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There’s over a week break between the end of the conference finals and the actual finals - Kara explains it’s to make room for media days and other events. Lena finds out just how much pomp and circumstance goes into the capital-f Finals when she has to sit in on three separate meetings regarding programming, broadcast structuring, and funding for turning Luthor Corp plaza into something called a Fan Experience and so on.

It's a lot.

“Get used to it,” Kara says with a self-assured laugh when Lena comments on the sudden workload. “We kind of have a habit of going to the finals.”

The upside to it all is that Kara gets the first few days of the break completely free. No practices get scheduled, nor mandatory workouts, and even though Kara hosts a casual team shootaround a few mornings, she generally takes it easy.

It means that two nights after game seven, Kara invites Lena out to meet up with Alex and Lucy at a club on the south side of the city. Lena hesitates a moment before agreeing, but the hesitation feels habitual more than anything else. 

If she takes a bit of extra time getting ready, it’s out of anticipation more than anxiety.

“This is fun,” Kara says, perching on the corner of Lena’s bed nearest the bathroom. Kara’s in her incognito outfit – hair messy under a dark baseball hat, thick framed glasses set upon her nose, tight jeans with rips down her strong thighs, a white polo with vertical green and red stripes, her favorite leather jacket. It’s an ensemble Lena’s always been attracted to, and it’s nice to look over at her girlfriend and not worry about how delicious Lena finds her.

“What? Watching me do my makeup?” Lena asks with a short laugh, recapping her lipstick and shooting Kara a look.

“Well sure, but I meant going out to the club,” she says, leaning back on her hands. It’s an attractive pose that makes Lena glance at the clock and wonder if they can afford to linger a bit longer before heading out. “Like together.”

It’s the first time they’ve really done this – gone to a club together to meet up with people instead of just manufacturing ways to run into each other. It’s a distinctly couple thing and though Lena still feels a touch nervous, she can’t deny Kara’s enthusiasm.

“We’ve been out together before,” Lena says, trying to be as casual as she can, but laughing when Kara makes a face at her.

“You know what I mean, don’t be like that.”

Kara gets up from the bed to join Lena in front of the mirror, her hands coming to a rest at Lena’s hips as she drops a soft, barely-there kiss to Lena’s shoulder. It’s warm and nice and Lena’s eyes flutter closed for just a moment.

“You look nice,” Kara murmurs, drifting up to kiss under Lena’s ear.

Lena indulges her a moment, watching the picture of them in the mirror as heat coils low in her gut. It’s a feeling she’s always associated with Kara and yet it still feels new and exciting each time Kara touches her. 

“If you’re trying to start something, we’re never getting out of here.”

Kara’s laugh is rich and thick as she detaches from Lena’s body. It leaves a chill in her wake, but Lena refocuses on putting her earrings in and not the way her mouth has gone dry. “I’ll go make us a drink,” Kara says, catching Lena’s eyes in the mirror.

“Nothing stiff,” Lena instructs, rolling her eyes at Kara’s little eyebrow waggle.

“I’m not trying to get you drunk,” Kara says, waving her off and moving towards the kitchen. “Just loose enough to make out with me in the back of the car.”

Lena laughs. “That doesn’t take much,” she replies, but Kara’s already out of earshot.

--

Thankfully, the club is as advertised – tucked away in a warehouse district and lacking any kind of major crowd outside. The isolation means Lena doesn’t think twice about taking Kara’s offered hand when they step out of the car. No one pays their arrival any mind and the bouncer seems so disinterested in their entrance that they could be naked and she doubts he’d blink an eye.

Alex and Lucy are already there, posted up in a long circular booth towards the back. They look a lot more natural around each other than the last few times Lena’d seen them together and she wonders if they’ve worked out whatever it was that had been going on.

Lucy lets out a low, approving whistle as they step up to the booth, and though Lena doesn’t pull her hand from where Kara’s gripping it, a warmth creeps up her neck.

“Didn’t know you guys were doing public appearances,” Alex says, eyes darting between their faces and their joined hands.

“I knew there was something up with you two,” Lucy says and that’s about when Lena remembers Alex is the only one on the team that’s been officially told of their relationship status.

“That’s because you think everyone is sleeping with everyone,” Alex says with an affectionate roll of her eyes. Kara pulls Lena down into the booth and reaches for the bottle of vodka in the ice bucket in the middle of the table.

“And I’m usually right,” Lucy replies with a conspiratorial wink for Lena.

“We’re not really telling people,” Kara says, handing Lena a drink and clearly trying to gauge her reaction.

“Yeah, but I’m gathering you’re not not telling people,” Lucy says with a challenging arch of her brow and Lena would have expected to feel a bit more uncomfortable with the conversation, but she’s not. She feels settled more than anything. Content.

“We’re taking that as it comes,” Lena answers for them, smiling easy and enjoying the way Kara seems to relax next to her, pouring her own drink and setting her hand over Lena’s knee.

“So, this is like an impromptu double date,” Lucy says with an ominous kind of glee. It reminds Lena worryingly of Lana.

Kara laughs, looks at Alex, whose eyes have widened noticeably at the word date. “Is it?”

Even though she looks into her drink when Lucy looks her way, Alex seems heavily invested in the answer. “Yeah. We should do shots,” Lucy says, grinning and bumping her shoulder against Alex’s.

The suggestion perks Alex up. “Whiskey,” she suggests, but Lucy rolls her eyes.

“You’re already drinking whiskey, that’s boring.”

“No it’s not,” Alex insists, looking incredulous at the suggestion.

Alex and Lucy get engaged in an argument over shot selection and Kara takes the time to lean over and press a quick kiss to Lena’s temple.

“I like this,” Kara whispers lips near Lena’s ear.

“What?” Lena asks, enjoying the heated feeling of Kara pressing in close.

“Being with you,” she says quietly and Lena feels her chest expand so abruptly she has to take a deep breath. She turns to Kara with a smile that only widens when their eyes connect.

--

It’s uneventful, all in all. Not unlike all the other times she and Kara have found themselves together at a club. There’s a lot less paranoia than usual, but maybe that’s because Lena’s just stopped caring. If people find out, people find out. Lex was right. She can’t control what other people think, but she can control whether she lets that run her life. It’s exhausting to have to worry about it all the time and in this random club on the outskirts of the city, Lena just lets it all go for a night.

So, she dances with Kara, laughs with Alex and Lucy, and drinks enough vodka that her cheeks feel warm. Kara looks devastatingly good in her outfit, jacket abandoned and polo tight on her tan biceps, glasses on and eyes focused on Lena. It makes Lena’s skin buzz, as does the thrill of getting lost in the crowd, of being able to touch Kara when she wants to, to push her fingers against her abs or dance them over her collarbone.

No one seems to pay them any mind whatsoever and it’s almost like they’re all alone in a crowd of people. Kara’s hands on her are hot and the music is loud, and it’s easy to just sink into it all.

Everything’s going great until she takes a quick break to the bathroom and when she exits, it’s just in time to run full body into a woman with bleached blonde hair. The woman catches her easily enough, muttering a sorry before Lena picks up her head and realizes that she’s looking up into none other than Leslie Willis’s face. 

Neither of them does a particularly good job of hiding their irritation at this turn of events; Leslie drops her hands immediately, and Lena takes a step back so fast she bumps into someone trying to walk past them. Kara’s claims about the situation being fine are one thing, but it’s a whole other thing running into someone who’s spent the past year thinking you’ve intentionally ruined their livelihood.

If the situation wasn’t so startling, Lena might laugh. Of all the clubs in the city of course Leslie’s at this one.

“Leslie,” Lena greets with a nod of her head, as she smooths out her clothing and straightens her posture.

Leslie’s lip curls just the slightest, but she returns the nod. “Miss Luthor.” Somehow Leslie makes the name sound like an insult. She’s heard it enough times that way that it’s not totally surprising, but considering how well her night had been going just thirty seconds ago, it feels harsh.

It occurs to her that she should probably say something. Maybe fish for some kind of assurance that Leslie’s going to be discreet about what Kara’s revealed to her. Part of her wants to tell Leslie to let off her vendetta against Kara or else. Another part of her feels like she should apologize, but for what she’s not entirely sure. It’s not like Lena’s actually done anything wrong, but with the way Leslie’s eyes are set into a half-glare, Lena feels a measure of guilt all the same.

“Where’s your lap dog?” Leslie asks with a sneer.

It’s enough to make Lena’s spine stiffen and promptly flushes any sense of guilt away. It takes a few seconds to breathe in and out and not snap at Leslie. Unlike Kara, Lena won’t be goaded into a fight so easily. 

But when she moves to walk past Leslie without responding, preferring the high ground and returning to her girlfriend waiting somewhere in the club, Leslie steps into her path.

“You know, I never pegged you for a coward.”

Lena arches a brow. “As far as I’m concerned, your problem is with Kara.”

“Kara’s an idiot,” Leslie says, searching Lena’s face. For what, Lena doesn’t know. Her first thought is to begin listing in order all the reasons Kara is not an idiot, and that Leslie is the one who’s been foolish, but she knows part of that is the vodka and restrains herself. 

Lena’s stared down much more intimidating opponents than a scorned Leslie Willis and it’s clear Leslie’s unprepared for the way Lena just smiles, even laughs a little. “Unless there’s something I can do for you, Leslie, I’m not sure…”

Lips thinned in displeasure, Leslie gives her an up and down, but seems to relent a little, shoulders softening as she takes a step back. “I don’t get what you have that I don’t.”

Sensing the true source of Leslie’s ire, Lena arches a brow. “A lack of desperation,” Lena answers drily.

Though her lips twitch like she might smile, Leslie rolls her eyes with disdain. “She’s married to basketball, you know. She’ll never love you the same way.”

Lena almost laughs. Lena gets the feeling that Leslie is looking for Lena to react the way people do when you’ve struck at the heart of them, or maybe even a tired commiseration. And Lena understands, on some level, that Leslie feels wronged and that Lena should be wronged the same. But she knows that it’s not the same.

An echo of Kara pulling her back into an elevator, of staring into her eyes as she insisted with unbearable sincerity that she’d put in for a trade, that could do this. One of Kara unapologetic and smiling in the front seat of her car as she held Lena’s hand and told her she didn’t do things by halves. This morning, when Kara switched from ESPN to CNBC when Lena came walking into the living room.

Able to stop the laugh, but incapable of smothering her smirk, Lena just levies a look at Leslie. “I’ll take my chances,” she says, flushing just a bit with how smug it sounds.

After a moment, Leslie barks out a laugh. “You really are fearless, aren’t you?”

“What makes you say that?”

Leslie shakes her head. “I could tell everybody. That Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor are sleeping together.”

“You could,” Lena agrees, and something settles against her chest. It makes her smirk shift into a smile.

“You’re not worried about people knowing?” Leslie looks taken aback by Lena’s nonreaction. 

Lena laughs, shrugs a shoulder and finds herself finally at peace with the entire thing. “What are they going to do? Arrest me for falling in love?”

Leslie just sort of gapes at her and Lena senses that thrill of victory when she knows her opponent’s played the last card in their deck.

“What’s this?” Kara’s voice breaks through their standoff, pulling their attention to where she’s turned the corner to the back hall. Her eyes are wary as she lingers nearby, clearly indecisive about what to do before Lena holds a hand out with a reassuring smile. With a relaxation of her shoulders, Kara smiles in return and takes Lena’s hand to arrive close at her side.

“We were just talking,” Lena tells her, leaning into Kara’s arm and enjoying her strong, solid presence. Kara presses a warm kiss to Lena’s temple and just like that Lena feels so content with everything that Leslie could go announce it to the entire club and she wouldn’t care.

“About what?”

“Really?” Leslie deadpans with a droll look for Kara.

“Look, Leslie, I told you before that –” Kara’s stance has taken that protective aura it does sometimes and Lena thinks to call her off the scent, but Leslie’s already interrupting her with a firm hand forward.

“I know, I know,” she says, shaking her head and letting out a sigh. She eyes Lena a moment and where there was anger and resentment before, there’s nothing but resignation now. “I just needed to see it myself.”

“See what?” Kara asks, glancing at Lena for help.

Leslie just shoots Kara an exasperated look, laughs through another tired exhale. “You know what? I think I’m over it, honestly.”

“Over what?” Kara asks, the mixture of knowing wariness and innocent confusion on her face nearly making Lena laugh.

“What happened between us was a long time ago,” Leslie says, looking from Lena to Kara again. “I’m over it.”

It makes Lena laugh. “I’m happy to hear that,” she says even as Kara grumbles a quiet that’s what I’ve been saying.

Leslie smiles wryly. “Yeah, I’m sure you are.”

“I am sorry, Leslie,” Kara says, sincere and drawing Leslie’s attention.

Leslie regards her a moment and it feels like the tension palpably washes away. “Buy me a drink and we’re even,” she grumbles, but there’s a hint of a smile.

Kara glances at Lena as if in question and Lena answers for her. “Come back to our table. I’m sure Alex will share her whiskey.”

Leslie scoffs, but finally smiles. “Alex Danvers? Doubtful.”

Pushing past them, Leslie strides away in the direction of their booth and leaves Kara and Lena alone in the back hallway.

“You okay? What did she say to you?” Kara asks, hand hot at the small of Lena’s back.

Lena shrugs a shoulder, reaches up to adjust the lapel of Kara’s jacket where it’s flipped over and smooths it out with her thumb. “Nothing I couldn’t handle.”

“You shouldn’t have to,” Kara says, a little grumpy as she glances back to the direction Leslie walked away. “I’m sorry.”

“Like Leslie said, I’m over it.”

Kara laughs, blue eyes dancing when they connect back with Lena’s. “Me too.”

There’s a sexy kind of dishevelment to Kara’s clothes, a product of dancing and Lena’s wandering fingers no doubt. It makes Lena want to press in close to her. They’re tucked away enough in this hallway that no one can see them and very few people have crossed to use the restroom.

“You look really good tonight,” Lena tells her, turning so she’s pushed into Kara’s personal space, fingers playing idly with the sides of the jacket she’s put back on. 

“Thanks,” Kara says softly, the palm at Lena’s back dipping lower and pulling their hips in close. It’s a lot like when they’d been dancing, but private, the air thick with intention. Kara’s tongue darts out to wet her lips, and Lena feels it as if it were a touch between her legs.

“You’re welcome,” Lena answers absently, focused on the way Kara’s nostrils flare when Lena shifts close enough their chests touch.

Kara’s arm tightens around Lena’s waist and with only a step and turn, Kara has Lena pinned up against the wall, free hand coming to prop herself up against the dark brick. “We should get out of here,” Kara says, glancing to Lena’s lips.

It’s too much to resist kissing her, so Lena doesn’t. Kara tastes like overpriced whiskey and mango chapstick and Lena lets out a little noise when Kara sinks into the kiss. It’s like her body has been waiting all night to do this and she thinks maybe that’s true.

They keep kissing like that for far longer than is probably appropriate. Lena loses track of their surroundings, comfortable that anyone passing to use the bathroom won’t be able to identify who exactly is making out like teenagers up against the wall.

Kara’s body feels coiled with tension as she kisses Lena, pulling their hips in close and gripping Lena’s neck with her other hand. Lena’s hands slip into Kara’s jacket, find their way under Kara’s polo and grip at her sides, stroking overheated skin as their lips slant against each other. It’s like the world distills down to this hallway and Lena wants to live in it forever.

“Let’s go home,” Kara says again, murmuring the words between their lips before pulling away enough to look into Lena’s eyes. There’s a sheen of lipstick lingering at the corner of Kara’s mouth and Lena reaches up to swipe at it with her thumb, trying to get her breathing to even out. Her hat is knocked to the side as well, but it’s cute enough that Lena doesn’t adjust it immediately.

“We can’t leave Alex and Lucy,” Lena says even though everything in her body is very much on board with retreating to one of their apartments. A few more seconds of kissing and she might have just hiked a leg over Kara’s hip. “We just sent Leslie to the table.”

“Yes, we can,” Kara insists. “They’ll be fine. They’ve known Leslie longer than I have.”

Lena chuckles through a smile and pushes lightly against Kara’s stomach. There’s something exciting about teetering on the edge of arousal like this, of the wild look in Kara’s eye and the insistent throbbing between her legs. It makes her think of what it will be like when they finally make it to a bed, the kind of frantic Kara gets when she’s been worked up for too long.

“Come on,” Lena says, her voice throaty and uneven. She fixes Kara’s lapel again, smooths the wrinkles in her shirt and tangles their fingers together. “I can’t imagine what Leslie’s telling them.”

Kara lets out a little groan but obeys Lena’s tug. When they rejoin their friends who all have knowing looks in their eyes – Leslie’s is a tad resentful, but still friendly – they rearrange in the booth for Kara and Lena to sit down.

Lena crosses her legs and lets her dress ride up just enough, puts her hand on Kara’s thigh and tries not to laugh when Kara immediately pours herself a glass of whiskey and takes a long sip.

--

Leslie’s an awkward addition to their group at first, but after a drink or two everyone seems to relax. All it takes is Kara making a few jokes about getting another broken nose to ease most of the tension and they start to interact like old teammates. It’s not hard for Lena to see how they were all friends once upon a time. 

When Leslie leaves, she gives a very firm, “Beat the fucking Grenadiers, will you?”

Alex and Lucy salute her with tipsy smiles and Kara just laughs.

“We should go too,” Lucy says, not long after that and she doesn’t even let Alex protest before pulling her by the collar of her jacket straight up out of the booth and towards the exit. Alex barely gets out a goodbye as she trips in an effort to go with Lucy’s tug.

It leaves Kara and Lena alone in the booth and after only a second of looking at each other, Lena’s calling George and telling him to pull around up front.

The back of the town car is blissfully cool compared to the way Lena’s skin feels and she sinks into the seats as Kara slides inside, telling George to go to her apartment before pressing the button for the privacy screen.

“Oh, you think you can take me out for drinks and I’ll just fall into your bed?” Lena jokes, allowing Kara to pull her legs up into her lap and slide the heels off her feet.

“I can be very persuasive,” Kara says, and Lena can’t stop the noise she lets out when Kara’s thumb presses into the arch of her foot.

“Well, you have fifteen minutes to make your pitch,” Lena says though she can already feel herself giving in to the strong way Kara’s fingers run up her legs, pulling her farther into Kara’s lap.

Kara laughs, her hand traveling up the side of Lena’s dress to curl around her hip and grip at her backside. “Don’t you want to feel good?”

The question is thick with promise and Lena feels her throat go liquid at the sound of it, the energy of the night still pulsing through her. “I don’t need you for that,” Lena teases even as her hand lands on Kara’s sternum, playing with the neckline of her shirt. She licks out against her lips and enjoys the way Kara’s eyes go dark.

Instead of arguing, Kara just pushes forward, kisses Lena swiftly and with enough heat that Lena’s head swims. “Been a while since we did this in the back of a car,” Kara murmurs between kisses and Lena smiles against her mouth.

“Because it’s terrible for your back.”

“Yeah, but it’s worth it.”

“Not during finals week,” Lena says, the words a bit breathy.

Kara’s laugh tests Lena’s resolve. “I think I liked you better when you didn’t care about basketball.”

--

They manage to avoid fucking in the back of the town car, but don’t quite make it to a bed. Kara gets Lena as far as the living room before they’re tipping over onto the couch, Lena falling onto Kara’s front until she’s straddling her lap, fingers tangling in blonde tresses as they kiss.

It’s sometimes overwhelming how much Lena likes this. That after all this time just kissing Kara is still so satisfying.

But the build up from the club and then the car has Lena clawing at Kara’s clothes, eager to divest her of them. Kara complies, breaking away from Lena just enough to get her jacket off and then her shirt.

There’s a hot feeling that throbs wetly between her legs and demands to be satisfied so forcefully it’s all Lena can think about. Kara’s fingers feel strong and sure where they’re hiking Lena’s dress up, gripping around her thighs. It’s so close to where she really wants them that she’s seconds away from just grabbing Kara’s hand and moving it herself.

Instead, she just holds Kara’s head in her hands and keeps kissing her, tries to convey what she needs as best she can because she’s not quite sure what her voice would sound like if she were to speak right now.

Thankfully, Kara seems to understand because soon enough she’s tipping Lena to the side until she’s lying back on the couch. It’s a powerful move and Kara’s muscles flex in a way that does nothing to calm the need dipping low in Lena’s gut. Her fingers splay over the defined line of Kara’s traps and then down to her biceps, the solid feeling of them making her throat go dry.

She doesn’t get much farther before Kara’s slipping lower, bypassing Lena’s dress entirely to tug her underwear off, throwing it to the side and kissing a trail up from her knee.

When she comes, it’s so soon she might think to be embarrassed, but Kara’s tongue is strong and soft in a combination that has Lena’s orgasm moving so rapidly down her spine, a sharp cry escapes her throat in surprise.

Dress still on, legs over Kara’s shoulders and fingers detangling from blonde hair, Lena races to catch her breath, her jaw gaping open as she sucks in air. Kara’s laughing softly from between her legs, shifting until she’s hovered over Lena again and smirking.

“I just need a second,” Lena manages to say, hoarse way it comes out making her clear her throat. Her hand curls around Kara’s neck, patting there softly as if to say job well done, buddy. It makes Kara laugh again.

Then Kara’s stepping away, standing next to the couch and unbuttoning her pants. Lena watches the way her fingers work at the button and then the zipper, hooking in the sides to pull them down and leave her there standing in her Calvin Kleins. It draws attention to the sticky, throbbing feeling between her legs and she shifts on the couch, propping up and still breathing quickly.

With little warning, just as she’s kicked her pants away, Kara bends down to scoop Lena up so swiftly she yelps. Later, she’ll chastise Kara for risking her back to do such a thing, but for now she grips at Kara’s shoulders as her stomach flips over pleasantly.

“You good yet?” Kara asks as she carries Lena back towards the bedroom.

“Getting there,” Lena says throatily.

“Good, because you have a long night ahead of you,” Kara teases.

Lena’s laugh cuts off when Kara drops her down on bed with a kind of purpose that has Lena’s core aching with anticipation of what’s to come.

--

Much much later that night, they sip decaf coffee in Kara’s bedroom while the low tones of ESPN airing an old Lakehawks-Grenadiers game plays on the screen of Kara’s gigantic television. Lena sits up against the headboard and Kara sprawls out next to her, leaned up on an elbow near Lena’s hip.

It’s warm and comfortable and Lena sinks into the soft way Kara discusses the old game and her thought process during certain plays, how easy it was to read Barbara Gordon when she was guarding her and how she feels that will translate to game one.

There’s no sense of urgency in the moment – though it’s late enough Lena knows she’ll be cursing her morning alarm and likely delaying her morning slate of meetings. It’s such a far cry from where they’d begun that sometimes Lena’s head spins just thinking about it.

Kara’s breaking down a particular play, tracing the movements of the players on the bare skin of Lena’s thigh with her finger and for a heart-stopping moment Lena feels like she can glimpse into her future. It grips so powerfully around her ribcage that she has to take a long sip of her coffee just to avoid the unexpected urge to cry.

Unaware of the rush of emotion above her, Kara continues, outlining a path towards Lena’s kneecap and talking about setting a pick. Lena takes a deep breath and leans forward, presses a kiss to the top of Kara’s head that has her stuttering in her explanation for a moment.

“What was that for?” Kara asks, blushing a little under the dim lights of the bedroom.

Lena shrugs, holds her coffee cup with both hands and lifts her head back to where Kara’s fingers are stopped mid-play against her thigh. “Nothing, continue,” she says, smiling and though Kara hesitates only a second, she lets the moment pass and returns to her explanation.

Sipping at her coffee, Lena lets the sound of it etch itself perfectly onto her heart.

--

As part of their new business relationship, Lena takes a meeting with Sam that week and it’s a welcome departure from the whirlwind of basketball that’s seemed to descend on the city in anticipation of another championship.

“You’re certainly in the thick of it,” Sam comments as she glances around Lena’s office. The space is covered in Lakehawks paraphernalia to a degree that it might almost seem that’s all Lena uses her office for anymore – Luthor Corp responsibilities to the wayside. It’s unprofessional, Lena knows, and she’d have cleaned it up if it had been anyone but Sam that she was meeting.

“You’re not swept up in the grandeur of it all?” Lena asks with a quirk of her lips.

Sam laughs, folds her long body into one of the chairs across Lena’s desk. “You know me. Not one much for sports.”

It’s said with the same kind of distaste Lena herself once held on the subject, but she finds she can’t quite share in the disinterest the way she might have once.

“Sports?” Lena says with a teasing lift of her brow. “It’s a national event. I’m not sure what you mean.”

Laughing, Sam levels Lena with the same devastating smile Lena fell for years ago, but it’s lost the effect it once had and Lena just returns the expression, thanking the universe for small favors. She’d have never thought she’d be comfortable in a room like this with Sam again, but here she is, content and easy and idly wondering if Kara’s faring well at practice. 

“Well if you have any attention to devote to anything that isn’t a game in which people throw balls through hoops, I’d love to discuss the new budget proposal for Project Reign.”

“It’s much more than just throwing balls through hoops,” Lena protests lightly, chuckling softly at the description.

Sam rolls her eyes. “It’s not, don’t let love cloud your judgement,” she says, but she’s smiling as she does and Lena laughs.

Not long ago, it might have sent her on a spiral of emotion to hear Sam warn her against letting emotion interfere with judgement. It sounds so similar to their breakup that Lena can sense Sam’s smiling widely just to offset any such connection.

Lena thinks to correct Sam, to take the joke more seriously and tell her how it’d probably make Sam a little happier if she involved her own feelings into her decision making but holds her tongue. That’s behind them now and Lena’s happier than she ever thought possible. If Sam wants to continue down a path against her own interests, Lena’s not going to stop her.

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Lena says, a bit softer than she intends. “So let’s get to it.”

Sam offers her a grateful half-smile and leans forward, slipping a folder to Lena’s desk and starting on a long-winded explanation on why she’ll need more money than originally believed. Lena turns her brain to something more professional and steels her features, sits up in her chair and enjoys the back and forth of conducting business.

--

One of the big events for the Finals is a media day in which all the Lakehawks players and some staff are made available to reporters for a day long series of individual interviews and panels. As game one is held in National City, the Grenadiers make the trip and are in attendance as well.

Lena’s not required to be there for any interviews, but Lex strongly suggests she stop by to gladhand media partners and make a show of support for the team. She isn’t totally sure why that matters, considering she has courtside seats and makes it to nearly every home game, but she does it anyway between meetings.

The large window-filled convention center hall it’s held in is packed with media of all types, people frantically typing in their phones and players posted around the room with mic stands bunched in front of them. Lena is mostly left alone when she first enters, free to stop at certain podiums with George idling behind her as security. When she stops at Maggie’s podium, she’s in the middle of being asked about how the team’s planning on handling Kate Kane, her former team and roommate. 

“It’s just a matter of containing them,” Maggie says simply. “We’ve got a good gameplan and as long as we execute, we’ll do just fine.”

She looks comfortable, sat in her chair in a pale-blue tracksuit emblazoned with the Lakehawks logo on one side and the Finals logo on the other side. 

“Do you find it hard to play against former teammates, Maggie?” asks another reporter. Maggie laughs, looking across the room to where the starting five of the Grenadiers are sitting answering their own questions.

“Those guys? Nah,” Maggie says, prompting peals of laughter. 

It’s clear that this kind of thing is old hat for most of the Lakehawks. M’gann is calmly answering questions at a table a few feet from Maggie, Alex leans down to high five a kid reporter in a sweet suit and tie, Lucy regales her crowd of reporters with a story from last Finals when Alex apparently briefly forgot what quarter they were in. 

By far the biggest swarm is stacked around Kara. She’s wearing the same blue tracksuit as the rest of them, her hair in a ponytail as she smiles and answers the media’s questions. Lena can’t really get close because of how big the mass is, but she can hear questions and answers relatively well. George hovers nearer to her, clearly interested.  

There are a lot of questions about Barbara Gordon – just as there had been on the news. The big storyline of the series was Kara facing up against her old college rival and going head-to-head in a Finals series for the first time since school. Kara takes most of the questions in stride, easy and confident as she tells reporters she looks forward to the challenge.

“In your final head-to-head game as seniors in college, you scored forty-three points to Barbara’s thirty-seven. Do you think you could do better this time?” asks a reporter somewhat near Lena. Kara looks to find them in the crowd, squinting a little as she smiles.

“Do better as in score more or defend more?” Kara asks, laughing. The crowd laughs with her, entranced. “Jeez, I don’t know. She had a sprained ankle that game. I’m looking forward to finding out, though.”

“Kara, Entertainment City here,” says another reporter. A few reporters chuckle as a man with bright pink hair raises his hand. “Our readers need to know. Who do you think is the snackiest player on the opposing team?”

“Snackiest?” Kara asks, making a face at the word that makes the crowd laugh. “Joey, you know I don’t like to pick favorites.”

Joey looks exasperated by the nonanswer, but unsurprised as he laughs good naturedly, phone held aloft as he video records the conversation. “Your sister said Helena Bertinelli,” he adds before another reporter can steal Kara’s attention.

Kara’s smile is playful. “Helena does love a good snack. She had a closet full of Oreos at the Olympic Village this summer.” It earns another round of laughter, as does the wink Kara punctuates the statement with before turning to face another reporter with a more reasonable basketball question.

Lena watches Joey shake his head as he turns to type furiously into his phone and Lena just knows she’s going to see a gif of Kara’s wink all over Twitter later.

It’s easy to sense the exact moment when Kara spots her, her smile growing the slightest as she looks around the crowd and focuses on her. Her eyes focus back on whoever it is she’s answering quickly, though, leaving Lena to slink back through the crowd towards where Cat and James are holding court in smaller circles. 

On the way there, she bumps into a man in sunglasses and a well-cut suit who turns around to apologize before pausing as he assesses her.

“Lena Luthor,” Bruce Wayne says, eyebrows drifting up in recognition. His chest puffs up just the slightest as if trying to stand taller against the lift of her heels. “I’d say it was good running into you, but I have to admit I’m still a bit sore over losing the best engineer my R&D department had to you last month.”

Lena smiles, arms crossing. “Can you blame someone for needing a bit of sun every now again?”  

Bruce laughs, glancing to the sunlight streaking in through the windows. “Gotham has a lot to offer, I assure you.”

She highly doubts that, but Bruce Wayne’s love of his hometown is widely known – it’s one of the reasons, Lena heard, that he’d bought the Gotham Grenadiers along with a few other sports entities so many years ago. “I’m sure.”

It’s probably the sarcastic tone she’s unable to stop that has him frowning, but he doesn’t comment otherwise. “Is your brother wandering around here as well?”

“I’m afraid not,” Lena says. “He’s working, if you could believe it.”

“I don’t,” Bruce says, his face cracking in a brief smirk for a half-second. Lena laughs, turning to look out over the crowd. 

“I’m not sure I do, either,” Lena says, watching as Barbara Gordon conducts an individual interview, swarmed by reporters. “How are you feeling about your team’s chances?”

“Gotham’s stronger than you think,” Bruce replies, a brow lifting over the top of his sunglasses. “But let’s not talk of that. Is our business rivalry not enough to satisfy your competitive nature?”

Lena hums out an agreement, but secretly revels in the possibility of beating Bruce Wayne on more than one battlefield. It’s not that she has anything particularly against the other man, but Wayne Enterprises and Luthor Corp have always had a bit of a coast-to-coast power struggle. It’d certainly be yet another thing to gloat about if her Lakehawks defeat his Grenadiers.

“Well, I should get going. Good luck to you and yours,” he says, stretching his hand out.

Lena grips it and nods. A chorus of laughter and applause breaks out across the room and they both turn to where Kara seems to be delighting the gaggle of reporters around her. Even Barbara has swiveled away from her own interview to look.

It makes Lena smile. “Welcome to National City, Bruce,” she says, releasing his hand. His lips thin as he turns back to her. “I hope you enjoy your stay.”

Something about the way she smiles at the end of it makes him laugh just the softest, but he tips his fingers towards her in a half salute and then strides away.

--

With the paperwork finally in order, Lex joins in on the Lakehawks front office meeting leading up to the Finals. They’ve still yet to announce to the team or to media the shift in ownership and it won’t truly take effect until the season’s end, but Lex is restless without a project and Lena’d like him to stop lounging about her office complaining about having nothing to do.

It’s also an opportunity to discuss the changes with James and Cat. James is surprised by the announcement, but Cat has this look about her that makes Lena incapable of keeping eye contact lest she blush in the middle of a business meeting.

“It’s good to have you back, Lex, of course, but why the sudden change?” James ping pongs between Lex and Lena, smiling but obviously curious.

“Because Lena and Kara are romantically entangled,” Cat says before Lena can even begin her practiced response. “And apparently it’s quite serious.”

It freezes Lena’s brain to a complete halt and seems to do the same to Lex who just gawps at Cat a few seconds before letting out a short abrupt laugh. “Well then,” he says, looking at Lena with the beginnings of a smile.

“I’m sorry, what?” James asks, an incredulous look for Cat.

“Oh, did you not know?” Cat asks, but she’s looking at Lena as she says it, arms crossed and leaned back in her chair.

Lex laughs again, a gleeful surprised sound and Lena finally gets her brain to start working again just enough to sputter a, “Well that’s not necessarily –”

“It’s Finals week, Lena,” Cat interrupts her, a hand outstretched to stop the deflection Lena’s begun. “I don’t have time to dance around anything.”

Lena blinks, but straightens, manages to school her expression into something more unaffected and offers James a small friendly smile. “It’s true,” she says, the words easier than she expected even though she feels flush and exposed talking about something so personal. “Kara and I plan to pursue a relationship and Lex and I felt it was best to split ownership responsibilities in order to get ahead of any possible bad press.”

James stares at her, looking like he’s not going to believe any of this, but then suddenly relaxes into his chair, his laugh sounding more like a sigh let out after a long day. “Well, that explains a lot.”

Cat makes a low hum of agreement and Lena reaches for the glass of water next to the tablet she has sitting on the table, clearing her throat before taking a sip. Next to her, Lex shifts forward, an amused look about him as he regards James. “So, going forward we’ll be sharing ownership duties. I hope that’s okay with you.”

Despite his playful demeanor, Lena can sense the way he stares at James as if his career hangs on the answer. Thankfully, James stays back in his chair, easy smile and a shrug for both of them. “Two Luthors are better than one, right?”

Lex laughs, delighted by the answer. “That’s what I always say.”

Lena shakes her head at him but can’t deny the tension that bleeds out of her chest when she sees Cat smiling at her across the table.

--

“Is Kara here yet? I need her opinion,” is all Lex says when he comes shuffling into the apartment with two full crates of alcohol in his arms and a bag slung over his shoulder. Lena rolls her eyes at him as he passes her on his way to the kitchen.

“She’s getting out of the shower, I think,” Lena answers. She had tried to convince Kara she shouldn’t already be here when people showed up, but she’d lost that argument when Kara explained that she’s always the first one at events, and then started pouting about how she likes Lena’s shower more than her own.

“Do you think this is enough champagne?” Lex gestures to the two magnum bottles he’s pulling out.

“I should certainly hope so,” she says, peering at what else he’s brought in. “I have drinks, you know.”

He just waves her off, but she does grab a bottle of burgundy he has in one of the boxes and moves to open it. Maybe it’ll calm her nerves over this family dinner business she’s trying not to worry about. 

“Kara says most of them probably won’t drink that much anyway,” Lena continues, pulling the cork out of the bottle and reaching for a clean wine glass. “It’s too close to the game.”

“Even so,” Lex says, reaching for the glass of wine Lena’s just poured and taking an exaggerated sip before handing it back. “There’ll be staff and other people too. Surely they’ll indulge.”

The entire team and some staff in her apartment. It feels a little too much like she and Kara are hosting the event for her not to have some jitters. It’s a thing that might happen in the future, that Lena hopes will happen in the future, and she’s trying very hard not to worry about it going off perfectly.

“Did you order the food?” Lex asks, rifling around in Lena’s fridge like he lives there, shoving things out of the way to make room for the beer he’s brought. He’s muttering as he does it, his hair a little disheveled like he’s been running his fingers through it and Lena props a hip against the counter, regarding him a moment.

“Are you nervous?” Somehow the prospect is calming the outer edges of her frayed nerves and she takes a sip of her wine as she waits for him to answer.

He scoffs, but when he stands up from the fridge, he hits his head on the door and reels backwards. “Dammit.”

Kara takes that cue to enter the kitchen, freshly dressed in a pair of nice jeans and a button-up that she’s still working on when she picks her head up and notices Lex. “Hey, Lex,” she greets, brow furrowing at the look of pain on Lex’s face as he rubs at his head. “You okay?”

“Just fine, just fine,” he assures her, looking anything of the sort. Lena’s not quite sure what could have him so rattled, but it’s a free source of amusement she feels no inclination to cut off.

“He’s nervous,” she tells Kara, lips pressed together in mirth.

Kara laughs, finishes buttoning her shirt and presses a quick kiss to Lena’s cheek. “Have a glass of wine, you’ll feel better,” she tells him, going for Lena’s glass and taking a prim sip as if in demonstration.

Lex rolls his eyes at both of them, going back to putting the beverages away and unnecessarily rearranging Lena’s kitchen. Lena’s content to sit at her counter and watch him, drinking her wine while Kara tucks her shirt into her pants and looks at her reflection in a mirror Lena has hanging in the nearby hallway.

The doorbell rings, the shrill sound of it cutting through the room like a tangible stab of noise. All three of them turn towards the door, but Lex is the first to react, smoothing his hair down and straightening his clothes. “I’ll get it,” he says and Lena’d protest, but she doesn’t much feel like getting up and facing the event yet.

Kara comes up behind her, palm finding purchase against Lena’s back like an anchor. “Hey,” she whispers, and Lena turns to regard her. “You ready for this?”

Lena nods and then without warning, Kara’s nosing forward to press a solid, sure kiss to her lips. Hot enough to spark in her chest but so fleeting that it leaves a chasm of want in its wake. “What was that for?” Lena murmurs, hearing the sound of Lex opening the door. She knows she needs to step away from Kara, but continues to linger in her personal space anyway.

“I’m not gonna be able to do that for the next few hours,” Kara whispers, lips quirking up as she takes a step back from Lena. “Had to get my fill.”

Lena makes a face, tsks at Kara softly, but the taste of Kara mixing with the wine on her lips makes her body feel loose and easy and when the sound of Cat pushing past Lex into the apartment filters into the kitchen, Lena turns to greet her with a smile.

 --

Family dinner is actually…kind of nice. Even if Lena has to spend the first hour reminding herself that not everyone knows she and Kara are involved and the ones that do, don’t care. 

It becomes a little difficult to do when Kara moves around the apartment like she’s been there a million times – knowing where glassware is when someone asks for it and offering to fix the sound system when it starts skipping because she’s had to do it before.

It feels like someone is going to put it all together, stand up and point at them, but nothing of the sort happens. Frankly, Lena’s not so sure how she’d feel if it did. Part of her, a deep part, almost wants it to happen. The promise of it being out there sounds more like a relief than a deepening of anxiety.

The team piles in. The coaching staff, James and even Winn, greet Lex like an old friend before finding places around Lena’s expansive living room. They fold themselves onto the couch and chairs, spread across the floor. It fills the space in a way Lena’s never seen before and there’s something about it that Lena really doesn’t hate.

So, Lena doesn’t react much when Kara sits next to her on the smaller loveseat in the room and throws an arm across the back of the couch. No one so much as blinks an eye, so Lena doesn’t either. It feels good and she sinks into it, lets herself enjoy the quiet conversations and food, sips on her champagne and laughs when Alex teases Kara about her broken nose that’s only just started to look normal again. 

Eventually, after everyone has seemed to have had their fill of food and drink, Lex takes a position at the front of the room and claps his hands once to draw attention. He gives Lena a look, silently asking her if she’d like to join him up front, but she declines, sitting further back into the cushions. She’ll allow him his moment.

“Welcome everyone, thank you for being here,” Lex begins, grinning at all of them. “As you might have guessed already, I’m back!” He claps his hands and spreads his arms out, waiting for a round of applause that doesn’t come. Lena snorts into her wine glass and he glares at her good naturedly as Kara, amused, says, “Welcome back, Lex.”

“Thank you, Kara,” he says with a tip of an imaginary hat.

“Just in time for the Finals,” M’gann deadpans from the corner of the room where she’s sitting on the arm of the chair J’onn’s sitting in, hiding his smile into a bottle of beer.

“I have impeccable timing, it’s true,” Lex says, pointing at M’gann and laughing. “Anyway, I’m thrilled to be back, thrilled to be a part of yet another championship run.” He smiles wide, gestures to Lena. “My brilliant sister Lena and I have agreed to a new ownership structure that will allow both of us to be involved in the team as co-owners and I couldn’t be more excited about it.”

There’s a hint of surprise, eyebrows lifting and glances at Lena, but it fizzles out quickly as Lucy adds an indifferent sounding, “as long as someone signs the paychecks,” that prompts laughter around the room.  

Lex indulges her with a wink and a laugh. “Anyway, I’m glad to be back, but I wanted to make sure we spent a brief, momentary time thanking Lena for stepping in under less-than-ideal circumstances and not doing anything wild like…sell the team or change the uniform or trade my favorite players.”

Lena more than catches Alex’s loud laugh amongst the generous clapping around the room. She sends a raised eyebrow her way but lofts her wine glass to accept the praise. Kara bumps her knee with a big smile.

“Kidding,” he adds, grinning. “I don’t play favorites.”

“Sure you don’t,” Maggie says from her position on the floor in front of Alex.

Lex shrugs unapologetically in her direction, but otherwise ignores her.

“And now I will cede the floor to our fearless leader, Coach Grant,” Lex says with flourish, bowing away from his spot as Cat stands, graceful as ever and takes his place. There’s an air of disdain as she looks around the room, but it’s muted by a hint of pride and she gestures to all of them with the hand holding her martini.

“As you might have surmised this season, I didn’t think we were going to make it this far,” Cat says so matter-of-factly that it takes Lena a second to realize how serious she is. A subdued chuckle resounds around the room, Kara laughing softly from her perch next to Lena. “You are individually talented players, of course, but I had assumed I would be taking an early vacation in Dubai by now.” Cat’s lips thin. “You’ve all certainly made this year more than hard for yourselves.”

A collective noise of agreement and Lena struggles not to look at Kara to judge how much of that commentary is about them. Or if this kind of speech is just how Cat goes about inspiring her team. It’s fairly unclear either way but a glance around the room shows players and staff watching Cat with rapt attention.

“This speech would regress to gossip if I were to outline all the ways you did this, so I’ll kindly spare you all.” Cat’s eyes lift in exasperation, but there’s a quirk of a smile at the corner of her lips. “While I did not expect to be here with this group, this year, I am admittedly proud of how hard you’ve worked to arrive where you are. As I once told my dear friend and basketball legend, Muffett McGraw, if you wear heels that tall, you must make sure to stab deep.” Cat pauses, taking measure of the room before lifting her chin and smirking. “So, I expect you to make Gotham bleed, Lakehawks.”

The room breaks into claps and cheers, the players responding in a weird, cultish chant of up, up, away! that appears to be almost reflexive. There’s a sense of power and purpose that’s started to ripple across the room and though Lena still feels just slightly on the outside of all of this, she lifts her glass up when Cat looks at her, a devilish grin on her lips.

“Now,” Cat says with a deep breath as the chanting dies off. “I’ll leave the rest of the rah-rah to Kara who asked to speak tonight.” Cat gives a thin, wry smile. “Lord knows why.” 

As if this is the Big Moment of the night, Lena catches Winn on the side of the room, scrambling for his phone and pulling it up in anticipation of recording Kara’s speech.

“I’ll keep it short,” Kara jokes, jumping up from where she’s sitting to take Cat’s place in the front of the room. She sets her glass down on a small table nearby and props her hands on her hips. As she smiles at her team, she looks every bit the part of National City superstar.

“Well here we go again. Another Finals,” Kara starts with a faux exasperation that earns her a wave of laughter around the room.

“In all seriousness, this season definitely had its ups and downs as Coach Grant mentioned.” A telltale quirk of Kara’s lips makes Lena think back again, over injuries and sort of break-ups and that one fateful moment Kara crashed headlong into her on the side of the court. “I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t have my doubts about how this season was going to go too. I think maybe not being able to feel my legs for a bit there put a lot into perspective.”

A murmur of sympathy ripples around the room, but Kara smiles.

“But what I do know is that when this team is healthy, when we play together like a family, there is not a single team on this planet that can beat us.” Kara says it with the kind of confidence that’s impossible not to believe. She looks around the room at all of them with such belief that a brief waft of invulnerability seems to pass over all of them. There’s a powerful feeling of belonging that stretches outward from Kara and Lena feels that sense of purpose Cat had planted start to bloom strongly in her chest.

“We are the best team out there, and I truly believe that. Stronger together, right?”

A chorus of stronger together resounds from the team, their glasses raising up as they say it. Lena raises her own glass of wine and remains captivated by what Kara’s saying, her convincing posture and self-assured smirk.

Kara smiles, reaches to pick up her own glass and hold it aloft. “Now, I know I should probably say something nice like it doesn’t matter if we win or lose as long as we leave it all on the court, but…” Kara’s head ducks and she laughs a little, shrugging an unrepentant shoulder. “We better fucking win this thing.”

The room laughs, sounds of agreement and enthusiastic fuck yeahs sound off and Kara ends it with a fervent Go Hawks before taking a sip of her water and rejoining Lena on the loveseat.

“Go Hawks,” Lena murmurs privately, clinking her glass against Kara’s and soaking in the self-assured way Kara smiles back.

In that singular moment, Lena has no doubt the Lakehawks will win. 

--

It’s late when everyone’s finally filtered out of Lena’s apartment. Lex lingers the longest, drinking the rest of the champagne he brought and making half-hearted attempts at getting Lena to go out to a bar with him. “You two are no fun,” he grumbles when Lena refuses yet again and Kara puts a supportive arm around her shoulders, laughing at Lex’s frown.

He leaves texting furiously on his phone – no doubt scouring his contacts for company – and Lena relaxes into the sudden silence that the door closing leaves in its wake.

“That went well,” Kara says into a yawn, moving to gather some of the empty glassware and piling it near the dishwasher.

“It did,” Lena agrees, joining Kara in picking up. “You don’t have to help clean up, you know.”

Kara brushes her off and continues on, loading the dishwasher and collecting the trash into a bag. It’s quiet and domestic and Lena feels a decision she’s already made cement in her chest. It sits there so insistently that she can’t keep it inside any longer.

“I think I’m okay with it,” she says with little preamble as Kara’s tying off the black garbage bag.

“Okay with what?” Kara asks, a bit absently as she hefts the weight of the bag over her shoulder.

“With people knowing about us,” Lena answers, feeling stronger about it in this small simple moment than ever before. At this point, she wouldn’t give up what she has with Kara for anything – reputation, family legacy, professional ethics be damned. It’s not a new thought, but something about quietly cleaning up half-empty beer bottles off every surface of her living room together is making her want to go out on her patio and yell it to the city.

Kara looks startled a moment before a look of pure delight starts to creep slowly into her features. “Really?”

Lena tries to play it off by putting the leftover food in the fridge, grateful for the blast of cold air on her rapidly warming face. “I don’t want to tell people,” she clarifies. “I don’t think we need to.”

“No,” Kara laughs, abandoning the trash bag with a thud and moving over towards Lena. “I don’t either.”

“But I don’t care if people figure it out,” Lena says. It’s how they’ve been acting for a bit now - with Lucy at the club or Cat announcing it in the middle of a meeting - but saying it aloud feels final. Significant. “If they know, they know.”

“So, if someone asks…”

Lena’s back presses against the cool stainless steel of her fridge when Kara slides in close. “I don’t want to lie about it,” she answers, and she can tell how much it matters to Kara to hear it. “I still don’t particularly care for speculation into my personal life, but...” she shrugs, arms crossing over her chest. “I love you.” 

Kara’s face goes the kind of soft that has Lena’s shoulders relaxing back, her arms still crossed but slipping into a loose hold. “I’ve always been a fan of the no comment approach,” Kara says, coming in close enough to put her hands at Lena’s hips. “It’s not lying.”

Lena laughs and enjoys the gentle way Kara regards her, the playful easy slant of her lips. “Sometimes it says more than the truth,” she acknowledges, arms finally dropping to reach for Kara’s shirt and tug her in even closer. It puts them front to front, Kara’s hips pressing in against Lena’s, her eyes darting down.

“You know…” Kara says, gripping at Lena’s sides and smiling secretively. “You make me very happy.”

It’s a much more powerful feeling than anything she’d felt earlier in the evening and it manifests so tangibly at her neck she has to take a deep breath before speaking. “I’m glad,” is all she manages through the thick feeling in the back of her throat.

It’s quiet for a few moments as they linger in Lena’s kitchen wrapped tightly in each other.

Kara’s smile turns mischievous. “Does all this mean I can stay the night?”

Lena rolls her eyes but laughs as she does it. “Absolutely not,” she says even as Kara threads in close to kiss her.

--

For all its fanfare, The Finals doesn’t quite meet the intense atmosphere of the series against the Skippers, but there’s still significant excitement in the air. The only difference is the absence of that subtle animosity that surrounds an inter-city rivalry series. 

Most of the town has been overtaken yet again by Lakehawks blue and advertisements for local watch parties. Jack is relentless on securing a ticket to as many games as he can - he texts Lena about it at random hours before she agrees to let him into the owner’s suite if Lex ends up courtside with her. 

She doesn’t tell him this, but she puts in a call to the head of ticket sales to see if she can secure four courtside seats instead of her usual two. Perhaps Lex might want to bring a flavor of the week along with him, provided she’s not the wife of another tech company’s board member.

Lex, for his part, continually texts her Twitter threads of Lakehawks fans dissecting Kara’s dating life. Apparently in his exile, he’d decided to infiltrate whatever dark corner of the Internet tweeted things like: I swear to Beebo that if Barbara Gordon and Kara Danvers haven’t fucked at least once I WILL EAT A BASKETBALL 

Kara, for her part, laughs that one off when she comes by after practice one evening, carrying takeout from Albie’s. 

“Well, they don’t have to eat a basketball, at least. That’s extreme,” Kara says, opening up the bag of takeout. “Albie made you a side salad, by the way, even though he wisely said that salads are not food.”

“You and Barbara Gordon have slept together?” Lena asks, pouring them both glasses of sparkling water and finding herself amused at the random anecdote.  

“Oh yeah, when we were at a like, U-17 U.S. basketball camp,” Kara says absently as she unloads the masses of ribs and sides she’s brought over. “I had just discovered you could have sex with girls.”

Lena laughs. “How thrilling,” she comments, sarcastic.  

Looking up from where she’s transferring her ribs to a plate, Kara waggles her brows obnoxiously. “Jealous?”

Lena swipes at her boxed salad and rolls her eyes. “Yes, I’m supremely  jealous of your teenage romp,” she says drily, looking pointedly at where Kara’s laughing. “I’m imagining bunk beds and fumbling fingers.”

“Bunk beds yes, but fumbling no,” Kara says, propping her hip on the counter and grinning. “I was a natural.”

“I find that hard to believe,” Lena says, though she knows it’s probably true. Kara’s so irritatingly good at just about everything she attempts that she imagines Kara never had to go through that awkward stage of figuring out sex and trying to discover which body parts are meant to go where.

But Kara’s head tilts in concession and she shrugs a little. “Okay, so maybe we fell out of the top bed and maybe I thought fingering a girl furiously was all it should take to make her come and yeah I put it in the wrong –”

“Oh good lord, I don’t need to hear this,” Lena says, choking on a mouthful of lettuce as she starts laughing.

“Because you’re jealous,” Kara teases, grinning ear to ear.

“No,” Lena says, still laughing as she manages to swallow her food. “Because I’m just imagining the worst sex ever and it’s ruining my ability to be attracted to you.”

Kara laughs, a charmingly unapologetic look about her that has Lena feeling flush. They smile at each other a long moment before Kara’s face shifts and her eyes dart away. “So…” she says, stretching the word out so ominously that Lena can only blink in confusion against the sudden change in tone.

Her eyebrows lift expectantly. “So?”

Kara chews at her bottom lip a moment, fiddles with a fork. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you.”

“Okay,” Lena draws out, searching Kara’s face for clues but finding none.

“The thing is this week is the Finals.”

“Yes,” Lena laughs, brow dipping as she tries to figure out what Kara could be nervous about asking. “I’m aware.”

“And that’s like a big deal.”

“I’ve gathered.”

Kara gives her a little eye roll, but her cheeks go pink and Lena doesn’t want to distract from the conversation, but her hands twitch with an urge to pull Kara in close and tease her for blushing. “Players get tickets for family and stuff, but you know, my family’s kinda small and Alex plays on the team obviously so that just leaves Eliza.”

Lena nods and then with sudden clarity realizes what’s about to happen. She sets her fork down slowly. “Oh.”

The simple word draws Kara’s eyes to Lena’s and whatever she finds there makes her shoulders relax just the slightest. “She’s getting into town tonight actually.”

“That’s…” Lena’s throat feels a little dry, but she powers through it. “That’s nice.”

Kara chuckles, rubs the back of her neck. The adorable way she shifts breaks through Lena’s hesitance. She stands to pace into Kara’s space until her hands can find purchase against Kara’s sides, right over her rib cage. It’s easy to imagine the lines of tattoo under Lena’s palm, what it will look like when Kara can add a third. It makes her smile.

Wrapping her arms around Lena’s neck to pull her in closer, Kara drops a kiss to Lena’s forehead, relaxing into the embrace. “I’d like it if you came with us to dinner,” she says into the air over Lena’s head, the words seeming to come much easier now that they’re touching.

“Okay,” Lena answers easily, pushing in further until she can nose under Kara’s jaw. It’s warm and comfortable and sometimes Lena’s chest constricts just thinking about how she’d been so close to losing this forever.

“Really?” Kara seems more surprised than Lena’d like. A tug of guilt manifests in the corner of her eyes, but she smiles and presses a kiss to Kara’s cheek.

“Just tell me when and where.”

“It’s tomorrow,” Kara answers, with a guilty sounding chuckle.

“Well,” Lena says, pulling away to look at Kara’s face and laughing softly at the sheepish look about her. It’s such an adorable contrast to the way Kara holds herself to the greater world – the confident, invulnerable superstar of National City. Lena’s heart feels light with the knowledge that she’s one of the few people that ever gets to see Kara like this, soft and warm around the edges. “Thanks for the heads up, darling.”

“I’m sorry,” Kara says, a bit of a pout and looking like she might bat her eyelashes to get Lena to forgive her.

It makes her laugh and press another quick kiss to Kara’s lips. “It’s fine, but I should warn you I’m fairly unpopular with motherly figures.”

Kara clicks her tongue disapprovingly. “I find that hard to believe.”

“Just wait until you meet my mother,” Lena says dryly, about to move out of Kara’s embrace, but Kara stops her, arms tightening and keeping them in close. “You’ll understand.”

“I don’t need to meet her to know she doesn’t deserve you.”

Emotion chokes a bit in the back of her throat and she’s grateful that Kara’s pulled her back in close because she can hide her flush against the strong line of muscle over Kara’s shoulder. “You’re too nice to me sometimes,” Lena says softly in lieu of any direct response.

Kara laughs as she kisses against the side of Lena’s head. “It’s because you’re so good in bed,” she whispers, all tease.

With a scoff, Lena pulls away and swats at Kara’s side, affronted. Kara just laughs and tugs her back and Lena lets her with a laugh of her own. Their dinner is a little cold and wilted by the time they get to it, but Lena doesn’t care.             

--

The next night, Kara books a private back room at a steakhouse called The City Grille downtown and Lena’s grateful to hear Alex and Lucy will also be joining them. It makes her feel a little less like this is an Event in which she’s meant to meet her girlfriend’s adoptive mother and more like a casual family dinner at the most expensive restaurant on this side of town with three of the city’s biggest sports personalities…

So, she’s a little more anxious than she anticipated.

“It’ll be fun,” Kara reassures her as the valet takes the keys to Kara’s Range Rover and hurries off. It’s only the solid feel of Kara’s hand at the small of her back as they step inside and are lead to their table that really steadies Lena. Kara looks handsome, dressed in dark grey slacks and a baby blue blouse, and Lena had gone for a dress flattering enough to make her feel confident yet still appropriate for a first meeting with a girlfriend’s mother.

They paint an imposing picture together – if the restaurant host’s blustering reaction is anything to go by. It’s clear that she recognizes Kara, her eyes bouncing between her and Lena in a way that belies interest. But Lena doesn’t feel worried about that - just the prospect of meeting Eliza.

It helps in some small measure that they’re the first to arrive. Lena distracts herself by perusing the wine list and listening to Kara’s mumbled decision-making on which cut of steak she’s going to order. It’s a complex process that Lena remembers Kara going through when they went to get steak in Midway City.

The host comes back a few minutes later looking somehow more harried with Lucy in tow.

“Hey, nerds,” Lucy greets. She’s wearing a short dress and heels so tall that they make Lena question whether there’s a section in her contract against them.

“Hi,” Lena says, starting to stand up to greet her, but Lucy waves her away.

“Nope, sit down, these heels are killing me, and I can’t stand for a second longer,” Lucy says, dropping into the seat across from them. “Coach had me running picks with Eve for like an hour today while some people got a massage.”

“It’s not my fault, the doctors said I had to,” Kara says with a less than sympathetic laugh. “I’d rather be setting pick and rolls.”

Lucy makes a face. “It’s honestly disturbing that I believe you.” Lena laughs and Lucy turns to her with an exasperated roll of her eyes. “Lena, hello, please talk to me about anything other than basketball. How was your day? Did you do – business type things? Make anyone cry today?”

Kara makes a face as if offended on Lena’s behalf, but Lena lifts a brow and offers Lucy a conspiratorial smile, the interaction calming any of her previous anxiety. “There’s still time,” she says and Lucy laughs. “I spent most of the day dealing with a sourcing issue for the microchips we use on our solar farms. Took most of the morning. And then I spent the rest of the afternoon tweaking Lex’s new battery plans for the Model L cars.”

“That sounds –” Lucy glances at Kara, shrugs. “Interesting.”

“Did you solve the problem?” Kara asks.

“With the microchips?” Lena asks, waiting for Kara’s nod. “Of course.”

Lucy makes a noise, fiddles with the gold chained bracelet on her wrist. “You’re like one of those disgustingly brilliant people, aren’t you?” Then, with a glare for Kara. “How did you end up with a genius, I don’t get it.”

Kara shrugs, laughs a bit, her palm falling to Lena’s knee warmly. “No idea. Just lucky I guess.”

Cheeks warm, Lena fiddles with the stem of her yet-to-be-filled wine glass. “Where’s Alex?”

“On her way with Eliza,” Lucy answers, reaching for the wine list and flipping through the large leather-bound book. “She decided it was too cold for her mother to walk four blocks. Have you guys ordered wine yet?”

“Not yet,” Kara says and Lena watches as her brow dips a bit, observing Lucy for a long moment before inquiring, “Are you freaking out?”

Lucy makes a scoffing sound that answers that question pretty clearly. “Nope,” she says, popping her lips and glaring at Kara as if daring her to push the issue.

Unbowed, Kara pulls her lips inward in an amused little smile. “You totally are,” she says in a knowing manner.

Lena hadn’t picked up on the ratcheting nerves in the other woman, but as Kara points it out she can sense the small things out of sync. Like how Lucy’s leg is bouncing a bit and she keeps pulling her hair behind her ears, eyes darting everywhere.

“Shut up, Danvers,” Lucy says, pointing her finger threateningly at Kara. “Can we order wine please?”

“You’ve met Eliza,” Kara says, clearly unconcerned by Lucy’s threats. “You’ve been to Midvale with us!”

“Uh yeah, but was I dating her firstborn daughter then? No. I was just secretly banging her and possibly jerking her around for most of that time,” Lucy says and while Lena had known Alex and Lucy were a thing for some time now, it’s a bit startling to hear it laid out so clearly before them. Even Kara looks over at Lena a touch surprised though obviously delighted by the entire thing. “Whatever, I’m fine. I’m chill.”

Lucy looks anything but. The more Lena observes her, the more obvious it becomes. Her fingers are now tapping rapidly on the table and she keeps glancing towards the door as though someone’s going to come charging in and attack at any second.

“Yeah, you seem super chill,” Kara says, goading Lucy so relentlessly that Lena reaches for the hand Kara has perched on her knee and squeezes it.

“Fuck you,” Lucy mutters. “You know how Eliza and Alex are, she probably knows every single way I’ve been a douchebag for the last three years.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine, Lucy,” she offers, but Lucy just turns a narrowed look at Lena.

“Easy for the super hot, rich, genius at the table to say.”

Kara barks out a laugh. “You’re rich,” she says to Lucy and Lena pinches the back of her hand until Kara adds, “And super hot…and smart?”

Lucy rolls her eyes at them both and makes a groaning sound, pulling her phone out and opening its camera function as she fiddles with her hair again and inspects her face. “We need to order wine immediately, how has there not been a server in here?”

“Luce, it really is gonna be fine,” Kara says, sounding much more reassuring now as she leans back in her seat and throws an arm across Lena’s chair. “Eliza likes you and you’re good for Alex.”

“How would you know?” Lucy scoffs. “You didn’t even notice we were fucking until like a month ago.”

The question seems to baffle Kara who looks a little helplessly at Lena. Lena wants to laugh. The whole situation has done wonders for both relaxing and amusing her. But she settles for resting her hand on Kara’s thigh and leaning into her space reassuringly.

“And could you two stop looking so in love for five seconds, you’re going to make me look bad,” Lucy hisses, leaning towards them.

“Girls, why are we fighting?” comes a voice over Lena’s shoulder. When they all three turn to look, Alex is standing there in a jumpsuit rolling her eyes next to a woman who Lena recognizes from photos in Kara’s living room. Kara stands up quickly, helping Lena up before coming over to hug Eliza. Lena watches as Eliza closes her eyes and wraps Kara’s tall frame in a tight hug.

When they pull away, Kara turns toward Lena and grins. “This is Lena.”

“Hello, Lena,” Eliza says, reaching her arms out for a hug that Lena returns. “It’s lovely to meet you. Can I just say, I remember reading your master’s thesis in Biotechnology Today?”

“Oh, well, you and three others,” Lena teases, a sliver of anxiety returning, but soothing at the warmth in Eliza’s expression. “It’s nice to meet you as well.”

“Eliza, good to see you again,” Lucy interjects when Lena and Eliza break away. Lucy’s voice is polite and higher than Lena’s ever heard it.

“Lucy,” Eliza says, turning to Lucy with only the slightest drop in her smile. It’s not much and not unfriendly, but Lena can sense the way Eliza’s demeanor changes to something only slightly more critical. She’s not sure why she wasn’t subject to the same observation, but she enjoys the way Lucy’s eyes go a bit wide as they hug and greet each other, Alex shifting nervously nearby.

“Should we order wine?” Kara offers solicitously and Alex looks at her sister gratefully.

“Yes, let’s do that,” Alex says perking up immediately and flagging down the server outside their room.  

--

Dinner goes smoothly, just as they’d been trying to assure Lucy it would. 

Though it becomes apparent Eliza has significantly more reservations about Alex and Lucy than she does Kara and Lena, she eventually warms up enough to get Lucy to stop bouncing her leg so severely.

Eliza’s such a stark contrast from every interaction she’s ever had with her own mother, that Lena almost doesn’t know how to react. She asks insightful questions about Lena’s work and teases Kara with familiarity and compassion. Kara practically preens whenever Lena talks. There’s such an obvious aura of pride wafting off her it nearly makes Lena flush.

Eliza seems to notice anyway, smiling at Kara indulgently every time it happens and glancing at Lena conspiratorially.

It’s nice. The sense of family between all of them is practically tangible – even Lucy who eventually calms down enough to trade light banter with Eliza over a story regarding a box of wine and a morning wake up on the beach.

Lena’s shocked to feel like she’s a part of it, blending in far more easily than she would have anticipated.

“So happy to get the chance to meet you,” Eliza says later when they’re parting, hugging Lena tighter than her own mother’s ever embraced her.

“You too.”

“Well, girls,” Eliza says, turning to Alex, Kara and Lucy. “Good luck tomorrow. Play well.”

“You’ve got your tickets and everything all settled?” Kara asks as Lena returns to her side and she wraps an arm across her shoulders.

Eliza nods. “Alex sent them over this morning,” she says.

“You know, Eliza,” Lena says. “If you ever want better seats than these two can get you, I happen to know people.”   

“Okay, Lena, chill,” Alex threatens with a teasing smile as she moves to stand by her mother. “Only one of us can be the favorite daughter and it’s obviously me.”

Kara and Eliza both laugh so abruptly that Alex turns a scandalized look at both of them that sparks an argument between sisters that has Lena, Eliza and Lucy exchanging exasperated looks.  

--

Lena’s nervous. Over a basketball game.

It takes her a bit to realize, but all day leading up to game one, it’s all she can think about. Her day is filled to the brim with meetings, but she only pays half-attention to most of them. It takes nearly exploding a battery prototype in the lab to make her realize she should just work from home the rest of the afternoon.

Jack’s texted her nonstop, article after article with pregame analytics that Lena only partly understands and old highlight hype videos from previous championship runs. Lex’s sent her about sixteen different photos of game-outfit choices with pleas for her to help him decide. She tells him to wear the black on black ensemble and to wash his hair and then stares at her own closet before spending the next half hour trying to pull a decent outfit together.

She should have gone shopping. She really should have gone shopping.

The realization prompts her to make a note in her calendar to buy a new outfit before the next game.

By the time she gets to her courtside seats – this time with Jack and Lex – she feels like she’s buzzing with anticipation and nerves. 

“Damn it’s good to be back,” Lex says, practically gushing as he looks around, saying hi to the security guard nearby and waving at other staff.

They take their seats just as the Lakehawks take the court for warmups and Lena’s handed her usual vodka soda.

Kara winks at her shamelessly as she strides past towards a rack of balls, but Lena doesn’t look away this time. Instead, she crosses her legs, takes a sip of her drink and lets the casual way Kara drives the basket for a warmup shot settle across her skin.

The atmosphere is electric, Lakehawks fans cheering and chanting. The Gotham Grenadiers look focused and determined in their black and yellow jerseys, a sharp contrast to the lighter look of the Lakehawks crowd, but she catches a few of them glancing towards the spot Alex is practicing post moves on Lucy with trepidation.

The anticipation is palpable. A thrum across her skin that quickens Lena’s breath.

The Lakehawks look loose and ready. They warm up as if it's any other game and Lena catches Kara laughing more than once – jostling good naturedly with Maggie and unnecessarily dunking during a layup drill.

“Everybody get up,” the loud voice of the usual Lakehawks MC booms out through the stadium. “It’s. The. Finals!”

The crowd is on their feet as the lights go out and an intro video begins. Kara’s face appears on the massive jumbotron screen, lifting to stare at the camera. Then it’s a cut to Alex holding a ball forward and then Lucy dribbling between her legs and grinning. It’s a menacing display of the Lakehawks strengths – quick cuts of M’gann bowling over an opponent during a drive into the paint, Kara hitting a series of quick shots so far out from the three point line it shouldn’t be allowed and Maggie ripping a ball viciously away from another player as they lay on the ground.

Lena watches it, a tad mesmerized, as the cheers from the fans grow in volume. It’s impossible to resist getting caught up in it. Jack’s hooting and hollering from his position behind her and Lex is clapping along. Lena sips at her drink and just watches.

It ends with a boom of sound as ROAD TO THREEPEAT scripts over the screen and the stadium goes crazy.

The lights come back up and Lena looks back down at the court to where Kara’s ripping off her warmup and huddling her team up. Jack leans in close to her, his drink sloshing enough that it spatters on Lena and she tsks at him but it does nothing to the maniacal look in his eye. “I feel like I could run through a brick wall right now,” he tells her, looking like he means it.

Though she dismisses him with a short roll of her eyes – and one for Lex too who leans across her to agree with Jack – she privately admits she feels the same way. Kara’s walking to the scorers table, wiping her feet on a small mat there and patting at a collection of powder before smacking her hands together with a puff. There’s a look in her eye that seems playful and deadly all at once and yeah Lena thinks she could run through a brick wall for Kara right now too.

“Let’s go Hawks!” Jack yells, clapping his hands loudly even amidst the cacophony of screams around the arena.

Kara turns to them, smiles, lifts her head and does a small, sweet movement of her hands that might be construed as a wave at Lena as she walks backwards towards the center circle.

The ball gets tipped and the Lakehawks win possession, Alex swatting it back into M’gann’s hands.

All of Lena’s previous anticipation comes fizzling to a head as the game begins, but then Kara sinks the first basket, a casual, easy shot from the corner of the arc right over Barbara Gordon’s outstretched hand. The sound of the ball swishing through the hoop and the easy jog Kara makes away from it washes away any sense of worry Lena might have felt.

By halftime, the Lakehawks have a double digit lead and Lena can’t help but wonder what had her so worried in the first place. It’s not even a contest. The Lakehawks look like they’re playing an entirely different game than Gotham. Kara plays confident and calm and maintains the kind of smile on her face that makes Lena think she’s not even trying that hard.

It’s got Gotham frustrated and reactionary – missing shots all over the court and failing to put up the kind of defensive energy required to stop a Lakehawks offensive that seems to be reading each other’s minds.

Kara had said she wasn’t concerned about playing Gotham, but Lena didn’t think it would be this easy. In fact, she’s fairly sure she’d seen the Lakehawks lose to Gotham during the regular season and she’d heard more than one sports commentator mention that Gotham might surprise the Lakehawks in game one.

The only surprise on the scoreboard is just how big the margin of victory is – Lakehawks 135 Grenadiers 97 – and when Lena watches the team exit the court from the tunnel they all practically skip towards the locker room, yelling and whooping and high fiving everyone in sight.

--

Lena doesn’t even bother with pretense. The thrill of winning is undeniable and she’s not going to pretend like she’s not itching to get her hands on Kara. So instead of going out for a drink with Jack and Lex, she has George linger in the players’ lot while Kara finishes up the postgame press rounds. She sits in the back of the car answering e-mails and text messages about the game and double checking her schedule for the morning. It passes the time until Kara’s opening the door, throwing her bag inside and sliding in next to Lena.

“Hey,” Kara says with a wide, happy smile as she presses a warm kiss to Lena’s cheek. She’s in her postgame outfit, grey slacks and a matching blazer with the cuffs rolled up. The only difference between the postgame interview look and now is the baseball cap settled on her head. “You didn’t have to wait.”

Lena shrugs, catches George’s eye in the rearview and tells him to take them to the penthouse before closing the privacy partition. “Good game,” she murmurs, basking in the glow of what Kara’s like after a well earned victory.

Kara settles into the seat as the car starts to pull away from the stadium, adjusts her blazer and lets her head fall back as she turns to look at Lena. “Thanks,” she says, hand falling to Lena’s thigh just high enough to make Lena shift closer. “One down, three to go.”

“Looked like your back might have been bothering you when you took that foul in the third,” Lena says softly, eyes focused on Kara’s features. They stay relaxed even as she blows out a heavy breath and rolls her head around a bit.

“Nah,” she plays off. “Feels fine.”

“You sure?” Lena prods, reaching up to tip the brim of the baby blue hat Kara’s wearing up to better reveal her eyes.

Kara pulls the cap off her head and smiles. “I was just trying to make sure I got the call,” she admits, nose scrunching up.

Lena laughs even as her eyes flit upwards. “Oh, so you flop now?”

“Anything to win, you know that,” Kara jokes, throwing her hat to the empty seat across from them and focusing her full attention on Lena.

The air in the car goes the kind of thick it always does when Lena’s caught in Kara’s airspace, fresh off the court after a good win. Lena swallows against the sudden shift of arousal flushing up her neck and licks out against dry lips.

Kara’s grin mirrors the one she had just before the game tipped off and Lena feels like prey under her gaze, like a conquest about to be realized. It pushes exhilaration into her extremities and down into her gut and though she keeps her lips pressed together, they turn up into a bit of a smirk.  

Without even speaking it into the air, they shuffle around in the seat until Lena’s practically in Kara’s lap, her fingers gripping at the lapels of Kara’s jacket to pull her in close. “Tell George to take the long way,” Kara whispers, her mouth so close to Lena’s that she feels the words more than hears them.

Lena doesn’t subject George to driving them around for a romantic tryst in the backseat, but she does let Kara feel her up just enough that when she steps out of the car with rumpled clothing and swollen lips, George looks pointedly away and Lena makes a note to raise his pay.

They make it all the way up to Lena’s penthouse, Kara tugging her forward and laughing when they catch the exasperated look of the doorman buzzing them through to the elevators. They’re a bit careless and messy with the way Kara pushes her up against the elevator wall and doesn’t stop kissing her even when the door dings open.

It feels good. 

The kind of sex that will have Lena walking funny into work in the morning and zoning out in the middle of investor meetings because a flashback will hit her at just the wrong moment.

Kara’s got her pinned to the bed with a hand at her hip to hold her down and the other gripped into her hair, just sharp enough to be on the pleasurable side of painful. She’s fucking into Lena with a purpose, stealing the breath out of Lena’s throat so acutely that she feels like she might space out entirely. The whole of her being is concentrated between her legs, a pounding rhythm that blacks out behind her eyes.  

“God,” Kara breathes out, forehead dropping to Lena’s back, right between her shoulder blades as her hips keep moving.

It’s a telltale sign Kara’s close, the staggered jut of her hips, the sweaty, exhausted way she pants into Lena’s neck. It shoves Lena closer to the edge, a spiral of feeling making her feel dizzy as she cants backwards, chasing the feeling of Kara stretching her out and filling her up.

Her vision goes so fuzzy she has to close her eyes as everything tightens up in her gut, spiking right into her clit and then releasing so violently her voice cracks into a cry as she comes. Kara’s only moments behind her, the fingers tangled in her hair tightening as it happens and she lets out a noise against Lena’s skin.

But it’s not over. Kara seems unstoppable, energized by the game and ruthlessly toying with Lena’s oversensitive flesh. This time with Lena on her back, nails biting into Kara’s shoulders as she comes and then later with Lena crawling down Kara’s body to return the favor, enjoying the power in making Kara arch her back and beg just a little.

By the time they both tap out, Lena’s chest is red from exertion and Kara’s sucking in air, the muscles of her stomach flexing with each breath in a manner that makes Lena consider – for one hysterical second – starting all over again.

Kara laughs at the ceiling and Lena shifts against the sticky, cooling sheets. “Do you think that will ever stop being like that?”

Dropping her head on Kara’s shoulder, Lena chuckles. “Maybe when we’re old and you can barely move because of a long series of sports injuries.”

Kara traces the line of Lena’s spine with her fingers. It’s a light soothing sensation against Lena’s overheated skin. Her eyes flutter closed a bit. “Nah, science will have evolved enough by then that I’ll be fine.”

Lena laughs again. “Tell me that again when we’re eighty.”

Kara’s arm pulls Lena in closer. “Deal,” she says softly.

Body sinking against Kara, Lena feels sleep pulling at the back of her mind. “We should change the sheets and clean up.”

“In a second,” Kara says and Lena’s asleep the next.  

--

It’s a quick turnaround between game one and game two and just like that Lena’s spending her day thinking of basketball while trying to sit through a finance meeting about funding for a new international project.

Game one was an anomaly. That’s what all the major sports talking heads are saying. That there’s no way the Lakehawks can continue to dominate like that the entire series. That it was a combination of experience and home court advantage that gave the Lakehawks the edge.

Jack sends her about twenty tweets on the subject – along with his own commentary – and Lex stops by her office so many times that morning that Lena has Jess bar him from the floor lest his own nerves rub off on Lena.

Kara sends her a picture from the morning walkthrough – it’s an aerial view of her shirtless body, clearly framed to show the ice pack strapped to her back just under her sports bra. trainers aren’t as good at wrapping as you 😉

Lena highly doubts that but laughs at the memory of helping Kara with her ice packs during her injury. It brings up a certain fondness and exasperation that has her shaking her head at herself.

Does your back hurt?

yeah it’s hard work carrying my whole team to victory, Kara replies and then seconds later just kidding basketball is a team sport I love my team and also my back doesn’t hurt it’s just precautionary

Lena laughs and sends back a heart emoji. Good luck tonight, darling , she types back.

Kara’s reply is immediate: you know I don’t need luck

 A few seconds pass.

I love you, Kara sends and Lena’s only interrupted from staring at her phone tenderly by a knock on her door and an exasperated assistant asking her if it’s okay to call security on Lex.

--

It’s not nearly the slaughtering of game one, but the Lakehawks still emerge victorious in game two, claiming a decisive lead in the series as they’re set to head out to Gotham for game three. Kara plays so well that it’s all the news outlets can talk about that night.

It broadcasts on the massive flatscreen Kara has mounted to her bedroom wall and Lena splits her attention between the television and her phone while Kara sips at her postgame smoothie and ices her back.

“Kara Danvers has clearly decided it’s time for a threepeat,” the desk anchor is saying, joking with his co-anchor who nods in agreement. “You have to wonder if Barbara Gordon and her Grenadiers are going to find an answer for that.” 

“Is there any stopping her when she’s like that?”

The two anchors shrug at each other, shaking their heads while a third at the desk laughs and turns to the camera. “Well, folks, we’ll certainly find out on Wednesday when the NWBA Finals heads to Gotham for game three. We’ve got all your pregame analysis and predictions here. Stay tuned.”

Kara clicks the television off and chucks the remote to the bedside table, turning towards where Lena’s answering an e-mail from a Brazilian subsidiary about a change in distribution costs. “You’re coming to Gotham, right?”

“Of course,” Lena replies absently, signing off on the e-mail before sending it. She sets her phone down on the charger that’s taken up residence on Kara’s bedside table and gives Kara her attention.

“Cool,” Kara says, noisily slurping the last of her smoothie up through a straw and setting it aside. “Where are you staying?”

“Same place as you,” Lena answers, scrunching her nose up in a way that makes Kara laugh.

“Yeah, but I bet your room is a lot nicer than mine.”

“Are there such things as nice rooms in Gotham?” Lena asks. The executive suite at Regal Hotel is as fine as one can expect considering there’s a rat-infested burger joint on the same corner.

Kara laughs. “You must love me if you’re willing to spend the night in Gotham just for me.”

Lena arches a brow. “I love my basketball team,” she corrects, but Kara seems thrilled by that all the same. “I’m doing it for them.”

“Hey, that’s even better,” she says, pulling Lena down on the bed and muffling Lena’s retort with her lips.  

--

“They really should just declare the whole city a biohazard,” Jack says when they meet in the hotel lobby for a pregame drink before game three. There had been no way Jack was missing a single game even if it meant traveling to Gotham. Even Lana is slated to meet up with them, making the much shorter trip from Metropolis.

“It’s just for the weekend, Jack, I’m sure you’ll survive,” Lena says, texting Lex to see why he’s running late.

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” he says, adjusting his light blue Lakehawks tie and perusing the shelf of whiskey behind the bar. “We better win it all because I am not coming back here if I can help it.”

“On that, we agree,” Lena says, setting her phone on the bartop and picking up the small happy hour menu in front of her.

“Where’s Lex?”

“Tied up, apparently,” she says, trading the happy hour menu for the wine list in the hopes it has better offerings. “He’ll be here soon.”

Jack’s fingers tap against the bar and he adjusts the knot in his tie again. It’s a nervous fidget that charms Lena when she realizes the source. To think they’d both be here, anxious over a basketball game and a team they’d been deriding only months before.

“Nervous?” Lena teases, setting the menu down and trying to fight an amused look.

Jack, however, isn’t ashamed in the slightest. “ Yes,” he says emphatically. “This is the first road test of the Finals. How could I not be?”

Lena laughs. “Try not to think about it,” she suggests. “Order a drink.”

The bartender appears before them – summoned perhaps by eavesdropping on Lena’s suggestion – and they both order. Jack takes a long sip of his whiskey sour before going back to tapping against the bar and regarding Lena with palpable anxiety.

“How’s Kara feeling about it? Did she say anything?”

Lena laughs. “Confident as always,” she says thinking of the way Kara had winked at her when they’d parted in National City – Kara off to the team plane and Lena to work before she’d catch her charter jet later that afternoon.

“That’s what makes her Kara Danvers,” he says as he seems to relax at the mere idea of it. Lena supposes that’s part of Kara’s mystique, the ability to instill confidence in the entire Lakehawks contingent purely by her own self-belief.

“True,” Lena murmurs affectionately.

Lex interrupts them then, shrugging a dark navy blazer on over his Lakehawks jersey as he paces quickly towards their seats at the bar. He doesn’t greet them. Just reaches for Lena’s martini and takes a far too large sip of it. “Anyone else nervous?” he asks when he’s done and Lena just rolls her eyes, swiping her drink back, as Jack lets out an emphatic exhaled yes .

Lana joins them fifteen minutes later in a killer blue dress and heels Lena’s pretty sure Lana stole from her in college. She takes one look at Jack and Lex and rolls her eyes, takes the same long sip out of Lena’s drink without asking and sits down next to Lena. “You pansies need to relax,” she tells the boys. “The Lakehawks have this in the bag.”

“Don’t jinx it,” Jack and Lex manage to say in unison and though Lena laughs at Lana’s antics, she puts a fist under the bartop, out of sight, and knocks on wood.

--

Thankfully, for all their worrying, game three goes precisely according to plan – or so Kara says when she recaps the victory later. The loss of a home court advantage doesn’t seem to trip up the team much at all even when the Gotham fans come out energized for tip-off.

By halftime the home crowd is much more subdued. Most likely due to the ten-point lead the Lakehawks have gathered going into the locker room. Even Jack and Lex seem to relax enough to enjoy the halftime show – though that perhaps has more to due with Lana’s running commentary and endless sarcasm than anything regarding the game. 

The Grenadiers try valiantly to crawl back into contention, but the Lakehawks never lose the lead. In the end they win by seven and Gotham walks out amidst a crowd that had mostly emptied by the fourth quarter with their heads hanging down.

The Lakehawks, by contrast, stride to the locker room in jubilation – Maggie miming sweeping motions as she brings up the rear. There’s a sense that the series is the Lakehawks’s to lose and any postgame commentary that Lena catches no longer sees Gotham as posing any kind of threat.

Back at the hotel, Lena lingers at the lobby bar for longer than she might normally. Lana tries to convince them all to head to some club she’s found on the west end of town, but Lena refuses. Even on a normal weekend she’d be skeptical of any random club Lana’s found in a place like Gotham, but right now she’s waiting for one particular person to walk through the doors and she doesn’t want to miss it.

Jack gives her a knowing look as he departs with Lex and Lana that makes her glare at him, but she doesn’t move from her perch, sipping slowly at her amaretto sour as she waits for the inevitable staggered trail of Lakehawks players to filter into the hotel.

At long last it happens, Alex and Lucy, Maggie, Eve, all of them walking into the lobby and dispersing to their various rooms.

Kara is last, striding in with M’gann and talking about something intently. Lena watches as Kara’s head lifts up just enough to catch sight of Lena, her attention instantly distracted from their conversation. M’gann seems to realize it too and follows Kara’s eyeline until she’s looking at Lena, an unreadable expression on her face before turning back to Kara.

They exchange a few more words before splitting and then M’gann’s off towards the elevators with one last glance in Lena’s direction. It feels mildly victorious when she doesn’t feel the expected spike of anxiety knowing M’gann’s likely put two and two together without much trouble.

“Hey,” Kara says, coming up to the bar by her side. “What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?”

Lena drops the stir straw she’d been playing with back in her drink and regards Kara with an elbow propped up on the bar, head in her hand. “Waiting for someone,” Lena answers, enjoying the flirty way Kara smiles.

Kara ducks her head and pushes her glasses back up her nose. “I could be someone,” she offers, bashful enough in her delivery that Lena thinks about kissing her right then and there.

Instead, Lena drops the appropriate amount of cash on the bar next to her drink and stands. “Want to see what Gotham has the audacity to consider an executive suite?”

Kara laughs, the sound like a pulse into Lena’s gut. “Absolutely.”

--

The suite isn’t as terrible as she’s made it out to be, and she certainly feels more fondness for it after she’s had Kara pressed up against the majority of its surfaces. It suits their needs and Kara mentions as much, affectionately teasing Lena for being a snob about it even as she curls her nose up at the coffee selection.

Kara stays as late as she can, testing her ability to get back to her room quickly enough to make Cat’s diligent and strict bed checks. Lena curls her hand around a cup of coffee and watches as Kara shuffles around the room collecting strewn items of clothing and tugging them back on haphazardly. It’s a now-familiar sight that tugs lightly under Lena’s ribs.

There’s something about Kara in these moments. Her hair finger combed and pulled back, neck still flushed from earlier and a look about her lips that makes Lena want to bite at them. She has her pants on now, still unbuttoned while she gets her shoes on and Lena abandons her coffee for pressing back into Kara’s space. 

It makes Kara laugh into a kiss as she wraps Lena back up, tugging at the shirt Lena’d thrown on to make her coffee. “I’m going to need this back,” Kara murmurs through a smile. 

“Then take it,” Lena says, her throat a bit hoarse. Kara’s eyes go a bit dark in a way that makes Lena feel liquid. 

“It’s gonna be hard to do my job tomorrow if I can’t walk.” 

Lena can’t help but laugh - more at herself for feeling persuaded away from pushing Kara back towards the couch - and she steps out of Kara’s space to drop the shirt off her shoulders and hand it over. It leaves her mostly bare to the chill air of the hotel room, but Kara’s look heats her up well enough. 

This time Kara laughs, a thick, worn-out sound that has Lena smiling. After pulling her shirt back on, Kara wraps Lena up again and they hover in each other’s airspace for a long moment. Lena savors the feeling of Kara’s palms at the small of her back, the way her chest feels against the fabric of Kara’s shirt and the warmth of her as she noses into Kara’s neck. 

They linger there a few more moments before Lena reluctantly breaks away and gives Kara the space to finish dressing. She returns to sipping her coffee and watching the ritual of it, thinking about the game tomorrow and what it all means. 

“What does it feel like?” Lena asks as Kara’s pocketing her wallet and her phone. “Knowing you could win it all tomorrow.” 

Kara seems to ponder the question, striding to where Lena’s sat and taking a sip of her coffee. “I guess I try not to think about it that way,” she says, sounding earnest. “Can’t get too much in your head about it. That’s how you end up losing.” 

The idea that Lakehawks could lose tomorrow isn’t something Lena’d like to dwell on and just the idea of it sounds so foreign coming out of Kara’s mouth. Judging by the little laugh Kara lets out, it must show on Lena’s face. 

“See,” Kara says. “Thinking about it too much is never a good route. Trust me. I’ve done this a few times. There’s no time for that.” 

Lena hums in acknowledgement. “Easier said than done,” she mutters and Kara nods a little even as she chuckles. 

“That’s why I play and you watch,” Kara teases and Lena rolls her eyes, hits her lightly in retribution. Kara captures her hand and plays with it a moment. “I mean, do you think a lot about like...a business meeting going poorly, or super well? Or losing out on a big contract or whatever it is you do?” 

Lena tsks at her, knowing full well Kara understands what Lena does better than she lets on, but gives the question its due. “No, I suppose not.” 

“Because you’re prepared for that, right? It’s your job.”

“Yes,” she answers, seeing Kara’s point and acknowledging it with an arch of her brow. 

“This is my job. Either way, it’s what we’ve worked for all year,”  she says, picking up her jacket and sliding it on. There’s a fire in Kara’s expression that catches in Lena’s chest. “A chance at it, you know? We’re prepared. The series is ours. Whether it takes four games or seven.”

Just the idea of it feels intoxicating and not for the first time Lena feels swept up in Kara Danvers’s mystique, that larger than life bit of her that never fails to impress. 

But then Kara’s threading forward, pressing a last, lingering kiss to her lips and whispering her goodbyes. A soft, regretful, “I have to go.” 

“Love you,” Lena calls out as Kara gets to her door and halfway turns to smile at her. 

“You too,” Kara replies, flushed and happy as she wiggles her eyebrows in such a dorky way that Lena’s left laughing as the door closes behind her. 

--

There’s something heavy in the air the next morning and despite Kara’s insistence that thinking too much about the game does no good, it’s all Lena can focus on. The chance of it, as Kara had said. It sits in the forefront of her mind, the image of the Lakehawks nabbing their third championship in a row, of being a part of it. 

By the time she gets to the designated brunch spot (a place Lana swears is up to health code), she’s so preoccupied with the fantasy image of Kara holding a trophy that it takes her a second longer than normal to notice Jack’s disheveled appearance when he drops into the booth across from her.  

He’s wearing sunglasses, his hair tousled like he’s ran his fingers through it over and over again and his expression looks like he’s got something foul tasting stuck in his mouth. It makes her laugh. “Have a good time last night?”

“Why do I always forget that when Lana and Lex get together it never ends well for anyone?” He reaches for the water set in front of his place and takes a long sip of it. “They’re apocalyptic.”

“Selective memory,” Lena answers, sliding her own water towards him when he nearly finishes his own in one go. “Should I expect the other two to be in as terrible shape as you are?”

“Who’s to say,” Jack grumbles, gratefully accepting Lena’s water and sinking further down into the booth. “Can I assume by your disposition this morning that you don’t regret your decision not to join us?”

“You can assume that by your own disposition,” she jokes, enjoys the way he goes a bit green at the gills when a server passes their table with two plates of hot food.

Lana joins them then, looking nowhere near as bad as Jack does. In fact, she’s practically beaming as she slides into the seat next to Jack. Lex is following behind her typing intently on his phone until he gets to his seat and pockets it as he drops down next to Lena.

“Hey, Jacky,” Lana says in that evil sounding voice she has.

Jack glares at her – as much as he can with his eyes still hidden behind dark sunglasses. Lex laughs, slinging an arm across the top of the booth seat above Lena’s shoulders. “You’re looking lively this morning,” he says to Jack, exchanging a conspiratorial smile with Lana.

Jack turns his ire to Lex, but neither Lex nor Lana look at all affected. Lana bumps her shoulder into his affectionately. “Come on, a prairie oyster and some dry toast and you’ll be fine,” she cajoles.

“And how was your night, dear sister?” Lex asks, plucking a menu up from the booth and observing it. He has an air of joy radiating off him that makes Lena suspicious. It usually precedes one of Lex’s ridiculous life plans like darting off to parts unknown for the better part of the year.

“What has you so chipper this morning?” Lena asks in lieu of answering his question.

“My basketball team is on the verge of sweeping the team owned by one of my most bitter business rivals,” Lex says with the same kind of proud confidence Lena’d seen on Kara’s face just the night before. “What’s not to be happy about?”

“Hubris,” Lana tsks, shooting Lex a scolding look. “The weakness of men.”

“You weren’t so confident a few days ago,” Lena points out, remembering the fidgety way he’d joined them at the hotel bar. If she’s honest, a superstitious tingle is crawling up her own spine at the assured way he’s speaking.

He rolls his head around his shoulders, smiles relaxed and easy. “I don’t know, I have a good feeling about this,” he says.

Jack makes a face, shoves at Lana’s shoulder to get her to move out of the booth. “Move, I have to puke,” he tells her in a no-nonsense enough way that she scuttles out of her seat quickly and Jack darts away.

“What did you do to him?” Lena asks, looking pointedly at Lana who scoffs, offended as she sits back down.

“Why do you automatically think it was me?”

“Because I know you,” Lena says and Lana laughs – that evil kind of mirth that has Lena concerned over whether or not Jack will be able to rally by game time.

“Jack’s a big boy,” Lex says, waving Lena off. “He’ll be fine.”

A conspiratorial look passes between her brother and her best friend, but before she can comment, Lana’s turning towards her with a deeply evil smile. “So how was Kara?”

Lex’s eyebrows rise on his forehead as he looks at her. “You were with Kara last night?”

“As if she’d ditch us for anything less than Kara Danvers’s big –”

Their server thankfully interrupts them before Lana can finish the sentence – Lena’s toe to her shin certainly helps as well – and they go about ordering their brunch, Jack returning to the table just in time to put in his own order of dry toast and the biggest glass of water they have.

“The ‘Hawks better win tonight otherwise this trip has brought me nothing but pain,” Jack complains later, still gulping down his water and taking the last slow bite of his toast.

“They will,” Lex tells him and this time it’s Lena who elbows his side, hard enough for him to make a noise.

“Stop jinxing it,” she hisses at him, so sincerely that she barely recognizes she’s the one who’s said it. But she most certainly has and though Jack is looking at her with a hint of bemused pride in his otherwise hungover expression, Lana is gaping at her, eyes wide and eyebrows lifted.

“What has happened to you?” Lana asks, but there’s laughter and affection curling around the words.

“Kara Danvers, clearly,” Lex answers for her, rubbing at his side and looking at her pitifully enough that she rolls her eyes.

“Am I not allowed to care about a basketball team I happen to own?” Lena asks, feeling the flush in her cheeks, but ignoring it as she takes a stab at the last of her meal.

“Of course. I’m just not entirely sure your reputation will survive it,” Jack teases and Lena chuckles.

Lex joins in the noise, sinking against the booth and smiling. “Wait until Mother hears about this,” he says, spinning his fork around in his fingers. “Both of her children gone completely soft.”

“Perish the thought,” Lena says in imitation of Lillian that the table laughs over.

--

They lose game four.

That weird feeling Lena’s been harboring grows over the course of the game as the Lakehawks trade leads with the Grenadiers constantly, battling it out more than they have in any game previously. Barbara Gordon works hard to neutralize Kara, blocking a few shots and getting in the way of plenty of others. Kara pays her back in kind, from what Lena can tell based on Barbara’s pitiful scoreline - but when Lex grabs a stat sheet from a passing attendant at half, it’s clear Barbara’s had only the slightest more success than Kara in getting passes and shots off. 

The Lakehawks don’t seem frustrated or lethargic, just - a little off. Off enough that the game isn’t quite within their grasp. Lucy’s three isn’t falling the way it usually would, Alex is having trouble containing Kate Kane, and Maggie isn’t disrupting the paint the way she has the last few games.

It doesn’t help that the arena rocks every time the Grenadiers turn a failed Lakehawks play into a basket. Lena understands it logically - the Grenadiers have their backs to the wall and every point is monumental in that kind of battle. But still, when Helena Bertinelli hangs an easy shot over M’gann’s head somewhere in the third quarter and the fans go nuts, she has to work hard to hold off her scoff. 

The television timeout comes right after, the ref dropping the ball at the baseline and hovering over it while the teams start meandering back to their benches. Lena watches as the teams intermix, Kara uncharacteristically stoic as she passes by Helena Bertinelli and then Kate Kane, shoulders brushing as they move around each other. 

“We need to turn this around,” Lex mutters, sipping his scotch and soda and frowning unhappily when another statline is delivered to them on a complimentary Wayne Enterprises branded piece of paper. 

Cat is glaring at her starting lineup as they settle onto the bench for their quick timeout, grabbing towels and water bottles. It’s funny, that Lena recognizes the full breadth of the routine, knows that Kara will take a sip of her Gatorade and give a thumbs up to the staff handing it to her while Cat rips the playboard from J’onn’s hand and never once draws on it.

“I need a drink,” Jack says, gesturing for the waiter that serves the courtside seats. 

Lana laughs, the frown that’d been creeping on her face morphing into something more delighted as she turns away from the scene on the court. “And he’s back on the horse!” 

“Just trying to change the mojo,” he grumbles, still looking a bit paler than usual. 

“Smart,” Lex tells him, serious as ever and Lena can’t help but agree, surprised at just how strong her superstitions have gotten. It makes her think of Kara detailing some of her pregame rituals and those of her teammates. What order a pair of socks go on or how many dribbles to take before a free throw. A rational part of her still finds the entire thing absurd, but a deeper part of her that sees Kara scrubbing a hand over her face, an indicator of distress, wants to find any way to help turn this game around. Ridiculous or not. 

It’s an odd portrait, one she never thought she’d be in. But she sees it stretch out into her future and it settles over her like a balm. Kara stands up from the bench as the ref blows the whistle to restart the game and they connect eyes for the briefest of moments. There’s determination there and for a brief flicker Lena feels some hope that it will all turn around. 

Kara certainly plays like a one woman wrecking ball. For most of the third quarter, she’s the only one on her side of the floor scoring any points or putting up any kind of effective defense. It seems that, for a moment, she might be able to single-handedly win the game herself. 

But for all her effort, the Grenadiers stay the course, sinking rebuttal baskets to Kara’s impossible threes and doing enough scoring when Kara’s taken off the court after a bad foul that they’re able to retain their lead. 

Despite the sixty-three points and fifteen assists Kara’s manages to tally by the end, Gotham’s on top and the fans in Acme Center go absolutely crazy. 

Lena feels stunned as the buzzer sounds. 

Even Jack has nothing to say on the subject, just blinks in surprise at the scoreboard and the way the Lakehawks shuffle off the court. It’s a shock, to say the least. Lena had just gotten comfortable with the Lakehawks stranglehold on the series and just like that, Gotham figures out a way to turn the tables in their favor. Rips the championship right out from under them.

Lana looks like she might charge onto the court to fight one of the Grenadiers, while Lex stands there with his arms crossed and a frown on his face. Lena’s disappointment, of course is twofold.

All Kara has to say later on the subject is, “No one wanted to win it in Gotham of all places anyway. Can you imagine the afterparty?”

It’s obvious Kara’s a bit more than put out by not sweeping the Finals, but Lena lets it go, indulging the grumpy way she shows up at Lena’s late the next night when they’ve gotten back to National City and pulls her into bed.

Lena makes it her mission to get Kara out of her head as much as she can. It’s late, but Lena kisses Kara with intention, pushes her down onto the mattress and does her best to make Kara forget about basketball for a long while.

It seems to do the trick. Kara gives in to the way Lena manipulates her body, lets her have her way until Kara’s groaning out her satisfaction with a panted breath. It’s the first time Lena’s seen Kara smile since she walked off the court in Gotham and Lena enjoys the view, swiping softly at the damp hair that’s fallen over Kara’s forehead.

The peace doesn’t last long, however. Lena can sense the gloomy way Kara returns to thinking about the game and the silent way she pulls Lena in close to kiss at her temple is telling. 

It’s strange. Lena’s never been so in tune with another human being before and certainly never cared so deeply about their dips in mood. Somewhere between swearing their relationship was only about sex and now, Lena’s become completely dialed into Kara, able to tell when she’s upset about something in a flash.

But she’s also learned that sometimes Kara’s not nearly as aware of her own feelings and even then, she often needs time to process before they can talk about anything real. So, Lena stays quiet and counts Kara’s breaths, lets the silence stretch out around them while Kara seems to think.

Lena’s nearly asleep when Kara finally speaks.

“Do you wanna go on a vacation after this?”

It takes a second for Lena to pull her brain away from the heavy tug of sleep at its back and her brow dips, as she cranes her head up to look at Kara. “After what?”

“The Finals,” Kara clarifies. “Like after the season is officially over.”

It’s an easy ask, all things considered. Lena thinks about what Kara might look like sun-kissed and happy on a far off beach or holed away in a cozy cabin in the woods. Both pictures warm Lena’s stomach and she smiles. “What made you think of that?”

Kara shrugs, shifts a bit to roll onto her side and Lena moves to match her until they’re lying face-to-face. “Dunno, sounded nice.”

“Do you not usually go on a postseason vacation with the team?” Lena vaguely recalls tales of the Lakehawks post-championship celebrations – parades and yachts and a slideshow of pictures involving massive bottles of champagne and beer showers. “I’d think you want to celeb –”

Kara laughs when Lena abruptly cuts herself off. “There’d have to be something to celebrate,” Kara whispers, but it’s lighthearted and lacks the melancholy Kara’d been carrying with her earlier.

“I know that,” Lena says, pushing her fingers into Kara’s stomach playfully.

Kara captures her fingers, holds them hostage between them and smiles at Lena across the dark.

“I’ve already been on one too many boozy vacations with the team,” Kara says. “How many times do I really have to help Alex puke over the side of a boat because she insists she doesn’t get seasick if she drinks?”

“I think that might be something siblings have to do for their whole lives,” Lena says, laughing. She can remember Lex valiantly trying to hold Lena’s hair back more than once in varied tropical locations, including one time he had decided to force her into a pool to wash her off. She had broken one of his fingers in return.

Kara hums a bit. “You’re probably right,” she says through a soft short chuckle. “Then after I save Alex from herself somewhere in the Bahamas, do you want to go somewhere with me?” Kara pauses, her fingers light where they hold onto Lena’s. “Just the two of us?” 

“I could be persuaded,” Lena says, smiling. “What did you have in mind?” 

Kara shrugs a bit, shuffling closer on the bed. “I just like the idea of being with you,” she says simply, the feel of it manifesting in Lena’s chest. “When the dust settles.” 

“Me too,” Lena manages to say, but her throat aches like she might start crying and she has to bite at her bottom lip to stop herself. 

“Cool,” Kara breathes out, a quirky smile on her face before she leans forward to kiss her. Lena presses her hands up Kara’s stomach towards her side, can imagine the row of tattooed trophies under her fingertips. 

It’s quiet again as Kara shuffles back onto her back and Lena shifts in next to her to settle at her side, her palm gliding across her stomach. Lena’s nearly asleep when Kara speaks again, words soft into the dark of the bedroom. 

“I’m not going to lose this one.” 

Lena presses her hand solidly against Kara’s side. “I know you won’t,” she says quietly, feeling the truth of it deep in her bones, tethering them both to the bed. “I believe in you.” 

Kara doesn’t reply, but Lena can sense her smile when she drops a quick kiss to the crown of Lena’s head. 

--

In the morning, Kara’s attitude lacks any kind of the despair that had lingered all of postgame the night before. She’s up well before Lena is, making a morning protein shake in the kitchen – loud enough to rouse Lena all the way in the bedroom – and is practically bouncing by the time Lena shuffles out of bed.

Though her brow lifts at the sight she accepts the coffee Kara’s made her without question. “I’ve got trainer at nine, shootaround at noon,” Kara tells her, still sipping at her shake and rustling in the cabinets for food.

“Okay,” Lena says, sitting at her counter and letting her coffee do the work of waking her brain up.

“What are you doing today?”

Lena shrugs a shoulder and sets her mug down, warming her hands on its sides. “I’ll probably spend most of the day trying not to worry about the game and hopefully get some work done,” she says with a wry twist of her lips. Kara’s energy has her feeling restless even as her brain struggles to greet the morning.

“Why would you be worried?” Kara asks, confusion pulling her brow down. Lena just looks at her over the rim of her coffee mug until Kara seems to finally understand, her eyebrows lifting and a little laugh escaping her. “Ah, well...no sense in worrying about something you can’t control. Didn’t I already give you my speech on overthinking this stuff?” 

Lena shoots her a look. “Well surely if I could control it, I wouldn’t be worried at all. That’s the point.” 

Kara sets the bag of granola she’d be inspecting back down on the counter and moves around towards Lena. “I told you last night I wasn’t losing this series,” she tells her seriously. “I meant that.” 

“I know you did,” Lena says, reaching out to clasp Kara’s hand. “I meant what I said too.” 

“So there you go,” Kara says, smiling widely. “Stop worrying. Enjoy the moment and start thinking about where you’d like to go for vacation. Are we thinking bikini weather or a bear rug in front of a fireplace?” 

Lena laughs. 

--

Despite Kara’s assurances, Lena’s barely able to work. Though it’s not so much worry anymore but rather a preoccupation with what’s to come. 

Lex wanders over to her office from the other side of the executive floor - she’d finally caved and let him move back in - with a very large cup of coffee and wide eyes at around nine, slumping into the chairs across from Lena’s desk.

“Do you think we could just go downstairs and invent time travel real quick so that we could get to seven faster?” he asks. Lena rolls her eyes, but feels the burn of anticipation still in her spine. “I watched the rerun of game four twice on the flight back.”

“You have a problem,” Lena says. She doesn’t mention that she too has seen the rerun, largely because Kara had played parts of it while Lena was coincidentally in the room. 

“Is it a problem to care about something very, very deeply, possibly to an extreme?” Lex says, laughing when Lena responds with a pointed look. “As if you’re one to talk. You can’t fool me.” 

“I’m perfectly calm,” Lena says, closing a file over some contracts she’d looked over twice without actually managing to read any of it. It’s true, though. She’s calm, if a little distracted. 

“I don’t know how that could be true. This whole thing is nerve wracking. I much prefer one-and-dones.”  

“That seems like it’d have its own host of problems,” Lena says, but Lex seems fit to ignore her, as always. 

“Do you think we could change the playoff format? We should propose it at the next owner’s meeting,” he says, his eyes starting to glaze over with the thought. “I’m sure we could get Bruce on board. Maybe I could sweet-talk Moira Queen into it.” 

“Have you ever been able to sweet talk Moira into anything?” Lena asks, pulling his attention back to her. “You sent me to that ArrowDyn acquisition because you were too scared of her.”

Lex concedes the point with a tilt of his head and an unrepentant smile. “Okay, maybe you could sweet-talk Moira Queen into it,” he amends and she rolls her eyes. 

“I have real work to do today,” she tells him pointedly, eyes shifting to her office door. 

He looks unconcerned with that, but does unseat himself, shaking his head with exaggerated disappointment. “To think you’d skip out on a chance to completely revolutionize the NWBA.” 

“Leave, Lex,” she orders, but she’s laughing as she points at the door. 

He smiles at her, but obeys her instruction, pausing halfway there to turn. “I should warn you that Lana is coming for the game,” he says, sipping his coffee and pocketing his free hand. “She asked for the jet this morning.” 

“You can pay the fuel bill then,” she replies, mentally taking stock if she has enough liquor in her cabinet to support a visit from Lana. 

“Yeah, yeah,” he says, rolling his eyes and resuming his walk. “See you in the IT meeting at one?” 

He’s already out the door by the time Lena calls out after him. “Who let you in that meeting?” 

--

Around four, Jack appears to pick her up for their pregame happy hour. He’s wearing his Lakehawks jersey underneath a blazer and carrying, absurdly, the thick spiral-bound packet Lena had used to learn about the team when she had first decided to keep them. It makes her laugh when he drops it onto Lena’s desk with a wry smile.

“What’s this for?” Lena asks, sliding it closer and looking over the promotional shot of Kara from the beginning of the season. When she flips it open, there are notes from her and Jack scattered throughout, a few pages stained with wine and coffee. It makes her laugh softly as her fingers trace over it.  

“Found it in my office at home while I was getting ready to leave. Figured it could bring us some good luck tonight, since it helped you get lucky,” Jack says with a playful smile and a shrug. 

Lena clicks her tongue at him when she feels a warmth creep up her neck, but also loves him for the gesture. She flips it closed again and stands to pull him into a hug. “Thanks.” 

“For what? Telling you to get it out of your system?” Jack asks, laughing when she pulls out of the hug to swat at him. 

“Shut up, Jack.”

“Come on,” he says, grinning so widely, Lena’s worried he’ll hurt himself. “There are drinks to be had and balls to be thrown through hoops.” 

Laughing, Lena powers her computer down and moves to collect her bag. “Indeed,” she says, taking his offered arm and striding out of her office with him. 

--

By the time they get to the game - Lex and Lana now in tow - it’s six thirty and the place is already bursting to the seams with raucous fans. The music is turned up loud, highlights from previous games playing on the jumbotron, and Lena can’t help but feel the energy she’s been trying to tamp down all day ramp up quickly. 

There’s a clear feeling in the air that the Lakehawks and their fans are playing with The Finals trophy in their own building. Someone from ESPN finds their way to Lena and Lex and corners them around twenty minutes before tip-off, asking for quotes on the possibility of winning for the first time in National City.

Thankfully, Lena’s practiced enough to give a standard, polite answer and Lex goes along with her. 

It’s a far cry from what’s actually going on in her head which is swimming with the prospect of how her night might go if the Lakehawks win the damn thing. Enjoy the moment, Kara had said. No time to overthink the possibility of losing. Focus on the goal. 

Lena lets it thrill her, transforms all her nervous anticipation into excitement and winks at Kara when she walks off from warmups, headed to the bench for starting lineups. There’s a fierce look in Kara’s eye when she returns Lena’s smile with a brief one of her own before focusing solely on her team. 

The players huddle up nearby as they always do before a game and Lena catches some of what’s said. Alex claps her hands together solidly in the center: this is National fucking City and no way are we gonna let Gotham come in here and take our championship.

Kara joins in with her sister and adds a fervent this is our house and our trophy and it’s time to defend it. Let’s take what’s ours. 

The sound of them all joining in for a loud shout of TEAM is like a warcry as is the deafening sound of the crowd beginning an up, up away cheer that grows in volume as the teams line up for tip off. 

Then the ball is thrown in the air and the Lakehawks take on the game with a sort of vengeance. It’s like they’d been coasting this entire time, because from the moment the ball is tipped in their favor, they come out swinging. Hard. 

Kara had told Lena once that sometimes the best way to beat a team was to demoralize them as quickly as possible. If you could get in their heads in the first quarter, the game was all but yours. It’s not an unfamiliar concept. Lena knows that often it’s more about playing your opponent than the actual game - as she’s done in everything from a casual poker game to conducting high level mergers and acquisitions. But there’s something different about seeing it played out in realtime on a basketball court. 

It’s apparent rather quickly that in game five, with the championship on the line, the Lakehawks are dead set on demoralizing Gotham and then some. 

The first basket is a vicious alley-oop that Lucy throws towards Kara seconds after they’ve won the tipoff. Kara dunks the basket in over Barbara Gordon’s body and hangs there for a second longer than necessary, dropping down and running back with an expression as cold as steel. 

The entire game is like that. The Lakehawks look something close to flawless. Lena’s watched or at least seen highlights of nearly every game this season and she’s never seen them play like this. It’s like they’ve accessed some higher level of basketball. Every pass connects, impossible shots are dropping in easily, their defensive strategy has Gotham confused and reactionary, seemingly incapable of getting shots off or passes to their intended destination.

At the close of the first half, Lena stands and claps with everyone else as the Grenadiers gesture and grumble with each other as they walk off the court. The Lakehawks go sprinting down the tunnel, whooping and raising their arms. Kara gets stopped by the sideline reporter just in front of the foursome at courtside and though her expression remains as serious and lethal as Lena’s ever seen it, she can sense the smile lurking in Kara’s eyes. 

She can’t really hear what’s being said, the crowd’s so loud, but she can see Kara’s gaze land on her a few times, her hands on her hips. When the interview ends, Kara says goodbye to the reporter, who looks a bit starstruck as she jogs away, and gives a sweaty high-five to the four of them before jogging off and waving at the crowd.

By the fourth quarter the Lakehawks grip on the lead is so tight that Cat subs her bench in, sitting the starters for most of the quarter. Somewhere in that time, a staff member comes by and hands over badges for Lex, Lena, Jack and Lana that allow them on-court access, a bright smile on his face with promises that if all goes well he’ll set aside goggles for all of them for the locker room. 

Lena has no idea what that could mean and isn’t at all assured by the gleeful look in Lex’s eye. 

With two minutes left, Cat turns back to her starters and calls them back in, a triumphant smile on her face that’s oozing pride. Even though Gotham managed to shave a few points off their deficit, the Lakehawks still hold a strong position and there’s a sense in the air that victory is nigh. Kara, Alex, Lucy, Maggie and M’gann reenter the game as if they’re skipping to a victory tour.

The feeling of it is thrumming throughout the building, the cacophony of cheers rising so swiftly in volume as the players reenter the game that Lena feels deafened by it. 

Lena had been in the building when Kara and the United States won the gold medal, had felt so proud of her then - but this is something entirely different. Watching Kara take her home team to a huge victory - leading the squad with almost fifty points - after all the things she’s gone through this season, and especially with where they are in their relationship now?

She thought she was proud then. This is tenfold.

The last ten seconds feel like they take ten minutes with the way Lena focuses on the numbers counting down, watching Lucy take the ball over half and dribble it there, watching the time tick away, victory inching ever closer. Lex grabs ahold of her arm and squeezes hard, while Jack is jumping up and down. Lana has her hands clasped in front of her, leaning into Lex’s side as though she might hide her face at any second.

Kara’s at the corner of the arc, jostling lightly with Barbara who’s making a half-attempt to still mark her. Even as time winds down, and the Lakehawks have a sure handle on the game and the championship, Kara’s trying to get Lucy to pass her the ball.

The buzzer sounds, loud just above them. It’s over. The Lakehawks have won. 

It seems almost unreal. Lena knows the Lakehawks have won the championship twice before, but it takes a good minute for the realization that they’ve just won their third to really sink in.

Blue and white confetti pours down from the rafters over the entire court and the screaming crowd. Jack is still jumping up and down, absolutely losing his mind and Lena can’t stop clapping, staring up at the scoreboard marveling at the victory.

The court gets overrun by players, press and staff, and Lena’s drawn forward with them into the madness. Lex is jostling her into a hug and then Jack. Even Lana looks thrilled. It’s a mess of people, all of them exchanging congratulations. Even Eliza finds her amidst the throng of excitement and pulls her into a tight hug before moving on to find her daughters. 

Lena searches the pandemonium until she finds what she’s looking for, bright blue eyes connecting with hers across the crowd. Kara’s sweaty and disheveled, her hair coming out of her ponytail at the temples, and neck blotchy and red with exertion, but her smile is a mile wide and infectious and Lena needs to touch her.

It seems Kara’s on the same wavelength because she weaves through about seventeen people, pushes a reporter’s microphone away from her and beelines towards Lena, smile unwavering.

When Kara scoops her up into her arms she lets out a loud vibrant whooping sound into Lena’s ear, spinning her around once, before setting her down. “We did it!”

Lena laughs, basks in the victorious way Kara hugs her. There are cameras all around them, but Lena doesn’t care. Kara’s face buries in her shoulder and her arms are warm and tight around Lena’s back. Hidden against Kara’s shoulder, Lena smiles and kisses against the heated skin there, pride and joy bubbling up into her chest until it bursts.

They pull away to look at each other and Lena feels reality start to break into their little bubble, but she holds it at bay just a little longer, smiling at the triumph all over Kara’s face. Their gazes hold solidly together and Lena feels their connection like a thread between them. It makes every little thing that’s brought them to this moment feel worth it, like they’ve finally summited a mountain, like they really can have it all.

The picture will be all over the front page of the papers in the morning. A DYNASTY: LAKEHAWKS THREEPEAT in big bold letters and a full color photo of Kara and Lena holding each other and grinning widely. It’s a telling photo to Lena’s eyes, but not to many others. Years later it’ll be framed in Lena’s home office.

But for now, they just laugh with each other and let the cameras flash around them. “Congratulations,” Lena tells her and Kara’s eyes go soft the way they do when Lena whispers I love you.

“Couldn’t have done it without you,” Kara says with a big smile and Lena laughs.

“I know,” she teases. They’re interrupted by a loud round of cheers that disengages them from each other. Lena lets out a squeak when she’s picked up from behind by a laughing Lucy Lane, but smiles at the, “We did it, Luthor!” 

The celebrating continues on around them, infectious, as Lena’s embraced by the team, the staff, people she’s not sure she even knows. Kara gets swept away to an interview - a championship hat being tugged down on her head as the team gets handed their FINALS CHAMPS t-shirts. 

The trophy is heavy when Oliva Marsden - NWBA commissioner - hands it to Lena on a makeshift stage in the middle of the court. Lena’s surrounded by the team, Cat to her left with J’onn, Kara at her right, Alex with her arm slung over her shoulders. 

Lena had been prepared for the possibility she’d have to say a few words and she’s grateful she’d thought to sketch something out ahead of time because it’s like she blacks out the minute the weighty piece of metal is pushed into her hands. She’ll see a video of herself thanking the organization and fans days later, but she won’t remember most of it. 

All she can focus on is what the trophy looks like so close up - she’d seen two others behind glass near the front offices of the arena, but to hold one in her hands, to know they’ve earned it, is an entirely different experience. 

She says her piece, tries, and fails, not to look at Kara with an awed look of exhilaration, and then hands the trophy off to Cat who addresses the screaming crowd next. As she moves back, Kara wraps an arm around her shoulder and pulls her in close. It’s the position they’re in when the team photo becomes the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week, Cat lofting the trophy in the air with the team behind her. 

Then it’s Kara’s turn to receive her own award - Finals MVP - and Lena feels like she’s never cared about anything more than this moment and this team and winning. It’s addicting, she can tell. Just a taste of what this is like and she wants more, she wants the feeling to last forever. 

Kara thanks her teammates and the fans, eyes red rimmed as they break out into low chants of M-V-P . She holds both her trophies in her hands and lifts them up to the screams of the arena. 

Lena’s fairly sure nothing could top this moment in terms of pride and euphoria as everyone around them joins in on the chant and Kara holds the trophy up over her team, who all reach to touch it in jubilation. 

--

The insanity that follows is like nothing Lena’s ever experienced. 

There’s the never ending champagne showers in the locker room after the trophy ceremony - Lucy pouring an entire bottle over Lena’s head the moment she sees her, Kara standing up on the chair by her locker and spraying the entire room, Alex turning the music up so loudly they can barely hear anything else as the team breaks out into a chorus of we are the champions

Then the night that follows, the free drinks at club after club, more champagne, Lucy and Maggie pouring some out the window of one of the clubs to screaming fans below. It’s complete and utter chaos and Kara tugs her along for all of it. 

Lena doesn’t think to protest, just lets herself get wrapped up in the madness, in the way Kara keeps smiling and handing her drinks. It all feels so ridiculously good. 

It becomes an endless parade of celebration that so significantly blocks out anything apart from the Lakehawks from Lena’s mind that she doesn’t even think about being discreet when it comes to her relationship with Kara. 

How is she supposed to care about that when there’s a third championship to be celebrating, champagne to be had, and Kara’s smile to kiss?

It’s what outs them in the end - even though they won’t acknowledge anything officially for some time. 

She, Kara and Jack are lounging about Lena’s kitchen before heading out to dinner a week after the championship when Jack chortles loudly at something on his phone. It never portends anything good, Lena’s learned, and so she sighs, thinks about not rising to the bait. But Kara decides for them. 

“What’s up?” 

Jack looks up at both of them, a glint in his eye, before thrusting his phone in Lena’s direction, a picture under a tweet open on the screen. 

The photo is blurry, and dark, clearly taken in the middle of the night at a club Lena barely recognizes. It’s half-focused on Alex popping a huge champagne bottle, dressed as she was the night they won. In the background, the shine of Kara’s blonde hair is apparent with the flash of the cameras, even if the image isn’t clear. 

Not that anyone can make out her face anyway, the way it’s obscured by Lena, who’s clearly perched on her lap, gripping at Kara’s cheeks. Kara’s hand is more than halfway up the outside of Lena’s thigh, and they’re wound in each other enough that Lena can see why she’d have no memory of this picture being taken. 

Though Lena knows it’s her despite how grainy and indistinct the image is, she thinks for half a second that maybe no one else would be able to piece it together. They’ve had a stunning run of luck so far with pictures not naming her. But when Lena scrolls down, the mass of replies to the tweet tell a different story.

The caption is a simple, all caps I’M SORRY WHAT and the replies all follow a thread of is that LENA LUTHOR or more explicitly, FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE I AM NOT GOING TO BE SPEAKING ABOUT ANYTHING THAT IS NOT LENA LUTHOR AND KARA DANVERS MAKING OUT

Lena can’t help but laugh. As does Kara when she peers over Lena to see the photo, a cute little oops dropping out of her that has Lena rolling her eyes affectionately. 

“Lena, if you’re trying to be discreet you should really stop mounting your very famous girlfriend in public,” Jack says with a gleeful chuckle. “That’s like rule number one.” 

It’s Kara that huffs at him, though it’s through an indulgent smile as Lena passes the phone back towards him. “Hey, Jack?” Kara says, drawing his attention her way. “Shut up.” 

Lena laughs at the appalled look on Jack’s face, especially the way it deepens when she takes Kara’s chin in hand and kisses her. He does shut up, at the very least.