’ll get you some Scotch, hold on. Are you hungry? We didn’t actually eat, and it’s already getting dark and-”

Cat silences her with a kiss, lingering and sweet.

“Stop, Kara,” she commands. “Just stop. We’ll deal with all of that later.”

“We will?” Kara tries not to swoon at the plural pronoun. It’s been the trippiest day of her life, and she once woke up to find out she’d been asleep for 24 years. “I just want…”

She trails off. She has no idea what she wants in this moment. Cat seems sure she knows exactly what Kara needs, though. She leads her into the bedroom until they’re standing face-to-face at the foot of Kara’s bed. On the way Cat switches on two lamps, bathing the room in a soft glow that makes Kara think of summer evenings and fireflies. The space has never felt like that before.

“First things first: take off the suit. Take off all the worries and responsibilities that come with it.” Cat watches, perfectly still. “Stop thinking. Just do as I tell you.”

“But-”

“If at any point you want to stop, just pick a word that you’ll remember. The minute you say that word, we stop. It’s exactly that simple, darling.”

“I like it when you call me darling,” Kara sighs. “Can that be the word?”

“No, because I reserve the right to use it,” Cat corrects her. “Something you would never usually say in bed.”

“Jupiter,” Kara plucks the planet’s name from thin air, but it feels right.

“Good,” Cat assures her. “Now, I believe I told you to take off that suit. Strip for me, Kara.”

Kara nods, her fingers trembling as she fumbles with the hidden zipper. Instead of coming closer, Cat hums softly in approval and retreats to the chair that sits to the side of Kara’s bed. When Cat takes her seat it becomes a throne, her delicate wrists resting on the arms of it. She crosses her legs just as deliberately as she did back at the DEO.

Cat is Kara’s audience, and she’s waiting for her show.

Kara pulls the zipper down slowly, biting her bottom lip to concentrate. Already she feels less swamped, less yelled at by the world around her. Cat’s going to tell her what to do. Cat’s going to make her feel better. Kara doesn’t have to make the plans or think outside the box or deal with any of the problems hurled at her today. It’s just this room, Cat, and the hint of a breeze against her skin as she strips to her underwear.

“Plain black,” Cat comments, tilting her head for a moment. “I confess, I always wondered about beneath the suit.”

“There isn’t always time to change that-”

Cat cuts her off with a wave of one imperious finger. “No talking. For you. Just your word, if you need it.”

Kara nods. She can get used to this.

“Now the boots,” Cat urges. “You can be quick about those.” Kara unzips them and kicks the boots haphazardly towards the corner. Cat’s gaze rakes her body from head to toe, her eyes predatory. Kara rests her hands on her hips, resisting the urge to take a few steps over there and climb onto Cat like she so badly wants to.

“Come here,” Cat says, after an eternity. “Not to me,” she corrects as Kara moves closer. “Hands on the bed. Bend over.”

Kara’s breath catches in her throat at the firmness of the command, but she shakes her ass just a little as she turns in front of Cat, taking the position as ordered. There’s a hint of sirens and car horns tugging at the edges of her hearing, but she takes a deep breath and concentrates on blocking that out. It’s just another evening in National City, and the world will have to turn without her tonight.

She’s glad of the focus when Cat leans forward, the gentle air from her words brushing the sensitive skin of Kara’s ass as she speaks.

“I’m not going to touch you,” is all she says, and Kara’s heart sinks. “Yet.” Kara heaves a sigh of relief. “I am going to make sure that you touch yourself,” Cat continues. “You remember we talked before about the importance of finding a release?”

Kara nods. She’s never done this before. She has barely admitted to another person that she touches herself, ever, but the thought of doing so with Cat as her audience shocks her body with a silent thrill. It’s as though Cat read her mind the first night they were together, and Kara wonders if she’s been putting this fantasy out there somehow through her body language.

“Don’t be shy,” Cat continues, her voice lower and husky now. She sounds like late nights and really expensive Scotch. Each word draws a physical throb in Kara’s body. “Get up on the bed now. On your knees and face me.”

It shouldn’t be hard to follow that instruction, though to Kara’s embarrassment her hand slips for a second and she has to right herself at super speed to stop herself from face-planting when she first changes position. Facing Cat, there’s no hiding from that gaze that puts Kara’s own x-ray vision to shame. She wants to ask if this is what Cat wanted, if Kara is giving her what she’s asking for, but the order not to talk sits heavily on her tongue. When Kara parts her lips in an unasked question, Cat notices.

“Perfect,” Cat assures her. “You’re doing so well, darling.” Kara shivers at the endearment, hands hanging at her sides as she kneels in black underwear, hair falling around her shoulders with a strand or two already wild across her face. She’s aware of every inch of her body, caressed as it is by Cat’s gaze. It’s almost as good as being touched, but she craves that now more than ever. “Now take off your bra for me.”

Swallowing her nervousness, Kara reaches with her right hand and pulls her left bra strap down at an agonizing pace. When Cat smiles tightly in encouragement, Kara repeats the action for the other strap with her left hand. She’s about to reach behind and unhook, when she considers a bolder choice, and pulls the black cotton down first, exposing her breasts to Cat’s approving nod. A moment later, she releases the garment and lets the material flutter to the floor, no longer relevant.

“You’re getting the hang of this,” Cat says softly. “Now take your hair and sweep it to one side for me, I want to see all of you, and that includes your neck. Has anyone ever told you how perfect your collarbones are, Kara? How it’s a relief when you wear higher necklines to the office, because I can’t be distracted by the thought of kissing them?”

This is news to Kara. Between the conversation they had about Kara and Supergirl being the same person to Cat, and Cat’s insistence earlier that she and Kara were simply acting on something that already existed, she’s beginning to think she wasn’t the only one who’d been trying to ignore a crush.

Her fingers move unbidden to trace her own collarbones. Her eyelids close for a few seconds at the tickling sensation of her own touch, combined with the memory of Cat’s mouth there before, how she’d bitten Kara with abandon.

“Now a little lower,” Cat instructs, and Kara opens her eyes again as she complies. Her nipples have tightened in the cooler air, and from the sound of Cat’s voice. The first time Kara brushes them with tentative fingertips, she bites her bottom lip to keep from crying out. “Stop that,” Cat orders, a little harsher. “You will hold nothing back. I want to hear every. single. reaction. Clear?”

Kara nods and circles her nipples with her middle fingers. She doesn’t hold back the happy sigh at the pleasing sensation of it, and Cat seems pleased. She still seems quite unruffled despite watching Kara so intently. But for the chair in its overstuffed, wooden-armed glory, Cat could be sitting in the office watching an argument play out amongst her senior staffers. Kara senses a challenge in disrupting that poise, and pinches her nipples between thumb and forefinger, surprising even herself with the gasp it draws out of her.

She’s just never been quite this sensitive before. The concentration seems to be helping. Much like she can simulate human senses by blocking the upper ranges of her abilities, the exclusion of everything but touch and Cat’s attention is making every reaction stronger. Kara wonders, too, if it’s not because this is only the second time she’s ever had sex without secrets. Cat won’t lose her mind if Kara slips and engages some kind of super speed or strength. There’s no more deep secret to slip free in the heat of the moment.

Kara wonders if this is what freedom feels like.

“You’ve been so good, Kara, but there’s something I need to know.” Cat leans forward just a little, her knuckles white as she grips the arms of the chair. “Are you wet?”

There’s an obvious answer, Kara can already tell she’s soaked. But Cat’s words sound more like a clue than a simple question, so Kara trails one hand down over her abs and toys with the waistband of her panties.

“You can’t tell from there,” Cat points out, proving Kara’s approach was the desired one. “Touch yourself, darling. And show me how wet you are.”

Her mouth is dry in anticipation, so Kara licks her lips. She stops fiddling with the thin band of elastic and slips her hand beneath the cotton. She skims the tight curls and is unsurprised to find she’s already wet there. By the time she passes over her clit, barely daring to touch it, her two fingers are already slick. She keeps the rest clasped in a half-fist, not daring to assert more pressure yet. Kara moans as she drags her fingers back through the wetness before slipping her hand free once more and displaying it in the warm light of the room.

“Well,” Cat sounds a little impressed despite herself. “It seems instruction works for you. I think it’s time we lost the last of your clothes, don’t you agree?”

Kara makes to move, but Cat raises her hand.

“Not entirely. Just pull them down to about mid-thigh. I want to see you, soaked for me, but putting a little restraint in place can’t hurt for now. Trust me when I tell you we’re going to be taking our time.”

Nearly every muscle in Kara’s body clenches at the same time on hearing that news, and she yanks her underwear down quickly as instructed. She isn’t sure she’ll survive the rest of this night. Sleeping with Cat might be her new kryptonite, just in a really fun, pleasurable kind of way.

“Now touch yourself again. Don’t let that other hand get lazy. I’m sure your nipples are even more sensitive now.” Cat runs her tongue along her teeth for a second, considering. “Don’t touch your clit yet. Anywhere else is permitted. Find a rhythm, Kara. Let me hear it.”

It’s a new task that Kara attacks with enthusiasm. She rolls her nipple more gently than before, alternating with dragging her nails over each breast in turn, because she liked the sensation when Cat did it, and it makes the moans bubble up even quicker. Her right hand, just that little bit stronger than her left, is put to good use between her thighs. Kara can’t bring herself, even in her thoughts, to use more explicit terms for her own body. She thinks she might be able to if Cat demanded it of her; it’s exciting to have that confidence in what Cat can coax out of her.

Parting the lips easily, Kara sinks two fingers inside herself and the relief of that first thrust makes her cry out. She’s been aching inside since this started, a particular pull that’s almost magnetic in her need to be touched there. Cat watches until that point, and just before Kara withdraws her fingers to stroke through her folds a little more, Cat snaps an order to stop. Kara ceases all movement, as awkward as it is. With her own fingers inside her, her nipple pressed between thumb and finger, mouth open from the cry that just escaped her, chest heaving with labored breath, she looks to Cat for what comes next.

“Hold, exactly like that,” Cat instructs, leveraging herself out of the chair and yanking her skirt back into place after it’s ridden up on her hips. “I mean it Kara, don’t move. I’m going to get a drink and I expect to find you exactly like this when I return. Are you going to obey me?”

That word would be a threat from anyone else, but it just makes Kara squeeze around her own fingers in anticipation. She nods, unsure she can live up to the promise.

Cat clicks off towards the kitchen, still in her heels. Kara tries holding her breath, but it does nothing to help as she listens to Cat opening cupboards, retrieving a glass. There’s a muttered curse before Cat finds Alex’s bottle of Johnnie. Kara’s going to have to replace that at this rate. To her surprise, she hears the fridge open and Cat retrieving something from the freezer drawer. She doesn’t usually drink Scotch on the rocks, but a moment later Kara hears ice hitting the glass, and the splash of liquid hitting it.

She could move, just a little. Release the pressure for a second and get right back to how she was. No way Cat hears her, and Kara can keep herself quiet when she wants. It’s just that she finds she doesn’t want to. The instinct to rebel is absent, she feels better because Cat is completely in charge here, and Kara wants to do everything she asks. Not just because it pleases Cat, which helps, but because Cat seems to know exactly how good it will make Kara feel. No one has ever known her like this before; Kara always thought that would be terrifying, but somehow it isn’t.

When Cat returns, Kara is beaming with pride that she hasn’t moved even a fraction of an inch. Cat recognizes that pride, and playfully rolls her eyes. “Don’t get smug,” she warns. “But that was very good. I’m impressed.”

Kara looks at her, expectantly.

“Continue what you were doing before,” Cat tells her, but she doesn’t return to her chair. One night of this and Kara already knows that chair will always belong to Cat.

Cat sinks her whisky in one mouthful, leaving the two small ice cubes in the glass. She considers a moment, before lifting the glass again and letting one slide into her mouth.

Her lips are cool when she kisses Kara, careful not to touch her in any other way. When Kara’s lips part to deepen the kiss, Cat presses the ice against her tongue and then pulls away.

“Use it,” Cat commands, taking her seat and crossing her legs once more. This time though, she pulls off her shoes and tosses them aside. “I see you’re quite the artist - did you think I wouldn’t notice? Your body is your newest canvas. Take the ice and draw me something.”

Kara gingerly takes the ice cube from her mouth and holds it out in front of her. Reluctantly, she slips her hand out from between her legs, since Cat seems to be changing the game. Uncertain, she draws a line across the top of her breasts with the ice, not expecting it to feel as shocking or as pleasant as it does.

“Oh!” She gasps. Cat shushes her, finger against her lips. She sets the glass down, attention rapt on Kara. In that moment, Kara sees the pattern she wants to trace; the route across her body couldn’t be more obvious if it were glowing through her skin. She takes the ice and starts beneath her ear, bold lines down her throat and then skimmed across the collarbones Cat seems to like so much. She lets the ice rest for a second in the hollows there, before collecting it and swirling from the inside of her elbow down to her wrist.

She repeats the action on the other arm before rolling the cube across her stomach in curling designs that fade instantly, the trails of water absorbed by her skin. Her nerve endings are singing at the extra stimulation, and every time she looks at Cat to see her fixated on the movement of Kara’s hands, the thrill increases.

The ice is melting fast, so she drags it up over the curve of her breasts, circling the nipples as she did with her fingers not so long ago. When she presses the ice against the hard peaks, Kara bends forward with the strength of her body’s reaction. It’s like a lightning bolt pulling behind each nipple and her clit simultaneously, and Cat gasps in appreciation, wriggling a little in her chair.

When the ice is gone, Kara shows her empty hand to Cat and then continues touching herself in the same way. Cat tilts her heading, deciding. Kara’s aware of at least a hundred ways to drag this out.

“I’ve always wondered how you’d look doing this,” Cat confesses. “When you’ve stormed out of the office, clearly hating me. How many of those nights did you end up fucking yourself on your fingers, telling yourself it was never about me?”

Kara’s relieved she’s not allowed to answer. She isn’t sure she trusts herself.

“My intention was to have you demonstrate that for me. Find out if you make yourself a little throne of pillows and pull your knees up to your chest. Or do you shove your face against the sheets while you grind your hips down against your hand? No reason you couldn’t do both, I suppose.”

Kara whimpers. The talking is having the strongest effect of all.

“Come here,” Cat orders. “We’ll try that another time, but I’m no longer happy with you being out of reach. Do you want to touch me, Kara?”

That’s not even a question. Kara nods emphatically, climbing down from her bed to stand in front of Cat.

“Give me your panties,” Cat demands, holding out her hand. Kara pulls them the rest of the way down her legs and hands them over without hesitation. “I’m going to put these in my purse when we’re done,” Cat informs her. “They’re my property now.”

That’s fine with Kara. She flexes her fingers, eager to touch Cat but remembering that she’s supposed to wait for permission.

“You’ve been patient,” Cat tells her. “Now come sit on my lap, just like you were on the bed.”

Straddle Cat’s lap? Kara can absolutely do that. She places her hands on Cat’s shoulders to steady herself, crumpling the silk beneath her hands, still damp from the melted ice. They’re so close it’s almost impossible not to kiss Cat, but still Kara holds her position and waits. She doesn’t have to make those decisions, and she loves every second of that.

“I want you to fuck yourself,” Cat orders, enunciating perfectly to maximize the effect it has on Kara. “Take those talented fingers and slip them inside. Not too fast, not at first, but make sure you really feel it.”

Kara’s hand is in motion before she’s conscious of making the decision to do it.

“You have permission to touch your clit with the other hand,” Cat decides. “But slowly. Just gentle touches for now, darling.”

There’s a part of Kara that wants to know how Cat is doing this, how she can read Kara’s body like an editorial and analyze every emotion running through it. Kara pushes down against her own fingers as she starts to thrust, and there’s no doubting the effect on Cat as she bites her lip again. It’s just a little awkward using both hands at this angle, but Kara’s flexible and willing to push through just about anything.

“Good girl,” Cat murmurs in encouragement, and Kara almost comes on the spot. Her moan must be a giveaway, because Cat chuckles at her wanton state. “But you haven’t earned the right to come yet. I’ll give you permission to beg when it’s time.”

That’s enough to make Kara light-headed, but her fingers don’t miss a beat. She curves her back a little more to get the angle she really needs, her hair falling forward and brushing Cat’s face for a moment. She thinks Cat will scold her, but there’s only a smile tilted upward in response, Cat’s eyes flickering closed for a second in what might be bliss.

Kara couldn’t keep quiet now if she tried, but she’s careful not to let the sounds racing out of her form actual words. Mostly it’s ragged breaths, somewhere between a sob and a sigh, and Cat seems to approve. Kara looks down at Cat’s hands, now clutching the chair with a death grip. Not touching Kara is apparently killing her, and Kara intends to make it even more difficult.

As the thrusts of her fingers increase in pace and power, Kara moans right by Cat’s ear, tickling her skin with her breath now. She wants Cat to be pleased with her, wants Cat to be so turned on by Kara’s actions that she gives in and touches her too. But she wants, most of all, to do what Cat told her. She’ll wait for permission, no matter how close she already feels.

She almost falls over that edge with a particular twist of her fingers, combined with the featherlight pressure at her clit, and Cat doesn’t miss that.

“Stop,” she orders again. “Kara, stop.”

Kara stills her movements, waiting and trying to catch her breath.

“You know now that you can do this, and do it well,” Cat tells her, finally letting go of the chair and running her fingertips down Kara’s spine. She arches back into the touch, hissing in pleasure. “You can shut out the world and take a moment for yourself. I want you to promise you’ll do that when it’s too much. Or you’ll call me, wherever you are, and I’ll talk you through it. Just like tonight.”

It’s not difficult to nod in agreement. Kara wonders how she got from fake girlfriend to Cat being her only tether to reality so quickly, until she remembers that this is what Cat already was to her. They’ve just added what turns out to be really good sex to the equation.

“But for now,” Cat reaches down between Kara’s thighs and pulls her hand free, making Kara groan at the loss. She’s still pressing down on her clit, but Cat takes Kara’s slick fingers and swipes them across Kara’s nipple like a brushstroke. She licks the wetness from Kara’s nipple and Kara’s close enough to coming that it’s a miracle when she stops herself.

“Beg,” Cat orders, when she’s done sucking Kara’s nipple until it’s rock hard, before doing the same with the other. She doesn’t let go of Kara’s wrist the whole time. Finding her voice, Kara is a little shocked by the torrent of words that spills out.

“Please, God, please. Cat, I need… please, please I’ll be so good, I promise.”

“My good girl,” Cat murmurs, guiding Kara’s fingers to her lips. She kisses the fingertips, before sucking on them softly. When she runs her tongue along the side of Kara’s index finger, Cat’s other hand brushes past Kara’s fingers on her clit. For a moment she mirrors the teasing flicks of her tongue with her finger tracing the edges of Kara’s entrance, but whether through impatience or Kara’s muttered chant of “please” repeated over and over, Cat quickly thrusts two fingers inside.

Kara rubs her clit in earnest, and Cat adds a third finger. She stops toying with Kara’s fingers and pulls her into an open-mouthed kiss instead. When the kiss ends, there’s barely time for Cat to say “come, Kara,” before Kara does.

And oh, how she does.

Her whole body tenses, tuned to the vibration of Cat’s movements and her own, Kara grasps blindly for Cat with her free hand, tugging at her hair and pulling her face against Kara’s breasts as she rides out her orgasm. Cat licks and sucks at the sensitive skin as Kara cries out; maybe it’s a scream, but it’s just noise and feeling and everything is so, so bright until finally, finally she collapses against Cat.

“I think you needed that,” Cat soothes as she works her hand free and pulls Kara into something more like a hug. “You were so good,” she murmurs, as Kara partly falls and partly moves into being cradled on Cat’s lap. “So, so good.”

“You made me good,” Kara tells her when words finally return, heavy and foreign on her tongue. She can hear nothing over their combined heartbeats, the slowing of their rapid breathing. If she closes her eyes there’s nothing but this moment, this safety and calm of being with Cat. For someone who’s usually the storm in Kara’s life, it’s only right that Cat should turn out to be the calm at its center.

“Less stressed?” Cat asks, thumb stroking Kara’s cheek.

“Yup,” Kara answers, laughing around the word. “In fact, I only have one concern,” she adds, opening her eyes again to look Cat in the eye.

“What?” Cat demands, frowning slightly.

“I’m concerned that you haven’t told me what you want me to do to you in return,” Kara tells her, and gladly accepts a kiss in response.

“Get your breath back,” Cat warns, shifting under Kara and giving away her own unaddressed needs. “I have a few ideas.”

Chapter Text

Kara closes the bathroom door a little too forcefully and frowns where the hinges crack the paintwork. Great, another repair job to add to the things she’ll have to do to get her security deposit back. Not that she’s really considered living anywhere but this apartment since she moved to National City; not every apartment allows her to fly in and out without detection.

She’s just a little frazzled now, her powers bleeding through her usual self-control after what Cat has just guided them both through. Kara just made Cat Grant come so hard she ripped the fabric of Kara’s new favorite chair. To do that with only human strength suggests Kara did something very, very right.

She did something very right three times in surprisingly quick succession, in fact.

Actually, maybe four, but by that point Cat was cursing pretty loudly and yanking on Kara’s hair, which seemed like her cue to finally relent on the licking. Oh, and the sucking. Kara’s spent a lot of her life doubting her abilities, specifically her dexterity and her poise. But for her first time doing that particular act, she’s pretty proud of herself. Cat’s specific instructions were especially helpful until she lost coherence there at the end.

Kara washes up quickly, conscious that Cat’s impossibly high standards aren’t likely to disappear just because they had sex. She takes her time washing her face, smug all over again at how Cat had soaked her, thighs trembling either side of Kara’s head. She debates over brushing her teeth but wants to enjoy the taste of Cat on her lips and tongue a little longer. She doubts she’s going to get complaints.

Cat knocks on the bathroom door. Kara jumps, her super hearing jolting to life a moment too late and making it feel like the knock is inside her skull.

“If you’re done pretending you keep your apartment spotless, I’d like the bathroom please.”

“Coming!”

Kara lets herself out and is stopped in her tracks by the very naked and unabashed Cat standing before her. There are pink marks of varying intensity across her bare skin, and Kara blushes all over again at being the cause.

“Yes, it was excellent,” Cat confirms, without being asked. “But I’m not risking a UTI for anyone. Out of my way. Please.”

Kara pulls her robe tighter around herself and wanders into the living room to check her phone. Relieved that it’s clear of messages, she picks up her earpiece anyway, before putting it back down on the coffee table. Cat calls out for her then, so much warmth in the “Kara,” the right name every time now. It’s not the yell of the office, but the determined shout of a woman with something fun in mind. In truth a whisper would have done it, but there’s something Kara likes very much about being summoned that way.

“What’s up?” Kara asks through the reopened bathroom door.

“I have no idea how to turn this shower on,” Cat waves toward it vaguely as Kara comes in. She hadn’t realized how small her bathroom was until this moment. She makes to move past Cat and turn the shower on, but Cat stops her with a hand on her hip. The kiss is short but sweet, and Kara feels a resurgent throbbing rush through her body. “Down, girl,” Cat warns. “I can barely walk, so don’t get your hopes up.”

“Well I should come shower with you then,” Kara suggests. “For safety?”

“Then lose the robe,” Cat says, and Kara’s pretty sure that if she’s gentle, Cat has at least another round in her.

 

“I’m sorry the water went cold so fast,” Kara apologizes again. They’re both dressed in the cleanest and most comfortable clothes Kara could find. She’s in her favorite gray sweatpants and a tight white t-shirt that she knows is a success because of how often she’s already caught Cat staring at her.

Cat is wearing Kara’s oversized sleep shirt, which Kara usually pairs with shorts, but it’s long enough on Cat. The gray Northwestern tee is well-worn and washed down to complete softness, and as soon as Cat touched it she stopped grumbling about being a Wellesley girl and pulled it over her head. Besides, it was that or the knockoff Supergirl onesie that Alex bought as a gag gift, and Kara wants to keep the prospect of Cat in that as a happy thought to get her through tough times.

“I think we needed a little cooling off,” Cat admits. Her hair is still damp, pulled back into a tiny ponytail with a hair tie she swiped from Kara’s dresser. She’s unearthed a pair of her black glasses from her purse and is flicking through something on her phone with a hint of irritation tugging at her features. “I really am quite impressed. I don’t say that lightly.”

“You don’t have to stay, you know,” Kara deflects the compliment. “I mean, if you’re just hanging out so I don’t get upset like last time, I promise I won’t. You’ve already given up a whole bunch of your day for me.”

“Do you want me to go?”

“Of course not! I just didn’t think this was the kind of place you’d want to spend more time than necessary. You once told me that synthetic fabrics made your soul itch.”

“How sweet that you believed I still have one,” Cat drawls, twirling a loose strand of her hair as she takes a seat on the sofa. She looks, well, satisfied, and Kara’s more than a little proud of that. “Now that we’ve covered the ‘and chill’ part of things, I’m willing to subject myself to some Netflix. And if I’m hungry, you must be starving.”

“Right, I’ll just get-”

“I have Seamless, Kara. I’m not that helpless.” Cat rolls her eyes at Kara’s pointed look.

“I guess you must get some of your meals without my help,” Kara teases. “Maybe you should remember that next time you’re yelling at me for your sushi ‘not being raw enough’, hmm?” She leans in and kisses Cat, just to make sure the joke actually lands. This night is going far too nicely to spoil it with a careless dig. She takes a seat on the opposite end of the sofa.

“I’ll think about it,” Cat muses. “I’m ordering pizza. I haven’t had pizza since… God. The night they announced Clinton as nominee at the Convention.”

“But she wasn’t-”

“Not that Clinton,” Cat corrects, her smile tight. “You’re not going to make me watch My Little Pony, are you?”

“Excuse you,” Kara would be more offended if she didn’t have Friendship Is Magic on DVD somewhere, thankfully hidden from Cat’s inquisitive nature. “It can’t be Game of Thrones or Homeland, I have a standing date for those. You can pick. Pizza sounds great, just get me double whatever you’re having.”

“Why are you sitting all the way over there?” Cat asks a minute later, trading her phone for the Apple TV remote. “I thought the point of these ridiculous date nights was to spend time together. God knows you’re quite transparently a snuggler.”

“I never thought I’d hear you say the word snuggle,” Kara adds a fake gasp to tease a little more. “I didn’t know if you meant that kind of thing. This is all kind of brand new, remember? We were faking it not so long ago.”

“No faking tonight,” Cat says, throwing in one of her rare cheeky winks to break Kara’s brain a little further. She takes off her glasses and tosses them onto the chair opposite. No wonder Kara has to keep about ten different spares lying around. “No word from your cousin?” She asks, with just a hint too much nonchalance.

“Nothing,” Kara confirms, checking her phone again. “Should I really be here, enjoying myself this much? I should at least be on some kind of patrol, right?”

“There you go again,” Cat huffs, pulling Kara closer and yanking the nearest blanket over them. “Undoing all my hard work. This is part of it, Kara. We did some pretty intense… stuff tonight.”

“Stuff?” Kara suppresses another giggle.

“Yes,” Cat is slightly withering. “I don’t enter into these things lightly, not with someone who’s important to me. So the downtime afterwards is just as important. As in just about every other aspect of your life, you need to learn to take better care of yourself. Or occasionally let someone else.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re bossy?”

“No, never,” Cat deadpans. “Just for that I’m picking something with subtitles.”

“You should have paid more attention to my resume,” Kara points out, cuddling into Cat’s side and gratefully accepting the arm around her. “I speak four languages.”

“Is one of them Danish?” Cat clicks on the original version of The Killing. “I’m on episode three, I think. Think you can follow along?”

“You actually watch TV for fun?” Kara didn’t expect that.

“People are being brutally murdered in a cold, gray country. I suppose that qualifies as fun after the average day at work?”

Kara sighs and squeezes Cat’s bare thigh under the blanket. She would watch paint dry for the next six hours if it meant getting to sit here like this. Cat isn’t even wriggly or uncomfortable, she’s warm and solid and keeping Kara close to her when there are many ways not to. So much for her personal space issues. The eerie titles to the show begin, and Kara does her very best to concentrate, already sure that Cat will have zero tolerance for interrupting questions.

But somewhere in the first few minutes of incomprehensible dialogue and subtitles that are way less intriguing than catching glimpses of Cat’s face in profile, Kara falls into a light but instant sleep.

She’s awoken by the unmistakeable smell of pizza. Cat is gone from her side to retrieve it and laying the boxes gingerly on the coffee table. Kara uses a burst of super speed to gather up everything else they need, including some chilled white wine that is hopefully just fancy enough to stop Cat from spitting it back into the glass.

“Carter is never going to believe I’m finally having pizza. I always blame it on the whole West Coast crimes against pizza thing,” Cat explains, before biting into her first slice. The blissful little moan feels a lot like a flashback for Kara, whose hand freezes midway to grabbing her own. “But this isn’t bad,” Cat finishes, in what Kara finds out is a bit of an understatement. She likes the pizza in National City just fine, and she’s practically an expert.

“How is Carter?” Kara asks. In the chaos of her own life recently she’s been remiss in not asking about him. “Does his Vice Principal have a new job yet?”

“No, the school is being strangely stubborn about her,” Cat sighs. “We’ll see how resolute they are when I change my mind about paying for their new lacrosse pitch.”

“Carter plays lacrosse?” Kara doesn’t remember ever seeing that on the Grant family schedules.

“No, I did,” Cat snaps. “I needed an extracurricular and they didn’t think I had the frame for crew.”

“Oh, that’s pretty hot,” Kara interrupts. “I played in college a little, too. Until it got too hard to keep the whole speed and strength thing in check. I was way better with my powers by then, but add in competitive sports? It gets messy.”

“Again, I doubt my sanity that it took me so long to uncover you,” Cat taunts. “Don’t think I don’t see you demolishing that pizza, either.”

“That’s why I said to get this much,” Kara points out. “Can’t help my metabolism. Do you want to put your show back on?”

“I’m fine,” Cat dismisses it with one of her little finger wiggles. Kara doesn’t know how she’s going to see that happen at the office without blushing from now on. She knows only too well what those fingers can do. “What are you looking at me like that for?”

“I’m wondering if you have pictures of your lacrosse days,” Kara admits, explaining her distracted look. “Also, I know this maybe isn’t the best day to ask, but what exactly is your deal with Lois? It can’t be professional jealousy, I know you don’t tear other women down if you can help it.”

Cat takes a long drink of wine, draining half the glass. She frowns at Kara, clearly debating whether all this honesty and openness is worth it. Kara’s just about to give up when Cat sighs deeply, and makes her decision.

“I’m all for the sisterhood, but Lois wasn’t always. She still isn’t, in a lot of ways. She talks a good game when pressed, but when our paths first crossed back in Metropolis, she went out of her way to make my life hell at the Planet.”

“Maybe it was just-”

“I was a gossip columnist, fine,” Cat is building up a head of steam now, picking at her pizza as she goes. “It didn’t exactly command respect. But she knew I was serious, that I wanted to do bigger things. Out of all of them, she should have understood that it wasn’t my choice to start out in frivolous non-news. But she came in as the new girl on campus, and undermined me every chance she got. Maybe she was trying to win over the boys, saw it as the route to the top… I don’t know.”

“Oh,” Kara replies, although it doesn’t sound that bad, not really.

“That’s not enough for you?” Cat is sharp, and Kara winces.

“No, I mean I guess. She’s different for me. She’s the nice lady my cousin wants to marry.”

“He’s proposing?” Cat snorts. “Good luck with that. Lois thinks marriage is an affront to a woman’s independence. At least that’s how she tried to console me after wrecking mine.”

“What?”

“Oh, she didn’t sleep with my husband, it was nothing that tawdry,” Cat explains, disgusted at the thought. “When I left to start CatCo, producing my own show and then trying to start a network around it… I told you that’s when the trouble started with Adam. I was never there, I didn’t have time to be a mom. Or a wife.”

Kara eats her pizza, patiently waiting for the rest of the story.

“When Joe went to her for advice, how best to get me back in the family mindset, she told him I was a lost cause. I think the words he threw at me were, Cat’s baby is her job. Always has been, always will be. I think she also told him she felt sorry for Adam. I’m pretty sure that’s what did it.”

“He filed for divorce?”

“And took Adam to Opal City. I haven’t seen Adam since the last custody hearing. And I told you how I handled that.” Cat downs the rest of her drink and refills the glass. “Are we done revisiting the failures of Catherine Grant the Second?”

“I didn’t mean to make you relive it,” Kara apologizes, wiping her hands with a tissue and moving around the coffee table to draw Cat into a hug. It’s not something that comes easily to Kara, even now. She’s so worried about misjudging her strength when emotions run high, but Cat relaxes into her embrace and Kara feels a little giddy from it. “I can’t believe she did that to you.”

“I still don’t wish her dead,” Cat clarifies. “Well, maybe at times I did. Definitely after I had Carter, it all came back to me then how much I’d missed out on. But like I said, it was my choice not to fight for Adam. Blaming Lois was just something to get me through the day, sometimes. Once something becomes a habit…”

“And she gives as good as she gets,” Kara agrees. “Let’s just hope she pulls through and you two can work something out about all the sniping.”

“That sounded ominous,” Cat wriggles out of Kara’s grip. “Tell me you’re not trying to reconcile us as some kind of… alien in-laws?”

“Nobody said any...anything about in-laws,” Kara stammers, panicking. “Don’t tell me you have a U-Haul downstairs?”

“Not bad,” Cat approves of the joke, at least. “Let’s see if we survive another date first, hmm?”

“You bet.” Kara is about to start another slice of pizza when her phone buzzes into life. “Oh, here we go,” she groans, seeing ‘Clark’ on the display. “Let’s hope it’s good news.”

Chapter Text

“Kara?” Kal-El sounds more distant than usual, static crackling on the line. “I think she’s going to be okay.”

“Oh! What a relief!” Kara exhales the words in a rush, her relief barely tempered by Cat’s confession. “Did your god friend come up with something?”

“He did his part,” he tells her. “Now I just need to take her back to the Fortress, there’s some tech there that will speed up the rest of her recuperation. It was pretty touch-and-go when we got here.”

“I’m sorry,” Kara tells him, and means it. “Do you need me to come get Lucy? Or is she going to see everything?”

“She’s not leaving Lois’s side,” he says. “Speaking of Lucy, we might have a teensy problem. Before I left, I was so out of it I said your name in front of her. She didn’t miss that. So, I guess she put the pieces together. I tried not to confirm, but you know what Lois is like… her little sister is every bit as bad.”

“You think she’ll tell her dad? Or anyone else?”

“I’ve begged her not to,” he admits. “I think she’ll agree, so long as Lois pulls through. She’ll back me up as soon as she’s awake. I’m sorry, cuz.”

“Don’t ‘cuz’ me,” Kara groans. “I’m glad Lois is going to be okay, though. Just try not to wreck my life any further in the process? If you see any polar bears, maybe keep your mouth shut?”

“Roger that,” Kal-El says with a wry laugh. “I really didn’t mean to cause you any headaches. As soon as we’re done, I’ll come help you with the Fort Rozz thing.”

“Don’t worry,” Kara replies. “I have a feeling it’ll be done and dusted by then. Just warn me when you’re dropping Lucy off. I think that’ll be a rough day at work.”

“Will do. Bye, Kara.”

“Bye, you big nerd.”

“Lucy Lane knows your secret?” Cat pounces the moment Kara ends the call. “Honestly, Kara. You’re going to have to start thinking about an endgame where you either merge these identities of yours, or start killing people who find out.”

“Hey!”

“Oh, like I’m the first person to have suggested that. Your sister has to be stitching it on pillows by now. And I doubt her boss feels any different.” Cat draws her legs up on the sofa, brushing Kara’s thigh as she does. “What’s happening with the older, less appealing Lane?”

“A bunch of alien weirdness that I probably can’t tell you about. I don’t even really know the whole story anyway,” Kara admits. “It should wake her up, though. Hopefully with no lasting damage.”

“I don’t know how we’d tell the difference,” Cat mutters, almost under her breath. “Are you needed anywhere?”

“Nope,” Kara admits. “But I’m kind of done with pizza and TV.”

“What did you have in mind?” Cat asks, eyebrow quirked in challenge.

Kara stands, offering a hand to Cat. It’s not exactly a town car and a red carpet, but it’s a question asked, all the same.

“Do you… maybe want to come to bed with me and make out until we’re too tired to carry on?” Kara suggests. Cat grips her hand in response so quickly that Kara would swear that Cat is the one with super speed.

 


 

 

Morning comes around much too soon, but as a fringe benefit Kara wakes up to Cat’s thigh pressed between her own. They’ve become entangled in the night, Cat’s approach to multiple sheets and blankets apparently being to attack them. Her quest to conquer the center of the bed hasn’t changed in the smaller venue, either, but Kara isn’t complaining about being clambered all over.

“You stayed,” she mumbles, barely awake. She’s never seen Cat like this, bare of makeup and her hair all kinked from drying naturally. Sensing the scrutiny of Kara drinking her in, Cat frowns without opening her eyes.

“If you’re rethinking your Mrs. Robinson situation in the harsh light of dawn, at least do it quietly,” Cat grumbles, trying to pull the pillow over her head.

“Who’s Mrs. Robinson?”

“I hate you.”

“I’m pretty sure you don’t?” Kara wishes she could ignore the pang of doubt in her chest. Cat is nothing if not unpredictable. “Wait, you don’t, right?”

“Kara…”

“Well, you’d better not. Because I was thinking that you’re really beautiful,” Kara whispers, and she’s smiling at being able to say the words. “I mean, it’s okay if I think that, right? This might be the cutest you’ve ever looked.”

Cutest?” Cat opens one eye in suspicion.

“Well… yeah. That’s not an insult?” This is where she’s doomed, Kara realizes. Compliments, being smooth—all of that is difficult enough when the recipient isn’t Cat Grant. She’ll just have to find another way to make her point and have it believed. “I happen to think you’re very cute.”

Cat glares at her, fully awake now.

“But I also think you’re gorgeous, especially like this. In my bed. And hot. So, so hot,” Kara continues, kissing Cat’s bare shoulder. “Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the full Cat Grant experience, with the clothes and the way you always look flawless. But now that I’ve seen this Cat? The sexy... and naked... and just woken up after a really great night together Cat? It’s no contest.”

“You talk far too much for this time of the morning,” Cat groans, but she’s leaning into Kara instead of pulling away, her mouth hot and insistent at Kara’s throat.

“I talk this much all the time,” Kara points out. “And here you are anyway. Which is pretty cool when you think about it because-”

Cat silences her with a kiss.

“Talk less,” she admonishes a moment later, before leveraging their position to roll on top of Kara. “Unless you want to give me a running commentary…”

“Wait!” Kara already has her fingers tangled in Cat’s hair, and a slight tug is enough to stop her progress as her mouth skims over Kara’s abs. “I think we have-”

“Kara!” There’s a pounding at the front door. “Kara, it’s me!”

“It’s Alex,” Kara explains to Cat, who is face down on her and sighing deeply. “I really need to uh…”

“I’m using my key!” Alex yells. Kara zips out from under Cat to quick change into her sweats and tee from last night, but the splintering of wood around the lock is the next sound Kara hears. Okay, so maybe she forgot to ever get a spare cut for Alex, but there’s never been time.

“Okay,” Kara is fired up now, charging out into the living room to confront her sister… and at least six armed DEO agents. “What the hell?”

“Is your aunt here?” Alex demands, her face pale and drawn, but her eyes are furious. “Kara, if you’re hiding her out of some misguided idea that you can turn her back to the light-”

“What do you mean is Astra here?” Kara shouts back at her. This is not how she wanted to start her Saturday. “Alex, did she get out?”

“Well, I doubt they bring the stormtroopers unless she has,” Cat chimes in, helpful and… wearing only Kara’s bed sheet, wrapped around her like a toga. Kara forgets every word she was about to say, and most words in both the English and Kryptonese languages. “Agent Danvers, I don’t suppose you brought coffee?”

“I’ll… I’ll put it on,” Kara offers, stumbling toward the kitchen area and avoiding Alex’s stare. “Give me a few minutes to get ready here and I’ll go look for her,” she tosses back over her shoulder. Alex follows her to the coffeemaker, gun still drawn.

“I don’t know if we can risk that this time,” Alex tells her. Kara whirls around, angered at the accusation.

“I’m the one who brought her in last time,” Kara points out. “And unless you’re saying I helped her during our little chat last night, I have nothing to do with her getting out. I would never let someone that dangerous loose on the city unless I knew she had changed.” Alex blanches, just for a second a flash of panic seeps through, and Kara almost reacts. She realizes she can’t with the other DEO agents and Cat still there.

“She’s not the only one who got out, so we’re going to have to arrange a protective detail for your girlfriend here,” Alex adds to the mess with great reluctance, Kara can see that much. “Your girl Livewire.”

“Leslie?” Cat’s hearing apparently rivals Kara’s, and she’s across the living room quickly to butt into the conversation, still completely unconcerned that she only has a sheet for cover. “You’ve had her locked up in that bunker all this time?”

“Cat...” Kara warns, but she’s dismissed with a wave.

“I let Supergirl handle that because I assumed justice was part of the process. Did Leslie even get a hearing? Any offer of help to get those horrible powers taken out of her? What the hell are you doing out there in the desert?”

“We don’t answer to you, Ms Grant,” Alex turns on full official mode then, hand twitching back to her freshly-holstered weapon. “And we’re entrusted with the power to take extraordinary measures when dealing with problems way beyond what anyone imagined when they wrote most of our laws.”

“You’d be surprised how many people you hate used exactly that justification,” Cat argues, undeterred. She turns to Kara. “How’s that coffee coming?”

“We’re going to keep hunting,” Alex announces. “Call me as soon as you’re free, okay? Vasquez, Diggs, you’re on detail as soon as Ms Grant leaves this apartment. I’ll send a B-team to relieve you in 12, unless you hear otherwise.”

The agents nod, taking up position outside the apartment door as it closes.

When it’s just the two of them again, Kara focuses on two mugs of coffee instead of trying to find words. Cat is simmering, and she’s spent too long working for her not to know that a sudden explosion can’t be far off.

“Here,” she says, when she can’t stir any longer without cracking the mug. “Don’t worry, it’s decent. I got the beans from the same place you send me for yours.”

“I’ve told you,” Cat begins, after her first restorative sip. The bliss in her expression is fleeting, but it makes Kara both a little jealous and suddenly eager to make Cat look that happy again. “I’ll keep your secret. But I don’t owe the government the loyalty I feel toward you. And I know, truth is often the first casualty… but it is not a luxury. Everything I’ve built at CatCo is about telling stories that need to be told. Not hiding the ones other people wish you would.”

“Exposing the DEO feels a lot like exposing me,” Kara says after careful consideration. The air between them has taken on an almost flammable quality, and it’s always been easy with Cat to accidentally light the fuse. “If I need them to do what I do, can’t you trust that I’ll keep them, you know, drawing inside the lines?”

“I trust you, Kara.” Cat makes the declaration before taking a long mouthful of coffee. Kara tingles at the three little words she wasn’t expecting. They carry a weight she didn’t expect. “I’ve seen what you can handle, even more so lately,” Cat continues. “But the people of National City deserve to have their rights, as well as your protection.”

“You threatened three different department heads with waterboarding last year,” Kara argues before she can think better of it.

“Running off at the mouth is one thing,” Cat corrects, frowning deeply. “It’s something else to have your own militia to carry it out.”

“You know,” Kara can’t help the burst of temper that’s like an unexpected molten rock at the base of her throat. “I think I liked it better when you were trying to care for me. What happened to helping me cope with the weight of the world on my shoulders?”

“That’s what you needed last night.” Cat’s eyes widen at the accusation, and her nostrils flare just a little. They’re skirting a real blowout, but Kara doesn’t know how to pull it back now. Luckily, Cat does it for her. “I’ll do it again whenever you need me to.”

“You will?”

“Yes,” Cat confirms. “But I will never stop challenging you, either. As my assistant or Supergirl. I told you before that I push people-”

“People you care about,” Kara corrects. And yeah, maybe she’s fishing just a little bit. Maybe this needs to be about more than theory. It’s hard to trust anything that starts in pretending, and in one way or another, Kara has been pretending for half a lifetime too long.

“You know,” Cat moves closer, pressing her palm against Kara’s cheek. “This might be the last privacy we have for a while.” She lets her improvised toga drop in what has to be a practiced move.

Kara shakes her head, trying not to laugh and spoil the moment. “Don’t you think we should take advantage of that?”

“You’re not just trying to change the subject from whether or not you care about me?”

Cat kisses her, just a teasing glance of lips at first, but she soons deepens it. They both taste like coffee, and when Cat sucks Kara’s bottom lip between her teeth, Kara can’t help the little moan that bubbles up.

“You might not say it,” Kara gasps when Cat releases her mouth, adding a pointed pinch of Kara’s nipple through her white tee to the mix. “But I’m gonna show you.”

“Eager to please?” Cat asks, her voice husky and every word making Kara’s clit throb. This surge of wanting is the most powerful thing that’s ever affected Kara, strong enough that she almost feels like crying for a second. Cat has overwhelmed her in so many ways since day one, but now it feels like taking control of that avalanche of feelings, channelling them into something even better than Kara ever hoped for.

“Turn, please?” Kara asks, because giving orders is not her role in this. She needs permission to make Cat glad she started this, glad she stayed, and glad she’s naked in Kara’s sunny kitchen. With just a questioning quirk of her eyebrow, Cat complies, letting Kara guide her into position. Cat’s hands grip the edge of the counter, thankfully clear of everything but their half-empty coffee cups. Kara takes a moment, wrapping her arms around Cat from behind and squeezing her gently. Cat allows it, and it might be the most generous thing she’s done yet.

Kara moves back one step, yanking her shirt off and kicking her sweats away from her ankles as soon as they’re dropped. It feels reckless to be naked and pressed against Cat like this when the world might be ending again, but it’s more control than Kara’s had since the first time she put on that damn cape.

“I like when you challenge me,” Kara murmurs against Cat’s skin, kissing the planes of her shoulders. Cat’s muscles there ripple as her arms tense to hold her up, and Kara bites gently at random points. The sigh from Cat is an encouraging one. Kara takes hold of Cat’s hips, rolling her own against Cat’s body. It’s possessive, maybe too obvious, but Kara wants contact at every different point they can make it.

She rakes her nails down Cat’s back then, before changing to a teasing drag in swirls. Her hands move up and over Cat’s ribs, tracing the lines of her shoulders and the top of her arms, then back down with a sweep until Kara’s nails are scraping across the tender skin of Cat’s ass, making her hiss in delight.

“If we had time today,” Kara finds herself saying. “I’d go get my brand new watercolors, they’re really fancy and honestly they were kind of an indulgence? But I’d get my best brushes, and I’d lay you out on this sheet you stole… and I’d paint the sunrise on your back. And it would tickle, maybe a little. But I think you’d like it. I think you’d tell me to keep going. And you know I’ll do whatever you tell me, Cat.”

There’s still a thrill to using her first name out loud. Just enough of the forbidden tinge remains. Cat reaches behind Kara’s head and pulls her closer for an open-mouthed kiss over her shoulder.

“Another time,” she promises as Kara’s hand makes its way around to trace the line of Cat’s hip bone, definitely one of her more sensitive spots. Kara knows in that moment that she’ll save National City twenty times a day to be able to cash in on that promise. As incentives go, she might have found the best one yet.

Time is slipping away too quickly, but Kara takes her time as she lowers herself to her knees behind Cat. Feeling Kara move, Cat deepens her bend, all but presenting herself to Kara’s waiting mouth. It’s not surprising by now that she’s already wet, a little swollen and clearly very ready to be touched, but Kara teases by only skimming one fingertip at first. She takes her mouth on a kissing, licking, nipping voyage over the curves of Cat’s hips, the creases at the top of her thighs, right to the very edge of immaculately trimmed curls that are already wet beneath Kara’s lips.

“Pay attention,” she murmurs against Cat’s skin before finally diverting attention where she needs it most. Cat gasps loudly enough for the agents to hear as Kara first circles Cat’s clit with just the tip of her tongue. There’s always time for teasing, for almost painful attention to detail. She can luxuriate in tracing every ridge and crooked line. Every reaction, varied even from last night’s responses, is something Kara catalogs as carefully as she would Cat’s appointments. Not an inch is missed as she alternates fast, flickering licks with languid swirls of her tongue. She grazes the very edges of Cat’s clit initially, pausing to blow gently on it, revelling in Cat’s moans of frustration.

“Kara,” she warns, and Kara can see the white-knuckled grip Cat has on the counter now. A muscle is trembling in her right thigh, her left calf jumping as she goes up on tiptoe at Kara’s next long, slow lick. This time Kara shows a little mercy, placing a kiss directly on Cat’s clit, feeling how it’s hardened and ready beneath her touch. After that it’s impossible to resist a pulsing massage with the flat of her tongue, which works Cat up to the point where the curses falling from her lips are barely even words anymore. Kara smiles as she uses just a smidge of super speed in flicking, more of a vibration really, and Cat comes with a cry.

It takes Kara gripping her hips to hold Cat up, but with a few teasing kisses away from where Cat is still clenching, twitching at just the air moving against her, Kara is able to follow up with a second orgasm that takes them both by surprise in its sudden, sharp arrival. Just like last night, Kara’s a little smug when Cat soaks her chin. Kara did her research after all, and that’s a pretty good sign. Learning by doing really is working for them.

“I heard you,” Cat says, after turning around in Kara’s hold and pulling her up to standing. She’s flushed, her pupils still a little blown, but she kisses Kara with all the finesse of someone back in control of her faculties. “Now,” Cat says, kissing along Kara’s jawline as her head tilts back. “You pay attention.”

Cat nips at Kara’s earlobe, and there’s no way she could do anything but pay very, very close attention. Cupping Kara’s breasts, Cat practically climbs on her, leg over hip at first, just like their photoshoot. Then she’s gripping Kara’s hips with strong thighs, and somewhere in the feel of Cat wrapped around her, Kara loses touch with gravity for a moment.

“Floating?” Cat sounds amused as she strokes her thumbs over Kara’s hard nipples. “That’s just showing off.”

“Accident,” Kara explains, lowering them back to the floor. “Although it could have some uses…”

“Down, girl,” Cat insists. Kara complies, falling gently backwards toward the floor, landing on the discarded sheet slowly and allowing Cat to adjust so she’s straddling Kara’s waist when they make contact with the floor. “I think I like you best like this,” she confesses, rolling her hips and getting her wetness all over Kara’s abs.

Cat’s hair falls in her face as she rides out the sensations of it, biting down on her bottom lip as she pinches rhythmically at each of Kara’s nipples. The sensation shoots through Kara like lightning bolts again, and she coaxes Cat down into another kiss that ends too soon. From there Kara loses track a little, she’s aware of every touch and tease as Cat plays her body like a virtuoso, exposing hidden spots that seem to light up beneath her fingertips. By the time she’s riding Kara’s thigh, two fingers thrusting into her and adding a third, Kara’s too far gone to think of anything beyond more, more, more.

In this, Cat is as relentless as every other part of her life. Kara’s fairly sure she almost blacks out as Cat twists and crooks her fingers, the pressure of the heel of her hand against Kara’s clit perfectly weighted. Kara hears her murmuring something about how good Kara is, how beautiful, and it’s enough to make time stop entirely. Her throat is hoarse when she stops coming, and Kara doesn’t much care what she said or how desperately. All that matters is the boneless relief of having Cat do this to her again. The kitchen is now her favorite part of the apartment.

Cat collapses on top of her, wiping her hand carelessly in the sheet this time, which Kara tries not to feel is a missed opportunity. She would have sucked those fingers clean if Cat had asked her, but the happy hum of mutual exhaustion between them is reward enough for now. All too soon, Cat recovers her energy, and she leaves for the bedroom with a kiss and a small huff of impatience.

Kara follows, wrapping herself in the sheet this time with much less grace than Cat managed. She’s sure it looks like she’s wearing a balled-up napkin, but she can’t bring herself to care.

“Leslie knows Carter,” Cat says, gathering up her clothes from where they’re draped over the chair Kara will never again be able to look at without shivering in the most pleasant way. “I mean, they met a few times. If I were trying to hurt me, that’s where I’d go.”

“I won’t let that happen.”

“His father is going to London after he drops him off tomorrow,” Cat muses aloud. She pulls on her skirt first, zipping it as she steps into her shoes. She leaves off her underwear, but picks up Kara’s black panties from last night and shoves them into her purse with a flourish. Another promise kept. “If I send the nanny, Carter should be able to tag along.”

“You can’t just send him away!” Kara doesn’t mean to protest so vehemently, but Cat’s just suggesting Carter being thousands of miles away as if it’s nothing. “It’s not protecting him to just put him somewhere else. Trust me, if something happens to you and he’s half a world away, he’ll never forgive himself!” She’s getting hysterical, she can hear the shriek beneath her words, but it’s too late to pull it back.

“Kara.” Cat’s tone brooks no argument. It’s her no-nonsense work voice. Honestly, Kara’s a little surprised she didn’t slip and call her ‘Keira’. “I have every sympathy for what you’ve gone through, but don’t tell me how to parent my son. His father and some private security will be protection enough. Not to mention an ocean and most of this continent as a buffer.”

“But-”

“What you don’t understand, maybe you can’t understand it yet… is that it’s better to have your child safe and hating you, than to have them at risk of being hurt.” Cat is fastening her bra, hands behind her back, and Kara feels like an hourglass has been turned without her noticing. Cat’s slipping away, Kara sees that now. She has to do something to stop this.

“I said I’ll be your bodyguard,” Kara reminds her. “I can be Carter’s, too. I’m better than anyone with a gun, it’s the safest you can be.”

“Kara,” Cat sighs, shrugging her blouse on but neglecting the buttons for the moment. She considers, before closing the gap between them and laying her hands on Kara’s arms, squeezing her biceps with a gentle, even pressure. “Darling…”

“Don’t ‘darling’ me,” Kara groans. “Did you know when you woke up this morning? Or just when we started debating ethics? Either way, it didn’t stop you getting some first...”

“That was selfish of me,” Cat admits. “I don’t know why you’d expect anything otherwise by now, but that’s a question for another day. You know we have to hit pause here, don’t you?”

“I don’t accept that we do,” Kara grumbles, fighting back tears. Everyone leaves. Everyone has a perfect excuse. There’s always a greater good, and Kara will never be quite good enough.

“Pause, not stop,” Cat tries to reassure her. “I wouldn’t forgive myself if you were distracted, not with all these dangers coming at you.” She pulls away, turning her attention to the buttons on her blouse. “Please, try to understand.”

“Understanding isn’t the same as liking it.” Kara pulls the sheet tighter around her. “You won’t go near the office, will you?”

“No, I have options. The agents will no doubt have some ideas of what I can and can’t do,” Cat says, sounding more tired than Kara has ever heard her before. “I’ll see Carter, make arrangements, and then find somewhere to take cover. I’ll be back at the office Monday morning though, Leslie or not.”

“Cat-”

“Think about what I said before,” Cat swivels the conversation effortlessly, manipulating Kara back toward anger without breaking a sweat. “Find some more ethical ways to clear up this problem, or Monday I turn my best people onto a DEO expose. That should focus your mind on the task at hand.”

Kara has a hundred more arguments, but Cat is checking out by the second. She hesitates on passing Kara, as though contemplating one last moment of something good, but before Kara can give into the temptation, Cat’s heels are clicking across the apartment floor out the front door.

Throwing herself down on the bed, Kara knows she doesn’t have much time to get herself presentable and back in the world. There’s Astra to track, and Non if they’re not already reunited. Leslie is a headache Kara could live without, but the threat to Cat makes her feel like a priority. First though, Kara pushes through the haze of yesterday’s guilt and confusion, past the residual lust of still wanting Cat, and grabs onto the thread she’s been most resistant to pull.

She has to speak to Winn, find out once and for all if he’s the leak that Astra suggested. Kara doesn’t want to believe it, doesn’t want another awkward conversation that will leave their friendship in tatters all over again, but she already knows the worst part of being a hero is doing all the things a less masochistic person might avoid.

In a matter of seconds, she’s in the shower with the scalding water beating down on her. When she first came to Earth, Kara told herself that crying didn’t count if there was already water on her face. She reaches for the shampoo and tells herself over and over that the rule still holds: this crying doesn’t count either.

Chapter Text

Alex meets Kara at the coffee shop on the corner of Winn’s block. She’s already changed back into a suit, but it’s clear Alex is still carrying multiple weapons instead of the solitary one she has for masquerading as FBI. Kara hands over a flat white and finishes her own pumpkin latte with a hasty few sips.

“Thanks for doing this,” Kara says, hair braided and still damp, dressed in her favorite jeans and the green shirt that’s supposed to go with the Supergirl leather pants. So it’s something Cat picked out. That doesn’t mean she’s pining. Or heartbroken. Or anything but focused on the job of finding out what’s going on with Winn, Astra, and the entire alien merry-go-round that National City has become in recent months.

“I can’t take long,” Alex says, chugging her coffee. “I’m just making sure he doesn’t have intel that might help on the bigger stuff. It’s probably a misdirect, Kara. Your aunt was clearly up to something.”

“Speaking of up to something,” Kara turns her full focus on her sister. She didn’t dare bring this up when calling Alex to meet. “Why were you acting so squirrelly earlier? You think Astra getting out is your fault somehow?”

“I lock people up, I don’t let them out.”

“You looked guilty,” Kara persists. “And you don’t come around accusing me of stuff unless you’re trying to deflect attention. I did share a room with you for four years, remember? I know your MO.”

“I’m just worried I might have helped her without realizing,” Alex confesses after a lengthy pause. They step out into the street then, Alex squinting at the harsh sunlight. “We’ve been talking quite a bit. I was trying to get intel. I had to trade her some information in return.”

“About the DEO?”

“About you,” Alex confesses, looking away. “I didn’t give her anything important, but she misses you. That much is genuine. I don’t know about anything else.”

“If she misses me so much she can stop trying to kill me,” Kara argues, pressing the button for Winn’s apartment. Working in IT affords him a much nicer place than Kara’s, in a better neighborhood. Until recently she never understood why he wanted to spend so much time at her apartment. She hates that they’re having this conversation while things are still so weird between them.

There’s no answer, even after Kara tries again.

“Think he went out for bagels?” Alex tries, but she’s already sliding a lockpick from her pocket. Just then someone else exits the building, and they can at least reach the elevators without attracting unwanted attention. His apartment door yields the same lack of response, so Kara stands aside and lets Alex do her thing even though ripping a door off its hinges would feel really good right in that moment.

“Wow,” Kara takes in the chaos from the doorway. “He’s not usually this messy. This feels kinda weird, Alex.”

“He has a lot of crap,” Alex comments. “Maybe he just hasn’t been keeping on top of his toy collection since all the stuff with his dad? Although I gotta say Kara, I’ve seen a lot of criminals’ hideouts, and this isn’t all that different.”

“I’m only looking around to make sure there’s nothing to suggest he’s involved,” Kara says, more for her own benefit than anything. That hope is short-lived when she turns on the wall-sized screen that Winn uses as a computer and TV display. She can’t claim to know much about how it all works, but simply taking it off standby reveals a complex chart that makes Kara’s shoulders drop on the first glance.

Enough of it is in code for the finer points to be lost, and there are abbreviations and shortcuts that make so sense. The pictures are hard to deny though, from Sergio and Kevan connected through a line to Non, right through to what appears to be a dossier of information about Leslie. It could just be research, Kara tells herself. Winn trying to get all the background he needs to help her. It’s just that they haven’t been having those cozy little Supersquad meetings lately, and Winn shouldn’t even know about half of this stuff.

“What the hell?” Alex demands. “Oh Kara, he’s definitely involved. Look, there’s your aunt, there’s Non. There’s Leslie, or LiveWire, whatever we’re calling her these days. This is not good.”

“Way to understate it,” Kara groans. “Are we gonna sit here and wait for him? Or is there some quick way of tracking him down?”

She looks around the room, seeing for the first time that there are female clothes draped across the sofa. She knows that leather and grunge throwback style anywhere.

“There’s no substitute for good intelligence,” Alex is explaining as Kara tries to corral her thoughts into something workable. “You know him, where does he like to hang out? Where would he feel safe?”

“I don’t think he’s going to be at my apartment somehow,” Kara sighs, thinking about how grateful Winn had been to be included in a crappy Thanksgiving. “And CatCo probably isn’t a great idea if he thinks we’re on to him.”

There’s an electronic hum from the speakers suddenly. Kara feels the hairs on the back of her neck prickle in anticipation.

“Kara?” Alex is picking up on it too.

“I don’t think we should be discussing it here,” Kara decides, but she’s a moment too late. Out of the screen bursts a blast of blue energy, knocking her and Alex clear across the room. “Leslie!” She roars, getting back to her feet right away.

“Hey there, Superbitch,” Leslie materializes in the middle of the floor, hair wild and eyes almost completely black. “Dress down Saturday?”

“Even superheroes have weekends,” Kara shoots back. “Won’t stop me marching you right back to jail, though. What’s it gonna be this time? Should I get the hose?”

“You know,” Leslie almost winks at her, as though they’re two pals sharing a joke. “You should have kept a closer eye on Winnie.”

“What have you done to him?” Kara is nose-to-nose with Leslie before she can stop herself. “I knew he couldn’t have been working against me, you’ve done something to him.”

Leslie tuts in disapproval. “Oh, he was all too willing to help. He was CatCo’s resident ‘Nice Guy’ way before you worked there. See, you’re not the only blonde Cat Grant protege that he’s had his eye on. Did you really think you were the first?” Leslie throws her head back and laughs. “Girl, he has a pattern. But I knew his little crush on me hadn’t died out completely. Whaddya know? I was right.”

“A crush isn’t enough for Winn to turn his back on his friend,” Kara insists. “Hope you enjoyed your five minutes of freedom, because I am taking you back in.”

“Not so fast,” Leslie warns, but when she raises her hand it’s to fire electricity at Alex, not Kara. Thankfully it’s not as powerful as before - she must need to recharge - and Kara is able to take the hit. This one doesn’t come close to flooring her, but she knows they’re fairly helpless without the containment unit. A blast of x-ray vision confirms there’s no handy water source beyond a standard water pipe. Kara doesn’t think Alex’s bullets are going to combine well with Leslie’s physically fluid state, either.

“Alex!” Kara nods towards the full-length windows that line Winn’s living room. There’s no point risking a dart past Leslie, not when she’s throwing her hands out, drawing jagged lines of power from all the electronics in the room. One by one they drain and start to smolder, emptying their charge right into Leslie’s skin. Kara makes the executive decision for them then, grabbing Alex and then backing right out through the 10th floor window.

They only fall for a floor or two before Kara bursts into flight properly, avoiding a bolt of energy thrown after them with relative ease. Alex is on her phone, relaxed in Kara’s grip but still holding on with one hand on Kara’s shoulder. By the time they land a few blocks over, Alex has a DEO containment team en route, but they’re pretty sure Leslie will flicker away at the first sign of them.

“I’m not sure I should be flying without the suit,” Kara frets. “Cat talked about rebranding, and casual wear, but it just seems one step closer to outing Kara Danvers. Or being done with her altogether.”

“That’s not Cat’s call to make,” Alex reminds her. Kara tries not to react to Alex’s irritation, but something in her complete lack of poker face must give Kara away. “Hey, what’s with the kicked puppy routine? You guys were pretty loved up when I busted in on you.”

“It’s nothing,” Kara lies. “Hard to focus on dating when the world keeps threatening to end. Not to mention she’s at risk now. She’s sending Carter to London with his dad. This is the Cat Grant who once said she’d quit and go on the Real Housewives of National City before she’d give Carter’s dad one extra hour of custody.”

“But that’s not on you, that’s because of the human sparkplug up there.”

“I’ve got an idea where Winn might be hiding out, if he’s not at home,” Kara realizes. “The sooner I work out what’s happening with him, the sooner we can round up Astra and Leslie and find out exactly what Non has planned for me next. I’m getting kind of tired of having a big red target on my back.”

“Didn’t bother you much before,” Alex points out. “Does this have something to do with wanting to focus on that dating? What happened to let’s play pretend?”

“Shut up,” Kara grouses. She spins to quick change into her suit, offering an arm to Alex. “Let’s go work out once and for all if Winn is helping a bunch of aliens take me down. Then I’m thinking we spend the rest of the day kicking butts. You in?”

“Always,” Alex promises. She shoves her phone back in her pocket and Kara takes off once more.

 

The arcade still looks every bit as creepy, the addition of some broken police tape doing little to liven the place up. People scurry past on the other side of the street, not many, but they all pause to gawk at the sight of Supergirl landing.

“Nice to be a celebrity, huh?” Alex teases, and Kara resists the urge to smack her even with super strength held back.

“Let’s get this over with,” Kara sighs, and she pulls the front door off its hinges. She was right, it is pretty satisfying in her current mood. They make it barely ten steps inside before the lights flicker into life and there’s a brief screech of feedback through some speakers.

“Sorry,” Winn announces. “Half this crap is analog. Not exactly the first impression I was going for.”

“Has he gone full Toyman Junior?” Alex mutters out of the corner of her mouth. She has two guns drawn already, scanning every piece of arcade furnishing they edge their way past.

“Kara, we need to talk,” Winn’s disembodied voice continues. “I get that this looks bad, but you just need to hear how I’m actually trying to help you. It is not - not - what it looks like.”

“See?” Kara says to her sister. “I knew there had to be more to it.” She raises her voice to address Winn. “Just come out and talk, Winn. I can send Alex back outside if she makes you nervous. You know I’d never hurt you, right?”

“I do know that,” he answers, but he doesn’t sound entirely convinced. He laughs, and it doesn’t sound like her friend at all. “Meet me by the Space Invaders, okay? Straight ahead and turn left at the end. Space Invaders. Get it?”

“I do,” Kara calls back. “Go, Alex. I can handle this.”

“No way.” Alex squares her shoulders. “We don’t even know if he’s alone. This could be a setup for Non.”

“It’s not,” Kara assures her, but there’s gnawing doubt clawing at her insides even as she says it. She scans the space with x-ray vision, but there are too many obstructions and the paint is old enough to have lead in it. “Just for now go back to the door? I’ll yell if anything goes south. And we should probably look out for more help arriving if you’re right.”

“I don’t like this,” Alex warns her, pulling Kara into the quickest hug. “And I know it’s dumb, but I feel better that you’re in your suit for this. Don’t let your feelings get in your way, okay?”

“Kara?” Winn’s voice crackles back in. “I’m kind of waiting for you, here.”

She squeezes Alex’s arm and darts around the arcade with a burst of super speed, arriving at the Space Invaders machines fast enough to set them rocking with the draft she causes. Winn, thankfully, is standing there alone. He shoves his phone in his pocket, clearly having used it to beam his voice through the sound system. Kara almost smiles at the dorkiness of it.

“We have to talk,” she says, motioning to the stools by an abandoned snack bar. Winn hops up beside her, leaving a clear seat between them, and twiddles his thumbs. “It would be really cool if you tell me how totally wrong I am about all this,” Kara adds, urging him on. “Maybe start with how you had nothing to do with Sergio and Kevan getting killed?”

“You know, I’d love to?” Winn begins, and he might actually think he’s being cute. “But we both know that lying to each other hasn’t historically been great for us.”

“No way,” Kara refuses to believe it. “The force used was alien. Alex told me that. And what reason did you have to kill Cat’s stylist and her driver?”

“They could have exposed you!” Winn hisses, eyes closing in frustration for a moment. “You know, you’re so careless. And your uncle had already approached me about getting you involved with the alien alliance, so I had to tell him that even more people could have exposed Supergirl’s human underbelly. He, y’know, did the dirty work.”

“You’ve been in contact with Non?” Kara finds it hard to swallow in that moment. She thinks she might choke. Of all the things she expected, this wasn’t even close. She wanted Winn to give her a meaningful look to say he was being blackmailed, or controlled, or threatened. She could save him from that. Willingly working with the enemy? It couldn’t be true. She swivels her stool, ignoring the squeak of its rusted metal, and faces him. He turns to meet her gaze. “Wait, you’ve been helping him?”

“No!” Winn holds up his hands, but his tone is snappish. It’s the same Winn who got mad at her for not loving him back. “I’m helping you. And trust me, Kara. If you would just listen to what the Kryptonians and the other aliens have to say, you might understand you’re backing the wrong horse here. Humanity sucks, and we’re two minutes from trashing this planet for good. Why not listen to some people with an actual plan?”

“They’re murderers, Winn!”

“A lot of people are.”

“Don’t say that like it’s nothing,” Kara argues. “You’re better than that, come on.”

“No, you’re the one who should be better than all this,” Winn fires back, getting off his chair and beginning to pace the dusty arcade room. “You get that when Non and Astra succeed, you could basically be a queen? But you’re so stuck on humans, and the DEO, when you could be getting some real power. I mean honestly, you’re lucky that I was around to build some bridges for you.”

“Are you mansplaining the destruction of humanity to me?”

Winn gives her a warning look. “I’m not joking around here. I’ve made my alliance, and Leslie has been helping out with some stuff. I’ve stopped the world from finding out Supergirl has a human cover, which could ruin everything they have planned when you finally see sense.”

“They want me to be Princess Kara, huh?” Kara slips from her seat and approaches her friend. “Then why does Non keep trying to kill me? And how did you bust out my aunt?”

“Oh, Leslie actually managed that? She told Non she would try, but I don’t think anyone really cared that much. They’re pretty sure she’s going to choose you over common sense. I’m guessing that runs in the family.”

“So what now?” Kara demands.

“Now you come with me, and I make peace for you and the other aliens. With my help, they can launch the final phase of their plan. And hey, when I’m the only human male left on earth, maybe then you’ll consider dating me, right?”

“You know I’m not going to turn my back on Earth,” Kara accuses, and Winn stops his pacing then, pulling his phone from his pocket again. “Or on my sister, or my friends-”

“Or your girlfriend,” Winn finishes for her. “You know, I should have told Non that the biggest threat to stripping Supergirl of her mystique is Cat Grant. I guess I wanted to hold onto my job as long as possible, but there’s still time to update him.”

“Don’t you dare!”

“Right,” Winn spits the word at her. “Because that’s another bunch of lies. She doesn’t know the truth, it’s all for pretend? I know everything you’ve been doing, Kara, and I don’t like it one bit. You’re so happy to string me along, just so long as I do all your bitch work.”

“I wasn’t asking for your approval. And I thought you wanted to be part of the team.”

“I don’t need to worry about Cat.” Winn dismisses the thought of her by waving his hands in front of his face. Kara can see now how strung out he truly looks. “Leslie’s price for helping us out was that she gets Cat. Handy how she can track people through electrical current, isn’t it? No GPS needed for LiveWire.”

Kara’s stomach sinks. She’ll have to warn Cat, get Alex to check in with Vasquez and Diggs. That means enough of talking around this, enough of hoping there’s some redeeming fact to unearth. She has to hand Winn over to the DEO. Kara just wishes she couldn’t still hear Cat’s reprimand about due process echoing in her head as she approaches Winn.

“Not so fast, Supergirl.” He’s completely cool as he says it, pressing something on his phone that makes something mechanical whirr into life. “See, you kept asking me to analyze everything for you, including your biology. I needed a little insurance against you turning on me after all.”

“You turned on me!”

“I gave you every chance to be on the right side of history!” She barely recognizes this angry little man in front of her. “To be part of a movement instead of just joining the freaking establishment that can’t decide if it wants to hunt you or make you a hero!”

“Winn!”

“This might hurt,” he warns, and there’s some kind of net falling over her before Kara has time to react. The now-familiar wave of nausea hits first and she knows Kryptonite when she feels it. “I’m gonna be the one taking you in, Kara. If you won’t work with Non, he is going to kill you.”

“Why are you only talking about him?” Kara gasps. “Astra’s the leader.”

“Maybe before she got captured,” Winn answers with a shrug. “I’m just gonna give you a little injection. I’m sure you get why I can’t trust you to come quietly.”

“Not so fast,” Alex calls from the shadows, and her shot hits Winn squarely in the shoulder.

He yelps like a chihuahua. Kara flinches at the sight of blood on his gray t-shirt. As he presses his hand to the wound, his phone hits the floor. Alex swoops in to cuff him, and crushes the phone beneath her sensible heel. “Can you get out from under that?” She asks Kara, who begins to fumble with the mesh even in her weakened state. It feels like the net is tightening though, so she calls out to her sister for help.

“Hold on!” Alex shouts to her. “I don’t trust this little weasel. If I’m gonna help you, I need to…” She smacks Winn hard on the temple and he crumples to the ground. “There we go,” she pulls Kara free at last.

“You knocked him out!”

“To make sure he couldn’t escape. Listen, get outside, away from this. I can drag Winn.”

“Sure?” Kara is already stumbling away from the Kryptonite on sheer instinct. She watches Alex pick up Winn’s feet and start dragging him along the floor. “How much did you hear?”

“Enough to know you’re going straight out of here to defend Cat,” Alex sighs. “Will you please make sure you’re recovered enough before trying to take off?”

“You won’t hurt him, will you?” Kara can’t help but ask, relieved to be stepping back out in the sun.

“No more than strictly necessary,” Alex promises. “I’m calling Vasquez and we’ll get extra bodies to wherever Cat is. You calling her?”

“I guess I’d better,” Kara sighs. “I’m just not sure she’s going to want to hear from me.”

Chapter Text

“Hey,” Kara taps the earpiece as she flies. “Cat?”

“Miss Grant is unavailable right now,” Vasquez answers Cat’s personal cell. “Is that you, Superpuppy?”

“What happened to never calling me that on comms?” Kara demands, but the familiarity bolsters her. Cat is in safe hands with the team; Alex cared about Kara’s feelings enough to pick her best two agents for the first shift. “You’re good there, right?”

“We have no power,” Vasquez answers, making Kara’s stomach do that unpleasant flipping thing again. “Been about ten minutes now, but we’ve secured the location.”

“She wouldn’t let you take her anywhere but the penthouse, would she?” Kara demands. “Don’t let her bully you, agents.”

“Easier said than done. Your sister is calling me too, anything I need to know?”

“Leslie Willis is coming after Cat, if she isn’t there already.”

“That’s why I shut off the power,” Cat groans in the background. “Do I have to spell out everything? No electricity, no zappy lightning crap.”

There’s a moment of mutual silence as Kara and Agent Vasquez realign their view of Cat’s readiness.

“I’ve got a feeling that won’t be enough to stop her,” Kara warns. “Go speak to Alex, she has more people to send you. I’ll be there before you know it.” She ends the call and pushes herself to fly even faster than she’s already hurtling through the National City sky.

 

Kara’s first instinct on sliding to a stop in the middle of Cat’s huge kitchen is to gather Cat in her arms and kiss her.

But pausing. Because everything sucks.

Instead Kara greets Vasquez and Diggs with what she hopes are professional handshakes.

“Supergirl,” Diggs greets her, his tactical helmet lying on the counter and his afro springing free. “Your lady here is a real piece of work, you know that?”

“I do in fact know that,” Kara agrees, smiling despite herself at Cat’s eye roll in their direction. “But let’s keep it professional in front of the civilians, okay?”

“Civilians,” Cat snorts. “I don’t remember you enlisting. That’s a costume, not a uniform.”

“Hey!” Kara protests, but Cat shoots her a quick, weak smile to offset the snappish remark. “I still think we should consider somewhere a little harder for Leslie to find you. Did you get things fixed with Carter?”

Cat scrunches her face. “His father refused to take him to London.”

“I told you sending him away wasn’t an option.” On this one thing, Kara has no problem standing up to Cat. Even before kisses and Netflix and sleeping in each other’s beds, Kara would have fought her on this. She knows what it’s like to be sent away, but what Cat doesn’t fully appreciate is that it’s not the going that crushes a kid; it’s not having anything to come back to. She doesn’t know Carter that well, or even Cat when it comes to her family situation, but Kara knows enough to be sure Carter wouldn’t get over it. She’s guarding Cat for him more than anyone.

“And I told you not to involve yourself in Carter’s wellbeing,” Cat warns, and it’s not the pointed mockery over standing up to Carter’s bullies, it’s a genuine go to hell. “He’s upset that his father couldn’t wait to hand him back, and that I couldn’t take him. I can’t tell him I’m in danger, so he thinks it’s just choosing work or dates with Supergirl over time with him.”

“He’ll understand, after,” Kara insists. “Honesty goes further than you think.”

“We’re going to check the perimeter,” Vasquez chimes in as the tension in the kitchen ratchets up another notch. “You okay on guard detail?”

“I’m fine, Sus,” Kara assures her, shooting a sympathetic glance. Diggs clips his helmet back in place and gives her a nice theatrical shrug on their way out. “You go do what you need to do. Cat, we should pick a safer defensive position. There’s a lot of glass and metal in here.”

“There’s glass and metal all over this apartment.”

“Then let me take you somewhere secure!”

“No!” Cat yells right back. “Cat Grant does not run. Do you think I got where I am by hiding every time some blonde with a grudge came after me?”

“Do you think… what, this is some kind of a merger?” Kara sputters back at her. “This isn’t some bad press you need to brazen your way through. This isn’t a hack or a gossip column that went too far. Your life is in danger and you need to let me protect you.”

“Your job is to protect National City,” Cat counters. “Not me.”

“And where are we right now?” Kara demands. “That’s right, National City. So you’re my responsibility right now. The end.”

Cat stares her down for a moment and then bursts out laughing. Kara’s stunned at the reaction, but she can’t help joining in. It’s a relief after another surreal morning of betrayal and panic.

“That’s right, National City,” Cat gasps back at her, mimicking Kara’s intonation. Breathless from laughing, Cat straightens up and opens the fridge. She pulls some plastic pots of fruit and a couple of water bottles. “To finish answering you, Carter is with my mother. She’s in town the rest of the week, so it’s not a dealbreaker that I survive today. Agent Diggs already sent a team to her hotel to guard them. Mother is thrilled, as you can imagine.”

“She can tell her snobby friends they’re Secret Service,” Kara suggests, ever Cat’s problem-solver. “Although I’m pretty sure Donna Tartt or whoever won’t give a sh… damn.”

Cat smirks at the way Kara catches herself. There are voices in the hall, Kara listens in and confirms it’s the additional agents sent by Alex. They’re gossiping about Cat, and her, so Kara tunes right back out. She overhears enough whispers at the DEO, even though they’re all mostly nice to her face these days. Only Vasquez refrains from making bitchy comments.

“My bedroom has the least metal,” Cat suggests. “The office here has fewer windows, but it’s smaller than at the beach house.”

“You choose,” Kara offers. She worries that Cat feeling out of control for too long will have consequences. “Everything in the fridge will spoil without power, should we take more?”

“Help yourself,” Cat says with a shrug. She doesn’t move though, and Kara has to brush past her to open the fridge door. She hears the spike in Cat’s heart rate, knowing her own is doing the same at the frisson on contact. Concentration is going to be hell. “I’ll be in the den. You can hide Carter’s Playstation and the TV if you’re worried.”

“It probably won’t be necessary,” Kara tries to stay optimistic, grabbing some snacks and following Cat down the hall. If she lingers behind for a step or two, maybe she’s enjoying the view. As they approach the right room, Kara bursts past Cat to survey the space first. “You think Carter’s having fun with your mom yet?”

“I think he’s probably been sent to sit in a corner with a book,” Cat answers, just on the north side of snippy. “I rarely agree with my mother, but it might be something to try on you.”

“Don’t do that, please,” Kara finds herself saying. Cat raises an eyebrow in question, taking a seat on the plush couch. This isn’t one of the sleek Scandinavian designs Cat favors elsewhere, this is an overstuffed pile of comfort that suggests cuddles and lounging. No wonder Carter sets up his games in here. “Don’t talk about me like I’m a kid.”

“It was a joke,” Cat scoffs. “But if you expect me not to notice the considerable age gap between us…”

Kara opens her yogurt pot, and sits on the far end of the sofa from Cat. She’s not dignifying that with a response.

“Part of me wants to just call her out,” Cat sighs, impatient to a fault. She’s picking at some chopped mango, not looking particularly enthused about it. “Oh, don’t look at me like that,” she replies to Kara’s worried stare. “I’m not cashing in my chips. I have a son to stick around for. I mean if you’re going to kick her ass and save the day, wouldn’t it be less annoying to just get on with it?”

“You’re saying the impending doom should hurry up?” Kara really shouldn’t be surprised at this stage. “I think the agents were right about you being a piece of work,” she snorts. She listens out for them at the thought, surprised when she hears nothing but slow, steady breathing. And it doesn’t sound like four of them anymore, either.

“Cat-” she starts to say, but the voice comes seeping from the very walls of the room.

“Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.”

Cat startles, but doesn’t put the fruit down.

“You’re boring me, Leslie.” God, she’s good. Even Kara almost misses the twitch below Cat’s cheekbone, the slight shiver in her hand. “One more cat pun and I’ll have to set my superhero on you.”

Leslie flickers out of a wall socket, taking shape before them and making the air crackle. She seems taller this time, but a little less… stable. Kara swears she can see her atoms separate and crash back together over and over. It’s unsettling. Before her yogurt pot can touch the ground, Kara is between Cat and Leslie. Cat hasn’t even bothered to stand up.

“You’re done, Livewire,” Kara tells her. “Why don’t you make this easy on yourself?”

“I’m not interested in easy,” Leslie fires back, zapping herself across the room to the far corner. “I have you to thank for that, Cat. Shame it’s still going to get you killed.”

“You can’t possibly hate me that much,” Cat stands then, thankfully still using Kara’s body as a shield. “I was hard on you, Leslie. But only ever for your own good.”

“You used me!” Leslie seethes. “Then you threw me aside for this little cupcake. You were just fine with my ratings and my content until the patron saint of cheerleaders starting coming by your office.”

“Jealous?” Kara can’t resist. She so rarely gets to taunt anyone, and it feels like the kind of thing Cat will appreciate. “Because you really should have asked her out if you wanted it that much.”

Cat grabs her bicep then, squeezing it in warning. Kara looks back for a second, enough to see Cat shaking her head. Apparently that’s not a topic that should be brought up. Kara’s barely got time to react when the first bolt of electricity smacks her square in the chest.

“Shit!” She squeaks, because unlike a lot of other adversaries, Leslie can really hurt her. Every electron in Kara’s body is stinging, and she staggers while trying to keep her body and her cape in front of Cat. She realizes then the weakness of her position. She can’t throw herself around the room with Cat there to protect, and no back up to cover her. It’s limiting, and Kara doesn’t like that one bit. She grabs Cat and moves out of the way of the next blast, with barely a millisecond to spare.

“No water main this time,” Leslie shrieks. “This time you die, Cat. Right after your little girlfriend toasts in front of you.”

“Lasers,” Cat gasps from where she’s practically getting a piggyback from Kara.

They.” Kara darts right. “Re.” Left. “Charge.” She flips them, praying Cat is holding on tight enough. “Her.” She is.

“Ceiling!” Cat almost slips from Kara’s back then. She rights herself, and Kara manages a glancing blow as Leslie blows past them. When Kara looks at the ceiling she sees the discrete grooves that hide the sprinkler system. The censor is right by the elaborate light fitting that dominates the room. When Kara blasts it with heat vision, Leslie choose that moment to shatter the hundreds of pieces of glass.

Kara rolls them away from the cloud of sharpness as best she can, the confines of the room meaning she’s left dents in the plaster and totalled half the furniture. Just as she’s readying herself for another go round, the sprinklers finally burst into life. Leslie’s power crackles at her fingertips, and Kara sees her solidify under the deluge.

She sets Cat down, and knocks Leslie sprawling against the doorframe. Only when she slumps does Kara finally breathe all the way out. She barely notices the water sluicing off her, the cape and the suit diverting most of it. A moment later Cat is at her side, already soaked to the bone.

“Is she dead?”

Leslie stirs, groaning. Kara nods her head towards her as an answer. Cat pulls away from Kara before she can be stopped, and she’s on her knees at Leslie’s side, gripping her chin. Leslie can’t seem to focus, and Kara wonders just how hard she hit her.

“Leslie, you stop this,” Cat says, her voice surprisingly soft. “I’m sorry that I hurt you. That I rejected you. I spent too long making you pay for ever trying. But you have to see now that it was an unhealthy idea.”

“Cat,” Leslie gasps, and despite the sprinklers Kara suspects that’s not all the water on her face is. “I just wanted you to notice me. Like you did before.”

“I never stopped noticing you, Leslie,” Cat assures her. “And this time when they take you in, I’m going to fight for you. You’ll get a trial, get all the help you need. You don’t need to be this angry anymore.”

“We should go check on the agents,” Kara lays a hand on Cat’s shoulder, uncomfortable with the prolonged exposure of the woman she’s supposed to be protecting.

“I didn’t zap them hard enough to kill,” Leslie says, her smile creepy and lopsided. “Well, maybe the first couple. Oops?”

“Cat, go check,” Kara insists. There’s something she doesn’t like in Leslie’s expression now, those dark eyes flickering. Not waiting for an answer, Kara hauls Cat back to standing and shows her towards the door. Cat takes a splashing step or two before Leslie calls out to her.

“I’m sorry about the kid,” Leslie singsongs. “He’s not bad, considering who raised him.”

“What did you do to Carter?” Kara demands, slapping Leslie across the face as she starts to drift out of consciousness.

“I maaaaay have...” Leslie looks confused for a moment. “Oh yeah, I told that men’s rights activist in a jumpsuit that — to defeat Supergirl — he’d have to take out the kid. Pretty smart, right? A real twofer.”

Kara is ready to burn her alive, her vision starts to cloud with the glow. Before she can unleash, Cat has socked Leslie hard on the side of the head, her scream of rage incoherent but chilling. Kara catches Cat before the follow-through pulls her down. Leslie’s head lolls to the right, out cold again.

“I’m going to get him,” Kara tells a violently shaking cat. “That’s my uncle she’s talking about, and I’m telling you now: no Kryptonian would harm a child. That’s just not possible.” She’s lying through her teeth. They had child soldiers on Krypton. There’s nothing in any of the codes she’s studied with her mother’s hologram in the middle of the night that expressly forbids it.

But there’s no way in hell she’s telling Cat even a word of that.

“Let’s go,” Cat demands, all but limp in Kara’s half-embrace. “Kara, if you waste one second arguing… take me to my son.”

“Okay,” Kara agrees, relieved to see a dazed Vasquez come splashing through the doorway. “Susan, get this one contained? And tell Alex to send everything she’s got to Carter’s location, okay?”

“Kid’s in danger?” Vasquez confirms, but she’s already tapping her earpiece before Kara can respond. Cat has found her legs again, and she’s dragging Kara toward the window.

“Get us there,” Cat commands, imperious even though she’s dripping wet in her designer jeans and a probably-shrinking sweater. “I’m counting on you, Kara.”

“I know,” Kara says, blowing the window frame out in one sharp kick. “I won’t let you down.”

Chapter Text

When Katherine is in town, she never stays with Cat and Carter. Even though Cat owns property all over the city and beyond, her mother insists on always taking a suite at the National City Intercontinental. When her daughter is footing the bill, Katherine doesn’t hold back on demands, and Kara has memorized the list that’s logged on the reservations system. She can’t help thinking that a selection of artisanal cheeses and a specially imported brandy isn’t going to help anyone right now.

Cat is tucked against her as they fly, the journey barely two full minutes. Kara can feel Cat’s tears making the skin of her neck slippery, and a cursory glance at Cat’s gripping hand shows broken skin over the knuckles and signs of deep bruising; at some point Kara has to show her how to throw a punch.

Alex has been beeping in and out of her ear, updating Kara on reinforcements that include Alex’s own tactical unit. That’s the very best the DEO has to offer, and Kara’s relieved that it includes Hank, too. She loves her sister, knows she absolutely has her back, but when facing an army of Kryptonians, she wants all the expert help she can get.

With an assistant’s memory for detail, Kara steers them toward the 20th floor and Katherine’s preferred suite. There’s no sign of any damage to the building and no aliens hovering overhead. X-ray vision confirms that Katherine is reading on the sofa and Carter is flipping aimlessly through TV channels.

They made it in time.

Kara’s just slowing to wrench open the window when she’s hit from the side by what feels like a freight train. Worse, the impact jars Cat loose from Kara’s arms, and before she can blink Cat is tumbling down toward the hard ground far, far below.

It would be smarter to check for the attacker first, but Kara’s running on pure panic. She swoops to recapture Cat, whose scream is a horror Kara never wants to experience again. The catch is fumbled, hurting Cat as Kara grabs her hips and tries to absorb some of the velocity. A quick adjustment and she’s holding Cat bridal style, hurtling toward the sidewalk at a more controlled pace.

“They’re alone,” Kara explains, once she sets Cat down. It looks like Cat is about to complain about the whole ‘being dropped’ situation, but there really isn’t time. “Go up in the elevator, get Carter and I’ll take you both somewhere safe.” She looks up at last, dreading what she’ll see. Sure enough, Astra is floating ten feet above her. “If I’m not here when you come back down, tell Alex to get you to the base. She’s the next best thing to me, I swear.”

“Where are you-”

“Go!” Kara commands with every remaining scrap of authority left from the House of El. Her voice holds firm with twelve planets’ worth of knowledge and with twenty-four lost years of grief and stasis. She understands in that moment what the voices of human gods must sound like, and even Cat quails at the sound. She gathers her wits in an instant and sprints toward the hotel lobby in her damp clothes.

“Astra,” Kara blasts upwards to face her. “You could have killed Cat. And you’re here to attack a child?”

“I did not know you’d be carrying a hostage,” Astra answers. “You fly recklessly, Little One. Did no one ever train you?”

“Reckless is smashing into people from the side,” Kara yells back. “And you’d better not lay a hand on that kid, because I will end you. Right here, right now. There’s no spy beacon or cute story that will stop me.”

“I am here for his protection,” Astra corrects. “Non and my troops will move any moment, but I knew I would find you here if I came to watch.”

“Sounds a lot like you’re switching sides.” Kara feels the flutter of hope inside her ribcage, but squashes it with the cynicism that Alex taught her, the same cynicism that Cat is showing her how to perfect. “Or is that your decoy this time? So you can take me out while I try to defend the boy?”

The boy?” Astra scoffs. “You sound like your mother. Always straining for some idea of being pure and objective. He’s the son of your beloved human, isn’t he? I watched how you saved their transport system for him once before. What will you do for him this time? For her? You’re not objective, Kara. It’s foolish to pretend you are.”

A crowd is gathering as they hover in plain sight. Kara fears for their safety, and also that it will draw Non out if he’s ready to pounce.

“If you’re truly joining this side,” Kara decides. “Meet me on the roof.”

She blasts off, accustomed to a head start in any race. She’s a little stunned when Astra whizzes past her; even Kal-El can’t outfly her.

“Your cells were less developed when you arrived,” Astra explains as Kara touches down. “Much as Kal-El is no match in speed or strength for you, so I hold an advantage.”

“How did you escape?” Kara demands.

“Your sister helped me,” Astra admits. “She and I have had long conversations about the best way to save this planet. We came to an agreement that my husband and his methods will cause more harm than good. That became clear when they abandoned me to your prisons.”

“Okay there is no way that Alex-” Kara’s rebuttal comes grinding to a halt as she remembers Alex’s vagueness, the lack of a suitable excuse. Breaking the DEO rules when it comes to Kryptonians is hardly breaking new ground for her. “Then why did you take Leslie with you? That wasn’t the plan?”

“The girl of lightning? Your friend suggested her to us, the one who’s been helping Non keep track of you. I kept my own watch until I was imprisoned. I would have watched over you every year we have been on this earth if I’d known you had made it here, Kara. I watched Kal-El show his powers and you were nowhere to be seen.”

“I’m not asking for backdated babysitting,” Kara snaps, trying not to feel soothed by Astra’s explanation. “You still want to blow up this planet and recruit me to do it.”

“That is not the plan,” Astra argues, hands on her hips. “Kara, I fear we do not have long. Non has planned to make his move for some time, and he will hurt anyone he thinks gives him leverage over you.”

“Am I really that important to what you’re doing?”

“He’s doing,” Astra corrects, clicking her tongue in impatience. “That headfirst attitude has almost been your doom too many times, Little One. Details matter. Do you love this human?”

“What?” Kara can’t believe she’s finally getting the accusing relative routine from anyone other than Alex. She can’t deny it makes her heart skip a beat or two. “That is not the point. The point is to protect everyone. Especially if they’re in danger because of me.”

“The technology requires a Kryptonian body to be fused with it,” Astra relents. “I warned Alexandra about this already. We couldn’t sacrifice the few Kryptonians who had been loyal to us. You and your cousin were the only holdouts, but I wanted to recruit you and make him the default choice. Then I was asked to prove my loyalty. That’s why you’ve been targeted. I always meant to trade Kal-El’s life for yours, Kara. You must believe me.”

“That doesn’t make it any better!” Kara yells at her, reaching across the short distance between them to shove Astra. It’s not their play fights on Krypton now, but Astra stands her ground just as well as she always did. She’s always been the immovable object, even politically, but these days Kara is not a little one; she’s the unstoppable force. “When did you decide that killing was some kind of sport?”

“I never did,” Astra’s eyes are pleading. “Your mother sentenced me for an accidental death, but after Fort Rozz you can justify almost anything. You spend all your time with criminals, Kara, and crime becomes the only path that’s visible. It’s only now I see that I strayed too far. I risked your life, and I can’t forgive myself for that. I can, however, use this opportunity to make amends. Will you trust me?”

“I don’t know if I can.” Kara wraps her arms around herself, despite her best instincts, because she hasn’t felt this lonely in a long time. Between Alex, and Winn, even James and now Cat, she hasn’t had to feel the bone-deep ache of being the only one. Seeing her aunt again has brought that roaring back, a pain that sinks into her muscles and makes everything feel just that little bit harder than it needs to.

“Kara?” Alex is in her ear then. “Are you with Astra?”

“She says you’re working together,” Kara blurts, not caring if anyone else at the DEO can overhear. “So I need you to tell me - gut instinct, Alex - if I should listen to her or hand her over to your guys and the shiny green weapons?”

“Kara, it’s not my call,” Alex replies. “I want to tell you what I think, but I don’t want to live with what happens when I’m wrong. For what it’s worth she was carrying a lot of crap about the way she was treated in Fort Rozz. And the way Non treated her before that. That’s a lot of damage to walk around with.” Alex lets out a sigh. “But I don’t know if that means she wants to help, or if she just wants to hurt us. This could all be some elaborate ambush.”

“Cat is bringing Carter down,” Kara informs her sister. “You’ll get them somewhere Non can’t find them?”

“Too late!” Alex yells, and sure enough there’s the synchronized whoosh of a flurry of aliens around the building. Kara wonders, not for the first time, how her life ended up like a Death Eaters scene, and how she became National City’s own Harry Potter. “Tell her to pick a side.”

“Aunt Astra?” Kara holds out her left hand, waiting for her aunt to make her move. If she’s going to attack Kara, this is her opening. “If you ever loved me, if I ever meant anything to you, this is your chance to show it.”

“Non knows my weaknesses too well,” Astra offers, her hands turned out in a gesture of peace. “I’ll take the support troops, you focus on anyone between you and my husband.”

“This better work.”

“One last thing?” Astra adds as they jog towards the edge of the roof, ready to launch into the first wave of attacks. “When you talk to your sister again, tell her I’ve appreciated her kindness. Very much.”

“This is no time for last words,” Kara cuts her off. “We’re gonna win this, and then we’ll see about starting over, okay?”

“As you wish.”

Alex pipes up in Kara’s ear. “I heard her, Kara. Tell her there’s more where that came from.”

“Alex…”

“Tell her,” Alex yells. “And for God’s sake, get your asses in this fight.”

“She says there’s more where that came from,” Kara barks at Astra, and there’s just a hint of a smile before they’re hurtling down into the fray.

Kara hasn’t fought this hard before. At every turn there’s a new blast, a new fist hurtling towards her. That she’s out in the melée means no one moves toward Cat and Carter in the hotel. They’ll take Kara outright given half the chance, and she plans on having most of them in a heap on the ground before they get around to reconsidering the use of Carter as bait or a hostage.

She sees Alex and Hank open the back of a truck that glows green inside. It’s all the incentive Kara needs. Each time she gets a solid grip on a fighting alien, she hurtles them towards the open doors. As three-pointers go, she’s not quite Reggie Miller, but she makes more than she misses. Any who hit the ground are contained quickly with darts of green, but the combatants just keep coming.

Kara tries not to think about how many of these people have been on Earth all this time alongside her, that some of them might have reformed and given her a little piece of her home world when she missed it the most. That moment’s distraction gets her slammed through an entire floor of the Citibank building, and she shakes off the foggy thoughts along with the glass and plaster debris.

When she swoops back around, she sees Non break from the pack. He’s still yelling at his troops, but Astra is decimating them with a ruthlessness Kara can’t help but admire. That’s why Non is hurtling towards his wife, and Kara is back in motion before she can second-guess herself. If they pull some stunt on her now she’ll be vulnerable, maybe, but when she sees Astra notice Non’s approach, the fear in her eyes is completely genuine.

His head start allows him to knock Astra out of Kara’s trajectory, and she makes a sharp turn mid-air to keep up with them. Non is yelling Kryptonian words that even Kara doesn’t recognize, and it’s clear they’re curses from the way he snarls them while trying to choke Astra. Kara’s hellbent on pulling him off when she sees the movement in her peripheral vision.

A fresh wave of soldiers has arrived, and they’re heading directly for that 20th floor window. Kara looks to her aunt for a moment, in which Astra smashes Non’s stupid face, buying herself a moment free from his grasp.

“Go!” Astra shouts to her. “I can handle him.”

Kara turns away from her family one more time, tears stinging at her eyes, and goes to save the humans who are counting on her.

***

She rips one from the balcony and smashes him against the concrete wall until he loses consciousness. Kara rips the glowing blue protector from his suit as she did with the others, and lobs him toward the truck. His powers shouldn’t start fading until he’s low enough to make a mostly-intact landing. The other two have already shattered the glass, and Kara’s heart sinks at the sound of screams from inside. She knew there hadn’t been enough time yet for them to get out of there.

The Kryptonians have the sense, or maybe the sheer dumb luck, to be confused over who they should attack first. Unfortunately for them, Kara reads the intention in their moment of hesitation. When they make a darting move toward Carter, and Cat who’s holding him close with the desperate protection of a frantic mother, they hit only Kara. She hits harder than she ever has, knocking them back out through the shattered window.

“I can hold them off,” Kara allows herself the briefest glance at Cat. “Get downstairs to Alex, now!”

Cat breaks into a run with Carter’s hand grasped tightly in her own. Katherine looks at Kara, her expression as sour as before, and for a moment it looks like she’s going to stay just for the sheer inconvenience. The sight of Hank at the suite door and the looming soldiers returning for a second round make her dash out after her daughter after all. Kara almost smiles when she hears Cat’s exasperated “honestly, Mother” from all the way down the corridor.

“Reinforcements?” She asks Hank. “Just keep the green stuff away from me.”

“About that,” he throws his gun aside. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.”

He transforms in front of her, and Kara gasps at the sight.

“What are you?” She asks. “I’ve never…”

“I’m from Mars,” he replies.

“Just like a David Bowie song.” Kara can’t help herself.

“The last of my kind,” Hank reminds her. “What do you say we whittle down the remaining Fort Rozz aliens too, hmm?”

“You got it,” Kara lashes out at the first onrushing Kryptonian. More now, swarming and fighting much more viciously. Hank handles two with crushing blows, and she’s distracted for a second by the ease of it. He has some moves that will surpass even what Alex has taught her. “What do I call you?” She yells. “I’m guessing Hank was never your real name.”

“My name is J’onn,” he tells her. “Now get your head in the fight, Kara!”

They synchronize well as the onslaught continues. Only once does Kara collide with J’onn, but she bounces right off him and uses the leverage to leglock a particularly brutish opponent. She listens out for Cat and Carter as the fight rages on, hearing comforting murmurs from Cat that bode well for their escape.

As the numbers finally start to dwindle, Non comes hovering into view at the window in the midst of smoldering furniture and badly damaged walls. Kara could vomit at the sight of him where she’d much rather see Astra.

“Where is she?” Kara demands, but he ducks her first charge easily.

“My wife has been overthrown once and for all,” he snarls at her. “She has paid for her treachery.”

Kara closes her eyes and she feels Krypton exploding again. She hears her mother’s last brave sob before the pod had closed, sees the betrayal on Astra’s face as the guards had come. Her fists clench against the memories of never fitting in, of every day she’s had to hide who and what she is. The cacophony in her mind is crowned by the headlines she’s been trying not to read, the criticism of her heroism and the speculation of what she is to Cat.

When Kara opens her eyes she sees only a threat. Someone who’s taken the last true piece of home from her, and who would rip away the one piece of home she might have here in National City. Even if Cat never dates her again, if they never exchange more than a loaded glance over coffee in the afternoon, she is the safe space that Kara has carved out for herself. Kal-El has his polar retreat, and Alex has the secure bunkers of the DEO. Kara has an oasis of glass and white furniture, the low hum of digital screens like a lullaby that soothes her on the toughest days.

Non will not be allowed to take that. No one will. Kara is Earth’s defender, and Cat Grant’s defender most of all. Whatever happens, Non cannot be allowed to walk out of here and threaten another day. He won’t take - no one will take - another rare piece of happiness from Kara Zor-El. She’s given all that she is willing to give.

She can hear Hank, no, J’onn try to warn her. He’s become a surrogate father these past few months, trying his best but still just someone else she’ll never entirely belong with. She tries to grab on to the fact that he’s a refugee just like her, but Kara is a missile already locked on her target. She knows Mars burned too, a long time ago, so if anyone should understand it’s him.

There’s a charge in her blood, something she’s never felt before. When she hits Non this time she’s the steel that they all claim she’s made of. The fury pours out of her in punches and scratches and frost and fire. She’s elemental, the actual body in front of her lost to the white heat of rage. If she lands one more hit, if she blasts just a moment longer, maybe everything that’s come to the surface will leave her at last.

She’s screaming when her lasers finally give out. It’s a scream that hurts even her invincible cells, the inside of her throat is so raw. But she can’t stop. Hank is the one to pull her away, and it’s only the dry touch of his dark skin--human again--that causes Kara to look down and see the blood on her own.

“Don’t look,” Hank insists, turning her away from what she’s pretty sure used to be Non. The rest of the troops have been defeated or flown away, and there’s just the vicious wind whipping through the shattered windows.

Kara wants to go back to staged dates and clothes shopping. She wants to go back to a time when planes didn’t need plucking from the sky. She wants to wash her hands, wash the wet drops from her face. She’s worried that if she does, she might never be able to stop. She might never feel clean again.

“We won,” Hank assures her, but Kara is slipping from his comforting grasp. She falls to her knees on the plush carpet and lets her head fall in her hands. The tears are coming, she knows that, but in that moment all she can do is tremble.

“I’ll get your sister,” Hank promises. “It’s going to be okay, Kara.”

“Cat,” she whispers. “If Carter’s okay, ask her to come?”

Hank doesn’t seem happy about it, but he calls Alex and relays an instruction to bring the ‘Grant woman’ with her. Kara tries to regulate her breathing, and she waits.

Chapter Text

“Kara? Kara?” The ringing in her ears is starting to recede, and Kara tries to force a smile at the sound of Cat’s voice. Her hands are covering her face where she kneels on the carpet, and she’s suddenly scared to reveal herself. “Kara, come on. I didn’t come all the way back up here to play hide and seek.”

“Where’s Carter?” Kara’s voice cracks and it sounds different and scratchy since she screamed. That was the noise that had finally cleared the room of everyone but Hank. She drops her hands and looks at Cat, gaze not quite settling in the flickering lights of the room. “He’ll have nightmares if he-”

“He’s with his grandmother,” Cat reminds her. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but she’s actually been kind of great. Considering. She was hugging him when I left.”

“I’m sorry. You should go be with Carter.” Kara tries to stand, but the broken glass under her knees suddenly stings like a hundred tiny blades. On shaky legs, she makes it off the floor, and notices the fresh blood trickling into the tops of her boots. “It was selfish of me to ask for you.”

“Kara?” Cat looks down at the blood, clearly shocked at the sight. “What’s wrong? Why are you bleeding?”

“My powers…” She looks up, catching Hank’s worried glance. “I blew them out.”

“I’ll call a medic,” Hank offers, reaching for his phone again. “Alex is on her way up, she was trying to get your aunt to accept help from our side.”

“Helping Astra?” Kara seizes on the news. “She’s not dead?”

“It was pretty close,” Hank admits. “But your sister pretty much dragged her back to consciousness after she fell. You two can share a medbay, it’ll give you company for a change.”

“No need,” Kara argues. “I don’t want the lab. No needles, no monitors. I just need to clean up. I know how to get my powers back.”

“Make sure you hurry up about it.” Hank has suspicion lacing his tone, like he can hear the part of Kara that says an ability to suddenly feel pain is no less than she deserves right now. That every cut and bruise and ache is the punishment for what she’s done, for the lines that she’s crossed. Especially if Non didn’t actually kill Astra. That had been her final justification. “We can’t call on your cousin while he’s still nursing Lois Lane. She’s awake, by the way. I thought you’d want to know.”

“Thank God,” Cat mutters, frowning at her own unexpected moment of compassion. “It would have been inconvenient to go to a funeral in Metropolis, that’s all.”

“Is the bathroom…?” Kara trails off, looking at the destruction surrounding them. Barely a piece of furniture is intact, pieces of it smoldering in the rubble that used to be a pretty fancy hotel suite. Cat’s the one to steer her toward the en-suite, her touch so light at Kara’s elbow that it barely registers.

“Clean up enough to get out of here,” Cat suggests. “Then you’re coming home with us.”

“I’ll be fine,” Kara tries to wave it off, but Cat has her hands on her hips and she’s never been able to stare down that particular pose. “I mean, thank you. If you’re sure you don’t mind.”

“I’m going back out there to question your other boss.” Cat turns the faucet on, checking the temperature as an excuse to rinse her own hands. Any other time she’d have a steady supply of hand sanitizer, but they left in too much of a hurry for her purse or any other accessories. “If he tells me you need to be back at the Shady Pines bunker, you’re going there first. Understood?”

“You’re taking care of me again,” Kara blurts, putting her trembling hands under the water. “What happened to being on pause?”

“First of all,” Cat has her hand on the door handle, her back turned. “I promised you I’d do that regardless of what happened between us.” She turns slightly, looking back over her shoulder at Kara. It’s almost shy, something Kara has never seen on Cat before. She thinks she might like it. “But you just fought a war to protect me, and my son. It’s hard to stay on pause after that, don’t you think?”

Kara nods, or tries to. The tears are flowing again, part horror and mostly relief. Cat is back in an instant, soaking a corner of the towel and wiping Kara’s face clean. A few more rinses, a few more sweeps, and Kara’s starting to feel less monstrous. Cat’s eyes never leave Kara’s face as she works, not once does Cat flinch or break eye contact.

“Presentable,” Cat lies, the slightest scrunch of her nose and a brief wrinkle on her forehead the only hint of a frown she gives away. “Can you manage your legs? We’ll clean you up properly at the house.”

“I got it,” Kara promises, and with some brief swipes of the towel the worst is cleared off. She throws it in the trash, a token gesture against the night’s destruction, and follows Cat back towards the main suite.

“Kara!” Alex yells as soon as they exit the bathroom. “Thank God. When I saw how many of them there were…” She has Kara in a bear hug before any words of warning can be issued. Only when bones creak under the force of it does Alex pull back in shock. “Short-circuited again?”

Kara nods, looking at where someone has already covered Non’s body with a sheet from the bed. “I’ll be fine, Alex. Sunshine and adrenaline.”

“You can stay with me,” Alex promises. “There’s gonna be some work, getting all of this back to the DEO, but if you need me to blow it off, I will.”

“I don’t…” Kara can’t face another decision, another weighing of options. As her shoulders slump, Cat steps up.

“She’s coming with me,” Cat states, and nobody argues with that tone. “Unless there’s a compelling medical reason why she shouldn’t? We’ll need a car. Four passengers.”

“Kara?” Alex asks, a hundred questions condensed in the two syllables of her name.

“I want to,” Kara murmurs, and she pulls Alex in for the safest hug she’s ever given her. It’s a relief not to worry about doing more damage, but the pressure of Alex against her feels like pressing down on one giant bruise. “Can I see Astra before I go?”

“She was on a gurney, but we’ll see how quickly she heals. They’ll slap cuffs on if she starts to recover too much. Remember she’s still a fugitive.” Alex looks at Hank, and he crosses his arms over his chest. Clearly the DEO comms were monitored the whole time. Kara feels a fresh pang of guilt.

“Let’s go,” Cat insists. “We’ll see her when we collect Carter.”

“I’m coming down to find you a driver,” Alex insists. “Then I’ll be straight back to base,” she promises Hank. “You got the whole walking thing covered, there?”

Kara isn’t sure, honestly, but then there’s Cat’s arm around her waist, Cat propping her up and making it look like nothing. Kara can do this. She has to do this, because Pilates or not, there’s no way Cat can drag her much further. One foot in front of the other, and even though everything hurts, Kara keeps going.

They make it to the lobby where emergency workers are milling around with the DEO agents. Not for the first time, Kara wonders just who’ll be footing the bill for a ripped out chunk of hotel. She doesn’t want to think how many CatCo paychecks it would take just to fix that room.

“Vasquez!” Alex calls out, and Kara is relieved to see her there. It means Leslie must be contained already. “Can you go requisition an SUV from someone? And by requisition I mean grab some keys when they’re not looking?”

“On it, Danvers,” Susan replies. “Another W in your column, Superpuppy? Way to kick ass.”

The smile Kara gives her is wan, to say the least. Cat pulls away from Kara at the sight of Carter, and though Kara can’t hear their heartbeats anymore, it’s no stretch to assume some of the panic lingers. Cat gathers Carter in her arms so effortlessly, and he fits with the ease of someone who’s been doing it since the moment he was born. Cat presses a half-dozen distracted kisses on top of his head, smiling into the soft curls. She’s muttering something, but Kara can’t be sure if it’s anything for Carter to hear, or just some kind of improvised prayer that they’ve made it out alive.

“Don’t suppose you can get hold of my daughter’s assistant?” Katherine asks from somewhere at Kara’s back. She turns, schooling her features as she’s had to a hundred times before. “Only Kitty has this preposterous idea that I should come to her horrid little place out on the coast, when it would make much more sense to book me into a new hotel. One with all the walls intact, if you follow.”

“I’m an alien, Mrs Grant,” Kara says in her most somber voice. “I don’t exactly have an Expedia account. But there’s a Sheraton across the street if you don’t think your daughter and grandson need you tonight. I’ve only ever pulled one alien off the roof, so you should be safe. As much as anyone in National City can be.”

“I had heard Superman was in town,” Katherine says, as sniffy as ever. “Shame he couldn’t step in and solve this little mess before it got so out of hand. But I’m sure you did your best. Kitty?”

“Yes, mother?” Cat leads Carter over towards them, rubbing circles on his back. He glances at Kara once, but won’t meet her eyes. She doesn’t want to think about how beat up she looks right now, how she might look as terrifying as any villain after what Carter’s just been exposed to.

“I’ll be at the Sheraton, if you need me. After all this, let’s hope their spa is still open.”

To anyone else Cat might seem blandly accepting of this change in plans, but Kara sees the way her jaw tightens, the slight flare of her nostrils. In the office, those tiny gestures would suggest an imminent firing, but here Cat grounds herself with the presence of Carter beside her, and waves a dismissive hand.

“We’ll be fine. Try to get some rest.”

“I doubt that very much,” Katherine scoffs. She’s about to take off, but softens for a moment at the sight of Carter. “You were very brave tonight. We’ll make a fine young man of you yet.”

It gives Kara a moment’s pause at least before she stalks off in disgust. She follows the trail of agents with black outfits and big guns until she hears Astra cursing loudly in Kryptonian. She hasn’t heard that particular colorful phrase since the last birthday Astra celebrated with Alura, when Kara was around seven. Loosely translated she’s telling the DEO agent cuffing her that he can insert some very jagged rocks into a very delicate part of his anatomy. Last time out Astra had snapped the phrase at Kara’s father for suggesting she not finish the second bottle of wine.

“Aunt Astra?” Kara can’t help but feel just a few grams lighter at the way Astra smiles at her from where she’s already strapped to a gurney.“Your language will land you in Fort Rozz some day.” She repeats her father’s reply from that day, sees the sparkle of recognition in Astra’s eye. “Are you okay?”

“Your sister is quite reckless,” Astra complains. “But she appears to have revived me. Is Non…?”

Kara used to believe that Astra had married a rebel for love, that romance had swept her up and brought her a cause. There’s no mistaking the bloodthirsty edge to Astra’s question now, though. There’s only one answer she wants to hear. The hunger in her expression causes Kara to wonder, not for the first time, what happened to a marriage through imprisonment and exile. The hard set of Astra’s jaw suggests nothing good.

Just then Vasquez comes up to Kara, keys glinting in her hand.

“I’m sorry,” Kara blurts as an answer, knowing it isn’t sufficient. She sees Astra really take in the bloodied, damaged sight of her this time, before sinking back against the gurney. The sigh is something like relief, but a little too close to a scream for Kara’s liking.

“I’m not,” is all Astra manages to say. Kara turns away, and follows Vasquez through the crowd to rejoin Cat and Carter.

***

In a perfect world Kara would have been carried from the scene of the battle and sedated until she could fully heal and start to process what had happened. There would be no competing demands, no outside world, just a total focus on what she needed to get through it all.

Kara has never lived in a perfect world.

The car ride out to Cat’s place is uneventful but Kara has to field a call from Kal-El, fresh from dropping Lucy off and turning right back around to get Lois safely delivered to Metropolis. She doesn’t envy him the worry, but she figured he’d gotten off a little lightly compared to her evening. “I’ll speak to Lucy tomorrow,” she promises. “Give Lois my love, okay?”

“Thanks, Kara. Once the dust settles, you should come see us in Metropolis. I’m sorry we’ve been fighting.”

She takes a shaky breath. “I’d love to come see you both. There’s a wedding to plan, right? Give her Cat’s love, too.” It earns her a pointed glare from the other side of the backseat. It’s a flash of normality that warms Kara quicker than even the sun’s rays. It can’t last though, not when she sees the dried blood and plaster dust all over her suit. Carter has wriggled away from her as far as he can, pressing Cat right into the corner of the car.

“I’m tired,” is all Carter says when they’re safely on the other side of the secured front door. “Can I go to bed?”

“If that’s what you want,” Cat isn’t just being indulgent. “Let me get some things for Supergirl, and then we can go get you tucked in.” Kara remembers then that he still doesn’t know, that there hasn’t been time to work out what the hell is going to happen now.

“I’m old enough,” Carter pushes past his mother, taking off down the hall with his shoulders hunched.

“I need a minute,” Cat says, voice tight. She stalks off in the same direction as Carter, but keeps going towards her own bedroom. Kara hesitates by the door for a second, but makes her mind up quickly. She has no super speed, so the steps towards the door seem to take forever.

“Carter?” She calls softly. “Can I have a word?”

He opens the door, but won’t meet her eye.

“I’m sorry if tonight was scary,” she offers, remembering what it’s like to deal with the scarier parts of the world at such a young age. “But I promise you and your mom were never really in danger. It just looked really bad for a minute there. I would never let anything happen to either of you.”

“You’re just trying to make yourself feel better.” He folds his arms and Rao, he is entirely Cat’s son in that moment, living proof of familial resemblance. “Supergirl. Don’t you have a name?”

“El,” Kara sticks to the plan made on a dancefloor with Cat. It’s easier to keep the lies to a minimum. “That’s my family name.”

“Why aren’t you with your family now?”

“My family died,” Kara admits. She can’t disclose Alex and Eliza, and it feels like a betrayal. She still isn’t used to having Astra around to consider counting her.

“Does that mean you’re going to steal mine?” Carter is blunt with her, but she can see the genuine anger in his eyes, even though he can’t maintain eye contact for long. “My mom was so scared. She never gets scared. Not when my dad yells at her, not even when she got stuck in an elevator in Trump Tower. With Trump.” Well, that explains the private elevator, Kara realizes with a wince. “You probably think I’m just a kid, but I won’t let anybody hurt my mom. I don’t care if you are a hero.”

“You’re a great kid,” Kara replies. “And if you can find a way to share your mom with me, just a little, I promise I won’t ever hurt her, okay? In the meantime, I’ll help you kick the butt of anyone else who tries to mess with her.”

“If you’re forming a club, you should have jackets made,” Cat remarks from behind Kara. She hands over a pile of towels when Kara turns to look at her, and nods for her to step away from Carter’s room. “What you both forget is that Cat Grant takes care of herself. You go get started on your shower, hmm?” The finger wave of dismissal stings like a slap might.

“I don’t need you to tuck me in, Mom,” Carter announces, and for a moment it looks like he’s going to close the door in their faces. He relents, and Cat is the one to close the door once they’re both inside. Kara sighs, and trudges towards Cat’s bedroom and its ensuite bathroom. Maybe when she’s properly clean she’ll start to feel better.

***

She’s trembling a while later when Cat first touches her. Shaking is more accurate, because the tremors are violent. Kara is cold, colder than she can ever remember being. She started to strip for the shower, but somewhere between the suit hitting the tile floor and stepping inside the huge glass enclosure, the shaking had started.

She made it to the bench. It’s marble and not very comfortable, but it’s solid and secure and Kara needs that right now. It doesn’t do much to warm her up though, and her teeth are actually chattering. She thought that was just a description people made up for flowery prose. Cat would excise it from an article without blinking.

“Kara,” her name sounds strange echoing off the tile. “Kara, do you need me to call someone?”

“No,” Kara manages to gasp the single syllable. “Cold,” she follows up.

“Come on, you can wash up later,” Cat tries to pull Kara to standing, but the sight of Cat’s clean hands grasping Kara’s knuckles where the blood is still ingrained makes her want to shut down again. “We’ll find you something to wear.”

“No,” Kara repeats, but it’s low and keening and it can’t be her voice. Cat has her hand on Kara’s cheek then, somehow; she didn’t see Cat move. Her thumb is stroking gently and Cat is looking into her eyes with something approaching panic. Kara lays her own shaking hand over Cat’s, and jerks her head towards the shower controls.

“Okay,” Cat has put a robe on before coming to find Kara, no doubt because the clothes she had on were damp and ruined from the sprinklers. Kara remembers Cat swinging that punch at Leslie, the desperation in it, and Kara’s chest squeezes so tightly she can’t breathe. Chaos after destruction after worry, and it’s all because of her. Carter wasn’t being a jerk to her earlier, the kid might have more perspective than any of them.

The water sprays with amazing force, and Kara finds herself mesmerised as it sprays across the floor at her feet. Without bothering to take off her robe, Cat is already getting soaked again, but she barely seems to register it as she bends to lever Kara from the bench. An arm around her waist and a little grunt of effort from Cat, and Kara makes it under the welcoming torrent. After a moment Cat relaxes her grip, letting Kara stand.

That’s when the tears finally come.

Kara’s head tilts downwards, and the water beats down to cover the saline from her eyes. Cat doesn’t miss the first stuttering sob, simply takes up position behind Kara and wraps her arms around her waist. Kara shakes, a hundred nameless aches coming out of her almost without her permission, but the wet silk of Cat’s grip doesn’t waver for a moment. Kara loses track of how long they stand like that, but Cat doesn’t budge until Kara finally straightens, the last cry choked back into her throat.

Only then does Cat break contact, finally putting her robe aside and retrieving some shampoo from a shelf carved into the wall. The businesslike way she starts to wash Kara’s hair is just rough enough to give Kara something to focus on. Cat’s fingers are rubbing tight circles on Kara’s scalp, and it’s the kind of uncomplicated comfort she’s been crying out for. She doesn’t look at how pink the water runs, the sickly tinge it gives the foam before it circles the drain.

Kara takes the shower gel when Cat returns with it, rubbing at her skin with the gnawing sensation that if she just gets rid of enough dirt and dead skin it will all somehow feel better. When there’s nothing left to clean, she lets Cat shut off the water and waits for a huge fluffy towel.

“Kara, you’re going to have to move at some point,” Cat points out. “And we’re going to have to talk, so start thinking about what you want to say.”

“You mean because Carter hates me?” Kara splashes across the tiles behind Cat, pausing at the shower door to dry her feet. “So the unpausing is paused again? Or stopped?” Her voice still doesn’t sound right, and her throat feels like she’s been gargling with broken glass.

“Stop jumping to conclusions,” Cat snaps, and the flash of temper reminds Kara she’s not the only one who’s had a hell of a day. As they move back toward the bedroom, she pulls Cat close for a hug. They’re both wrapped in towels, and to an outsider it might look like they’ve just stepped out for a steam and a quick shower. It doesn’t feel that way at all. “I’m not thrilled about the Carter thing, of course,” Cat admits as she slips free of the embrace. “But it needs time.”

“But if a kid hates the girlfriend, the girlfriend has to go,” Kara follows the logical thread. “That’s what any mother would do, right?”

“He doesn’t hate you. You scared him,” Cat takes a seat on the edge of her own bed. “Kara, if you could have seen yourself tonight... Not just at the hotel, but with Leslie. I almost understood Max’s insistence that all aliens are terrifying. There was a monster inside you tonight. And yes, it scared me too.”

“Not just inside,” Kara sits heavily beside Cat, her nerve endings a hidden symphony of aches and pains that she can’t identify, never mind stop. “I’ve never lost control like that before.”

“Will you be okay?” Cat doesn’t reach for her when she asks, and Kara mourns the lack of contact between them.

“I don’t know,” Kara admits. “I’d like to just sleep, I think.”

“We can do that,” Cat takes a deep breath, taking charge once more. She’s on her feet, taking a slip from a drawer and claiming it as sleep wear. “Grab something you can sleep in and I’m getting the first aid kit so you don’t bleed anywhere you shouldn’t. This will all look better in the morning. If it doesn’t, we’ll throw money at something until it does.”

“You don’t have to do this,” Kara says, looking down at her lap to stave off fresh tears.

“When have I ever done something because I have to?” Cat replies. “Except - fine - Martha’s seasonal events. I didn’t expect this when I manipulated you into giving me a red carpet story, you know. Even I’m not that all-powerful.”

“Do you regret it?” Kara asks, looking up through wet strands of hair. She hasn’t felt this fragile in a lifetime. Cat could break her now with a single badly-chosen word. Kara thinks her bones, weakened without her powers, might actually shatter if Cat says something terrible.

“Who could ever regret you?” Cat had made it as far as the bedroom door, no doubt in search of band-aids and antiseptic. At Kara’s question, she comes striding back across the room. “Carter will come around. We’ll… do whatever people do when you kill someone who deserves to die. And we will try dating for real, starting as soon as you recover from a set of bruises that make Rothko look subtle.”

“Can I try some of your painkillers? This is pretty rough.”

“I thought you’d never ask,” Cat sighs. “I’m going to check on Carter and then I’ll bring you something that actually works.”

“How am I going to win him over?”

“By being you.” Cat smiles, and though it’s exhausted, it’s nearly as restorative to Kara as the sun. “He’s almost a teenager, it was never going to be easy. Especially after you showed up at his school like that, and then tonight... He’s learning that superheroes are quite different outside of a comic. But he’ll get to know you.”

“Or El,” Kara grumbles. “Rao, how are we going to juggle hiding my identity from him? But I won’t put him at any more risk, I swear.”

“It’s something I’ll have to think about.” Cat leaves, and Kara follows her instruction to pick out something soft and comfortable. She’s dressed in shorts and a camisole when Cat returns, pill bottle in hand.

“So I was thinking,” Kara swallows the pills without choking, but it’s close for a moment. The water she chases them with helps, and it’s seriously weird that Cat is the one to fetch and provide for her, even now. “I don’t think Kal-El will wait, if I know him at all. So providing Lois says yes, you want to be my date to their wedding? I’ll let you mutter all the mean things you want.”

“That’s a lovely idea,” Cat crawls into bed and yanks the sheets up as though she’s freezing. “But it won’t be your super cousin getting married, it’ll be Clark. Which means you’re attending as… someone I’m not dating.”

“Well,” Kara groans, rolling into the space beside Cat on the insanely comfortable mattress. Her aching body will be glad of that until she can recover fully. “I guess that decides it.”

“Decides what?” Cat pulls a pair of reading glasses from her nightstand and waves a bandaid at Kara. “Give me those knees.”

“I think,” Kara positions herself to finish the patching up. “It’s time to kill Kara Danvers.”

Chapter Text

“You’re not serious,” Cat scoffs, applying the first bandaid with military precision. This is not her first wounded knee. “What does that even mean?”

“Exactly what I said,” Kara tries not to sound huffy. First aid, first kisses, first everything aside, it still stings when Cat dismisses her. Kara is not just another bumbling section editor with another bad idea to throw on the pile. She’s been thinking about this, or more accurately trying not to think about it, since the first time they kissed. “It’s time to let go of Kara Danvers.”

“Kill her off like a lesbian character during sweeps?” Cat mocks gently. “Sorry, bisexual.”

“That’s not what I mean, exactly,” Kara argues, but the exhaustion without her usual powers and healing is overwhelming. “I’ll explain in the morning?”

If Cat replies, Kara doesn’t hear it. One moment her cheek is touching the pillow, and the next she’s lost to the deep pull of sleep.

***

She’s alone when she wakes up.

Without her super hearing, there’s no way to be sure if Cat is elsewhere in the house, but Kara senses her presence all the same. Taking another robe from the closet, Kara ties it over her improvised pajamas and sets off in search of something to drink. The ache in her muscles has eased somewhat with a good night’s rest, but she frowns at the feel of scabs that have formed where she was cut, the skin pulling tight in an unpleasant way.

There’s no sign of Cat as Kara makes her way to the huge kitchen. She hesitates for longer than she should before helping herself to some juice, and then she discovers the freshly-brewed pot of coffee. For once she actually feels the effect of caffeine sluicing through her system, and that’s when she makes her decision.

Jogging back to Cat’s bedroom, Kara retrieves her phone and punches out a couple of texts to Alex. Pickup is confirmed for nine minutes, which Kara suspects is generous because no way is Alex that far away from Kara while her powers are out. She could root around for something else to wear, but this won’t be the first time a Danvers girl has picked up their sister in barely appropriate clothing. Kara scoops up her super suit and boots into a dry-cleaning bag, and drapes the borrowed robe across the bottom of the bed.

There’s still no sign of life when Kara lets herself out of the French windows and skirts around the side of the house to the driveway. She’s barely done punching the code into the gate’s access panel when Alex roars up in one of her trusty SUVs.

“Everything okay?” Alex asks, handing Kara a takeout cup and a blueberry muffin as soon as she’s safely in the passenger seat.

“Sure,” Kara lies. “Just another Sunday, right?”

“Where do you wanna start?” Alex asks as they pull out onto the coastal road that marks the westernmost boundary of National City.

“Well, first I need to get changed,” Kara decides. “My apartment then, I guess.” She checks her phone one last time, her escape apparently undetected. Kara swallows once, twice, and then slides the handset to off.

***

It’s so time consuming to do everything at human pace again, even though Alex drives like a maniac and Kara throws herself around as though super speed might kick in at any second. She opens her laptop while changing, but the ping of her email makes her slam it shut again. She’s not ready for this conversation.

Their next stop is the DEO and that drive through the sandy landscape is Kara’s biggest frustration. She can fly it in a couple of minutes, flat. Her impatience is offset when she finally sees Astra, cuffed to a bed in the Medbay.

“Little One,” Astra says, her voice weaker than last night. Kara waves the doctor over and has some stern words about reducing the Kryptonite level. She hopes she’s mistaken when she sees the doctor flinch at the gesturing of Kara’s hands. That’s never happened before.

“I’m not so little these days,” Kara points out, lazily flexing her arms for emphasis. “If we’re going to be seeing more of each other, you should use my name.”

“Will we?” Astra props herself up on her elbows, staring Kara down. “Be seeing more of each other?”

“You took my side,” Kara blurts, and the tears seem to come as readily as the pain now. “It almost got you killed, Aunt Astra, but you came around just like I hoped you would.”

“My methods were proving unsuccessful,” Astra admits. “And any path that required me to hurt you was the wrong one. I wish I had seen that sooner. The agents, they don’t tell me much, but Non’s body…?”

“They have it,” Kara confirms, scuffing her boot against the floor and wincing at the squeak. She’s in one of her spare suits, since she can’t roam the halls of the DEO in civilian gear, just like Alex and Hank never use her name when other agents or military infiltrators are present. It’s a timely reminder of the decisions that lie ahead. Just like last time, it feels restricting to be in the costume but stripped of her powers. The material that barely registers on any other day is coarse and uncomfortable against her various scrapes and bruises.

She scratches her knee, fingers brushing her phone where it’s wedged in her boot. She made sure to bring it, even though she’s yet to turn it back on.

“I’d like to arrange a funeral,” Astra announces, breaking the awkward silence. “His brother fought alongside us, if he survived…”

“I’ll ask,” Kara promises. “But I wouldn’t get your hopes up. The government isn’t inclined to do many favors after yet another building got blasted to bits. I’m sorry about Non,” she adds, although she still isn’t, not really. “You should know that I was the one. Before you hear it from anyone else. I did it.”

“You took his life?” Astra snaps, but her flicker of rage gives way much quicker than Kara expected. Instead her face seems more concerned. “But you do not kill. Kal-El, I’ve watched him for years. You follow this code he appears to have invented.”

“Exceptional circumstances?” Kara tries to say, but her voice cracks. “I shouldn’t bring this to you,” she continues. “I’m sorry. I’ll talk to Alex. I just wanted everything to be honest between us if we’re going to have a relationship. I understand if you don’t want that now.”

Astra strains against her shackles before falling back, drained.

“That is all I want,” she protests. “Whatever happened on the battlefield changes nothing. But Kara…”

“Don’t.”

“What would push you so far, niece? Revenge for thinking me dead? As a child you could not bear even to put a wounded insect out of its misery, so I worry what might have drawn this anger out of you.” Astra’s gaze is inescapable, even as Kara paces the secured Medbay.

“Nothing,” she insists. “The heat of the fight, or whatever. He said he was going to kill me.”

“The threat to your human,” Astra surmises. “And her child. In defending them you fought harder than you would have for yourself. Kara, are you-”

“In the early and confusing stages of a relationship?” Kara interrupts. “Yeah, I am. I think. I don’t know. It gets complicated when a few weeks in you’re getting attacked by aliens. They don’t make romcoms about that.”

“Romcom?” Astra repeats the unfamiliar word.

“Never mind,” Kara sighs. “I didn’t come here for dating advice. You should feel better now that the Kryptonite is reduced. I’ll be back to visit, and Alex will keep you posted on what’s happening, you know… legally.”

“I’ll look forward to that,” Astra replies, and the smile is one Kara hasn’t seen for more than half a lifetime. She can still see it, every step of the long walk back to rejoin Alex.

***

“I can handle Lucy,” Alex offers, playing chauffeur again and cranking the music loud enough to drown out most of the surrounding traffic noise; Kara doesn’t point out that she doesn’t need the help focusing her senses right now. “You’re clearly still not right from last night, and you don’t owe Lucy Lane anything.”

“I want to talk to her,” Kara insists. She’s hastily redressed in a pink shirt that Cat hates, along with some jeans. For once she’s taken the suit off altogether, which made the car’s tinted windows in back something of a blessing.“And it would be nice to see James, too. I have to figure he doesn’t know much about Winn yet, and it would help. I almost forgot about Winn with all this chaos. Can you believe that?”

“How’s it going to work with James now you’re actually hooking up with Cat?” Alex asks, turning the music down as they approach the apartment building James and Lucy have taken up a place together in. “I mean, are you just not interested anymore? I know he has a girlfriend, but things change all the time.”

“He’s not available,” Kara half-answers. “And honestly? Neither am I. If I’m available to anyone…”

“It’s Cat freaking Grant,” Alex groans as she pulls into a parking spot that isn’t really a parking spot. Government plates are the worst things to happen to Alex’s driving habits. She wasn’t exactly considerate before. “You know we have to actually talk about this at some point, right? How off-the-charts batshit this idea even is? And I say this as a shady government agent with an alien for a sister. Crazier than that.”

“She might not even want me anyway,” Kara argues. “Her son thinks I’m like a curse on the house of Grant, and she had to patch me up last night while we talked about what I did.”

“You could have come to me for that.” Alex sounds jealous, so Kara refuses to look at her. “I don’t think relying on Cat is a good idea, Kara. One day you’re going to give away something she can’t resist, and there go all your secrets. The last scraps of your ability to live a normal life are resting in her hands… and I don’t think you’d be surprised if she crushed them, would you? You always told me she’ll do anything for the story.”

“You don’t know her like I do,” Kara decides. The decision she’s almost done making has nothing to do with fearing what Cat might do. Hell, somehow over the past two years Kara has come to trust her almost as much as Alex, even when actually liking Cat has been more of a stretch. That’s only been heightened since this dating insanity began. Now Kara feels sure she’s seeing all of Cat, not just her public face and work mode.

“Do you know her like you think you do?” It’s a fair question, and Alex knows that when she asks it.

“You want to come up?” Kara deflects. “You and Lucy could be friends, I just know it. She doesn’t know many people here yet so-”

Alex laughs, and Kara runs out of steam.

“I’m not… here you are, one of the worst days of your life. You’ve lost your powers, you have to be in pain, and who knows what kind of angst you’ve got going on over last night. Not to mention I’m pretty sure you walk-of-shamed out of Cat’s without telling her you’re gone, and now you have to go kiss and makeup with your kind of cousin-in-law, in case she’s mad about your super dangerous secret. And in the face of all that?” Alex squeezes Kara’s shoulder, as gentle as she’s ever been. “You’re trying to make sure Lucy and I have a decent social life. You’re something else, Kara.”

“It just seemed like a good way to kill two birds with one stone,” Kara answers with a shrug. She’s blushing at Alex’s compliment all the same. “You okay to wait, then?”

“Don’t be all day,” Alex sighs, fiddling with the sound system. “We’ve still got to find a way to adrenaline those powers back into you.”

“Right.” Kara gets out of the car and slams the door a little harder than she meant to. She’s so calibrated for tempering her super strength that it’s impossible to judge way back down at this end of the spectrum. It’s unusually gray for National City, a real chill in the air that her cotton shirt doesn’t do much to shield her from. It puts a spring in her step as she jogs towards the apartment building and calls up to James and Lucy’s new place.

“Kara,” he greets her warmly, the hug is both warm and unapologetic, clearly with Lucy’s blessing as she watches on. For a moment Kara just enjoys being able to really feel it - James gives excellent hugs, and how could he not with those arms? - and the steadying presence of someone who’s become a dear friend in a surprisingly short period of time. She pulls away with some reluctance, the hint of James’s cologne lingering even though he’s only in running pants and a tank top. Lucy must appreciate when he makes the effort, and that makes Kara like him all the more, that he bothers on a Sunday morning.

“Lucy, how’s Lois?” Kara asks, unsure whether to offer a handshake or a hug. Lucy makes the decision for her, stepping up to give Kara a hug of her own.

“She’s getting better by the minute,” Lucy reassures her. “She’s already had her phone confiscated twice, so you can imagine how things are going in Metropolis today. Our dad is going to visit later, and you know how he feels about Clark.”

“About the same as he does James?” Kara says, barely holding back a laugh as they end the hug and Lucy directs her towards the breakfast stools in the open plan kitchen area. There are still boxes in various corners, but already the place has a feel of home. Kara feels a pang for her own apartment that she barely saw this morning, but more surprisingly for Cat’s kitchen. Sitting on the stool makes her think of Carter, and just how she’s going to get that sweet kid who loved Supergirl to ever fully trust her again. “Listen, I know that you know-”

“I don’t blame you,” Lucy cuts her off.

“I mean, at some point I would have asked you if you could tell her,” James jumps in. “Because I don’t want to be that guy who keeps secrets from his woman. We’re both sorry the decision was taken out of your hands. Clark feels pretty bad about it, too.”

“He was stressed out of his mind,” Kara reminds them. “I just wanted to make sure we were cool. You haven’t always been the most pro-alien, Lucy.”

“That was way more about my dad. Or more specifically my commanding officer,” Lucy points out. “When it’s your job to see threats in even the most benign situation, you’ll forgive me if I see a threat in a superpowered alien, too. Right?”

“As long as you keep the green glowing stuff away from me,” Kara relents. “How are you guys liking the new place? It looks great already.”

“We love it,” Lucy answers. “Did you eat? I can throw together some eggs.”

“I’m fine,” Kara lies, hoping her stomach won’t rumble and give her away. She’ll get something when she’s back in the car with Alex. “I don’t want to disturb your Sunday, guys. You probably have a million things to do. New apartment, whatever it is you both do to keep yourselves looking like a copy of Sports Illustrated, you know.”

“I have to work anyway,” James grumbles. “Your girlfriend wants some cover options from our little shoot the other day.” He pulls his laptop across the counter and opens it, having clearly left off mid-project for Kara’s arrival. “You want to see? I haven’t even flicked through yet.”

“Sure,” Kara agrees as he slides the computer toward her, the gallery taking up the whole screen now. She really doesn’t want to look at Cat right now, but she has no idea how to explain that. James doesn’t even know that Cat knows Kara’s identity yet. It’s been a really crazy week. “I want this one of Kal-El pouting blown up into a billboard. I’ll pay whatever it costs to put that goofy face on top of the Daily Planet building.”

“How’s Winn?” James asks in response. “I understand if you can’t tell me much, but he’s been on our team this whole time… I need to know they’re doing right by him.”

“Not you too,” Kara grumbles. “What is it with journalists and due process anyway? I’ve already got it in the neck from Cat. Do you really think I’m some kind of fascist?” They’re both looking back at her, stunned. Kara grimaces, and tries to focus on the photos again as she clicks through. “Sorry. It’s been… I’m going to find out more about Winn after this. I had to deal with my aunt this morning. But last I heard Winn is in a regular federal facility for now.”

“Did he really go full dark side?” Lucy asks. “He seemed so sweet. And I know he has that crush on you, don’t you think that should have kept him on your side?”

“He thought he was on my side,” Kara admits. “He thought we were going to wipe out humanity and he’d be like the new… whatever, with me. How could he think I would want that? I already lost one planet. Why would Winn believe I’d be happy that he helped destroy another one?”

“People get messed up.” James stands, taking up a place at her shoulder. Kara sees Lucy smile at him, and is faintly surprised that the last traces of her own jealousy are well and truly gone; she’s rooting for these two. “Hey, wow. Look at that.”

Somewhere in the flurry of captures, seemingly every millisecond of the shoot committed to the memory card, Kara has stopped clicking on a shot that’s all her and Cat, Kal-El reduced to a blur of muscle at the picture’s edge. She’s watched James a dozen times already, seen the instinctive way he moves to grab killer shot after killer shot. He doesn’t even seem fully aware of it as he works, just knowing the precise moment to press the button and bring something beautiful back with him.

And oh, Kara sighs, this is definitely something beautiful.

“I don’t think it’s a cover shot,” she hedges, and Lucy is already scurrying around the counter to look. She gasps softly, hand covering her mouth. Kara can’t look back at either of them, so she’s forced to stare at the image in front of her. It’s one of the earlier shots, Cat pressed against her side in a gesture so possessive that nobody on Earth will be able to deny what’s going on between them. Even the most naive of bigots won’t be able to demote them to gal pals.

Kara remembers the frisson of that moment’s eye contact all too clearly. The way the light had fallen on Cat’s golden curls, the glint in her eye of winning another small victory over Lois, and the heat of Cat pressed against Kara in her super suit. She doesn’t recognise the smile on her own face, but it’s every bit as predatory and as downright sinful as the one Cat is mirroring it with. Kara can’t bear to look at it, and she can’t for a second make herself look away, either.

“You two have it bad,” James mutters, and it sounds just a little shaky, like it’s the first time he’s having the thought. “Kara, seriously. Maybe Cat is used to putting on a performance for the cameras,” he continues, more confident. “But neither one of you is that good of an actress. Wait, does she… does she know?”

“Yeah,” Kara sighs. “She’s known this whole time, I just told you guys she didn’t know that Supergirl was really me because I kinda didn’t know how to tell you or Winn that I had a ridiculous crush on my boss. And honestly I thought she was only interested in Supergirl at first.”

“So it’s not pretend dating, is it?” Lucy is catching up. “And she knows your whole deal? Hell, she’s even been at the DEO. She was there, I remember thinking Lois would be pissed if she woke up and saw Cat there in the treatment room.”

“Yesterday, all that fighting,” James picks up the thread, and damn they’re kind of seamless together. “First Livewire then your uncle. It wasn’t some random thing. You were protecting Cat.”

“I killed Non,” Kara closes the laptop and stands up, facing them. “I did that. He was going to kill Cat, and Carter, and then me. But I got him first. And someone who does that does not deserve a breezy Sunday morning talking about her love life. So come on. Tell me what you really think of me, now you know that.”

“You really killed a man?” James takes a step back. “Kara, what the hell?”

“Your life was in danger?” Lucy takes over. “And the lives of people you care about? Then it’s justified. It’s a good kill.”

That combination of words makes Kara want to throw up. She’s especially glad she turned down breakfast now.

“I didn’t choose to,” Kara tries to explain, the horror on James’s face not fading. “It just happened, it was instinct. He really was a threat and he wasn’t going to stop. James, please, you have to…” The tears are back and Kara is getting really, really tired of feeling this bad about everything.

“For God’s sake,” Lucy smacks James on the arm. “Get over your high and mighty outrage and call it what it is: squeamishness. I did two tours in Afghanistan, do you think I had the luxury of thinking every single killing is wrong? Do you really think the worst people on this earth, or any other planet, can really always be subdued? Are you that naive?”

“Guys, don’t fight,” Kara pleads. “I should go.”

“Wait,” Lucy grips Kara’s arms now, surprised when Kara hisses. There are grazes and bruises there.

“Your powers are out.” That’s what snaps James out of his judgment at last. “Kara, you should have said something.”

“Well I can’t toss you down an elevator shaft every time I break a circuit,” Kara replies. “Alex is waiting for me, we’re gonna find a way to reboot me. I just… I don’t know what I’m doing. I ran out on Cat this morning and I turned my phone off and I just…”

James’s cell rings to interrupt this time. Sure enough, it’s Cat calling him to chase up the photos he’s supposed to be working on. Even as a tinny distorted voice, Kara can’t help but feel better for hearing her.

“I gotta go,” she mouths, and even without super speed she makes it to the front door before Lucy can catch her.

“Hey,” Lucy calls out into the hallway after her. “Stop beating yourself up, Kara. And if you need to talk…”

Kara nods, and stumbles blindly back out of the building. Alex is leaning against the SUV, takeout bags in hand.

“Figured even your human metabolism must be hungry by now,” she explains, thrusting what smells like perfect French fries towards Kara. “Eat up. We’re going to see about scaring those powers back into you.”

“Alex-” Kara starts to protest, but she’s tired of feeling sore and half-broken and depressingly average. Instead she shoves a handful of fries in her mouth, and gets back into the passenger seat while Alex jogs back around to start the car.

“How did it go?” Alex asks as they’re pulling back out into traffic. “Do we need to disappear Lucy Lane?”

“It was fine,” Kara tells her, because in the Lucy sense at least, it did go better than expected. “I told you she was nice. And she’s already keeping Kal-El’s secret, so she’ll keep mine too. The thing is though, Alex, I don’t think I need that secret to be kept anymore. There’s something I need you to help me with.”

“Name it,” Alex replies after glancing at Kara’s deadly serious expression. This is why she’s the most reliable part of Kara’s life. “What do you need?”

“Well,” Kara has been compiling the plan almost without realizing. “Our first stop is in Midvale. You ready for a little homecoming?”

“Always,” Alex lies through gritted teeth. “Do you need to let anyone know you’re heading out of town?”

“Not yet.”

Kara leans back against the headrest and watches the traffic go by as Alex steers them toward the exit for the interstate. Kara has no idea if this plan will work, but it’s absolutely what she has to do right now. She glances at her phone, the screen still black. There’ll come a time when she has to speak to Cat, has to explain what she’s doing now. But that moment isn’t here yet, so Kara reaches for a few more French fries, and settles in for the long drive up the coast.

Chapter Text

Kara sleeps for more of the journey than she expected, and Alex keeps the music down low so she can tune it out altogether. They stop half an hour from Midvale for snacks, and so Kara can grab another one of Cat’s admittedly stellar pain pills to ease the aches that dozing in a passenger seat haven’t done much to help.

“So,” Alex fires off a few texts of her own, no doubt trying to calm Hank down over their sudden disappearance. Even Alex gets the occasional Sunday off though, so Kara can’t feel too guilty about stealing her and the DEO’s resources. “You want to tell me what this is really about?”

“Did your parents ever tell you why they took me in?” Kara watches as Alex pops the trunk of the car and they sit in the back side-by-side, feet swinging just above the dusty road. Alex sips at an energy drink and shakes her head in response. Kara chews on her peanut butter cup for a moment before continuing. “Kal-El didn’t bring me to Midvale so they would foster me.”

“Sure he did,” Alex corrects. “My dad knew everything there was to know about Kryptonians, for an Earth scientist anyway. My mom was right there with him. Where else would he be taking you?”

“The orphanage,” Kara sighs. “Bringing me to Eliza and Jeremiah was just to check I was okay, that the Phantom Zone hadn’t messed me up. He might have been taken in by the Kents, but Kal-El didn’t assume every Earth family would be so generous.”

“Huh.”

“I’m glad he was wrong about that.” Kara nudges Alex with her shoulder. “I might change some things along the way if I could have a do-over, but being welcomed into your home and having you as my sister? That was the best thing that happened to me, by a long, long way.”

“Even when I was pretending you didn’t exist?” Alex frowns down at her feet, arms tensing under the sleeves of her black t-shirt.

“Even then,” Kara assures her. “From everything I saw and read, that was exactly how a big sister should act in middle school. It made me feel more normal than you realized.”

“So why are we heading home, Kara?” Alex squints over at her, hair falling in her eyes. The red catches the midday sun and for just a moment Kara is homesick for red sunlight and a world long gone. “Tell me you don’t need some weird science from Mom. I’m not gonna let you do anything to yourself, you know that, right?”

“I don’t want to hurt myself,” Kara scoffs. “And even if Eliza did know some cool way to extract my powers, they’re part of who I am. I couldn’t give them up any more than I could stop having blue eyes. Even when they don’t work like right now, I know they’ll come back. It’s just blocked.”

“Tell me how I can help, and I’ll do it,” Alex promises.

“This part I have to do on my own,” Kara tells her. “You can’t just turn around because Eliza will not allow that, but you should get back to the DEO and back to your life as soon as you can, okay? I’ll be back in National City when I’m done.”

“I’m staying at least until dinner,” Alex insists. “And if I do leave you here I want updates on the regular, okay? Don’t make me come looking for you, Supergirl.”

“Let’s get going.” Kara hops down to stand on the gravel. “And start thinking of ways to scare my powers back into me, okay?”

***

“I don’t like this one bit,” Eliza protests from over by the tree Alex built a fort in, two years before Kara even showed up. “And I don’t see why it couldn’t wait until after dinner.”

“I just need a jumpstart!” Kara yells. “Trust me, it works.”

“I don’t think I should do this,” Alex argues. “And can we just discuss why my parents thought the edge of a freaking cliff was a safe place to raise me? At least when you came along you could fly. Little toddler me could have been dashed on those rocks. Just like you will be if this doesn’t work.”

“I need my powers back,” Kara reminds her, taking a step closer to the edge and rolling her eyes as Alex flinches. “And if I just jump it might not be a quick enough scare. I need you to wait until I’m off-guard and just-”

“See ya!” Alex yelps as she shoves Kara hard in the back. “This better work or I’m bringing you back to kill you myself!” She yells after Kara, the words fading against the roaring in Kara’s ears.

It’s the most natural thing in the world to thrust her arms out and try to fly. Her stupid, temporarily human body just continues to fall. Kara feels her stomach twist, tastes metal suddenly on her tongue, and just as the rocks are getting way too goddamn close…

...it works.

With the practice of all the previous months at her back, Kara shoots up into the sky like a rocket. The laugh falls out of her without any conscious choice, her chest expanding as she sucks in air like she truly means it for the first time since Non crumpled to the floor. She loops the loop once, twice, and careens into a landing that’s as careless as it is fast, but though the turf is churned up behind her, Kara barely feels the impact.

“Thank God,” Eliza hugs her at a run, Alex only seconds behind. “Don’t ever do that in front of me again. Alex, what were you thinking?”

“It helped her!” Alex protests. “And she’s fine, look!”

“Stop fighting,” Kara pleads, the high of her powers returning already beginning to wane. She floats them both off the ground with her in a hug, and when they break apart they’re standing on the porch by the swing. “Alex has to get back to the DEO after we eat,” she warns Eliza, hoping to fend off another squabble between them afterwards. “And I’m suddenly starving.”

“Your metabolism just roared through your measly human portions,” Eliza points out. “Come on, I’ll make you a sandwich while the casserole finishes.”

“Thank you,” Kara says, grasping her foster mother’s forearm before she can head back towards the kitchen. “For everything.”

“Of course, sweetie,” Eliza reassures her, pulling Kara in for a kiss on her forehead. “I still don’t like that you’re almost too tall for that.”

“I can crouch,” Kara teases, but she feels some of the lightness creep back in. Things always seem a little sunnier in Midvale.

***

“Is it something I can help with?” Eliza asks from the doorway of Kara’s old bedroom. She has a towel over her shoulder, no doubt heading for a soak in the tub like she always does on Sunday evenings. “I know the weight of the world on your shoulders isn’t always a metaphor for you these days, Kara. But I don’t like to see you so troubled.”

“It’s just… I have to work out how to do all this. For real, not always hiding in one life or the other,” Kara tries to explain. “And I have an idea, but I needed somewhere quiet to work on it. This has always been the only place I can have that. You don’t mind?”

“Is she making you do this?”

“Who?” Kara props herself up on her elbows, defiant suddenly under Eliza’s scrutiny. She still isn’t used to the questions usually reserved for Alex.

“Your boss,” Eliza prods, and her expression is so much like Alex’s that Kara feels a long-buried pang of exclusion, of being a visitor at the family gathering once more. “I didn’t call when I saw the headlines because I assumed it was some kind of … Supergirl tactic. Deflecting attention, maybe. But there she is when you and your cousin are fighting aliens. I get the impression you’re fighting some of them because of her. Am I wrong?”

“Eliza-”

“Kara, have I ever interfered in your life?”

“Well…” Kara fumbles for polite words. “Not interfered, exactly. But don’t worry about me and Cat. She’s really a good person, and she helped me so much with everything that just happened.”

“Then why are you here?” Eliza comes into the room and sits at the foot of Kara’s bed. She pats Kara’s shin with old familiarity. “You’re welcome any day, any time. You know that. But I know what it looks like when you’re running from something. And if she hurt you because you got too involved, then I don’t care what she’s queen of. She’ll have me and your sister to answer to.”

Kara shakes her head. “Cat hasn’t done anything wrong.” Eliza snorts. Okay, one too many I hate my stupid job calls, then. “Would you think it was… weird? If something was happening between us? For real?” She rubs her nose. She’s seventeen and just been busted kissing Cassidy after Latin club all over again.

“Kara,” Eliza pats a little harder this time. “As long as you know what you’re getting into, you know we’d always have your back. But it still begs the question why you’re here with me and not there with her.”

“I put them in danger,” Kara explains. “And I think she forgives me, or she says she does. But her son, Carter? He’s really pissed at me - at Supergirl - and I think he has every right to be. So I have a choice. Either I live these two lives and I never get to be with anyone, because I can’t tell the secret, or because I have enemies who’ll target them. Or I stop assuming that the way Kal-El runs his life is the only option.”

“It’s kept him safe a long time,” Eliza urges.

“And it nearly got Lois killed this week,” Kara counters. “That could have been Cat. And I’m not saying we have anything… I don’t even know what it is, but I know that happening to Cat is not acceptable. Not now, not ever.”

“I know I’m not your mother,” Eliza says then, turning to face Kara. “But in moments like this I realize how proud she would be. You’ll figure it out, Kara. I think you’re already halfway there. Take the time, take the quiet. I have a paper to present in Metropolis, and I fly out in the afternoon. The house is all yours for the rest of the week.”

“It won’t take long,” Kara assures her, trying not to heave a sigh of relief at the prospect of genuine alone time. “I’m keeping you from your bath. Go, honestly.”

Eliza stands to leave. “There’s a bunch of stationery in the bottom drawer, still. I’ve never gotten out of the habit of keeping you stocked up. Use my office for anything else you need.”

“Thank you,” Kara replies, and it’s for so much more than the paper supplies.

***

It’s hard to keep her cellphone switched off for two days, but Alex calls on the landline a couple of times, and Kara is too busy by the time Eliza leaves to notice the lack of connection. That first night alone she dares to check her CatCo email, but aside from company-wide missives, the only message from Cat contains only a single question mark. Kara marks it unread, as though that changes anything, and goes back to the research she’s been doing in the other tabs. She gets so much more done in the quiet.

She sets out Tuesday morning for the building just along the coast that might have been her first home on Earth, had the Danvers not taken pity on her. Kara knows she shouldn’t risk flying in civilian clothes, but she sticks to the coast and stays high enough that no one on the roads could identify her. When she lands in the grounds of the Midvale orphanage, Kara’s taken aback by how far it’s fallen into disrepair.

It’s a ruin, honestly. There’s no better word for it. She remembers it only faintly, a pit stop in a flurry of confusing new places when Kal-El had dragged her across the country and to every person he trusted in one way or another. Not that there had been many of those, and some things haven’t changed.

Kara picks a path through some rubble and through what was once a grand entrance, the heavy wooden doors barely hanging on their hinges. She breaks one free and lays it flat, the safer for any kids playing or people seeking shelter in desperate circumstances. Walking through the abandoned building, she finds herself wishing Alex hadn’t talked her into watching American Horror Story, no matter how freaking great Sarah Paulson had been. Large halls that might have been kitchens or gymnasiums give way to smaller, cell-like rooms, and Kara shivers.

In the second-to-last room on the right, the roof caved in and the walls pock-marked with wear and faded graffiti, Kara picks out the crest of her house where Kal-El told her it would be all those years ago. It doesn’t really take super strength to punch through the wall and retrieve the metal box hidden inside it; the bricks crumble at the slightest touch, taking a whole section of wall out with one sharp tug.

Patience is something she’s learned on this planet, and so Kara waits until she’s clear of the foreboding place, until she’s flown back to the Danvers’ welcoming but empty house, and even until she can be sitting in her favorite place of all, the roof outside Alex’s bedroom window. She waits those long, silent minutes until she’s sitting comfortably and there are no distractions at all.

With trembling fingers she opens the surprisingly flimsy tin box with her eyes closed, only daring to open them when she feels the glow through her eyelids. The white light is one she hasn’t seen in over twelve years, and it warms her from head to toe at first glance. Kara pulls the beacon out and grasps it in her hand, the texture of it unlike anything here on Earth. She has to be careful, she knows. She doesn’t want it calling out to people before she’s ready.

Reluctantly, she sets it back in its container and closes the feeble latch to contain it. She could go back inside to finish working on her notes, or she could raid the fridge in pursuit of more snacks. Flying and the sea air have made her hungrier than ever and the morning’s French toast seems such a long time ago.

It’s only then that Kara hears the beat of helicopter rotors, the steady chug of approaching aircraft much more familiar now that she regularly patrols the sky. Ever since Alex rappelled out of one, Kara’s come to associate them with the DEO. When she looks in the direction of the sound though, it’s not a regulation black military copter that’s coming her way. Nor is it one of the lightweight ones that CatCo uses for its weather reports, like the one she saved Leslie from months ago.

No, Kara hasn’t seen this one in awhile but she recognizes it all the same. It’s the Bell 407 owned by Cat, the same one she hasn’t used since the day Leslie was struck by lightning. Kara is momentarily dizzy at how everything became so connected, how the significant events keep coming and never entirely fade away. It’s this kind of overload she came to Midvale to escape in the first place.

She scrambles down through the house the way Eliza would prefer, just in case the pilot catches a glimpse of Kara floating without her super suit. For a second she considers fixing a drink, before remembering it won’t do anything for her. She stands frozen in the living room as the roar of the chopper passes low over the house, landing on the huge lawn out front. There’s no guarantee Cat is even on it. Maybe it’s just been sent to bring Kara back with the assumption that her powers are still blown. She’s realizing in a hurry that not talking to Cat at all might be the dumbest decision that Kara could have made in this whole process.

With a last burst of courage, she puts the beacon and its container in a drawer, hurrying out to the lawn to play hostess. If it’s a pilot with a message so be it, but Kara holds her breath as the helicopter door slides open. A moment later she’s rewarded by the sight of Cat stepping down, her Louboutin spiked heels sinking into the damp grass and causing instant frowning. Kara exhales and takes in the form-fitting monochrome dress, the Hermès bag looped over one arm, and of course the impenetrable Tom Ford sunglasses beneath those soft blonde curls.

Oh, she’s been so very stupid. That’s why it’s worth the risk of super speed to be standing next to Cat less than a blink later.

“You came,” Kara yells over the slowing rotors. “How did you know where to find me?”

“Don’t ask,” Cat shouts back. “I think we’re overdue for a talk, Kara. I suggest you take me inside.”

“Okay,” Kara agrees, placing the lightest of touches at Cat’s elbow and steering her towards the path where her heels won’t sink. The noise has faded by the time they reach the front door. “I’m really glad you’re here,” Kara admits.

She opens the door and shows Cat inside.

Chapter Text

Kara has imagined Cat in any number of locations, but the Danvers’ kitchen didn’t even come close to making the list. Even so Cat manages to own it, just like every other room she’s ever been in. Leaning against the counter by the sink, Cat finally removes her sunglasses, making the uncharacteristic move of pushing them up into her blonde curls as a makeshift headband.

It’s then that Kara can see the stress, despite the flawless makeup. Even with the soft charcoal lines on her eyelids that Cat reserves for her most difficult days, there’s no distracting from the dark circles that suggest at least one sleepless night. The surge of guilt at being the source of the difficulty makes Kara weak in the knees for a moment, the disappointment more profound than any other time she’s failed Cat.

“You came all the way out here,” Kara begins, and Cat’s gaze flicks to her so quickly it’s like a switchblade. “So, um, thanks?”

“I could have called,” Cat points out. “Only it seems that’s no longer a valid method of communication. I thought about smoke signals, but all my blankets are cashmere. Wouldn’t be worth replacing them, if you’re only going to ignore me.”

“I meant to call.” Kara isn’t sure if she’s lying or not. She’s wanted nothing more than to talk to Cat since the moment she snuck out of the beach house. She hasn’t acted on that feeling, despite having nothing but opportunity. “I just needed some space. To get my head on straight.”

“You went to sleep talking about killing Kara Danvers. When I came back in to wake you for breakfast, you were gone. What do you think I assumed at that point Kara? When greeted by a phone going straight to voicemail? A phone which, as of an hour ago, was still switched off.”

“That I didn’t feel like talking?” Kara tries, lifting her shoulders in a half-shrug of apology. This would be a really great time for Cat to find her awkwardness adorable. “I should have left a note. I feel bad about that.”

“Well, so long as you feel bad.”

“How did you know I was here?” Kara asks. “There’s nothing about this place in my personnel file; Alex is my emergency contact.”

“Your sister is the one who gave you up,” Cat confesses, and she doesn’t look even slightly embarrassed about it. “It seems she has concerns about your soundness of mind right now, too. Now obviously we can’t share a therapist, but I’d be happy to get you a referral-”

“Don’t do that!” Kara snaps. “Don’t talk about this like I just had a bad week and I need to look at some ink blots until it all goes away. I killed a man. In a really horrible way.”

“Oh.” Cat adjusts her stance slightly, crossing her legs at the ankle in impossible white heels. “Oh, I see. You think therapy is some rich bitch indulgence, hmm? Like hot yoga or chard in my smoothies. Just a pricy little band-aid over the hole where my soul used to be? Am I close?”

“No!” Kara protests. “I mean, I’m sure it’s really helpful, I just-”

“If you’re done with all this, Kara, just tell me. I know Carter’s reaction threw you, but honestly I expected a little more backbone. No matter, but there’ll have to be a PR strategy for this little exit. People get invested in pairings when they rip out half a building on a Saturday night. I do hope I can still trust Supergirl not to embarrass me or CatCo?”

“You came here to break up with me?” Kara deserts her safe corner of the kitchen, putting herself in front of Cat after a blurry split-second.

“Your powers are back then? Good,” Cat continues, looking Kara up and down. Cat might think she covers it, but Kara notices the way Cat swallows, quite deliberately. “And I’m not so much breaking up with you as fixing the shitty job you did of it in the first place.”

“I had no idea you were this insecure,” Kara huffs, hands on her hips. If she wasn’t so insulted, so unexpectedly and suddenly angry, she might kiss that hurt little pout right off Cat’s mouth. How the hell did they get to this?

“Cat Grant doesn’t get insecure. Cat Grant does not get walked out on.”

“Cat Grant only talks about herself in the third person when her feelings are hurt,” Kara snipes back at her, a dam finally breaking. “If you want to pull the public persona crap, you’re going to have to do it with someone who doesn’t know you better than you know… well, your damn self.”

“Two curse words?” Cat’s eyebrow arches high enough to get vertigo. “You must really be pissed. But what did I do to you, Kara? What did I do except be there for you? If you know me as well as you say, you must know that’s not something I do lightly.”

“Oh and it was totally selfless?” Kara sees the goosebumps on Cat’s forearms. Of course she’s reacting to this. Cat loves confrontation the way sharks like a fresh blood infusion with their seawater. “All those site hits, all those sales numbers, you didn’t enjoy those for a second? How do I know you weren’t using me the way you do anything else that adds value to your brand?”

“Because I care about you!” Cat grips Kara’s shoulders then, and it’s surprisingly gentle. “I’ve warned you I’m not great about showing that, but my God, you of all people should know it when you see it.”

“You care about me,” Kara repeats, and this time the words slide over her like slipping into a warm bath. They soak into her skin and recharge her as powerfully as the sun does each morning. All the bad feeling, all the panic, and all this hating herself for what’s happened, it doesn’t seem as terrible as it did just a moment ago. In truth the load has been lifting from her shoulders from the very moment Cat sauntered through the door, and Kara has been an idiot to run from this feeling. “So I guess I’d like to take that last part back. We already talked about using me, and I know you’re not. If you were, the DEO would be in Architectural Digest by now.”

“Under what?” Cat scoffs. “Ten most depressing places you’ll see before dying under mysterious circumstances?”

“Something like that,” Kara replies, and it’s soft now. Cat hasn’t taken her eyes off Kara’s face and now, maybe more than ever, Kara knows what it is to be seen. As Kara and Supergirl and a Kryptonian all at once.

Alex tries, just like Eliza does, but they shy away from the Supergirl part out of habit. J’onn sees the Kryptonian and Supergirl, and now she understands why, at least. He forgets the would-be human running around at CatCo all day. Winn and James have their respective Supergirl fixations, and they’re friends to everything human about Kara. She doesn’t know if she’ll ever get them to understand the Kryptonian part though, not the way Cat does when she focuses in and chips away with incisive questions.

Maybe it takes a woman who can big-picture herself into owning an empire to take in everything that Kara is, everything she was, and Rao help her, everything she still wants to be. If Cat has a hundred questions then Kara is willing to tell the story to answer every one. More than that, she has another hundred questions of her own, and she thinks she might just be the one who gets to ask them.

“I’m still pissed,” Cat announces, because that’s usually what happens when Kara is having a moment of realization. It would be annoying from almost anyone else.

“Yeah, well I am too. Less at you, though,” Kara admits. “I really didn’t mean to walk out on you. That’s… well, it’s not some kind of precedent I want to set.”

“The last person who walked out on me for good got his yacht turned into firewood,” Cat reminds her. She leaves out the part where it took her two full weeks to notice that Carter’s father had moved out. She’d bitched to Kara about it once, late one night and three glasses too many, about how no one understood what mergers actually took. “Don’t you dare bail on me because things get tough.”

“That’s not what I did!” Kara gasps, incredulous.

“I know it must be new, coming up against something that can’t be fixed with a blast of lasers or dropping it off a mountain, but the important thing-“

“Oh, you are not lecturing me on how to handle tricky situations,” Kara interrupts. “This, from the woman who staffs out putting the dressing on her salad?”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” Kara feels Cat’s fingers grip tighter now. Despite the shift in tone, they’re still face-to-face at the kitchen sink and there’s a charge in the air that reminds Kara of the orchestra right before the conductor picks up the baton. “Did you like it better when I was just your timid assistant, Cat?”

“No,” Cat decides after a precarious moment, and kisses Kara with three days of frustration behind it.

“Oh,” Kara manages to break away long enough for that syllable. Cat is way too determined to let the conversation pick up again though, and the way they’ve been bickering Kara has to think it’s a smart idea. It’s only when she relinquishes Kara’s mouth at last, leaving her lips tingling from the soft sucking and the teasing pull of teeth, that Kara gets another chance to talk. “This is better,” is the best she can come up with.

“I missed you,” Cat growls against the base of Kara’s throat. “I don’t like missing people.”

“You just tried to break up with me,” Kara counters, running her fingers through Cat’s hair, tugging lightly. “I don’t like that, either.”

“I’m not doing this against a sink.” Cat tries to steer Kara by grabbing her ass and directing them in a shuffling two step complicated by the fact that they can’t stop touching each other, hands relearning slopes and curves while lips pepper kisses on every exposed inch of skin. “Table?”

“I ate Lucky Charms there every morning,” Kara gasps, scandalized. “Oh wow, this might be weird.”

Cat stops then, and the effort required to do it is palpable. She fixes her most serious, slightly desperate gaze on Kara. “We don’t have to.”

“Oh, I want you,” Kara admits, and it’s getting easier to be someone who says these things out loud almost every second she spends with Cat. “But it might take a minute to get used to the idea of you doing… stuff… to me there. That’s all.”

“Upstairs,” Cat decides. “Tell me you have some kind of bed. We’ll play it by ear.”

Kara can’t help but be flattered by the way Cat bodily drags her in search of the staircase, unhindered by knowing nothing about the house’s layout. Those few seconds are apparently too long for mere hand-holding though, because Kara finds herself backed against the wall at the foot of the stairs.

“Screw this,” she mutters as Cat’s hand charts a new course up the inside of Kara’s thigh. “You want me to say I’m sorry? Sit on that step right there and I’ll show you.”

It’s not so much the speed with which Cat complies, but the fact that she takes the direction at all that makes Kara’s heart skip. She leans over Cat, kissing her soundly on the mouth and enjoying the way Cat’s deft tongue deepens the kiss gradually, making sure Kara feels ever flick, every caress. She’s so relentlessly thorough, and Kara has to brace her palms on the step behind Cat to keep her balance.

“On second thought, let’s lose that dress altogether,” Kara decides, lifting Cat showily with one finger and whooshing the zipper down with the other. In lingerie and heels, Cat is even more irresistible, and when she slowly, deliberately parts her thighs, Kara knows she’s a goner.

Kneeling, she places open-mouthed kisses on each thigh in turn, dragging her teeth across sensitive skin enough to make Cat sigh happily before dropping her head back just a little.

“Ready?” Kara asks, running her fingers over the soaked lace she finds before her.

Cat moans in response, and Kara has always been good at taking the hint.

***

“I’ve never… this is basically my parents’ house, for all intents and purposes,” Kara marvels as she grips the bannister, letting up a little when the wood creaks in protest.

“Please, spare me the tales of your early fumbles with farmboys,” Cat warns. “Or girls, apparently.”

“What? This isn’t a farm,” Kara points out.

“It has… grass,” Cat decides. “It could have been.”

“You’re mixing me up with my cousin,” Kara pouts just a little. “Eliza is a scientist, and Jeremiah was too. I think he maybe grew up on a farm, though. I don’t remember everything, it’s been so long since he passed.”

“You lost your foster father too?” Cat sits up a little at that, propping herself on her elbows. It would look more journalistic if she were wearing more than a necklace and one stubborn shoe. “Christ, Kara. How much exactly is one person supposed to take?”

“You tell me,” Kara deflects. “It’s not like I’m the only person touched by tragedy.”

“The fact that you hold on to that is what makes you… well, you know.”

“Real mastery of the English language there,” Kara teases.

“I’m concussed,” Cat lies. “These stairs are almost freakishly solid.”

“You reinforce things with a superstrong adolescent in the house, I guess,” Kara explains. “Hey, you know what else this house has that’s pretty great?”

“A wine cellar?” Cat’s hope is wavering but genuine.

“A really great bath,” Kara offers instead. “Definitely room for two.”

“This wasn’t what I expected when I chartered a chopper you know,” Cat extends an arm to let Kara help pick her off the staircase, and the déjà vu hits Kara square in the gut. All she has to do is take Cat’s hand and she can have almost everything she wants. It’s how all of this started, these crazy weeks that have been even more action-packed than usual. Kara smiles as she wraps her fingers carefully around Cat’s hand. “So don’t think a couple of orgasms gets you out of telling me what the hell you’re up to, Kara.”

“It’s not that complicated,” Kara sighs, before Cat smacks her on the ass to get her moving. “I’m surprised you haven’t guessed, actually.”

“You mean your plan to go Supergirl full-time?” Cat suggests, stopping Kara in her tracks again. “I’m not sure if you want to do charitable works or just set yourself up as some kind of… alien 911? Knowing you, there’ll be some kind of teamwork or structure involved. At least if you’re smart, because one person can’t be responsible for an entire city.”

Kara turns to face Cat, rattling off her plan in a few bullet points.

“You’re lucky that it’s hot when you’re this smart. You know that, right?”

“Bed,” Cat commands. “Or bath. Beyond, even. Talking can wait. I intend to have my way with you, Kara Danvers.”

If Kara didn’t know better she’d answer that with a reflexive, “yes, ma’am”. She settles for leading the way instead.

Chapter Text

“Honestly,” Cat huffs as she pulls the pink pajama top up her arms. “My mother might like to swan around like Marie Antoinette, but I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I think I can pull together a simple dinner.”

“Well, if it means I don’t need to get dressed – or move – ever again, then knock yourself out. My cupcake PJs have never looked so good, in case you were wondering.”

Cat strikes a sarcastic runway pose, and turns towards the bedroom door. “Turn those stuffed toys around, would you? I don’t want them watching what I have planned for you once we do some carb-loading.”

“I think they’re probably quite traumatized already,” Kara points out. “I don’t think Flopsy Bunny will ever recover.”

“Don’t tell me their names.” Cat scrunches her nose. “Obviously you know my every dietary whim, but any allergies or pet peeves then speak now, or forever hold your peace.”

“I eat anything,” Kara reminds her. “Can’t exactly have allergic reactions, remember? Now, chop, chop.”

“Oh, you’re paying for that one,” Cat calls back over her shoulder as she heads downstairs.

Kara sinks back against her pillows, the twin bed now feeling empty without Cat’s presence in it. She focuses on her breathing for a few minutes, one of the first coping mechanisms Jeremiah taught her, but these days it’s also a nice way to pause and take stock, particularly of what makes her happy.

She hears the opening and closing of cupboards in the kitchen, punctuated by the soft tap of Cat’s thumb against her phone screen. Kara smiles. She didn’t expect anything less.

Outside the seagulls are circling and yelling to each other above the distant crash of waves far below. There are no neighbors close enough to make it worth listening and by the time Kara registers the Jeep rolling to a stop on the driveway she’s already dozing, lulled by the contentment and the peace.

It’s only when the front door opens that she jolts to attention. This isn’t a school day, she isn’t napping before homework and listening out for Eliza getting back from campus. Eliza is back all right, but she’s about to walk in on Cat and it’s going to be so obvious what they’ve…

Shoot. No wait. Definitely shit. Alex would be so proud. If she ever, ever lets Kara live this one down.

Eliza probably won’t even mind, based on their talk the other night. Not to mention that Kara and Alex have been getting variations on The Talk once a month since Kara first arrived on Earth; Alex probably long before that. It’s just that Kara has never been caught before, apart from Alex’s interruption on Saturday morning. She has to decide a course of action in a matter of seconds, and with just a twinge of guilt Kara leaves Cat to fend for herself in favor of speed dressing and making herself presentable enough to go downstairs.

“Kara,” Eliza greets her when she steps into the kitchen a minute later. “What have I told you about super speed in the house?” Kara cringes. Way to embarrass her in front of her… girlfriend? Who’s sitting at the table with a magazine, either CatCo or a biology journal, since those are all that Eliza subscribes to. Kara’s explained a hundred times she doesn’t get bylines yet, just a small credit in the staff list inside the back page, but Eliza maintains she’ll keep every piece of print Kara’s name ever appears on.

“So Cat came to visit,” Kara begins. “Funny story, actually.” She fiddles with her glasses. “She had some work questions that couldn’t wait, but after we fixed all that, she was really tired. So I loaned her, um, my pajamas so she could nap.” Cat, unhelpfully, chokes on her mouthful of water.

“Yes, I noticed the helicopter at the far end of the garden,” Eliza interrupts. “You know, if you wanted to have a sleepover, you do have an apartment back in National City.”

Cat smirks around a piece of cheese she’s cut for herself, arranged on a plate with some apple slices. Kara feels faintly nervous that she’s so adept with a knife.

“You know, we can go,” Kara starts to offer. “But you came back early, and I don’t want to be ungrateful and-“

“Well, you can both stay for dinner,” Eliza decides for them. “I won’t say we have a dress code, but let’s keep cupcakes for dessert, hmm? That work for you, Ms Grant?”

“Please, it’s Cat,” she insists, all easy charm and faint amusement. “And I did clear my day.”

“Well, Kara has you fixing your own snacks,” Eliza returns, just as charming but Kara can feel the tension crackling. “So I can’t let you go without some actual Danvers hospitality.”

“Oh, she’s been quite hospitable,” Cat insists, treating Kara to a heated glance that almost melts her all over again. “You raised her well. Wonderful manners.”

“You know, you can bring that snack upstairs.” Kara tries to organize her way out of trouble. “So you can get dressed.”

“Don’t forget these,” Eliza reaches in her pocket and throws a scrap of black lace across the table, and even Cat is temporarily mortified enough not to even attempt to catch. “You must have been in quite a hurry, girls. To nap.”

“I’ll be upstairs,” Cat announces, taking her plate and sashaying out of the kitchen convincingly enough that only Kara would notice the tension in her hips.

“I am so sorry,” Kara pleads the minute Cat is out of earshot. “I swear, this wasn’t planned. I wasn’t being disrespectful, she just… and I… we had to talk! And it was this big argument and-“

“Kara,” Eliza soothes. “Kara, calm down. I’m laughing about it. I’m not angry! You’re a grown woman, even if I forget that about both you and Alex sometimes. I could do without lingerie on the coat rack, but all things considered…”

“I’m sorry,” Kara repeats.

“You don’t look sorry,” Eliza teases, opening the fridge and picking out items to start cooking with. “You look happy, sweetheart. Is this really what it takes?”

“I guess so?” Kara answers, fiddling with the hem of her shirt. “I do feel pretty happy.”

“She looks happy, too. At least I think that’s what it was,” Eliza responds, moving to the sink to wash her hands. “I don’t have to Lysol any surfaces in here, do I?”

“No!” Kara squeaks. “I don’t want to get carried away. You know what I’m like. Always too fast, always in way too deep, and then…”

“Kara,” her foster mother gestures towards the window. “She flew here after a few days, and I’m going to bet it was because she missed you. Or worried you weren’t coming back. Now, maybe that’s pocket change to someone like her. But I can’t help thinking it’s her version of John Travolta showing up with a boombox.”

“John Cusack,” Kara corrects absent-mindedly, trying not to blush at what Eliza is suggesting. “Even I know that one.”

“You should go apologize for letting me walk in on her,” Eliza suggests. “And put your dress on right way out when you do,” she adds, still smirking.

Kara sighs. Back upstairs she goes, to find Cat dressing in front of the mirror, humming under her breath.

“Okay, so that was kind of embarrassing?” Kara ventures, stepping in behind Cat and zipping her dress for her. They look nice together, Cat in sharp black-and-white, Kara in peach cotton. “And I really hope that does not affect how you feel about us continuing to do this. I promise in more private locations from now on, though.”

“Most people I date have already inherited from their parents,” Cat muses, plucking a lipstick from her purse. “So you get novelty points. I won’t tell you how many years since I was busted by someone’s family coming home early. We’ve also had the delight of your sister’s unique visiting style.”

“Sorry,” Kara tries again.

“No, you’ve inspired me,” Cat insists. “I just need to work out how to have Mother invite us both to stay. Put the moves on me in the dining room and I might finally finish her off once and for all.”

“That’s not very nice.”

“I’m just saying... you have your uses, Supergirl.”

“You don’t really have to stay for dinner,” Kara offers. “I mean, if you think I’ll be upset… I know you’re paying your pilot a fortune just to wait around.”

“I’ve just sent him home for now,” Cat replies. “Which means either you’re flying me back, or at least to the nearest car rental place. I wasn’t kidding about clearing my calendar for the day.”

“Did you actually cancel anything?” Kara asks. “Or are you just not showing up to things? Because you know, your assistant has been AWOL and all. Hey, any of those apples left?”

“I have a temporary fix,” Cat says, in that worrying way she has. “And you can get your own apples, Danvers. My days as a sous chef ended when my underwear was lobbed across the kitchen at me.”

“That’s fair,” Kara concedes. “You know, Eliza’s probably going to be really busy chopping and prepping stuff, so we could…” She pulls Cat closer, their eyes meeting in the mirror’s reflection.

“Kara?” Comes the call from downstairs. “I could do with a hand here.”

“She can totally sense it,” Kara groans. “I’ll see you in the kitchen.”


Kara is pleasantly surprised when Cat follows her downstairs less than ten minutes later. Sure, she still has her phone in hand and her purse wedged under one arm like she might flee at any moment, but it’s a really nice gesture. Sitting on the same stool as before, she politely asks Eliza if she can be put to work.

“You can keep us company,” Eliza suggests. “It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that as Kara’s one-time guardian I have some questions for you.”

“And more than a few reservations, I would imagine,” Cat adds, helpful rather than malicious. “But shelling peas or something sounds a lot less uncomfortable.”

“This wasn’t intended as a serious thing, when you started?” Eliza shows exactly as much mercy as she did for Alex’s unsuccessful excuses for why she’d broken curfew. “Should I assume that much has changed?”

“Yes,” Cat agrees, with a long, considering look towards Kara, who notices it before blushing down at the tomatoes she’s chopping. “Subject to my son’s approval, there’s nothing else standing in our way.”

“The son who lives with you?”

“Yes. Carter. I’ll be sure to ask Adam, too, but since he and Kara have never met, I don’t see he’ll have much problem with it.” Cat looks a little ruffled at that, and if Kara isn’t mistaken, a little impressed. It must be the kind of question she would have gone with.

“Kara’s job doesn’t stand in your way? You’re comfortable dating someone who has to obey your every instruction or risk losing her job?” Eliza throws some food from her own chopping board into a pot and the sizzle is the only sound in the room for a minute.

“I had a plan for that,” Cat admits, much to Kara’s surprise. “Not that we’ve had a chance to talk about it. Things were complicated by only ‘dating’ one part of Kara’s identity. But I believe she’s the one who has a plan for that.”

“This is what you’ve been working on?” Eliza turns her focus to Kara now.

Just then, Kara’s phone rings. Alex is getting anything she wants for Christmas this year for this timely interruption.

“Hey Kara, I meant to warn you earlier but Cat is probably gonna swing by mom’s.”

“Bit late for that,” Kara replies through gritted teeth. “But if you need me for something, I can head out right now. We only just put dinner on-"

“Kara, put your sister on speaker,” Eliza interrupts. “You can tell us all at once what this big plan of yours is.”

Sighing, Kara does as she’s asked and places her phone on the kitchen table just in front of Cat. Not looking up from her own screen, Cat greets Alex like it’s just another conference call.

“Agent Danvers,” she says breezily. “Your family has a beautiful home. Though you did tell me your mother was away for a few days.”

“I did?” Alex’s voice is a little high, as though she can see Eliza’s frown.

“I just need to get something,” Kara excuses herself to fetch the tin with the beacon from its drawer. Cat and Eliza look up in unison when she returns to the kitchen. “So, about that whole killing Kara Danvers idea.”

“No way,” Eliza chimes in, along with Alex. Cat stays silent, watching expectantly.

“I know you think my cousin is the expert, that his way is the only way to be safe, but secrets and lies make me more vulnerable, not less.” Kara sets the box down. “If working at CatCo has taught me anything, it’s the importance of controlling your narrative. I want Supergirl to be more than a whoosh of blue and red people see for ten seconds. I want her to mean something.”

“She already does,” Alex insists. “You really want every bad guy in town knocking on your door?”

“I thought you valued the life we created for you,” Eliza lays the guilt trip with practiced ease. “Your excuse for everything you’ve gone through at work,” she adds, with a pointed look at Cat, “is that you needed that safe space for your own sanity. I know I sleep better at night because you can take that suit off, and go right back to having no one know who you are.”

“My parents didn’t send me here to hide,” Kara continues, having allowed them room to blow off steam. She’s pleased that Cat hasn’t raised any objections yet. That gives her an extra jolt of faith in her own decision. “The truth is I can do things almost no one else can. But I’m not the only one. One man alone doing what he can might have worked for Kal-El, but it’s not the only way. I definitely don’t think it’s the best way.”

“What brought this on?” Cat asks. “Why now, I suppose is what I’m asking? This can’t just be so we can attend a wedding together.”

“No, but things like that would be nice. No more watching which name we use, no more guilt that telling someone my secret makes them a target.”

“And the way to avoid that is to stop telling people,” Alex reminds her. “You have options that don’t require a blaze of publicity. And no offense, Cat, but she wasn’t talking like this before you dragged her down some red carpets.”

“I wasn’t dragged,” Kara corrects. “I was offered an opportunity, and I think it might be the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time, okay? Because I can see things from the other side now. These past thirteen years have been all about me, alone, never able to have anyone else who really got it. Now I know that’s possible? I don’t think I want to give it up.”

“We know what it is to keep these secrets,” Eliza points out. “We’ve done everything we can to make you safe. We feel it, too.”

“Yeah, but you get to still be normal. They’re not your secrets to carry, even if I’m so grateful for how you’ve all helped me to do that. You still got to be married and have a family. You could do that too, Alex.” Alex snorts down the phone line, and Eliza throws her hands up in the air. “You don’t have to worry that one day you’ll touch someone the wrong way and wreck your whole life. Or wonder if you like someone because you really like them, or just because it’s easier when they already know the truth about you. I don’t want to get stuck like that.”

“Maybe we should postpone this conversation until after dinner,” Eliza suggests. “You clearly need more time to think, sweetheart.”

“No,” Kara argues. “I don’t.”

“Tell us the plan, Kara,” Cat urges.

“It’s not finalized, but I was thinking about my aunt,” Kara explains, reaching for the tin. “She looked for me for years, but she only ever found Kal. When he brought me here that day,” she addresses Eliza. “Did he ever tell you what he would do if you hadn’t offered to take me in?”

“It was obvious he couldn’t raise a teenager,” Eliza says, fondness in her eyes. “But we never regretted making that offer, Kara. Not for a minute.”

“But look what it cost you,” Kara says. “If it wasn’t for me, Jeremiah would never have gone to work for the DEO. He’d still be alive, probably. And maybe he’d have come up with something like this to help with his research, but it’s my project now. A safe haven.”

“The orphanage,” Alex realizes with a gasp. “Kara-“

“People like Astra – people like me – arrive on this planet all the time. Most of the time they have no help, no guidance. The orphanage was the one unofficial place, and that couldn’t help everyone.” Kara pauses to catch her breath. “So aliens have to adapt or die. Or end up in a DEO holding cell, if the Fort Rozz criminals don’t recruit them first. And Alex, I respect you as much as I love you, but the DEO is wrong on some of this stuff. You were terrified of me coming out because you knew I’d lose my rights. You knew I’d be treated as less than human. I might not be human, but I’ll be damned if I’ll spend the rest of my life accepting ‘less than’.”

“Cursing again,” Cat teases. “What a day.”

“I don’t know all the ways to get money yet, but I have some foundations to apply to, some companies that might help. I want to help the people who have to hide in the shadows. And rehabilitate people who have already more than served their time. That includes Astra. If I’m going to bring aliens into society, I need to bring enough people police them when humans can’t.”

“Sort of like an alien Taylor Swift squad, but more crime and punishment,” Alex summarizes.

“I prefer Beyhive,” Kara shoots back. “I have lots of detail worked out, this isn’t some half-baked idea I came up with in the shower this morning.”

“Can I look it over?” Cat asks. Kara has zipped to grab her laptop and back before Cat can pull her reading glasses from her bag. “I might have something to contribute. Or at least a residual interest in the Supergirl brand to protect.”

“I don’t know about this,” Eliza worries again. “It sounds like painting a big target on your back, Kara. But maybe it takes someone as brave as you to do the right thing. I can’t say I’d complain about the DEO having some checks and balances. You know how I feel about them.”

“What’s in the tin?” Cat asks, not looking away from Kara’s plan on the screen. “It’s not like you to bring props and not use them.”

“It’s a beacon,” Kara explains. “A more powerful version of my spy beacon,” she explains for Alex’s benefit. “Kal always said if anything happened to him and the humans couldn’t help, then any non-humans could respond to it if I sent out the signal.” She opens the tin to let the white glow show. “It’s like the Red Cross symbol, or something. Almost every civilization accepts it as a safe zone. No attacks, just refuge. Obviously it’s no guarantee. But it’s a place to start, as soon as I find a base of operations.”

“Well, I’d better get on with dinner,” Eliza announces, which means she wants to think about everything and Kara supposes she can give her that at least. “If you girls want to go for a walk, I don’t need much more help. Just be back in an hour.”

“You go talk to your sister, darling,” Cat suggests. “Leave this with me. It’s very good, and I think I can fill in some blanks for you.”

“You have enough to do,” Kara responds, but Cat waves her away with wriggling fingers because some things never change.

“Okay Alex,” Kara takes her sister back off speaker and heads for the porch. “So that was… a lot.”

“Cat’s really in your corner.” Alex almost sounds impressed. “Is Mom’s head about to fly off?”

“Well she hasn’t thrown Cat out of the house yet, so everything after that is just a bonus,” Kara admits. “Thanks for ratting me out, by the way.”

“I worry,” Alex replies. “I always will, but I promise I’m starting to realize there’s a lot of times when I don’t have to. Old habits die hard, little sis.”

“Do they?” Kara curls up on the swing and watches the helicopter prepare for takeoff. She’s looking forward to flying Cat home later. Tomorrow, whenever.

“You’re really ready for all Supergirl all the time?”

“I think I might have to look at my costume choices again, but yeah,” Kara tells her. “I wasn’t sure I could ever do this, Alex. But you’ve all helped me grow into it. Now I think maybe this should have been the endgame all along.”

“You’re gonna be pretty famous,” Alex points out.

“So’s my girlfriend,” Kara sasses, before slapping her hand over her mouth. “Oh,” she murmurs against her own palm.

“You really like her,” Alex sing-songs. “You want to kiss her, you want to-“

“I wouldn’t mention that to your mom anytime soon,” Kara suggests.

“You got busted?” Alex is cackling now. Kara suspects this might be one of the best days of Alex’s life. “Wow, you two just can’t keep your pants on, huh?”

“Shut up,” Kara grumbles. “I don’t want to cause you trouble at work, but some of the DEO stuff is going to have to change, you know. I’ll fight them if I have to. And I think I know just the government lawyer to take them on.”

“Good luck getting Lucy Lane,” Alex snorts. “That one was born in a dress uniform.”

“Any idea how to get a teenage boy to like me?” Kara is working through a mental list of problems.

“You’re on your own there,” Alex advises. “I didn’t even understand them when I was a teenager. I’m just going to check on Astra, so I need to hang up. I can text you how she is when I’m done talking to the doctor?”

“Please,” Kara insists. “I really would like to try and work with her. I was serious about that.”

“I know you were.” Alex sighs. “Listen, we probably need to talk some more about Astra and … stuff. When are you heading back?”

“By morning, for sure.” Kara looks around, already starting to miss the peace. “I get nervous when Cat’s left in charge of her own diary for too long.”

“You’ll have to get used to it,” Alex nudges. “Full-time superhero charity ambassadors don’t book the bikini waxes.”

“Guess so,” Kara admits. “I’m not making a total fool of myself, am I?”

“I don’t think so.” Alex sounds tired. Kara is going to get on her case about getting more sleep. “But we’ll run it all through again when you’re back, okay?”

“Wish me luck,” Kara says as they wrap up the call. “And what does cyanide taste like again? I’d better check Cat’s food when it’s all served up.”

“Almonds!” Alex laughs at her. “Good luck.”

Kara hangs up just in time for the helicopter to take off. For a moment she feels like doing something reckless, chasing it across the sky just to stretch her muscles, but she resists the temptation. Twenty minutes later she’s rocking gently on the swing, dozing lightly, when Cat comes to sit beside her.

“You’ve been wasted as my assistant, haven’t you?” She begins. “A few more years’ experience and I’ll have to watch out for you staging a coup at CatCo.”

“It’s just being thorough,” Kara deflects. “Once I got started, the ideas just kept coming, I guess.”

“Well,” Cat says after a minute, reaching for Kara’s hand and holding it between both of her own. “Kara Zor-El, I have a proposal for you.”

Chapter Text

Kara paces the small room, tempted to punch through one of the walls to let a little more air in. Her dress rustles with every step, the beading on the royal blue silk catching the light from every possible angle, even in the dull light of this backstage area they’ve set up. It’s going to sparkle like stars under the spotlight in a little while, and Kara feels a little giddy at the thought of drawing so much attention to herself.

From her seat in the corner, Astra watches with sharp-eyed patience. It’s so strange to see her in a dress of her own, tight and black and perfect for her ramrod-straight posture. In the two months since she left the DEO’s custody Astra has forsworn her military jumpsuits, but Kara’s not surprised Astra’s fashion sense falls closer to Alex’s than her own. Especially given how much time Alex and Astra have been spending together. At some point they’re going to have to tell the DEO staff office that Astra doesn’t technically live with Kara as agreed; it’s hard to say she does when almost every night is spent at Alex’s smaller apartment five blocks away.

“Kara,” Astra cautions. “I would do this for you if I could.”

“It has to be me,” Kara acknowledges. “I’m so glad you’re here with me, though. Thank you.”

“The boy is coming,” Astra replies, standing to open the door. Carter sidles through a moment later, surveying the room for strangers and relaxing when he finds only Kara and Astra amongst all the spare chairs and unopened boxes.

“Mom’s on her way,” he blurts, talking to Kara but unable to take his eyes off Astra. He’s been fascinated by her since their first meeting, far more impressed with her than he ever was with Kara. Hearing the truth about Supergirl as Kara began her new life as a full-time superhero had barely interested him, but meeting her aunt had made him light up for the first time around Kara since their adventures on the train. “She bumped into Christiane and they’re settling a bet or something.”

Kara smiled fondly at the news. Cat’s longstanding bets, debts and gossip with other journalists haven’t tapered off since she became CEO of CatCo, in fact it seems they’ve only gotten more prolific. Amanpour owes Cat a bottle of Scotch, or maybe it’s the other way around, but it’s all something to do with an election in a country that Kara can’t even spell, never mind find on the map.

“Your mother gambles, Little Grant?” Astra asks, letting go of the door and extending her hand to Carter in greeting. Unlike the hugs that Kara gives so freely, Astra recognizes Carter’s preference for a handshake, and a moment later they’re discussing something about jet fighter thrust that Kara can’t seem to focus on.

When Alex, in her black tuxedo suit and matching shirt unbuttoned at the collar, comes to collect Astra, Carter leaves with them to take his seat. They hug Kara in turn before going, and each one settles her for just a moment. First Astra’s hug that finally matches Kara’s own in strength, to Alex’s fierce attempt to do just that, and Carter’s cautious but increasingly confident hug, that tells Kara she really does have his blessing after all.

“Knock ‘em dead,” Alex calls back as they pass Cat in the corridor. She smiles at Alex’s encouragement, before turning that smile on Kara. It’s still enough to take Kara’s breath away, even if by this stage she’s learning to keep the gooey clichés on the inside a little more.

“I’m a genius,” Cat sighs, looking Kara up and down with a hungry look once they’re alone backstage. “I don’t say that enough.”

“I picked my own dress this time,” Kara protests.

“From a selection I had Ria whittle down,” Cat reminds her, placing her hands on Kara’s hips with a featherlight touch. “No creases,” she warns, but she grips a little tighter when Kara kisses her.

It doesn’t take long before they’re a little carried away, only the PA announcement encouraging the audience to take their seats putting a stop to wandering hands. Kara is tempted to see what super speed can achieve with Cat’s cream evening dress, the slit on the thigh practically an engraved invitation, but there are other things to focus on now.

“It looks good out there?” Kara asks one more time, the same question she’s been asking of everyone she’s seen in the past two hours, unable to trust her judgment. Cat’s is the opinion that she values above all others, and they both know it.

“It’s perfect,” Cat assures her. “When I handed over the CatCo Charitable Foundation to this, I had faith, of course I did. But what you’ve done these past six months, darling… I think you really must be a superhero.”

“Even without my cape on?”

“You tell me: how many magazine covers like you better in leather and denim and smoky eye makeup?” Cat is leaving out that awful first month when the cruelest headlines called out a Supergirl identity crisis, calling her SuperBarbie. The real low point was the Buzzfeed quiz where people got to pick their ‘most embarrassing’ Supergirl look. Cat had cackled on getting ‘hipster!Supergirl’, and changed Kara’s contact in her phone to that for an entire week.

Kara shrugs. “All of them?”

She’s been making a lot of these calls since her transformation to all Supergirl, all the time. There are days even now when she misses the anonymity of her old cardigans and plaid skirts. Despite the headlines that have dogged her sometimes difficult transition, no one ever seems to have connected Kara with Cat’s former assistant. It’s because everyone who mattered to that Kara already knew the truth, but it’s weird to call into Noonan’s and have baristas she considered pals only treat her as Supergirl. It’s almost like her first two years in National City never happened.

Cat smirks. “And it’s much easier to get you undressed at the end of the day, too. How are the bruises? That kraken thing last night had me worried.”

“I’m healing fine,” Kara insists, although she had to spend three hours on the DEO’s sunbed in the morning. “Although I have the strangest craving for calamari.”

“I hope the jokes in your speech are a little less on the nose,” Cat scolds, but she’s still smiling at Kara like she’s the Hope diamond, an exclusive with Hillary Clinton and a dry martini all rolled into one. “I was going to wait until after the speech part, but Carter gave me the go-ahead right before Amanpour handed over the Macallan she owed me. So I’m afraid I really can’t wait.”

“To do what?” Kara feels a stab of panic. It’s not often Cat catches her completely off guard.

“To ask you to move in with me,” Cat replies. “With us, with Carter’s blessing.”

“Oh,” Kara has been trying not to hope, trying not to be grumpy on the increasingly few days she spends at her own, half-neglected apartment; Astra is supposed to be her roommate and is barely there either. It feels a lot like wasted space, the waiting room for a life Kara’s still a little terrified to finally begin.

Cat invites Kara over most nights, even though they don’t work side-by-side these days. On the days she doesn’t, it’s been assumed Kara will show up anyway. The only exceptions are when Cat is out of town for some business event or other. Kara has established herself and her organization on an otherwise empty floor of the CatCo building, and they’ve found more than enough excuses to visit each other during the working day. Not to mention taking advantage of an otherwise private elevator.

Oh isn’t technically an answer,” Cat presses, and there’s just that slightest hint of nerves that only Kara can detect. Kara knows space and privacy are not things Cat gives up lightly. She’s seen Cat adjust and accommodate in a hundred different ways already, not least the painful weeks when Carter turned his rejection of Kara into anger directed at his mother. They’d never really fallen out before, and Kara had tried to break things off three times as a form of apology before the storm finally passed. She’s pathetically glad that Cat didn’t accept the breakup on any of the three occasions.

“Then my answer is yes,” Kara clears up her hesitation with a bit of certainty. “But I want more closet space. And you’re not allowed to burn any of my cardigans.”

“One ceremonial burning,” Cat insists. “Just the beige monstrosity.”

“Deal,” Kara concedes. “You’re really sure? I know most people think I live in a cave somewhere now, but it’s going to be really obvious Supergirl lives there when the paparazzi start getting us three or four times a week.”

“I have security,” Cat answers with a shrug. “And anything you drag home with you – alien, monster, enthusiastic street mime – you’re responsible for keeping on the other side of the threshold. Do we have a deal?”

Kara answers her with a kiss, not caring that there really isn’t time to reapply her lipstick before the announcement comes.

“I can’t believe you got the Vice President,” Kara whispers as Joe Biden begins introducing. “He’s really that sparkly in real life, too.”

“Jill owed me a favor,” Cat confirms with a shrug. “That’s my cue to go take my seat. Do as your sister said and knock ‘em dead, darling.”

“I couldn’t have done this without you,” Kara insists, grabbing Cat’s hand for one last second. Cat looks at her, head tilted in consideration.

“You absolutely could have,” Cat corrects. “But I’m glad you didn’t have to. We’re pretty great together, aren’t we? Must be that genius of mine at work again.”

Kara looks away for just a second as a staffer waves her over to the stage area. When she looks back to answer, Cat is already clicking across the room and down the hall.

“Here she is,” Vice President Biden announces to the crowd, and Kara knows her cue. “She’s one hell of a gal. National City, your very own hero: Supergirl!”

Kara wills herself to put one foot in front of the other and the lights are as blinding as any sun the moment she sets foot on the stage. The roar is deafening, applause and shouts that she can’t ever get used to. She freezes a few steps along the way, but the Vice President smiling at her from the podium is enough to get her going again, and she accepts his hug with grace and a whole lot of enthusiasm.

Then she’s alone in front of the microphones. The camera flashes go off in flurry after flurry and it could be the red carpet again on that first date with Cat, all those months ago when so much was still kept secret. Kara looks for her girlfriend, and there she is on the aisle in the front row with Carter beaming at her side. Alex and Astra are directly behind, and Alex offers the cheesy thumbs up that she knows will make Kara laugh. That’s when Kara knows at last that she can do this.

The crowd calms as she leans in to speak.

“My name is Kara Zor-El.” The words feel light as they fly off her tongue, no longer a sad memory or a dark secret she has to keep from everyone. “When I was a child, my planet Krypton was dying.” A shout goes up in Kryptonian, part of a funeral rite Kara’s been taught in recent months, the blanks in her knowledge of her home filled in by new and varied voices. Scattered voices respond to it, and she nods in acknowledgment.

“I was sent here to protect my cousin.” She nods to Kal-El, in full suit and cape with Lois at his side although she’s not officially his date. Convincing him of the merits of one identity has been a slow process, and Kara knows she still isn’t even close. “As you can probably tell, he doesn’t need too much protecting.” The laughter is polite, and Kara uses the ripple of noise to take a deeper breath.

“But other people coming to this planet do need that protection,” Kara continues, and her spine straightens just a little more as she speaks, brushing a strand of hair from her face. “Even the ones we only see as threats. I was lucky to be taken in by a wonderful, generous family. Not only did they accept me and protect me, but they showed me how to protect others from my powers. From the things that made me different. When they did that, I was able to see at last just how much we all have in common. Alien, human, we’re not so very different. That’s why the friends who have come together to make this Center work will also be giving their talents and strengths to work alongside government forces when it comes to containing hostile invaders.” She nods to Astra, who as Kara’s deputy will be spearheading that force.

The applause is another heartfelt burst. Kara looks out beyond the crowd, her special vision unfettered by the stage lights, and takes another look at the amazing photos James took, blown up into floor-to-ceiling prints. Aliens of every race and creed, from more planets than even Astra could name. All of whom have come to answer Kara’s beacon in the past six months, and so many more besides.

“I didn’t want to call this place the SuperCenter,” she admits, drawing another laugh. “But I’m proud of what my cousin started, and while I might have fought her on it at first, I’m proud that the Queen of all Media herself gave me the name ‘Supergirl’. I only hope I can do enough to earn that title some day.” There’s murmuring with the clapping this time, because Cat and Kara as a gossip item is still somehow the hottest ticket in town.

“So thank you all for coming to our official opening tonight. For donating your time, your talent and your money to the SuperCenter Foundation. Without your generosity, this project would never have gotten off the ground. I hear getting off the ground isn’t so easy for people who were born here,” she jokes, and she can definitely hear Cat’s groan when hovering a few inches off the ground for effect. The rest of the crowd eats it up, thankfully.

“I’m not one for speeches,” Kara wraps up. “For a long time there was so much I couldn’t say. But I can’t let you all loose on the food and drink without thanking a few very special people tonight. My dear friend James Olsen, whose art and storytelling is the greatest decoration we could ever have dreamed of. Please, take your time to look at his photos and read the stories only he could tell.”

She nods, and with Kal-El’s encouragement, James stands to take an awkward little bow. Lucy applauds harder than anyone, before resting a hand on the slight swell of her belly. Kara doesn’t think anyone else knows yet, but not wearing her glasses these days means little accidents with her x-ray vision here and there. Hopefully twins run in the family, or it’s going to be double the surprise.

“My foster mother, Eliza Danvers, who most of you will now know as the Dr. Danvers running our medical facility. If she takes as good care of all of you as she did of me, you’re all very lucky.” Eliza refuses to stand, blushing into her hands, but Kara lets the applause linger.

“And my sister Alex,” Kara hates to have to downplay this one. Alex and J’onn have stayed at the DEO despite her pleading, determined to implement the change in protocols that Kara’s organization has been lobbying for, and for that she’s eternally grateful. It does mean that one Danvers sister will retain a half-shadowed life, and Kara feels guilty to escape it when Alex can’t. “You have done more than anyone will ever know. I love you all, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

It sounds like a conclusion, and Kara isn’t oblivious to the glances and murmurs. She would have thanked Astra too, but her aunt has specifically requested to be shielded from the media attention showered on Kara and Kal-El. She’s putting her military training to use in helping run the Center, teaching Kara more each day about management and strategic planning. But the hundreds of phones and cameras pointed towards the stage are waiting for one particular mention, and the story of who named Supergirl just won’t be enough for them.

“The biggest supporter of the SuperCenter however,” Kara continues. “Has been the CatCo Charitable Foundation. As some of you may know, I have a little pull with the management over there.” A wave of polite chuckling. “It’s where we had our offices until the Center was built and ready for visitors.”

“CatCo is a publicly traded company and almost everyone in the world knows something about it. What fewer people know about is Cat Grant herself. How brilliant she is, how tireless, how inspiring she is to women in all walks of life: including this woman right here. They definitely don’t know that behind her reputation is one of the smartest and most generous people I have ever met, on this planet or at least eleven others.”

Other people would blush or look away. Cat, confident as ever, holds Kara’s adoring gaze.

“So for everything you’ve done, Cat, and for everything you continue to do, I want to thank you. I also want to tell you, although you really should know by now, that I love you. I’m so proud to be here tonight with you by my side.”

The applause is deafening, and Kara feels the last of her bravery recede. She’s trembling with the declaration being so public, but right away Cat whispers “I love you, too” right back, and Kara hears it as surely as if Cat were saying it against her ear.

“Please, enjoy the party,” Kara concludes, much to her eternal relief. “And thank you all again for being here.”

The band strikes up in the corner, and the moment people stand the chairs are whisked away to transform the space into a dancefloor. Kara hops down from the stage, hoping for a brief moment with Cat, but the press descend on her first. It’s only when she gets into the finer points of tax exemption with a guy from the Wall Street Journal that Cat appears at her side, wrapping an arm around Kara’s waist with total familiarity.

“You were magnificent,” Cat murmurs, before jumping in, fielding questions of her own. It’s like being on the battlefield with Alex or Astra, the easy choreography of thrust and parry. Before long even the most hostile press and bloggers have wandered off, satisfied, and Cat takes advantage of the lull to drag Kara out of the hall and into the stairwell.

“Where are we going?” Kara asks, almost stumbling in her heels. “You told me I had to do three hours minimum tonight, for appearances’ sake.”

Cat simply nods towards the roof and they begin climbing the stairs with alternating clicks from their heels. No one follows and there are no staff above the first floor tonight. The second floor houses only labs, storage, and office space, and Kara smiles at each darkened room they pass. Cat doesn’t seem to notice any of it, just keeps walking towards Kara’s office at the far end of the floor.

She hasn’t moved in yet, not officially. Her attachment to the CatCo building is the last one she has to her old dual life, and even though she can fly back in a matter of seconds, she’s spent every day of the last six months dreading the moment when she’ll no longer go to work every day in the same building as Cat.

Who walks into Kara’s office as surely as though it were her own, running an appreciative hand over the marble desk that has been gifted with a nod to Kryptonians being hard-wearing on regular furniture. Without the lights on, the surrounding neon and moonlight of National City gives them illumination enough. Kara sees Cat in profile at the huge window that forms one wall, and she forgets how to breathe for a few endless seconds.

Then Cat beckons, half in silhouette, and Kara crosses the room to join her. There’s a stunning view out over the city, broader and flatter than the clutch of skyscrapers that hems them in at CatCo. Kara could point out that they can have a spectacular view any time they go flying, but she waits to see what this gesture of Cat’s is for.

“This building,” Cat nods towards the large white structure on the edge of the SuperCenter campus. “It wasn’t on the last plans I looked at.”

“I wasn’t sure we could get the budget,” Kara admits. “But the Senator came through. You don’t know what it is?”

“It’s softer, somehow,” Cat observes, leaning in close as she looks up at it through the window. “It feels less science and tech and more…”

“Like a home,” Kara supplies. “Can I tell you something? This is the part I’m proudest of.”

“The orphanage,” Cat realizes. “You’re making a new safe haven for the children. Of course you are.” She throws her arms around Kara’s neck and pulls her in for a lingering kiss. “These aliens are lucky to have you, Kara. But not as lucky as me.”

“You meant it about me moving in?” Kara asks, running her thumb over Cat’s lips and tracing the defined jut of her jawline. It’s one of Kara’s favorite shapes and more often than not is what has her reaching for a pencil or charcoal in the rare moments she finds time for art these days. “So much is changing. So much has changed.”

“Most of it for the better,” Cat reminds her. “Don’t you feel free?”

“I do,” Kara admits. “Winn’s trial starts next week. Leslie not long after. I have to testify at both. Leslie I can handle, and you’ll be there, but Winn… I can’t believe it really came to this.”

“It’s not your fault,” Cat soothes, kissing Kara again. “The end of any journey is always like this. The trials, the funerals, finding something new to throw yourself into. It’s not quite the same, but it’s kind of how CatCo came to be. First feeling stuck, then a lot of emotional carnage, and when the dust settled I had my first station, my show in syndication, and a clear road ahead of me. Is that how it feels?”

“It does,” Kara agrees, because Cat’s gift for putting Kara’s muddled feelings into words is one of her favorite things about them. “Yours sounds lonely, though. I’m so glad I’ve got you.”

“Oh, you’ve got me all right,” Cat groans. “And look at everything you’ve already achieved. I did tell you how proud I am?”

“From you, I don’t mind hearing it twice,” Kara admits.

“Come Monday you’ll be here all the time.” There’s a pout to go with that, and it only reminds Kara how crazy she is about Cat’s lips.

“Not all the time,” Kara corrects, shaking her head. “Maybe my days won’t be so long now I have something to hurry home to.”

“I like the way it sounds, to hear you calling it home.” Cat steers Kara towards the desk. “I like of lot of things I can make you say.”

“Like what?” Kara asks, voice wavering just a little on the question. They can’t. Not here. And yet her knees are already trembling because there’s nothing she wants more.

“Making you beg, for example,” Cat supplies, her voice lower as she traces her fingers over Kara’s cheek. “You’ve done so much, been so good for so long. But here we stand, you with an empire of your own. Do you know how much that turns me on, Kara?”

“A charity,” Kara corrects. “Not an empire.”

“Half of these people would die for you already. And all the money from licensing Supergirl merchandise will keep this Center running for years to come. Next week you’ll sit here as director, and queen of all you survey. Power is power, even if you’re using it for charity.”

“I still don’t know if I can do this,” Kara argues, laying her hands on Cat’s bare shoulders. Cat responds by taking Kara’s right hand and pressing a kiss to the inside of her wrist before letting it rest on Cat’s shoulder again.

“Overwhelmed? Well, we know how to deal with that.” Cat pulls Kara close. “Turn around.”

“What if someone comes up here?” Kara asks, but she’s turning all the same, her palms slapping against the marble.

“Then you’ll use your considerable authority to dismiss them,” Cat tells her. “You know now, what it’s like to have a room in the palm of your hand, people hanging on your every word.” She’s hiking the full skirt of Kara’s dress gradually up her thighs, bundling it around her waist. A faint breeze hits the back of Kara’s bare legs, and she whimpers.

“You deserve this,” Cat rakes her nails up the back of Kara’s thigh and she gasps in response. “You’ve been exceptional in so many ways, even in a week that’s been nothing but demand after demand on your time.”

“Please,” Kara whispers. She doesn’t even know what she’s asking for, exactly. She can tell she’s already wet, and Cat has barely started touching her. As though reading Kara’s thoughts, Cat pops a playful little smack on her ass.

“Focus, Kara,” she warns. “I want your undivided attention.”

Kara bows her head and concentrates on nothing but Cat’s touch. Her fingers chart invisible roads across Kara’s skin, circling and swooping and dragging as she feels like it. Kara twitches when those touches land on her most sensitive places, and she’s rewarding by Cat grabbing and squeezing in that proprietorial way she has, that makes Kara feel like she’s melting.

“You decided on underwear,” Cat notes, conversational and breezy again. “I decided not to bother. Did I mention that? And with how high this dress is cut, well, you could have been just an inch or two from touching me, bare, all night. Just so you know.”

Biting her bottom lip, Kara huffs a shuddering breath that’s somewhere between frustration and a fresh peak of arousal. She doesn’t know how she survives this each time. She had no idea she could want so much, and keep wanting more and more no matter how often she can have it.

“Oh darling,” Cat breathes when she finally shows a scrap of mercy and runs one firm fingertip through the wetness pooling between Kara’s thighs. “You’re so ready for me.”

“Always,” Kara promises, and she says it through gritted teeth because she doesn’t dare to mean more than they’ve already expressed. Love, yes, and living together, making a home. She can’t speak the other idle fantasies aloud yet, of white dresses on other occasions, with cake and flowers and different guests. Decorating rooms not just to make room for Kara in Cat’s home, but for a whole new person entirely.

Her distraction is ended by Cat pressing down on her clit, with two fingers to maximise the pressure. Kara tenses her calves, rocking slightly to increase the sensation. Her shoulders flex as she takes her weight on the heel of her hands, and Cat has never been slow at taking the hint.

“You need to be fucked, don’t you, Kara?” And oh the words that Cat has caused Kara to love in recent months, the rich and varied dirty talk that makes Kara’s head spin and her tongue trip when she tries to match it. All the nights Cat teased and teased, keeping Kara on the edge until she vocalized her most scandalous thoughts. “Don’t worry, you’ve done all your talking for tonight. Now I’m going to give you everything you deserve for being such a hero.”

And oh, how Cat does.

Her strength is wiry but it packs plenty of punch when she first slips her fingers inside Kara, sharp thrusts that slow only to allow a third finger to be added. Kara’s so much more aware of the fullness at this angle, the fingertips slamming against her g-spot every time, downward motion making them press deeper. Kara rocks her hips back on every second thrust, silently begging for more as Cat’s thumb works frantic circles on her clit.

“You don’t have to hold out,” Cat informs her as Kara’s moans echo around the half-empty office. Kara drags her nails across the desk and only gouges the marble lightly. She smiles at the mark, knowing it can be hidden under her paperwork for difficult days. Memories like this can be cherished. “You can come for me whenever you’re ready, right here in your office, in your building. Will they call you Director?”

That does it, and Kara is gone, gone, gone. “Or are you sticking with Supergirl?” Cat finishes as she slows her fingers before working Kara through a second, hard climax with her customary relentless enthusiasm.

“Jesus,” Kara pants with her face against the cool surface of the desk. Cat withdraws her fingers with great reluctance, but Kara flips around the minute she hears Cat licking at the wetness coating her hand. “If you’re trying to get me to love power, it’s working.”

“Power,” Cat says. “Would be picking a spot in this office and taking me any way you want.”

“Window looks good,” Kara decides, and it doesn’t take much superspeed to have Cat’s dress off, and have her pressed against the reinforced glass in the window clad in only a strapless bra. “You weren’t kidding about the lack of panties, huh?”

Cat doesn’t answer, letting Kara pull her arms above Cat’s head and laying her palms against the glass so she can brace herself. From behind, Kara takes her time kissing Cat’s neck, peppering soft kisses over her shoulder blades, and by the time she wraps her fingers around both of Cat’s hips, her lover is already cursing under her breath for Kara to get on with it, already. Kara would be worried if she didn’t know exactly how much Cat loved to be teased.

Still, she sinks to the floor in a rustling of silk, directing Cat to bend more at the waist and present herself to Kara’s waiting mouth. She isn’t disappointed on the first swipe of her tongue, discovering that Cat is already soaked. Kara applies a little super vibration to the flicks of her tongue and with her fingers working shallow thrusts that drive Cat wild, it doesn’t take long at all to have her moans bouncing back at them off the glass.

Cat rarely asks for permission, but Kara pauses the attentions of her mouth just long enough to give it anyway. “Please come for me, Cat. I want you to.” She closes her mouth around Cat’s clit then, sucking lightly until Cat can’t take it anymore. Her knees buckle when she comes, but Kara catches her and turns her easily into more of a bridal hold while Cat catches her breath.

“We really should get back downstairs,” Kara points out when Cat has recovered enough to start kissing her again. “Although I’m not sure I can make myself move from here.”

With a groan and one more lingering kiss, Cat extricates herself and totters around the room, still in her killer heels, until she finds her dress where Kara tossed it in her abandon. She slips into it with ease, but Kara remains in her happy pile on the floor, watching Cat’s nimble movements with a lazy grin.

“Come on,” Cat urges, after zipping herself up once more. “We’ll find a bathroom en route and clean up properly. I don’t want Astra glaring at me all night for corrupting you. Again.”

“She really doesn’t mind,” Kara assures her. “Do we really have to? We could just slip out and go home.”

“Carter,” Cat reminds her. “Although he’s probably getting another photography lesson from James Olsen by now.”

“Okay,” Kara sighs, but she doesn’t move. A moment later, Cat offers her hand, waving it vaguely in front of Kara’s face as an invitation to take it and get up, once and for all. It’s a decision Kara doesn’t have to hesitate over this time, because the questions Cat might silently be asking are already answered. Kara knows those answers might never change, and that thrills her every bit as much as it scares her.

“Ready?” Cat asks as Kara smooths her dress back into a presentable position, and they’re both moving gingerly thanks to slick inner thighs. “Kara,” she says when she doesn’t get an instant response. “I asked if you’re ready?”

“I am,” Kara replies. This time she’s the one who extends her hand, and Cat takes it without prompting, pressing a swift kiss to Kara’s knuckles.

“Then here we go.”

Chapter Text

“Thanks for the ride home,” Alex says for the third time as the limo rolls to a stop outside Cat’s penthouse. “I mean, we could get a cab from here.”

“Cat told us this man will drive us to your apartment, Alexandra,” Astra reminds her. “Did you not understand the arrangement?”

“She’s just being weird,” Carter explains. “Probably because Mom and Kara are being all heart eyes again. You get used to it.”

“We are not!” Cat protests, but it’s a weak one. “You’re both welcome to come up for a nightcap.”

“And risk my sister giving me laser eyes for intruding?” Alex scoffs. “Not much chance of that, no.”

“Oh come up for a drink, Alex,” Kara insists, even though her sister has a point. Thank Rao they took the edge off back at the SuperCenter or she might not be so generous. “Otherwise you’re just making it weird, not us. Also, we uh have a little bit of news.”

“More news than being the badass Director of the SuperCenter?” Alex jokes. “Cause I think that was more than most people manage in a lifetime.”

“Cat and Carter asked me to move in with them,” Kara says, squeezing Cat’s hand where it sits on the seat between them. Carter has opted to be sandwiched between Alex and his new favorite person, Astra. “So this is me officially saying yes. Thank you, Carter.”

“S’fine,” he mutters, but he smiles down at his lap as he avoids their stares. “I knew you’d say yes.”

“Then a celebration,” Astra announces. “Do you want to fly up, Carter?”

“Yes please!” He scrambles out of the car right after Astra, before Cat can argue the point. Alex shrugs. “We can take the elevator though, right?”

“Like civilized people,” Cat grumbles. “Come along, assorted Danvers.” Kara grins, because she misses using the name every day, and it makes her feel closer to Alex every time Cat busts out the Danvers name.

The doorman gives Kara a nervous look as they enter the lobby. They’re greeted by the building manager when they approach Cat’s private elevator at the far end of the bank of them.

“Ms Grant, we’ve been watching on the cameras and I don’t know how it happened…”

“What?” Cat snaps. “If you’ve let some stalker - or worse, one of my exes - in here, I’ll sue to own the rest of the building too, not just the top three floors.”

“Someone left a package at your front door,” the poor man continues. “And while we can assure you it’s not dangerous, we think you should retrieve it as soon as possible. We tried to bring it downstairs for your convenience, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t budge.”

“What the hell?” Cat demands.

“Let’s go check it out,” Kara urges, guiding Cat towards the waiting elevator and exchanging worried glances with Alex, who pulls her service weapon from the waistband of her black pants.

“What, you thought I’d gone soft in this brave new world? Cat, you should wait here until we check it out.”

“Like hell,” Cat grouses, watching the numbers climb with foot-tapping impatience. “Kara, if there’s anything they missed, I want that package on the moon before it gets within ten feet of Carter, understood? Or me, for that matter.”

“You don’t have to worry,” Kara assures her as the elevator doors finally slide open. She scans immediately with x-ray vision, seeing Astra and Carter already in the apartment’s huge kitchen, raiding the freezer. The sight of the package at the door stops Kara in her tracks. That’s no package.

It’s a Kryptonian pod.

One that’s a tiny replica of the ship that brought her to Earth, smaller even than Kal-El’s. Kara scans the casing of it, but of course her x-ray vision can’t pierce the lead lining. Well, the Kryptonian equivalent of lead, an element long since lost in the dusts of what used to be Krypton.

Stooping to open the hood, Kara is surprised when the protective glass slides back instantly at her touch. There’s a glow of her fingerprints right before it does, almost as if the material recognizes her somehow.

“Oh my God,” she gasps, looking down into the pod at a pile of soft blankets. Cat and Alex are watching expectantly, and Kara opens her mouth to explain.

But before Kara can summon the words, the tense silence is shattered by the piercing cry of a baby.