Sam actually convinces her it's a good idea.
Which isn't that surprising, really. Especially considering Sam insisted they go to the uni bar on a Sunday night instead of their usual Saturday, and she's been paying for and shoving hard liquor inside Lena with the express purpose of getting her to—
"Join the fucking frisbee team?" Lena snorts, beer dangerously close to tipping over with how precariously she's gripping it. "Serious?"
"No, really," Sam yells, competing with Elle King on the jukebox-radio thingy, cheeks pink and happy and just as drunk as Lena is, probably. "We could really use the extra players, since Kara's pretty serious about the championship this year."
She pauses for a second, brown eyes flickering over Lena's face, and Lena feels the overwhelming need to smile, feels a fond tickle of warmth in her belly just looking at her best friend.
"But that doesn't matter, doesn't matter," Sam continues, grin stretching across her face. "What matters is it's gonna be fun, Lena," she finishes, shaking Lena's shoulders and ruffling her hair afterwards. "I promise. Just come to practice tomorrow."
"Yeah, Sam. You're always fun," Lena slurs, leaning over and pressing her face into Sam's shoulder. "Frisbee, okay. I'll do it."
Which was probably a shit decision, considering the first practice is literally six hours later.
"You'll do fine," Sam says, carefully smoothing out Lena's fringe to help her tuck her hair in a bun. "Practices are pretty chill, no one's gonna give you shit. Honest."
"Yeah just hoping to fly under the radar, maybe pout at you later until I convince you I should quit," Lena says, looping her hair up and securing it with the tie on her wrist.
Sam laughs, nudging Lena's shoulder playfully and doing that weird thing she does with her eyes whenever she appreciates something Lena's doing. It's cute and annoying and makes Lena actually want to put effort in today.
"Just give it a try, yeah?" she asks, looking somewhere off over Lena's shoulder and smiling fondly. "Anywho, Kara's headed our way. Just introduce yourself, and try to be friendly. Please?"
"Yeah, of course," Lena says, nibbling her lip afterwards, trying her best not to give Sam shit for being so into this frisbee thing.
Sam rolls her eyes like she can see right through her, smiling hard enough to bunch her cheeks. "I have to get changed, dork," she says, grabbing her bag and slinging it over her shoulder, already moving away from Lena. "But you're gonna love it, promise. Just have fun, ask questions, enjoy yourself. Please."
"Yeah, thanks, mom," Lena says, and Sam laughs over her shoulder as she heads towards the restrooms.
Lena watches her jog off for a second, then she switches to tracking the other girls play frisbee, watching how easy they make it look, thinking about how shit she's probably going to be, thinking about what she might eat after this. Mostly that last one. And then she feels a firm hand on her shoulder and nearly jumps out of her skin.
"Um," somebody clears their throat behind her, soft and pleasant like they're trying not to startle her again. "Hey."
Lena turns around, and—
She's pretty sure the entire field falls out from underneath her.
Right. Kara. The captain. Lena has to introduce herself.
Except that's a little hard since she's sort of having trouble breathing right now.
Kara is - well, she's almost too overwhelming to process all at once. She has curly blonde hair that falls over her shoulders and biceps that stretch out her jersey sleeves. And she has the bluest eyes Lena's ever seen that sparkle in the sunlight, and cherry-red lips and immaculate golden skin, and.
Lena's definitely ogling and Kara's close enough to notice it.
"Hi, I'm Kara Danvers," Kara introduces herself, eyes glimmering as she outstretches a large, large hand. "You're with Sam, right? Didn't get your name."
Lena has to blink a few times and shake out her head just to focus on the question. She's usually a lot sharper than this, but she's pretty sure her brain just short circuited and she's pretty sure her hangover from last night's drinking just caught up with her full force.
At least that's the excuse she's going with for being an absolute potato right now.
"Yeah, yep. I'm Lena. Um. Luthor," she fumbles out after a long second, taking Kara's hand finally and trying not to focus on how warm and soft it is.
"Alright, Lena Um Luthor," Kara winks as she shakes her hand firmly, a sweet smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. Lena tries to swallow, but her throat's gone bone dry. "Today's practice is just drills and then a scrimmage at the end. Sam said you're new to this, so pick up what you can from watching, and feel free to ask me anything when you're really lost. Seriously, don't hesitate to speak up. I'm great with taking questions, and I promise I don't bite. At least not non-consensually, that—"
"Christ, Kara," a dark-haired woman laughs, slapping playfully into Kara's shoulder and effectively cutting her off.
Shit, it's like she appeared out of fuck-all nowhere, or maybe Lena's brain is just hyper-focused on the beautiful forest faerie standing right in front of her. She should probably get it together.
"Please don't take that as sexual harassment," the dark-haired woman continues. "She hasn't stopped making dumb sex jokes since high school, because that's when her brain stopped developing. I'm Alex Danvers, and if you have any questions you can ask me. I'm way more sane."
"And less fun," Kara points out, pinching her plump lip between two long fingers. "But back up a little, let's give Lena some breathing room, wouldn't want to scare her away."
Alex rolls her eyes, but she gives in anyway. "Fine, fine you're right." And then she adds, "Have fun out there, Lena," as she trots away.
"Anyway. It's an easy game to learn, but a tough one to master," Kara says, pulling Lena's attention back to her as she claps Lena's shoulder like they're old pals. Lena has to strain everything inside her to not lean into the warmth. "But, don't worry, bro. You'll do just fine. We've all had our very first practice."
"Yeah, of course," Lena says dumbly. "Thanks."
Kara just stares at her for a second after that, drops her hand from Lena's shoulder and folds her arms, then asks, "How physically fit are you?"
Which makes Lena's own mind jump to a god-awful innuendo, and she has to actively make herself focus on the question in a professional manner. She doesn't feel very physically fit right now, like her still-drunk brain is currently banging around her head like an iPhone alarm at 6am on a Saturday.
So she doesn't want to get Kara's hopes up, already feels like she's not ready and they haven't even started yet. "Yeah, I had the uni gym pass for all-access to the Rec classes, did at least one cycling class a week last semester."
"Great, awesome," Kara says, clapping her hands together loudly, which seems dangerous, since they're probably large enough to start a tornado if they gust enough wind. "We start every practice with a three mile run, then we do stretches and then we do some plyometrics. We get into the good stuff after that, gets us used to playing the game while we're worn out. If it feels like you can't keep up, no shame in the side line. But give it your all, yeah?"
Lena feels like she's at the fucking Olympics. "Yeah, of course. Wouldn't have signed up if I didn't want to give it my all."
"Nice," Kara nods, thumping her hand against her chest afterwards and adding, "This is my livelihood, what I live for. And if we don't crap up this year, we have a real shot at the National Championship." She takes a huge step backwards after she says it, long legs gliding across the grass, and then she shines a big smile with her white, white teeth in Lena's direction, before she points at her and yells, "And you're gonna be our sleeper, Lena Um Luthor, I can just feel it. The other teams won't see you coming."
And then she winks—like that's just a casual thing, like Lena's heart isn't racing, like she isn't the most attractive woman in existence—and Lena watches dumbstruck as she jogs away.
Holy shit, this is going to be a long summer.
"She's hotter than the sun and she called me bro," Lena explains, frowning against the straw of her Jamba Juice smoothie and trying to pretend her everything doesn't hurt after just day one. "Do I look like a bro?"
Sam snorts. "No, you're hot too, don't worry. Kara's just a dork and she takes frisbee very seriously."
"So that means she's off-limits?" Lena asks, quirking a brow, but then she catches herself. "I mean, you said this was our summer of fun, and Kara seems pretty fun."
She's also cute and talented and sort of endearing, and it's only been a day and Lena wants to get to know her more. But it feels a bit soon to break out the fact that she's totally obsessed after one three hour practice. Even though, well, she is.
"No one's off-limits during the summer of fun," Sam says, sloshing her smoothie around with her straw.
Which is exactly what Lena was hoping for.
Sam's probably the smartest person she knows, besides herself, but it's sort of like Sam is two very, very different people. Like, when the schooling stops and the summer starts, she transitions from hardcore nerd to outright hooligan, and in this instance it's actually working out for Lena.
"If you wanna smash-bang Kara Danvers, then I'm one-hundred percent in your corner."
This time Lena snorts, and nearly spurts her smoothie out her nose in the process. "No one said anything about sex, I just. I'm not sure what it is, but I like her. Unless that's too weird. I'm new here, don't want to make the team dynamics fucked or anything."
Sam shrugs. "It's not like people haven't hooked up before, there're no rules against it." And then she smiles wide, and looks at Lena with the most annoying glint in her eyes. "My girl's finally gonna have her sexploration summer."
"Holy shit," Lena whisper-shouts. "Just broadcast my sexual experience to the world, why don't you. We are on campus."
"It's the middle of the summer, no one's here and no one gives a crap," Sam assures her. "And Kara's a top-notch choice. I could talk to Alex about—"
"No, no, please don't," Lena jumps in. "I'm still feeling out the situation. Right now she's just hot, and super charming, and I thought about munching on her skin six different times during practice, please save me."
"I've never seen you like someone so fast. Or anyone at all, really."
"I don't know, she's like—magnetic. I didn't even care about frisbee until she did that cool thing where she tossed it across the field from over her head."
"I know right," Sam says, eyes widening as she tilts her head. "She does perfect hammer throws every freaking time, and she's so glowy. That's how she swindled me onto the team at the RSO fair last year. She was all bright smiles and yay frisbees. And I was like hell yeah, sign me up."
"Hey, you can't—"
"Don't even say it, Lena—" Sam yelps, knocking against Lena's feet under the table. "Besides, she has a sister that's way hotter than she is and actually in my year, so I'll leave you two babies to it."
"Oh my god," Lena gasps. "That's the only reason you're not giving me shit about liking Kara. It's 'cause you're into her sister."
"No," Sam squeaks, in her highest voice. "I don't like Alex. I mean, she's just. She's hotter than Kara, is what I'm saying. But like, we're friends and that's just it. That's how it is."
"Yeah, sure. What happened to our honesty contract? We can tell each other anything, right?" Lena narrows her eyes in as serious a way as she knows how. "Those were your words, remember?"
"Fine, she's hot, and I'm into her," Sam huffs. "And I'm pretty sure she's not into me, so drop it."
"Fine," Lena huffs back, and then they drop the whole conversation.
But Lena doesn't exactly drop the thought of Kara, getting to know her, wanting to be friends. She can't get her out of her mind, can't stop thinking about her lips and her smile and her everything else, really. Which is probably why she ends up Googling her later that night and landing on her Twitter, or rather, her adorable Twitter Bio:
Writer (not journalist—not yet—because I take that term seriously) | Professional troublemaker | Extrovert | YouTuber | Clumsy (and not in a cute way ;p).
Shit, Lena's thoroughly charmed in less than 160 characters, like Kara's an enigma wrapped in a conundrum wrapped in some other mysterious and alluring shit that Lena wants to figure out.
So she spends an inordinate amount of time eating baked cheesy chips and scrolling through Kara's tweets, laughing at the funny stuff, and clicking all her links for recommended articles to read. By the time she finally heads over to Kara's YouTube, it's 4am and there's no way she'll get enough sleep for the 8am practice. So she thinks fuck it and clicks on Kara's How To Throw a Hammer for Beginners video.
As soon as she clicks the link, Kara pops up on her screen with her frisbee shorts on and a loose jersey and a bandana wrapped around her glorious blonde curls as she says:
"Welcome back my fellow frisbee lovers. By now you've probably watched some of my more basic tutorials like the backhand and the flick, and now you're interested in my fav throw of all—the hammer. So when do we use it? The hammer throw is the most useful when you've got a couple of defenders between you and your target and you need to get it over their heads. Or even when you're nearing the end of the stall count and need to get it around someone that's marking you pretty hard. It's a great throw, really, and useful and fun you're absolutely going to love it. So let's get into the tutorial, shall we?"
"Fuck," Lena mumbles to herself, scraping the cheese dust from the bottom of the chip bag and licking her fingers.
Kara's witty and sharp and charming, and Lena's pretty sure her face is sitting somewhere between rosy and incredibly fond while she watches the videos, seeing Kara talk about the sport or demonstrating things or her other videos where she just goofs off or shows highlights from games, and jesus fuck, this is more than Lena bargained for.
She's definitely going to be up the rest of the night watching these.
"I feel like a zombie," Lena huffs, air coming in roughly through her burning lungs. "We run three miles every single practice? Every single one?"
"Yep," Sam says, obviously faring a thousand times better than Lena. "Used to run five, but Kara and Alex were the only ones not dying afterwards, so we cut it down."
Lena's pretty sure her heart explodes just thinking about five miles. "Are they even human?"
Sam snorts, slowing down her pace so it's easier for Lena to keep up. "Barely."
"Snap, snap ladies," Kara says, jogging past them backwards. "Have a whole practice ahead of us, can't spend forty minutes on the warm-up run. Let's get it down to twenty-three."
"That's like, a cross-country level time," Sam shouts back to her.
And then Kara just chuckles, throwing her head back like this is absolutely nothing. "My cross-country time was 15:23, Sam. You're gonna have to do better."
"Fuck," Lena gasps, low enough that only Sam hears it. "I failed out of cross-country tryouts and did robotics as an extra-curricular instead. Where's that leave me?"
Sam snorts and nearly trips over her cleats. "I guess on the uni frisbee team during a hot as shit summer."
"Barely," Lena says back, then tries to conserve the rest of her energy for the last lap.
By the time they're finished up with the warm-up run, Lena's skin is already slick enough with sweat that it's dripping, but Kara doesn't waste time moving them on, doesn't let them rest any. She rounds the team up after a quick thirty second water break, and gets them in lines so they can do their stretches.
Thankfully it's a team thing and Lena doesn't have to figure out how to do it on her own. Kara stands in front of the group to demonstrate each stretch and Lena just copies everything Kara does, stretches out her muscles and tries not to stare at Kara's toned thighs where her shorts are riding up a bit. They're absolutely gorgeous thighs, slight tan lines and smooth, perfect skin and, ugh.
Lena definitely wouldn't mind getting her mouth on them, but she's not some creep that stares at girls inappropriately, so she looks away and sighs heavily at Sam. "I'm gonna start the school year ready to audition for the Titan Games, if we keep this up."
"Hell yeah, you could invite me as your audience member, and everyone could try to guess if we're dating or just friends."
Lena snorts a laugh loud enough that Kara actually quirks an eyebrow in her direction. So she lowers her voice when she says, "We have to stop assuming every fit woman is gay. There has to be at least one straight one."
"Yeah it's probably Kara," Sam giggles, and then Lena swats at her before Kara has them switch into a butterfly position.
"So you want to get lunch after this?" Lena asks, once they're done with stretches and she's shaking out her limbs. "Big Belly Burger has a special today, don't want to miss out."
"I'm surprised you're not a thousand pounds with how much you eat there, but yes, of course. I'd never pass up Big Belly Burger."
"Alright, ladies, let's get into some drills," Kara says loud enough to grab everyone's attention. And then she makes eye-contact with Lena and heads over in her direction, hair blowing like the wind exists solely to make her look good. "Hey, you're with me today, newbie. I've decided to personally see to it that you reach your full potential."
Lena laughs, smile threatening to rip her face in half, and she can see Sam wiggling her eyebrows off to her side before she trots to find her own partner. Whatever, Kara's sort of intoxicating. "Yeah, is that so? Thought I could only use you when I got really lost. Not just whenever."
"Well it's your lucky day, then," Kara smiles, nibbling her lip afterwards. "But really, I want to get you caught up. We have a game in a week, and I'd love it if you could get some play time, get your feet wet to see how it really feels in competition."
"I don't mind just being the cheerleader," Lena says. "Don't want to ruin your chances at the championship, could wear a little skirt and everything."
Kara actually, like, coughs and Lena sucks her own lip into her mouth to hide how excited she is that maybe Kara's affected by what she says. "No, Ms. Luthor, those shorts are just fine. And I'd rather not waste your talent with yelling chants, when you could be getting us wins."
"Just Lena is fine, and I'll decide what I wear on game day, thank you."
"Alright, just Lena," Kara snorts and holds up her hands like it's a peace offering. "And okay, okay, no one's trying to tame you. Just saying, uh." She laughs to herself and rolls her eyes off in the distance. "Never mind, let's get to it, yeah?"
It's a simple drill, really. They're practicing forehand throws, so one person guards the backhand, one person tries to throw, and another person runs out for the catch. Lena, Kara and Alex, separate into their own three-person group, so Lena can keep throwing and not have to keep rotating roles.
And it goes pretty okay, goes great even, until ten minutes in when Lena's landed enough throws in Alex's hands that Kara decides she's okay enough with her forehand to deal with taking it up a notch.
"Alrighty, gonna put some pressure on now," Kara says. "So you can feel what it's like throwing against a real defense. Just get it around me and to Alex, like we've been doing. Think more strategically about your throws now, though."
Alex claps her hands, shuffling her feet off in the distance, and Lena takes a deep, deep breath before she adjusts her fingers on the disc. Then she snaps the frisbee like she's been doing before, but this time Kara slaps it out of the air with her long arms and big hands, and it goes absolutely nowhere. And it's jarring enough that Lena sort of takes the slap noise as a smack to her ego.
It's not intentionally, really, but her confidence is definitely lower as she sighs and grabs it off the ground.
Kara doesn't really seem to notice, just instructs, "Have to swivel, pivot, stay on your toes, really try to get around me. You can't just stand there like a dead fish and expect to get off any passes. Especially not in this league, they'll be a lot tougher than I'm being."
Right, sure, that's maybe true—but Lena's not being a dead fish, she thinks, a little more frustrated than she wants to be right now. She's just doing the drill like Kara's taught her, and. Ugh, whatever. It's not like she's ever even played frisbee before, and—no—she's not going to let one comment deter her.
She's here and she's trying, and she promised Kara she'd give it her all, and she will will will. So she tucks the frisbee against herself to protect it, then pivots a bit to her left, and then quickly to her right. And when she thinks Kara's lagging behind her a bit, she tries to snap the frisbee again. But, fuck. Kara just smacks it down out of nowhere.
Lena full-on huffs, and this time Kara notices. "Hey, don't get upset, just get your head in it. Really focus on getting it past me. Pivot, quick bursts, footwork. If you have to take a backhand, if you have the opening, do it. Just get it to Alex."
"I'm trying," Lena says tightly, and she knows this is what games will be like, knows Kara's just trying to help—it just kind of sucks having her frisbee keep getting knocked away.
But things don't get any better from there.
Because that's what happens again and again and again and again and by the time Lena's gone ten minutes without making one throw, she's at her fucking limit. Kara just keeps smacking everything down and sighing and acting frustrated and getting more terse in what she says and treating Lena like she should be so much better than she is, when she shouldn't.
She's never even picked up a frisbee before, and Kara hasn't acknowledged that once this entire practice, which—fuck.
"You're just, bigger than me. I can't get it around you," Lena finally gives up. "I can't do it."
"Yes, you can," Kara frowns. "You're just not trying hard enough. I've been outplayed by plenty of smaller players, like it's never been an issue." Well, fuck you too, Lena thinks. She's trying as hard as she can, doing the best she can do, and she still looks and feels like a complete fucking idiot. Kara must catch on, because she follows it up with, "Sorry, I just meant. Um, just slow down, really think about what you're doing."
"I just can't do it," Lena says again, feeling something hot rise up inside of her, feeling all her motivation to try slipping away and being replaced with anger and frustration and, ugh. She just wants to give up. It's bad enough that she can't do it, but now she feels like shit because everyone else can, apparently. "I don't know, maybe this isn't the sport for me."
"Hey, whoa. You just have to—"
"I'm trying as hard as I can," Lena yells. Fuck, it was loud. Fuck, it was really loud—everyone else is stopping practice and looking at her. She can't do this, can't have people staring while she's—shit. "I'm just gonna head out," she says to Kara, low enough that hopefully the rest of the world watching stops listening in. Her breath keeps, keeps getting more labored, coming in ragged, intensifying with her emotions. And it feels like she's fuming, but she doesn't want to break down over not being able to throw a frisbee. Not with everyone watching. "I can't do this."
"You can do this," Kara says. "Just stop being so tense. You're overthinking it when all you need to do is feel what you're doing. It's instinctual, really. like--" Lena takes a step away, and Kara follows. "Okay, okay. Let's just go back to the drill where we practice the throw. You obviously weren't ready for this, and that's my bad."
"No, obviously, I'm not supposed to be here. So I'm going to go. Like I said. So just back off."
"Whoa, hey," Sam says, running over so she's by Lena's side. "What's going on over here? Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, we're fine," Kara says, eyes never leaving Lena's, like she's searching to figure out if Lena's okay. Like suddenly she actually gives a fuck. She may be cute and tall and talented and irresistible, but she's a real fucking shit if you ask Lena. "We'll be fine, just a little tension."
"No," Lena says, looking at Kara as sharp as possible, but decidedly keeping her voice calm. "I'm leaving, like I said. And Kara needs to accept that."
"Hey, it's just a game," Sam says. "We're all friends here, let's just cool off."
"Why don't you tell her that?" Lena asks. "Pretty sure she's the only one here that doesn't realize it's just a game. It's your livelihood, that's what you said isn't it? That's what gives you the right to treat me like shit?"
"I'm treating you the same as any other player," Kara says, deep crinkle settling on her forehead. "No one else has ever reacted this way."
Lena can't really argue with that, and feels too self-conscious with everyone's eyes on her to keep this going. Plus she feels more and more like shit the longer she thinks about it, since she's cooling off from her initial anger and realizing maybe she's overreacted.
So she takes a couple steps backwards, and when no one follows she finally turns away, grabs her bag and says, "Good luck with the championship," and then heads off the field with her head tucked low enough to hopefully be invisible.
Lena hides away in her favorite bookshop afterwards, far off in a corner with her head tucked in the Iliad and her heart in her stomach.
She stays like that a few hours, because she knows Sam will eventually find her and tell her it's okay, and that today was just dumb and they can get milkshakes and burgers and be happy again. So when Lena looks up and doesn't see Sam, but sees the puppy dog eyes attached to the tall, curly blonde hovering in the distance—she's actually a little disappointed.
Well, that is, for a mere two seconds she's disappointed, before her heart's fluttering for Kara all over again. Because apparently her face can still do that to Lena even though they're having their first tiff.
"Can I sit?" Kara asks, once she finally stops staring and actually walks over.
Lena shrugs and keeps her eyes on the page, giving up on actually reading anything, but keeping her heart distracted. "It's a free country, isn't it?"
"I came to apologize, if that means anything," Kara says slowly, sitting on the edge of the table in front of Lena's reading couch. "I realized how much—I realized I was shitty today, and I wish I'd seen it sooner."
There's a long, long pause between them, with Lena trying to keep her stony look and Kara twisting her hands together in anticipation. And then it's actually Lena that breaks first. "Well, keep going, then. You were almost on the right track."
"Right, okay," Kara says, puffing out a small laugh. "You know how like, when something becomes second nature to you, and you try to teach someone and they're not getting it? I guess I just lost sight of what it's like to be new and I was a real knob to you today. I've, um - I've been a little stressed lately, is the thing, but that shouldn't have come through against you, and I know that. So, I'm really, super sorry about the whole thing. I should have been a better captain, and I feel like I failed you."
Lena hates that it's a good apology, so she tries to distract from it. "Did you just say knob?"
"Yeah," Kara huffs, voice getting brighter by the second. "It's like British for the D-word, and I don't like saying, um, that."
"Yes, that word."
Fuck, Lena can't help her smile, and she can't help looking up, which is just in time to see Kara's beautiful eyes sparkling.
Ugh, she should probably apologize too. It's only fair. "Sorry for getting so mad out there. I'm not usually - I think I just got overwhelmed."
"No, I get it. I'd feel like that too if I was just learning and someone was being shitty. It's okay."
"Thanks, um. I'm glad you apologized, if that's fine to say. I feel a lot better, so. Thanks for coming," Lena says. "Did Sam tell you where I was?"
"Yep," Kara nods. "Does this mean you'll come back to practice? I promise I'll be better."
Lena thinks about it, but she sort of feels too embarrassed after today to go back. And she really hates doing things she sucks at, however much Kara makes it feel worth it. "I don't think so," she shrugs. "I don't think it's for me. But I really can come to cheer you girls on."
"Hey, okay, just hear me out," Kara says, climbing off the table and squishing onto the couch with Lena, knocking shoulders with her. "I was thinking that, if you're interested of course, I can do some private practices with you. We can get you up to speed so you feel more comfortable before going back into the actual practices. I was, uh, watching you, and it seems like you really got upset when everyone, um. Looked at you. I just want you back, and I want you to be comfy."
Kara stares down at her hands after she says all that, and if her breathing is any indication, then her heart is probably beating fast. "I'm not sure," Lena says. "I don't want you to waste your time with me, and I know you're practicing with the team everyday too. And you probably have other—"
"This feels important to me," Kara cuts in, looking up into Lena's eyes. "Not to be weird, but I hate to ruin something I genuinely love for someone else because I was a—well, a dick. So, two weeks. Give me two weeks to train you, and if you still feel it's not for you, I'll back off. Really. I just wanna show you how fun it is, that's all."
Ugh, she's so fucking cute, Lena's heart is melting. "Fine, fine, stop with the eyes."
"What eyes?" Kara asks, genuinely.
This time it's Lena that coughs. "Nothing, I just. Just a joke."
Lena still has to run the three laps, unfortunately, even when it's just them. But, thankfully, Kara doesn't run circles around her since they're alone.
She doesn't even point out how hard Lena's panting once they're only half-way in. "So, there are really only three types of throws you need to master," she says, jogging casually, not even sweating yet. "Backhand, flick, and hammer. And you've got a solid forehand, by the way, sorry for being a butt again. So, we'll practice the first two some more before the hammer."
Lena actually knows a lot of this, awkwardly, from watching Kara's YouTube tutorials. Not that she was watching any of the videos to actually learn, but she did soak in some information.
"So um," Lena says, and then nearly gives up on asking a question since her breath is so husky. But Kara turns and arches a brow, so she forges on. "So are there things I can do to learn how to pivot better?"
"Yeah, of course," Kara chirps. "We're definitely gonna get to that. But I thought today we'd go over the specifics of the game, background information, and then we'd do like an hour of throw and catch?"
"Sounds good," Lena says. "Simple enough."
After they run and stretch, Kara sits her down and tells her about scoring, and movement with the frisbee, and the stall count. And then she goes over all sorts of other stuff, and Lena's mostly able to focus on her words, mostly able to keep her eyes away from Kara's pretty, pretty lips, but it's hard. Especially considering she's sort of at a point where she feels like she's more at this practice for Kara than she is for frisbee, but she won't be completely rude and not learn anything at all.
Still, she has other interests. So after a short quiz on the info she just learned (which she passes), she asks, "So do you spend all your time throwing frisbees or do you actually have hobbies?"
Kara rolls her lip between her thumb and forefinger and says, slow and amused, "Oh, so I haven't told you about my extensive succulent collection, yet?"
"Fascinating. Bit of a green thumb, yeah?"
"Green thumb as in I only collect plants you'd have be a complete imbecile to kill? Then, yes. The greenest."
Lena laughs at that. "Good to know you're not an imbecile, I guess."
"Oh, I've killed a few in my day," Kara giggles. "Don't ever overestimate me. You wanna see pictures?"
"You just keep them in your phone?"
"God, no," Kara gasps, like that's absolutely offensive. Then she reaches behind them and grabs her backpack, fishes out her wallet. "Gotta keep the polaroids of my babies in the wallet, you know, like a proper parent."
"I swear," Lena giggles. "If you pull plant pictures out of your wallet, I'll never forgive you."
"Well you better be prepared to hold that lifelong grudge," Kara deadpans, and then she pulls at least five tiny polaroids of actual succulents out of her actual wallet. "Can tell you the names, too."
Lena just keeps laughing, stuck somewhere between disbelief and charmed. "If they're not written on the back with the date, then you're failing them."
"Oh do you think I'm an amateur?" Kara asks, flipping one of the polaroids over and showing Lena the writing. "These are my girls, okay? They deserve nothing less than the best."
"Is this real?" Lena asks. "Are we being serious? I don't know what to think."
Kara gives Lena a long, serious look, and then she throws her head back and laughs uproariously. "No, no not at all," she says, barely able to contain her massive, heart-stopping grin. "It started as a dare—Alex told me I had to pull pictures of my plant babies out of my wallet whenever I tried to pick up a girl. And it was so successful, that I just kept doing it. I don't actually own succulents, though. These belong to a friend."
Lena hums in consideration, then says, "So's that what you're doing here? Trying to pick up a girl?"
Kara flushes a lovely shade of red and absolutely deflects— "Well, I'm trying to teach one how to play frisbee, and she keeps distracting me."
Which doesn't answer Lena's question at all. Non-committal, she can work with that. "Fine, then," she says, standing from the grass and grabbing the frisbee. "Let's play catch. And you don't get to learn anything about me."
She takes it that Kara's frown means things are going well.
"I thought of a new training thing," Kara says a couple practices later.
Lena unties her sweat-damp bandana and then flips it to retie around her forehead. "Okay, whatcha got?"
"I was just thinking of different strategies," Kara starts. "Since captains have to be innovative and whatnot. And I wanted to figure out a good motivator for you to get your throws down. So, I thought, since we like talking and I like training, that we could combine the two and have a really fun practice."
"Doesn't sound fun at all," Lena says, pulling her ankle and sighing at the nice stretch on her quad. "I never mix business with pleasure for a reason."
"Yeah, but hear me out." Kara picks up the frisbee from the ground and twirls it in her hands. "So, what if, for each pass you get by me, you get to ask me absolutely any question and I have to answer it."
"Let me guess. If you block it, you get to ask me?"
"That's only fair, right?"
"Make it every three blocks, and you got yourself a deal."
Which is a little unfair, Lena realizes, since she's a lot better since the last time they played. It's like the drills they've been going over are really sinking in and she realizes Kara isn't as formidable as she thought she was.
She's tall and she has long arms, so she has a wide range of coverage for blocking shots. But she's also just as clumsy as her Twitter Bio says she is, so Lena has no trouble at all tripping her up after the first couple tries. Which means, so far, she's had to tell Kara her middle name, but Kara's told her that:
She prefers dogs over cats, she loves anything fried and anything sugary and has the absolute worst diet in history (a declaration made by Lena, not Kara), she can sing (unfortunately for Lena's heart), and she's adopted (something she offered up without Lena asking).
And since Lena just got another throw past her, and they feel acquainted enough, she goes for a big one— "What's been stressing you out lately? You mentioned it when you came to apologize."
"Oh, nothing," Kara waves it off, which is an obvious lie. Lena's prepared to let it go since it seems to make her uncomfortable, but Kara quickly backtracks and says, "Wait, crap. Can't break my own rules, can I? I guess, um, I've been having some trouble with school."
Lena twists the frisbee in her hands and looks her over for a moment, consideringly. "You wanna talk about it? We're sorta on a roll with our friendship?"
"Kinda," Kara says, slumping her broad shoulders like she's much smaller than she actually is. "But, I haven't said anything to anyone about it, and I don't want you to think I'm like, not smart. I don't want anyone to think that."
"I'd never think that," Lena assures her, stepping forward but keeping the frisbee in her hands. She needs something to help fight her urge to touch Kara right now. She just looks like she needs a hug, and Lena isn't sure if it's okay to give her one. "Promise I won't judge you if you tell me about it. We all go through crap sometimes."
"Sure, yeah, um. Wanna sit in the shade?" she points over her shoulder. "It's sort of a lot."
Even though they sit down with the express purpose of talking about it, it still takes Kara a few minutes to get going. So Lena just enjoys her company, notes how Kara still smells nice even after they've been practicing over an hour in the summer heat. She notes how the sun reflects off Kara's blue eyes, how it makes the white speckles in them light up like she has galaxies trapped in her irises.
Mostly, though, Lena notes how hard Kara's breathing, how she's twisting her hands together and pursing her lips like she can't find the right words, how she looks tiny and scared and afraid, and how she's obviously carrying a secret too big for her to hold. And it breaks Lena's heart.
"I failed chemistry," Kara finally starts, and Lena sits up straight, takes in a long breath, because that's more serious than she expected. "Which isn't terrible in itself, it happens. The problem is I'm on scholarship and my GPA was hovering around the requirement, so I seriously couldn't afford the fail. But I talked to the school and stuff, and they're letting me retake it this summer to get a new grade, keep my scholarship and whatnot. It's just - I've already failed the first midterm and first few labs for summer chem, and, um. It's not looking great for me."
There's loads of things Lena wants to say, small comforts or whatever, but she mostly just wants to know if there's a chance Kara dropping out might not have to be reality. "Is it too late to pull your summer grade up?" she asks, and fuck it. Kara looks sad, sad so she reaches over and rests a hand on her knee. "Is there still a chance you could pull it off? Because like, there's options."
"Yeah, but just barely. Like, I calculated everything and I would need a B or higher on all upcoming tests and labs to get the grade I need. And I have a lab tomorrow I'm not prepared for, never mind the fact I've never gotten a B on anything in chemistry." Kara sighs, soft like dropping out has already resonated with her, like she's already accepted it. "Guess I've just been waiting until after tomorrow, when it's official, to tell Alex. Since I can't afford to stay here if my scholarship leaves, will have to go back home."
Kara shrugs defeatedly, and Lena just... she doesn't find that acceptable. And not simply because she likes Kara, but because this uni's shit excuse of a gen chem track shouldn't be the reason anyone fails out.
"Well, you're not going to fail, then," she decides, since she loves chemistry and likes Kara and she's a Luthor with access to numerous chemistry labs in this state alone. "We just have to practice your lab before you do it tomorrow, is all. And you have to let me help you study for the remaining tests."
"No, Lena, you don't have—I wasn't saying this to—"
"I want to help," Lena interrupts, clearing her throat. "In your words - this is important to me. And I'd hate to let this shit-taco of a school ruin something I love for you because they don't give enough fucks to actually hire decent professors to teach the general science classes. I'm not letting you fail. No - I'm refusing to, just like you refuse to let me quit the team."
She finishes with a smile, to let Kara know she cares and it's no big deal.
Kara smiles a bit too, then reaches forward and grabs Lena's hand like it's a reflex. "I don't think I said shit-taco when I made my speech."
"Would you rather I say knob-taco?"
"That's also not very appealing," Kara shakes her head. "And how are we supposed to practice the lab beforehand? I mean, I have the protocol but just reading through it doesn't help me. I'm more like, hands on. And we can't do that unless we break into the chem lab."
"I have that taken care of," Lena says. "Just go shower and get your chem stuff, and I'll pick you up from your apartment."
"This is seriously ridiculous," Kara says, pacing around the LuthorCorp lab with her goggles latched onto her forehead. She has her curls pinned back into a ponytail and she's wearing a tight button down and the most effortlessly dorky glasses Lena's ever seen, and it's a little hard to handle. "Are we really gonna do a basic chemistry experiment in like, a billion dollar lab."
"It's not a billion dollars," Lena says, watching Kara spin in circles. Like, yeah there's high end technology all around them and probably chemicals they technically need licenses to work with, but still. It's just a lab. And Kara needs to walk through tomorrow's protocol. "Get over here," Lena gestures. "You want to pass tomorrow or not?"
"Yeah, of course," Kara perks up, jogging in Lena's direction. "What's first captain?"
"You tell me, you're the one with the lab book."
"Um," Kara says, nibbling thoughtfully on her lip and thumbing through the pages of her manual. "Says here that the lab is titled Electrolytic Determination of Equivalent Mass, and I already don't know what that means."
"They're just gonna give you an unknown metal and you have to determine the equivalent mass using electrolysis."
Kara just sort of... gapes at her. "Yeah, just gotta do that. Crap it all, I'm just gonna fail."
Lena laughs. "Just put your goggles and gloves on, take out your notebook, and give me the protocol. We got this."
"There's also a pre-lab assignment worth twenty percent of the lab," Kara says, like she's in trouble. "Haven't done that either, if you want to help. But like, not that you have to, just—"
"Already said I would, alright? You don't have to be nervous about asking."
"I feel like I'm taking advantage of you," she comments as she hands her manual over. "Not that I'm even clever enough to do that, but like, since you're nice."
"Luthors aren't known for being nice," Lena says, in as dark of a tone as she knows how. "At least that's what my mom always tells me. So, never thought I'd say she was right, but you can believe that if it helps you process this."
Kara rolls her eyes. "Well maybe you're not a Luthor, then. Think the mean gene missed you."
Lena nearly comments on her own adoption and how she's just half Luthor, but instead she laughs. "I think I probably picked up enough Luthor genes to carry the name, but we're getting off track. Suit up, let's get down to business."
Kara salutes her suddenly, then sing-songs, "To defeat the Huns."
Holy shit, Lena cannot handle her. This is going to be the longest night of chemistry ever.
Five hours and two minor disasters later, Kara finally says, "Oh crap, I think I get it," and Lena nearly bangs her head against the lab counter in excitement. "The first time we learned about Faraday's Law, I was like oh no, but like. It actually makes sense now."
"Nice," Lena says, and tries not to sound as exhausted as she feels. Not that she hates spending time with Kara, but teaching her chemistry is next level wild. "And we're done with the pre-lab?"
"Yep, answered all the questions and you've checked my work."
"Awesome, know what that means?"
"More science?" Kara asks, innocently enough. And thank god, no not that.
"No, food," Lena groans. "I think I could eat a whole cow, if I was allowed. Big Belly Burger?"
"Oh, you never have to ask me about food, just tell me we're going."
Half an hour later, they're seated in a booth at Lena's favorite food place and Kara's walking back to the table with a tray of food piled high enough to feed maybe six.
"Food is here," she announces as she gets seated at the table, voice lovely and full of joy.
"Can you eat all that?" Lena laughs, quirking a brow at six burgers on the tray.
"Of course," Kara huffs, and proceeds to unwrap two burgers so she can stack them and eat them both at the same time. Lena just keeps giggling, can't look away, but not sure if she's entirely not disgusted by Kara hardcore inhaling food.
"You're like a dragon or something," she comments. "Like you have a vortex stomach, holy shit."
And then she peacefully eats her one burger as she watches in amazement. Kara does manage to eat it all (including the remainder of Lena's milkshake), finishing with a triumphant welp and licking her fingers clean. Lena calmly pulls hand sanitizer from her bag and glares at Kara until she offers her hands for a squirt.
"That was kind of impressive," Lena says, staring at the empty tray. "I don't know how you have abs."
"Well, I don't know," Kara says, playfully. "I think there's a certain little lady that requires me to practice six hours a day, since she's a bit high maintenance."
"Would you rather we stopped?" Kara doesn't say any words, but she does blush a little, bites her lip and smiles around it as she shakes her head. "As I recall, this was your idea. I just wanted to peacefully read the Iliad."
"Are you saying that book is more interesting than I am?"
"Are you seriously asking me to rank you against the Iliad?" Kara frowns a little, so Lena adds, "Because you'd win hands down, obviously. Especially if you promise to teach me how to hammer throw."
"Of course I will, it's my favorite throw," Kara beams. "But can you promise to come to the frisbee party tomorrow night? It's joint hosted by both the Men's and Women's teams and they're always a little wild and a lot of fun. And I'd really love it if, I just like hanging out with you, so. It'd be cool."
"I'll think about it," Lena says. "Actually think about it."
"It's important that I dress nice," Lena says, tossing another shirt on the floor. Sam just swings her legs against Lena's bed and nods like she gets it, but she doesn't. She's not trying to impress the world's most attractive, amazing, probably-can-pull-any-girl-at-a-party woman. "I just feel like tonight might be a good night."
"Yeah, of course," Sam says. "Like you're going for sexy, but not too uncomfortable. Since we still have to navigate basically a frat party but with slightly less people. Slightly."
Right, Lena's trying to make her big move in probably the shittiest setting. But her and Kara have been hanging out for a little bit now, and they've gotten into a good joking-maybe-flirting routine. And they even—sigh—well, Kara fist bumps her and still treats her pretty bro-like, but there'll be drinks tonight. And dancing. And they can get close and Kara can touch her with her massive, massive hands. And Lena's got the whole thing planned out.
"So, a tight black dress, and—" shit, what sort of shoes should Lena wear for style and comfort? Boots probably. "Docs?"
"Yeah, sounds cute," Sam comments, hopping off Lena's bed and joining her by the closet. "Like sexy, but I'm ready to kick ass if I need to."
"Perfect, that's exactly what I'm going for."
"In case you meet a turdbag that likes to grope you? I'll wear boots too, so we can both kick him."
"Sounds good," Lena says. They should both be prepared to kick ass, that's a good plan. "And, um. Maybe I'm looking to, um—try to like, be intimate with Kara?"
"Oh," Sam says, a little shocked, but it doesn't seem like in a bad way. "Yeah, no. Totally. That's awesome. So you two are like, close?"
"I think so," Lena says. "We get along really well, and she's super easy to talk to. So, this is it, I think."
She looks over and Sam just has this weird glint in her eyes, and Lena nearly scoffs and makes a joke about it. But she realizes she's just being a bestfriend, and this is probably her supportive face. So Lena just leans against Sam until Sam hugs her instead and then they chat and eat pizza the rest of the night, and wait for the party to start.
It's dumb to be super early, so they walk over at 11:15, since it starts at 10:30. Lena awkwardly feels too young for the party, like she should be huddled in the corner with the obvious babies, since the crowd feels older than normal, but showing up with Sam Arias has its perks.
Their first stop is the bar, naturally, and Lena grabs and chugs a sugary mixed drink and then Sam makes her take two shots of Tequila (which she keeps saying she will never drink again, but she means it this time, ew) and then she spends a couple minutes looking around for Kara.
Once her buzz starts to kick in, she realizes she's wandered off and lost Sam and Kara's no where to be found. So she downs two final shots (never say never) before she braves her way into the dancing bodies.
The house is bigger than Lena thought it would be, and crowded and loud, strobe lights and deep bass fuzzying up Lena's already fuzzy mind. She feels sort of happy, blissful, like nothing could bother her, not even how hard she's sweating with her tight tight dress on.
It's her first frisbee party ever and it's a little better than frats and--god--she's fucking hazy and clumsy and having a good time. And dancing, slow-drunk and smooth, rocking her hips to the music and singing at the top of her lungs since she can barely hear her own voice.
It's sort of surreal, like she's not normally the partying type, but the energy in the house is nice and the music is good, and she doesn't even mind when she feels people touching her—like hands on her hips and her shoulders and people pressing against her as they grind through the crowd. She can tell she's maybe more drunk than she's ever been before, but she doesn't feel nervous or unsafe, or uneasy.
Which is a good thing, lets her relax fully, forget her usual anxieties, forget her usual inhibitions, forget why she even came here, so lost lost lost in the drinks and the atmosphere—
And then she's pretty sure she sees Kara in the garage-part of the party, dancing with another girl, and being tall and smiley and chatty and cute cute cute in her navy blue button down with white polkadots. Lena blinks ten times in case she's hallucinating, but no. Some girl's back is definitely pressed against Kara's front and that's not acceptable at all. She should be dancing with Lena, not her, is all Lena can think.
And then her fight or flight kicks in and she stumbles as far away from the garage as possibly, woozy and fumbly and upset.
There are so many things running through her mind along the way—fuck this dumb shit party—that everything feels even hazier than before, everyone feels like they're in the way now, everything is so hard to navigate, but she persists on anyway.
She ends up in the kitchen, on the opposite side of the house, which is nice since it's pretty much deserted and there's a lovely bottle of Scotch on the counter. She's just about to open it, when a large hand settles on top of hers, and a warm body presses up behind her.
"I haven't personally seen what you drank, but I can tell it's too much from the way you tackled everyone in the party to get here." And then Kara's poking her lovely face in front of Lena. "How about we stop here, and you come with me to dance some of this off?"
"Don't you have someone else to dance with?" Lena frowns, gripping Kara's hand around her waist anyway, though.
"I left her as soon as I saw you, didn't I?" Kara whispers into her ear.
And fuck, Lena leans back against Kara and lets her support her. "D'you invite me just to—"
"Stop stop stop stop," Kara jumps in, pulling Lena in tight and pressing her nose against her hair. "We both know why I invited you. Obviously because I want to record you drunk dancing and blackmail you with it. So c'mon."
Kara pulls her back to the people-part of the party, and then she sort of doesn't let Lena go for the rest of it, holds her tight and dances with her the rest of the night, even when she's chatting with others, even when Lena gets too dizzy and has to turn and press her face against Kara's chest, even holds her all the way home and up the stairs to her apartment.
And then Lena makes it three steps inside before she's hunching over and throwing up on the hardwood.
Vaguely, she registers Kara's concerned yelp and her feet scattering to get next to Lena, but all she can focus on is the tidal wave of nausea rolling through her stomach.
"Just breathe," Kara whispers, large hands stroking Lena's back, warm even through the material of her dress.
Lena actually throws up a second time, whimpering pathetically when she feels Kara pulling her hair back and braiding it loosely behind her back. She keeps running her fingers through it, gently sorting out the sweat-stiff tangles and taming the mess and it's the only thing Lena tries to focus on, the only thing that makes the nausea a little better and the pain a little less. She really, really tries to focus on that, and not the fact that she's about to throw up a third time.
All-in-all, it's a long ten minutes, but after the third time and a good enough lull, Lena's finally convinced nothing else is coming up. So she wipes away the tears that spilled onto her cheek and her puffy eyes and her mouth with the back of her hand. And everything about her feels disgusting and gross and she just wants to crawl in a hole and pretend she doesn't exist, because Kara saw the whole thing.
"Okay, okay, it's all over," Kara murmurs, wrapping an arm around Lena's waist and pulling her up gently. "Let's get you washed up and in bed. And I'll clean this up for you."
"I'm gross," Lena whispers.
And Kara curls around her quick, nuzzling her hair. "No, you're fine. You're just fine, okay? We're going up now, here we go."
She lifts Lena off the floor, and then she helps Lena brush her teeth, and awkwardly helps her change her clothes, and then she carefully dumps Lena into the bed so she can go clean the floor.
Lena's mostly asleep when she feels Kara climb in behind her, when she feels her curl around Lena's back and pull her in, feels her lift Lena's head so it's resting on Kara's bicep. So now Kara's nose is pressed into Lena's hair, and her strong arm is wrapped around Lena's waist, and they're breathing in sync, and Lena sort of feels like she got what she wanted after all.