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Lena Luthor: hot girl bummer

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Kara doesn’t really know how it happens.

She does know she can’t fucking stand Lena Luthor. The face of that infuriating, prissy, rich girl haunts Kara’s thoughts constantly. It’s only because she’s so annoying, Kara tells herself. Who cares if she’s hot?

Their feud is ancient, stemming back to their first year of college. Kara had accidentally spilled a drink on Lena in the dining hall, and the girl flipped out at her. Or was it because of some class debate in their first-year seminar? Or was it over a parking spot? Well, all of those things happened, but Kara really can’t remember the order anymore.

Once the feud between them was ignited, they didn’t really do anything but stoke the flames. Kara was the current superstar talent of the college’s basketball team, so classes — while she enjoyed them — were more of a suggestion for her than anything else. Basketball was her main focus. (Her cousin Clark is one of the best players currently in the game and she’s certainly bound for the pros too.)

In contrast — after multiple classes spent alongside Lena Luthor — Kara quickly learned that there was nothing more important than academics to the other girl. Lena’s serious, cold demeanor constantly rubbed her the wrong way. Kara had been unlucky enough to have a class every semester with her, much to their mutual aggravation. It was a wonder they even made it this far without any formal altercations. And even worse, they would run into each other all over campus; the library, the dining hall, the mail room, everywhere. Thankfully, the athletes had their own gym — Kara’s last sacred place left on campus. Lena Luthor’s almost daily appearance in her life brought annoyance and contempt with it every time, causing their history to blur together in one big pot of hostility.

It didn’t really matter though. One way or another, Kara and Lena had spent the past two years unable to stand each other, and their junior year was to be no different. At least this year they didn’t have any classes together. And Kara was living off campus now, so she shouldn’t see Lena around anymore.

That is the case for five glorious days, until Lena starts going to Kara’s bar, and all of a sudden Kara’s plan to avoid the shit out of Lena Luthor falls apart. (Well, it’s not Kara’s bar per se, but Al’s Dive Bar is the one good place near campus that will brush aside a fake ID, and they’re now both at it.)

“Uh oh, Kara, your favorite person just walked in,” Lucy informs her sarcastically, giving the bar entrance a look of intrigue. She nudges her elbow into Kara’s side, but Kara too has already locked onto the intruder. 

Kara can’t believe her eyes. There, standing in the entryway of Al’s with her entourage of pretentious assholes in tow, is Lena fucking Luthor. 

Kara has never been more grateful that she chose to wear her best outfit tonight — a red-and-blue striped silk shirt unbuttoned halfway, with a black racerback underneath, and black jeans held up by a gold-accented belt that matches her signature gold crest necklace. She looks hot, and she knows it. It’s important to look good when dealing with someone as annoying and perfect as Lena Luthor.

“Wonderful,” Alex sighs at Kara’s frown. She and Maggie were sitting across the booth with their backs to the door, but they both knew exactly who that tight-lipped frown was reserved for. 

All four of them — Kara, Alex, Maggie, and Lucy — played together on the college’s basketball team. As teammates, they played hard and they partied hard. Al’s Dive Bar had quickly bought their loyalty with it’s lax ID policy and they had gone every weekend religiously for over two years, to the point where the booth they currently occupied was left alone by other bar patrons. It was their own late-night utopia. Until tonight.

“Let it go,” Alex warns. Kara’s face morphs in her classic pout, but she relents to Alex’s better judgment.

“How about another round?” Maggie suggests, moving her head into Kara’s line of sight. “Little Danvers?” Lena disappears from view.

“Sounds good,” Kara half-asses a response, feeling annoyed already.

It’s fine for awhile. Kara enjoys the evening — chatting and joking around with her friends. James and Mike come late, having pregamed with their basketball team at some random apartment. Winn, their mutual friend (who daylights as the student sports announcer for the basketball games), is with them also. 

The night goes by quickly. Winn and Kara get into plenty of trouble poking fun at James, with Lucy egging them on excitedly. When James finally has enough, he steers Lucy to the dance floor as an alternative outlet for her energy. Winn and Mike leave next to meet up with Imra, Mike’s girlfriend, in the mutual pursuit of food. Last is Alex and Maggie; when they start making bedroom eyes at each other, Kara excuses herself to the bathroom.

Kara’s been to Al’s a thousand times. She could find her way to the bathroom even if blackout drunk with her eyes closed (which she had admittedly done more than once), so tonight’s walk over is completely mindless. Kara quickly does what she needs to do in the single-stall bathroom, ready to get back to the energizing thrum of the populated bar. She’s drunk but not that drunk; still able to focus on her reflection in the mirror over the sink, but her mind is already zoned-out wondering where tonight’s least favorite bar patron has ended up — only to get an abrupt answer as she leaves the bathroom.

“Danvers,” an all too familiar voice greets her curtly.

The music is blaring so loudly that Kara can feel it vibrate in her ribcage, but the voice still comes through clear as ice. Her body was all too warm already, and her new company does absolutely nothing to abate that. Kara’s drunk eyes refocus on the only other person standing in the dim bar hallway; Lena Luthor is there, drink in hand and an unimpressed expression on her face. She’s wearing tall heels that actually put her up right at Kara’s height, along with a short and tight green dress so breathtaking it should be criminal, but Kara would sooner exile herself from her favorite bar than admit that. 

“Luthor,” Kara replies. 

Lena’s eyes flit over Kara’s figure, and Kara can already see the cogs turning inside her head.

“You know, they make something to keep shirts closed,” Lena tells her, “They’re called buttons.”

“And deprive the world of this?” Kara gestures down at her body. She knew her shirt was unbuttoned far enough to allow a peek of her abs underneath. “That would practically be a crime.”

Lena rolls her eyes.

“You have a very high opinion of yourself,” Lena deadpans.

“I thought that was the one thing we had in common?” Kara goads, winking.

Lena’s face scrunches up in disdain and (for the briefest of seconds) drunk Kara wants to kiss that wrinkled nose. “Obviously not. I guess you didn’t get into college on academics.”

“I don’t really need to,” Kara says. “Perks of being a superstar athlete.”

Lena gulps as Kara steps into her personal space, the edge of Kara’s shirt brushing against the hand Lena’s has death-gripped around her drink. “But I’m glad you’re putting that big head to good use, Luthor.”

“At least I have a brain inside my big head, Danvers,” Lena snaps back.

“That’s not the only thing I have that’s big.”

Kara didn’t even feel the words assemble in her brain, yet there they were, already out of her mouth and on their way to wreck her life.

A minute passes before Lena responds and Kara feels ready to die sixty times over. She can see Lena sucking on her teeth in … annoyance?

“Is that right?” Lena finally says, and Kara can’t make out what tone laces her voice. Maybe she thinks Kara meant her ego? (She did not — the sound of sex in Kara’s voice was too heavy to ignore or misconstrue.)

“Yeah,” Kara says, again without thinking. “It’s a shame I can’t stand you or else you’d already know that.”

Fuck.

Did she, Kara Danvers, just admit to Lena Luthor (of all people) that she would sleep with her if given the chance?

Fuck.

Kara needs to stop talking. Immediately. Her face flushes bright red with the honesty of her last admission. Kara utters a silent prayer that she’s drunk enough that the alcohol has already made her face red enough for her blush to be hidden.

“You are so arrogant,” Lena scoffs at Kara.

Desperate for more space between her and her worst compulsions, Kara steps back to lean against the wall, no longer intruding into Lena’s space. Not that it helps much. The air between them is so thick and hot, and Kara can’t remember the last time she breathed.

“I’d rather be arrogant than cold,” Kara says nonchalantly, sliding a hand into her pants pocket.

Something in her words ignites a fire in Lena’s eyes.

“I’m. Not. Cold,” Lena says, slow and defiant, but there’s a flicker of doubt in her voice that Kara almost misses.

“Sure,” Kara gives her a strong look of disbelief.

“You know what—” Lena starts.

“—what?” Kara cuts her off.

They stand there, only a few feet apart in the dim bar hallway, sweaty and flushed and glaring a hole into the other’s head. Frustration radiates off both of them, colliding together in a cosmic-level implosion. It must be at least a thousand degrees inside. Lena doesn’t move, but she looks ready to spit out another insult at any moment.

But it never comes.

It takes Kara a moment to process what is happening. But there is no misinterpreting it.

Lena Luthor is kissing her.

Without a second thought, Kara pushes her lips back against Lena’s dark red ones. She places a strong hand — strengthened by years of basketball and lifting — on Lena’s hip and forces her back up against the wall. Kara’s other forearm rests on the wall to the side of Lena’s head, while Lena’s hands snake through her hair.

Kara can’t get enough of it — of her. She can’t tear herself away from Lena’s soft, warm lips. They continue to make out in the dark corner of the bar hallway, not stopping even as people walk close by to rotate in and out of the bathrooms.

Kara moves her lips down to Lena’s neck and she is rewarded with the most delicious moan. It becomes her new favorite game, listening and feeling how Lena squirms under her mouth and tongue.

“Want to get out of here?” Kara mumbles into Lena’s neck. It’s a decision made 100% by the throbbing in Kara’s tight pants — one she will look back on the next morning with disbelief.

“Yes …” Lena trails off, apparently lacking the fortitude to admit anything further.

Kara bites at the soft skin under her ear.

“Kara—” Lena gasps, setting a firm hand on the blonde’s shoulder.

“Hmm?”

She pushes Kara away slightly, and Kara brings her head up to determine the cause of the interruption.

“Let’s go. Where to?” Lena asks breathlessly.

Kara’s eyes quickly flit over to the bathroom doors, then back at Lena. Lena seems to read her mind. “Absolutely not. We’re not fucking in a dive bar bathroom.”

“My apartment is a few blocks away,” Kara offers, then quickly grimaces at the memory that Maggie’s apartment’s AC broke yesterday. “Wait, shit, no. Alex and her girlfriend will be there.”

Lena either already knows who Alex is or doesn’t care enough to ask. “Fine, my place.”

“Are we walking?” Kara asks. It’s not lost on her that Lena’s wearing heels.

“I already ordered a ride-share,” Lena responds. “They should be here soon.”

Kara nods, then frowns slightly. “We can’t go out the front door.” The implication in her voice is clear: because my friends can’t see me leave with you.  She knows Alex and Maggie are likely still sitting in their booth, and they would see Kara and Lena leave together — if Alex would even let Kara get that far without yanking her away and scolding her for hooking up with her long-time adversary.

Lena nods in agreement. Kara vaguely remembers Lena came with friends tonight too.

“There’s a side door out to the pavilion,” Kara says, “We can hop the fence.”

Lena raises a defiant eyebrow. Lena’s stunningly high heels pop back into Kara’s mind again.

“It’s like three feet tall,” Kara squints at her.

Lena huffs. “Fine.” It’s not like they really have another alternative.

The ride-share arrives before they can resume making out, and they get over the pavilion fence just fine. Except that Lena’s dress rides up very high on her thigh as she mounts the railing, and Kara’s grateful that her hands are currently occupied helping Lena over the fence, lest they wander elsewhere. Kara can’t get that image out of her head the rest of the drive, enraptured by how the skin of Lena’s thigh glowed enticingly under the streetlights, even as she’s aggressively making out with her in the backseat.

The driver coughs loudly to let them know the ride has concluded.

“Thanks,” Kara says, extending a few crumpled dollar bills over the driver’s shoulder.

“Have a nice night,” he says neutrally, accepting the tip.

Kara’s not sure if she should hold Lena’s hand or not, but the other woman is sort of wobbling in her heels so she does it anyways.

“How drunk are you?” Kara asks.

“Probably not drunk enough for this,” Lena replies. Kara’s fairly drunk but it’s immediately noticeable just how luxurious Lena’s apartment is. There’s a doorman, a large crystal chandelier, and a myriad of well-dressed employees trying too hard not to look over at the drunken pair.

They make out in the elevator and they make out in the hallway and they make out against Lena’s front door. Lena fumbles with her key in the lock until it finally clicks. Kara barely remembers to close and lock the door behind her, her hands way too full of a lovely distraction. 

“Bedroom?” Kara asks.

“Back and to the right,” Lena mutters her answer directly into Kara’s mouth.

Everything is dark but between the moonlight and the city lights pouring in through the windows there’s enough visibility to work with, so no one stubs a toe. Kara vaguely notes how large the apartment is and how expensive everything looks, but she doesn’t really care. There are more important things to do than inspect Lena’s apartment decor.

Lena’s bedroom is clean and spacious with a large bed centered along the back wall. The fact that Lena’s bed isn’t tucked into a corner like Kara’s is makes the blonde feel a bit like a hot mess. But considering she’s currently making out with her long-standing enemy, she lacks any defense to not call herself a hot mess.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Kara asks gently as Lena quickly unbuttons her shirt. There’s not that many buttons left to undo, so Kara quickly finds herself shirtless. Lena’s only answer is to suck on Kara’s neck.

“Lena,” Kara repeats, dropping her hands to her sides passively. Lena seems to detect Kara won’t go any further until she speaks.

“Yes,” Lena says. “I want this.”

“Great. Let me know if you change your mind,” Kara smiles, capturing Lena’s lips in a deep kiss. Kara vaguely wonders how much of Lena’s dark lipstick is smeared across her face now.

What comes next is a whirlwind.

“We need to set some rules,” Lena says. Kara’s already got her out of her dress, tossing it back over her shoulder. It’s funny, without her heels on, Lena’s now a few inches shorter than Kara, who enjoys the newfound height difference.

“Okay,” Kara agrees, moving them both towards the bed. The back of Lena’s knees hit the mattress and they both fall back onto the bed. Lena wiggles up underneath Kara, who’s currently holding her weight off the other woman. Kara can only guess how hot her arms look while doing it (really hot).

One look at Lena’s bare chest sends Kara’s heart racing. Lena Luthor is gorgeous

“You can’t spend the ni-night,” Lena says. Kara sucks gently on her nipple, causing Lena’s voice to hitch.

“Okay,” Kara agrees, before going back to her task.

Thanks to an exceptional ability to multitask, Kara has Lena fully naked already.

“No one can know,” Lena states.

“Fine by me,” Kara agrees vehemently. Her friends would never let her live this down, and honestly, Kara’s not sure she’s going to let herself live it down either.

“Take your pants off,” Lena orders. A pleasurable chill runs down Kara’s spine, and she obeys without hesitation. One more layer from Kara and they’ll both be completely naked.

“These too,” Lena tugs on the waistband of Kara’s boyshorts. It’s gone in an instant. Kara silently pats herself on her back for how well her athleticism translates into the bedroom.

Kara kisses her neck for a bit before moving back up to Lena’s chest, kisses alternating between teasingly soft-and-light to firm-and-rough. At the same time, her hand works it’s way up Lena’s thigh until she finds what she’s looking for. Lena is so warm and wet and tight — for Kara, of all people.

Kara slides one finger inside and then another, feeling Lena clench around her. She feels like slick velvet and Kara can’t resist as she works her fingers in deeper. The noises Lena makes and the nails scratching down Kara’s back tell her Lena quite likes the spots she’s hitting.

“Do you want to stay at two or do you want three?” Kara asks with a devilish smile.

“Two,” Lena says. Kara respects the answer without a second thought, changing her hand position so her fingers curl in towards Lena’s navel, hitting a particularly pleasurable spot inside. It doesn’t take long for Kara to get what she wants — a moaning Lena Luthor coming into her palm.

“Wow, already?” Kara teases.

“Shut up, Danvers,” Lena orders. Kara does just that, sinking her lips into the junction between Lena’s thighs. 

“Fuck,” Lena gasps. Kara smiles into the warm, wet lips. She knows she’s good at this (plenty of practice), and now Lena will know how good she is too.

Kara manages to draw two more orgasms out of Lena — one with her smartass mouth and another with her fingers. Kara comes along with Lena on her last orgasm, the blonde with a hand on Lena’s clit as well as her own. When it’s all said and done, Kara flops down on the bed next to Lena: a sweaty, breathless, satisfied mess.

Well, hate sex really is something.

“That was …” Lena trails off, breathless.

“Amazing? I know,” Kara substitutes. 

Lena doesn’t bother to correct her, which Kara counts as a victory. Kara would never admit it, but a part of her was surprised just how good the sex really was. They moved well against each other as their mutual hatred brought an invigorating heat of passion with it. And there was no denying it, Lena Luthor was the hottest person Kara had ever seen.

“You can’t … stay over,” Lena says while she recovers her breath.

“I don’t want to,” Kara spits, but the sex has drained the animosity from her voice. She gets up and starts looking for her pants. “Bathroom?”

“On your way out, on your left, by the kitchen,” Lena says.

“Thanks.”

“This isn’t happening again,” Lena states, but the tremble of doubt in her voice leaves Kara’s mind plenty to play with.

Kara laughs as she tosses her shirt back on over her shoulders. She doesn’t turn around but does raise a hand up in goodbye as she walks out of the bedroom. “See you next weekend, Luthor.” 

“Fuck you, Danvers!” Lena yells half-heartedly after her.

“Fuck you, too!”


They don’t even make it to next weekend. 

It’s now almost twenty-four hours later, and once again, Kara Danvers is in bed with Lena Luthor.

“I thought we weren’t hooking up again?” Kara gives her a cocky grin.

“This isn’t hooking up,” Lena says, “This is me making a poor decision twice.”

“A poor decision?” Kara feigns hurt. As if there was anything Lena Luthor could say that could actually hurt her, a woman of steel.

“A terrible decision, really,” Lena corrects herself. She looks ready to say something else, but Kara’s fingers are now inside her and Kara brushes against a spot that makes Lena gasp.

“Good?” Kara asks, concern etched into her face.

“Do that again,” Lena demands.

Kara obliges. She’s able to pull two orgasms out of Lena that night before she herself comes.

“Have you ever done this before?” Kara asks. She’s on her back now lying next to Lena, staring up at the tall ceiling.

“Sex?” Lena looks over at Kara like she’s the daftest person to walk the planet. “Yes.”

“No, I meant hook-ups,” Kara says, turning to meet Lena’s eyes. It’s in this moment — where Kara’s a little bit too sober — that she realizes: Lena Luthor has the most enchanting forest-green eyes. She has a few bright green flecks in by the pupil, and a dark ring around the edge of the iris that reminds Kara of the soothing teal color of the lake by her childhood home. The thought bothers Kara for some reason, so she turns her sights back to the ceiling.

Lena takes a minute to respond. “Not really,” she admits quietly, not meeting Kara’s eyes. “Not … outside a relationship.”

For a second, Lena looks so unsure and vulnerable that the steel wall around Kara’s heart falters for a second. “It’s okay if you haven’t,” Kara assures, “It’s not a big deal.”

“I know it’s not.” Lena's voice is icy and Kara doesn’t believe her.

“So Luthor, would you say you’ve been thoroughly satisfied?” Kara tries to lighten the mood.

“I can’t stand you,” Lena tells her in a very believable tone. Kara’s steel walls slide back up instantly.

“Well, you can stand me a little …” Kara points out, running a teasing hand up Lena’s inner thigh.

“Fuck you, Danvers,” Lena mumbles into Kara’s lips.

“Maybe later,” Kara winks. “If you’re nice.”

She leaves soon after that.


Lena feels like a pressurized bottle of carbon dioxide about to explode. Jack and Andrea had been driving her up a wall all night. This whole situation is their fault. Last weekend — the first weekend of the school year — they had finally hounded Lena into going out to a bar. Jack had even gone so far as to procure a fake ID for her. Lena begrudgingly agreed, even though she would have much rather spent the evening in her home office, pouring over her latest side project.

. . . . . . .

“Lena, you’ve been in National City for college for two whole years, and you’re never once stepped foot in a bar,” Jack complained, lounging across the foot of Lena’s bed.

“Really, though,” Andrea agreed, tossing a few dresses out of Lena’s closet onto the bed. “It’s a shame.”

“I prefer to spend my time being more productive,” Lena defended herself.

“Please,” Jack rolled his eyes. “You could use a break. You’re so wound up all the time.”

“I am not!” Lena objected, and Jack gestured out in front of him like she had just settled the argument for him.

“When’s the last time you got laid?” Andrea yelled from the closet.

Lena flushed bright red. “Um--”

“No!” Jack slapped the bed dramatically. “Not since Sam? That’s it. We’re going out. It’s an intervention. You need to get laid. No objections.”

Lena opened her mouth to argue, but Andrea appeared out of nowhere and shoved a black dress into her hands. “Try it on,” Andrea ordered. “Now.”

Lena sighed, knowing it was no use. She couldn't defend against their united front. “Fine,” she exhaled in annoyance.

“Green dress next, please,” Andrea said, plopping down next to Jack.

. . . . . . .

And that very ‘intervention’ was what led her to end her first weekend of the semester in bed (twice) with her long-standing rival: Kara Danvers. Kara Danvers and the incredible, mind-blowing, amazing sex.

Lena doesn’t want to admit it, but it was by far the best sex she had ever had. No offense to her brief high-school trysts, Jack, or Sam — but none of them could hold a flame to Kara fucking Danvers. She’s indescribably good in bed. Lena wants to roll her eyes at the very admission, but here she is, once again in the seedy dive bar that she now knows Kara frequents on the regular.

Lena’s dressed to the nines in a tight red cocktail dress and heels (not having learned her lesson last time, despite her feet protesting) and she knows she looks hot as hell. Now she just needs Kara to fall into her trap. A trap set simply because she’d like another orgasm, that’s all there is to it. Kara just happens to be able to supply it.

As was to be expected, Kara’s friends and teammates were already there. They are just as loud and obnoxious and boisterous as last time. It’s impossible to find a corner of the bar where Lena can’t hear them laughing or yelling.

“Quite a rowdy group, aren’t they,” Jack muses over his beer, glaring at Kara and her friends. “Hot, though.”

Lena swallows roughly. Jack and Andrea still don’t know who it was exactly that left those hickeys on Lena's neck. Thankfully, they were both just excited she actually got laid that they willingly let her suitor’s identity stay a mystery. 

Kara aside, Lena can’t help but have a kindred agreement with Jack. “You’d think they would have something better to do than … toss quarters at a glass …?” She can’t believe she’s actually going to try and get Kara Danvers — who currently has beer running down her chin — into her bed, for the third time.

Her little red dress does the trick perfectly. At some point, Lena goes to grab another drink from the bar, and all of a sudden Kara’s body is pressed shoulder-to-shoulder with her own. Kara’s in a similar outfit as last time, except her shirt is now a tight sleeveless turtleneck that makes Lena want to throw herself at those strong, muscular arms.

“Danvers,” Lena greets, her voice thick and enticing. Let it be known; she may be a huge nerd underneath, but Lena Luthor knows how to play the coy flirt.

“Luthor,” Kara says, turning her chest in towards Lena but keeping her head straight ahead.

“Fancy seeing you here,” Lena says.

“Is it?” Kara asks skeptically. “This is my usual spot; we’ve been coming here for years. You on the other hand …”

“I enjoy the atmosphere,” Lena states, like it’s a simple, common fact.

“Oh sure, the atmosphere,” Kara says sarcastically. “Anything else here you enjoy?”

“Certainly not a particular group of rowdy patrons,” Lena spits.

“At least we know how to have fun,” Kara defends.

“I’m sure you’ll have plenty of fun  tonight then,” Lena says, as she pushes her ass against Kara’s thigh. Her dress is incredibly tight and Lena knows Kara will enjoy the feeling of nothing but that thin layer of fabric separating them.

“I, uh—” Kara stammers. “Yep.” Lena can practically hear Kara’s whole body go stiff.

“Well spoken,” Lena tone is beyond amused. Kara is so predictable. But Lena is glad for it; she likes how easily she can read Kara. If she couldn’t, her inner need for control likely would have ended whatever this was immediately.

“You look really nice tonight,” Kara says, eyes flitting over Lena’s form. The genuine appreciation in her tone makes Lena’s gut twist a little, but she quickly shoves the feeling aside.

“Well, if you decide you need to seek out some better entertainment  tonight, I’m sure you can figure something out,” Lena states. It’s a clear preposition, but not so obvious that she would be throwing herself at Kara’s feet.

Kara gulps hard. “Let me know when you want to leave,” she says, voice deepened by lust. Or was it desperation? It’s really that easy, Lena tells herself, mentally patting herself on the back.

A short ride-share takes them back to Lena’s apartment. Lena never has anyone besides Jack and Andrea over (and that’s rare), let alone a hookup, but she would much rather contend with Kara in her apartment for a few hours than have to deal with Kara’s roommates or even fuck in a bathroom. A part of her is annoyed over having Kara intruding into her personal space once more, but that seems to be the price to pay to get Kara to, well, intrude into her space.

“You look gorgeous in red,” Kara says, her eyes raking over Lena’s naked form before they shut again. Kara captures Lena’s lips in a kiss, her tongue running across Lena’s bottom lip.

“I hate your friends,” Lena gasps into Kara’s mouth. She doesn’t know why she says it. She’s still annoyed at how loud and obnoxious they were at the bar earlier, that must be it. Kara’s only spared her ire because she has something Lena wants.

“Yeah, they hate you too,” Kara says nonchalantly into Lena’s neck. The words ricochet off Lena's impenetrable Luthor armor. Why would she care what Kara’s annoying, rowdy friends think of her? They would hardly be the first people to think of her with disdain. Lena has learned to tune it out years ago. A survival technique.

Kara’s already inside of her and Lena can’t help but marvel at how immediately her body responds to Kara. She tells herself it’s just because they can’t stand each other and emotions are already high; it’s easy for the brain to attribute her horniness and her annoyance to the same source. And maybe it’s also a bit due to the fact Kara Danvers is the hottest person Lena’s ever seen — with her juicy, thick biceps, chiseled abs, and soft, blonde hair that Lena wants to run her fingers though all night. And as Kara brings her to the edge, she does just that.

“I’m going to have the worst sex hair when I leave,” Kara chuckles.

“Surely a small price to pay,” Lena says.

“I’ll survive,” Kara says. She smiles at Lena. Kara’s smile is always so warm and welcoming, even when it’s followed by some teasing comment. Lena wonders how; is she really that happy and genuine all the time?

Lena doesn’t even have to remind Kara of the rules of their arrangement this time — the other woman is already on her feet searching for her clothes. The bed is noticeably cooler without Kara in it; she’s almost some sort of human furnace.

“If we’re going to end up doing this every weekend, you might as well give me your phone number,” Kara says, tossing her phone onto Lena’s bed while she pulls her pants back on. Lena sits up from the sheets to grab it, her top half exposed to Kara’s delighted gaze.

“Seriously?” Lena gives her an annoyed look.

“It makes more sense,” Kara argues, “If we’re not in the same place and you want to hookup, then you can reach me.”

“And what makes you think I’d want to hookup with you again?” Lena raises an eyebrow. Kara’s got an excellent point, but Lena doesn’t want to concede that easily.

Kara squints her eyes and gives her a confident smile as she raises her hand up in a taunting gesture. “The impressive amount of cum on my hand?”

Lena rolls her eyes but relents. “Fine.” No one has made her come like Kara, and it’s a solid argument in Kara’s favor. She quickly taps Kara’s phone screen in a calculated series.

“Don’t save it as my name, that’s hardly subtle,” Lena tells her, handing the device back.

Kara frowns, staring intensely at Lena’s unsaved number in her phone. “What do you want me to save it as then?”

“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” Lena quips. “Now, go … please.”

(It’s not until Kara’s sitting in the passenger seat of the ride-share Lena ordered for her, the radio playing some catchy hookup song, that she finally thinks of what to save Lena’s number as. The memory of Lena’s annoyed expression and fantastic ass in tonight’s blood red dress echoes around Kara’s mind. It really was a shame they couldn’t stand each other; Lena Luthor was so fucking hot. What a bummer.)

A hot girl bummer.


It’s another fun weekend spent at Al’s. They’re a few weeks into the semester and there’s a hint of chill in the air. But Kara -- not one to mess with success -- has opted for a pair of tight jeans and yet another silk button-up, more or less actually buttoned-up. Her and her friends have already been at Al’s for a while, but the night is still young and Kara’s cup is still very much full.

Suddenly, Kara’s phone vibrates violently in her back pocket. She whips it out immediately. Considering all her friends are right beside her, there’s only one other person who would be messaging her this late at night.

hot girl bummer: Come over tonight.

It’s not worded like a question but Kara knows it is one, so she goes to type a confirmation only for her phone to be yanked out of her hands. 

“Hey!” She whips over to see Lucy standing by the side, gawking at her with her phone.

“Who’s ‘hot girl bummer’ Kara?” Lucy teases. “And why does she want you to come over tonight?”

“Give it back,” Kara pouts. She quickly reaches for the phone, only for Lucy to hand it off to Maggie, who is way out of Kara’s arm span.

Kara’s face pales as she realizes who’s standing right behind Lucy and Maggie, ordering a drink at the bar. That silky, raven hair is unique to only one woman. Lena Luthor, her hot girl bummer.

“Ooh,” Maggie teases, “Little Danvers, do you have a fuck buddy?”

Kara can feel the red heat spreading up her neck and across her cheeks. There’s no way Lena hasn’t overheard the conversation, with her friends’ alcohol-induced shouting doing Kara little favors.

“It’s just a casual thing,” Kara mumbles an excuse.

Alex rescues the phone and hands it back to Kara. “Be careful, Kara,” Alex warns. Behind her, Lena’s head turns almost imperceptibly to the side, but it’s enough for Kara to notice. Fuck, Lena did hear everything.

“It’s fine, Alex,” Kara whines, “It’s just a hookup.”

“Clearly, if this mystery girl doesn’t even get a name,” Lucy says. 

Kara gives her a dirty look. “Just because you’re my best friend doesn’t mean I won’t …” Kara trails off, realizing no threat she could make would possibly faze Lucy. Maggie and Lucy are currently looking amusedly at her, almost in a conspiratory way. They both look way too intrigued about this new development in her personal life.

“It’s not like you to keep your hookups a secret, Little Danvers,” Maggie squints at her.

“Who is this girl; why doesn’t she get a real name?” Lucy wonders smugly.

“If we can guess who it is, will you tell us?” Maggie asks.

“No.” Kara's steely tone ends the conversation there.

Despite the fact her friends spend the rest of the night looking at her like she’s the most interesting thing around, Kara has a great night. It’s by-and-all a typical fun night out in National City. And by two in the morning, she’s successfully made her way into Lena Luthor’s bed without trouble.

“You saved my number as ‘hot girl bummer ’?” Lena raises an eyebrow, and there’s an incredulous hint to her voice. Kara can’t tell if she’s about to laugh or rip Kara’s throat out. The latter would be quite the disappointment, considering Lena clearly prepared for Kara’s visit — she’s wearing a racy black lace set that makes Kara’s blood burn.

“I needed something vague,” Kara quickly explains, yanking her own shirt off. Her pants are already off somewhere. “My friends would’ve figured it out if I put something simple like ‘L’ or ‘LL’.”

“Fine,” Lena sighs in exasperation. “Now do what you came to do.”

Kara breaks out into a smile of relief and quickly flips them over. She goes right for the spot behind Lena’s ear that drives her wild.

“What do you want tonight?” Kara asks.

Lena gasps underneath her. “Nightstand, bottom drawer.”

Kara leans over to pull it open. It takes her a minute, since all the furniture in Lena’s apartment is expensive and minimalist and apparently that means the handles can’t be in obvious places. But once Kara’s got the drawer open, she can make out the figures of a small bottle and a not-so-small strap-on.

Well, this night just got a little extra exciting.

Kara spends the next hour fucking Lena into her mattress — once missionary, to adjust to the strap, and once on all fours. She feels like she could go all night, the countless glute bridges in her workouts pairing well with her stamina. There’s something about having Lena’s face pressed down into the mattress and her ass waiting in the air that drives Kara absolutely feral.

Five orgasms later — three for Lena and two for Kara — and they’re both lying facing each other under the sheets. They stay there for a bit longer than the time it takes to catch their breath.

“I have to ask,” Lena says coyly, tracing a circle over her own thigh. “Why ‘hot girl bummer’?”

Kara exhales to give herself a moment to collect her thoughts. “Well, you’re really hot,” she supplies, “And I don’t know, we couldn’t stand each other and I just kind of thought it was a bummer.”

Kara bites her lip upon realizing her use of the past tense, but to her relief, Lena doesn’t correct her.

“A bummer indeed,” Lena agrees. “I find our current arrangement much more … suitable.” Lena stretches her legs out under the covers and Kara can feel the impossibly soft skin brush against her own.

Kara turns back to smile at Lena. “I like it too.” It’s such a soft and tender moment in time. Kara’s stomach flips and she doesn’t know why but it feels like the air just vanished from the room.

Lena hums appreciatively. She shifts up onto her forearm, and Kara thinks she’s about to lean in for another kiss, but her lips never come.

“You should go,” Lena says softly, “It’s getting late.”

Kara forces herself to inhale deeply. “Yeah, you’re right.” She finds her clothes quickly, putting them back on without her usual haste. For the first time, it’s a bit hard to leave.  

“Goodnight, Lena,” Kara says a little too tenderly, and exits before she can hear Lena’s response.


 

Chapter Text


Kara Danvers has a certain well-known reputation around campus, and the sex drive to match. Being the superstar talent of the basketball team with a smile that could make ice melt means she has many options for her affections, usually. But after a few hookups with none other than Lena Luthor, she finds that her desire now has one singular focus. After a particularly vibrant sex dream involving the woman in question, Kara wakes to find herself covered in sweat and undeniably horny. It’s only 1:00 AM on a Monday night, so against what should be her better judgment, Kara pulls out her phone and shoots Lena a text:

you up?

There’s no response for a few minutes, so Kara lays back down, phone still in hand. Suddenly, it vibrates and Kara jumps upright to read the response.

hot girl bummer: Yes. What do you want?

want to come over?

hot girl bummer: No, that would be against the rules.

remind me again what the rules are? I lost track

(Kara’s never had such a meticulously planned hookup arrangement before, but considering how those other ones ended … she’s content to try it this way.) Lena’s reply comes a few minutes later.

hot girl bummer:

1. No spending the night

2. No one can know

3. No sober hookups

4. No weeknight hookups

5. Absolutely no feelings

Kara sighs as she begins to type a response. Looks like she would be on her own for the next few days.

5. won’t be an issue

3. is fine but no hookups if either of us is too drunk to consent

4. lame and you should reconsider

hot girl bummer: Good, agreed, and no.

I do some of my best work on weeknights 

hot girl bummer: Not happening.

It happens only a few days later.

. . . . . . . .

“What are you doing?” A loud male voice rung out from the entryway of Lena’s apartment.

“Studying,” Lena deadpanned, not dignifying the interruption with so much as a glance. “You know Jack, I really regret giving you my spare key.”

Jack made a beeline right for her desk, already knowing where to find her. He’s done this way too many times already.

“No, you don’t,” Jack said. “Who else would force you to have fun?”

“I don’t need to have fun, Jack,” Lena said. She pushed his hand off her book and flipped to the next page. “I need to finish this assignment.”

Jack scoffed, peering over her shoulder. “What is this for? Wait, Lena -- this is our robotics homework! This isn’t due until next week.”

“I’m doing it now,” Lena stated.

“No, you’re not,” Jack quickly yanked the book out from under her, holding it high above his head.

Lena glared at him. “Jack, give it back. Now.”

Jack just smiled down smugly at her.

“Thirsty Thursday,” Jack said, leaning in towards her. “We’re going. Now.”

Lena leaned back in her chair. “No.”

“Yes,” Jack said.

“No.”

“What will it take to get you to say yes?”

Lena sucked on her lip, deep in thought. “Where are we going for happy hour?”

“It’s not ‘happy hour’, Lena, five o’clock is long gone --  it’s Thirsty Thursday! And we’re going to Al’s,” Jack grinned like a cat bringing home a kill.

Lena just sighed, letting the air carry out whatever butterflies might’ve just stirred in her stomach. “Why are we going to that forsaken place?”

“You like Al’s!” Jack complained, “We go there every Friday.”

“I tolerate it.” Lena crossed her arms over her chest.

“Will is working tonight,” Jack confessed. “Please, Lena, for me?” He was practically begging her, his dark brown puppy-dog eyes at maximum strength.

Lena arched an eyebrow. “Oh, I see now. And who is Will?”

Jack gave her a sheepish look. “Will is the bartender at Al’s. Andrea introduced me to him, apparently they were ‘mates in primary’ back in London, whatever that means.”

“Fine,” Lena relented, smiling softly at him. “But only because you seem genuinely smitten. And you’re not allowed to pester me about my … late night endeavors for the rest of the year.”

“The rest of the week,” Jack negotiated.

“Six months.”

“Two weeks.”

“One month.”

“Deal. Thank you!” Jack’s thick arms wrapped around her in a bear hug.

. . . . . . . .

Al’s isn’t packed to the brim like Lena knew it would be on the following day, but there’s still a substantial crowd for a Thursday night. While Jack busies himself flirting with the bartender William, Lena remembers she searches the crowd for a particular face. A few hours go by without luck and Lena feels like a fool for even trying. Then sure enough, a set of sky blue eyes find her from across the room.

There she is.

The rest of the night is almost painfully predictable, Lena’s rules be damned.

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” Lena says, grabbing her drink and wandering off to the dark corner now occupied by one flannel-wearing pain in Lena’s ass.

“Danvers,” Lena greets. What would have once been said with enmity is now spoken with benign familiarity.

“Luthor,” Kara says, giving her a dry smile over the rim of her beer.

Kara’s mild hostility doesn’t deter Lena, as she contributes it to the presence of three of Kara’s friends loudly throwing darts nearby.

“Seeing how my date is currently … indisposed, any chance you’d like to join me for a drink?” Lena gives her a suggestive look. Fuck it. She’s sort of drunk and could use the stress relief after a long week.

“Look, I have no interest being your side piece,” Kara’s sharp tone catches Lena by surprise.

“Side piece?”

“I heard you had a man,” Kara bites. So the hostility wasn’t just for show.

Lena arches an eyebrow so high it threatens to disappear into her hairline.

“The guy who’s always with you,” Kara elaborates. Kara’s eyes dart over to where Jack is sitting at the bar, roaring with laughter while William smiles at him, mixing a drink.

Lena laughs in her face. “That’s Jack and he’s harmless. We’re just friends.”

“I thought you guys used to date,” Kara says, eying Lena skeptically. “People don’t really stay friends with their exes, in my experience.”

“Yes, until I realized I didn’t like men,” Lena states. “Things between Jack and I are strictly platonic.”

“Oh.” Kara has the decency to look a bit bashful. “Then does your offer still stand?”

“It does.”

“I’m down then,” she says. “But we’re doing shots!” Kara already looks thrilled by the idea.

“Will your friends notice your absence?” Lena asks. She eyes the three familiar people one woman and two guys loudly laughing over by the dartboards.

“They won’t care,” Kara dismisses. “James and Lucy are about ready to jump each other’s bones, and Mike’s already trashed. He doesn’t have class on Fridays.”

“And they won’t think it odd, to see us taking shots together?”

“Nah,” Kara shrugs, “I’m kind of known for taking shots with just about anyone.”

“Well then,” Lena says, “Shall we?”

“I hope you like tequila!” Kara smiles so brightly Lena almost doesn’t process the end of her sentence. It takes a minute, but her blood runs cold. Of course Kara likes tequila the bane of Lena’s existence. Her stomach twists and protests at the very suggestion.

Lena flat out refuses the tequila, instead opting for a good scotch. Kara looks slightly disappointed, but takes it in stride. 

“You still have to take it as a shot,” Kara says.

“Danvers, no one uses a good scotch for a

I don’t care, you have to have the fun of taking the shot!”

“Fine,” Lena relents, signaling the bartender (not William, but an older, bald man) to go ahead with the pour.

“Thanks, Al,” Kara smiles, taking a hold of the two shots before handing Lena hers.

“Anything for you, kid,” the man says before walking away to another customer. Lena notes the familiarity and the nickname but says nothing. It’s an interesting tidbit for later.

They quickly clink glasses and toss them back. The scotch burns Lena’s throat in a delicious way. Kara coughs a bit after hers, her face turning red.

“Wooh!” Kara exclaims.

Lena just blinks rapidly and shakes her head. “Oh,” she says hoarsely.

“Ready for another?” Kara asks, a playful smile back on her face already.

And that’s how Lena ends up going home with Kara Danvers on a fucking Thursday night.

This time, it’s quick and desperate. The sudden stretch of Kara’s fingers inside her burns delightfully. Lena can’t help but wonder what would’ve been in store for her if she had let Kara come over on Monday. It would seem leaving the blonde and her pent-up energy alone for a few days did Lena a whole realm of good. And once Kara’s head is buried between her thighs, Lena forgets any reservations she had about them hooking up on as familiar of a day as a weeknight. Her clarity returns sometime after her second orgasm.

“Well, this hits different on a Thursday night,” Kara sighs, rolling onto her naked side to give Lena a smug grin. “I could get used to this.”

“Don’t,” Lena deadpans, fixing the blonde with a look that would scare off most mere mortals. “I’m never letting Jack drag me out drinking on a weeknight again. I can’t believe I broke one of my rules. This was a mistake.”

“You can’t call every time we sleep together a mistake, Luthor,” Kara brushes off. “Especially if you keep doing it.”

“Don’t remind me,” Lena says. Kara rises up into a sitting position, and gives Lena a curious look that’s a bit too soft for Lena’s liking. 

“Lena, do you still like doing this? If you don’t, we can stop. We can go back to …” Kara trails off. 

Lena’s mind fills in the blank automatically. Go back to hating each other. That wouldn’t work though, they’ve been intimate too many times for the sharp comments and dirty looks to have the same indifferent bite. Lena half-wonders if Kara is even capable of giving her a dirty look anymore; recently it’s been all cocky smiles and gentle blue eyes from the woman. So then what would they ‘go back’ to? Avoiding each other? Pretending like the other doesn’t exist? 

Lena doesn’t know exactly why, but the idea makes her stomach ache. Kara looks a bit unsettled too, patiently waiting for Lena’s response.

In a rare moment of vulnerability, Lena reaches out to place a soothing hand over Kara’s. “No, I enjoy this.”

“You have soft hands,” Kara notes, looking delicately into Lena’s eyes.

“Thanks,” Lena smiles, caught a bit off guard. It’s a genuine smile, and it makes her cheeks ache in a way that reminds her how long it’s been since she’s actually smiled like this. It’s only been a second, but the smile starts to feel foreign so Lena lets it fall.

“So, it’s getting late …” she reminds Kara.

“Of course,” Kara says softly, running a hand through her own hair. “I should head out. Goodnight, Lena.” She graciously retracts from the bed and grabs her discarded clothes. Kara makes it a few steps out of Lena’s bedroom before she peeks her head back in.

Lena, already buried in the notebook by her bedside, sees the movement out of the corner of her eye.

She looks up expectantly. “Yes?”

“I know we broke one of your rules,” Kara says. “But … it was fun. I don’t regret it.”

“I don’t regret it either,” Lena echoes, surprising even herself with her honesty.

Kara smiles softly. “I’m glad.” Her fingers tap the doorframe once in goodbye, and she’s gone.

Once Lena hears the metallic click of the front door shutting, she buries her face in her hands.

I don’t regret it either, she thinks.

What is this turning into?


They’re now in the throes of autumn and Lena Luthor has slept with Kara Danvers far too many times now to label it a simple lapse in judgment.

Lena’s not sure when she became able to stand Kara Danvers, but if she had to guess, it was probably somewhere around the fifteenth orgasm. 

They fall into a pattern, a ritual of mutual indulgence. Lena shows up to Al’s Dive Bar every Friday, Jack and Andrea in tow, looking hot as hell. She drives Kara wild from a distance all night long, pretending not to acknowledge her or her annoying group of friends. Without fail, Kara always gets wound up enough by one o’clock to send Lena a text:

K: your place or mine?

Not at all eager to risk a run-in with Kara’s roommate (Alex? That sounds right.), she always requests her own place. Lena finds some excuse to call a car and Kara somehow sneaks away to jump in it at the last minute. (Jack and Andrea don’t seem to ever mind getting abandoned; Lena has a feeling it has something to do with the bartender, William, and whatever Andrea’s flavor of the night is.)

Then on Saturday, Lena stays in to enjoy the solace of her apartment, and when she’s ready for her metaphorical ‘dick appointment’, she cracks open a bottle of wine then sends a text and a ride-share to whatever late-night diner Kara has ended up at. (Kara’s friends always give her so much shit for the mysterious booty-call cars, but Lena doesn’t need to know that.)

Both nights end in the usual, mind-blowing sex Lena has grown accustomed to. There’s always alcohol involved; they’re always somewhere between tipsy and drunk. They both agree it’s better that they’re drinking. They can actually stand each other that way the digs and the roasts and the cocky comments just roll off the other’s skin in pursuit of a common goal.

(Lena always declines Kara’s late night texts offering to come over on the occasional weeknight, though. She’s conceded enough already.)

Lena doesn’t think she could stomach a sober hookup. Then she would have no excuse to avoid Kara’s beautiful blue eyes or dodge Kara’s attempts at casual conversation. She might have to actually learn something about Kara, and god-forbid, she might have to tell Kara something about herself. And that’s way too close to friendly acquaintances for Lena’s taste. She much prefers recent-enemies-turned-tolerable-for-the-sake-of-sex. That she can handle.

It works for them. Or did.

But suddenly now basketball has started and it’s really cramping Lena’s sex schedule.

She finds herself at Al’s just like any other Friday night, except Kara and gang aren’t anywhere to be seen. At all. Not a single one. Simply confused definitely not a bit worried she sends a text to Kara:

Come over at 1:30.

K: can’t, i’m sober

Then drink something?

K: can’t do that either

Lena wants to grind her teeth together. It’s already hard enough to ask the other woman to come over Lena Luthor rarely asks anyone for anything, let alone to get fucked into her mattress. Why is Kara being so difficult? 

Why not?

K: preseason has started, I have a three-a-day tomorrow. not allowed to drink either

Three-a-day?

K: three practices a day. One at 6am, one at 2pm, and one at 7pm

Well, that sounds miserable.

K: it is

Lena stares at her phone screen for a second, debating her next move. The conversation has reached a natural breaking point, and she could very easily leave it where it is. In fact, she very easily could avoid texting Kara ever again. But the throbbing in her clit is like an itch she just can’t scratch, and she’ll do anything to see the job done.

When can you go out partying again?

K: next saturday

Let me know where to send the car to.

Lena exhales nervously. Was that too presumptuous? Was that too needy? Lena Luthor has been called many things, but needy is not one of them. Luckily Kara’s response comes in before her mind can spiral any farther.

K: will do ;) goodnight


“Can we switch positions?” Kara asks. Lena can feel a few subtle tremors in Kara’s arms.

“What’s wrong, Danvers?” Lena teases. “Not up to the task?”

“No, my arms are just shot from our scrimmage today. Coach J’onn had us do push-ups after for every missed free throw,” Kara says honestly, and Lena feels a bit guilty. (She doesn’t know and couldn’t care less what a ‘free throw’ is, though.) Usually when they hookup, Kara is always on top extending most of the physical energy required for whatever position she’s put Lena in. She supposes it’s time to return the favor.

“Of course,” Lena says with faux confidence. “Get onto your back.”

She quickly shifts to throw a leg over Kara’s waist, straddling her bed partner. In truth, she’s never done this before. Never been comfortable enough to be exposed like this, to be on top. But there’s no time like the present, she reminds herself. Kara always seems to regard her naked body with a certain sense of exaltation anyways. It feels safe, comfortable almost.

“I think you missed me, Luthor,” Kara grins as she slides two damp fingers back into Lena. “You’re wetter than usual.”

“Shut up,” Lena kisses Kara. “You’re not here for your commentary.”

“And what am I here for?” A third finger slides in, spreading Lena deliciously.

Lena arches a sharp brow. “If you need to ask, perhaps we should stop. I would hate for you to get confused about the only reason you’re welcome in my bed.”

“Well … I could use a demonstration,” Kara smiles slyly. “To help clear things up?”

Lena rolls her eyes. She doesn’t want to reward such behavior, and yet for some reason she does. Confidence looks hot on Kara. So she ends up bouncing up and down over the blonde’s pelvis, quite content to watch as Kara’s pupils get blown wide at the sight.

“Fuck, Lena,” Kara gasps.

“Now you seem to understand, Danvers,” Lena smiles coyly.

The night is just as satisfying as any other. Lena has come to expect no less from Kara Danvers, and basketball can fuck off.


Two weekends later, Al’s does a one-dollar special on a particular brand of cheap beer and the after-effect makes Lena wrinkle her nose in disgust.

“I see you took full advantage of Al’s special tonight,” Lena states, frowning, “Or rather, taste.”

“I did!” Kara gives her a proud grin. “I only spent five dollars tonight.”

“I’m surprised you can even stomach such a poor tasting beer,” Lena acts appalled.

“Scotch is gross, and not all of us can go around dropping fifty bucks on a bottle of wine,” Kara protests. Lena bites her tongue, realizing that it will do her little good to share that there’s not a single bottle of wine in her apartment currently worth under five hundred dollars. Bless Lex and his tendency to default to giving wine as his gifts.

An idea pops into Lena’s head. “Well, would you like to?”

Kara looks confused. “Like to what?”

“Have a bottle of wine,” Lena offers. “We can crack open one of the fancy ones.”

Kara contemplates it for a second. “Sure! I’m not that drunk anyways.”

“Well, this will get you there,” Lena winks. Kara’s already stripped her out of her dress, so she tosses on Kara’s discarded pullover to walk out to the kitchen for the wine. There’s just the slightest sound of a whimper as she leaves, but Lena ignores it. It was likely just her bed squeaking as Kara moved around on it. (Note, her bed didn’t squeak at all before she let Kara Danvers into it.)

Lena makes quick work of the task; she grabs two wine glasses first, then the wine bottle, and pours the red vintage into each glass. She returns to the bedroom with a glass in each hand, extending one to Kara. The other girl is currently leaning topless up against her headboard, one arm thrown over a propped-up knee, completely at ease in her half-naked state. Lena swallows roughly as her eyes rake over Kara’s form from her strong legs, to her perky chest, down her muscular arms. Lena bites her bottom lip.

“Here,” she extends a glass outward.

Kara takes the wine glass out of Lena’s hand with little ceremony, cupping her hand around the bulb.

Lena stifles a chuckle. “Grab it from the stem,” Lena corrects, “That way your hand won’t warm the wine.”

“Oh,” Kara says, shifting her grip accordingly. “What is this?” She eyes the red liquid curiously.

“A 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from the best province in France,” Lena says. “You should get some notes of blackberry and currants.”

Kara takes a sip. Her lips curls inward and the tip of her nose twitches. “Mmm,” Kara hums a little too enthusiastically. “What are currants?”

“A particular type of dried grape.” Lena watches her carefully, amused, as she goes to take another sip.

Kara apparently can’t dull her true response after another taste, and the blonde’s face puckers like she just ate a handful of sour candy. “Tastes like … olive juice.”

Lena can’t hold back her laughter this time.  The sound is strange to hear. It’s been so long since she’s let out a genuine laugh. It makes her cheeks burn in the best way possible.

“Try it again. Swirl it first, like this” Lena shifts her wrist to demonstrate. “It’ll aerate the wine.”

Kara does so. “Aerate?”

“Introduces more oxygen to the wine, and the oxygen helps break down the tannins in the wine so the flavor is less harsh,” Lena explains.

“Oh, so it oxidizes?” Kara asks nonchalantly, and Lena does a double take.

“Yeah,” her brows furrow. “I didn’t know you even knew that word, Danvers.”

“Actually, math and science come pretty easy to me,” Kara says. “I’m actually minoring in mathematics. And I get plenty of bio helping Alex study.”

Lena’s still staring at her in disbelief. “But, I thought …”

“That I was some dumb jock?” Kara smiles softly. “I get that a lot.”

“I … shouldn’t have assumed,” Lena says, setting a hand on Kara’s forearm. “I’m sorry, truly.”

“Thanks,” Kara says, leaning in to give Lena a kiss. It’s soft and unexpected and it makes Lena’s heart rate spike in a way she doesn’t like.

Not one to show how flustered a single kiss made her, Lena quips, “Trying to wine-and-dine me, Danvers?”

“Well …” Kara gives her a teasing smile, “That is what I’m here for, right?” She sets her wine glass down on the nightstand.

“I do believe so,” Lena says, allowing her lips to mirror Kara’s smile.

“Well, I’ve had my wine …” Kara drawls, “Now it’s time to dine …” She gives Lena’s crotch a devious look.

“You did not just use that line on me,” Lena scoffs, playfully shoving Kara onto her back.

Kara just holds her hands up in mock defense as Lena sets down her own wine and begins to strip the blonde of her pants. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Lena goes to protest, but Kara’s lips are already on hers, and suddenly her complaints are long forgotten. The next hour or so passes in a blur. Kara tastes like the wine and smells like sex. They only have one orgasm a piece, but it takes a while to reach and the buildup is incredibly satisfying. Afterwards they collapse together, with Lena’s head resting on Kara’s shoulder.

“So, if you like science why only the minor in STEM?” Lena asks. “Why not a major?”

“Well, my number one goal is to go pro for basketball,” Kara explains, “And the labs from the STEM courses interfere with practice time way too much. Majoring in journalism worked much better especially since if I get into the pros, I’ll have to deal with the media. I thought journalism would give me a better appreciation of the process.”

Kara’s logic surprises Lena. Lena always thought she had just opted for some easy business or communications major like most of the other athletes did. But Kara clearly thinks things through more than Lena had previously been crediting her for.

“You really enjoy that game, don’t you?” Lena marvels.

“Yeah!” Kara’s smile is almost blinding as she stares off into the distance. “There’s nothing like it. I actually think you’d enjoy watching a game.”

“Perhaps.” That’s the closest compromise Lena will offer. She has no intention of ever watching a basketball game (let alone any sport) and Kara Danvers is no one to change her mind.

“What about it draws you?” Lena asks curiously. She’s realizing Kara Danvers goes a level deeper than just partying and flirting. It … intrigues her.

Kara’s eyes zone out as if enchanted. “It’s absolutely exhilarating. Out on the court, I feel like I might as well have superpowers. That feeling of power, that pure adrenaline … nothing can compare to it.”

“Nothing?” Lena cocks a teasing eyebrow. At that particular moment, the top sheet covering Lena’s chest slides low into her lap.

Kara blushes. “Maybe some things can come close.”

Lena hums playfully.

Kara gives her a curious look. “What about you?”

“What about me?” Lena echoes, giving Kara a strange look.

“What do you like to do for fun?” Kara asks, her eyes wide with curiosity.

“I thought we weren’t going to get to know each other,” Lena scoffs, crossing her arms over her chest.

Kara gives her an unimpressed look. “It’s just your major, Lena. I could find it online. Besides, like it or not, we are already getting to know each other. It might be in the biblical sense, but that doesn’t change the fact that I know there’s a spot on your neck that makes you melt or

fine, you’ve proven your point,” Lena holds up a hand to silence the other woman. “... I’m getting a double major in engineering and biochemistry.”

Kara’s eyes go wide. “Seriously? Lena, those are the two most difficult degrees offered here. Please tell me you’re not crazy enough to also have a minor or something …”

“Business and computer science,” Lena admits quietly.

“What?” Kara looks at her incredulously. “You’re joking.”

“It keeps me pretty busy,” Lena says humbly. 

“I feel like you legally can’t take that many classes,” Kara says.

“I … had to get special permission from the Dean’s Office,” Lena admits. “They agreed to allow it. I’ve already finished what I need for the minors.”

“Do you even have enough time in the day for all of that homework?” Kara asks. The way she’s looking at Lena is so earnest that Lena feels responsible to elaborate.

“Certain things come easy to me,” Lena confesses. “Being a Luthor has its many downsides, but the family intellect can be quite useful.”

Kara gives her a look that borders a bit too close to admiration for Lena’s liking. “If I had known I was getting into bed with a super genius, I would’ve

run?” Lena suggests.

“No,” Kara says honestly. “I probably would’ve tried to read a few more books beforehand, though. To make better pillow talk.”

“We’re not even supposed to be making pillow talk,” Lena scolds. The words pillow talk linger in her mouth like a sour aftertaste. How sickeningly … intimate.

Kara gives her a teasing smile. “Whatever, Luthor.” She pauses for a second, as if considering her next move with care. “So tell me, why those majors?”

Lena’s eyes drop down to stare at the bedsheets, a soft smile across her face. “I’ve always wanted to be an engineer, to go into R&D at Luthor Corp. I love solving puzzles, fixing problems, improving solutions,” Lena explains, “As for the rest, biochemistry opens up more research opportunities, and computer science is very useful for robotics development.”

“And business?” Kara asks. “I wouldn't have pegged you for the type, honestly.”

“Lillian insisted on the business minor.” Lena is sure the venom in her voice does not go unnoticed, but she doesn’t care.

“Lillian?” Kara asks.

“My … mother,” Lena says, hesitating for a second too long. Kara seems to sense something is off and bows her head down to catch Lena’s eyes again.

“I’m sure she means well,” Kara says in a neutral, mediatory tone.

Lena can’t stop a wicked chuckle from escaping out her chest. 

Kara pulls back as if Lena just stabbed a knife into the bed. “Did I say something wr

it’s fine.”

An uncomfortable silence settles between them.

“Do you want me to go?” Kara's voice is so gentle and tender, and it gets under Lena’s skin deeper than any insult could.

“I think that would be best,” Lena says, a layer of ice frosted over her words. Without looking at Kara, she rises from the bed and makes for her bathroom. “You know your way out.”

“Okay,” Kara says in a small voice, almost too quiet for Lena to hear as the bathroom door shuts between them.

About an hour later, Lena’s phone vibrates shattering the uneasy silence of the night. Lena, already irritated at her inability to fall asleep, picks up the phone with a huff. Even though she has a feeling exactly who it is, there’s still the tiniest bit of surprise when Lena unlocks the phone to read the message.

K: are you okay? I didn’t mean to upset you tonight, i’m sorry

I’m completely fine.

K: are you sure?

Yes. Stop texting me Danvers, I’m trying to sleep. I’ll see you next weekend.

Kara’s only reply is a thumbs-up. The little icon eats away at Lena’s stomach the rest of the night.


Kara stomps all the way up the stairs and down the hall into her apartment, which she shares with Alex. It’s a modest size for the two college students; a small kitchen, a living room perfect for their Friday game-nights with friends, and a single bedroom divided into two distinct sides. That’s more a formality than anything, considering how infrequently Alex actually sleeps there.

“You seem especially stompy this morning,” Alex says, looking up over her shoulder from where she’s lying on a couch.  Music is playing softly from the TV behind her. The coffee table is covered with papers, Alex’s laptop, and two paper bags from the donut place a block away.

“Is something wrong?” Alex asks as Kara blows a hair out of her face.

“Donuts?” Kara asks in return. “I thought you weren’t eating sugar in season? Did you get me one?”

“I tried,” Alex says, words slightly muffled by the bite in her mouth. She points at one of the bags, indicating to Kara that there’s a donut inside for her. “But Lucy wanted to go get coffee and I couldn’t stop myself. I’m just so stressed out about these med school apps.”

“Alex,” Kara says sweetly, “Any school will be lucky to have you.” She digs her donut out of its respective bag. “And you deserve a donut.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Alex mumbles into her next bite. “About med school.”

“Hey, no pity-parties!” Kara says, plopping down onto the other couch adjacent to Alex. “You’re the top of your class and you’re a college athlete. You tutor on the side, you have plenty of volunteer hours. You’re a walking dream for any admissions officer.”

“Ugh,” Alex sighs, but her body relaxes as Kara’s words sink in. “So what's your deal?”

Kara’s mind flashes back to the previous night. Grey silk sheets, enchanting green eyes, and an icy tone that still burns in her brain. “You know your way out.” 

She takes a harsh bite out of the donut.

“I, uh --” Kara mumbles. “It’s Coach.” That’s a lie, but only a partial one at least.

“What happened with J’onn?” Alex says, sitting up and facing Kara.

“Nothing specifically,” Kara says. “I just don’t like the new formation he’s having us run. It leaves us too exposed, and the screens take too long to execute.”

Alex hums sympathetically.

“I don’t get why it needs to change. Why fix something that isn’t broken?” Kara continues. “I don’t understand the thought process. Everything was going well, and out of nowhere she wants

Kara’s jaw clamps shut as she realizes her error.

she?” Alex pulls her head back in scrutiny.

“I meant ‘he’

“No, you didn’t, Kara, you’re a terrible liar,” Alex cuts her off. Her eyes grow wide in realization “Oh my god, this is about her, isn’t it? What did Lucy call her?”

“Nope, it’s

“Hot girl something? Hot girl bummer!”

“I

“Oh, Kara,” Alex says, too far along for Kara to stand a chance at damage control. “Seriously? You’re still seeing the same girl?”

Kara just lets out a sigh of submission. “Yeah.”

“This is what almost two months the longest relationship you’ve had since Siobhan, right?” Alex asks. She seems equally concerned and excited by the prospect.

“It’s not a relationship!” Kara objects. “We’re just

fucking

it’s just a casual thing. Like acquaintances-with-benefits. We have rules.”

“Rules, huh?” Alex raises her eyebrows. “Like what?”

“Like no one can know, so buzz off,” Kara says, shooting Alex an annoyed glare.

“You really won’t tell me who it is?” Alex asks.

“No.”

“Fine, fine,” Alex sighs. Even she can’t break through Kara’s steel wall when she puts it up, so the older Danvers stands up from the couch and begins to clear the trash off the table.

“Well, whoever it is, what happened?” Alex asks as she moves around.

“We were …” Kara trails off, blushing slightly.

“Fucking, I got it,” Alex grimaces. “For such a fuckboy, you’re awfully bashful about it.”

“It’s weird talking to you about my sex life!” Kara whines.

“How do you think I feel?” Alex retorts, giving Kara a disgusted look.

“Anyways, we were chatting a little bit after, and I said something that upset her somehow,“ Kara explains. “But when I got home, I texted her and she wouldn’t even talk about it.”

“What did you say?” Alex asks.

“Nothing!” Kara says. “Or at least, I thought so. I don’t know what I said wrong.”

“Did you apologize?” Alex asks.

“Yes,” Kara nods. “I still feel bad about it though, Alex. I think I really upset her.”

“Hey, you already apologized,” Alex says. “Either you guys talk it out, or you don’t. It’s not exactly the first time a woman’s been mad at you. I can still hear Leslie’s voice screaming sometimes.”

“Alex, not helping!” Kara scolds.

“Look,” Alex says, her tone deeper. She gives Kara a nurturing but serious look. “It might not be about you. Give it some time.”

“Okay,” Kara draws a deep breath. “You’re right.”

“I always am,” Alex smiles.

Kara beams a throw pillow at Alex in retaliation. Alex catches it and prepares to respond in turn but suddenly the doorbell rings. They freeze Alex mid-swing and look at each other in surprise.

Kara hops up to get to the door first. She cracks it open and pops her head into the line of sight, expecting Mike or maybe Lucy, only to be shocked by the identity of their impromptu visitor. 

It’s Lena Luthor.

Lena Luthor, dressed to the nines in a white dress and a long peacoat, is standing outside her shitty college apartment on a Sunday afternoon. 

Fuck, this is going to be hard to explain.

“Hi,” Kara says slowly, covering the door crack with her body. “What are you doing here?”

“Who is it, Kara?” Alex’s voice rings out. Kara waves an impatient hand behind her back.

“Hi,” Lena says, looking at Kara with pleading eyes and an apologetic smile. “Can we talk?”

“Uh, yeah, sure, come in,” Kara says in a rushed breath. As she pulls the door open, she glances back at Alex with panic in her eyes.

“I’m sorry to drop in on you, it’s just” Lena stops both her sentence and her stride as her eyes fall upon Alex, who now has her hands crossed over her chest and is staring at Lena warily. Kara stands like a deer caught in the headlights, watching helplessly as the two women size each other up.

Lena’s eyes dart from Alex’s face, down the length of her body, then up to the deep purple hickey peeking out from under the collar of Alex’s shirt (courtesy of Maggie). Meanwhile, Alex refuses to break eye contact from Lena, except for a quick questioning glance over to Kara and back. The older Danvers gives Lena a faint smile with tight lips. Even though they’re only a few feet away from Kara, her legs refuse to move forward as she watches the situation play out.

“Oh,” Lena says in surprise, trailing off for a moment. “I know you …” Lena’s head tilts slightly to the side.

“Alex,” the older Danvers says, holding a polite hand out in greeting. “We have bioengineering together, at ten A-M.”

“Oh, yes, of course,” Lena agrees, shaking Alex’s hand curtly. The interaction between the two women feels tense. Kara has complained to Alex about Lena before, multiple times (prior to their current arrangement) and Alex surely remembers that. But Kara is unsure why Lena is so tense.

Finally, Kara’s legs decide to work again and she strolls up to Lena’s side. 

“She’s my sister,” she says over Lena’s shoulder. “We play together on the basketball team too.”

“I didn’t realize,” Lena says smoothly. Her shoulders relax almost imperceptibly, but Kara has spent enough time watching Lena’s body move under her to catch the reaction. 

A moment of silence passes between the three women, none of them knowing how to proceed.

Alex breaks the silence first. “I was just headed out. I’m due at Maggie’s for lunch soon anyways.”

“Have fun,” Kara smiles awkwardly, watching her sister leave. She doesn’t know if she’s grateful for Alex’s exit or not; it solves the immediate awkwardness but ushers in a whole new set of problems.

Alex claps her palms against the backs of her thighs and looks back at Kara with a high degree of suspicion. “See you later.”

A wave of dread washes over Kara as the door shuts behind her sister. It’s going to be near impossible to explain this situation to Alex later. 

“So …” Lena glances at Kara with uncertainty in her eyes.

“How did you know where I live?” Kara asks.

“You had me send a car here one time,” Lena says. “I still had your address.”

“Oh,” Kara says. Her brows furrow. “So what’s up?”

“I” Lena frowns, looking uncomfortable. “I’m not very good at this …” She lets out a self-deprecating chuckle. 

Kara watches her patiently, eyes soft with concern.

“I’m sorry about last night,” Lena continues. “I shouldn’t have asked you to leave so abruptly.”

“It’s okay,” Kara says.

“Admittedly, my mother is a bit of a … sensitive topic for me,” Lena confesses. She looks so vulnerable in that moment emerald green eyes clouded by pain and Kara’s heart pangs in sympathy. If anyone understood complicated parental relationships, it was her.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know,” Kara sets a comforting hand on Lena’s arm.

“I should have been more graceful though,” Lena says. “I’m sorry for how I acted. I … lash out sometimes, when I’m hurt.”

“It’s okay, you’re only human,” Kara says. “Consider everything forgiven.”

“Thank you for understanding, Kara,” Lena says earnestly. “Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”

Kara twists her lips thoughtfully. “I could use a coffee? Something kept me up late last night.” She gives Lena a playful smile.

“Something or someone?” Lena defects with a teasing tone. 

“There’s a great café less than a block away. I spend way too much money there already,” Kara says, motioning over her shoulder at the door. “What do you say?” She recognizes she’s pushing the limits but Kara’s intrigued to see just how far she can get.

Lena hesitates and Kara knows exactly why. She’s not an idiot; she knows Lena is clearly averse to them developing a more casual relationship. Initially, she didn’t mind she was just in it for the incredible sex but after several nights together, Kara has found herself a bit spellbound by Lena Luthor. Kara actually wants to get to know her better.

Even though she shouldn’t.

Which is the exact reason their rules exist in the first place. And Kara will respect that; she doesn’t want to make Lena uncomfortable.

“We don’t have to stay and talk, Luthor,” Kara offers. “After we get the coffees we can part ways.”

“You’ve got a deal, Danvers. My treat,” Lena says, nodding in agreement. “Since it’s an apologetic gesture. But this is a one-time thing.”

“Let me guess,” Kara fakes contemplation as she shuts the door behind them. “Lena Luthor takes her coffee black?”

“That’s the only correct way to drink it,” Lena states. “And I imagine you order the most sugar-laden option on the menu?”

“Close,” Kara nudges her shoulder playfully. “My favorite is a pumpkin spice latte. Extra foam with a sprinkle of cinnamon.”

Lena rolls her eyes and Kara smiles. “You’re unbelievable, Danvers.”

“Speaking of unbelievable, I hope you’ve got a good cover story for showing up to my apartment unannounced,” Kara says, wincing at the reminder of the future interrogation coming her way. “Alex is going to see through any lie I come up with.”

“Don’t worry,” Lena says. “If there’s one thing Luthors are good at, it’s lying. I’ll think of something …”

. . . . . . . .

“So!” Alex said, not even halfway inside the doorway. “Why was Lena Luthor at our apartment this morning?”

Kara drew a deep breath to steel herself. She had practiced this over coffee with Lena plenty of times. She could do this.

“We’re putting aside our differences,” Kara said simply, “It’s self-care. Grudges take a lot of energy.”

“You,” Alex gave her an unbelieving stare. “And Lena Luthor? Putting aside your differences?”

“It’s a … new development,” Kara said. Sticking with the truth Lena advised her that the best lies are half-true.

“Since when?” Alex’s eyebrows flew upwards.

That was to be the key part of this it had to be established that Kara only started to tolerate Lena Luthor long after she began to hookup with her ‘hot girl bummer’.

“This weekend,” Kara lied. Alex wouldn’t know any better; she had stayed in to work on medical school applications, which meant Maggie had gone out with some of her other friends to a different bar. James and Lucy had disappeared early, Winn was sick, and Mike had been too drunk to bother paying attention to Kara's whereabouts. It was the perfect fit.

“Did you two hookup?” Alex narrowed her eyes at her little sister. A flash of fear pulsed through Kara’s body. “Wait, I thought she had a boyfriend?”

“Absolutely not,” Kara lied. “And I don’t know if she does or not. We just had a few shots and chatted for a bit.” She held her breath, anxiously waiting to see if Alex would buy it.

“I wouldn’t put it past you to sleep with her,” Alex said playfully. “Drunk Kara has mentioned how hot she is more than once.”

Well, fuck. She doesn’t have an excuse for that.

“I have not!” Kara looked at Alex indignantly.

“Yes, you have.”

“Well, if I did say that,” Kara said. “It was just the tequila talking.”

“Uh-huh,” Alex smiled smugly. “So what, are you two best friends now?”

“Hardly,” Kara scoffed. “She was just returning my card. I forgot it at the bar last night.”

“You left your card at the bar!?” Alex scolded. “Kara, you need to keep a better track of it. What if someone else had taken it?”

“I know, I know,” Kara said defensively. Even as her ears turned red from Alex’s continued lecturing, she felt her whole body slacken. The older Danvers had since moved on from Kara’s suspicious new ‘friendship’. The lie had worked.

. . . . . . . .

For now.


 

Chapter Text


Lena Luthor does not get jealous.

Especially over such an insignificant fling as Kara Danvers. Even if the woman’s company is slowly growing on Lena. It’s purely physical, that’s all. A simple chemical reaction.

She doesn’t get jealous.

A notification pops up on her phone one random Tuesday: kdanvers requests to follow you!

It’s Pandora’s box of intrigue, and for once in her life, she brazenly accepts without thinking. 

kdanvers is now following lenaluthor!

It’s just a fling. It means nothing. She’s just curious to see what Kara’s life is like, Lena tells herself as she starts to scroll through the blonde’s social media page. It’s laden with bright and blurry photos — in stark contrast to Lena’s curated, minimalistic (and professional, thank you) profile. Lena usually pays no mind to social media, as it’s hardly a realistic depiction of someone’s actual life. But she can’t help herself as she begins to browse deeper into Kara’s agglomeration of posts. 

About half of the photos have to do with basketball. Most of them are of Kara in her college uniform, either an action shot or mid-celebration with teammates. Lena recognizes the sky blue and black of NCU. Some of the older posts have Kara in a different colored jersey — maroon and yellow, or navy and white. Lena notes with significant interest that Kara Danvers looks hot as hell in a ponytail; Lena’s only ever seen her with her hair down at the bar, or up in a bun during class.

There’s also plenty of photos of Kara with the woman Lena now knows to be her sister, Alex. How uncomfortable that impromptu introduction had been. But those photos don’t bother her. Neither do the photos of Kara with a few guys -- they’re tagged in the posts as ‘money_el’, ‘jmolsen’, and ‘great.schott’. Lena recognizes two of them; Mike Matthews and James Olsen were in some of her business courses. The most memorable picture is of Kara sandwiched between Mike and James, all three making overly-tough faces at the camera. They each wear professional league basketball jerseys over hoodies, holding up the fabric so the number is clear. It’s a true fashion disaster that causes Lena physical pain.

Though those photos are a mildly interesting look into the average life of Kara Danvers, they aren’t the posts that ensnare Lena. No, those would be the photos of Kara partying with multiple beautiful women over the years. Lena finds herself scrutinizing each and every one.

There’s one of Kara and a light-skinned, blonde woman tagged as ‘captlance’ flexing side-by-side while smiling at each other. Lena doesn’t recognize the woman as one of Kara’s friends from school, but they’re clearly standing close enough to be very familiar with each other. The unknown woman has also responded to the post with a ‘put the guns away, hot stuff ’ and a winky face. Lena can feel her frown deepen. 

Mild annoyance aside, neither woman is wearing a shirt and it makes Lena gulp hard. She’s seen Kara more naked than this countless times, but there's something about seeing the thickness of her biceps and the crisp edges of her abs in broad daylight that sends a tingle down Lena’s spine. 

There’s yet another photo that piques Lena’s interest. Kara and a different woman, with brown skin and dark hair, are standing on top of the bar at Al’s. (Lena’s surprised they weren’t kicked out for even attempting that, but Kara is rather friendly with the staff.) Their arms are interlocked as they each drink from beer steins. The other woman looks vaguely familiar and her username is simply ‘msawyer’. Lena is certain she’s seen her at Al’s before. The caption clearly references their antics: when alex is away, the girls will play …

The third woman that catches Lena’s attention has bright blue eyes and long black hair. She is slightly taller than Kara, and they’re posing in a tight embrace. The mystery woman has on a golden gown, while Kara is wearing an incredibly flattering navy jumpsuit. The background indicates they’re clearly at some expensive, luxurious bar (Lena’s been dragged inside enough to know). The caption reads: postgame party with the one and only wonder woman.  Underneath is a heavily-liked comment from a ‘dprince84’: the true wonder was seeing you, love  followed by the icon of two little hearts.

Lena’s brow furrows as she reads it. Love? Hearts?

The final one that Lena notices is one of ‘lucylane’ kissing Kara’s cheek while Kara bites down on a candy cane. It’s simply captioned: mistlehoes!   Sure enough, Lucy has commented let’s get lit, lover girl.

Does every fucking woman Kara knows have some cute nickname for her? Lena rolls her eyes so hard they almost get stuck.

The women appear in several other posts. After further investigation into their profiles, Lena learns that Sara Lance and Diana Prince are both professional basketball players, while Lucy Lane and the Sawyer woman (there’s no first name in her profile) play basketball at NCU alongside Kara and Alex.

The faces of these women roll through Lena’s head on repeat.

Simply because they’re all attractive women. No other reason.

Because Lena Luthor doesn’t get jealous.

Certainly not over Kara Danvers.

. . . . . . . .

She also doesn’t get jealous when Andrea mentions that Lena’s one-and-only fuck buddy apparently has quite the reputation.

“Be careful with that one,” Andrea warns Lena. She had just seen Lena and Kara exchange a few playful quips while waiting in line to buy coffee. (Lena might have dragged Andrea out of her way to visit this particular café that she knew Kara frequented. But it was only because the coffee had been really good the last time she was there. That’s all.)

“Be careful of what?” Lena asks. She hands her friend her respective drink.

“Of Kara Danvers,” Andrea repeats, looking at Lena highly unimpressed. “You two were just flirting, were you not?”

“We were absolutely not,” Lena chuckles uncomfortably. “We’re … sufferable acquaintances now, at best.”

“Mhm,” Andrea sips her tea. “You know she has quite the reputation right?”

“Reputation for what?” Lena asks. Admittedly, until this year, Lena knew very little about Kara Danvers — other than that she was annoying and constantly impeding the ease of Lena’s life.

“She’s quite the player, both on and off the court,” Andrea smirks. “She’s one of NCU’s resident fuckboys, Lena.”

“Is she now?” Lena’s stiff jaw pulses as she takes a swig of her black coffee.

“You remember Siobhan Smythe, from macroeconomics? They were fuck buddies last year, briefly.” Andrea says. “Then there’s Lana Lang, that Vasquez girl, Fiona Byrne, Veronica Sinclair—”

“—ugh, the absolute worst—” Lena adds.

“—a couple of basketball players—”

Lena’s mind flashes to the various women throughout Kara’s social media posts.

“—and some other randos too, I’m sure,” Andrea finishes.

“Huh,” Lena could swear she just swallowed acid. “Wait, how do you even know this?”

“Mike Matthews,” Andrea says. “He and I might’ve had a one-night stand last year. He has a penchant for gossip.”

“You slept with him?” Lena asks incredulously, glancing over to where Kara is sitting. Across the table from her was the very Mike in question. In contrast to Kara’s diligent studying, he's playing on his phone, laptop disregarded and headphones on, while bobbing his head to what Lena assumes is music.

“Just once,” Andrea says simply, as if she was ordering food off a menu. “A girl has her needs.”

Lena takes a moment to process the new information. “So did he mention anything else about Kara?” she asks, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.

“No,” Andrea eyes her. “Why the sudden interest?”

“No interest at all,” Lena lies. “I just didn’t think her to be the type honestly.”

It’s just surprising. That’s all. Kara’s experience doesn’t bother her. It’s just that, even though Kara knows her way around a bedroom with practiced ease, Lena can’t picture her with anyone else. Can’t imagine the blonde lying satisfied and smiling on any sheets but her own.

“I wonder if she’s seeing anyone right now,” Andrea says. 

Lena freezes.

But to Lena’s immediate relief, her friend is not staring at her with some interrogating look on her face, but instead over at Kara with an almost wistful look on her face. “If I was gay, I’d be under that in a heartbeat … but instead I’m cursed to be ‘tragically straight’, as Jack would say.”

“Tragic, indeed.” Lena’s words are humorous, but there’s just the slightest edge in her voice which hints that maybe she doesn’t think it’s such a tragedy at all.

But she’s definitely not jealous.

. . . . . . . .

And she’s certainly not jealous when Kara herself confirms it.

It’s two o’clock in the morning after a Saturday night out, and Lena is laying in her bed gasping for air while Kara lays smugly beside her. 

“Well, that was fun,” Kara grins. She brings the back of her hand up to her lips, wiping away the remnants of Lena’s arousal and the past hour’s activities. Lena remembers the heat of Kara’s mouth between her thighs. The weightless pleasure. It’s only been a few minutes, but she misses the feeling already.

Lena makes the mistake of asking Kara a question. “How did you get so good at that?”

Kara turns and gives her a playful, cocky smile that instantly makes Lena regret asking. “My incredible work ethic translates to more than basketball, you know.”

The blonde gets up to wash up in the hallway bathroom, and her words eat at Lena while she’s gone.

Kara Danvers, the fuckboy, Lena thinks, Andrea was right. She should’ve known as much. But Lena also can’t help it as her heart twists a little, wondering just who exactly Kara had so much practice with.

Siobhan Smythe, Lana Lang, that Vasquez girl, Fiona Byrne, Veronica Sinclair, some basketball players, her brain recalls automatically. To name a few.

She sits up to grab a gulp of water, looking around the chaos of her room. Their clothes have been strewn everywhere. Since it’s now the end of autumn, there are even more layers shed about than usual. The padding of Kara’s footsteps in the living room signals to Lena she’s about to return, to redress then leave as per their routine.

But Lena isn’t quite ready for her to leave. Not with questions still unanswered.

Kara’s turtleneck is on the floor right beside Lena’s edge of the bed. It’s within an arm’s reach. Lena’s impulses win out and she quickly tosses the shirt under the bed so that Kara will be forced to linger a bit longer.

“I should get going,” Kara says, yawning as she walks back in. “It’s been a long day.”

Lena watches Kara redress, the room filled with the sound of pants rustling and Kara’s belt buckle clinking.

“Have you seen my shirt?” Kara frowns, hands on her hips while she glances all over the room.

“No, I don’t think so,” Lena pretends to glance around. “So I’m curious …”

“About what?” Kara asks. She’s circling the room like a dog looking for it’s bone. It’s endearing and Lena would laugh if her mind wasn’t already preoccupied.

Lena draws a deep breath, preparing to keep her tone neutral and emotionless. “Just how many partners have you practiced with?” she asks.

Kara stops in her tracks and stiffens. “I don’t see why that matters … if it’s a health-thing, I promise I’m clean. I get tested after every new partner.”

Sensing her questioning has broached an uncomfortable territory for Kara, Lena decides to withdraw. 

“No, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that,” Lena sits up and stretches out a placating hand on top of the sheets over her own lap. “It’s none of my business, forget it.”

Kara looks at the raven-haired woman with her dangerously earnest blue eyes. “It’s okay. Is something on your mind, Lena?”

“No, I—” Lena shakes her head. “Actually, yes. I’ve only ever been with two women before you. And from what I garner, you’re … more experienced than I am. I can’t help but wonder if I’m not a bit out of my depth.”

“Well I couldn’t tell. You’re plenty talented at what you do,” Kara says diplomatically, stepping closer to the bed. “I always enjoy my time with you.”

“I’m sorry again, for asking,” Lena says. “You’re right, it shouldn’t matter. It doesn’t.”

“It’s okay,” Kara says, smiling softly. “I’ve just had others not be as understanding, so I get a bit defensive.”

“I’m so sorry, Kara,” Lena says. Whatever her personal feelings may be, she truly means it. 

“For what it’s worth … the answer is — including you — twenty-one,” Kara says quietly.

“Twenty-one?” Lena’s voice is shocked initially but she manages to play it off with a teasing quip. “The way you were sulking, I had assumed we were well into the hundreds.”

“Whatever, Luthor,” Kara says, rolling her eyes and beaming in relief.

Lena gives her a pleased look.

“I should really go,” Kara repeats, sauntering closer. “I’ve been up since five and I’m gonna fall asleep at any minute.”

“I’m sorry, Danvers, was tonight not exciting enough for you?” Lena teases, giving Kara a playful smile. 

“It was exciting and more,” Kara says, placing a soft kiss on Lena’s mouth. It tastes like mint chapstick and the mouthwash Lena has stocked in her bathrooms. It’s different then the booze-tinged, sloppy kisses from earlier. Lena’s bones protest the intimate gesture but she’s too busy melting into her sheets to pay it much mind.

As Kara pulls back, she spots her shirt sleeve peeking out from under the bed. “Huh,” she says, her forehead crinkling. “I don’t know how it got there.”

“Well, we did come in a bit of a flurry,” Lena offers.

“Very true,” Kara smiles, now fully clothed. She quickly presses another kiss to Lena’s lips before the other woman can process it. “Goodnight, Lena.”

“Goodnight, Kara,” Lena says softly, not wanting to disturb the warm tingle on her lips. She falls asleep quickly that night, no time to remember her earlier conflicted feelings.

Not jealous at all.


“Hey sis.”

“Lex,” Lena regarded the voice coming through her phone warmly.

“How are things?” Lex asked.

“Good.” Lena’s answer was automatic.

“Excellent,” Lex said. “So, here’s the deal. I’ll be in National City on Saturday night.”

“I thought you were supposed to be in Gotham for that chemistry symposium?” Lena said. “Aren’t you discussing one of the new products we’re launching in Q1?”

“Well, technically,” Lex brushed it off. “But I need to bail early. The Luthor Corp team here can wrap up after my presentation tomorrow.”

“It’s boring, isn’t it?” Lena guessed.

“It’s so boring,” Lex confirmed. “My talents are being wasted here.”

“So then what is bringing you to National City?” Lena asked, suspicion laced through her tone.

“Besides my delightful baby sister?” Lex said. “You remember Clark, my buddy from college?”

“Yes.” An image of a man, blurred by time, popped into her mind. She had met Clark once — a long time ago — when he attended Lionel’s funeral over eight years ago. Lena vaguely remembered him being quiet but having a kind smile.

“He was at Father’s funeral. Tall, right?” Lena recalled.

“That’s him,” Lex confirmed. “I know team sports aren’t really your thing, but Clarky is now a big basketball star for Metropolis. The Meteors have a game Saturday versus the National City Nomads. Clark and his team will undoubtedly triumph, and I will be throwing a party to celebrate.”

“How fun for you,” Lena said dryly. She could only imagine Lillian’s ire at her son and company heir changing his plans. It was always nice to know Lex shared in invoking the matron’s utter disappointment.

“Hey, how old are you now?” Lex asked, his voice rising an octave.

Lena immediately grew suspicious. “Twenty.”

“Thought so,” Lex said with a grimace. “I’ll have to pay off the bouncers and the bartenders for their silence.”

“I’m sorry, pay off the what?” Lena hissed.

“Please, I know you’ve been going out to bars again,” Lex said. 

“Who did you hear that from?” Lena asked.

“Who do you think made those new fake IDs for you and Spheer?” Lex informed her. “I assume I should credit Jack for getting you out of your hermit hole of an apartment?”

Kara probably deserves more credit that Jack does, Lena thought.

“Remind me to make Jack pay for his betrayal later,” Lena said.

“There’s the littlest Luthor! So vindictive. And you’re welcome to bring him if you want,” Lex said. “Is that back on?”

“Absolutely not,” Lena said. “I still like women, Lex.”

“Who doesn’t,” Lex agreed. “I meant no offense; it just seems like you and Spheer have been out partying together exponentially more than you used to.”

“Hardly,” Lena rolled her eyes.

“Really? Because it looks like you’re finally letting yourself have fun, Lena,” Lex said. “Speaking of fun — my party Saturday. You’re coming.”

“No,” Lena said. “Has it occurred to you I might have better things to do?”

“Do you?” Lex challenged. Lena’s mind flashed over to a pair of twinkling blue eyes, a rock-solid body, and the cool grey silk of her bedsheets.

“Lex.”

“Lena,” Lex said, voice softening. “Please. I need you there.”

“Why?”

“You’re my baby sister and I miss you,” Lex confessed. “Metropolis is dull without you. No one else can play at my level.”

Lena sighed, already regretting the words that were about to leave her mouth. It would be nice to see Lex again. The last time was months ago, over the summer. Lex kept pretty busy between Luthor Corp business and his own personal affairs. Even when Lena went back to Metropolis for semester breaks, she still didn’t see him all that much.

“Fine, I’ll be there. For—”

“Yes!”

“—for a little while.”

“Excellent,” Lex said. “I’ll send you the info. You’re my favorite sister!”

“I’m your only sister,” Lena deadpanned.

“Touché,” Lex said. “See you Saturday, sis.”

. . . . . . . .

Lena chooses a deep emerald dress for the night, tight and racy as any cocktail dress should be. The shade matches her killer heels perfectly. Her hair is down and straightened to hide the final remnants of a hickey Kara left last weekend. She’s fit to be the image of Luthor perfection.

Once she finishes applying a coat of flawless red lipstick to her lips, her phone buzzes as if on cue. She recaps the stick and trades it for the device.

K: hey my cousin kal is in town tonight, i’m going with him to his friend’s party. probably won’t make it over to your place tonight

That’s fine. I’ve got a family function of my own tonight.

K: good luck :)

Lena ignores the tinge of disappointment in her chest as she continues getting ready.

Lex has already sent a driver over for Lena to take to the club. It’s about a fifteen minute drive away from Lena’s apartment, in the heart of downtown National City. There are several muscle-bound men waiting outside; one sees the car pull up and begins to walk over. As he approaches, Lena recognizes the man as the head of Lex’s security team.

“Miss Luthor?” he asks.

“Hello, Finch,” Lena greets out the window.

“Ready to head up, Miss Luthor?” Finch says, pulling open the door and holding out a hand. 

“Sure. Thank you, Finch,” she says, taking his hand for stability as she slides out of the car in her wickedly high heels. Once upright, she pulls the strap of her slim Birkin bag over her shoulder.

“My pleasure, Miss Luthor,” he says. It’s a fairly direct path up. There’s a separate door to the VIP floor (Lex never settles for anything less), and they pass through the crowds and bouncers without issue. The bass vibration from the main floor of the club can still be felt, rattling around in Lena’s ribcage.

Finch gestures to the open doorway, holding the rope aside for her to pass through unhindered. “Enjoy your night, Miss Luthor.”

“Thank you, Finch,” Lena nods goodbye and heads inside. 

The VIP floor looks luxurious as any of the Metropolis clubs Lena has attended before, usually at Lex’s behest. Everything is dimly lit in warm light and there are copious amounts of crystal and luxury stone everywhere to complete the lavish theme. There’s a designated dance floor off to one side, illuminated by LEDs yet somehow darker than the rest of the room, and a giant wrap-around bar in the middle of the space. Leather-clad booths line the walls of the expansive room. There are guests everywhere dressed to the nines in expensive and risque clubwear.

It’s not hard to find the host, considering Lex is currently standing on top of a large granite table in the front of the room. He’s clearly been drinking already; his suit coat is long gone, his button-up sleeves are rolled up his forearms, and his beard is slightly disheveled. His bald head is shiny with sweat. There’s a bottle of unopened champagne clasped in his hands.

“Good evening, my esteemed guests!” Lex yells, and the DJ turns down the music so he can be heard easily. It happens so fluidly. Lena feels a smile pull on the corner of her mouth. Only Lex could look so natural yet striking, so sloppy yet collected, while standing up on a table in a club.

“Everyone, raise your glasses. Tonight, we have something to celebrate!” Lex’s voice projects throughout the room.

Everyone in the room remains silent, waiting in anticipation for Lex to continue.

“Congratulations to our Metropolis Meteors on a game well-won! Gentlemen, you remain one of the last gems of Metropolis and I am honored to be your host tonight,” Lex smiles over the bottle, using it to salute the crowd. 

He then turns to point to one of the far corners. Whatever he’s pointing at, it’s too far away for Lena to see. “And to our very own Superman, who just shattered his career high points — let’s keep that up during playoffs, yeah Clark?”

The crowd lets out a horde of cheers and whistles. Lex pops the cork out of the champagne and rapidly shakes it, letting it foam and spray wildly over the people below. In the midst of the chaos, Lex’s eyes lock onto Lena and a sly smile spreads across his face.

Lex holds out his arms to his sides, the bottle in his hand still foaming slightly. “Next round on me!” He lets out one final holler before hopping back down to the floor.

Lena remains still, knowing Lex is already on his way over to greet her. She knows how much he enjoys hosting parties like this — and he’s always in rare form when he gets to share in it with her. Sure enough, he appears before her, looking disheveled and possessed by untamed enjoyment.

“The Lost Princess graces us with her presence!” Lex throws an arm around Lena’s shoulders. He already smells heavily of alcohol, and his shirt is damp with what Lena guesses is the champagne from moments earlier. “I’m honored you made it. I need to introduce you to Clark!”

“Lex,” Lena smiles at him. “First, I believe you owe me a drink …”

“Yes, yes, of course,” Lex steers them over to the bar immediately. He waves down one of the bartenders, “Put her on my tab. Whatever she wants.”

“Scotch, neat,” Lena requests.

“Yes, ma’am,” the bartender darts off to make the drink.

“Did you enjoy my little speech?” Lex asks rhetorically. “You should’ve seen the game tonight. Clark was unbelievable to watch.”

“So, why do they call him Superman?” Lena asks conversationally, leaning against the bar as her eyes wander over all the faces in the crowd. None of them seem overly familiar, but the people at Lex’s grandiose parties never do. Lena wonders where he always finds these people to attend, as there are seldom any memorable repeats. She can’t imagine Lex even knows who they all are.

Lex gives her an incredulous look. “Clark’s one of the best players ever. He might as well be a god amongst men out on that court.”

“I see,” Lena says, taking a hold of the freshly-poured glass. “Thank you,” she tells the bartender.

“Okay, you have your drink now,” Lex says, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Time to meet Superman himself. His cousin is here too. She’s rather stunning.” He gives Lena a wink.

“Lex, I’m really just here for—”

“—humor me, Lena. Clark is one of my closest friends,” Lex says. “Besides, you’re already here. Mingle! Flirt! It beats sitting in a dark corner by yourself.”

“Alright, fine,” Lena relents.

Lex leads her over towards the back of the club, where there are several dimly lit booths on the periphery of the walls. If Lena had to guess, a fair few of the patrons sitting back here, chatting over drinks, comprise the Meteors’ roster. They are all rather tall and athletic-looking, dressed in clothes that drip money. Which is true for pretty much everyone here — Lena included.

In the large corner booth, Lena can make out two male figures. One is talking to the other, gesturing excitedly with his hands. The other is sitting calmly and listening.

“Clark!” Lex barks, and the two men stop conversing and slide out of the booth to stand. The first man out is blonde, wearing slacks, a button-up, and a leather bomber jacket with his tie askew. He would look a bit underdressed compared to many of the other patrons, but moves with enough confidence to make it work — Lena tries to remember if this is Clark. His confidence borders on arrogance. Surely, the legendary Superman would have the ego to match.

The other man has dark hair and stunning steel blue eyes that, for Lena, invoke a strange … nostalgia? She can’t quite place why. He’s wearing a dark blue suit that fits him naturally, like a second skin. There’s a thin gold chain around his neck, but whatever pendant is on it is obscured by his tie. He stands very passively, idly picking at the label of a beer so cheap Lena is surprised this club would even serve it.

“Clark, this is my infamous little sister,” Lex says, motioning between her and the dark-haired man. The blue-suited man — so this is Clark, Lena realizes with surprise — gives her a kind smile. 

“You must be Lena,” Clark says, reaching out a friendly hand for her to shake.

“Nice to meet you, again,” Lena says, shaking hands. He’s got a firm, powerful grip.

“It’s been many years,” Clark says, still smiling softly. He turns to the side to acknowledge the other man. “This is Steve Trevor. He plays for the Meteors as well.”

“Pleasure,” the blond man shakes Lena’s hand briskly.

“Nice to meet you,” Lena says. She tries to think of what to say next, vaguely remembering Kara telling her how it’s good form to congratulate players after victories. “Congratulations on your win tonight, gentlemen.”

“Thank you,” Clark smiles again. Lena’s surprised by his easy demeanor. He’s almost the antithesis to Lex’s over-the-top explosive and dramatic personality.

“How come Lois couldn’t make it tonight? She’s not getting bored of you, is she?” Lex teases.

Clark gives him a look of mock-annoyance, but the affection in his eyes belies his true feelings. “I think it had something to do with the fact she just had our child, Lex. Two months ago? Remember? You sent a gift.”

“As if I could forget,” Lex says, “Your sudden proclivity for dad jokes is nauseating.”

Lena raises an eyebrow. Dad jokes? The more time she spent around the man, the harder it was to believe this Clark Kent was the same one as the legendary, larger-than-life basketball player everyone treated like a god. Were it not for the well-fitted suit and chiseled physique, she would have an easier time believing him to be some mild-mannered, average man.

“Lois thinks they’re funny,” Clark mumbles.

“You just had a child?” Lena redirects the conversation.

“Yes,” Clark’s eyes light up and he breaks into a huge grin. “A boy — Jonathan. My wife Lois usually travels along for the games, but because of Jon she’s sitting this season out.”

“Congratulations,” Lena wishes.

“Excuse me,” Steve says politely, raising his empty glass in explanation. “Time for a refill.” He begins to walk away, but turns back to point an accusatory finger at Clark. “And you — stop showing my fiancée those baby photos. I don’t need you both teaming up on me.”

“I’ll take my leave as well,” Lex says, looking somewhere far across the room. “An important guest just arrived. Lena, when you’re done with Clarky here, come find me. I have someone else I’d like you to meet.”

“Sure, Lex.” Lena tries to keep the annoyance out of her voice. 

Clark chuckles good-naturedly and turns to look at Lena. “So, Lex tells me you’re currently here in National City for college?”

“NCU.” Lena nods politely, praying he’s not about to ask her major next. Between Luthor family galas and fundraisers and social dinners, she’s had enough small-talk about her educational path to last a lifetime.

“Oh, maybe you know my cousin? She goes there too,” Clark’s eyebrows lift in excitement at the prospect. “She actually came with me tonight, since Lois couldn’t make it.” 

His eyes suddenly zone past Lena and his chin tilts in acknowledgement of someone. “She’s on her way over here now, actually.”

Clark beams and holds an arm out in greeting, and a woman slides over to it. Before Lena has a chance to take the sudden motion in, the woman extends a beer to his chest and says “Here you are, Kal.”

Kal?

Everything clicks at once. The voice. The name “Kal”. The woman in front of Lena is wearing a full maroon suit with a matching button-up, and there’s an all-too-familiar golden crest necklace resting in place of a tie. Lena’s seen it before, dangling down over her face while getting thoroughly fucked by a certain someone. And as Lena’s gaze moves higher — sure enough — there are waves of long blonde hair, perfect pink lips, and a pair of gentle steel blue eyes.

 

Apparently, Clark Kent’s cousin is none other than Kara fucking Danvers.

 

“Kara?!” Lena can’t contain her surprise, her jaw parting slightly as her brows furrow.

“Lena? I had no idea you’d be here!” Kara practically jumps with excitement, her head tilted back in surprise. “Wow, you look amazing!”

“Oh, so you both do know each other?” Clark says, a smile identical to Kara’s plastered on his face. Must be hereditary. “That’s amazing! Small world.”

“Hello, Kara,” Lena says. Her voice is restrained, desperate to remain as neutral as possible in an attempt to recover her hand.

“How do you two know each other?” Clark asks.

“Uh, we …” Kara flounders, looking to Lena for salvation. The blonde’s face is already bright red, and Lena knows it’s not just from the alcohol. The last time she’s seen Kara this awkward and unsure before was when she had walked in on Kara and Alex at their apartment. It would almost be endearing, were it not for the fact it implicates Lena in a way she’d prefer to avoid.

“Had a class together,” Lena recovers gracefully. “A few over the years, actually.”

“Oh, that’s great,” Clark says, taking a swig of his new beer.

Lena doesn’t know how to move the conversation further, but she doesn’t have to figure it out. Out of nowhere, a tall woman with dark hair and long legs wraps herself over Kara’s shoulders from behind. Lena recognizes her from some of Kara’s pictures. She’s taller in person, almost amazonian.

“Kara, there you are!” she says. She speaks with an accent — Greek, maybe? — and her voice is so light and airy that it’s almost mystical. It should be soothing. But instead Lena finds herself annoyed, with a smoldering feeling in the pit of her stomach.

“Lena, this is Diana Prince,” Kara introduces. Diana unwraps herself from Kara. Lena can now see she’s wearing a bright blue gown with no back; it displays her finely sculpted shoulder muscles perfectly. Not quite as nice as Kara’s, Lena can’t help but think.

“It is a pleasure to meet you,” Diana chimes, pulling Lena into a hug before the Luthor can dodge it. Diana is unbelievably warm and somehow smells like a sweet sea breeze.

“Nice to meet you,” Lena says, smoothing out her dress once Diana releases her.

“Diana and I used to play basketball together for NCU,” Kara explains. “She was a senior when I was a freshman. Now she’s playing in the NWBL.”

“NWBL?” Lena asks.

“National Women's Basketball League,” Kara explains. “Clark and Steve play in the Men’s League.”

“It is only a matter of time before you join me, Supergirl,” Diana grins at Kara, pressing their foreheads together. It’s an intimate gesture and Lena feels a scowl sinking into her face.

“I can’t wait,” Kara smiles in return, but pulls her forehead away.

“Are you from Metropolis as well?” Lena asks.

“Oh, no,” Diana waves, “Gateway City is my home these days. Though Metropolis does have its charms.” She and Clark share a chuckle and Lena instantly feels like an outsider among the three basketball players.

“Diana’s on the Gateway City Guardians,” Kara elaborates. “They played the National City Novas yesterday.”

“I see,” Lena says. “Why don’t both teams from the same city play their respective counterparts each time?” Why is Diana here? she wants to ask. Is she here for you, Kara?

“Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t,” Kara shrugs. 

Lena hums. “How inefficient for travel.”

“Eh, it’s not really about travel,” Kara says. “The ‘MBL and ‘WBL use the same stadiums, so they have to coordinate. It’s a whole big thing.”

“Interesting.”

“Enough business talk, ladies,” Diana says lightly. “This is a party. We should be dancing!”

“That’s a great idea! Lena, want to dance?” There’s a glint in Kara’s eyes that makes it perfectly clear; this is a challenge. Kara is pushing at the rules of their arrangement, and Lena doesn’t appreciate it.

“Actually, I could use another scotch,” Lena says harshly.

“I will dance, Kara,” Diana says in her ethereal accent.

“Have fun you two,” Lena snips, giving Kara a wickedly fake smile as she walks away.

Begrudgingly, she goes to find Lex. She has absolutely zero patience for any more introductions, so she prays this one is some distant, familiar face.

Well, she gets what she wishes for.

Lex is sitting on a luxurious lounge chair, a blonde woman in an impossibly-short dress perched on the arm of it. His arm is curled low around her waist, hand cupping her ass. Lena wants to vomit. This can’t be good.

(It’s not.)

“Lena,” Lex smiles as she walks over with great apprehension. “Excellent. There’s someone I’d like you to meet. You remember Eve, right?”

Eve Teschmacher — once a friend of Lena’s during boarding school, but later estranged after outing Lena and her first girlfriend, Taylor, to Lillian — is sitting on her brother’s lap like a proud and pompous housecat.

“How could I forget,” Lena says with full hostility.

“Lex and I are dating now,” Eve says excitedly, giving Lena a viscous smile while she trails a hand down Lex’s chest. His shirt has been unbuttoned halfway — Lena can’t imagine how that came to be.  

“Are you now?” It’s all Lena can manage to get out before the fire in her throat threatens to spill over.

“He’s such a sweetheart,” Eve giggles.

“I’m the lucky one, baby,” Lex says, firmly squeezing her ass. Baby indeed, Lena thinks, almost gagging at the idea of her brother dating someone nine years his junior.

Lex turns back to Lena. “We were just about to do some lines. Are you interested, or do you still have an aversion to fun?”

Lena glances down at the coffee table in front of Lex. She couldn’t see it when she first walked over, but sure enough, hidden behind the LED table centerpiece are three lines of white powder and Lex’s platinum credit card. Between his fingers is a tightly rolled hundred dollar bill.

Suddenly, Lena remembers why she stopped going to these functions.

“Lexy?” Eve says impatiently, plucking the rolled bill from Lex’s fingers. She then swiftly bends down in front of the table.

“Lexy?” Lena can almost taste the bile in her mouth.

“Ah, Eve …” Lex trails off. That’s as much of an explanation as he can offer over the top of Eve’s back as she snorts her line, and that’s all the explanation Lena needs.

“Are you fucking serious, Lex?” Lena raises a cruel eyebrow. “I take it this is the real reason you invited me here tonight.”

“I know it’s a little awkward, but Eve feels terrible about the past,” Lex flexes his palms open. “And I wanted to see you. It’s good to have you here, Lena. I want you to be a part of my life.”

“When it’s on your terms,” Lena snaps.

“Lena …” Lex pleads.

“I hope you two enjoy your ‘fun’ ,” Lena says with measurable disdain. “I think I’m due for another drink.”

Lena blesses her lucky stars that Lex doesn’t follow after her.

“Scotch, please,” Lena says to the bartender, throwing herself into a barstool. “Make it your most expensive one. On the Luthor tab.”

“Coming right up, miss.”

Lena makes herself busy sitting at the bar, tucked into the side corner. From her vantage point, she can see the dance floor. It’s packed with people; sweaty, drunken bodies grinding and bumping up against each other. Every so often the crowd will part and Lena gets an eyeful of Diana and Kara dancing together. The first time she sees them, some quick-paced upbeat song is playing and they’re dancing wildly around each other. As much as the scene irks her, Lena must acknowledge that Kara is a fairly talented dancer. Not something she would’ve expected … though how different is a dance floor from the bedroom, truly?

Kara’s playful blue eyes meet hers from across the room, excitement and temptation written all over them. Her eyebrows flex upwards briefly in invitation. For a second, Lena considers marching over there to shove her tongue down Kara’s throat, to wipe that smug look off the blonde’s face. She almost does. But the next time she sees the pair, the music has deteriorated into something borderline hedonistic and Diana is grinding into Kara’s crotch as Kara pumps her own arms above her head. Kara’s eyes meet hers again and Lena wants to splash her drink in the other woman’s face. She loses them again in the crowd. 

The next time she sees Kara, Diana is gone and her spot is now occupied by two other women, who are clearly fawning all over Kara. Lena polishes off her scotch and starts on another. And another.

Her hand itches for her phone. She’s drunk and sad and angry. She wants to call Sam — even though it's been six months since they last talked — and she wants to tell her how shitty her night is going. How one of her estranged friends from high school is apparently sleeping with her brother now, how apparently his coke habit is back (did it ever disappear?), and how the one good thing in her life is currently grinding on some Grecian beauty on the dance floor.

She wants to cry. She can feel the threat of it swell in her throat. She’s even only at this idiotic party for Lex, who she has no desire to be around right now. She doesn’t want to be at the club anymore, but for some reason she can’t summon the strength to leave. So she drinks instead. 

She’s on her fourth whiskey when Kara interrupts her.

“Lena,” Kara greets cautiously. 

“Danvers.”

“... I must say, green is definitely  your color. You really do look gorgeous.” Kara’s voice is painfully earnest.

“I see you’re enjoying your night,” Lena bites, staring down into her half-empty glass.

“I am, actually,” Kara says, her tone still genuine. “Are you, Lena? Because you look kind of miserable.”

Lena sucks on her teeth angrily. “Did you really just come over here to insult me, Danvers?”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean that,” Kara apologizes. “I was just offended you didn’t want to dance with me. You barely seem to want to talk to me.”

“What makes you think I would  want to talk to you?” Lena snaps.

“Woah,” Kara flinches back. “Lena, did I do something wrong?”

“Not at all,” Lena pounds the remainder of her scotch. “Another, please.”

“Then what’s going on with you?”

“Nothing. Stop pestering me, Danvers. Don’t you have someone random to go hookup with?” Lena snips, meeting Kara’s concerned look with fire in her eyes. Lena’s upper lip is pulled up slightly into a snarl.

“What?” Kara looks shocked and confused for a second. “Lena, I’m not hooking up with anyone but you,” she says, an edge of exasperation to her words. She holds open hands up by her shoulders and Lena tries to ignore how good she really looks in that suit.

Lena’s head twitches to the side and her mind races to catch up to the new information. “Oh. But Diana …?”

“Is just a friend,” Kara assures, lowering her arms. “She’s a literal goddess, but I’m not into her in that way. Her fiance, Steve, is though.”

“And the other girls?”

“Are strangers,” Kara says. “I just like dancing … the entire time I wanted it to be you out there, dancing with me.”

Suddenly, Lena feels very stupid. Embarrassed. Ashamed. It’s not an unfamiliar cocktail of emotions for her. She’s felt it many times before at the hand of her mother. Lillian might as well have just scolded ten-year-old Lena for her handwriting, or fourteen-year-old Lena for wearing sweatpants out in public, or seventeen-year-old Lena for being sent to the headmistress’s office after getting caught passing love notes to her classmate, Taylor.

“I should go,” Lena says quickly, rising to her feet. She has her Birkin bag in a death-grip.

“Hey,” Kara says, reaching out to grab her wrist and anchor her. “I get it. I thought you and Jack were together too. It was an honest mistake — nothing to worry about.”

Lena wants to yank her arm away from Kara, but there’s something gentle and protective in the touch that is undeniable. It makes her want to melt into Kara’s arms, just like she usually does during their late-night romps. But she wouldn’t allow that of herself, not here at least.

Lena lets out a deep exhale. She does allow Kara’s reassurance to wash over her, quelling the mess of emotions inside her chest. “Okay. Okay.”

Kara looks at her with attentive blue eyes and it’s a new kindness Lena hasn’t known. “Do you want to get out of here?” Kara asks.

Lena shoots one last glance in Lex’s direction, though she can’t see him from this vantage point. “More than anything,” she admits with an exhale.

“Okay,” Kara nods assuringly. “Just let me go say goodbye to Clark first. He flies back to Metropolis early in the morning. Stay here, okay? I’ll be right back.”

She doesn’t wait for Lena to respond before darting back into the party crowd. Unable to cope with the lack of distractions, Lena orders yet another scotch while she waits. (In hindsight, that move would ultimately be her undoing.) It doesn’t take her long to finish it off. She considers just getting up and leaving, but Kara reappears before she’s decided.

“Ready to go,” Kara says, intertwining her fingers with Lena’s. They’ve held hands before — stumbling through Lena’s apartment complex hallways or in bed — but there’s something new and foreign about the feeling of Kara’s calloused hand now locked with her own like this.

Kara quickly shifts them through the crowded club, walking with a confidence and an agency Lena hasn’t seen before. It’s admittedly a very attractive look on the blonde. She ignores the sudden dampness between her legs.

Once they get outside, the cold air hits them like a blow to the face. Suddenly, Lena’s shoulders are wrapped in warmth before the night air has a chance to chill her bones. One glance over and Lena realizes Kara’s draped her suit coat around Lena’s shoulders.

“Kara, you don’t have to—” Lena begins to protest.

“I run hot,” Kara winks at her. “Besides, with the way your dress is cut, I’m still more covered than you are.”

Lena would argue but she's too grateful for the warmth, and the fact the blazer smells like Kara’s enrapturing cologne doesn’t hurt either.  Deflecting it is, then.

“Have you been ogling my dress, Danvers?” Lena teases.

“Ogling, gawking. Call it what you like,” Kara shrugs. “I ordered a ride-share for us back to your place, I hope that’s okay.”

“A bit presumptuous, aren’t we?” Lena says, but it would seem Kara misses her playful tone.

“I just thought, since you’re the one in heels — I don’t have to come up, I just figured I could walk home easier than—”

“—it’s fine, Kara,” Lena says with amusement. “Thank you.”

“How are you doing?” Kara asks. She watches with concern as Lena sways a little. Lena starts to regret wearing such tall heels.

Lena sighs. “I’m fine.”

Kara opens her mouth to probe further, but suddenly a car pulls up alongside the curb and Kara jumps to attention.

“Oh, this is our ride,” Kara says. She helps Lena into the car before getting in herself.

There’s something about the warm air inside the car and the comfortable leather seats that set the next events in motion. Her eyelids droop heavily and her stomach begins to churn along with the motion of the vehicle. There’s a pressure right under her sternum that makes her nauseous. She ignores it until she can’t ignore it anymore.

“Kara, I don’t feel so good …”

The sound of retching fills the vehicle as Lena begins to throw up into her Birkin bag.

“Hey!” the driver yells, whipping his head back to confirm his fear.

“It’s okay, it’s all in her bag!” Kara’s voice promises. “Everything’s fine. I’ve got this.”

The driver turns back around grumbling about ‘idiot college kids’. It feels like the car moves faster after that, but Lena’s so sensitive to the motion now it’s hard to tell if it really does. Lena’s eyes are now completely closed, her face shoved into her Birkin bag. Her body tenses as the contents of her stomach continue to empty.

She vaguely realizes Kara is holding her hair back, and there is a soothing pressure on her upper back — that must be Kara’s hand. There’s a burning heat in her cheeks but everything else feels numb. Her last thought is gratitude that she can’t see the look on Kara’s face right now.

Lena doesn’t remember anything after that.


Kara is able to get Lena up to her apartment without anything going horribly wrong. Much to the relief of their driver, the backseat of the vehicle remains free of any vomit. It’s all restrained in Lena’s now-ruined handbag. Kara apologizes to him profusely (she also tips him a sum larger than their actual ride fare) as she drags Lena out of the vehicle. 

Surprisingly, Lena Luthor can still walk decently well in heels that should be way too tall for any drunk person. Even so, Kara wraps one of her arms around Lena’s waist to stabilize her, and uses the other to pull Lena’s arm taut across her broad shoulders so the drunk woman stays upright.

Lena seems to stir back to some level of lucidity in the elevator.

“Easy,” Kara says as Lena lurches away from her. It’s times like these that Kara is truly grateful for her impressive strength, as it’s easy enough to guide Lena’s weight where she needs it to be. She could probably physically pick the Luthor up if it comes to that — there’s a decent chance she gets puked on in the process, and Kara’s wearing her nicest suit. (Not only is it fairly expensive, but it was a gift from Clark and Lois after she added suits to her wardrobe, so it’s sentimental as well).

“Why did Diana call you su-per-girl?” Lena slurs.

“You’re joking, right?” Kara asks, looking down at Lena in amusement. The raven-haired woman’s eyes flutter open slightly before falling closed again.

“No …” Lena drawls. “Why … do they call you Supergirl?”

“It’s a nickname from basketball,” Kara smiles. “You know, you’re finally going to watch a game one of these days.” (It’s her not-so-secret mission; Kara is somehow going to convince Lena Luthor to watch one of her games before they’re all said and done.)

“No …” Lena whines, flopping her head back onto Kara’s shoulder.

The elevator dings and the doors part. Kara takes Lena on a beeline for her apartment. She has a feeling Lena’s not quite done throwing up yet.

She’s not.

Lena ends up slumped over the toilet in her bathroom, head practically in the bowl, arms propping herself up, and legs crumpled under her. Not knowing what to do with Lena’s soiled bag, Kara tosses it in the sink.

“Do you have any hair-ties?” Kara asks. She’s holding Lena’s hair up with one hand, her superior wingspan stretched to the max across the bathroom as she pulls open the vanity drawers.

“Top right,” Lena mumbles. Thankfully, it’s a drawer within reach. Kara removes Lena’s killer heels next.

Once Kara gets Lena better situated, she steps back and inspects the bathroom while Lena wretches more into the porcelain bowl. Kara hasn’t been in this bathroom yet; she started out using the hallway bathroom and kept up with that pattern. Using Lena’s personal bathroom might’ve been too intimate for the woman to handle.

It’s a very luxurious bathroom — even more so than the hallway bathroom — and the decor is as seamlessly elegant as the rest of the apartment. There’s lots of white and neutral colors, smooth stone edges, and sterile surfaces. There’s a spacious walk-in shower at the rear of the room, open to the rest of the room. Kara imagines she’d have the best shower of her life in there.

The sound of Lena coughing brings her back to focus.

“Are you okay?” Kara leans over the toilet, trying to examine Lena’s pale face.

“Ugh,” Lena groans. Okay, good, not choking. “Why did I have that last scotch?”

“I don’t think you’re going to be able to have that scotch again, for a little while,” Kara says. “I doubt you’ll even be able to stand the smell.”

Lena groans in agreement.

“How many did you have, Lena?” Kara asks with mild interest.

“I don’t know,” Lena says, rubbing her brow. “I just kept ordering them.”

“Why?” Kara tries to keep her voice as neutral as possible.

“I was upset,” Lena says. “And I was jealous. Watching Diana dance with you.”

Kara breaks out into a giant grin. Lena Luthor was jealous? Over her? That one sentence more than made up for the dirty looks Lena had sent her way all night.

“You were jealous?” It just slips out of Kara’s triumphant mouth.

“Well, green is my color,” Lena states. Her tone is self-deprecating at best.

Kara soaks in her victory a bit longer, until Lena continues her drunken rant.

“Oh, and my brother is now fucking the girl who outed me to my mother in high school,” she tells Kara. “So … I needed the scotch.” She gives Kara a rueful smile and the blonde feels a piece of her heart break.

“I’m sorry, Lena,” Kara winces. “I know family stuff is complicated for you, but I’m here if you ever want to talk.”

“Complicated is an understatement,” Lena scoffs. “And I don’t do … tragic backstory ‘talks’.”

“Why not? We’re friends,” The words slip out of Kara’s mouth before she can stop them.

“Because then—” Lena’s answer is cut short as she begins to throw up again. Kara rubs her back through the rhythmic clenching of her ribcage.

“Do you think you’re done?” Kara asks after a pause. The answer comes in the form of more retching.

“Apparently not,” Kara answers for her. “I’m going to go get you some water.”

Kara quickly darts into the kitchen and begins yanking open cabinet doors until she finds the drinking glasses. She’s never really spent much time in any room of the apartment other than Lena’s bedroom, but she’s getting the full tour tonight. 

The kitchen is even more barren than Lena’s bathroom, save an impressive array of identical coffee mugs. Kara doubts Lena ever cooks; the pots and pans look brand new. She must order takeout constantly or something — perks of being rich, Kara supposes, it’s the college student dream.

She spares her suit coat from the rest of the night by draping it over a chair on her way back to Lena.

Lena drinks the water gratefully, draining about half the glass in one go. Kara tops it off in the bathroom sink.

“How are you feeling?” Kara asks. Her eyes are carefully trained on Lena’s form.

“I’m fine,” Lena tells the toilet, “I’m fucking fine.” Kara reaches to adjust her sagging ponytail, only to have Lena slap her hand away. “Don’t touch me.”

Great, she’s in the combative phase of the blackout. At least that means the throwing-up is almost over.

“I’m just trying to help, Lena,” Kara soothes.

Lena laughs ruefully. “Of course you are … y-you’re a fucking saint.”

Kara stays silent while Lena continues to ramble.

“Saint Danvers,” Lena says, “So holier than thou. So fucking … perfect.”

Kara isn’t sure whether to smile or be offended, but her heart races anyways.

“I can’t … stand you,” Lena tells her.

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Kara brushes it off, chalking it up to the alcohol and the remnants of their old dynamic. It’s been pretty clear recently that Lena can, in fact, stand being around her and more.

“N-no you don’t,” Lena slurs. “You ruined me. All I can think of every week … is getting you back in my bed.”

“Is that right?” Kara’s loving every minute of this.

“Fuck you, Danvers.” A redundant middle finger waves hello. 

Kara chuckles at that. “You wish you could, Luthor. Maybe next weekend.”

Lena moans a half-hearted complaint.

“Do you want more water?” Kara asks, offering the glass out.

“No,” Lena grumbles. Her head rolls sideways onto her arm so her face can now be seen.

Kara wouldn’t tell a single soul, but it’s an amusing scene to watch. Lena Luthor, who is never seen with even a single hair out of place, is currently halfway passed out on her toilet — makeup smeared and designer dress rumpled as hell. If Kara didn’t know for certain it was Lena herself, she would think the other woman was some imposter.

Lena always commands a room with such power and control — it’s one of the things Kara finds so magnetic about her — but this version of her is so far removed that Kara’s cognitive dissonance has never been higher. Sure, it only takes Kara minutes to get Lena absolutely unraveled under her when they’re having sex, but this is different. It’s oddly platonic. 

Lena looks so small and soft and vulnerable. It twists Kara’s heart in a way she wouldn’t expect.

“Don’t worry, Lena,” Kara whispers, looking at Lena’s sleeping form. “I’ll take care of you.” 

Lena falls asleep for a while. Kara glances at her every so often, but the woman hasn’t moved from her rather uncomfortable-looking position. She decides she needs something to focus on that isn’t Lena, so she busies herself cleaning out the contents of Lena’s purse. It’s pretty gross. 

Kara winces with disgust, glancing up at the ceiling as she fishes Lena’s phone and wallet out. Oh, you owe me big, Lena, Kara thinks.

The various credit cards are easy to clean but the phone presents more of a challenge. The fact that Lena apparently has something against phone cases doesn’t help. But eventually Kara gets it to look presentable, then leaves it to dry on the bathroom vanity next to Lena’s freshly-cleaned cards and lipstick. She washes her hands five times over afterwards.

“Okay,” Kara exhales. She sets her hands on her hips and looks over the triage area with satisfaction. “Time to put you to bed, Lena.”

Lena stirs at the sound of her name. “Hhgh?”

“Hi,” Kara says, kneeling down to Lena’s eye level. Her eyes can only open a fraction. The light falls on Lena’s mascara-laden eyelashes in the prettiest way.

“I think it’s time for bed, Lena,” Kara says.

“Okay,” Lena says softly. “Kara, I need to pee.”

“Okay,” Kara says, stifling her urge to chuckle. “I’ll help you up.” She takes Lena by the hands and helps the drunk woman stumble to her feet. 

“We’re going to need to get you out of this,” Kara says, pulling on the hem of Lena’s tight dress. “Are you okay if I take it off?”

“S-sure …” Lena slurs.

Kara’s face flushes as she grabs a hold of Lena’s zipper. The motion starts out slow and delicate, and Kara can feel her entire body pulse under the tension between them. She gets the zipper down about halfway before it stops moving. She gives it an impatient yank. It doesn’t budge — not even after two, three, four yanks.

“Didn’t realize Kara Danvers has trouble getting a girl out of her dress,” Lena teases. “Performance issues, Danvers?”

Kara wants to roll her eyes. As if. “Never,” she gives a low whisper in Lena’s ear.

Lena rolls her shoulders back.

“The zipper is jammed,” Kara grunts. “I can’t get it off.”

Lena giggles at Kara’s misfortune.

“Lena …” Kara says, eying the zipper with malice. “Are you okay if I rip this dress off of you? I know it’s probably designer, but you kind of got throw-up on it anyways …”

“Go for it, Danvers,” Lena drawls, “But only if you fuck me after,” Lena attempts a sexy wink, but it just results in her eyes closing again.

“Uh, absolutely not — you’re way  too drunk. And that’s against the rules, actually,” Kara says humorously.

Lena turns her head to give a wicked pout.

Kara wraps her fingers firmly inside the fabric of Lena’s half-open dress, takes a sharp inhale, and rips the fabric apart in one strong motion. Lena stumbles backwards into Kara from the force, and Kara catches her hips to re-stabilize her.

“Woah,” Lena says, rendered breathless. Her cheeks are instantly flushed, and Kara would guess that’s not the only region that just received a rush of blood. Lena more than liked that, Kara files the interaction away in her brain. Maybe she’ll get to rip another one of Lena’s dresses off her sometime — under better circumstances, of course.

Kara slides the dress down Lena’s torso and legs, using her foot to hold the material down as she guides Lena to step out of it. Without further ceremony, Lena removes her final remaining layer — a lace number — then plops down onto the toilet seat with a force that Kara suspects she’ll feel tomorrow.

“Where can I find you some clothes?” Kara asks, staring very intentionally at Lena’s face and only Lena’s face.

“Closet,” Lena points through the bathroom wall.

Kara quickly removes herself to give Lena privacy. Unsurprisingly, Lena has a walk-in closet full of clothes. There are dresses and gowns in every color imaginable, and racks of stylish pantsuits, blouses, and coats. Handbags sit on pedestals. Shelves full of shoes line an entire wall on their own. There’s even a small couch and an ottoman in the middle of the room. So this is why Lena always looks so perfect, Kara gawks.

Kara catches a brief glance of herself in one of the many mirrors. She looks tired, but there’s a spirited light in her eyes. She’s in her element; she’s protecting and helping people who need her. Tonight, it’s Lena.

Kara starts looking through the drawers. She finds the jewelry first, then Lena’s underwear — some of the lingerie looks very familiar — until she finally finds a drawer with t-shirts inside. She grabs a black one with the NCU crest on it and continues to look for bottoms. The best she can find is a pair of running shorts. That’ll work.

It’s a bit of a task to re-dress Lena. The drunk woman is lurching fairly heavily and Kara has to constantly adjust her weight so she doesn’t fall over. She also tries her best to preserve Lena’s modesty; Kara makes eye contact with the wall the entire time, and doesn’t unsnap Lena’s bra (with one hand, because she can) until after she’s covered by the shirt. It’s a struggle but eventually Lena is clothed again.

“Can you walk to the bed?” Kara asks.

“Yes,” Lena mumbles. She lets out a deep yawn as she starts to stumble into the next room. The king-size bed makes for a large target, which works in her favor. Kara spends a few minutes cleaning up in Lena’s wake. She straightens out the bathmat, drapes Lena’s discarded clothes on one of the empty towel racks, and refills Lena’s water. By the time she’s done, Lena’s gotten herself fully in the bed and halfway under the sheets.

Kara sets the water on the nightstand. After a moment of thought, she moves the book nearby off it in case Lena knocks the water over. It’s some small brick about nanomaterials.

“Lena?” Kara asks.

There’s no reply. Kara sticks two fingers under Lena’s nose. She can feel the gentle flow of air over her skin. Good, she’s just sleeping. 

Kara quickly does the math. It’s almost four o’clock in the morning now, and they left the club around one. It had been three hours since Lena’s last drink, so her blood-alcohol content had already peaked. It would be alright to let her sleep the rest off.

Kara re-adjusts Lena onto her side and puts a pillow behind her so she can’t roll onto her back. She then pulls up the sheets so that Lena is fully covered and snug.

“There we go,” Kara says to herself. Exhausted, she takes several steps back to sit on the floor with her back against the wall. The silence of the apartment feels so uncertain now. Kara’s mission has been completed. What next?

“Well, Luthor, you’ve got me in a tough spot here,” Kara says. She’s not expecting Lena to respond or anything. She just needs to talk out her next move, even if it’s just with herself.

“Part of me feels like I should leave, with our rules and all,” Kara says, “But part of me feels like I should stay and make sure you’re okay.”

“I’m also super tired and don’t really want to walk home at four in the morning,” Kara admits. “What do you think I should do?”

It’s quiet for several minutes while Kara contemplates her choices. She still hasn’t decided fully, but she gets up to turn off the lights anyways. No reason to waste the power.

“Stay,” Lena murmurs, quieter than a whisper.

Kara stops in her tracks and turns around. “What?”

“You can stay,” Lena says. Her eyes are still closed and she hasn’t moved at all. Kara’s not sure if she’s dreaming or lucid or something in-between.

“Okay,” Kara smiles softly at Lena’s sleeping form. She elects to sleep on the couch; she’ll be close enough to hear if Lena needs anything but it’s not so intimate as sleeping in the same bed together.

Kara strips off the remainder of her suit until she’s left in nothing but her boxers and racerback. She neatly hangs her clothes on the backs of Lena’s dining room chairs before washing up in the hallway bathroom. Kara vaguely wonders if Lena ever uses her table. It’s comically large and a near impossible task to picture Lena inviting over enough people to fill it. Personal space is clearly important to the introvert.

Kara then settles into the plush leather couch and pulls the one knit throw blanket she could find over her. It’s almost four in the morning and she can feel that sleep is near. She drifts off quickly, her last conscious thoughts spent wondering why Lena doesn’t have any pictures in her apartment.


Lena wakes up with an axe in her skull.

Not literally, but there might as well have actually been one.

“Fuck …” she trails off, clutching her head. She sits up against the headboard, hoping it will alleviate some of the pressure. It doesn’t. It does make her aware of the aching in her stomach; like she swallowed a painful cocktail of stones and glass. She shifts under the covers only to feel friction against the silk.

Lena pulls in confusion at the clothes on her body. She doesn’t sleep with clothes on — certainly not in some free NCU t-shirt and a pair of gym shorts. Come to think of it, she doesn’t remember even putting these on. What is happening?

There’s the smell of coffee coming from the kitchen and it’s enough to seduce Lena to her feet. Maybe she’ll be able to function with some caffeine in her system. She slowly stumbles across the bedroom, feeling as if she had been hit by a bus last night.

It’s been awhile, but Lena’s now positive this is a hangover.

Sunlight is streaming in through the windows of her penthouse and Lena has to squint heavily to see into the living room. Over by the window stands an all-too-familiar figure, looking out over the city skyline. Beams of light filter in all around her. It’s almost too bright to look at, but Lena needs the confirmation.

“Kara?” Lena asks. Her voice is hoarse and her throat burns for some reason.

“Oh good, you’re awake!” Kara smiles, stepping closer. “How are you feeling?”

Why the fuck is Kara Danvers in her apartment at ten (wait, ten?!) in the morning? And why is she still wearing her button-up and pants from last night?

“You spent the night.” It’s an accusatory statement, and Lena’s brows lift as if daring Kara to explain. “And close the curtains, please.” Kara obliges.

“Yeah,” Kara chuckles nervously. Her expression is somewhere between wary and amused. “So, uh, what do you remember from last night?”

Lena pulls on her memory, expecting to be able to answer the question. But she can’t. Her brain feels like absolute mush. Everything is dark and clouded. She remembers the club, meeting Clark, Lex and Eve, Kara and Diana dancing, her jealousy and insecurity, several glasses of scotch, and —

Oh, fuck. She didn’t …

“I remember … getting into the car with you,” Lena says slowly, brows furrowed deeper than ever before. “I remember … my bag …”

Lena’s eyes go wide in realization and she swallows hard. “Oh my god.”

“Yeah,” Kara grimaces, “You kind of blacked-out.”

Lena’s lips move up and down but no words come out. It’s as if her voice has died on the spot. She moves a hand up to her mouth to cover it.

“What else did I do?” she croaks out.

“Well … you kind of threw up in the ride-share. In your bag. It looked expensive, I’m sorry,” Kara says.

“It’s fine,” Lena says weakly. She’s praying to any and every higher power that it doesn’t get worse.

“And your phone and your wallet were inside too,” Kara informs her. “I tried to clean off your phone, but I can’t get it to work or charge. Your bag and your wallet were both pretty much destroyed too.”

“It’s fine, I’ll order replacements today,” Lena says automatically. She wonders what Kara has to be thinking, as Lena just casually mentions replacing over $10,000 worth of items without so much as batting an eye. But Lena has bigger concerns to dwell on than her cliché embodiment of her rich girl status. Namely, her pure horror over the previous night.

“But the cards inside cleaned up fine,” Kara adds. “So that’s good!”

“Anything else?” Lena’s afraid to ask, but she needs to know.

“Well,” Kara’s voice rises an octave and Lena’s blood runs cold. “You also threw up on your dress, a little. And the zipper got stuck. So I asked you if I could rip it off. You said yes, so I did … and you, uh, really liked  that.”

Lena feels her spirit leave her body. She’s ready; ready to join her ancestors, ready to sink into the damp ground, never to be seen again.

“Please tell me we didn’t sleep together.” There’s a fuzzy memory of cold porcelain on her arms and Lena’s almost certain she prepositioned Kara last night.

“Oh, god, no,” Kara quickly assures her. “You were way too drunk, I would never.”

Lena exhales in relief. “Good. Is that everything?”

“Pretty much,” Kara says, and Lena hopes that’s true. “I’m sorry for staying the night, I know it’s against our rules. It didn’t seem right to leave you like that though.”

“It’s … alright,” Lena forces the words out. She’s ten times more upset at herself for her actions than anything Kara did.

“Kara, I am truly mortified,” Lena says. She can’t meet Kara’s eyes anymore, so she starts to stare at the floor and roll her tongue around the inside of her mouth.

“It’s okay,” Kara says good-naturedly. “I had plenty of practice with Alex before she stopped drinking.” Kara’s face drops into a look of pure panic. “Shit! I shouldn’t have said that.”

“I won’t repeat anything,” Lena promises. Truly, she won’t. Everyone has their own demons and Lena’s not one to involve herself in the darker affairs of others.

“Thank you,” Kara breathes a sigh of relief.

Lena’s eyes flicker down to the bright blue bottle in Kara’s hand. “What is that monstrosity?”

“Drink this, you’ll feel better after,” Kara says, handing it over to her. It’s a pint of some electrolyte drink.

Lena inspects the label as she slowly unscrews the cap. “Isn’t this made for babies?”

“Technically,” Kara shifts on her feet. “But it really does work! If I know I’m going to go hard one night, I always use this. There’s a whole strategy: drink a third before I start, a third when I get home, and a third the next morning.”

“Interesting,” Lena says, sniffing at the neck of the bottle. It smells like artificial blueberry flavoring, which makes sense since the liquid is bright blue.

“I haven’t had a hangover since freshman year,” Kara adds, and it makes Lena reconsider the drink in her hand. Her head throbs painfully and she relents. The taste is a bit salty but the fruit flavor is not unpleasant.

“That’s … not bad, actually,” Lena admits.

“See?” Kara smiles. “There’s also black coffee, scrambled eggs, and plain toast on the kitchen counter for you.”

The blonde’s smile is so genuine and caring, Lena feels absolutely paralyzed in its path. The consideration behind the gesture causes her physical pain. Who does Kara Danvers think she is?

“Kara, why did you do all of this …?” Lena’s voice is practically dripping with an odd combination of awe and self-hatred.

“I … I don’t know,” Kara frowns for a second before shrugging, “It just seemed like the right thing to do.” She gives Lena a look that she hasn’t seen since Sam and part of Lena wants to run. The other part of her wants to lay down and sleep for another two days, until she no longer feels like a walking corpse.

Lena is silent as her eyes comb over her apartment. There’s a cup of coffee and a cardboard box of food on the counter, just as Kara said. Judging from the takeout packaging, she had gone to the café two blocks away — it’s rather expensive (Lena makes a note to pay Kara back somehow) but the coffee is divine. Kara’s suit coat is folded over one of her dining table chairs. Everything else in the apartment seems intact; Kara must’ve run damage control.

“Well,” Kara picks up her suit jacket and tosses it on. “You’re alive again so I should probably head out.”

“Yeah,” Lena agrees idly. Her mind is too busy racing over itself, trying to search for any intact memories of late last night.

“I’ll see you around, Luthor,” Kara says playfully. “Welcome back to the realm of the living.”

“Kara?” Lena calls after her, the other woman already halfway out the door.

“Yeah?” Kara pops back into view.

“Thank you …” Lena can’t convey her gratitude enough. She hopes Kara can feel it in her words. “Truly.”

“Anytime, Lena,” Kara leaves her with one last smile.

Overwhelmed by the recount of last night, Lena plops down on her couch. There’s a blanket folded over the arm, instead of the back, and Lena realizes this must be where Kara slept. Not the bed. Interesting, Lena thinks, and a bit relieving.

Lena checks her phone once she works up the strength to stand again. Sure enough, it’s a glorified paperweight at this point. She switches the SIM card over to an old phone buried in the depths of her desk drawer, and re-registers the device. It’s an older model but it’ll work for now. To her relief, the phone logo shines out from the dark glass. Lena could cry — from relief or dread, she’s not sure.

There are five missed calls and two voicemails from Lex. She sighs. Looks like it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire.

But first — her coffee.

Chapter Text


Kara Danvers loves texting. 

She can constantly share whatever exciting thing has come up during her day. Between coordinating basketball team logistics, sharing newly discovered songs, and ranting about the latest episode of her current-favorite TV show, there’s so much to discuss. And she can add in emojis and pictures when words just aren’t enough.

Sure, Alex could probably do without the constant stream of memes, but she humors Kara. Kara also has a lively groupchat with Alex, Lucy, Maggie, M’gann, and Nia as well as a second one with their entire basketball team that keeps her phone constantly alight. And then there’s Mike, who will exchange new workout ideas and basketball analytics with her all day, regardless of if he’s in class or not.

She loves feeling connected.

Lena Luthor doesn’t do casual text conversations.

She doesn’t have the patience for it. It’s an arduous form of communication, typing out some eloquent message and triple-checking it before sending it off. There’s a complex science to getting her point across appropriately and Lena has better things to devote her time and brain cells to.

Sure, Jack harasses her by text constantly, but she’s so used to his constant, one-sided communication that it doesn’t even count anymore. Lena will message Andrea occasionally to meet up, but their dynamic best lends itself to in-person interaction. And then there’s Lex, who will call once in a blue moon, but after their last conversation, Lena doesn’t expect to hear from him any time soon.

She’s never been one to need to feel constantly connected.

Yet here she is, her phone lit by a notification from a certain Kara Danvers, and Lena’s already got her thumb hovering over the keyboard to respond. It’s four nights in a row of this nonsense.

It had started out with Kara just checking in on her the Sunday after Lex’s party. She had caught Lena right when the latter had finished a rather infuriating phone call with her brother, and Lena welcomed the distraction.

K: how are you feeling?

Better, actually. Your drink helped.

K: i know my stuff ;)

I hope the couch wasn’t too uncomfortable for you.

K: hey, a couch is a couch. I can sleep anywhere :)

Lena had meant for that to be the end of it. Then, that night, Jack had shown up at her doorstep to regale her with a full recount of his weekend with William. Lena would’ve kicked him out, but he had brought dinner Lena’s favorite gourmet salad from one of the best restaurants in National City. And her stomach rumbled that it was now willing to accept food again. So he had been allowed to stay.

Jack had been so lovesick and sappy it practically made Lena nauseous. She had no patience for such blind, unrealistic, hormone-driven rubbish. But she loved Jack, and was happy for him, so she suffered through. Even so, after about an hour straight of his gushing, she had needed a palate cleanser. So after a bit of consternation she texts Kara.

Finally able to eat food again.

K: ouch! It’s like 24 hours later … i can barely go 4 hours without food

Seriously? Do you have some sort of superhuman metabolism?

K: so i’ve been told! it has it’s perks. you’re talking to the Danvers’ family pie-eating champ:

Below the message is a photo of Kara at a wooden table posing proudly with a large, empty pie pan. She looks way younger, with braces middle-school age maybe and there’s holiday lights in the background. There’s chocolate smeared on her chin and the tip of her nose. It’s almost painfully endearing, and Lena

What are you smiling at?” Jack’s voice cuts through her thoughts.

Lena’s head whips up to attention. “Who?”

“You,” Jack looks at her with suspicion. “Who are you texting?”

“No one,” Lena drops her amused expression immediately. “Just looking at some photos.”

“Photos, my ass,” Jack squints. “You haven’t posted anything on social media since, like, last year.” (It’s true Lena hasn’t posted anything since right after the break up with Sam. But that’s the last thing on her mind right now.)

Lena tries to look as unimpressed as possible. “They’re old photos, Jack.”

Jack seems skeptical but is forced to relent without further cause. Once his eyes are back on his laptop, Lena sends another message to Kara. Just one more. She wouldn’t want the other woman to think she was ignoring or ghosting her. Not after she had been so kind to Lena. It had been less than twenty-four hours ago, yet Lena felt as if ages had passed since last night.

You can’t text me anymore, you’re going to get me in trouble with Jack

A series of notifications pop up across the top of her phone, this time directed to her social media account.

Direct Message from kdanvers: is this better? I could pretend to be some random scammer online if that helps

Direct Message from kdanvers: ‘my name is princess kara of krypton. my nation has remained hidden, until now so we can share our wealth with the world. please, send your bank account information and i will wire you money, since you are so beautiful …’

Direct Message from kdanvers: or would a pyramid scheme be better?

Lena hides her mouth with her fingers so that Jack can’t see the inevitable upwards twisting of the corners of her lips. Kara Danvers is a bit of a dork.

A noble attempt, Danvers, but it’s not going to work.

K: it was worth a shot … speaking of shots, i think the next round is on you. Al’s, this Saturday?

Please no, I still can’t even think about alcohol without feeling nauseous. I’ll find another way to make it up to you.

K: i do love food too …

We’ll see.

Inspired by the idea of a gift for Kara simply in gratitude for her actions the previous night Lena pulls up another tab in her internet browser and begins to look for a suitable option.

It turns out Kara is a difficult person to shop for. The search makes Lena realize how little she actually knows about the woman. Of course, that’s how they wanted it, right? If they didn’t know anything about each other, then that would mean no one could catch feelings.

A devilish voice in the back of Lena’s head points out that she does, in fact, know some things about Kara Danvers. She’s gorgeous. Her body looks carved from the heavens. She’s amazing in bed. She’s got the confidence or the cockiness, Lena’s not decided yet to match. She tastes like sugar-laden cocktails and cheap beer on Saturday nights.

She has a sister, Alex, and a cousin, Clark (What had Kara called him? Kal?). She plays basketball and will probably go pro. She’s actually got a good working understanding of science. She’s considerate, patient, chivalrous, and actually a bit of a dork at times. And she wears a golden necklace that she never takes off, ever a crest emblazoned with a golden S.

And she’s broken not one but two of Lena’s rules, now. But for some reason, Lena’s not upset about it right now. For a night that was terrible on so many accounts, Lena finds herself feeling almost … fulfilled, in the aftermath.

The summary is no help for narrowing down a gift idea. A necklace is out of the question. Stuck with no other ideas, Lena decides to set it aside for the night and try again tomorrow.

The next day, Lena feels bold. She texts Kara unsolicited and out of the blue asking what her favorite color is.

What is your favorite color?

K: red or blue, i can never decide

You can’t possibly have two favorite colors.

K: why not?

It defeats the purpose of a ‘favorite’ color.

K: well okay, what’s yours then?

Fuck, Lena walked right into this one. After a moment of hesitation, she types out her answer.

I tend to be partial to red.

K: makes sense. you have that really nice red lipstick i like

Blood rushes to Lena’s cheeks. Even though no one is in her apartment but her, she glances around to ensure no one sees her moment of weakness.

So you like my red lipstick?

K: well if you want to amend the ‘no weeknights’ rule, i can show you just show much i like it …

Tsk tsk, Danvers. So desperate.

K: that’s not a no …?

It’s a terrible judgment call, to phrase her response in such a way that cracks open the door to a later concession yet Lena does it anyway.

Not tonight, Danvers.

Lena hopes that maybe Kara doesn’t notice. That she doesn’t read into it.

But Lena’s not that lucky, and the next night she gets a text that illustrates that Kara can be attentive outside the bedroom too.

K: how about now? I’m coming off a big win tonight and i have energy to burn

That’s the only coming you’ll be doing tonight, per the rules of this arrangement.

K:  :( … we’ve technically already broken that rule, you know

More reason not to break it again.

K: is your only objection because of the rules? It’s not about saturday, right?

No, it’s not about Saturday. Hypothetically speaking, I wouldn’t object to a certain kind of satisfaction tonight, but I have work to do and we have rules in place.

K: oh really? because i can work with that

Don’t push your luck, Danvers.

K: okay, but just know: one day, when you change your mind, i won’t say ‘i told you so’ or anything. I will just show up and do my job

‘When?’ You’re really so cocky as to think you can get a Luthor to change her mind?

K: watch me ;)

That gives Lena an idea.

The idea is cemented the next day, when Kara sends her a photo of a cheap digital watch shattered and crushed into her forearm. There’s light discoloration to one side of it, and a few tiny scratches. The photo makes Lena’s stomach give an anxious twist.

What happened?

Lena doesn’t set her phone down until she gets a response.

K: broke it during lifts this morning. Alex was benching and her dumbbell came apart while i was spotting her. thankfully it wasn’t the end over her face lol

Lena’s only half-sure what that all means, but it’s inconsequential.

That looks painful.

K: it’s all good, i’ve had way worse

K: and don’t worry, my fingers still work fine ;)

Lena rolls her eyes so hard she would be surprised if Kara didn’t feel the cosmic disturbance. The only response she can think of is something she once heard Lillian say during some miserable business dinner, and the irony makes her smile in delight.

Oh good, it’s so hard to find good help these days.

K: is that all I am to you, Luthor?

Lena’s immediate instinct is to type a succinct ‘Yes.’, but the word doesn’t look right and she deletes it right away. She tries a few more options that don’t sound right either. In a huff of surrender, she decides something milquetoast yet mildly warm will suffice.

You’re a … friendly acquaintance

K: i can handle that :)

Lena’s head is buried in a book the rest of the week. Kara tries to continue their pattern of casual texting conversations, but Lena just levels with her that she’s got two exams on Friday and can’t spare any time for distractions. Kara respects it and backs off, but not before wishing her luck, and agrees to resume communication Saturday as usual.

The delivery notification for Kara’s gift shows up in Lena’s inbox the hour before her first exam starts. She credits the spike in her heart rate as pre-exam jitters, even though Lena Luthor could recite the foundational science behind wound repair in her sleep.

She’s halfway through the exam when her mind starts to wander back to the delivery notification. Lena wonders when Kara will discover the package. Did she already get it? What does she think of it? Was it too much?

The gift is an analog watch. It’s meaningful but not romantic. Substantial yet insignificant. Half an apology and half a token of gratitude.

The watch is mostly black, but with gold accents to match with Kara’s necklace. Inscribed on the back is the phrase: Kara Danvers, you are my hero. Lena had gotten it engraved out of impulse. She had regretted it not even five minutes after the purchase went through but it had been too late. And a part of her stuck by her moment of sentiment; no one had treated Lena like Kara had done. Kara had owed her nothing, yet showed her kindness at every turn that weekend. 

She had been vulnerable and Kara had protected her. Cared for her. Like her own little hero. 

A strange warmth spreads down Lena’s body.

“Thirty minute warning,” the exam proctor warns. The noise jolts Lena’s attention away from such foolish reflections and back on the task at hand.

She has more important things to do than think about Kara Danvers in her daylight hours.


Jack drags Lena out to Al’s on Saturday. It’s more packed than usual. Apparently, it’s casino night. They’re offering a few free poker chips to every patron, which has drummed up quite a bit of business.

There are a few make-shift poker tables, another table for blackjack, and a bunch of small brightly-illuminated slot machines have been placed around the building. Al is beaming out over his kingdom, proudly admiring his handiwork. The bartenders are all wearing vests and ties, and Jack is mocking William relentlessly as he fiddles with the other man’s bowtie. 

Lena fetches herself a drink in the meanwhile. She debates ordering her usual scotch, but the idea still makes her a little nauseous (Kara was right). Instead, she orders a gin and soda. Jack finds her right after she gets her glass.

“Up for a game of poker?” Jack asks, a devious smile on his face. “Don’t worry, I’ll take it easy on you.”

“Oh, that’s cute,” Lena patronizes, heading over to the table with Jack. All Luthors are incredible liars, which makes a poker table Lena’s personal runway. She can even give Lex a run for his money, literally. Last time he dragged her out to a casino, she had left him practically destitute after a few calculated moves. That had been a good night.

The dealer begins to shuffle the deck right after they sit down. Lena wins the first game with a straight flush. After about another hour of playing, she succeeds at emptying Jack’s pockets, along with all the table’s other victims.

“Lena, seriously?” Jack protests. “You’re going to be like that?”

Lena chuckles and rolls her eyes. “You challenged me, Jack. Here, take some chips and get another drink. Your boytoy keeps staring at you anyways; go keep him company.”

Jack accepts the chips in Lena’s palm gleefully, scurrying off across the bar. Tired of poker, Lena quickly collects her winnings and shifts over to the half-full blackjack table. The empty seat next to Lena is filled immediately, and she looks up to see the exact face she was hoping for.

“Luthor,” Kara grins at her. She's clad in a sherpa-lined jean jacket, black jeans, and a soft-looking t-shirt. Lena makes a note to see later just how soft it is. Her hair cascades down her shoulders like any other Saturday night. Lena wants to run her fingers through it.

“Danvers,” Lena returns the smile. She’s put on her signature firetruck-red lipstick tonight. It may or may not have been for Kara’s benefit. Her whole look tonight is really for Kara’s benefit; a sleek black leather jacket, a dangerously low-cut top, and a pair of sinfully tight pants.

Kara’s eyes rake over her from head to toe. “You look amazing, Lena.”

“You’re not so bad yourself, Danvers,” Lena says. She looks to take a swig of her drink to hide her blush, but it’s useless. Her glass has been empty for awhile now.

“Allow me,” Kara says, setting down a cup in front of Lena. Inside is a bright green liquid almost fluorescent with a darker green color settled on the bottom.

“What is this?” Lena asks. “Is it radioactive?”

Kara chuckles. “It’s a melon sour. Try it.”

Lena gives Kara a very wary look. Kara holds up her own cup; it’s the same liquid but there’s much less of it.

“Fine,” Lena says. She steels herself with a sharp inhale and takes a sip.

Oh, that’s not bad, actually. The flavor screams artificial citrus and sugar. It’s a little on the sweet side for her, but the sour balances it out just enough to still be palatable.

Kara’s looking at her eagerly, awaiting Lena’s response. Noticing she has a bit too much of the blonde’s attention, Lena decides to play with her a bit. The tip of her tongue darts out to lick the residual liquid off her lips, painfully slowly. There’s a noticeable gulp in Kara’s throat.

“So,” Kara croaks, clearing her throat. “How does this game work?”

Lena gives her an incredulous look. “You just sat down at a blackjack table without knowing how to play?”

“Yup,” Kara confirms. “Alex and I watched a movie about it once, but I didn’t really pay attention. I was, uh …” Kara trails off.

“Too busy flirting with your ride of the night?” Lena fills in the rest. “Well, prepare to lose all your money, Danvers.” She gives Kara a pointed look.

“Oh, that ship sailed about an hour ago over by the slot machine,” Kara tells her. “Turns out I’m bad at all forms of gambling.”

Lena can’t help but chuckle. “I can’t say I’m surprised.”

“Hey!” Kara protests. “That was out of pocket! Just help me out, go easy on me.”

“Never,” Lena winks. “I think you like it rough.” Kara’s face turns bright red in a matter of seconds.

“I’ll remember that, Luthor,” Kara hints at some vague retaliation that makes Lena’s toes curl in anticipation. The blonde then starts to roll up her jacket sleeves as cards begin to fly through the dealer’s hands.

Then Lena sees it.

Wrapped around Kara’s wrist, glittering in the dim lighting of the bar, is a black and gold watch. 

Lena’s gift.

Lena feels her heart rate accelerate to Mach 5. Kara’s wearing it. It looks better on her wrist than Lena could’ve imagined. The gold accents match perfectly with her signature necklace. The black draws attention to the dense cords of muscle that run down Kara’s forearms. The bruises from the lifting accident have faded to a faint purple. Lena gulps slightly at the sight.

Lena waits patiently for Kara to mention it. Truthfully, this is new territory for her. She’s always been a gift-giver, but this situation is a bit more complicated than Jack or Andrea. There’s not a standard for a former-enemy-turned-tolerable-and-actually-really-sweet-fuck-buddy. Lena doesn’t have a rule of engagement for this. And there’s sure as hell not a card for it.

But Kara doesn’t mention it.

Lena does well in the first game. It’s clear to her that Kara truly has no idea how to play; she only flips over her cards at the dealer’s prompting, and either hits or stands depending on what Lena does.

“I’m confused,” Kara whispers, peeking over at Lena’s cards. “Aces are worth one, right?”

“Aces are worth either one or eleven,” Lena explains, not taking her eyes off the game. “Whatever gives you the better hand.”

“And I want to get my cards to add up to less than twenty one?” Kara asks.

“There’s hope for you yet,” Lena says, flipping over a winning hand.

“How are you so good at this?” Kara asks.

“Well, it’s simple probability,” Lena explains. “There are only so many permutations of cards in the deck.” (Lena declines to admit in front of the dealer that she’s also counting the cards. The superior Luthor intellect comes in handy during many situations.)

“Huh,” Kara remarks, her brow crinkled. Her small frown is adorable and Lena wants to kiss it off that has to be the melon sour talking.

Lena collects her winning chips, feeding Kara a few so she can keep playing. Lena notches a few more victories before the unthinkable happens she loses it all on the next game. 

She blames the loss on Kara. The blonde had set her arm idly across the back of Lena’s chair, and Lena’s brain short-circuited after that, completely ruining her count. All she could focus on was how upright the hairs on the back of her neck were, and the oppressive heat between their bodies.

“Ouch, better luck next time, Luthor,” Kara teases. “Looks like we’re both losers tonight.”

“Speak for yourself, Danvers,” Lena replies. “I’m not heading home empty handed.” She stands up slowly and bends over the back of Kara’s chair to whisper in her ear. “You’re coming with me, after all.”

Kara bolts to her feet so quickly the chair screeches against the floor. “Now?” she looks at Lena with hungry eyes.

“If you feel so inclined.”

Lena looks behind Kara, searching for a glimpse of her friends. They’re usually never far behind the blonde, and Lena would appreciate having a discrete exit. She can see Alex, Lucy Lane, and that Sawyer girl from Kara’s social media page all squashed together in front of a slot machine. Meanwhile James, Winn, and Mike, and an unfamiliar woman are engaged in an intense game of pool. They all appear to be sufficiently distracted.

“Ready?” Kara asks, holding a low hand out to Lena. The raven-haired woman subtly takes it.

They decide to walk home. It’s a rare night where Lena’s actually dressed for the weather, even if she’s still wearing heels. The melon sours keep their blood sufficiently warm and Lena feels bold with Kara’s hand wrapped with hers.

“So how much money did you lose tonight?” Lena asks.

“Eh, enough,” Kara waves her hand vaguely. “I spent more on drinks than the games though.”

“Oh, really?” Lena cocks an eyebrow. 

“That was the only game I played, really,” Kara admits. “I was at the slots for a little bit but I wasn’t having any luck so I decided to quit before I dug too deep of a hole.”

“A novel concept. Do you have any vices, Danvers?” Lena asks. “It doesn’t appear to be alcohol, or gambling …”

Kara chuckles modestly. “I like drinking, but not being drunk. Gambling just makes me feel bad, unless there’s a pretty girl to embarrass myself in front of. I prefer things where I can have a say in the outcome.”

“Like sports?” Lena guesses.

“Like basketball,” Kara confirms. “I have a chance to affect the outcome. It’s all about skill; you earn the win.”

“I don’t think basketball can be a vice,” Lena objects. Though, she must admit, Kara’s sentiment makes sense.

Kara lets out a morbid laugh. “Tell that to my exes.”

Lena really, really wants to pursue that particular thread further but she scolds herself at her eagerness. Fuck buddies don’t care about exes. So Lena doesn’t let the conversation or her mind linger any longer.

“So truly no vices for the great Kara Danvers?” Lena asks. She winks to restore the playful mood.

“Well,” Kara blushes. “If you forced me to say one … then probably women.”

“Now that doesn’t shock me,” Lena teases. “I had a feeling. You did keep coming back to my bed like a desperate puppy.”

“Oh no,” Kara protests, stopping to a halt. She turns to Lena as her free hand grips the woman’s waist, slowly backing her up against the brick wall to their side. “I distinctly remember you being the one begging me for more, Luthor.”

“Don’t push your luck, Danvers,” Lena breathes onto Kara’s lips. “Your memory seems to be failing you tonight.”

“Maybe I can jog yours for you, then,” Kara says, taking Lena’s upper lip between her own. The kiss is fiery and passionate and a bit spiteful. Lena loves it. It reminds her of their very first night doing this back when they were just foreign enemies. Adrenaline surges through her veins like a drug. She’ll have to make a point of faux-pissing-off Kara like this more often.

They begin to make out on the sidewalk, each vying to control the pace. Kara brings a hand up to cup her neck, thumb stroking the sharp edge of her jaw. Lena pushes back against Kara’s weight on her chest, forcing the blonde to compensate. It allows Lena the advantage to break their lips apart and shift to Kara’s neck. She sucks at the skin, biting a small piece between her teeth. One hand grips her soft t-shirt and the other hand slips inside Kara’s belt-clad waistband.

“Lena,” Kara growls. “Let’s go. Your place. Now.” The dampness between Lena’s thighs is noticeable in an instant.

They walk very fast after that.

As soon as they make it into Lena’s apartment, Kara is a woman with a singular focus getting into Lena’s pants. Not that Lena minds. Teasing Kara is only fun when there’s a payout.

And boy is there.

Lena starts stripping Kara instantly. She wants she needs to feel Kara’s warm skin against hers, her hard edges contrasting beautifully against Lena’s soft places.

“This top is absolutely sinful, you know,” Kara tells her, pulling at Lena’s low neckline.

“I’m aware,” Lena gives her a wicked grin.

“Of course you are,” Kara scoffs playfully as she yanks Lena’s jacket off. The shirt is next to follow. “I couldn’t stop looking at you all night. How hot, how gorgeous you look. I couldn’t take my eyes off of you.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed the view,” Lena speaks into her lips.

“So much,” Kara says. Their pants are discarded in the doorway of Lena’s bedroom, their undergarments right behind. “But you look even better naked.”

Thankfully, Lena’s calves hit the bedside right as Kara’s words make her weak in the knees. She crashes back against the cloud-like mattress, Kara on top of her in an instant. The blonde looks ready to devour Lena.

And does she ever.

Lena finds her first release within minutes, Kara’s face eagerly lapping at her pussy. She does something with her tongue that steals Lena’s breath away. The second orgasm takes longer and involves Kara’s joyously long fingers.

“Another,” Lena begs.

“Four?” Kara asks with surprise. “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Lena begs. She’s never begged before not even with Sam yet the words fall from her lips unhindered. She feels … safe with Kara. And her weakness sets in.

Kara obliges her without another word. Lena’s third orgasm is found easily enough. Clearly, their previous weekend of abstinence has left some things bottled up in the tank.

“Kara,” she manages to gasp. “My turn. I … I want to try something.”

“Okay,” Kara presses a gentle kiss to her lips. “What do you need me to do?”

“O-on your back,” Lena stutters at first, but quickly regains command of her nerves and her words. “Spread your legs.”

“Okay,” Kara breathes. She does as Lena asks immediately. Lena then shifts down to lay on her stomach between Kara’s muscular legs. She looks curiously at the apex of Kara’s thighs; she wants those lips against her mouth desperately, but she’s nervous. It’s been awhile. And she’s only done this a few times before, with Sam, as their sex life had admittedly been a bit sparse.

“Lena, you don’t have to if you don’t wa” That’s all Lena needs.

Kara’s voice halts and her eyes go wide. “Oh my god, Lena.”

Lena can feel Kara start to unravel under her mouth. She takes her time exploring, learning what the blonde seems to like. It’s a very fun time.

“Don’t stop, please,” Kara begs. Now that’s something Lena could get used to. She feels Kara’s whole body tense underneath her as she comes, desperately clutching at the bedsheets.

“Fuck, I haven’t come that hard in a while,” Kara pants, grinning in between deep breaths. “You were amazing.”

“You weren’t so bad yourself,” Lena says, adjusting herself to lay next to Kara again. She wipes her lips and kisses the blonde.

“Did you have a good night?” Kara asks, kissing idly down Lena’s neck.

“Yes, I did,” Lena admits. The truth of her words settles in her chest like rain droplets on a windowpane a gentle, peaceful rattle.

“Good,” Kara smiles at her. “I was a bit … distracted earlier, but now that I can think clearly again, I’d like to say thank you.”

Lena's heart jumps out of her chest. “For what?” she feigns innocence. She knows for what.

Kara holds up her forearm, the watch glittering in the dim warm light of Lena’s bedroom. “For this.” Two of Lena’s fingers instinctively dart out to caress Kara's small bruises.

“Oh, it’s just a paltry little thing,” Lena downplays. Out of a sense of humility or embarrassment, she’s not sure.

“No, it’s not,” Kara’s voice is firm and kind. “It’s a really nice, really thoughtful gift. And I really like it.”

Lena clears her throat, unsure of how to process such genuinity.

Kara looks up at the watch then back at Lena, chuckling to herself. “You know, when you said you would make things up to me, I was kind of expecting something like donuts,” Kara says. She then gives Lena a suggestive look. “Or something else.”

“You’re intolerable,” Lena says, not meaning a word.

“You really didn’t have to get me anything, though, you know that right?” Kara’s brows furrow. “Don’t get me wrong, I love the watch, but I didn’t take care of you when you were blackout expecting something in return.”

“I know, Kara,” Lena soothes. “Even though my horror over the situation has faded, I am still grateful for what you did. I just saw it and thought it would look good on you.”

“Oh,” Kara blushes. “Well, thank you, Lena. I really like it.”

“I’m glad.”

Kara chuckles and sucks her lips inward. “It was kind of difficult to explain to Alex where I got such a nice watch from, though.”

“What did you say?” Lena holds her breath while she waits for Kara’s answer.

Kara gives her a bashful look. “I … told her it was a knock-off.” The blonde gives her a wary toothy smile.

Lena feigns offense. “A knock-off!? … Kara Danvers, get out of my bed this instant. A Luthor would never.”

“I didn’t know what else to say!” Kara objects. Her shoulders pull up towards her ears defensively but her smile is yet undeterred as she plays along.

“No excuses. That’s a grievous claim to make,” Lena continues. She smacks the back of her hand against Kara’s thigh. She’s felt it many times before both under her hands and between her legs but it’s firmness shocks her every time. “Get out. Don’t return unless you have a glass of water as an apology.”

Kara catches Lena’s true motive and slides out of bed to oblige her request. She pulls her sports bra and undershorts back on before heading to the kitchen, and Lena has to stifle her moan of disappointment. She doesn’t think she could ever get enough time to ogle Kara’s body.

Kara hands her the water glass before flopping back onto the bed and Lena is grateful the events unfold in that order, lest Kara be the reason her sheets get (further) soaked.

“So,” Kara says, watching Lena sip greedily at the drink. “Am I forgiven?”

Lena fakes hard contemplation. “I suppose … for now.”

Kara smiles down at her arm and fiddles with the watch face. “Do I even want to know how expensive this was? I feel like it belongs in a safe instead of on my arm.”

“It’s better if you don’t know,” Lena says. “But it was a gift, meant to be worn.”

Kara relents under her intense look. “Alright, alright, I’ll keep wearing it. Happy?”

Lena hums in acknowledgment.

“Can I have some water?” Kara asks timidly.

“Of course,” Lena hands her the glass. “Would you mind refilling it after?”

“You got it,” Kara gives her a smile so bright the room seems to grow dimmer as she leaves. Kara’s momentary absence causes Lena to scrutinize her surroundings. It’s so different from the bar clean, light, and expensive. Lena dissociates in the contrast. 

She’s been raised in the lap of luxury almost all of her life, but there are a few brief and fuzzy memories of her life before Luthor-dom. It all feels so far away now. This sprawling marble, golden fixtures, the latest tech this is what feels normal now. Yet there’s a gentle approachability Lena has found in the bowels of that damned little dive bar that makes her feel a bit of a stranger in her own home. 

She wonders what Kara must think of all of this. It makes her realize she hasn’t seen that side of Kara she doesn’t know what her bedroom looks like, or her family’s background. Is she at NCU on a scholarship athletic, or academic even? She knows Kara has some nice things, but her canvas shoes are always scuffed and dirty (Lena makes her leave them at the door for that exact reason) and she tends to go for the cheapest drinks. And Lena’s watch was so nice that Alex immediately clocked it as out-of-place.

Lena Luthor is a Rich Bitch. What does Kara Danvers think of that?

“... Kara?” Lena asks after a moment of hesitation.

“Yeah?” Kara walks back in, glass full and concern all over her face. “What’s up?”

“Is the watch … too much?” Lena asks. She stares into Kara’s worried eyes, already scolding herself for her vulnerability and doubt. Luthors don’t doubt.

Kara’s eyebrows soften as she walks over to Lena’s side of the bed.

“It’s perfect,” Kara assures, “More than perfect. Why do you ask?”

“I …” Lena trails off to better formulate her thoughts. “I’m a Luthor. I’m” Lena waves her hand around the room in demonstration. “a Rich Bitch.”

“I know who you are, Lena,” Kara says. She sets down the water on the end table and crawls back into the bed, practically smothering Lena with her weight. 

Lena knows she should protest that but she doesn’t care enough to.

“You’re Lena Luthor,” Kara recites, looking back and forth from Lena’s eyes and lips. “You might be rich, but you’re not a rich bitch.”

Lena gives a self-deprecating laugh. 

Kara flops down next to her, and Lena adjusts to rest her head on Kara’s shoulder. They both stare up at the cool white of the apartment ceiling.

“I saw you,” Kara says. “Last year. There was a homeless guy, Phil, who used to sit under that awning on Baker Ave. There was a restaurant across the street. I saw you go in there one day, and you came out with a bunch of gift cards in your hands and gave them all to him. And then you took him to the hotel down the block. You walked out, but he didn’t.”

“Were you stalking me, Danvers?” Lena tries to muster up some teasing tone but it falls flat in her surprise that someone actually noticed and remembered in detail the act even she had half-forgotten.

“Please,” Kara gives her a brief unimpressed glare before her face softens again. “I used to eat lunch with Phil on Thursdays last semester until he got a job. Because of how you helped him.”

Lena remembers she hadn’t seen Phil again after that day, but life had happened and she had moved on to whatever had needed to occupy her mind next.

“You tip well at bars. You always thank people, and learn their names. You got me a wonderful gift,” Kara continues. “All I’m saying is, you might have money, but the stuff you use it for that’s what makes you not a rich bitch. You’re a good person, Lena.”

Lena is left thoroughly stunned. “I … don’t think anyone has ever said that about a Luthor before. Between my parents’ corrupt company practices and their pharmaceutical monopoly, we’re not exactly beloved by the public.”

“You are not your parents,” Kara says with such definity it shakes Lena to her core. “Would you do things differently if you were in charge?”

“Without a second thought,” Lena’s voice is thick and heavy in her throat. “I have so many ideas sustainable and ethical but Lillian won’t even …” She trails off into silence.

“I hope you get your chance, someday,” Kara offers. “I think you could make the world a better place, Lena.”

“Thank you,” Lena utters the words like a prayer.

“For what?” Kara looks at her so tenderly that Lena’s heart threatens to give out.

“For … seeing me as more than just my name,” Lena admits.

“Of course.” Kara wraps her arm over Lena’s collarbone and gives a reassuring squeeze. She can’t remember the last time she felt this secure. “I know it’s very different, but I get what it’s like to wear a heavy name.”

Lena doesn’t pry, but she guesses Kara is referencing Clark. It must be hard to live in a superstar’s shadow. They both carry the burden of a family legacy.

A moment of sympathetic silence passes. “Lena, can I ask you a question?”

“Yes?” Lena tries to keep her voice neutral but the uncertainty of Kara’s next words already have adrenaline surging through her veins.

“It’s about Saturday.”

Lena’s heart plummets.

“You mentioned something about your brother,” Kara says tentatively, almost as if unsure how to proceed.

“Lex?”

Kara nods. “You mentioned he’s dating the girl who outed you to your mom. Is that why you had such a bad night, or are nights out with him always like that?”

Lena is silent as Kara’s question settles. “Well, that’s more than one question, really, isn’t it?”

“I-I guess so,” Kara says. The worry in her voice is clear as day, so Lena decides to indulge her. She can’t have her fuck buddy stressing herself out with the unknown.

“To answer your ‘question’, nights out with Lex usually range from chaotic to catastrophic,” Lena states. “He’s very into the party scene. I love my brother, but drunk and coked out, humping whatever new girl he has, isn’t really his best look. But unfortunately, it’s his most frequent. He was doing better there for awhile, I thought …”

“I’m sorry, Lena,” Kara says, her voice wounded in a way that makes Lena remember something the blonde mentioned in the kitchen that next morning. About her sister, Alex. But Lena still has one more question to go first.

“And for your real question,” Lena continues. “Eve Teschmacher and I went to boarding school together. When I was seventeen, I realized I liked women too. I started secretly dating a girl named Taylor, Eve’s best friend at the time. Eve and I had been casual friends, but I think she became jealous of the time I spent with Taylor. So she outed me to my mother.”

“I’m sorry, Lena,” Kara says, in a pained voice that goes deeper than the cosmos. “You didn’t deserve that.”

Lena waves a hand. “It is what it is. After that, Lillian made Taylor break up with me Lex told me like a year afterwards. Mother didn’t want me to ‘sully the family image’, she said.”

Kara grimaced. “Has she gotten any better?”

“Somewhat,” Lena admitted. “I think my stubbornness wore her down. It’s clear she doesn’t like it, but she tolerates it. Besides, she can use me as a token now when it suits her.”

“You are definitely  stubborn,” Kara laughs. “But you were just standing up for yourself there. So … things with Jack does that mean you’re bisexual, then?”

“No,” Lena stifles a laugh, “No, I’m very gay. Jack was my last-ditch attempt at men and that, well, clearly didn’t work.” Lena gestures to the bed under them, where she and Kara had just ravaged each other.

“Oh,” Kara says. “That’s cool. I’m very bi, but I tend to prefer women.”

“Well, that’s something we can agree on,” Lena gives her an accepting smile.

“It’s my turn to ask a question,” Lena states.

“Okay,” Kara agrees.

“You mentioned your sister doesn’t drink anymore,” Lena says. Kara stiffens like a steel rod beside her. “Why not?”

“That’s … a bit complicated,” Kara frowns and sits upright. “Alex is fairly open about it, but it’s a long story. Do you mind if I get something to drink while we continue?”

“Alcohol?” Lena sits up on her forearms.

Kara shakes her head. “Coffee or tea? I could use the caffeine. It’s a bit late.”

“Certainly,” Lena agrees. “I have both. What do you prefer?”

“Tea would be good,” Kara says. “I’m going to guess you don’t have creamer or sugar?”

Lena nods. “Correct. There’s a tea kettle in the cabinet above the stove. Why don’t you get some water boiling, and I’ll meet you out there once I wash up?”

“That’s a good idea,” Kara agrees and they separate. Lena empties her melon-sour-inflated bladder, rinses off in the shower, and brushes her teeth. She pads out to the kitchen wearing a tantalizingly short silk robe and her hair up. Kara looks as if she’s washed up as well her clothes are back on, save her thick denim jacket, and her hair is also up in a ponytail.

“Nice … robe …” Kara trails off. She grabs a handful of air instead of the kettle handle, too preoccupied with gawking at the bountiful, smooth skin of Lena’s shapely legs.

“Careful, Danvers, you’ll burn yourself,” Lena watches with amusement.

“Oh, right!” Kara snaps back to attention. “Where are your tea bags?”

“Green or black?” Lena asks, reaching into one of the cabinets.

“Green,” Kara replies, and Lena pulls down two mugs and a packet of green tea for Kara. She starts to make herself a cup of coffee, only to discover the machine is already running.

“I thought you might prefer coffee,” Kara explains. Lena stares at Kara for a moment. Unbelievable.

“Thank … you,” Lena says, taken aback by Kara’s thoughtfulness. It shouldn’t surprise her, not after their last weekend together, but yet it still does.

Kara chuckles. “Only thank me if it turns out well,” she jokes, “I haven’t used a machine that fancy before. I guessed on a lot of it.”

The coffee is decent, but Lena will have to show Kara her own perfected technique next time. Next time. The ease at which that thought slipped out her mind is alarming.

“I believe you were going to answer my question?” Lena mentions suddenly, eager for the distraction.

“Okay,” Kara exhales. “Can I sit on your counter?”

Lena can only imagine Lillian’s abject horror at the idea. “By all means,” Lena smiles. 

Kara hops up on the island countertop, so Lena shifts to the kitchen cabinets along the adjacent wall, leaning her butt against the edge of the stone counter. She has no desire to feel cold granite against her bare thighs.

“So I told you Alex doesn’t drink,” Kara looks to Lena for confirmation.

The raven-haired woman nods. “And that you had plenty of practice … taking care of people after they’re far gone.”

Kara looks down her mug and takes a sip of her tea. “Well, that’s more than one question, isn’t it?” Kara gives her a smug smile.

Lena just rolls her eyes and takes a sip of her own coffee.

“To answer the easy question, yes, I’ve had plenty of practice taking care of drunk people,” Kara says. “The drinking culture in college athletics is admittedly … kind of terrible. I’ve had to take care of many of my friends or teammates after they’ve gotten too drunk. It happens. I’ve been there myself a few times; freshman year it was so easy to get caught up in it all.”

Lena nods, trying to display only neutral attention though her heart pangs at the thought of Kara as violently unwell as she had been the past weekend.

“But Alex, Alex is a bit of a different story,” Kara continues. “Alex had a … rough time grappling with her sexuality. Her sophomore year our freshman year Maggie transferred to NCU and joined the team. Alex was always weirdly cold towards her; I didn’t realize why.”

“She liked Maggie?” Lena guessed.

Kara nodded. “She had a crush on Maggie and no idea  how to deal with it. It didn’t help that Sawyer was a hot mess at the time. Alex tends to attract and be attracted to … people with baggage. She’s got a savior complex.”

And you don’t, Kara Danvers? Lena has to literally bite her tongue to stop the words from escaping. At least now she knows Kara didn’t sleep with Maggie Sawyer.

“They were stuck in the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ dynamic for a long time. Eventually, they ‘did’ and they both freaked out about it. Them being teammates made it even more complicated,” Kara continues. “Anyways, Alex’s self-hatred hit an all-time high, and to cope she started to get blackout-drunk every time we went out.”

Kara pauses for a second to drink some more of her tea. Lena waits patiently.

“It got … pretty bad,” Kara’s voice is softer, smaller now. “I was really worried. But once Alex told me the ‘why’ , things got better. She had a one-night stand with one of my friends, got some things out of her system, came out to our mom, went to therapy, and stopped drinking completely for a while.”

“And her and Maggie?” Lena asked. She idly wonders which of Kara’s friends Alex had slept with.

“Eventually worked things out,” Kara smiled warmly. “Turns out J’onn had talked Maggie into going to therapy too it was a completely separate thing. But it was like an emotional laxative for both Alex and Maggie and they talked things out. Gave things a try. Been together about a year and a half now.”

Lena chuckles into her coffee at the idea of an ‘emotional laxative’. What a concept. “And who is J’onn?”

“Our coach,” Kara explains. “He has a husband, Hank, so he knows. It’s nice to have him as a role model.”

“I see. Well, two queer children?” Lena’s voice takes on a rueful tone. “Your parents must be thrilled.”

“Eliza is great, actually,” Kara says softly. “She’s been nothing but warm and accepting.”

The coffee in Lena’s mouth suddenly tastes more bitter. “Forgive me, I didn’t mean to

it’s okay,” Kara waves an assuring hand. “I know how lucky I am. And I’m sorry for what you’ve been through.”

“So is Alex still sober?” Lena asks. Growing up in a household filled with Lionel’s booze, Lillian’s pills, and whatever assortment of substances Lex had it had always made Lena admire people who had the fortitude to go sober.

Kara nods and shrugs. “Weed and hard drugs, completely. Alcohol? She might have one drink, but never more than that, and only ever when she’s in a good mood. Her and Maggie had a whole six-step checklist before she can even start; it’s sweet.”

Lena’s chest feels oddly warm. “You and Alex seem very close. She is lucky to have you.”

“I’m lucky to have her too,” Kara smiles into the distance. “She’s been there with me at my worst.”

Lena truly has no idea what Kara Danvers’ worst would look like. She probably doesn’t want to know.

Kara looks at Lena over the lip of her mug, curious yet respectfully silent. But Lena can guess what she’s wondering.

“Lex and I used to be close. We were inseparable as children,” Lena volunteers. “But we grew apart with time. I mean, we’re nine years apart. We live in different worlds.”

“Not for much longer. And I’m sure he still loves you,” Kara says. “Sometimes people are just bad at showing it. I hope you guys can figure it out.”

“Me too,” Lena admits with barely a whisper.

“More coffee?” Kara offers, giving Lena a soothing smile.

“No, thank you, I think I’m done for the night. Actually, excuse me,” Lena smiles politely. “I’m afraid I need to use the restroom again.” Kara nods sympathetically, no stranger to the diuretic combo of alcohol and late-night coffee. Lena strolls into her bathroom, relieves herself, and splashes some extra-cold water on her face before returning to the kitchen. 

Kara’s standing over by the sink, fully dressed and looking ready to brave the late-night chill.

“Headed out?” Lena’s brow furrows.

“Yeah, I should go,” Kara says softly. “I figured I’ve already kept you late enough. My ride-share is only a few minutes away.”

Lena begrudgingly nods.

“Mugs are clean,” Kara points to the washed mugs now drying in the dishrack. “I know how essential they are for your daily coffee intake.”

“Thank you. Whatever would I do without you here?” Lena asks with vicious sarcasm.

“Well, I am  your hero, after all …” Kara gives her a playful look, shaking her watch-bound forearm.

“I knew  I would regret the engraving,” Lena brings a hand up to rub her brow.

“It’s my favorite part.” Kara smiles at her so brightly it could make the sun look dim.

“I’m … glad.”

“I’ll catch you next weekend, Lena,” Kara gives her a kiss goodbye, her hand lingering on Lena’s silk-clad hip for a moment too long. “I have a busy week of games ahead.”

“Good luck,” Lena tells Kara’s back, a humorous smirk across her face. “Have fun playing with your balls.”

“I’m not ‘playing with my balls’!” Kara protests, leaving her with a final indignant pout. "Fuck you, Luthor."

"You just did! Goodnight, Kara," Lena smiles in victory.

" 'night, Lena," comes the good-natured reply.


 

Chapter Text


Lena Luthor has severely underestimated how good Kara Danvers was at basketball.

It was a mistake to even turn on the game in the first place. She hadn’t even intended to, really. 

She had been on the NCU website searching for the course catalog codes she needed to register for classes with tomorrow and had accidentally clicked on ‘athletics’ instead of ‘academics’. Her browser had been redirected to the flashy athletics page, and a bright blue banner at the top had read ‘WATCH NOW: Women’s Basketball vs. Starling Univ.’ And she had clicked on it. 

(It’s not her fault she was a naturally curious person; a scientist through and through.)

A live video feed pops up instantly. It contains aerial footage of about half a basketball court, with spectators packed into the stands on the periphery. NCU’s sky blue and white colors adorn the crisp wooden gym floor, with women hustling all over it after a singular orange ball. Half of the players on the court wear white uniforms, and the others in dark green. Lena very quickly realizes the white are the NCU players.

There are announcers’ voices attached to the livestream, but the cheers of the crowd can still be heard muffled in the background. Lena moves her cursor to exit out of the whole circus, when one of the announcers stops her in her tracks.

“Absolutely monster play by Kara Danvers there!” a man’s voice roars. He sounds on the young side; Lena wonders if he’s a student.

“I’ll tell you what, Winn, if Kara Danvers isn’t the number one pick of this year’s NWBL draft, I’ll go for a swim naked in the Bay,” and older, hoarse voice states.

Lena forgets all thoughts of exiting now. Kara going into a draft? That doesn’t sound like something she could do and finish senior year at the same time. Lena’s gut twinges. Surely, Kara would wait to graduate first?

What are you even thinking, Luthor?  Lena quickly scolds herself. 

It’s beyond presumptuous to think about Kara a year from now. They weren’t even supposed to have gone on for this long. Sure, Lena’s enjoyed it so far, but she’s also not naïve enough to understand it won’t end eventually. The thought makes her heart ache softly, for some reason. 

She doesn’t dwell on it, instead tuning back into the livestream. She wants to test if she can pick out Kara from the others, even in her matching uniform. It takes a moment for Lena’s eyes to catch up to the fast-moving figures, but there’s only one blonde for NCU out on the court currently high-fiving a woman with short auburn hair. 

There. The Danvers’ sisters.

A crisp, blue ‘11’ is stitched onto both sides of Kara’s uniform. It helps Lena to keep track of her. It’s hard to look away from her, actually; she moves with such grace and strength it’s enrapturing. And even though it's distant and grainy, Lena has a feeling Kara looks good in a ponytail.

The first announcer Winn chuckles politely. “I don’t think anyone wants to see that, Snapper. Besides, there’s still no official word if Kara will even enter the draft this year.”

“Oh?” Snapper asks. “Any insider information to share, Mr. Schott?”

“N-no, not at all,” Winn fumbles. “Anyways, looks like that’s the end of the third quarter. The score currently stands at 62-65, with the Starling Sabers ahead.”

Lena wonders if Winn does, in fact, know something. Kara has a friend with the name Schott doesn’t she? The ache under her breastbone is alleviated slightly. She wonders if she could get an answer out of Kara if she were to ask.

It’s clear from the small timer on the screen that the game will resume again after a few minutes, so Lena casts the game up onto her TV and uses the break to grab a glass of wine. When she comes back to her couch, the timer only has a few seconds remaining.

“And we’re back!” Winn’s cheerful voice announces. “Score is 62-65 going into the fourth.”

“Now, this won’t be an easy game for NCU to win,” Snapper says. “Starling is a championship-caliber team. They defeated NCU in the semi-finals of last year’s national tournament, and went on to win the gold.”

“That is true …” Winn admits, “But  NCU was the national champ the year before. So what we’re really watching here are two potential championship teams duking it out, trying to size each other up early into the regular season.”

Huh, Lena realizes, instantly doing the math. Kara has a national champion title

She’s shocked that Kara’s never bragged about it. There’s some very vague, distant memory of Kara missing like three weeks’ worth of class for their freshman spring seminar. At the time, it had annoyed Lena to no end. Maybe the championship was why?

Snapper grunts into his mic. “Who do you think will finish on top?”

“Kara, obviously,” Lena snarks into her glass.

Winn hums thoughtfully. “This game? Either team. But when we get to the post-season? My money is on NCU. Starling is a great opponent, but they’ve lost a lot of their talent these past few years.”

“But they’ve still got Livewire Leslie Willis, who will likely be drafted within the first round this year,” Snapper adds. “And the sophomore, Helena Bertinelli, who’s had a breakout season.”

“True …” Winn makes a begrudging whine. “But NCU has a very strong, experienced lineup with Alex Danvers, Lucy Lane, M’gann M’orzz, and Maggie Sawyer. And of course, our Supergirl Kara Danvers.”

The nickname catches Lena’s attention immediately. Diana had called Kara that, at Lex’s party. And Clark, Lena knew now, was well known by the name ‘Superman’.

“Of course,” Snapper remarks. “Supergirl Kara Danvers, the cousin of professional basketball star Clark Kent, known better as Superman. I tell you Winn, that family has perfected the genetic code for basketball player.”

Lena sucks on her teeth as Snapper’s words rub her the wrong way. Kara is so much more than just her family. If it wasn’t for the fact the announcers are just about the only thing she does understand in this game, she would’ve muted them after that.

“Starling does have some notable alumni as well,” Winn says diplomatically. “Former player Sara Lance is currently captain of the Star City Canaries, in the ‘WBL. Oliver Queen of the ‘MBL’s Star City Archers was a one-and-done at Starling before getting drafted after his freshman year.”

Lance? Lance … The name sounds very familiar, buried somewhere in the back of Lena’s mind.

“Lance was also Defensive Player of the Year her sophomore year of college,” Snapper adds. “That title is now currently held by NCU’s Lucy Lane; jersey number 1 out on that court, folks.”

“And man, Snapper, Lucy Lane’s defense tonight has looked incredible,” Winn remarks. “She gave Supergirl enough time to make up their ten-point deficit in the second quarter and has kept the Comets alive out there.”

Lena raises a brow. She still has no idea how the game works, but she can understand that Kara seems to be the major driving force behind their chances at victory, even if this Lucy is important too.

“NCU has also had several players over the years join the professional leagues,” Snapper says. “The most well-known, of course, being the legendary Diana Prin-”

Snapper is cut off by the angry roaring of the crowd.

“Foul!” Winn yells into his mic, the sound warbling harshly. “That’s a foul!”

The camera zooms in on two players, one white and one green, entangled on the floor. Lena’s heart jumps at the sight of familiar golden-blonde hair splayed out on the ground.

“Kara Danvers and Leslie Willis both down on the floor after a hard collision,” Snapper announces. 

Lena watches with bated breath as Kara slowly rolls over onto her stomach and pushes herself to her feet. Damn, her arms look amazing, Lena thinks before correcting herself. Not the time, Luthor

In the background is Alex, holding a water bottle in a death grip, looking ready to jump onto the court at any second. A small, brown-haired woman is holding her back. Kara nods her head towards her sister, her face angled away from the camera. She holds a thumbs-up to a middle-aged man with a clipboard, who Lena realizes must be the coach.

Lena feels an ugly beast stir in her gut. She’s only felt this before after Jack’s ex cheated on him, or when Sam would complain about her shitty old boss. Lena could hazard a guess at what the feeling is. Luthors for all their faults are fiercely protective over what’s theirs.

But Kara’s not yours, Lena reminds herself, burying the beast once more. And you want it that way.

“Phew,” Winn sighs. “Kara is back on her feet and giving the sign that she is O-K!”

“Leslie Willis seems alright as well,” Snapper says. “She’s up and arguing with the ref already.” 

Indeed, the platinum-blonde woman who collided with Kara is currently protesting in the face of a man in a black-and-white striped shirt. It’s the antithetic image of Kara, who currently has all her teammates rallied around her.

“Looks like Kara will go ahead and take two free throws,” Winn says. The players all shift in some specific arrangement around one of the hoops. The crowd goes silent as Kara dribbles the ball a few times, then stares at the hoop intently. She brings the ball up above her head and releases it in one fluid motion. 

It swishes perfectly through the net. Her second shot sinks in too, and Lena realizes she has been holding her breath.

“And that’ll tie up the game for the Comets,” Snapper says. “Let’s see if they can pull ahead now. Five minutes remaining.”

Lena would never tell a soul, but she doesn’t look away from the TV again. Every basket NCU scores, Starling answers with one of their own. The score stays neck-and-neck the entire time. Kara, Lucy, Alex and a dark-skinned woman who the announcers call M’gann all notch a few points.

There’s only two minutes to go when Kara starts to look tired. Apparently, Lena’s not the only one who notices.

“Supergirl is doggin’ it out there,” Snapper notes. “Let’s hope she can pick it back up.”

“Kara’s played almost every minute of the game,” Winn reminds. “But she’ll come through. She’s one of those players who can dig deep in critical moments.”

And ‘dig deep’ she does.

It’s 78-79 with thirty seconds to go.

“Come on, Kara,” Lena whispers at her screen.

Twenty seconds. Alex now has the ball. Kara is swamped by two green players. She and Lucy perform some sort of complex darting maneuver and suddenly Kara has space to breathe again. 

Alex sends the ball right into her sister’s hands.

Kara soars backwards in the air, putting just enough space between her and the green players diving towards her to get a shot off.

A loud buzzer drowns out the sound of a triumphant swoosh.

“Supergirl with the buzzer-beater three pointer to win the game!” Winn cheers. “What an incredible finish for Kara Danvers and the rest of the Comets!”

Lena loses Kara in the delighted chaos. There’s an instant dogpile of women in white uniforms in the center of the court, jumping on and hugging each other. After a minutes, their coach comes over to break them apart, and the players line up to shake hands with the other team.

For a moment, Lena can imagine what Kara must feel down there. Achievement. Power. Control. Victory. Basketball doesn’t have the intellectual fervor of Lena's own hobbies, but … it’s exciting.

“Final score, 81-79,” Winn says. “Your NCU Comets secure the win with a clutch shot by Supergirl.”

“There you have it folks,” Snapper says. “I’m Snapper Carr, communications analyst

and I’m Winn Schott, student sports announcer

and thanks for watching. Tune in again Saturday to watch the Comets play away at Stanhope College. Women at 1:00, Men at 7:00.”

The livestream cuts out after that, leaving a screencap of the game across Lena’s TV in its wake. She’s left in the drastic silence of her apartment, the crowd’s roars still echoing in her ears.

Her final impression of the game? Basketball might be a nonsensical, primitive activity, but damn if Kara Danvers isn’t fucking incredible at it.

What isn’t Kara Danvers incredible at? Lena’s clit throbs a request.

No. Yes. No. Maybe. Fine. Fine.

It’s the adrenaline, it’s the alcohol, it’s Lena’s infatuation with achievement, and it’s most definitely  a mistake but Lena does it anyways.

She pulls out her phone and texts Kara three dangerous little words.


hot girl bummer: Come over tonight.

It’s the last message Kara ever expected to see on her phone. Like, literally the last. But also by far the best.

Kara’s wrapped in a towel, soaking wet, staring at her phone screen like it’s a gift from the gods. She’s up so high on adrenaline and excitement from her buzzer-beater victory (and also a bit tipsy from the celebratory beers half the team just chugged in the showers thanks Mike, for the impromptu supply) that it’s all she can do to just re-read Lena’s message over and over until she’s certain it won’t disappear.

be there in 30

“Danvers, put some fucking clothes on!” Maggie’s voice rings out, shattering her haze. Kara zones back to her surroundings, realizing she’s still in nothing but her towel, dripping water all over the locker room floor, while her teammates are all halfway- or fully-dressed and leaving.

“You wouldn't mind if it was a different Danvers, would you Maggie?” Kara gives her a wicked grin.

Maggie beans her sweaty jersey at Kara, who catches it in one hand and flings it into the laundry cart. Alex’s face is sufficiently flushed and she looks ready to smack either Maggie or Kara it’s impossible to tell. 

“I could kill you both,” Alex threatens.

“But you’d miss them too much,” Lucy pipes up. “Besides, they’ve only got like four brains cells between the two of them. It wouldn’t be right.”

“Thanks, Luce,” Maggie deadpans.

Taking mercy on her sister, Kara tosses the phone down and redresses. They all leave wearing the team’s signature game outfit: white shirt, blue sweatshirt, black joggers, black jacket all emblazoned with ‘NCU Basketball’, their jersey numbers, and the logo of a fiery comet. Kara tosses her backpack over her shoulder and follows the rest of them to the training room for post-game treatment.

“Leslie was in rare form tonight,” Alex comments. “She seemed angrier than usual.”

“Yeah,” Kara sighs. “She hates me. Nothing new.”

“You guys broke up like two years ago, you’d think she’d be over it,” Lucy says.

“Nah, Leslie’s always been like that,” Kara says.

“Nothing like a woman scorned,” Alex adds.

“Tell me about it,” Kara and Maggie say at the same time, earning Maggie a very unimpressed look from Alex. Kara winces sympathetically for Maggie.

The training room is fairly empty already, since they were the last game of the night.

“Feeling alright, Kara?” one of the athletic trainers asks when she walks in. “That was a nasty hit.”

“Ugh, tell me about it,” Kara smiles. “But I’m fine, thanks Demos. I’ll probably have some nice bruises tomorrow though.”

“Make sure you grab some ice before you go,” Demos gives her a stern yet caring look.

“Will do,” Kara nods politely, already heading for the ice machine.

Kara quickly shovels ice into a few plastic bags. “You got a hot date or something?” Lucy teases, watching her with interest.

“Yes,” Kara admits before she can stop herself. Lucy looks absolutely delighted by the news.

“A weeknight booty call?” Lucy scoffs in mock-disbelief. “How very domestic of you, Kara.”

“C’mon Lucy,” Kara smiles bashfully, “You know I’m not really picky about that.”

“For better or worse,” Lucy chuckles. “Who is it?”

“I can’t tell you.”

Lucy’s eyes go wide. “It’s the same girl, isn’t it? That you’ve been seeing all semester!”

Kara shoots her a warning glare as Lucy’s voice gets louder. “Shush! And yes, maybe.”

“The sex must be amazing,” Lucy squints. “You’re terrible at keeping secrets.”

“It’s out of this world,” Kara admits quietly. “Like, best I’ve ever had.”

“Jeez, Kara,” Lucy gives her an impressed look. “You go, Supergirl. Who is this mystery woman?”

“Do you really call her my ‘mystery woman’?” Kara grimaces.

“No,” Lucy says. “We call her your ‘hot girl bummer’ when we gossip about you two.”

Kara rolls her head up backwards, staring up at the ceiling in mortification. “You don’t.”

“We do,” Lucy states. “It’s your fault you chose to save her contact as that.”

Kara brings her head back to normal and shoots a nervous glance over towards Alex, who is almost finished getting a bag of ice wrapped around her knee. “Don’t tell Alex where I’m going. Please?”

“Tell me who it is.”

“No.”

“Alright, fine,” Lucy sighs. She then gives her a playful salute before turning to Alex and Maggie, who are now lingering by the training room door, giggling back and forth while they wait. “Hey, Kara’s going to catch a ride home with James and I. You guys can head out,” she tells them.

Alex looks to Kara for confirmation, and the younger Danvers nods at her sister. “I’m good,” Kara says.

“Make sure you ice,” Alex’s voice is stern but caring. “I’ll be at Maggie’s, but call if you need anything. Love you.”

“I know, I know,” Kara says. “Love you too.”

“Good game tonight, Danvers,” Maggie nods goodbye. “You too, Lane.”

“Thanks, Maggie you too.”

“See ya, Sawyer,” Lucy says. Alex and Maggie leave without further delay.

“Thanks, Luce,” Kara exhales in relief. “I owe you one.”

“Yes, you do,” Lucy gives her a sickeningly-sweet smile. “Oh and I will  cash in.”


Kara makes it to Lena’s apartment in record time for someone with ice bags wrapped all over their body. 

Lucy gives her a ride over well, technically James is the one driving Lucy’s car and much to her friends’ irritation, Kara makes them drop her at the street corner so they can’t watch where exactly she goes. Next, Kara quickly ditches her ice bags in a sidewalk trash can, not wanting to hobble through Lena’s swanky apartment lobby looking like the distant cousin of a snowman.

“Hi, Henry,” Kara greets the doorman with a friendly smile.

“Evening, Miss Danvers,” he nods politely, pulling the door open. They don’t chat about basketball tonight; Kara is a woman on a mission.

It feels a bit like old times, back before basketball started, when Lena would summon Kara to her bed with a text and a car. It’s hard to believe this has gone on for almost three months. Yet tonight is different than before this is a Wednesday.  It’s borderline sacrilegious.

(And she loves it.)

Kara is wearing the biggest, smuggest grin when Lena opens her apartment door.

“Come in,” Lena steps back to let the door swing open. Her dark hair falls over her shoulders in waves. Her makeup is still on but she’s clad in nothing but one of her silk robes, which clings to her figure in all the right places.

“Hi!” Kara says. She goes to kiss Lena immediately, the woman’s lush lips warm against her own. She has no idea how Lena is so soft all the time, but she loves it.

“Your hair is still wet,” Lena grimaces, crossing her arms.

“So?” Kara shrugs, kicking off her sneakers. “Are you going to kick me out because of it?”

“... no,” Lena begrudgingly admits. “But don’t get my sheets wet.”

“Why?” Kara smirks. “You’ll get them plenty wet yourself.”

Lena’s face flushes bright red, and she bites her bottom lip in irritation. Kara wants that lip in her mouth and maybe a different lip too.

Kara steps further into the apartment, shrugging off her backpack and letting it hit the floor with a muffled thud.

“I’m regretting this already,” Lena states, eying the haphazard backpack as if it could tear apart her pristine floors.

“No you’re not,” Kara moves her lips straight to Lena’s neck.

“Don’t get arrogant, Danvers,” Lena warns. “And if you so much as say the words ‘I’, ’told’, and ’you’ in the same sentence, I’ll throw you off my balcony.”

“But I didn’t say ‘I told you so’,” Kara frowns, feigning a sense of innocence. Mentally, she makes note to dial down the cockiness the last thing she wants is for Lena to regret breaking the weeknight rule, or to call the night off altogether.

“You just did,” Lena’s words are laced with a smug venom.

“I’m sorry,” Kara says earnestly. “I’m still a bit hyped up from the win, but you’re right. My lips are sealed.”

Lena looks at her with a bit of surprise, her crossed arms unfolding. “Very well,” she says softly, her chin tilting upwards. “Not too sealed, I hope?”

Kara answers with a demonstration. Her arms wrap around Lena’s waist, pulling the other woman against her chest.

“You smell nice,” Kara whispers. She smells like something sweet and herbal, but also a bit like wine.

“You can skip the pleasantries, Kara,” she says. Kara can feel Lena’s hands sliding underneath her jacket, pushing it off at the shoulders. Kara takes a step back to pull the sleeves off, and in doing so her eyes get drawn straight to the sky-blue light emanating from Lena’s TV.

No fucking way.

“You watched the game?” Kara’s eyes go wide with shock.

“Hardly,” Lena scoffs.

“But that’s from the livestream. You watched  it,” Kara just gawks over at the TV and what it means. Her heart sings under her ribcage Lena saw  her game. Watched her win. “You, Lena Luthor, voluntarily watched a basketball game.”

“It was hardly premeditated. I clicked on the link by mistake,” Lena says.

“Still counts,” Kara objects. “You left it on.”

“ … the background noise might’ve been tolerable.”

“You watched  the game,” Kara repeats victoriously, beaming with pride and surprise. “My game.”

Lena looks ready to kill them both, so Kara decides to wrap up the teasing. 

“Danvers, I swear

did you like what you saw?” Kara’s voice is an octave lower now. She steps dangerously close to Lena again, their faces only inches apart. Lena’s gorgeous green eyes stare hungrily at her lips and Kara knows she’s got it locked.

“The purpose of the game still eludes me,” Lena sighs. “But there was some decent eye-candy.”

“Eye-candy, huh?” Kara starts kissing on her neck again, one hand cupped around the side. “Any players in particular?”

“Oh,” Lena gasps as Kara sucks on an especially tender patch of her skin. “Oh, there might’ve been one or two …”

“Two?” Kara says, “I think it was just one in particular.”

“In your dreams, Supergirl,” Lena says.

Every drop of blood in Kara’s body rushes between her legs.

“Call me that again,” she dares. Her eyes are locked onto Lena’s face, and there’s a hungry smile pulling at her lips. 

“What,” Lena gives her a playful smile. “... Supergirl ?”

In one fluid motion, Kara slides her hands down Lena’s back one around her shoulders and one under her knees and swiftly pulls Lena up into her arms.

“Kara!” Lena gasps in surprise, quickly clinging around Kara’s neck. “What are you doing?”

“You,” Kara states, already carrying Lena into the bedroom.

Kara tosses her down onto the bed with little ceremony. She rips off her own sweatshirt immediately, flinging it to some far, desolate corner. Lena’s fingers are already pulling her undershirt off next.

“Wait!” Lena exclaims, and Kara freezes immediately. “I’ve had a few glasses of wine. Are you sober?”

“Technically, no. Lucy and I and some of the other girls shotgunned victory beers in the locker room showers,” Kara admits. There’s an immediate pang of uncertain panic in her chest.

“Good enough,” Lena nods for Kara to continue. “I refuse to break more than one of our rules tonight.”

“Don’t tell anyone, please, about the beers. It’s pretty against the rules,” Kara requests. “Even though he gave us off tomorrow, J’onn would kill us himself if he found out we drank in the locker room. But tonight was a huge win for us.”

“I won’t say a word,” Lena promises. “Honestly, I’m a bit impressed the  Kara Danvers broke the rules.”

“What can I say?” Kara grins, crawling on top of Lena. “I’m making a habit of breaking rules.  You’re a bad influence on me.”

Lena lets out a rueful chuckle. “If I had an orgasm for every time I heard that, I wouldn’t need you here.”

“Good thing I’m already here then.” Kara ends the conversation by kissing Lena. Her lips are a bit rough and chapped from her mouthguard, but Lena doesn’t seem to mind. She’s so eager, she’s almost melting under Kara’s touch.

Kara is now straddling Lena’s thighs, looking down at the woman. She’s not saying anything but the desperation in her eyes makes her inner monologue perfectly clear. Eager to play, Kara tightens her core ignoring the protests of her sore rib cage and is delighted to see Lena’s eyes dart there immediately. 

“Like what you see?” Kara teases, yanking off her sports bra.

Lena trails two fingertips over the hard ridges. “Yes.” She then looks up through half-lidded eyes, her aloof aura discarded somewhere along with the rest of Kara’s clothes. “Take your pants off.”

Kara dismounts and quickly does so. When she returns to the bed, she slides Lena’s robe out from under her, her pupils blown wide at the sight.

There’s nothing that can rival a naked Lena Luthor in beauty, Kara thinks. There’s something absolutely hallowed about her. It almost makes Kara want to take her time, to place slow, tender kisses over every inch of moonlit skin. Almost.  But she has some bottled-up exhilaration to burn.

Kara goes back to Lena’s lips, running a gentle tongue over the soft flesh. Lena’s lips part for her and their tongues slide against the other’s: slow, wet, and warm.

“Any special requests?” Kara asks, pulling away.

“The strap,” Lena answers. There’s a hint of desperation to her voice, and it spurs Kara to immediate action.

This night really couldn’t get any better, Kara drools. She returns to the bed with a small bottle of lube and several new inches jutting out from her groin, horny as hell. She wraps a firm hand around each of Lena’s ankles and slowly pulls her legs apart. She’s rewarded with an eyeful of pink, petaling lips and she needs to be buried in there now

Kara slides up Lena’s body, enveloping the woman in her radiant heat. “Do you like watching  me, Lena?” Kara whispers into her ear. Her tone is low and practically dripping with desire.

“Yes,” Lena exhales. A needy hand clutches at Kara’s lower back. There’s a loose wisp of hair threateningly close to Lena’s eye, so Kara brushes it back behind her ear. It must be too tender of a gesture as Lena’s expression shifts to something frosty.

“Hurry up and get inside me,” she demands.

After a bit of stretching, Kara delivers without further delay.

“Fuck,” Lena’s nails dig into the skin of her lower back. “Yes. Do that again.”

Kara continues to pump her hips, Lena moaning under her. Kara’s going to be so sore tomorrow, especially her poor glutes, but fuck if it isn’t worth it.

“Let me know if I scratch you,” Lena says.

“It doesn’t hurt,” Kara replies. “You can go harder.”

“So can you,” Lena quips back.

Lena’s nails move up to her shoulders sinking into the thick, muscular flesh as she leaves angry lines behind. It burns in the best way, spurring Kara to piston her hips faster. Kara makes a note to see if she can get Lena to do this again sometime.

They fuck in a hurry, as if neither of them can really believe it’s happening but they don’t want to miss out. Kara wraps an arm around each of Lena’s calves and hoists them upwards around her own hips, sliding in even deeper with the new angle.

“Oh fuck, Kara,” Lena gasps. Her hand shoots to rub at her clit. “Keep going. I’m close.”

“Me too.”

Lena comes with a cry and before Kara even realizes what’s happening the strap is yanked down, Lena’s hand is on her clit, and then she’s coming too.

“Lena, fuck,” Kara comes with a gasp.

They both wash up in Lena’s bathroom; Kara goes first and Lena follows after. Kara’s back laying on the bed when Lena returns to join her on the pillowy mattress. Her legs are shaking the slightest amount, and Kara notices.

“Having some trouble walking, Luthor?” Kara’s got an all-too-innocent look plastered on her face.

Lena ignores her comment entirely as she slides back into the sheets. “This was a bad idea,” she says. But her tone is too light for Kara to be concerned.

“Is it a bad idea that could happen again?” Kara asks. Her head is tilted back to look upwards at Lena, who is sitting upright.

“Perhaps,” Lena concedes, looking down at her. “You did  behave yourself tonight.”

“And the sky didn’t fall,” Kara adds. “Even though we broke a rule. For the second time.”

“Fine,” Lena sighs. “We can formally remove the no-weeknights rule.”

Kara can feel her face light up instantly, as if she was basking in the warm sun.

“But,” Lena adds, holding up a hand to keep the blonde at bay. “I’m still a very busy person. This won’t be a frequent thing.”

“I’m okay with that,” Kara nods. “I’m busy too. This just gives us more options.”

“More options,” Lena agrees.

“If this is what happens when I win,” Kara smiles, folding her arms behind her head. “I think I’ll have to shoot more buzzer-beaters.”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself,” Lena gives her an exasperated look. “You were just lucky I saw it in the first place.”

“True,” Kara concedes. “Think you’ll watch another game?” She gives Lena a sly, toothless smile.

Lena just rolls her eyes, which is an answer in of itself.

“I’d be happy to explain it sometime,” Kara offers.

“Actually,” Lena says. “I do have a question. One of the announcers mentioned you being drafted?”

The word ‘draft’ is sufficient to make Kara’s stomach drop. That’s not really something she wants to think about right now especially not lying in bed with a naked Lena Luthor, the best thing that’s happened to her this year.

Kara swallows roughly. “Yeah, um, college players can declare for the draft if they want to enter the pros. If they’re good enough, a team will sign them with a rookie contract. Players have to declare by April; the draft is in August.”

“Will you declare then?” Lena asks. “In April?”

“I … I don’t know,” Kara says softly. “I haven’t decided yet; I’m kind of in my bag about it.”

Lena takes a deep breath. “Well, whatever team snags you will certainly be better off for it,” she says diplomatically.

“Thanks,” Kara gives a weak smile. “And Lena … I know sports aren’t really your thing, but it’s cool that I got to share tonight with you.”

Lena gives her an incredulous look. “You know, I don’t have anything against sports. I used to fence.”

Kara’s eyebrows shoot up with excitement as her jaw falls open. “Wait, seriously? Fencing is so cool!”

“Yeah?” Lena looks at her with amusement.

“Yeah! Alex and I used to fight with our Halloween decorations,” Kara states with pride, as if the two activities are only a hair different.

“You did not just compare fencing  to trying to hit your sister with a plastic sword,” Lena scoffs. The look on her face could turn Kara to stone, were it not for the gentle twinkle in her eye. “It’s an artfor--actually, no, keep going.”

“No, I think I might’ve said something bad,” Kara frowns.

“You think?”

“I’m sorry,” Kara says with genuine grace. “I didn’t mean to insinuate--”

“--it’s alright, Kara,” Lena’s mock-annoyance drops back into her good-natured humor. It’s a side of her that Kara never knew she had, until recently. She likes relaxed, good-natured Lena.

“There are different swords, right?” Kara asks. “Which one did you use?”

“They’re referred to as ‘weapons’, but yes, there are three different ones,” Lena says. “The foil, the epee, and the sabre -- which is what I competed in.”

“That’s awesome,” Kara says. “How long did you fence for?”

“About eight years,” Lena replies.

“Are you any good?” Kara pokes a teasing finger into Lena’s thigh, imitating the act in question.

Lena lets out a searing scoff. “Kara Danvers, how dare you? I was a champion I almost qualified for the Olympics.”

Kara’s head whips over to look at Lena so fast the room spins. “Seriously? The Olympics? Lena, that’s incredible! That’s so cool! I can’t believe I never knew this about you: Lena Luthor, fencing champion.”

“I hear I’m not the only champion in this bed,” Lena teases. “A national title is no small accomplishment, Kara. I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned it before.”

“Guilty as charged,” Kara blushes. She didn’t realize Lena knew about her ‘natty champ’ title. It makes her chest puff out with pride. “I don’t really brag about it. It was a team effort; it’s not mine to take credit for.”

“But your skills in bed, those are fair game?” One of Lena’s eyebrows shoots up. Kara wonders if she had to practice moving them separately with such precision, or if she’s always been able to do that.

“Obviously; I’m the one doing all the work,” Kara jokes. “So do you still fence?”

“Rarely,” Lena answers. “And if I do, it’s just for fun when I’m on break in Metropolis.”

“You don’t do it competitively anymore?”

“No,” Lena says. Her voice goes soft and somber, her body deflating in on itself. “I had to give it up with all my classes. Not enough hours in the day.”

Kara remembers how Lena had talked about her course-load and her future degrees, and how busy and stressed over them she had seemed. Kara hadn’t stopped to realize it until they had started to bed each other, but Lena was clearly under a huge burden of her family’s expectations. It was very different, but Kara could understand that feeling, in a way.

“Well, if you ever want a fencing partner with zero expertise but a willingness to get beat on without mercy, let me know,” Kara smiles softly. Her cheeks feel warm at the idea of Lena Luthor, sweaty and flushed in front of her, with a sword in her hands.

Lena chuckles, a genuine smile across her face. Lena has a lovely smile, she really does, but there’s something different about this one. It reaches all the way up to her eyes, and suddenly Kara notices that Lena has the prettiest dimples to frame her lips. Her breath catches in her chest.

“I’ll keep that in mind and it would be without mercy,” Lena says. “Now you were wonderful, darling, but I have an early morning tomorrow, so I’m going to need you to go.”

Kara’s heart beats erratically at the pet name, despite the sarcasm it drips with. Oh, boy.

“Say no more,” Kara sits up with an involuntary groan.

Lena’s hand gently wraps around her forearm. “Are you alright?” Her green eyes are laced with worry. “I saw you collide with that other girl.”

Kara winces slightly. “Oh, Leslie’s done way worse. We go way back.”

“You seem familiar with her,” Lena notes. There’s an overly-neutral expression on her face, and it’s clear she’s trying hard not to seem interested. Kara wants to giggle at the tremendous effort, but the subject matter is somber enough to stop her.

“Yeah, uh,” Kara shifts around, “Leslie used to go to school here. We … kind of dated.”

“Dated?” Lena echoes. “Is that why she fouled you?”

“For five months. Things didn’t really end well …” Kara trails off, pausing for a pensive moment. She’s not sure she should even be talking to Lena about this (who talks to their fuck buddy about their ex?) but she does anyway. 

“Deep down, Leslie’s not a bad person,” Kara continues. “But she’s very angry and insecure. It started to affect things on the court, so I ended it.”

“Is that why she transferred schools?” Lena asks. Her expression is curious and contemplative, like she’s starting to unscramble a puzzle.

“I think so,” Kara guesses. Truthfully, she doesn’t know for certain, but she has a feeling. “She told Coach it was for basketball-reasons, but … that’s probably enough talk about my ex.”

Kara stands and redresses slowly, wincing slightly with each new step.

“Do you want me to call you a car?” Lena offers, watching the blonde with concern.

Kara opens her mouth to decline, but Lena cuts her off. “You look like you’re in pain. I’m calling you a car.”

“Thank you,” Kara relents, then lets out a short chuckle. “I shouldn’t have laid down. I’m getting old.”

“I’m sure you’ll make a full recovery,” Lena teases.

“Are you sure?” Kara looks at her with exaggerated concern. “What if I can’t move at all? I‘d have to stay here forever …”

“Out, Danvers!” Lena’s eyebrows shoot up in exasperation.

“Alright, Luthor, relax,” Kara grins. She presses a final kiss to Lena’s lips before walking towards the door. “Thanks for a fun night.”

“You too, Supergirl.”


 

Chapter Text


Lena never thought she would be the one to break yet another rule.

She intended to inform Kara of her blunder earlier. She really had. She even typed out a message to warn the other woman. But upon realizing that Kara had just finished up a basketball game and was about to be stuck on a bus for several hours in close proximity to her nosy, annoying friends — (Lena still remembered Lucy reading one of her messages to Kara aloud at the bar) — Lena opted to tell Kara in-person that night.

It was Saturday, after all. They were certain to see each other. But as the hours passed and Jack’s collection of beer bottles began to accumulate, Lena was no longer certain she would get to see Kara tonight.  Her hope started to wane. Eventually, Andrea left with her fling of the night, and Lena decided she probably wouldn’t be far behind. But she gave it a little extra time, just in case.

Kara and her teammates didn’t stroll into Al’s until late that night. They came in with the usual chorus of whooping and laughing, likely attributed to their earlier victory. Each one was dressed-up — some in dresses and some in slacks — yet they all looked disheveled and red in the face after what was very likely a rushed pregame. 

The person Lena wants to see is the last one through the door.

The sight of Kara makes Lena’s current sip of scotch catch awkwardly, burning her throat. She’s wearing a plain white button-up halfway untucked from blue slacks and mildly-scuffed brown leather shoes. The shirt-sleeves are rolled halfway up her forearms (a familiar black and gold watch wraps around one of them) and the top two shirt buttons are undone, displaying her collarbone. It looks effortless yet breathtaking. It’s also the first time Lena has seen Kara Danvers look overdressed for her surroundings. Not that Lena minds.

Kara distances herself from Lena while her friends order their first round of shots, too skittish to draw attention to the palpable heat between them. But Lena can still practically feel Kara’s stare on her figure — she wore one of her tight, black cocktail dresses out. It would seem to be having the intended effect.

At one point, Kara gets bold enough to reach over Lena’s shoulder to grab a few cups from the bar-top. Lena uses that precise moment to run a hand up the inside of Kara’s thigh, and Kara’s fingers accidentally slip into the drinks. Lena doesn’t acknowledge it, nor does Kara.

When the coast is clear, Kara plops down on the barstool next to Lena, looking straight ahead. 

“You look stunning.” Lena can practically hear Kara swallow roughly. The blonde sets an indifferent arm across the back of Lena’s chair, but it’s anything but.

“Late night, darling?” Lena asks nonchalantly, sipping at her scotch. She doesn’t dare look directly at Kara either, especially not with Jack’s ecstatic, smug eyes trained on her every move from over William’s shoulder.

“A bit,” Kara says, slightly breathless. “Bus broke down halfway back to National City. We literally just got back — ran here straight from the locker room. Thankfully, we have to dress up to travel so we didn't need to stop for new clothes.”

Kara’s rather formal attire makes more sense with that information. Most people would know better than to wear a white button-up to a dive bar and still expect it to be white when they left.

“Are you that eager for your radioactive cocktail?” Lena teases. From the corner of her eye, she can see the bright green of a melon sour in Kara’s hand.

“Nah, I didn’t want to miss you.” The honesty in Kara’s reply almost stops her poor gay heart.

Lena gulps.

“Well, lucky you,” Lena says smoothly, trying to regain control. “I was just about to head out when you arrived, actually.”

“Oh,” Kara says. “Let’s go then. If you want to, that is.”

“Are you certain?” Lena says. “You just got here. Your friends …”

“I know what I want, Lena,” Kara’s voice is low and Lena can feel herself instantly become wet. If the payoff wasn’t so worthwhile, Lena would almost be ashamed of how quickly her body reacts to Kara.

“Is that right?” Lena finally turns to look at Kara, one eyebrow cocked. 

Oh. Kara looks ready to devour her, and Lena decides her confession can wait.

They don’t make it to the bed.

It’s Kara’s fault really, since she starts unzipping Lena’s dress in the elevator. It’s a mess of hands and lips and need as they burst through Lena’s front door. One of Kara’s hands hikes up Lena’s dress and the other pulls down her lace underwear.

“Are your hands clean?” Lena asks quickly, remembering her earlier slip.

“Uh …” Kara takes a second too long to respond.

“Wash your hands,” Lena demands, pulling away. The blonde quickly complies, and Lena uses the time to wiggle out of her already-unzipped dress in the middle of her foyer.

“Okay, clean,” Kara announces. Now to get her just as naked. Lena tackles unbuttoning Kara’s shirt while the blonde works on her belt.

They resume making out immediately, stumbling backwards through the apartment. Kara’s warm, bare arms wrap around Lena’s waist like a vice, while Lena runs her fingers through Kara’s hair.

They land on the couch with a thud, Kara pulling Lena down on top of her.

“Kara!” Lena exclaims. She tries her best to straddle Kara, not wanting to knee any vital organs, but judging by the look of regret on Kara’s face, she’ll be sporting a new bruise somewhere tomorrow.

“Not your best idea?” Lena guesses.

“Not my best idea,” Kara confirms.

“You’re an idiot,” Lena informs her, pressing her lips to Kara’s.

“Does that make you an idiot-sexual?” Kara asks into Lena’s mouth. “Lena Luthor likes ‘em hot and dumb?”

Lena jerks back to look at Kara in the face. “Shut up, Danvers.”

“Make me.” The challenge is crystal clear.

Lena knows just what to do.

She grabs one of Kara’s hands by the palm, squeezing it in such a way that her index and middle fingers pop up slightly, and smoothly slides them into her mouth.

“Oh, fuck, Lena,” Kara yelps.

Lena watches with smug satisfaction as Kara’s pupils get blown impossibly wide. Lena sucks on the digits, her tongue twisting and sliding along the length of Kara’s fingers. Kara’s lips part slightly as her jaw drops, no longer capable of anything other than breathless gawking. Lena’s other hand wanders down between Kara’s thighs as she shoots the blonde a questioning look, awaiting confirmation.

“Go for it,” Kara gasps, and Lena’s inside her. Lena manipulates Kara’s fingers in her mouth to mirror the motion of her own digits buried in Kara’s warmth. Eventually, she brings Kara to the edge, sucking and thrusting in tandem, and then she comes.

Kara takes a minute to recover from her orgasm, but when she does, she’s back with full force.

“Sit on my face,” Kara says. It’s less of a request and more of a statement, as Kara’s already pulling Lena into place with a strength that makes her absolutely soaked. She ends up with a knee on either side of Kara’s head, framing her skull, as Kara pulls her pelvis down to eat her out.

“Fuck,” Lena gasps. This is a new position to her; it’s so vulnerable and exposed, yet in Kara Danvers’ strong hands, she feels more relaxed than she’s ever been. Kara’s breathing grows labored over time, but she opens her eyes to look up at Lena every so often. It’s a way of checking in for them both.

“Kara, don’t stop, please,” Lena begs, tremoring. Kara’s hands tighten on her thighs, locking her in place and providing all the stability she needs to let go. And she does.

She feels like she’s weightless, even as she collapses onto Kara.

But as Lena comes down from the high, she’s once again saddled by the weight of disclosing her indiscretion. She’s played out every version of this scenario in her head — it always ends with Kara reacting poorly. Three broken rules is too many — right? Surely, Kara would have misgivings about it. 

So here she is now, standing in her kitchen wearing nothing but a grey silk robe, her hair a tousled mess, ready to confess her sin. She’s leaning back against the counter watching as Kara shoves her head into Lena’s fridge for some unknown, forsaken reason. Her black coffee is still steaming hot in her hand and the floors are cold under her bare feet. It’s that dichotomy that finally shocks her system back to functioning.

Lena takes a deep breath. “Kara, we need to talk,” she blurts out in a moment of bravery. “About the rules.”

“One sec. Lena, there’s literally no food in here,” Kara sounds frustrated. She continues to stare into the white void of the empty appliance, as if expecting food to magically appear from hiding. 

“Hungry, Danvers?” Lena raises an eyebrow at the sharp tone. “Staring into my fridge won’t fill it.”

“Yes,” Kara growls. “I haven’t eaten since our tailgate after the game today.” She grabs her stomach in demonstration.

While Lena’s got her nose buried in her coffee, Kara gives up hope on the fridge and begins to rummage through the cabinets nearby.

“Where’s all your food, Lena?” Kara sounds progressively more vexed. “What do you eat?"

“Jack and I ate out all week,” Lena defends herself. “We had this massive thermodynamics assignment due.” 

“But you don’t even have any snacks?” Kara whines. “Besides yourself, of course.”

The blonde’s comment buys a minute of silence while Lena tries to stop blushing.

“Kara, can you please stop digging through my cupboards?” Lena’s tone is exasperated enough to make Kara suddenly self-aware. “I’m trying to tell you something.”

“Sorry,” Kara looks apologetic. “What’s up?”

“I …” Lena takes a deep inhale. “I might’ve broken another of our rules.”

. . . . . . . .

“Since when do you watch basketball?”

The sudden intrusion and accusation startled Lena. She whipped around, jostling the laptop on her lap, already knowing from the voice whose blood was soon to be on her hands.

“Jack!” Lena admonished. The man was already halfway into her apartment, a large paper bag in his arms and a massive grin on his bearded face.

“Hi, honey, I’m home,” Jack sang, not yet aware of his grievous sin.

“What the hell are you doing?” Lena’s eyes were wide with angry mortification.

“Bringing you lunch, since I know you,” Jack frowned. “What’s got you all twisted?”

“Your spare key, now,” Lena demanded, holding out an empty palm.

“Wait, what?” Jack pulled his head back in confusion. “Why?”

“Because you continue to barge into my home, uninvited and unwelcome.” Lena stated.

“Very funny, Lena, I’m always welcome,” Jack shrugged off her irritation, placing the bag of food in front of her as if to prove his point.

“Jack,” Lena seethed.

Jack jingled his keys in his palm absentmindedly, his eyes focused back on the basketball livestream across Lena’s massive TV. “You still haven’t explained the basketball game. Since when do you watch team sports?”

“I don’t,” Lena sighed. “It’s just on for noise.” From the TV drifted the sounds of sneakers squeaking on floorboards and the rhythmic thumping of a basketball being dribbled.

Jack didn’t buy it. He just stood there, staring at the screen, pondering the deeper meaning.

(Lena could only watch in frozen horror as the dots were quickly connected by his mind.)

“Oh my god …!” Jack rubbed a large hand over his beard. “You’re fucking someone on the basketball team. That’s why you’re being so defensive right now.” His hand fell back down from his face, revealing a massive grin plastered in its place.

“Absolutely not,” Lena’s answer was just a second too quick.

“You  definitely are, oh boy,” Jack eyed Lena with a look of absolute, pure delight. “Tell me everything.”

“There’s nothing to tell,” Lena crossed her arms over her chest.

“Who is it?” Jack continued. He plopped down on the edge of the chair adjacent to Lena, his elbows on his knees as he leaned towards her with rapt interest. “Tell me who it is.”

“I’d rather die on the spot,” Lena gave him a fake close-lipped smile. Jack was the only person she knew that could simply disregard a gesture that venomous. Well, him and Kara.

“It’s Kara Danvers,” Jack stated, leaning back in his chair with dramatic gravitas.

What the actual fuck, Jack Spheer?

It was like he read her very thoughts. Lena instantly regretted her choice in best friend; why had she chosen him again? (Because she needed someone able to keep up with her and call her out on her shit, but that was beside the point.)

“How in the hell did you come to that conclusion?” The gears in Lena’s brain still turned desperately in search of a last-ditch alibi.

“Please,” Jack snorted. “She’s gorgeous. I saw her arm around your chair at Casino Night. Doesn’t take a genius.”

Fucking hell, Kara Danvers, you manspreading idiot.

“Besides,” Jack continued, chest swelling with pride. “You’ve hated her since freshman year. And seeing that you hate yourself too …”

“Shut up, Jack,” Lena bit back. It was the nail in the coffin to the secrecy of her arrangement. “That’s rich, coming from you.”

“People don’t keep a secret fuck-buddy if they don’t hate themselves a little, Lena,” Jack spoke all clinical and matter-of-fact. “I’m the resident expert, after all.”

Now that was a hard point to argue. Lena decided to ignore it instead, and go back to damage control.

“Not a word about this, Jack,” Lena warned. Her voice was sharp and icy enough to cut to the bone. “Not even to Andrea.”

Jack’s smug smile fell from his face. “Wait, seriously?”

“Yes,” Lena said. “Not a word. This is a genuine, Luthor-grade threat. No friendship between us will save you if you so much as say a single—”

“—alright, fine, fine,” Jack agreed. His next words were too soft for Lena’s liking. “This is clearly an absolute clusterfuck … but I’m happy for you, Lena.”

“Don’t say that, Jack,” Lena threatened.

“Do you like her?”

“No,” Lena seethed. She regretted the word as soon as it left her mouth. It stung her lips, and she needed to fix it.

In a softer tone this time, she said, “Kara is … nice. We’re … friends. That’s all.”

“Friends is good,” Jack said, his usual vigor dampened in the name of patience.

“Friends with benefits,” Lena amended, more for her own sake than Jack’s. 

She looked over at her friend, only to see him looking back at her with the strangest look in his eyes. It was the same suspicious-yet-loving look he had given her over a poker table not so long ago. Lena’s stomach boiled at the sight -- who was he, Jack Spheer, to think he knew her feelings better than she did?

No one knew Lena Luthor, how she felt. Only she did.

And she felt nothing but platonic towards Kara Danvers. It was all business.

“Your secret is safe with me,” Jack promised, bringing her back to the moment. “Now, come eat lunch. I got your favorite salad.”

“With raspberry vinaigrette?” Lena pined a little. Her mouth started to water as Jack set her meal in front of her.

“Of course, Miss Luthor,” Jack joked.

“Keep this up, Jack,” Lena said. “And maybe you’ll work your way back into my graces yet.”

“Does this mean I can keep my spare key?” Jack asked.

Absolutely not,” Lena said with zeal. “Hand it over.”

“Lena …” Jack whined, but he threw the spare key onto the coffee table anyway.

“Thank you,” Lena gave a firm nod of her head.

“Well, now that you’ve taken all you can from me …” Jack sighed dramatically. “So — how’s the sex?”

Lena’s food caught dead in her throat.

. . . . . . . .

“So Jack knows now?” Kara speaks slowly, staring blankly across Lena’s kitchen.

“Yes,” Lena admits, rubbing her brow. “I’m sorry, Kara, he caught me watching your game and figured out the rest.”

“Wait,” Kara’s head whips over to look at Lena. “He caught you watching my game last Wednesday?” There’s a crinkle between her eyebrows.

Lena sucks on her teeth. “… No,” she exhales begrudgingly. “Today’s game.”

Kara’s face lights up like a sunrise — soft at first, then a surge of bright light. 

“You watched another  game!?”

“… it might’ve been on in the background,” Lena states, clenching her jaw. “I was mainly focused on getting this damn presentation together on bioinformatics.”

“So Jack knows about us now — because you watched my game?” Kara repeats. 

Lena nods somberly, bracing herself for Kara’s next words. Surely, the blonde is upset. Lena can still remember a scathing “fine by me” echoing around in her memory.

They’ve already decimated half of their rules, and Lena doesn’t care for the direction the rest are trending in. The logical move is to end things now, while they’re still ahead. Lena knows she should end it, but she doesn’t have it in her, so she just hopes Kara will be merciful enough to do it for her … with those perfect, pink lips.

“Oh, well that’s fine,” Kara shrugs.

“What?” Lena can’t believe what she’s hearing.

“Yeah, it’s no big deal,” Kara shrugs again. “You trust Jack, right? It’s just one person. It’s fine. Nothing to be upset over.”

“Oh.”

Well, Lena hadn’t planned for that response. She doesn’t know what to say next.

Kara apparently senses her surprise. “You think too much, Luthor.”

“It’s dangerous, I know,” Lena agrees with a rueful smile. “But Kara, we need to talk about what this means.”

“Fine,” Kara agrees. “But not here; you have no food and I need to eat.”

“Can we not finish the discussion first, and then you can go hunt down your next meal?” Lena gives her an entirely unimpressed look. “It’s late.”

“Nope,” Kara says. “I haven’t eaten in like nine hours. Priorities.”

“Kara—”

“Nope, come on,” Kara nudges her with a smirk. “Get dressed. Besides, you have to make it up to me now. ”

“But, Kara, how could I possibly make it up to you with my clothes on?” Lena plays coy. 

“You’re incredibly hot,” Kara swallows roughly, taking a step back. “But I’m incredibly hungry. You buy me food — then we can talk about Jack. Deal?”

Lena takes a moment to respond.

Eating a meal together? That’s not something she would’ve ever imagined herself doing with Kara Danvers. What would they even talk about? Though, conversation has flowed free and easy between them recently. And here she is, staring down an irresistibly-cute puppy-dog look, actually considering the idea. Kara’s sweet blue eyes are a weapon and she does not wield them responsibly. It’s Lena’s undoing.

That’s how Lena discovers pussy isn’t the only thing Kara Danvers eats like a champ.


“Man, I’m starving,” Kara mumbles, eyes raking over the concerningly-large diner menu.

Even though she already knows exactly what she’ll order, she still browses it to have something to do. Plus, she can sneak little glimpses of Lena over the top of it. The other woman sits opposite her, high up in a diner booth that looks to be older than both of them combined. The decor is old, retro, and horribly outdated, but it adds to the charm. 

Lena’s now in a more casual outfit of jeans, sweater, and peacoat, but Kara is back in her dress clothes from earlier. She’s tried her best to make it seem like the clothes hadn’t just been ripped off of her only a couple hours before, with a low bun to disguise her sex-hair. The walk over to the diner had been a bit cold — Kara’s liquor blanket had worn off sometime in Lena’s apartment — and she regretted leaving her coat in the locker room. But the promise of food was well worth it.

It took a bit of convincing, and bargaining, and puppy-grade pouting from Kara, but in the end, Lena agreed. So here they were, sharing a booth in Bob’s Diner. Kara has spent so many late nights at this diner, in this very booth. There’s a familiar dip in the seat that she's worn into it over time. An updated NCU basketball calendar even hangs on the wall — that’s how often she and her friends come here. They’re regulars.

But being here with Lena instead, everything feels almost brand-new.

“So what do you think?” Kara asks.

“Think of what?” Lena replies in turn.

“Of the diner,” Kara smiles, gesturing around at the brightly-colored leather and neon lights. “Fun, right?”

“It’s … charming,” Lena says. “Though a bit … sticky. Not unlike Al’s, I suppose.”

Kara frowns in annoyance. “Speaking of Al, he’s on my shit list,” Kara said.

“Why’s that?”

“Our vodka shots tonight came diluted,” Kara pouts. From time to time, Al had been known to dilute shots when he was starting to run low on liquor for the night — it was one of the reasons it was best to get to the bar early.

“Oh, you poor baby,” Lena patronizes. Kara opens her mouth to respond, but is cut short by the arrival of civilized company.

“Hello there, ladies,” the chipper waitress greets them. She’s in her mid-thirties or forties and has a friendly round face. She’s been working at the diner all three years Kara has been a patron of it, and probably longer.

“Hi, Sarah,” Kara smiles with familiarity. “Busy night?”

“Not too bad,” Sarah gives a friendly reply. “Haven’t seen you here in weeks, Kara.” She fixes Kara with a look of matronly admonishment.

“Oh yeah, uh … basketball has been keeping me really busy,” Kara shoots a quick glance across the table, where Lena is sucking on her lips, clearly holding in a laugh.

“Well it’s good to see you back,” Sarah smiles. “Are the rest of your friends joining tonight? Tell Mike he won’t be charming his way into any free food tonight.” She puts on a stern look.

“Oh, no, just the two of us tonight,” Kara replies quickly. “The boys played away today and are still on the bus-ride back.”

“Bless! Those boys eat for hours …” Sarah gives a friendly roll of her eyes. “Alright then, ladies — one check or separate?” she rattles off, as if suddenly switched to auto-pilot.

“Uh,” Kara’s eyes go wide with panic. “Um, sep—”

“I’m paying,” Lena states. “My treat.” Her jaw is firmly set in a way that would make most people bow down, but Kara doesn’t flinch. (If anything, she looks the smallest bit excited.)

“Are you sure?” Kara looks at Lena warily, holding onto some semblance of politeness. “People always underestimate how much I can eat.”

“Oh, game on,” Lena challenges with a intrigued smile.

Kara turns back to the waitress. “Just the one check then, Sarah.”

Sarah nods, whipping open her notepad. “And what can I get you girls tonight?”

“Just a black coffee, please,” Lena requests.

“Lena, no! You have to get food too,” Kara insists. The blonde glances over at the waitress for assistance.

“It’s true, ma’am,” Sarah nods. “We make the best bacon in all of National City.”

“They do,” Kara echoes.

Lena’s stomach gives a small rumble at the suggestion of bacon. “Fine,” Lena relents, and Kara perks up immediately. “A side of bacon and fruit, as well.”

The waitress gives Lena a satisfied nod that matches Kara’s pleased smile.

“And the usual for me, please, Sarah,” Kara gives the waitress a dazzling smile, which she returns.

“Coming right up,” Sarah collects their menus and turns to head to her next table. At the very last second, she gives Kara a knowing wink that makes the girl’s stomach flip.

“The usual?” Lena repeats. “Do you come here often?”

“Out of season? All the time,” Kara says. “In season, less often. It’s halfway between Al’s and campus, so it used to be the perfect place to stop after a night out. It’s less convenient now since we moved off-campus, but it’s worth the walk.”

“How did you even find this place?” Lena asks, looking around. It’s a bit of a hole-in-the-wall establishment, clearly grandfathered into the matrix of more modern buildings that envelope it.

“James, Lucy, and I found this place during freshman orientation,” Kara explains. “We dragged Alex and Winn here right away. Mike joined us a bit later, and Maggie started to come once she and Alex were dating. Nia and her boyfriend will come occasionally too.”

“Nia?” Lena asks.

“Oh yeah, I guess you haven’t met Nia yet,” Kara says. “Nia is a sophomore on the team, but she doesn’t like drinking, so her and her boyfriend, Brainy, usually stay in on the weekends.”

“Is his name actually Brainy?” Lena’s eyebrows come together.

“No, it’s just a nickname,” Kara chuckles. “His real name is Querl, but he’s a whiz at physics. One of the smartest people I know.”

“And the others?” Lena gives Kara a coy smile.

“I’ll plead the fifth, Luthor,” Kara winks. “No need to make your ego any bigger.” 

That’s a lie — Kara finds herself taking every opportunity to remind Lena how wonderful she is: at the bar, in bed, even here at the diner. It’s so easy to say the words; they just fall from her lips. That's an okay sign, right?

“Kara?” Lena snaps her out of her daze. “You successfully dragged me to this diner. Can we talk about the Jack-situation now?”

“Nope,” Kara denies, gesturing down at the empty table. “I don’t have my food yet.”

Lena sighs. “You’re unreasonable.”

“And I’m starting to think you like it,” Kara beams.

Lena rolls her eyes. ”Don’t even. What is ‘the usual’ by the way?”

(Her question is answered only a moment later when the waitress, Sarah, returns with a tray full of food for their table.

Apparently, ‘the usual’ is a towering stack of french toast, dusted in confectioner’s sugar, along with a plate full — and Lena means full, she can’t even see the ceramic underneath — of three sunny-side up eggs, a fist of bacon, a bowl of assorted fruit, and hashbrowns.

There’s no way Kara can eat that all. For fucks’ sake, the woman has a damn six-pack. But she does, and Lena realizes Kara’s six-pack is in spite of her diet, not because of it. She’s not sure if she should be jealous or impressed.)

What are you doing?” Lena watches in horror as Kara drowns her french toast in syrup.

“What?” Kara is confused. She glances down at her plate, which Lena is currently looking at with a look of alarm. “Do you not like syrup?”

(Lena is jarred back to functioning by Kara’s pronunciation of the last word. ‘Sir-rup’. It sounds harsh and abrupt.)

“It’s ‘shee-rop’, not ‘sir-rup,” Lena corrects. “And no one should ingest that much of it at once.”

“Pretty sure it’s ‘sir-rup’,” Kara argues playfully. “And I have a superhuman metabolism, remember?”

“No, it’s ‘shee-rop’,” Lena refuses to budge. “And that won’t save you from diabetes, Kara.”

“Careful, Luthor, your Irish is showing,” Kara smirks, cheeks puffed out by an extra-large bite of french toast. (It’s sinfully adorable, but Lena’s too focused on Kara’s words to pay it much mind.)

“Irish?” Lena tilts her head in surprise. “You know I’m Irish?”

“I mean, I figured, you have a painting of the Cliffs of Moher above your bed,” Kara states. 

Lena lifts a questioning eyebrow — her lips already parted to ask — when Kara cuts her off. “Alex and I had a basketball tournament in Ireland a few years ago.”

“So you made that conclusion solely off of a single painting?”

“Well you also still have a bit of an accent,” Kara continues, face suddenly flushed. “Especially, when we … you know …”

“Are fucking?” Lena raises her other eyebrow. “Well, I’m sure Lillian will be mortified to hear she wasn’t able to get that fully trained out of me.”

“Shhh, I come here a lot,” Kara shoots a nervous glance over at the diner counter. “And well good, I like your accent.”

“Don’t you bring all your women here?” Lena’s voice is snide and Kara can practically see her defenses going up.

“No. I’ve never brought anyone here but my friends.”

“Oh.” Lena chugs a bit of her coffee to dodge the silence that follows.

“So, what did you think of today’s game?” Kara gives Lena a curious look.

“It was, admittedly, less exciting than the last one I saw. The thirty-point differential was a bit ridiculous, don’t you think?” Lena gives her a judgmental look.

“It’s not our fault Stanhope is terrible!” Kara objects. “Besides, J’onn benched me halfway through anyways, so it’s not like I’m responsible for it.”

Lena’s eyebrow rises, a direct challenge. It’s also a subtle confirmation that she did  watch the game.

“Not all of it,” Kara grumbles under her breath.

“Your friend is one of the announcers, isn’t he?” Lena asks.

Kara gives her a close-lipped smile, almost comically large as the food shoved in her mouth puffs out her cheeks. After allowing herself a minute to finish chewing, she says, “Winn? Yeah! He does a pretty good job, at least for the boys’ games I’ve seen.”

“He does,” Lena agrees. “Though, the other announcer … leaves something to be desired.”

“That’s a much nicer way to phrase it than most people do,” Kara chuckles. “Snapper can be a bit … abrasive. He tends to play ‘devil’s advocate’ a lot.”

Both women roll their eyes in sync, only to realize and start to giggle.

“If I could mute him selectively, I would,” Lena says.

“Maybe that could be Luthor Corp’s next project?” Kara offers. She blinks a few times, realizing she doesn’t actually know how involved Lena is in the family business. “Do you get to do any work for Luthor Corp?”

“During the school year, Lex will send me a project to look over every once and awhile, but nothing in an official capacity,” Lena answers. “But during the summers I usually work in one of the nano labs in Metropolis.”

“Will you get your own lab once you graduate?” Kara asks. “Not ‘get’ like you’d just be handed it since it’s your family’s company, obviously you deserve it, you’re super qualified and so—”

“—yes,” Lena cuts her off, and Kara can catch her breath again. She doesn’t seem offended, which is a good sign. If anything, she looks … relieved. “I’ll need to get my PhD first, but then I’ll join Luthor Corp’s research division.”

“That’s really cool,” Kara smiles. “I think ‘Dr. Lena Luthor’ has a nice sound to it.”

Lena’s cheeks turn pink. “I think so too. Though as far as titles go, ‘Supergirl’ is quite a good one.”

“Yeah, I like it actually,” Kara confesses. “It always ties me to Kal, but I don’t mind. I see it as a challenge to rise to — and once I start playing in the pros, I can really start to make it my own.”

“Kara …?” Lena asks slowly. “Will you … explain it to me? Basketball.”

“Of course!” Kara whips upright in her delight. She can’t believe Lena Luthor, of all people, just asked her to explain her favorite activity on the face of the planet. She has to start now before Lena changes her mind.

“Uh, okay,” Kara’s eyes flutter all over the table, looking for any makeshift teaching aids. She settles for the rack of sugar packets; she grabs five and throws them down into a lopsided X. Then she glances up to see if Lena is ready — she is.

“Okay,” Kara begins, setting a finger onto the sugar packet closest to her left hand. “This is the point guard, also known as the ‘one’ or the PG.”

“The point guard is usually the best ball-handler, and a good shooter, especially from distance,” Kara explains. “They’re the leader on the court; they call plays and set things in motion. A good guard is a playmaker, thinking about more than just scoring or themselves.”

Lena nods, so Kara moves to the next sugar packet — this one is closest to her right hand.

“This is the shooting guard, SG, or two,” Kara says. “They’re usually the best shooter on the team, and can make shots from all over.”

“Are you the shooting guard, then?” Lena asks.

“No, Alex is,” Kara says. She gives Lena a bright smile, the inexplicit compliment spreading a warmth across her chest. “I’m a pretty decent shooter, but Alex is better. She’s got ice in her veins.”

“Kindred spirits, then,” Lena quips. “I’m no stranger to my ‘ice queen’ reputation.”

“I … might’ve heard that before,” Kara coughs modestly. “And if I ever said it, I take it back. You’re good, and thoughtful, and kind-hearted. Everyone else has you pegged wrong.”

Lena bows her head gratefully. “And I take back any derogatory comments I made about your intelligence or your ego. You’re a much more complex person than I gave you credit for, Kara Danvers.”

“Thank you, Lena,” Kara’s mind starts to drift off in Lena’s enchanting green eyes. The spell is only broken when Lena looks down at her coffee, and Kara eyes drop down as well. The arrangement of bright pink packets everywhere quickly reminds her of the task at hand.

“Right! Okay, back to basketball,” Kara says. She moves her hand to the sugar packet in the middle. “This is the center, C, or five.”

“It jumps from two to five?” Lena asks.

“I’m going out of order because I think it makes more sense this way,” Kara quickly replies.

“Fair enough.” Lena nods for her to continue.

“Okay, so the center takes shots from low and draws defenders onto them, making space elsewhere for us to make plays,” Kara says. “M’gann M’orzz is our starting center; she’s Alex’s year and also the tallest of all of us, which helps.”

“And what about these two?” Lena asks, gesturing to the two packets near her side of the table.

“Those are the forwards,” Kara says with a smile. “They’re usually the best defenders on the team.”

She stretches a long arm out across the table to touch the sugar packet on Lena’s left. It’s oddly intimate for such a simple gesture; Lena could reach out and touch Kara so easily if she wanted to.

“This one is the small forward. Also known as SF or the three,” Kara says. “They’re versatile and good at scoring anywhere — whether it’s baseline, mid-range, or a far shot. They’re also good at drawing fouls.”

Before Lena can ask, Kara answers, “Lucy is our small forward.”

“I see,” Lena’s answer is short and choppy and Kara can’t exactly decipher the tone behind it, so she moves on.

“And this last player is the power forward, four, or PF,” Kara says. “The power forward is very consistent and reliable. They take a lot of mid-range or close shots. Maggie is our power forward; Diana is one too.”

Lena nods a few times, staring at the sugar packets analytically. Her look is curious and calculating. “I’m going to hazard a guess you’re a … point guard, is it?”

“Yup!” Kara grins. “I mean, yeah, that’s me.”

“Why so humble?” Lena gives her an amused look. “Even I can recognize you have skills.”

“Oh, I just,” Kara fumbles to find words. “Didn’t want to come off as cocky.”

“Since when has that ever been a concern of yours?” Lena’s brow wrinkles in disbelief.

“Hey, this isn’t about me!” Kara defends. “I’m trying to explain the game to a newbie; it’s not the time to brag.”

“I’m not a ‘newbie’, Kara,” Lena fakes annoyance. “I’ve beaten grandmasters at chess. I think I can handle a few basketball concepts.”

“Let me guess, you were some sort of child prodigy?” Kara half-jokes, half-guesses.

“You’re correct, actually.” Lena’s red lips are set into a smug grin and Kara has to resist the urge to vault over the table to kiss them.

“Can you teach me to play?”

“You want to learn how to play chess?” Lena repeats in shock. “You, the basketball star?”

“Well, yeah, it’s a very mental, strategic game right?” Kara asks innocently. “Good basketball is like that too. Maybe I’ll learn something I can use on the court.”

“Very well,” Lena nods her acceptance. “I’m warning you now, I don’t hold back against my opponents. I’ve been told I’m rather ruthless.”

Kara gives her a wicked grin. “Bring it on; I don’t want you pulling any punches. If I win, I want to earn it.”

Lena laughs in an assured way that makes Kara think it’ll be a long time before her hypothetical victory ever comes to fruition.

“Are there any other basketball rules I should know?” Lena asks.

“You and your rules, Luthor,” Kara gives a joking tsk. “But yes, actually.”

“Continue, then, before you lose my interest,” Lena advises.

“Please,” Kara scoffs. “As if  you could lose interest in the best game on the planet.”

“You'll be shocked to hear not everyone sees it that way,” Lena shakes her head.

“You will,” Kara promises. “Okay, so how points work …”

She stops to draw an invisible square on the tabletop. 

“The square in front of the basket is the paint. Anything shot from inside the paint is worth two points.”

Kara draws another line on the table, this one a large semi-circle. “This is the three-point line. Anything shot outside of it is worth three points; anything inside is worth two. Two or three-pointers — these shots are technically called field goals.”

Lena’s lips purse together in thought. “There was a moment in Wednesday’s game, a foul?” she asks.

“Yeah, there are fouls too. If you get fouled, you get to shoot a free-throw from the line, which is at the top of the paint,” Kara adds. “Each free throw is worth one point. The number of free throws you get is decided by where and how you were fouled.”

“I take it that tackling the opposing players is usually frowned upon?” Lena raises her eyebrows, clearly referencing Kara’s collision with Leslie Willis.

“Yeah,” Kara’s reply is soft and curt. “Some players are much more physical than others, and tend to draw more fouls.” That’s about as diplomatic of a comment she can make towards Leslie’s playstyle. Leslie is a physical player, but they’ve already discussed there’s more than just heated competition driving her.

“Who fouls the most, out of your teammates?” Lena asks, saving Kara from herself.

Kara breaks out into a grin. “Maggie. Oh, Maggie for sure.”

“Alex’s girlfriend, right?” Lena chuckles along.

“That’s the one,” Kara confirms. “And boy, does she talk back to the refs too.”

“I assume that’s also frowned upon?”

“Incredibly,” Kara nods. “Apparently, self-righteous, aging men don’t really like it when they get called out on their bullshit, even if it’s a bad call on their part.”

“Hah,” Lena scoffs. “Now that sounds just like the Luthor Corp boardroom meetings I’ve attended.”

Kara nods vigorously as she swallows a mouth-full of eggs.

“So, what do you think?” Kara asks slowly. “Is basketball winning you over?”

“Perhaps,” Lena concedes with a soft smile. “It has its redeeming qualities.”

“I’m glad,” Kara smiles. “The last thing you should know is the format: each game is broken into four ten-minutes quarters. There’s also a shot clock. The team with the ball has 30 seconds to try and shoot, otherwise it’s given to the other team. It’s intended to keep the game moving at a fast pace.”

Lena nods.

“That’s pretty much the basics. You still with me?” Kara asks.

“I think I have a rudimentary, but sufficient, understanding for now,” Lena says, “Thank you, Kara.”

“No problem,” Kara smiles, digging back into her remaining food. It’s cold by now but she doesn’t care. “I’m glad you asked.”

Once the contents of Kara’s plates have fully disappeared, Lena’s mood seems to shift. It’s an obvious change to Kara — the straight, overly-proper posture, the set jaw, and the firm lips. The determined look in Lena’s eyes (that may or may not make Kara go weak in the knees).

“Kara, we still need to discuss the incident with Jack,” Lena reminds. “You’ve had your food now.”

“What about it?” Kara looks at her blankly. This, still? Lena clearly doesn’t let things go — but she kind of knew that already. “Jack knows. I told you, it’s no big deal.”

“Yes, but …” Lena hisses, visibly annoyed (with herself). “It means yet another  broken rule.”

Kara blinks at her a few times, brow crinkled deep in thought. “Okay. I have a suggestion.”

“Yes …?”

“And,” Kara says. “My suggestion is: stop caring about the rules so much.”

Lena is still as stone. “What?”

“The rules,” Kara waves her fork around. “Stop caring about them. They don’t matter.”

“They do  matter,” Lena insists, a look of shock on her face. It’s replaced by a defensive and righteous frown. “The whole point of the rules is to ensure this doesn’t go too far.”

“It won’t,” Kara says. “Look, the whole point of the rules is to prevent anyone from catching feelings, right?”

Lena gives a firm nod. “Exactly.”

“So, that’s the only one that matters,” Kara points out. “We already nixed the weeknight-hookups rule.”

“… Yes,” Lena admits begrudgingly.

“And Jack knows now,” Kara continues. “But we can still keep it a secret, that’s fine.”

“Alright …” Lena looks at Kara with expectant eyes.

“Personally, I don’t mind spending the night,” Kara says. “I can’t fall in love with you if I’m asleep, and I sleep like a bear in winter.”

Lena’s neck flushes pink as she swallows roughly. Kara figures she must’ve swallowed some coffee the wrong way. “Point noted, but the rule stays for now,” Lena pushes back.

“Fine,” Kara shrugs and digs into the crumbs of her hashbrowns.

“As does the not-sober rule,” Lena argues.

Kara shrugs. “If you want to keep that rule, that’s going to limit a lot of the weeknight options,” she says. “No one on the team can drink twenty-four hours before practice, and forty-eight hours before a game.”

“Then—”

“—last Wednesday was a one-time thing; J’onn was so pleased with the win that he gave us off practice Thursday to rest.”

This was once a one-time thing too,” Lena points out, giving Kara a flirty smile.

“I’m not playing, Lena,” Kara’s tone is steely and firm, and Lena squirms slightly in the booth.

“Fine, sobriety will be decided on a case-by-case basis then,” Lena compromises.

“Deal,” Kara nods. “And ‘no feelings’ stays—”

“—same as always,” Lena agrees.

“Okay, good,” Kara squares her shoulders in relief. For a minute, she thought Lena was going to try and end things over such a small thing as Jack discovering their secret, and she couldn’t have that. Not over something so insignificant.

“So …” Lena gives Kara a careful look. “What does that make this then?”

This?” Kara gestures around their table, then the rest of the diner. “Is just two friends grabbing a late-night bite to eat.”

“Friends?” Lena’s voice is fragile and her body stills.

“Well, yeah,” Kara watches her carefully. She doesn’t want to overstep or make Lena uncomfortable — the woman clearly  has issues with letting people in, not that she can talk — but she can’t think of a term to describe Lena that isn’t friendly. “You’re fun to hang out with. Friends hang out with each other.”

“I think ‘friends-with-benefits’ would be a more apt description, no?” Lena relaxes into a playful smile. 

“Friends with benefits,” Kara agrees with a grin.

“I’ll admit,” Lena says, throwing her napkin onto her empty plate. “That bacon was delicious.”

Kara can’t help but chuckle internally that Lena’s used paper napkin is still somehow folded all proper-like, despite the fact this diner couldn’t be further from the Michelin Star places she must frequent. 

Kara grins. “Right?! I told you Bob’s Diner is the best place to go for late-night breakfast foods.”

“Don’t get too smug, Danvers,” Lena shakes her head. “This isn’t going to become a habit.”

“We’ll see,” Kara offers. 

Kara is silent to the soul, but she has a feeling this won’t be the last time she sees Lena Luthor here. Her raven hair is draped over her neck to hide the flush of a few fresh hickeys, a beautiful contrast to the neon pink lights that kiss her skin. A string of silver piercings trace the smooth curve of her ear. Green eyes twinkle back at Kara; the perfect, red lips below curved into a sweet, gentle smile. She looks like a new-age angel.

It’s a hopeful feeling.


 

Chapter Text


Kara Danvers is a smart person.

Lena knows this; she’s proven it time and time again. She really does believe it.

But considering they’re both currently soaking wet and freezing cold — because someone thought they would be able to walk back to Lena’s place before the rain started (spoiler alert: they made it about three minutes in before the sky opened down onto them) — it’s taking every fiber of Lena’s being not to call Kara an idiot.

It also brings a painful new validity to Kara’s taunt that Lena Luthor does, in fact, like ‘em hot and dumb.

“Okay, so I know this isn’t ideal,” Kara tells her. They’re currently squeezed under a tiny awning on the sidewalk as the rain pours down around them, chests pressing up against each other to make the most of the limited dry space. It’s a small mercy that the sub shop they’re in front of is closed.

“You think?” Lena hisses. She can only imagine she looks like the world’s most expensive drowned rat right now — hair slicked back and dripping onto her soaked designer dress, with her once-flawless mascara running down her cheeks. Her poor heels are definitely ruined too.

“I thought we could make it!” Kara holds up her hands in defense. “I don’t control the weather!”

“No, but you could’ve ordered a ride-share,” Lena says.

“Yeah but it was at least a forty minute wait,” Kara says. “And I couldn’t wait that long — you look so hot in that dress.”

“Well I did,” Lena glares at her.

“You still do.” Kara gives her a gentle smile. It’s the rain that makes people melt, right?

“Had you considered the weather was the reason for the queue?” Lena asks, trying and failing to keep her voice as patient as possible.

Kara’s smile falters. “Oh … that would make sense.”

“It would,” Lena says with some mirth. “It’s alright. What do you suggest we do now?”

Kara gives her a hesitant look. “I have an idea but I’m not sure you’re gonna go for it.”

Lena raises an eyebrow, wondering what it could possibly be.

“My apartment is only a few blocks away, that way,” Kara points down the street corner. “We could make it back there pretty quickly. Plus, we’re already wet so it’s not like we can get any wetter.”

“What about Alex?” Lena asks. That’s the first glaring hole in the plan.

“I’ll text her and ask her to go to Maggie’s,” Kara says. “That’ll mean she won’t walk in on us, but she’ll know I had someone over.”

“Will you …” Lena trails off, not exactly sure how to phrase her question without sounding like a huge hypocrite after Jack.

“I won’t tell her who it is,” Kara reads her mind. “I promise.”

“Very well,” Lena nods with acceptance. There are other unresolved details to manage — namely her lack of dry clothes — but she's freezing and can figure out the rest as she goes. “Considering that’s the best plan we’ve got, let’s do it.”

While Kara sends her sister a brief message, Lena looks out over the street; it’s still pouring torrentially. The water droplets refract the various traffic and car lights, making it rain tiny multi-colored beams of light. It’s pretty in a way — or it would be if she was warm and dry. 

Lena gives an involuntary shiver.

“Ready,” Kara says, looking up. She sucks her breath in sharply. “Wait.”

“What?” Lena turns to face her.

“You just shivered,” Kara says. “Are you cold?” She starts to peel off her jacket at the shoulders.

“… Yes,” Lena confirms, albeit begrudgingly. “Aren’t you?”

“I mean, a little,” Kara shrugs. “But I run hot. Here.” Before Lena can really process what’s happening, Kara’s draped her jean jacket over her shoulders. It’s not nearly as wet as Lena expected, likely buffered by the thick lining inside — and it’s warm. Lena’s no stranger to Kara’s body heat, but it’s different outside the privacy of her bed. It’s oddly intimate to feel it as a separate entity. 

And the jacket smells like her.

Lena takes a slow, gentle whiff so that Kara can’t hear her do it. Sure, it smells a bit like beer from Al’s, and a bit like rainwater from their current predicament, but underneath that noise there’s a sweet musk -- not quite metallic, not quite minty, not quite fruity, but undeniably Kara.

“Better?” Kara pulls Lena from her haze.

“Yes,” Lena says quietly. “Thank you.”

“No problem,” Kara smiles. “And don’t worry if it gets wet — wetter, I guess — that jacket has been through way  worse.”

“Okay,” Lena nods.

“Ready to run for it?” Kara grins. She doesn’t wait for a response before darting out across the street.

“Kara, I’m wearing heels!” Lena yells after her, feeling the sudden cold and pressure of the rain on her face again. With the additional warmth of Kara’s jacket around her, it’s not nearly as unpleasant this time.

“Oh, sorry!” Kara skids to a halt, waiting for Lena to catch up. She quickly grabs Lena’s hand and tears off again, laughing and yelping as the rain continues to batter down on them. The running doesn’t last long, as it only seems to make them even wetter, so they surrender to their fates and walk the rest of the way.

“Oh my god,” Kara pants in the hallway of her apartment. “I feel like I just went for a swim.”

“We might as well have.” Lena slips off her heels to inspect them. As expected, the poor things are soaked and stained.

“Come on,” Kara waves her through the open door of her apartment, taking back her soaked jacket from Lena. “Let’s get warm and dry.”

Lena’s been inside Kara’s apartment once before, but it looks different at night. Smaller, but not in a cramped way; it’s more intimate. The lack of sunlight streaming in through the windows provides a sense of privacy while the imperfections of the brightly-colored, mismatched furniture get hidden. There’s a different candle on almost every flat surface. A few dishes are piled in the sink, and a rogue basketball rest on the couch. Obviously, Lena can't tell what belongs to which Danvers’ sister, but it all feels very … Kara.

“Lena?” Kara calls. “Sorry but can you strip? Alex and I don’t have a mop and it’ll take a lot of towels to clean up all the water we’re about to drip through the place.”

“Oh, of course,” Lena says, looking down at her soaked self. Her dress was taut to begin with but it’s turned vacuum-tight under the seal of the water.

“Do you need help?” Kara offers, clearly having picked up on Lena’s predicament. She’s practically naked already — her damp sports bra and boxers leave little to the imagination — and what Lena can see already has her biting her bottom lip.

“I trust you know what to do,” Lena states, turning her back to Kara and pulling her hair forward and away.

Kara’s fingers give the zipper a smooth but firm tug downward. “This isn’t the first dress I’ve taken off you, Luthor.”

Oh, right.

“Try to not damage this one, darling,” Lena teases.

“I had permission,” Kara murmurs.

Kara peels her out of the dress in no time. The discarded clothes get thrown into a bucket near the washing machine.

Lena turns around just in time to see the tip of a pink tongue wet Kara’s lower lip. Her eyes are riveted on the full curves of Lena's chest. She doesn’t move for a solid minute; she just holds Lena still by the hips. The heat of Kara’s gentle stare is so intense, Lena could swear she could melt steel.

“My eyes are up here, Danvers,” Lena taunts. She knows what she looks like, but it’s always a moment of odd vulnerability to see it reflected in Kara’s eyes.

“I know.” Kara’s eyes find Lena’s immediately, a blue so saturated and deep she could fall right in. It throws Lena’s heart right up into her throat and she needs to regain control now.

Lena doesn’t dare break eye contact. 

“Do you have a shower in this doghouse, Danvers?” Lena asks, a playful lilt to her voice. “I’m a bit … wet.”

“I can tell,” Kara matches her tone, but in an octave deeper. “And yes, we do.”

“Will you show me, Supergirl?”

That does the trick to get them both in the shower.

Kara looks damn good on her knees, water streaming down her body, her mouth pressed between Lena’s legs. When Lena gets close, they shift so one of her thighs is thrown over Kara’s shoulder, and the blonde’s hand clutches it while the other hand pumps in and out of Lena.

“Fuck, Kara,” she gasps, coming hard.

Lena decides shower sex is one of her new favorite things. They’ll have to try it in her more expansive one next time — she does her best work with space to breathe. Not that Kara wouldn’t take her breath away anyways.

They switch positions so Lena can bring Kara to her own orgasm. She can’t remember the last time she legitimately kneeled for someone, but right now she doesn’t mind. Kara’s absolutely unraveled above her, gasping for air, one hand so tight against the shower railing it threatens to snap off.

“I hope you know,” Kara smiles down at her. “I’m making us walk home in the rain next time.”

Lena stops all motion and Kara quickly says, “Nope, no, no I won’t.”

Lena resumes her task, grinning after Kara comes into her mouth.

“Don’t forget who’s in charge here, Danvers,” Lena stands, giving the blonde a wink.

“As if you’d let me forget.”

They actually wash up after that. Lena finds out that Kara’s body wash smells like mint and green tea. Lena likes it — which is a good thing, considering she smells the same now too.

Kara hops out of the shower first. 

She holds out a bright yellow towel when Lena's ready for it. “Here.”

“Thanks,” Lena says. She takes it and quickly wraps it around her body, grateful to finally be dry again.

“Comb and make-up wipes are in the top drawer,” Kara points at the vanity. “Extra deodorant is below the sink; the red ones are mine. I’ll go find some clothes for you. Come to my room when you’re done.”

Lena nods. It doesn’t take her too long to remove her water-smeared make-up and comb the knots out of her hair. She’s perfected the art of looking perfect on a tight schedule, after all. When she skirts her way into Kara’s room, the other woman is already wearing a t-shirt and pajama pants, lounging on the bed.

“Here,” Kara says for the second time that night, holding out baggy red boxers and a sky-blue t-shirt. Lena tosses them on gratefully; the t-shirt is a bit oversized on her, and it has Kara’s surname and jersey number emblazoned on the back.

“I don’t think I’ve ever worn boxers before,” Lena gives the fabric a wondrous tug. It’s very breezy.

“Do you want something else?” Kara asks, looking concerned. “I have sweatpants too.”

“No, these are great,” Lena assures. “Thank you.” She goes to rub one foot against the other, only to meet a stinging sensation.

“Ah, fuck,” Lena hisses. Now that the euphoria of the night (and perhaps the alcohol too) has run out, she’s suddenly aware of the fierce blisters across the back of her ankles and the tops of her feet. 

Never run in wet heels, Luthor, she chides.

“Oh, shit,” Kara winces, looking down at Lena’s angry, red feet. “That looks painful.”

“I’m used to it,” Lena brushes off. “I’m no stranger to the consequences of wearing heels.” Lillian’s had her in those damn shoes since she was a young teenager — she can handle yet another round of blisters.

“Sit down,” Kara orders, standing and gesturing to the bed. “I’ll be right back with band-aids.”

Lena sits down on the edge of the mattress — only because her feet are hurting, not at all because it’s hot when Kara gets firm — and waits for the blonde to return.

“Is Star Wars okay?” Kara’s voice yells through the apartment. “Otherwise I can steal some of Alex’s boring plain ones.”

“Star Wars is fine,” Lena projects, a hint of laughter in her voice. Of course  Kara uses themed ones.

Kara pops into the doorframe with a smile, holding a fistful of band-aids. “Star Wars it is. Do you like the movies?”

“I do, actually.”

“Me too!”

It doesn’t take long to bandage up the blisters on Lena’s feet. She insists on doing it herself — much to Kara’s exasperation.

“There’s nothing wrong with letting people help you,” Kara sighs, hands on her hips.

“I’m perfectly capable of doing this myself,” Lena objects. 

“Alright, fine, Luthor,” Kara says. “Suit yourself.”

Without further adieu, Kara plops down on the bed with a pleasurable moan. She’s lying fully prone, and effectively trapping Lena in too. When Lena gives her an annoyed look — she really should be going — Kara already has her defenses ready.

“Lena, you’re fine,” Kara says. “You're not obligated to stay any longer than you want to, but at least give your feet a few moments to recover.”

Her feet give a pulse of pain, as if on cue. “Fine,” Lena agrees.

“Good,” Kara smiles. “You’ve got to take care of yourself, you know.”

“I know,” Lena mumbles. It’s a statement she’s heard before, but the times are usually few and far between. It seems almost second nature for Kara to say though. “If you’re going to quarantine me here for the next few minutes, you could at least keep me entertained.”

“Oh, however  will I do that …?” Kara gives her a devious smile, already leaning in for a kiss.


Lena stays longer than Kara would’ve ever expected. As every minute passes, it becomes a slow progression into the inevitable.

Their impromptu round two — featuring Kara’s rather big toy (yes, that one, that Kara had accidentally mentioned the first night this happened) — means that they both find themselves naked together again, this time in the bed.

“Well, if I couldn’t walk before, with my feet …” Lena muses. “I doubt I can walk normally now.”

“Hey, you asked to be railed,” Kara points out, her chest puffing out slightly.

“So I did,” Lena rolls her eyes. “And you were so eager to obey.”

“I aim to please,” Kara gives her a goofy smile to hide the lust in her eyes. She’d do just about anything a naked Lena Luthor asked, but the woman in question doesn’t need to know about the depths of that particular power.

Lena lets out a shiver. Kara notices her hair is still wet and they’ve made the duvet fairly damp as well. 

“It’s a bit cold in here,” Lena mumbles.

“Oh, sorry about that!” Kara panics. “Alex and I don’t turn the heat on, it keeps the power bill down.”

Lena frowns. “What do you do to stay warm?” She looks truly baffled by Kara’s admission.

“Blankets!” Kara grins. “Here, get under the covers, it’ll help.” 

They both slide between the layers of Kara’s bedsheets. Kara’s under in an instant but Lena takes her sweet time, as if she’s sleeping in a bed for the first time. Once she’s settled, Kara quickly unfolds one of the blankets at the foot of the bed and throws it over them. The sheets are cold initially but it doesn’t take long for them to heat up, between Lena’s and Kara’s (mostly Kara’s) body heat creating a pocket of warm air.

“Better?” Kara asks.

“Better, actually,” Lena nods, looking more relaxed. The weight of the blanket over them is soothing; it’s one of the reasons Kara loves to use them.

Well … now what?

Kara turns her neck to look at Lena, who’s currently curled on her side towards the blonde. 

“What’s your favorite movie?” Kara asks.

“My favorite movie?” Lena’s head jerks back slightly. “I’m not telling you, Danvers.”

“Why not?” Kara frowns. “It’s just a movie!”

“No,” Lena says. “It’s pillow talk.”

“It’s not pillow talk,” Kara insists. “Pillow talk is all cute and lovey and stuff. This is just a movie title.”

Lena hums a disbelieving tone.

“My favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz,” Kara says, eying Lena expectantly.

“A musical?” Lena scoffs. “What kind of jock are you?”

“Hey, musicals are great!” Kara defends. “The singing, the dancing … Don’t laugh! Okay, you know what Luthor?” Kara quickly slides over top of Lena, using her body weight to smother the woman slightly so she’s forced to stop laughing.

“Not … fair,” Lena gasps, partially winded from Kara’s heft and partially still laughing. She shoves one hand against Kara’s shoulders and Kara rolls back off her.

“What’s your favorite movie then?” Kara nods her chin up at Lena.

“I’m still not telling you,” Lena says.

“Why not?” Kara gives her a severe pout. “I just told you mine!”

“I didn’t ask for it,” Lena points out. “You volunteered it.”

Kara frowns. “If I guess it, will you tell me?”

“You can try,” Lena concedes.

“Is it sci-fi?”

“A good genre, but no,” Lena says.

“Rom-com?”

“Absolutely not,” Lena belittles.

“There’s nothing wrong with a good rom-com, Lena!” Kara exclaims. “I love them.”

“You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you, Supergirl?” Lena smirks. “Here I thought you just watched basketball games on repeat.”

(Kara is definitely guilty of spending hours upon hours combing over game footage with Lucy — to the point Alex will sometimes have to unplug the TV to get them to stop — but Lena doesn’t need to know that.)

“Don’t tell me it’s horror?” Kara winces.

“No. You’re safe for now, Danvers.”

“What is it then?” Kara pesters. Experience with Alex has shown her if she can maintain the pout and keep talking for long enough, Lena should break — it’s a marathon, not a sprint, to get a stubborn woman to change her mind, after all.

“No! Absolutely not.”

“Lena, tell me, please,” Kara begs. “Otherwise I’m going to keep you up all night until I get it right.”

Lena gives her the most unimpressed look. “You know I can leave at any time, right?” 

Truthfully, Kara is a bit surprised she hasn’t left already, but she’s not complaining. Kara’s never really enjoyed being alone at night, and with Alex shacked up at Maggie’s all the time … it’s nice to have company.

“Mercy is a virtue, Lena,” Kara chides.

“It’s patience,” Lena says. “Not mercy.”

“Why won’t you tell me?” Kara asks, reverting back to her dependable, earnest charm. “You aren’t embarrassed about it, are you?”

Lena’s silence is the only answer she needs.

“Lena, whatever your favorite movie is, it’s okay. You have incredible taste, so it can’t be that bad,” Kara assures. “I won’t tease you about it. I promise.”

“It’s … Titanic.”

“I love that movie!” Kara smiles, rolling onto her forearms to look Lena in the face. The other woman looks somewhere between ready to sink into Kara’s mattress or dash out the front door. 

“It’s a great movie,” Kara says, “Though don’t even get me started on the door …”

“No … no!” Lena blushes, bringing a hand up to cover her face. Her eyes still peek out at Kara though, full of tentative vulnerability. “Lex used to mock me relentlessly every time I watched it.”

“Well, he’s stupid,” Kara says with the same inflection of an annoyed seven-year-old.

Lena chuckles. “I don’t think I’ve heard anyone call Lex Luthor, boy genius, ‘stupid’ before.”

“Well, as far as Luthor geniuses go,” Kara says. “I’d put my money on you any day.”

A blotch of pink appears across Lena’s cheeks.

“In hindsight, that painting scene was definitely part of my gay awakening,” Lena muses. 

Kara nods sympathetically.

“What about you, Danvers?” Lena smiles softly. “What was your bi awakening?”

“Oh, well that’s a long story …” Kara lets out a slow puff of air, flopping down onto her back. “Her name was Indigo and she was the worst …”

“I’ve got time,” Lena says, pulling Kara’s sheet over her bare shoulder.

“Okay,” Kara chuckles. “But buckle up, Luthor, it’s a wild ride.”

“Do your damndest, Danvers,” Lena mumbles, her face pressed halfway into Kara’s pillow. It’s funny — she looks more comfortable here than Kara’s ever seen her in her own bed, soul laid bare in the tranquility of the very early morning.

Lena’s asleep by the end of the hour.

Once she realizes, Kara stops talking and sucks gently on her lower lip. She should wake Lena up, right, and tell her it’s time to go? That’s certainly what the Luthor would want. Yet, Kara can feel every bone in her body screaming at her to not disturb the other woman. She looks so young and vulnerable when she’s asleep, and Kara can feel a hand clutch her heart.

Lena’s morning wrath be damned — Kara decides to leave her to sleep. She’s able to slip out of the bed without waking Lena, and closes the door silently behind her to go wash up. Afterwards, she plops down on her favorite couch, shoves a throw pillow under her head, and yanks one of Alex’s blankets down over herself.

She feels happy in the gentle silence, idle thoughts drifting through her head.

Lena Luthor’s favorite movie is Titanic, the angsty sap.

It's the last thing Kara remembers — an amused grin plastered across her face — before falling asleep within the shrouded darkness of her living room.


Lena wakes up to sunlight streaming directly onto her poor eyes. A lot of it. Since when did her bedroom get so bright? Did she forget to pull the curtains closed?

Lena reaches a haphazard hand over towards her nightstand, only for her knuckles to knock hard against a wall.

Ow! What the fuck?

She sits up and blinks her eyes a few times to bring everything into focus. There's a pleasant soreness between her legs, but her contacts might as well be sandpaper against her eyeballs.

She sees a cheap fake-wood door, warm beige walls, and blue linen sheets. There’s another bed against the opposing wall, covered in a grey blanket and a few black clothing items. Lena’s phone has been carefully plugged into the bedside charger and set on the dresser nearby.

Where the hell is she?

The NCU Comets Basketball poster at the foot of the bed winks at her.

Oh, no.

She knows exactly  where she is.

Lena darts out of bed, swaying slightly as the blood rushes out of her skull. Kara’s not in either bed, but the distant smell of pancakes wafts under the door — she’s definitely here.

There’s a discarded t-shirt on the floor that Lena recognizes as the one Kara gave her last night, post-shower. She quickly tosses it on. It falls low enough on her legs that she doesn’t need to concern herself with pants for now.

“Kara?” Lena calls out, squinting into the bright sunlit apartment.

“Yeah?” Kara replies from the kitchen. As Lena rounds the corner, she can see Kara standing in the kitchen, a large bowl in one hand and a whisk in the other.

What am I doing here?"  Lena demands, walking closer. She wants Kara to be able to feel the searing flame in her eyes.

“Uh, standing?” Kara’s forehead crinkles. “Breathing? What?”

Why  did I wake up in your apartment?” Lena seethes.

Kara sets the bowl down, a look of concern etched into her face. “Wait, Lena, do you not remember last night? I didn’t realize you were that drunk, I’m so—”

“—you’re fine, I wasn’t that drunk,” Lena cuts her off.

Kara nods. “I’m confused.”

“Why didn’t you wake me up, Kara?” Lena demands. “You should’ve kicked me out the instant my eyelids started to droop.”

“No, we were having fun,” Kara makes a face. “You were tired and you fell asleep; I wasn’t going to wake you up.”

“But the rul—”

“We’re not caring about the rules so much,” Kara reminds her sharply. “And technically, that rule was already broken.”

Lena brings a hand up to rub at her forehead, trying to soothe the impending headache.

“Lena,” Kara puts her hands on her hips and fixes the woman with an exasperated look. “You were asleep. Did you magically wake up with feelings for me?”

Feelings for Kara? Lena glances up at the woman. Sure, she looks cute in the mornings, with her hair thrown up in a quick bun, joggers and sports bra tight to her frame, and the sun practically twinkling in her eyes. But that’s just an observation, not a feeling.

“No,” Lena replies.

“See?” Kara sighs. “You’re fine. We didn’t even sleep in the same bed.”

Lena’s brow furrows. “Wait, we didn’t? But … I woke up in your bed.”

“Yeah,” Kara confirms. “I slept on the couch.”

Lena’s look of confusion shifts to mortification. “Kara, no! That’s the second time you’ve had to—”

Kara cuts her off with a wave of her hand. “Lena, it’s fine! I chose to let you stay asleep and I chose to sleep on the couch. Besides, I could’ve slept in Alex’s bed if I wanted to … though, I don’t know the last time she changed her sheets.” Kara wrinkles her nose.

Lena takes a deep breath to steady herself. Kara’s right, nothing terrible happened, she didn’t wake up magically in love with Kara Danvers — everything is fine.

“Are you good now?” Kara eyes her warily. “Do you need a minute?”

“I’m alright,” Lena says. “Though I could use some clothes. Do you know where my dress might be?”

Kara chuckles. “Lena, you can’t put that back on.” When Lena starts to object, Kara cuts her off and begins to count on her fingers.

“One, it’s definitely still wet,” Kara lists. “Two, not even you could make a black cocktail dress look normal for nine-in-the-morning. And three, there’s no way I’m going to let you walk-of-shame out of here wearing that.”

“But—”

“—nope,” Kara says. “It’s happening, deal with it.”

It’s a tough pill for Lena to swallow, but she does actually concede to Kara’s logic, having no desire to — as Kara put it — ‘walk-of-shame’ her way out of the Danvers’ apartment dressed like Lillian’s worst PR nightmare.

Kara rummages through her drawers, eventually tossing Lena a Comets’ sweatshirt and a pair of black joggers.

“Wait, Kara,” Lena frowns, holding up the joggers. “I can’t wear these with my heels.”

“Oh,” Kara bites her lower lip in thought. “Hold on, I have plenty of extra shoes.” She drops on all fours and shoves an arm under the bed, swiping around haphazardly until her hands hit something and she retracts.

“Wear those,” Kara says, pointing to a pair of once-white athletic fashion shoes at her feet. “The team gets a free pair of shoes like every month. I have so many now, I haven't worn those in years.”

Lena Luthor has never  worn fashion sneakers — the very concept is an oxymoron. Though, no time like the (desperate) present, right?

“Thank you,” Lena swallows.

“No problem. I’ll leave you to change then,” Kara says quickly.

Lena swiftly throws on the clothes. They’re a bit baggy on her and the cotton feels foreign against her skin, but she has to admit they’re much more comfortable than squeezing back into a damp, tight dress. And they smell delightfully like Kara.

“You look good,” Kara greets her with a big smile, holding a spatula up in the air. There’s a smidge of batter across her forehead.

“I might as well shout ‘I’m fucking Kara Danvers’ from the rooftop, don’t you think?” Lena muses, gesturing down at the completed ensemble. 

She’s clad in an amalgam of black, white, and sky blue. It’s a small mercy that the sweatshirt doesn’t have anything more recognizable than ‘Comets Basketball’ on it, considering the t-shirt underneath has a large ‘Danvers’ and ‘11’ across the back. Though the ‘11’ embroidered into the jogger pocket is too low to be obscured by the sweatshirt hem.

“Nah,” Kara scoffs playfully, “You just look like my number-one fan. Oh! You could join my fan club.”

Lena hums. “Is that so? You have batter on your face, by the way.” She gestures to her own forehead.

“Shit,” Kara mumbles, wiping the back of her hand across her forehead. It only smears more. “That always happens.”

Lena can't help it as a small giggle escapes. Kara looks pleased with herself.

“I already set an extra toothbrush and make-up wipes out in the bathroom,” Kara says. “Do you need anything else?”

“I don’t suppose you have any contact solution?” Lena asks.

“Sure do,” Kara smiles. “It’s in the bathroom medicine cabinet.”

“Thank you.” Lena nods, heading for the room in question. Sure enough, there’s a packet of makeup wipes and a fresh, baby blue towel on the edge of the sink vanity, topped with a still-packaged toothbrush — definitely a freebie from the dentist.

“Oh my god,” Lena whispers to herself, staring into the mirror.

Her lipstick is all but gone, and there’s a black ring around each eye — a bit of residual mascara that survived both the rain and the shower yesterday. She looks ridiculous with Kara’s clothes hanging off her body.

“Good going, Luthor,” she tells herself, voice laden with sarcasm.

She can’t remember the last time she slept in someone else’s bed. She always made Jack come over to her place when they were dating, and they really didn’t spend a lot of time around a bed anyways. The last time would have to have been with Sam, many months ago. Lena doesn’t know how to feel about that realization — it feels almost like a previous lifetime.

Lena splashes some cold water on her face to spur her to get washed up and ready to face the day. She stays in the bathroom for what is probably a suspiciously-long time, not leaving until her ride-share is less than five minutes away.

When she re-surfaces, Kara is standing in the kitchen shoveling breakfast into her face at an impressive pace.

“I made blueberry pancakes,” Kara smiles. “Do you want some?”

Despite the grumbling hollow that’s replaced her stomach, Lena shakes her head. “No, that’s alright, I’m supposed to grab brunch with Jack,” she lies.

“Okay,” Kara nods, the corners of her smile faltering just the tiniest bit. “Probably for the best — I made them with protein powder and Alex always complains they’re too gritty that way.”

“Protein-powder pancakes?” Lena raises an eyebrow.

“What?” Kara defends. “They’re delicious!” To prove her point, she shoves a large fork-full of the food in question into her mouth.

Lena stifles a giggle as her cheeks puff out like a chipmunk.

“Thank you again for the clothes,” Lena says, running a hand down the unfamiliar cotton of Kara’s sweatshirt over her stomach. “Shall I have them returned tomorrow?”

“No problem,” she says. “And don’t bother, I can just pick them up next time I’m over.”

Lena nods; the logic is fair. “Very well. I should get going — looks like my ride's here.”

Kara shifts out from behind the small kitchen table to hold the door open for Lena, handing her a plastic bag full of something black and semi-fluid. “Your stuff,” Kara explains.

“Thank you. ‘til next time, darling,” Lena presses a farewell kiss to Kara’s cheek. For once, there’s no trace of lipstick left behind.

“Bye, Lena,” Kara smiles after her.

The door shuts behind Lena with a gentle finality. So that happened. She, Lena Luthor, had just spent the night at Kara Danvers’ apartment. And even more disorienting and discordant — she was kind of alright with it? … Maybe.

Still trying to wrap her head around everything, Lena shoots a quick text to Jack. She needs someone to unpack this with.

Emergency brunch, 11:00 today, Cafe Apolline.

Jack Spheer: Your wish is my command …

Jack Spheer: Fun night? ;)

Lena doesn’t dignify that with a response.

. . . . . . . .

Her talk with Jack helped. 

Despite the annoying, smug look on his face that made Lena want to throw her plate at him, he offered a good perspective.

“So you slept over,” Jack said, waving his butter knife in a circle. “Did the world end?”

“No, obviously not,” Lena scoffed. “And why is that always the go-to scenario?”

Jack rolled his eyes. “Well, what is the worst-case scenario?”

“Feelings, obviously,” Lena stated.

“Feelings?” Jack gave her a look. “Lena, this is the first time you’ve shown even a remote interest in someone since Sam. Feelings wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

“I do not — and never will — have feelings for Kara Danvers,” Lena hissed. “She’s arrogant, and foolish, and—“

“—hot,” Jack added with a grin.

“That’s besides the point,” Lena glowered.

“Then what is the point?” Jack leaned forward in his chair. “Because to me, all I see is you stressing out over small, insignificant details, worried they’ll somehow cause you to ruin your own life.”

That’s … fair.

“Look, are you enjoying yourself?” Jack asked patiently.

“... Yes,” Lena admitted.

“Then great!” Jack smiled. “Keep doing what you’re doing — let yourself have fun with Kara. You’re the only person I know who gets stressed because they are getting laid. Relax a little and just enjoy it. You can always call it off later.”

Lena took a few deep breaths while mulling over his words. She didn’t move a muscle nor spare Jack from her glare, which made the man shift a little in his chair, much to her amusement.

“Thank you, Jack,” Lena conceded with a nod. 

“Anytime, love,” Jack winked, raising his mimosa in salute.


The rest of the month passes fairly quickly. 

Schoolwork keeps them both busy. Basketball season really starts to pick up, which means Kara and the rest of the team are traveling more. She’s gone for a couple days at a time, but each night that they return to National City, she heads straight for Lena’s bed and they celebrate the Comets’ winning streak in the most fun way possible.

Kara’s happy with how things are going. It’s a great stress reliever, and Lena’s fun to be around. (The other woman has also grown to enjoy their weeknight rendezvous, in her own reserved way.) Lena doesn’t mind that Kara’s sober and always excitedly recaps the events of that day’s game. Kara doesn’t mind if Lena has a glass of wine or two, even if she can’t partake herself — though given the amount of time Kara’s tongue spends in Lena’s mouth, she must get a small dose of something.

Friends-with-benefits works for them. It turns into a smooth, enjoyable rhythm.

And then winter comes.

Thanksgiving isn’t bad. Kara enjoys the short break from class, surrounded by friends and family and basketball, but a small part of her misses her uninterrupted time with Lena. They haven’t met up in a week or so. 

A text message tells her Lena misses her too — well, parts of her anyways.

hot girl bummer: Come over tonight? Jack and I are having dinner but I can always kick him out when it gets late.

can’t … Eliza came to visit! we’re having Thanksgiving dinner tonight

hot girl bummer: Eliza?

alex’s and my mom

hot girl bummer: Oh, of course. It must be nice to see her.

it is! we have a big tournament the next few days so she’ll get to watch a bunch of our games in person too

hot girl bummer: Is she usually unable to?

midvale is a three hour drive away, so she can only see our saturday ones with her (busy) work schedule

hot girl bummer: Understandable. I’ll stop commandeering your time then.

you’re good, i’m enjoying the—

“Kara!” Eliza chides. “Come eat. The food is ready!”

Kara quickly finishes the half-written text.

you’re good, i was enjoying the company. gotta go eat! see you soon enough, luthor

hot girl bummer: Have a pleasant time with your family, Kara.

Kara stashes her phone in the pocket of her dress and joins the rest of her makeshift-family at the table. Calling it a ‘table’ is rather generous — it’s the beer-soaked, plastic, folding, pong table from the boys’ apartment, hastily covered with a cheap brown tablecloth. Mike did make a noble attempt to get a vase of sunflowers to try and class it up a bit, but it doesn’t quite measure up. 

Thankfully, the table gets covered with a myriad of plates and dishes and it’s original use is long disguised. Eliza, being the excellent chef she is, has made a full five-course, Danvers’-family-classic Thanksgiving meal. And like bears to honey, the college students have all come to feast. 

Kara sits down between Mike and James. Alex is directly opposite her, Maggie to her left and Eliza heading up the table to her right. At the other end of the table sits Nia and Brainy, with Winn to Brainy’s right, and James and Lucy to Nia’s left. Everyone’s here, but Kara can’t help but feel the most subtle notion that something is missing.

True to form, the basketball players have their plates piled highest — Kara’s and James’ vying for first place.

“You know, it’s not a race to finish the food, kids,” Eliza reminds.

“Sorry, Eliza,” Kara mumbles through a mouthful of stuffing. Mhmph, it’s delicious as always.

“Thank you for having us all, Danvers’,” Mike gives his usual charming grin. “And thank you very much for the meal, Eliza.”

Everyone around the table asserts a similar statement of gratitude.

“Oh, honey, of course,” Eliza says. “I know my cooking is always appreciated with this crowd.”

“Hear, hear!” Winn raises his glass, a turkey-laden fork in his other hand.

They breakout naturally into small conversations around the table as the meal progresses.

“So, Kara,” Eliza gives her a matronly look. “How are things going outside of school?”

The meaning behind her mom’s words is painfully obvious. It’s not lost on Kara that she’s not a part of the many couples lining the table, and Eliza has clearly noticed too.

“Oh, basketball is great!” Kara gives a bright smile to sell her fake confusion. “I feel like this is going to be our year again — we’re gonna get the title back.”

“I don’t doubt that, sweetie,” Eliza smiles warmly, “But there wasn’t anyone you wanted to invite tonight?”

No one at all comes to mind. 

No one at all. No one that’s slept in Kara’s bed. Definitely not a certain someone with the most enchanting green eyes Kara’s ever seen. Because that would never, ever work. The very notion of a specific dark-haired woman — perched with perfect posture, wearing half a year’s worth of Kara’s rent in designer clothing, eating a meal off a recently-converted pong table — is downright laughable.

Besides, Kara doesn’t have feelings for Lena Luthor. Friends-with-benefits don’t do holidays and families, and that’s all they are.

“Nope, no one!” Kara rambles, “I’ve been pretty busy with school and basketball and all.”

Eliza makes a tsk-ing noise. “You’re too focused on basketball, sweetie. Alex, you should really help your sister meet someone. It’s important to form interpersonal relationships.”

“Me? How is this my fault?!” Alex gives her an incredulous look. (She’s been grumpy ever since Kara confiscated her one holiday beer early in the night.)

“Yeah, Alex,” Kara turns to her with a smug smirk, excited to have the upper hand. “You really should stop shacking up with Maggie so much and help me find a date.”

Alex jerks forward in her seat. “Oh, as if! Mom, if you even knew the half of what Kara does in her free time—”

“—You don’t even know what I do in my free time, Alex,” Kara snaps.

“I can make a pretty good guess,” Alex threatens. “She spends all night playing with her—”

“—basketballs, that is,” Maggie puts a taming hand on Alex’s shoulder. “There’s nothing wrong with that. Right, Little Danvers?”

Ready to diffuse the once-fake-now-come-real tension, Kara takes the out. “Uh, huh. My jumper has been off a bit all season and I’ve been trying to get it back on track.”

“You work too hard, sweetie,” Eliza says, but there’s an edge to her voice that suggests it’s only a matter of time before this issue comes up again. It makes Kara want to sink through her chair. She gives Alex’s shin a kick under the table, which earns her one in return.

Fuck you, Alex mouths over her glass.

Kara hides her hand with a fist on her cheek and sticks her tongue out in response.

Mike clears his throat. “Could someone pass the glazed carrots, please?”

The misdirection is enough to diffuse the tension, and by the end of the night — after a healing round of Eliza’s chocolate pecan pie for everyone — Kara has her arm around Alex’s shoulders and they’re both belting into the karaoke machine Winn hooked up to the TV.

When it gets late enough, Kara sneaks her phone out to send one last message.

hope you and jack had a good thanksgiving! you two should watch our games this weekend

hot girl bummer: Perhaps. Play well, Supergirl.

always ;) you know they can’t box me in

hot girl bummer: So I hear.

Kara enjoys this Thanksgiving just as much as all the others. And maybe a smidge more.


The tables turn for Lena only a few days later.

Kara swings by for a quickie following a late practice, but they stay up chatting for a bit too long after, as if Kara doesn’t want to leave. Dark bags hang under her eyes, and her pupils are glazed over slightly. She looks exhausted after what Lena assumes is an endless gauntlet of basketball games and end-of-semester projects, so Lena humors her for a bit.

Once it’s been a bit silent for too long, Lena looks over her shoulder — mid-way through explaining the pharmaceutical applications of nanotech — only to find Kara knocked out against her shoulder.

She looks so fragile. Kara Danvers, gifted with an annoyingly-hot amount of strength, looks downright breakable when she sleeps.

Leave her be, Lena, a voice whispers in her head. She looks like she needs the sleep desperately.

Fine. Fine. The world won’t end if they sleep in the same bed, after all.

So Lena decides to let Kara sleep, though she gingerly shifts about as far away from the blonde as she can get, practically hanging off the edge of the mattress. She doesn’t know what time Kara needs to be awake in the morning, so she changes her own alarm for 5:00am to stir Kara awake then.

They both sleep well.

Lena wakes up lying on her side, one hand under her pillow, and her other hand over her waist, clutching the third hand that lies there.

Clutching the what?

It’s Kara’s hand — it’s definitely Kara’s hand — and it’s gently resting over Lena’s stomach, the fingertips tucked underneath her side.

And she’s holding onto it.

Apparently, they’ve both drifted inward to the center of the bed, in a way reminiscent of magnets. Lena’s bare back and ass are pressed up against Kara’s chest and pelvis. They fit annoyingly well together. And it’s warm.

When Lena reaches over to grab her blaring phone off of the bedside table, Kara’s arm tightens around her waist, effectively trapping her.

It makes her feel … strange.

Kara wasn’t lying about being a heavy sleeper. Despite the blasting alarm, it takes a considerable effort to wake her.

“Hngh?” Kara rolls away from Lena and murmurs into the morning air. “No, Alex, what time is it?”

“It’s me, Kara.”

Kara’s eyes fly open. “Lena? What? … where am I?”

“In my bed, darling,” Lena says with some amusement.

“Oh, shit,” she murmurs, clutching at the unfamiliar sheets wrapped around her. “Did I fall asleep? I’m sorry.”

“It’s quite alright,” Lena assures. “Now we’re even.”

“Even,” Kara gives a sleepy smile. “Lena, what time is it?”

“Five in the morning,” Lena yawns. “I wasn’t sure what time you needed to be up.”

“Oh,” Kara brings her eyebrows together. “Thanks. I don’t have anymore morning practices until next semester, but I should get up and head home.”

Lena opens her mouth to object but immediately clamps it back shut until something smarter comes out.

“Do you want me to call you a car?” she asks.

“Nah, it’s good, I’ll jog home,” Kara says. “Won’t take long — and it’ll be good to get a stretch in.”

“Are you certain?” Lena asks and Kara nods, sliding out of bed and to her feet. “Very well.”

Kara redresses with skilled ease, even in the dim light of Lena’s bedroom. Clearly, they’ve done this enough times for Kara to have memorized where to step to avoid stubbing any toes.

“Go back to bed, Lena,” Kara whispers when she notices Lena’s heavy-lidded eyes trained on her.

“Okay,” Lena yawns. She slides back between the silky layers of her bed, right over the warm spot where Kara was. It feels amazing against her skin. “Lock up on your way out.”

“Will do,” Kara replies. “Sweet dreams.”

And in the last half-lucid moments of the early morning, Lena allows herself to fall deeper back into the warmth. 

Kara’s warmth.


 

Chapter Text


Kara has been missing-in-action for over a week now. 

She’s alive, Lena knows this, since she’s still starting and playing in every basketball game. But she’s not to be found at her favorite café — Noonan’s, Lena learns, after she swings by there a few more times — either. Kara declines Lena’s nighttime invitations, and doesn’t engage in small talk either. It’s very unlike her.

And it’s driving Lena up a wall.

The last time Kara left her apartment, they were on good terms. In fact, Lena half-expected to get some cocky text about how the world didn’t end even though they slept in the same bed

But it doesn’t come.

Then Lena accidentally overhears one of Alex’s conversations on the way to their class together, and it only further confounds her.

“She’s okay,” Alex says into the phone. Her voice is soft and low to avoid drawing attention to her conversation. “She’s not sleeping great, but you know how Kara gets around this time of year.”

Alex pauses while the person on the other line speaks.

“Yeah, I’ve been staying with her every night,” Alex replies. “Yes, she’s still eating an insane amount, like usual.” Lena can practically hear Alex’s eyes roll.

Another pause.

“It was the worst on the actual anniversary date, but it’s getting better now,” Alex says. “I gotta go, Mom — class is about to start … Love you too. Bye.”

Alex shoves her phone in her back pocket and enters the building. Lena follows several steps behind her, not wanting to get caught eavesdropping.

Anniversary date? Of what? She can’t very well ask Alex. ‘Hey, what’s this anniversary, and why won’t your sister come over to fuck like usual?’

Yeah, not an option.

The internet is no help either. Searching ‘Kara Danvers’ just pulls up a thousand basketball articles full of praise and commendation. Her NCU roster page is just a long list of all her awards and accolades — there are many, to Lena’s satisfaction (she likes a winner) — but it doesn’t hold any useful information. At the very bottom of the page under ‘Personal’ are five brief bullet points:

 

 

Full name is Kara El Danvers

Born on September 22

Older sister, Alex Danvers, also plays basketball for NCU

Older cousin, Clark Kent, plays in the NMBL for the Metropolis Meteors

Majoring in journalism

In the name of investigative curiosity, Lena checks out Alex’s roster profile next. It’s long, but not quite as long as Kara’s, and the personal information section is similar.

 

 

Full name Alexandra Jan Danvers

Born on March 8

Daughter of Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers

Younger sister, Kara Danvers, also plays basketball for NCU

Majoring in biology

Huh, Lena realizes, Kara’s roster doesn’t mention her parents’ like Alex’s page does. Must be an oversight.

Lena can’t find anything else about this ‘anniversary’. In fact, it seems like Kara’s life has just been full of goodness and adoration. A little bitter seed of jealousy settles in Lena’s stomach.

Eventually, she breaks down and just straight-out asks Kara what gives.

Care to explain what’s been going on with you? 

That comes across way harsher than Lena intends, so she quickly sends another message to dull it.

Did I do something wrong?

K : no, not at all! sorry for ghosting — going thru some family stuff

K: don’t really wanna talk about it tho, no offense

Lena winces in concern. She’s no stranger to ‘family stuff’. Whatever that means for Kara, Lena imagines it's unpleasant — and that it likely has to do with this ‘anniversary’.

Oh, of course, I understand. Take all the time you need.

K: thanks

K: when do you leave for break?

The Monday after Finals Week.

K: i can work with that :) gotta see you at least once to tide me over before break starts 

Well, let’s hope you can still deliver …

K: always. ;)

They don’t talk about it any further, but Lena can’t help but wonder how Kara’s doing — wondering what exactly she’s having to deal with. If there’s one thing Lena Luthor doesn’t handle well, it’s something she doesn’t know and hasn’t figured out. But she can (begrudgingly) recognize this isn’t her place either.

So Lena keeps up with her from a distance — through basketball. The blonde still plays well on the court, but there’s something off. She seems a bit sluggish and tired. They’re playing Gotham State tonight, and the Comets aren’t quite meshing as well as they usually do. 

At one point, Kara starts to look really frustrated, her hands on her hips and a deep frown across her face. Alex comes over to her, takes Kara’s head in her hands, and presses their foreheads together. The livestream is way too distant to pick up on what Alex says, but Lena can see the older Danvers say a few words, and Kara pulls away nodding, looking a bit refocused.

It’s not enough though — it’s the Comets’ first loss of the season.

Lena’s a bit worried, but she talks herself out of checking in on Kara. The other woman clearly didn’t want to talk about it, and Lena respects that. It’s not like they’re in the business of owing each other explanations anyways. 

Then Finals Week comes and exams quickly consume Lena’s every waking thought. Her worry is relegated to idle, night-time thoughts while falling asleep in a cold bed.

The weekend after finals, Kara shows up at her door unannounced one night, like nothing ever happened.

“Kara?” Lena exclaims in surprise, a perplexed smile creeping across her face.

“Luthor,” Kara greets, stepping into the apartment. “I brought champagne to celebrate the end of finals.”

“How are you?” Lena eyes her carefully.

“Horny,” Kara grins. It doesn’t quite reach her eyes, and Lena realizes for the first time that there are edges to Kara’s mask of indomitable positivity. And they’re trailing precariously along one.

“That’s not what I meant. Kara, you don’t want to talk about—” Lena frowns.

“—No, I don’t,” Kara states. It’s not intended to be harsh, but it still comes off that way, and Lena’s walls slam right back up.

“Very well,” Lena nods. “Take your clothes off. You owe me a few orgasms.”

“With pleasure,” Kara smirks, ripping her shirt off over her head.

“And do bring the champagne,” Lena orders, turning sharply on her heel to head for the bedroom.

It’s an exercise in multi-tasking. Kara takes Lena’s words to heart and drives her to four orgasms before Lena brings her to two of her own. They also polish off the whole thing of champagne at the same time, passing it back and forth to whoever’s on top, chugging it straight from the bottle. Kara spills a bit of it on Lena’s bedsheets, but it's hardly the only wet spot there. 

It all feels a bit hedonistic, yet freeing. Lena can't help but hope to celebrate the end of the next semester the same way — before quickly realizing there’s no guarantee of any of that nonsense.

Don’t be foolish, Lena, she chides herself. There’s no way they make it that long. Their arrangement is precarious enough already.

Which reminds Lena — there’s another thing they need to discuss.

“Well, I think that’ll tide me over for the next few weeks,” Kara cracks a cocky grin, flopping back down on the bed. Lena’s preoccupied by combing her fingers through her recently-matted hair.

“Kara, we should talk about winter break,” Lena says. “And what it means for our arrangement.”

“What about it?” Kara asks, sitting up so they’re both at the same eye level.

“I know we’re not seeing other people right now,” Lena says. “But I figure we should clarify if that’s expected to be upheld over the next several weeks apart.”

“To be honest, I probably won’t hook up with anyone. Midvale isn’t exactly known for its large dating scene,” Kara states. “But I wouldn’t expect you to do the same. We’re not dating and you’re free to do whatever you want — just be safe.”

Lena hums, but doesn’t offer the same transparency that Kara does. She can’t bring herself to come anywhere close to admitting that she might only  want Kara Danvers.

But she can offer another kind of concession. “You can stay, tonight, if you want,” Lena offers. “I know it’s late.”

“Are you sure?” Kara asks, clearly sounding surprised. Lena leans over to turn off the nightstand night and slides down fully under the sheets. Her head gently settles into the heavenly cushion of her goose-down pillow.

“Yes,” Lena says. “Just stay on your side of the bed.”

Kara is silent for a moment, not moving a single muscle as she clearly contemplates her next move. Lena holds her breath.

“Okay,” Kara finally whispers. Lena can feel the weight in the bed shift as Kara lies down, and suddenly she can breathe again.

“Goodnight, Kara.” Lena rolls onto her side, her back to Kara.

“Goodnight, Lena,” Kara whispers, “Sweet dreams.”

When Lena wakes, Kara’s side of the bed is remade and any traces of her are long gone, save the neatly-folded pile of clothes Lena had borrowed after their first sleepover. Lena had forgotten to mention them, and Kara must not have noticed.

There’s a note for her on the kitchen counter; the handwriting is scratchy but Kara clearly tried to put some effort into making it legible.

Sorry to leave without saying goodbye, had to run. Hope you have a good winter break! If you miss me too much, remember, there’s always a basketball game to watch ;) Happy Holidays!

- K

Lena frowns down at the note, a slight sense of disappointment in her chest. She had hoped for at least one more conversation with Kara before they parted ways for the break, but alas, she would be heading back to Metropolis without.

Lena is dreading it already, and now even more so. Here in National City, she has her space and her freedom (and also her new personal ray of sunshine). Back in Metropolis, the holidays were filled by extravagant obligations and miserable company. It would be just her, Lex, and Lillian — and Lex at least had places to sneak off to under the guise of being productive. Lena had no such work to cling to.

She would be counting the days until her return — twenty-five — until she was back in her apartment with her work and her peaceful silence and the soothing presence of a certain basketball player.

Until then, dread fills in the hollows of her bones. Happy holidays, indeed.


Unsure how to process her last conversation with Lena, Kara doesn’t sleep well between the slippery folds of the silk sheets. By around six in the morning she gives up trying and heads straight for the gym, hoping shooting will help clear her head.

It’s a temporary fix.

The early morning air is crisp and refreshing, and the dim light of the unopened gym is soothing against her raging mind. She gets into a rhythm of aim-jump-release but it doesn’t bring the usual mindless repetition it usually does. Her shots are all a bit too left, and her brain is consumed with thoughts about a certain green-eyed problem.

Kara had asked, and Lena’s lack of an answer had been enough. It wasn’t a set up; Kara knew she had no right to ask Lena to keep their arrangement — rendered logistically null while they were apart — exclusive. Kara had meant what she had said. They weren’t dating. 

Besides, she doesn’t care if Lena sleeps with someone else while she’s home — she shouldn’t care. 

(But she kind of does … it’s just because it’s a blow to her ego, though.)

Kara decides not to tell Lena that she’ll be in Metropolis in January, to visit Clark and Lois and baby Jon. Better to not mix things — they’re fuck buddies when in National City, and no one to each other when they’re not.

By the end of Kara’s shooting session, she feels no less irritated, but it fades as the days pass and Lena Luthor leaves her orbit.


Lena’s never been so grateful to have her feet on the ground again.

She says that every time she gets off a plane, sure, but she really does mean it this time. She means it every time — she hates flying.

To her relief, Lex had arranged for the Luthor family plane to come pick her up from National City and return her to Metropolis, which meant she’d get to be terrified in the privacy of her own company. It was much better than the alternative of publicly trying to stave off a panic attack on a commercial plane.

Lena quickly gets off the plane once they land. The sun is starting to set, raining orange against the light-speckled cityscape on the horizon. The tarmac is lit up too and Lena can feel the disorienting jet lag sensation set in. It shouldn’t be this late, yet it is. 

There’s a black towncar and a familiar, nicely-dressed woman off to the side, waiting for her. The driver is almost finished loading Lena’s rather abundant luggage into the trunk.

“Hello, Miss Luthor,” Jess greets her.

“Hello, Jess,” Lena replies, finally settling into the blissful release of ground under her feet and air in her lungs. “How have you been?”

“Excellent, thank you,” Jess smiles. She has a clipboard in her hands, which can mean only one thing.

“What does my mother have planned?” Lena sighs.

“I’ll brief you on the way,” Jess says. The driver, who Lena now recognizes as Mercer, pulls the door open for her.

“Thank you,” Lena tells him, and slides into the car. Jess gets in on the other side so that they can debrief in the backseat.

The car lurches forward with a start. “Are we headed back to the Manor?” Lena asks.

“Yes,” Jess nods. She presses a button on the wireless headset in her ear. “So, Mrs. Luthor has asked me to prepare an itinerary for you, for the duration of your stay.”

Lena’s stomach plummets. Goodbye, freedom.

“What is it?” Lena asks, holding out a hand to receive a copy of her prison sentence.

“As you know, the annual Luthor Corp New Year’s Gala will be held after the new year,” Jess rattles off. “Your mother scheduled a gown fitting for you tomorrow. You’re also expected at three different Luthor Corp holiday functions this week as well; the dates and times are indicated on the schedule.”

Lena sighs so deeply her bones shake. It’s what she expected, of course, but it’s not any less dreadful.

“Well then,” she says, “Let the fun begin.” Her words are soaked in sarcasm, and Jess spares an apologetic smile.

“Your brother will be excited to have you back around,” Jess offers. “You keep him in his place.”

Oh, Lex. Now that’s an interesting problem. 

They haven’t talked in-depth since October, not since the day after his party — Lena had once again expressed her displeasure in his choice to date Eve rather explicitly, and Lex had been frustrated she had left so early without ‘giving things a chance’. 

Lena’s gut clenches at the thought he might still be annoyed with her, as he was the only thing that would make her next several hundred hours stuck in the ivory tower of Luthor Manor more bearable.

She worries for nothing.

She sees Lex for the first time at dinner. As soon as she’s in view, he wraps her in a gigantic hug and insists they crack open one of the nicest bottles of wine from Lionel’s extensive cellar. Lillian gives her a curt nod of acknowledgement and suggests she have a larger helping of the salad. Lex shoots Lena a pitiful glance, but she ignores it, having better things to do than manage Lex’s guilt complex — like digging into the filet mignon. Once the food is finished, however, they no longer have an excuse not to talk to each other.

(Oh, what Lena would give to be anywhere but here, trapped in the austere, desolate dining room of Luthor Manor.)

“How was your flight, Lena?” Lillian asks. She juts out a haughty chin at Lena. She looks so elegant yet fake, she could be a million-dollar mannequin. “You don’t still have that ridiculous fear, do you?”

“It was fine.” Lena turns to Lex pointedly. “Thank you for sending the plane.”

Lex nods curtly, shoulders slumped forward. He leans forward to pour himself another glass of wine.

“And your studies?” Lillian continues. “How are they?”

“They’re excellent,” Lena says with a tight-lipped smile. “Certainly better than Lex’s were at my age, considering he was three months into a bender in Cabo at the time.”

“Hey, I am a genius, after all,” Lex protests. “I didn’t need to go to class.”

“I don’t think you can get class participation points if you’re passed-out, naked, on top of the resort bar,” Lena chirps.

“Fair,” Lex nods and chugs his wine.

“Ensure your grades stay that way, Lena,” Lillian replies coldly. “I expect you to make the most of your expensive education.”

“Yes, I’m sure shipping me off to Mount Helena’s was exclusively for my  benefit,” Lena narrows her eyes.

Both women pause as Lex loudly pours himself another glass of wine.

“You seem to be enjoying yourself,” Lillian sneers at him.

Lex blinks slowly at her, slumped down in his chair. “At least one of us here should have a little fun.”

“My understanding is that you’ve had plenty of fun recently,” Lillian bites. “Two drunk-and-disorderly charges this month?”

“What? We’re rich; it’s not illegal for us,” Lex objects. “It’s just a trifling fee.”

“The family fortune is not for paying off your misdemeanors,” Lillian says. “And I will not have you drag our family name through the mud.”

“Mother …” Lex drawls, exasperation lacing his voice. “You and Father did that long before I had a chance to.”

“Alexander!” Lillian admonishes. “Do not pretend to understand the depths of your father’s and I’s decisions. Everything we did was for the betterment of Luthor Corp and this family.”

“Yes, it’s quite a family,” Lena mumbles under her breath. She’s only spared Lillian’s wrath because Lex chooses that exact moment to bolt to his feet and yell, “Oh, everything!? Father must not have gotten that memo.”

“Enough!” Lillian snaps.

Lillian and Lex are currently glaring at each other like they’re the only people in the room, so Lena uses the commotion to excuse herself from the table and retreat up to her childhood room. They’ll be at each other’s throats for a bit longer.

The bedroom has been untouched over the past few months, save for routine visits by the cleaning staff. It’s a dour and dim space; covered in dark wooden floors, distant vaulted ceilings, and various fabrics of black and green. There are a few redeeming fixtures — a few of Lena’s old books rest on the bedside table, a chess board sits on the desk, and her fencing trophies line the grand bookcase from floor to ceiling.

It’s not enough. It makes her long for the warmth of National City, for her apartment, and the rays of sunshine that fill it.

In the distance, she can hear the yelling cease for the night.


Lena makes it a few days before she can’t handle being confined at home anymore. 

The last straw is Lillian’s undeterred insistence she accept an escort to the Luthors’ New Year Gala — someone who could benefit the family’s business contacts, of course — and Lena needs to put some fresh air between her and Lillian now.

That’s how she ends up at the Luthor Corp skyscraper, headed on a warpath to Lex’s office. Thankfully, it’s after five, so most of the building is vacant; though it’s still too early for the clubs to be open, so Lex is definitely here.

“You will not believe Mother’s latest asinine scheme,” Lena groans, barreling through the office doors. 

Lex’s latest secretary scrambles futility after her; he must be new, as Lena has unrestricted access to Lex’s office and his labs (and also, since when does he hire male secretaries?). 

In response to her interruption, the dark leather chair rolls back from behind the computer monitors.

But it’s not Lex in the chair.

Lena’s heart catches in her throat.

It’s … Sam

Sam Arias. Her ex. A woman Lena hasn’t seen since a tearful, bitter goodbye last spring — three thousand miles away back in National City — and truthfully was never expecting to see again.

Fuck.

Lena feels her lungs collapse in her chest. Her entire body feels galvanized; for good or for bad she’s not sure.

She's still as stone.

“Lena?” Sam sounds just as shocked as Lena feels. “Uh … hi.” Sam gives her a tentative smile, her brows furrowed deeply over her eyes.

“I’m so sorry, Ms. Arias,” the secretary fawns, “Ms. Luthor was too fast for me—”

“—I was looking for Lex,” Lena states. “This is his office.”

Sam clears her throat awkwardly, rolling back slowly in the chair. 

“Thank you, Jeremy,” Sam nods at the secretary, “You can leave us.”

“What is going on?” Lena demands, turning around to inspect the space. Lex’s office has the same bones as always, but Lena quickly realizes it’s not quite right. Things are out of place, things are there that don’t belong — the flowers on the desk, the fluffy rug, the jar of Italian candies on the coffee table, and the photos of Ruby on the shelves.

Lena puts it together quickly. This is clearly not Lex’s office anymore — that explains the secretarial chase.

“Lena, did Lex not tell you?” Sam frowns, rising from the chair. She swipes her hands nervously against her pants.

Lena sets her jaw. “Tell me what?”

“Uh, Lex hired me,” Sam swallows roughly. “I’m Luthor Corp’s new Finance Director, for the Research Division. I thought he had talked to you about it.”

“No, he didn’t,” Lena says sharply. “This office is a bit above the pay grade for a Finance Director, isn’t it?”

“It was a signing bonus,” Sam explains. “Lex insisted. Besides, your mother has him traveling almost constantly now.”

“When?” Lena sucks on her teeth.

“October,” Sam exhales.

“Ah,” Lena lets out a rueful hum. “October.” 

Suddenly, the party in National City makes sense; Lex wanted to see Lena because he was feeling guilty (if he can even feel that emotion). 

Lena could really use a stiff drink. As if on cue, the amber decanter in the corner of the room catches her eye, which Sam notices.

“Whiskey. Lex keeps me stocked with the good stuff,” Sam gestures over to the alcohol. “Would you like a glass? I was actually just finishing up — besides, it’s way past five o’clock.”

“… Sure,” Lena says, pulling at her fingers. “This day is not exactly going how I imagined.”

“Same here,” Sam mumbles, prepping the drinks. “Still prefer it neat?”

“If you don’t mind,” Lena replies. Her hands shake the slightest amount when she accepts the glass from Sam. Sam’s fingers linger against hers for a second too long.

“So, I hear Lillian is being her usual self?” Sam asks.

She gestures to the sofa and both women sit down. They’re sitting too close to be strangers, but also far enough away that they hold each other at a distance.

Lena swallows a large gulp of whiskey.

“Yes,” Lena sighs. “You know how she gets. She’d sooner treat me like a valuable piece of Luthor Corp stock to be bought and bargained for to better the family name — and forget any considerations of my sexuality.”

“I’m sorry,” Sam winces. “Has Lex gotten better about calling her out on it?”

“Lex has no problem shouting his head off at Lillian when she insults him,” Lena scoffs. “But caring about others is not his strong suit.”

“I do think he cares about you,” Sam levies. “Even though he’s shit at showing it.”

Lena snorts in agreement.

“Lex may care, but Lillian certainly doesn’t,” Lena muses. “I still don’t understand what I did to her to make her hate me so.”

“It’s not your fault, Lena,” Sam’s hand grabs her own.

It should make her feel something. But it doesn’t.

“How’s National City?” Sam asks, still holding on.

“It’s … incredible, actually,” Lena finds her tone to be surprisingly genuine, even to her own astonishment. “Things have been wonderful this year.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Sam says. “You did always seem … lighter, there.”

“It suits me better than Metropolis,” Lena agrees. “Though most other places would.”

A moment of silence passes; amber eyes on green.

“Lena, this is definitely out of line, but I have to know,” Sam inhales sharply, withdrawing her hand to clutch her other one in her lap. “Do you ever … think about us?”

Oh. That question.

“Yes,” Lena states, tilting her chin outwards. She keeps her face neutral as a stone.

“I still think about you too. I’m sorry for how things ended with us,” Sam confesses. “I was so overwhelmed between Ruby, and finishing my MBA, and—“

“—it’s alright, Sam,” Lena smiles softly. “I don’t blame you. I mean, we’re five years apart and in very different places in our lives. You have an incredible daughter and she deserves to be your first priority.”

“I …” Sam trails off, her eyebrows lifting. “I can admit, that wasn’t what I was expecting to hear.”

“Well, I wasn’t exactly expecting to see you today,” Lena says. “I thought I’d never see you again once you left National City.”

“Yeah,” Sam sighs, filling the room with a tense silence. “I hate that I left you, Lena, just like everyone else in your family has. I—” 

“—I don’t think of it like that,” Lena lies.

“You don’t?” Sam frowns. “But … anyways, I still should’ve told you what was going on sooner, that I was moving back to Metropolis for work. I shouldn’t have just sprung it on you at the last minute.”

“I would’ve liked to have heard it from you first,” Lena admits. “I figured it out weeks before, Sam. People don’t buy a hundred cardboard boxes without a reason.”

“I didn’t …” Sam trails off. “I didn’t realize you knew.”

Lena looks at her with a sad smile. Her eyes should be wet by now, like they were last time they talked like this, but they’re not. 

“What hurt was that you didn’t tell me yourself,” Lena says. “I deserved to know.”

“You did,” Sam grimaces. “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for how badly I hurt you, I really am.”

Lena nods an acceptance. 

“Hurt aside, you taught me a lot about myself, Sam, and about love, and relationships,” Lena says. “I’m very grateful for that.”

Lena can practically see Sam’s spine straighten up again in front of her, into the proud, confident posture that once made Lena melt.

“Lena, would … would you like to grab dinner, and catch up?” Sam asks. “Ruby is with a sitter tonight. I found a great restaurant here for crepes, just like that little hole-in-the-wall place we would go to in National City.”

Lena gives a solemn smile. “That’s a tempting offer, Sam,” she says, not realizing it’s a lie until the words are out of her mouth. “But I can’t.”

I don’t want to, Lena realizes with a start.

Her ex + dinner wine + ‘catching up’? It can only mean one thing — and it’s not something she wants to do with Sam anymore.

“Is there someone else?” Sam’s tone comes across as polite and neutral, but Lena knows her too well to miss the subtle note of bitterness underneath.

“In a manner of speaking,” Lena vaguely replies. 

“Oh … I understand,” Sam nods, a sad smile settling across her face. “You seem good, Lena. Confident. Happy.”

“You do too, Sam,” Lena says. “This—“, she gestures around the lavish office, “—looks good on you. You really do deserve it.”

“Thank you,” Sam nods. “You won’t find Lex here, by the way. Lillian sent him over to Midway City for a few days; he’s negotiating acquiring a new start-up.”

“Of course she did,” Lena rolls her eyes. “Thank you for telling me.”

“Happy to help.” Sam claps her hands against her thighs, looking at Lena expectantly. 

They’ve reached the natural parting point, but both linger for the smallest second, as they know there’s no going back afterwards.

“Goodbye, Sam,” Lena exhales. “Give Ruby my best.” She gives a soft smile and a nod.

“Goodbye, Lena,” Sam says, a bittersweet smile across her face.

Lena leaves without hesitation. The door to Sam’s office closes behind her with a firm finality. 

Alone in the elevator, Lena’s thoughts race wild. How could Lex not have told her? Why did he even hire Sam in the first place? Did he think Lena wasn’t going to notice, or worse, care?

There's a towncar waiting for her outside. Lena tears open the backdoor and slides in before Mercer, the driver, can even react. She hops into the backseat with a huff, phone in hand, ready to shoot Lex the angriest text in existence. But she can’t hit the send button.

Truthfully, she’s not angry. Sure, it would’ve been nice to know she had been about to barrel into her ex’s new office, but Lena is starting to feel oddly … calm afterwards. Her and Sam; they’re done. She doesn’t have to wonder.

Like the last ember dying in a fire, she has found resolution.


Lena doesn’t know Lex is back in town until he comes to her room late one night, a sly look on his face. She’s seen it many times before, and it’s never good. He wants something.

“Just the man I’ve wanted to see,” Lena runs a tongue over her teeth. She throws her book down onto the table and fixes him with a piercing look.

“Ah, yes,” Lex gulps, leaning against the doorframe. “So I was warned.”

“Oh, good,” Lena gives him a fake smile. “You’ve spoken to Sam then.”

“Hazard of the job,” Lex responds. “I imagine you have questions.”

So many, Lex,” Lena sneers. “You’re a horrible brother, you know? Terribly hard to love.”

“Yet you manage. Come on,” Lex nods his head backwards, out of the room. “Fancy a trip out of the ivory tower, Lost Princess?”

“Where to?” Lena gives him a skeptical look. “Will it be chaos or catastrophe tonight?”

A grin creeps over Lex’s face. This can’t be good.

“Neither, actually. I’ve got courtside seats at the Meteors’ game tonight,” Lex says.

Oh, that’s reasonable, actually. Lex usually behaves himself at the games, as they hold his attention better than most other things.

“I’m not really one for basketball,” Lena lies, “But anything is better than being here. Are you driving?”

“Oh, absolutely not,” Lex laughs. “I’m on like day three of sporting a point-o-five BAC.”

“Lex!” Lena chides, before growing softer. “Lex. Why? Why are you doing this?”

He looks down at the floor, arms crossed, and shrugs. “Eh. Boredom. Because I can.”

Lena stands to walk closer to him.

“You know, if you’re trying to prove to the world that you can be a fun drunk, I think you achieved that already,” Lena says. “You’re in the news practically every month for doing something rowdy and reckless. It’s making Mother’s hair grey at an exponential rate.”

“Perhaps,” Lex muses.

“You’re not like our father, Lex,” Lena warns, “But you need to stop acting like him, trying to prove to the world you’re not him.”

“Have you been talking to my therapist?” Lex jokes, his classic partyboy smile plastered across his face. Lena knows it’s an act.

You have a therapist?”

“It’s a … new development,” Lex waves a hand. “Sam insisted. She thinks it’ll help remove my head from my ass.”

“You two have gotten quite close, haven’t you?” Lena’s eyes narrow. “I’d have to be awful familiar with my boss to tell him to go to therapy and keep my job, no?”

Lex gives her a highly amused grin. “Actually, she didn’t even make it that far. She stopped about halfway through her interview for Finance Director to tear me a new asshole.”

Lena’s jaw drops and her brows follow.

“She found out I was dating Eve from the tabloids,” Lex says. Browsing the tabloids at the grocery store was always one of Sam’s guilty pleasures.

“One moment, I was interviewing her, and the next? She was scolding me for betraying you like that and invalidating your experiences,” Lex recounts.

“And you hired  her?” Lena has no idea how to process that information. Like literally none. “Were you drunk?”

“Completely sober,” Lex replies. “Figured if she would do that, she’d be fearless. Like a queen come to reign. Besides, I always liked her. She has grit.”

Lena opens her mouth to ask another question — she’s not exactly sure what it’ll be about yet, since her mind is still reeling — when Lex brings a hand up to silence her.

“I will answer any and all remaining questions once my ass is in my courtside seats,” Lex says. “You’ve got twenty minutes to get ready.”

“Fine,” Lena grimaces. “I suppose beggars can’t be choosers. And Lex? You still have a lot of explaining to do.”

“That’s the spirit, sis!” Lex wrinkles his nose in excitement, choosing to completely ignore the second half of her words.

And that’s how Lena ends up wedged between a moderately-drunk, manspreading Lex and a steroided-out Finch (Lex’s head of security), watching the cousin of her fuck-buddy slam dunk the night away.

It’s almost comically strange.

A few photographers snap photos of them — ugh, that happens here — now that she’s back in the Luthordom also known as Metropolis. That was another nice thing about National City; as far as the media scene was concerned, she was just another rich bitch college kid, not the Lena Luthor, second heir to the Evil Empire.

The photographers annoy her as always, but not quite as much as usual. See, if she has to suffer this, she’s going to ensure she gets something out of it too.

She suspects (hopes?) a certain person in particular will get to see those photos, plastered in the headlines next to her cousin’s name. It’s also the reason she’s made sure to look hot tonight — bright red heels, tight black jeans, herringbone coat — and the pièce de résistance? Kara’s sweatshirt. Thank whatever providence, it’s a nonchalant black and easy to style-up fashionably. The white text across the front reads ‘Comets Basketball’ in a retro block font. It’s vague enough to not arouse suspicion, but specific enough to catch Kara’s attention. 

Judging from the faded dye and the pilling inside, the sweatshirt is well-loved. Kara will notice.

Her scheme is the only bright side of the media attention, and her self-satisfaction wears off quickly. Lex, however, thrives in the spotlight.

“Did you miss the cameras, darling?” he teases, leaning over towards her.

Lena scoffs. “Oh, I’m just as thrilled with them as Mother was that time you crashed the yacht on spring break.”

“Ouch,” Lex gives an exaggerated wince. “Low blow, princess.”

“No,” Lena sucks her teeth. “A low blow is finding out my brother hired my ex to work in the family business.”

Lex winces again, for real this time. “I guess I owe you the rest of that explanation.”

“I should hope so.” Lena crosses her arms over her chest.

“I have a special … project I’m working on,” Lex explains. “I can’t really talk about it, but I needed someone I could trust to handle the finances.”

“So you hired my ex?” Lena gives him an incredulous look. “Were you even going to tell me?!”

“Yes, I was,” Lex assures. “But after the party in October, we weren’t exactly seeing eye-to-eye and … I didn’t know what to say.”

“By why Sam?”

“Sam isn’t loyal to Mother,” Lex whispers. “She’s smart and talented and, again, fearless. She was the best choice.”

“What are you doing that you don’t want Mother to know about?” Lena speaks just as softly as Lex does, a frown etched into her face. He clearly doesn’t want this to be overheard.

“I can’t tell you,” Lex’s voice is surprisingly soft and honest. “I will, Lena, I promise — but I can’t tell you yet.”

“Okay, “ Lena sighs. “Fine.” It’s not worth her energy to pursue any further. She won’t get anywhere.

“So Sam told me you two caught up,” Lex pipes back up.

“We did,” Lena nods begrudgingly. “Not a conversation I expected to have, though.”

“I’m …” Lex trails off, looking her in the eye. “I should’ve told you.”

“Yes, you should’ve,” Lena states. “But … things worked out alright.”

“Yes, Sam told me you declined her offer for dinner,” Lex says. “I must admit, I was surprised. I know how you feel about her.”

“How I felt,” Lena corrects. “Seeing Sam again, it made me realize … I don’t feel anything for her anymore. I think she’s an incredible woman — and I wish her and Ruby all the best — but our paths aren’t interwoven anymore.”

Lex gives her a look of approval. “You know, you’re pretty wise for a twenty-year-old. But you’ve always been a bit of an old soul.”

Lena rolls her eyes. “You sound like Father.”

“Ugh,” Lex grimaces, shaking his beer at her. “Sooner stab me in the heart than repeat that sentiment.”

“Duly noted,” Lena chuckles.

“How are you doing, Lena?” Lex asks. His grandiose, partyboy persona has completely evaporated now, replaced by the (rusty) older brother routine. “I’m trying this new thing — caring about other people.”

“What a foreign concept,” Lena deadpans. “And I’m good, actually.” 

It’s actually not a lie. She’s enjoying her life in National City. Classes are going smoothly; Jack and Andrea are doing well. Things with Kara are a giant question mark but she’s trying not to focus on it, and just enjoy it while she can — as Jack had advised.

“I’m glad. The west coast looks good on you. Must be all that sun,” Lex says casually, but his piercing eyes are anything but.

“Ha-ha,” Lena states sarcastically.

“It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact you left my party with Clark’s cousin, would it?” Lex gives a sly smile.

Lena’s heart stops beating.

“I’m sorry, what are you insinuating?” Lena’s hackles raise. “And were you watching me?”

“Finch was.”

“Finch!” Lena exclaims, glaring a hole into the side of the muscle-bound man’s face.

“Sorry, Miss Luthor,” Finch gulps. He starts to look very interested in the basketball game after that.

“Lena, you really think I’d let you get trashed and storm out of my party without someone watching to make sure you were okay?” Lex asks. “If it was anyone but Clark’s cousin, I’d have had Finch put an end to it there.”

It’s actually a touching gesture, but Lena’s too annoyed and panicked to consider that side of it.

“I’m surprised you weren’t too coked-up to function,” Lena tells Lex. “It’s not what you think.”

“What is it then?” Lex asks. He takes a smug sip of his beer; Lena wants to knock it out of his hand. “Did you and Clark’s cousin fuck?”

“Kara,” Lena corrects before she can stop herself. “And we haven’t. I barely know her … Why the sudden interest in my sex life, dear brother?”

“Because I love being right,” Lex grins. “So — one-night-stand? Friends-with-benefits? Dating?”

“We didn’t sleep together,” Lena states, her voice as level as possible. At least that night they didn’t. She needs Lex to believe her.

“Alright, alright,” he sighs, raising his beer and empty hand up in defeat. “I’m surprised though, she looked … how do the kids say it? Absolutely daddy?”

“Oh my god,” Lena retches. “Do not ever say that word again.”

She then whips back over to Finch. “How much would it cost me to have you rip his tongue out, right now?”

Finch’s shoulders shake with silent laughter but he doesn’t dare engage.

“What? I’m just using the new, hip lingo,” Lex jokes.

“No, you’re not, you’re torturing me like some megalomaniac.” Lena snaps. “Are you done?”

“Look,” Lex sighs, “I just want you to know I support you. I know I wasn’t really around with Sam and all, and I know how Mother gets. And for what it’s worth — I did  break up with Eve. You were right … we got high one night and she told me how she went to Lillian; she got paid for the information, to out you.”

“That absolute bitch,” Lena clenches her jaw. It feels like her blood has been replaced by hot coals, burning through her body. All that hardship, just so Eve could exploit her darkest secret for a few bucks?

“I’m sorry,” Lex says. He nudges her shoulder. “You’re my sister and you’ll always come first. Sam’s been talking some sense into me. It took a little bit to realize, but I’m getting there. I’m working to be better.”

In that moment, he looks so much like the protective older brother that would hide up in the treehouse with her during Lionel’s alcohol-induced rages. The fire in her blood dulls to a comforting warmth in her stomach.

“Thanks, Lex,” she smiles softly.

“Of course,” he nods, glancing back out over the court. “And I won’t press you further … but Clark is a good man; he comes from a good family. I highly suspect the same is true for Kara. She would be good for you.”

Oh, hell no. Lena doesn’t care for the direction of that conversation one bit.

“Thanks for the matchmaking advice, Lex,” Lena sneers, but it doesn’t have the usual bite. “But I’m not looking for a girlfriend. I prefer my own company.”

She’s better off on her own. That’s how it’s always been.

“Alright, I’ll stop torturing you,” he chuckles. “Besides, the fourth quarter is about to start and Clarky-boy deserves my full attention.”

“Does Clark’s wife know you’re in love with him?” Lena teases.

“Ah, love is relative, Lena,” Lex waves her off. “I love myself too much to have room for anyone else.”

Lena rolls her eyes and leans back in her chair, somehow now oddly content to be there.


Kara’s holiday break goes a bit differently.

The Comets net a few more victories on the road then return to National City in time for the holidays. Basketball goes on break for the next few weeks, and the friends part ways. Mike takes Winn back to his home down south in Gateway City, James and Lucy fly back to their respective families in Metropolis, and Nia and Brainy remain in National City. Kara and Alex drive up to Midvale in Alex’s baby-blue beater car, ready to spend the holidays surrounded by the redwoods and lake waters. Maggie goes with them — it’ll be her second holiday with the Danvers’ family, and what was once nervousness has been replaced with quiet excitement.

They sing holiday songs the entire drive, and when they pull up to the house, Eliza is there waiting to welcome them all with hugs and the promise of hot chocolate. 

The next several days pass with a flurry of activity. Each morning starts with an early outdoor workout in the freezing air, and then they move to the old makeshift half-of-a-basketball-court Jeremiah once rigged up for his teenage daughters. They rotate through a few rounds of 1v1s to decide who gets the shower first — Alex wins.

“Oh, come on, that’s not fair,” Kara pouts, hands on her hips. “You totally traveled!”

Alex stops pumping her arms in the air and gives Maggie a triumphant smile. “Mags, did I travel?”

Maggie is laying courtside, her legs out in front of her and her arms behind her, propping her torso up. Kara might be the sweatiest, but Maggie is the most winded. 

She peers up at Alex and asks, “Can I shower with you?”

“Woah, not fair!” Kara objects.

“Yes, you can,” Alex says, voice wafting lightly like a benevolent monarch.

“Not a travel then,” Maggie states.

“Maggie …” Kara tries her pout on the other woman. It doesn’t work on Alex anymore; clearly she’s built up a tolerance over the years, but Maggie doesn’t have the same advantage.

“Sorry, Little Danvers,” Maggie looks apologetic, but still lets Alex pull her to her feet to head inside. 

“Just … don’t … you know,” Kara trails off. She has a feeling it’s futile to even ask. “Please.”

“I don’t know, I’m pretty sweaty …” Alex croons. “We might have to take a nice, long shower.”

“Ew, gross!” Kara grimaces.

Alex gives her a wink goodbye, a final little dig under her skin. At least, Kara hopes it was just to annoy her, and not actually serious.

After brunch, the girls help Eliza throw up the holiday decorations. The next few days start the same way; they then go gift shopping, cook, and finish whatever other errands need to be done around the house. (There are many.)

It keeps Kara busy — which is a very good thing.

The most interesting deviation from the routine occurs one night when Kara is browsing highlights of Clark’s most recent game, only to see a headline that steals her full attention.

Royalty Returns to the Metrodome: Luthor Siblings Sit Courtside at Meteors’ Game

Kara instantly clicks on it, eager for the distraction.

The article itself is just a short fluff piece detailing the notable attendees of the Meteors’ Game. There’s nothing overly interesting written, save for a section in the middle.

“Lex Luthor, board member and senior VP of Luthor Corp, was spotted courtside at last night’s Meteors’ game along with his elusive sister, Lena Luthor. Lex’s (29) younger sister Lena (20) currently attends college at National City University. Not much is known about her, as she has often shied away from the spotlight, while her brother runs into it. The young VP was arrested earlier last week for a drunk-and-disorderly charge. Judging by the beer in his hands, Metropolis’s number-one party boy isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.

An odd combination, Lex and Meteors’ star player/America’s golden boy, Clark Kent, have been long-time friends since college. Kent led the Meteors’ to victory last night against the Central City Chargers, 103-99.”

Under the paragraph is a photo of Lena, sitting between Lex and a private security guard.

Kara hardly notices Lex or the security guard; her eyes are riveted on Lena. She’s leaning back in the chair, arms crossed over her chest, engaged in conversation with a very animated Lex. Her hair falls straight down around her neck to frame her beautiful face. That — paired with her bright-red lipstick and matching red fuck-me pumps — makes Kara’s heart race.

But it’s the glimpse of sweatshirt that makes her heart stop entirely.

Lena’s wearing Kara’s sweatshirt. In public.

Kara doesn’t know how to feel about it.

The main thought is: fuck, she looks hot.

But on the other hand, it’s a bit odd to see Lena, a very real person, immortalized like this in the media. She’s a normal person of flesh and bone that’s been under Kara’s hands, but yet now she’s just a distant collection of pixels on Kara’s phone. Though, it’s not that strange, really — Clark’s in the news all the time, Lois writes the news, and Kara herself has even been in a few small media spreads. But it still feels different. It feels invasive.

And then there’s the fact that the article is a foreign glimpse into Lena’s life in Metropolis. Lena is her own person with her own life separate from Kara’s — she’d made that perfectly clear. And now Kara has to sit and watch from the bench.

But the sweatshirt. That’s a good sign, right? No one would wear their fuck buddy’s sweatshirt — and get publicly photographed in it — if they were seeing someone else too, right?

Kara’s stomach begins to chew on itself a bit, remembering how their last conversation went, but she shoves it down deep into her toes. Despite her best efforts to not think about it, she opens up her messages to text Lena. It’s been almost two weeks and she has to dig down through the list of her recent contacts to find her.

is THE Lena Luthor actually enjoying watching basketball now?

She follows up with a screenshot of Lena’s photo in the article. 

hot girl bummer: Don’t worry, darling, you’re still my favorite Super to watch.

Kara’s chest gives a bit of an involuntary puff of pride. She can’t help but relish in the idea of Lena watching, in person, at one of her games sometime. But that’s silly to think — they’re not like that. They only exist in the shadows.

glad to hear it! it would be terrible for morale otherwise

hot girl bummer: Well, we can’t have that, can we?

you look good in that sweatshirt by the way

hot girl bummer: Thank you. Someone forgot it at my apartment and I thought it was too comfortable to squander. I figured you might appreciate the outfit 

want to see how much i appreciated it?

Kara bites her lip. She shouldn’t have sent that, probably, but fuck if she isn’t horny.

hot girl bummer: Let’s see it, Danvers.

Kara scrambles to her feet, quickly locking the door. The last thing she needs right now is Alex or Maggie wandering into her room. She then rips her shirt off and plops down on the bed. After a few minutes of careful posing and flexing, she snaps a photo of her hand down her joggers and sends it to Lena.

hot girl bummer: Hmmm. Looks like you’ve got a small problem on your hands.

care to help me out with it?

hot girl bummer: I think that can be arranged. Are you still as effective over text?

join me and find out

Kara’s heart nearly stops when her phone buzzes again. It’s a photo of a green, gossamer silk sheet draped over Lena’s parted legs, the line of her wrist running down between them.

Oh, fuck yes. They’re doing this.

That night, Kara passes out with her phone still in her hand, a satisfied smile on her face.


Before Kara knows it, her break is halfway over.

The holiday itself is a delight. Multi-colored little lights twinkle around the Danvers’ house and the smell of fresh pine fills the rooms. They all don ugly holiday sweaters to bake cookies, make the Danvers’ traditional dinner, and finish with a pie-eating contest. (Kara is the reigning champ for a borderline-unfair number of years running). They then lounge around to open presents while the fireplace roars behind them, bellies a little too full but no regrets in sight. 

It feels like home. And it’s almost perfect. But it’s … heavy, for better or worse.

In a moment of eggnog-charged boldness, Kara texts Lena again that night.

happy holidays, luthor :) guess who successfully defended their title in the Danvers’ family pie-eating contest again?

hot girl bummer: If I had to make an educated guess by stomach capacity, I’d say you.

correct! you really are a genius, aren’t you?

hot girl bummer: Hardly. Happy Holidays, Kara.

happy holidays to you too!

Well, that’s that then. A twinge of disappointment ripples through Kara’s stomach. She doesn’t know what she had been expecting, but … something more than that, perhaps.

But that’s just it, right? She’s always looking, longing for something more. Something she can’t have. A terrible ache settles into her gut. This isn’t about Lena, not really. This is about one thing in particular.

Kara’s family.

Alex peeks her head into Kara’s room, and the blonde quickly hides her phone behind her back. Alex squints at the motion but doesn’t address it further. “Mom wants to know if you’re all packed yet?”

“Yep,” Kara says, plastering a fake smile across her face.

“You doing okay?” Alex crosses her arms and leans in the doorway. “I know the past few weeks have been a bit rough on you.”

Kara nods. “Yeah, I’m doing better. It’s just hard around the anniversary, but I’m feeling better. Sleeping better too.”

Alex gives her a sympathetic smile.

Kara looks up at Alex with disbelief. “Alex, I can’t believe it, but … it’s been over eight years.”

And there it is.

Kara’s hand comes up to clutch the gold crest of the necklace that lies over her heart. Her fingers trace over the strong curves of the ‘S’ shape.

Over eight years ago, on one wordlessly awful day in December, Kara had lost her family. The beginning of the month was plagued with nightmares and sleepless nights every year after. By the time the holidays rolled around, the pain shifted to a constant dull ache of a scar that would never fully heal. But it was changing — as all things do with time — as the mental burden felt more natural to process and the nightmares became more infrequent.

It had been every bit a curse, yet the Danvers’ family had somehow made it into a blessing from the dark. They had taken her in and made her one of them without hesitation. (Well, teenage Alex hadn’t been happy at first, but they came around to be thick as thieves.) Kara was so grateful to and for them, but it was a new love alongside an incredible loss — it didn’t replace it.

And the holidays brought out that dichotomy in full force.

“Eight years …” Kara trails off. 

Kara plops down onto her bed and cradles her head in her palms. Alex is next to her immediately, one sisterly hand wrapped over her shoulders, and the other hand braced around her wrist, trying to extract Kara’s face.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Alex soothed. “No crying allowed on Danvers’ family holidays, remember?”

“No crying allowed,” Kara echoed with a teary-eyed smile. It was a sentiment Alex had told her during her very first holiday with the Danvers. “After the last few weeks, I should be out of tears by now.”

They exchange a knowing smile. Kara’s not one quick to cry, but yet family always seemed to defy that fact.

“I know you miss them,” Alex says. “I miss Dad every day. But they’re always with us.”

Kara sniffles and smiles softly. “Alex … do you think my parents would be proud of me?”

It’s not Alex’s voice that answers, but Eliza’s.

“With every fiber of my being.”

She’s standing in the doorway of Kara’s room — leaning against the wood in such a familiar way that it drives home that Alex is undeniably her child — smiling over at both of her daughters.

Both Kara and Alex jump to their feet.

“Sweetheart,” Eliza continues, walking over to join them. “Your parents would be so proud of you — proud that you’re getting your degree, proud of your basketball accomplishments. But most importantly, they would be proud of the incredible, strong, compassionate young woman their daughter has become. I know I am.”

“Thank you, Eliza,” Kara whispers, enveloping her adoptive mother into a bear hug. Alex joins them, throwing one arm over Kara’s back and one arm around her mother.

“I’m proud of you too, Kara,” Alex adds.

Kara sniffles happily. “Thank you both … for everything.”

“There’s no thanks needed,” Eliza assures. “You’re family, Kara. And I love both of my daughters, unconditionally, with all my heart.”

“Love you too,” Kara smiles. A single, bittersweet tear rolls down her face.

“Love you too, Mom,” Alex echoes, squeezing a bit tighter.

At this point, Kara opens her eyes again, only to see a third figure occupying the doorway to her room. Maggie has her arms crossed over her chest, watching their family moment unfold with a sad, nostalgic look in her eye. Upon realizing she’s been spotted, she gives Kara a nod and a soft, polite smile, clearly concerned about intruding.

“Maggie,” Kara says. “Come over here! It’s not a family hug without you.”

Maggie hesitates for a second, but Alex and Eliza shift to open a spot between them, and she slips into the fold.

The four women hold onto the hug for several joyous minutes, until a loud rumble emanates from Kara’s stomach.

“Hey Eliza,” Kara mumbles sheepishly. “… Do we have any pie left?”

The sounds of laughter immediately fill the Danvers household.


Eliza drives Kara to the airport the next day. Alex and Maggie stay behind to clean up the house — though Kara heavily expects not a lot of cleaning will get done. She and her adoptive mother pass the time discussing basketball, Eliza’s work, Kara’s classes, and then eventually her rapidly-impending trip to Metropolis.

“Are you excited for your trip?” Eliza asks her.

“Yes!” Kara grins, looking out the window wistfully. They’re getting pretty close to the airport now.

“And Clark is picking you up from the airport?” Eliza asks.

“Lois is,” Kara says.

“Okay, good,” Eliza nods. “Are you excited to see Jon?”

“So excited! I know it’s silly,” Kara says, sucking on her bottom lip. “But means a lot to me that Clark’s family is getting bigger … that my family is getting bigger again.”

“It’s not silly,” Eliza assures. “Blood doesn’t bind, Kara, love does … but I can understand what Jon’s birth means to you and Clark. It’s a feeling of … hope.”

“Yeah, exactly,” Kara smiles softly.

“So, what about you, Kara?” Eliza’s tone is abruptly intense. “Mike might’ve saved you at Thanksgiving, but I want to know about your life. Have you met anyone?”

Kara’s heart skips a beat. It doesn’t help that she’s heading right for the home of the only person that might dare make her want to answer ‘yes’ to that question.

“I’m just having fun with my friends. I’m not really one for relationships, Eliza,” Kara brushes off.

“I worry about you, Kara,” Eliza says. “Because you put the weight of the world on your shoulders, and that means you don’t let people in easily.”

“I’m okay,” Kara assures. “Really, I’m happy with how my life is. And when I’m ready to let someone in, I will.”

Eliza sighs, and it’s laced with both disappointment and acceptance. “That’s all I can ask, sweetie. Will you see any of your friends while you’re there?”

“James and Lucy are gonna come over at some point to shoot around with Clark and I, and maybe eat dinner too if things stay … civilized between Lucy and Lois,” Kara says. 

Civilized is the key word — Lois and Lucy have never gotten along, though Kara doesn’t understand why (and she loves them both). They’re both passionate, stubborn, caring people. They’ve just always been pitted against each other by their father — General Samuel Lane. Lucy is a total daddy’s girl, while Lois can’t stand the man. Clark hates him too, and Kara’s not a big fan either. Thankfully, she won’t have to contend with him this trip. And hopefully, one day, Lucy and Lois can salvage their relationship from his grip.

“That’ll be nice,” Eliza says.

“And Sara might be in town for a night, I’m not sure yet,” Kara continues. “And—”

She stops herself short.

And Lena, too, Kara thinks, before mentally slapping her wrist. Get a grip, Danvers. She doesn’t even know you’re going to be there.

“And that’s it,” Kara finishes awkwardly.

“Good,” Eliza muses. “I have to say, I’m so glad you and Alex have the relationship you do. If you were like the Lane sisters … I think it would break my heart a bit.”

“Me too,” Kara agrees.

They arrive at the airport soon after.

“I hope you have a wonderful time in Metropolis, sweetie,” Eliza hugs her goodbye outside the terminal, handing Kara her suitcase and backpack. “Love you.”

“Love you too, Eliza,” Kara goes in for a second hug.

“Text me when you land,” Eliza says. “Give Clark and Lois my love, and have fun with your friends!”

Kara smiles, but it’s a bit bittersweet. If only it was that simple.

“I will.”

Hopefully.


 

Chapter Text


The new year always brings a new hell in the Luthor family. 

Every year for New Year’s, Luthor Corp holds an extravagant gala for their investors, high-ranking employees, partner companies, and the like (honestly it’s just anyone with money and/or something Lillian wants). People dress to the nines, come to drink champagne, and boast to each other about their latest capitalist ventures. It was once Lionel’s tradition, but Lillian has since made it her own.

Unfortunately, that means it’s even grander and more miserable.

Usually, Lena would get away with tucking herself into some corner to people-watch. If she got really lucky, she could even sneak off into Lionel’s former study to go tinker on whatever current project held her fascination. Lex, for all his flaws, was always adept at fielding the spotlight of ‘Luthor child’ at these prodigal, shallow (corporate-circle-jerk) functions.

But Lena wasn’t so lucky this time. Lex had been called away to the new Luthor Corp factory in Paris to address a manufacturing issue — where Lena was positive he was having way more fun than she was right now. 

And so to Lena did the burden fall tonight.

The only redeeming part of the whole event was the fact that Andrea was there to suffer alongside her, invited as part of her father Bernardo’s Obsidian North corporate party. The two women were dressed in elegant gowns and diamond jewelry. Lena knew Andrea actually enjoyed these functions, especially the excuse to dress up so lavishly, but Lena couldn’t summon the same enthusiasm.

“Seen any cute boys yet?” Andrea asks, sipping her drink. 

Lena, still under twenty-one and also under the watchful eye of Lillian, has no drink and can only watch with jealousy as Andrea polishes off her first glass of wine.

“Hardly,” Lena scoffs.

“A pity,” Andrea sighs. “I could use the distraction; this dry-spell has gone for far too long.”

“Are you not enjoying yourself, Andrea?” Lena asks sarcastically. They both know the answer.

“How’s your mom been?” Andrea asks.

“Oh, you know,” Lena says. “Harping on me about my grades, my clothes, my weight, my relationships or, rather, lack-there-of …”

Andrea groans. “God, Lena, I don’t know how you stand her …”

“Do I really have a choice?” Lena says ruefully. “That’s just how family is.”

As if she knew they were talking about her, Lillian’s piercing grey eyes fixate on Lena from across the room. Suddenly, Lena feels like a fox about to be set for a hunt.

“Oh, no,” Lena mumbles.

“Lena, dear, come here!” Lillian summons, waving her over with one pearl-white gloved hand. There’s a man standing beside her with black hair, clad in a black suit and royal-blue tie.

“Excuse me,” Lena whispers to Andrea. “I’m being summoned.”

“The witch beckons,” Andrea mutters, giving her a sympathetic look. “I’ll come rescue you in a bit, but I need to go meet one of my dad’s new investors.”

“Ever the dutiful daughters, right?” Lena sighs. Andrea squeezes her arm goodbye as they part ways.

Lena strolls over in her terribly tall heels, yet somehow she’s still not quite up at Lillian’s height.

“Yes, Mother?” she gives her a polite yet fake, close-lipped smile.

“There’s someone I’d like you to meet,” Lillian says, gesturing to the man next to her. Now that she’s closer, Lena can see he’s fairly young — probably mid-twenties max — and has a rather handsome face along with an athletic physique. His shiny black hair is fashioned into an expensive pretty-boy haircut.

“Dick Grayson,” he greets. “But you can call me Grayson, since I doubt I’ve done anything to merit being called ‘Dick’ yet.”

“And do you plan to?” Lena challenges, tilting a strong chin up at him.

Grayson gives her a once-over that would’ve been predatory for another man, but he does it in a way that reminds Lena of someone eying danger with a healthy dose of awe and respect. 

“No, Miss Luthor, I don’t think I will.” He holds out a friendly hand for her to shake. His muscles pull his suit fabric taut, the same way that Kara’s do. 

Kara — who feels nearly a planet away right now — and whose absence has left Lena feeling like she’s gone the past few weeks without sun. But Lena’s not thinking about Kara right now. Because that’s not what they are. They’re just college fuck buddies who also sexted over break once.

“A man with a survival instinct,” Lena remarks. “How rare.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t go that far,” Grayson chuckles. “But I’m under oath to be on my best behavior.” He has a nice smile — just as bright as Kara’s — but it’s performative where Kara’s is always (annoyingly) genuine.

“Mr. Grayson here is one of Bruce Wayne’s boys — heir apparent to Wayne Enterprises,” Lillian informs her.

Lena has only met Bruce Wayne twice before. The first time was many years ago at Gotham’s opera house, and he had actually fallen asleep during the show, much to Lionel’s bewilderment. The second time was more recently at some lavish fundraiser Lillian dragged her to. She vaguely remembers Bruce having a gaggle of adopted children, all either teenagers or adults now. It was a rather memorable vision; the aging playboy surrounded by angsty teenagers that had stripped him of his patience, leaving only greying hair and a grumpy, tired-looking man in his place.

“Oh, I’m flattered by the introduction, Mrs. Luthor, but Bruce hasn’t decided which of us, if any, will head up Wayne Enterprises when he decides to retire,” Grayson says. “I’m not sure I’d even be up to the task.”

“Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown, does it not?” Lena challenges.

“Especially when the head in question is — by all accounts — tragically empty,” Grayson jokes.

“Nonsense,” Lillian scoffs playfully. “So humble. Richard here is also a former Olympian, Lena.”

“Is that so?” Lena raises an eyebrow. That was enough to merit a basic level of respect from her, and Lillian clearly knew that.

Grayson nods once. “Gymnastics. Two silver, one gold.”

“Congratulations,” Lena states. “That’s quite the feat.”

“Thank you, Miss Luthor,” he smiles.

“Well then,” Lillian clasps her hands together, quite pleased with herself. Clearly, she has mistaken Lena’s tolerance of the man for reserved interest. “I’ll leave you two to get to know each other better. Lena — play nice.”

Grayson nods his head politely, while Lena concentrates all her willpower on waiting until Lillian’s back is turned before rolling her eyes.

“Your mother is …” Grayson trails off, frowning. “A character.”

“That’s a very diplomatic description,” Lena muses.

“Would you mind if we head upstairs?” Grayson asks, pointing up to the interior mezzanine balcony wrapping around the second floor. “I’ve always preferred to suffer these events from a distance. It’s quieter.”

That’s usually her preference as well, so she nods an acceptance.

“Shall we, Miss Luthor?” Grayson holds out his elbow to her.

“I’m quite alright on my own, thank you,” Lena says, looking at the offending appendage with a mixture of contempt and disappointment.

“Very well,” Grayson chuckles good-naturedly, not remotely bothered by Lena’s hostility. 

They head up the massive staircase to the second floor, to look out over the interior balcony above. Staff and guests scurry up and down the stairs and down the halls, but they’re at enough of a distance to maintain the youngest Luthor’s privacy, as if Lillian had expressly forbade anyone from interrupting whatever this latest scheme was.

“No drink for you tonight, Miss Luthor?” Grayson notes.

Lena lets out the biggest internal sigh. This night was already boring and painful enough without a milquetoast shadow to make small-talk with. And ugh, all the titles and the surnames are like chewing glass. 

“I’m afraid I’m still only twenty, Mr. Grayson,” Lena says, leaning against the railing and surveying the formal chaos below them. Grayson does the same, but facing the opposite direction.

“Well, that fuckin’ sucks,” Grayson chuckles, his polite air all but discarded. “The booze is the only good part of being here — present company excluded.”

It makes Lena do a double-take, brow furrowed at the man.

“How … refreshing candid, Mr. Grayson,” Lena notes with a bit of humor.

“Just Grayson please,” he requests. “Or Gray, even. I’m hardly one for formalities.”

“I should inform you, Grayson,” Lena warns. “Despite my mother’s best efforts, this will go nowhere. I’m not interested.”

“In men? I know,” Grayson levies. 

Lena stands upright to face him, already sharpening her metaphorical knife.

“I’m friends, family, whatever, with Kate Kane,” Grayson explains, giving Lena an earnest look. She’s also met Kate Kane, younger cousin of Bruce Wayne, a few times at various professional functions, but nothing really substantial — though Kate was a known icon in the lesbian community. Apparently, she had clocked Lena at one point or another.

“She has quite the thing for you, you know,” Grayson smirks.

“I-I did not know,” Lena confesses. She hasn’t seen Kate in years, not since she had joined the NWBL … to play basketball. Huh. 

Apparently, I attract a type, Lena thinks.

“Anyways,” Grayson continues. “I was walking past your mother as she was discussing having Maxwell Lord be your escort tonight. I decided it would be best to volunteer my services instead.”

Lena shivers, and not from the cold air drifting in through a cracked window. The idea of spending a whole evening on the arm of Maxwell Lord summons bile into her throat. He’s only a few years older than Lena, but he’s a spoiled, entitled, misogynistic man — (even once having mentioned to Lena how he’s certain he could make her appreciate men again) — and overall just an asshole to deal with.

Grayson says, “This way you’d just have to suffer the company of a boring, happily-taken man.”

“Taken?” Lena asks politely.

“Barbara Gordon, the love of my life,” Grayson says with a dramatic air. “She and Kate play together on the Gotham Bats.”

Lena hums thoughtfully. “Well, a ‘Dick’ is better than an asshole, is it not?” she quips.

Grayson lets out a delighted yelp, and to avoid the critical glares of the elderly couple nearby, they begin to walk idly, elbows interlocked this time.

“Does your mother not know of your preferences?” Grayson asks.

“Oh, Lillian is well aware,” Lena says. “She doesn’t like it but she’ll tolerate it privately. Public is … a different beast. Unless she can use me as a token to procure some business deal, she’d sooner hide me in the closet — literally.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Grayson frowns.

“It’s just a fact, Grayson,” Lena states. “There’s no need for apologies or pity.”

“Please,” Grayson scoffs to break the tension. “I only pity the both of us for being trapped here tonight.”

Lena smiles in sympathy.

“We could escape, you know,” Grayson gives a conspiratorial waggle of his eyebrows. “I have a friend who owns a club downtown — he’s a big ‘WBL fan. Your age won’t be an issue. We could go do something actually fun.”

“Well, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to leaving this hell-hole,” Lena says. “ … Though I would be a terrible person to leave my friend behind.” She would certainly be on the receiving end of an irate phone call from Andrea.

“Go get her then,” Grayson says. “It’s the humanitarian thing to do.”

Lena mulls it over for a minute. On one hand, she could stay here like the dutiful daughter and suffer through the rest of the gala, or she could go grab Andrea and make her escape with her one pleasant acquaintance of the night. She could only imagine Lillian’s abject horror to her underage daughter ditching her family to party at a club — though, perhaps she would be pleased, as she had clearly introduced Grayson to Lena with some sort of self-serving intention.

“Well, I could use a good scotch,” Lena decides. “I’ll find Andrea and meet you by the valet.”

Grayson gives her a pleased smile. “I’ll call my driver.”

And that’s how Lena finds herself at the bar of Club Acrata in downtown Metropolis, surrounded by the kinds of rich people who buy their lips and likes. She’s dressed a bit formal for the club scene, but she knows she still looks good; she’s perfected the regal-yet-distant fashion style. It works for her.

Grayson, Andrea, and her all chat and exchange stories for a while. At one point, Andrea leaves to go get high on the rooftop patio outside, and Grayson’s friend — the club owner — whisks him away for a moment, leaving Lena to enjoy the peaceful silence of her own company.

For a few precious moments.

“Scotch. Good choice,” a woman drawls beside her shoulder.

Lena looks up to see an athletic-looking woman in a fitted grey suit — there’s no shirt underneath her blazer, only an elaborate series of silver chains — standing at the bar beside her. Her blonde hair falls in tight waves around her face, and her blue eyes gleam in the purple club lights. She’s objectively quite attractive, and there’s something oddly familiar about her. 

Well, perhaps this interruption is not unwelcome.

“Sara,” she introduces herself. “Can I get your name?”

“Lena,” she tilts her glass in greeting.

“Mind if I join you?” Sara asks, already sliding into the seat next to her.

“Sure,” Lena says. “Though I have to warn you, I’m not the best company tonight.”

“Long night?” Sara asks.

“You could say that,” Lena says. “Ever been somewhere you just don’t want to be?”

“Plenty of times,” Sara muses. “I’ve found company helps.”

If Lena wasn’t mistaken, Sara just flirted with her.

“Are you from Metropolis?” Lena asks. “You seem … familiar.”

Sara shakes her head. “Star City born and raised — well, semi-raised. A girl’s gotta have her wild side right?”

Lena chuckles. “Cheers to that.” 

Sara takes the initiative to clink their glasses together, and she gives Lena a playful look as she sips her drink. 

Lena considers the other woman as she takes a sip of her own drink. Sara is an attractive woman (Lena acknowledges with a twang of annoyance that she might have a thing for blondes), and she’s clearly down to fuck, but … even though Lena could desperately use the stress relief, something holds her back. 

She has a vague suspicion that her alcohol-addled mind will morph Sara’s face into that of another blonde.

“So what brings you to Metropolis?” Lena asks. “Business or pleasure?”

Sara’s hand slides over the bartop, resting out near Lena’s drink. “A bit of both,” she smiles. “I play basketball in the ‘WBL. We had a game in Metropolis tonight.”

Then it clicks together.

Lena realizes with a start — this Sara is Sara Lance, one of Kara’s … well, she knows Kara.

“Did you win?” Lena chokes out, trying to buy herself time to calculate how she wants the conversation to unfold.

“Of course,” Sara gives her a sly smile, leaning forward. “There’s not many things I’m bad at.”

The photo of Sara and Kara on Kara’s social media page intrudes into Lena’s mind. She now knows there’s a very cut physique under that grey suit. Lena gulps.

“Basketball,” Lena repeats. “Do you happen to know Kara Danvers then?”

Sara smiles — this one is genuine and without a flirtatious undertone. “I know both of the Danvers sisters. They’re wonderful people.”

“They are,” Lena agrees. Both her and Sara already have their lips parted, as if to comment about the odd air of familiarity between them, when they both get cut off.

“Sara, there you are!” A voice rings out. “Those girls won’t—“

Lena turns to face the newcomer, only to see the last person she ever would’ve expected.

Kara fucking Danvers.

(What kind of sick coincidence is this? Does the universe conspire against her?)

“Kara?!” Lena is shocked and confused, and feeling a bit of deja-vu from Lex’s party. Kara needs to stop popping up uninvited in her social circles. 

“Lena!?” Kara echoes. She seems more excited than surprised though.

“What are you doing in Metropolis?” Lena’s tone is incredulous and she looks Kara up and down to make sure it’s really her.

Oh, no. She looks hot

To meet the club’s posh dress code, Kara’s got on a navy-blue suit jacket and matching slacks, but the clothing seems just the tiniest bit too small — Lena can see a bit more wrist and ankle than she should. The baby-blue turtleneck underneath is undeniably Kara’s though, and Lena can see the black band of her watch around her forearm. As sure as the sun in the sky each new morning, Kara’s gold ‘S’ necklace shines proudly over her chest.

“I’m here visiting Kal; I got to meet my little nephew!” Kara beams, then frowns in thought. “Or is he my little cousin?”

“First cousin once removed,” Lena supplies automatically. She then shoots Kara a demanding, questioning look, as if to say: Why didn’t you tell me you were here?

Kara meets her gaze with a defensive glare of her own.

“You two know each other?” Sara squints, eyes shifting between the two of them.

Lena expects Kara to attempt to mumble out some unintelligible confirmation of ‘uh, well—‘ or ‘oh, we—‘, but that doesn’t happen.

“Yes,” comes the firm reply. 

Lena doesn’t let her shock show, but Kara’s reaction is surprisingly stalwart.

“We go to school together,” Lena adds in the name of diplomacy. Apparently, something has got Kara a bit tense. (Lena would hazard a guess it’s Sara’s fingertips only an inch away from her own.)

“Of course,” Sara nods, turning to face her friend.

Kara and Sara stare at each other, having some silent full-on conversation. Lena’s eyes flick back and forth between the two; Sara’s eyebrows raise in a challenge, Kara clenches her jaw and tightens her fist, then Sara makes a subtle nod. Whatever the outcome is, it results in Sara slowly pulling her hand back into her own personal space, and she leans back in her chair.

“And you two know each other as well,” Lena says. It’s spoken like a statement but the other two women seem to understand it for the question it is.

“Sara and I go way back,” Kara explains. “We used to go to basketball camp together. I was the only point guard that could keep up with her.”

“We’ve known each other for a long time,” Sara adds. She gives Kara a look that Lena can’t quite place initially. Lena’s a bit of an expert on how people look at Kara Danvers if they think she’s hot, and Sara Lance definitely has that look, but there’s a warm affection that dulls it.

“So you two …?” Lena tries to keep her voice neutral despite her insinuation. It doesn’t work.

Sara laughs. “Oh no, Kara isn’t the Danvers I’ve slept with.”

. . . . . . . . 

(April, approx. 22 months ago …)

Kara stood off to the side of the hotel outside, hands on her hips, wandering a few steps in one direction then another, muttering under her breath. Her eyes combed over the faces of every newcomer anxiously. She wore an ensemble of black and sky blue sportswear, and a small hoard of backpacks and duffle bags sat down by her feet.

“C’mon Alex,” Kara hissed. “Where the hell are you? J’onn is gonna be so pissed …”

In a moment of cosmic mercy, a familiar head of auburn hair appeared and Kara’s eyes widened in recognition.

“Alex!” Kara hissed, throwing her hands up in exasperation. “Where have you been!? The bus leaves for the airport in like 20 minutes.”

“It’s so bright outside Kara,” Alex whined, clutching her head with one hand. Large, dark sunglasses cover half her face. “Who even needs the sun anyways?”

“Why didn’t you come back to the hotel room?” Kara interrogated. “And why was one of your bags missing?”

“I was … out,” Alex said.

“Out?!” Kara exclaimed. “Out doing what?!”

“Uh … jogging,” Alex floundered. The lie was so obvious; Kara’s eyebrows shot up to challenge it’s very threadbare integrity.

“Jogging,” Kara repeated. “After just playing in the national championship game?”

“Fully clothed,” Alex added, as if that needed to be specified.

“You had me so worried!” Kara chided. “You just disappeared in downtown Central City and no one knew where you went!”

“I didn’t do anything I wouldn’t have done back in National City,” Alex says. “Kinda.”

“Okay,” Kara accepted, shoving a duffle bag into Alex’s arms. “Here, I already packed the rest of your stuff up.”

“Thank you,” Alex exhales.

Kara’s eyes honed in on something over Alex’s shoulder. “Hey Sara,” she nodded.

“Hey,” Sara said. She strolled up to join them with a sense of familiarity; the only thing out of place was her green Starling University attire that contrasted with Alex and Kara’s blue and black NCU gear.

“Congrats on the win, Kara,” Sara smiles. “Glad someone put Gotham in their place.” Sara then turned to Alex, “You too — Alex, right?”

“Thanks …” Alex trails off awkwardly, wagging a finger at the woman. “Sh…”

“Sara,” Sara clarified, pointing to herself.

“Sara,” Alex repeated, breaking out into a clearly forced bout of laughter. “I knew that. You’re Sara!” 

Kara just stared at her sister, mouth agape and eyes wide, feeling a bit like she was watching a car accident in slow motion. She quickly pasted on a smile when Alex turned to glance at her.

“How’s—how’s it going? How are you?” Alex rambled, looking back at Sara. Her hands toyed nervously with the strap of her backpack thrown over her shoulder. “Congrats on the … basketball!”

Kara swallowed roughly, uncomfortable and unsure as to the cause of the awkward tension.

“I’m good, a little hungover but I’ll survive,” Sara brushed back a loose piece of hair. “How are you? How’s your ass?”

Kara’s eyebrows crinkled immediately, her teeth clenching together. Alex seemed to have short-circuited, unable to do more than just nod repeatedly, staring at the ground.

“I heard you fall out of bed this morning,” Sara added. “It sounded painful.”

Kara took a deep inhale. Even though there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, Kara felt as though they had parted for her. 

Oh Alex, you didn’t.

“Oh, uh, yeah, a little, it, uh, yeah,” Alex stammered. She just gave up and began to laugh uncomfortably again.

“Okay, anyways, I’ve gotta run,” Sara shrugged, placing a hand on Alex’s arm. “Don’t want to miss my ride home. See you guys around.”

“Bye, Sara,” Kara smiled at her friend.

Alex’s head turned around to watch Sara walk away, clearly trying her hardest to do anything but look at her sister. Kara ran her tongue over the edges of her teeth, smiling and shaking her head while looking down at the sidewalk.

Unbelievable.

“You—”

“It’s not what it sounded like,” Alex defended.

“—didn’t,” Kara finished. There’s definitely an edge to her voice, but it’s born out of disbelief rather than judgment.

“I …” Alex gasped. “I did, I definitely did. Like twice — no, three times!” Alex clutched her chest in surprise. “Oh my god, Kara, I …”

Kara couldn’t help it as she began to laugh at her sister’s mortification.

“Did I just …?” Alex asked. “What did I do? Do you know what I did?”

Kara brought a hand up to cover her grin, as if that would do anything to stop the giggles escaping. “Uh, not the specifics, no,” Kara joked. “But I think you just had a one-night-stand with my friend.”

“Oh my god,” Alex repeated. “I just had a one-night-stand.”

“You did,” Kara confirmed, nodding and smiling.

Alex bent over slightly, mouth gaping as she began to process her actions. “Kara, oh my god. I’m so bad. Oh my god.”

“You’re fine.”

“I’m horrible,” Alex continued. “I’m a horrible, terrible sister. I just had a one-night-stand with your friend.”

“No, Alex, it’s fine,” Kara rebuffed. “You’re single, you’re healthy, there’s nothing wrong with it! One-night-stands are fun.”

“I’m turning into post-James you,” Alex groaned. “No offense.”

“None taken,” Kara smirked. “I’m smart enough not to sleep with my sister’s friends.”

“Oh, god,” Alex doubled over as the words seemingly brought her physical pain.

“Come on, you’re fine,” Kara assured, pulling her upright. “You just won a national championship and you got to ‘celebrate’ in style. You’re good — no, you’re great — because you, Alex, are a national champion.”

“Okay, yeah, okay,” Alex nodded vigorously, the tension in her body deflating the smallest amount. “National champion,” she repeated, as if it could anchor her to the ground.

“Plus, Sara’s awesome. You have good taste,” Kara soothed, grabbing Alex by the shoulders. “Now, get your ‘sore ass’ on that bus before we make everyone late.”

. . . . . . . .

“Oh, I see,” Lena sucks on her lips, trying not to laugh. She shoots Kara an inside look. So this is the friend, then, that Alex …?

Kara nods a confirmation — a matching, restrained yet knowing smile on her face.

“Alex didn’t go to the camp that I met Sara at,” Kara explains. “So they ended up meeting for the first time the night we won the national championship. We were out celebrating.”

“Yeah, and your sister can really handle her scotch,” Sara jokes. “She’s not as good with names though.”

“Alex forgot Sara’s name, the next morning,” Kara informs Lena smugly. “We don’t let her live it down.”

“Understandably,” Lena chuckles. She’s certain she’ll never be able to look at Alex Danvers the same way again; thank goodness their shared class was over.

“Am I really that drunk?” A male voice chimes in. “Or do I see the infamous Captain Lance attempting to steal my date?”

Kara stiffens.

“Grayson,” Sara greets, rising to her feet. “Look what the cat dragged in.”

“Sara!” Grayson beams. He’s clearly surprised to see her, but seems genuinely delighted too. He turns to face Lena. 

“Sara is the only person I’ve met that can seduce a woman faster than myself,” he informs Lena. She can practically hear Kara’s teeth grind together. Interesting.

“Is Babs here?” Sara asks, embracing him as they both carefully maneuver their glasses out of the way.  “We won’t play Gotham for a while yet and she still owes me a drink for breaking my rib.”

Grayson shakes his head and chuckles. “I’m here for business, I’m afraid. Bruce sent me here to rep the Wayne family at the Luthor Corp New Year's Gala, so he can go shack up with Selina in Monaco instead.”

“Lucky you,” Sara chortles. “Are Jason and Tim here too? I thought Gotham just played Metropolis.”

“Just me tonight,” Grayson shoots Lena a soft smile. “And it’s not too bad once you find where they hide the good company.”

Men do nothing for her, but Lena can admit in the most factual way possible — Dick Grayson makes a rather decent flirt.

Kara squares her shoulders at Grayson, jutting a hand between him and Lena. “Hi. Kara Danvers.”

Oh, boy. It’s unmistakably territorial.

The whole situation is laughable, really. For the second time in under an hour, Kara Danvers looks ready to fight someone, and Lena has the front-row seat. Despite the scotch in her veins, Lena easily figures out why — she’s jealous. She goes to lean back against her chair, only to discover Kara’s other arm has suddenly appeared across it.

“Pleasure to meet you, Miss Danvers,” Grayson says, shaking her hand. If he notes Kara’s defensive posture, he doesn’t react to it. “Dick Grayson.”

Sara hands a drink over to Kara, practically forcing her to release Grayson’s hand to accept it. 

Lena’s never seen Kara this wired up.

She doesn’t know why she does it. Sara would be over the line — too close to real — but Grayson? He would work.

Maybe it’s the alcohol, maybe it’s the irritating fact that the universe seems determined to intertwine Kara’s path with hers, maybe it’s the built-up frustration from a night dealing with Lillian, or maybe it’s just straight up hot to watch Kara get territorial. 

But one motive or another, Lena decides to add fuel to the fire of Kara’s jealousy.

“Oh, please, Gray,” Lena says, adding a playful lilt to her voice. “If my mother hears you actually enjoyed yourself tonight, you’ll never get invited back.” 

She gets to watch in amusement as Kara’s hand tightens around her glass, knuckles turning white at the familiarity of the nickname.

“What a shame that would be,” Grayson muses, holding eye contact with her. It works in Lena’s favor that he naturally comes off as flirty. 

She can practically feel Kara vibrating with jealousy. 

That’ll be enough. 

Now that she’s had her fun, Lena reaches over her shoulder to stroke the back of Kara’s other hand resting across the back of her chair. Faster than a snapped rubber band, the blonde instantly relaxes beside her and intertwines their fingers together on Lena’s bare shoulder.

“Kara is a friend of mine from school — she’s a rather accomplished basketball player,” Lena continues.

Grayson’s eyes go wide in recognition. “Of course! Supergirl! From what I hear, you’re better than your cousin.”

“Can confirm,” Sara pipes up. Lena had almost forgotten she was there watching the whole scene unfold. “Once Kara joins the league, I’ll actually have to work to win.”

“What, Lance, is my girlfriend not enough competition for you?” Grayson chuckles. “I’m telling Babs.”

“Hey, no one likes a snitch, Dick,” Sara warns. Grayson shoots Lena a look as if to say: See? The ‘dick’ title must be well-earned.

“Besides,” Sara continues, taking a swig of her scotch. “Babs is good, but none of us can hold a candle to Hot Stuff here.”

Lena turns to give Kara an intrigued look, quirking an eyebrow. Kara flushes bright red.

“Well ladies,” Grayson says, taking a final gulp of his whiskey, “This has been an absolute pleasure, but I’m afraid it’s time for us to part.”

“Where you going, Dick?” Sara asks. “Hot date?”

“I can’t have Bruce thinking I behaved myself the entire time I was here, can I?” Grayson jokes. “But I’d rather not drag you all down with me, this time.”

There’s a mischievous glint in his eyes as he bows out and strolls across the room on a leisurely warpath, right over to the massive champagne fountain in the center of the room.

“Oh, he’s not gonna …” Kara trails off. 

He certainly is.

Grayson walks right up to the edge of the fountain, turns around to send a final wink in their direction, holds his arms up out at his sides (whiskey still in hand), and gracefully falls backwards into the pool of champagne.

“Oh my god,” Lena gasps, letting out a giggle of surprise.

“He didn’t,” Kara gawks. 

Sara is just as stunned. It doesn’t last long, as the three of them end up nearly crying with laughter as Grayson pulls in the two poor attendants that try to fish him out, pretending to slip and flounder in the basin.

“Well, I see I missed all the fun,” a voice says behind Lena.

“Andrea!” Lena whips around in surprise, immediately retracting her hand from Kara’s.

“I go smoke a joint outside for ten minutes and Dick Grayson falls in the champagne fountain,” Andrea whines. “I always miss the fun.”

Sara nods a welcome at Andrea, a sly smile on her face. “Hello.”

“Hi,” Andrea returns. Her voice is an octave higher than usual, not quite high enough to be fake but definitely not normal — it’s her flirting voice. Oh. That can’t be right. Lena tries not to react with visible surprise, but seriously, what the hell is happening  tonight?

“Sara Lance,” Sara holds out a hand.

“Andrea Rojas,” Andrea returns in the same flirty timbre. They shake hands for a second too long. Kara seems to notice too, shooting Lena a quizzical glance. Lena gives an almost imperceptible shrug in response.

“And you already know Kara Danvers,” Lena adds, motioning to the blonde beside her.

“Nice to see you,” Andrea smiles politely, shooting Lena an inquisitive look.

“If I wasn’t liable to get drug tested at any time, I’d ask to bum a hit,” Sara’s voice is wistful.

“That’s a shame,” Andrea smiles slyly. “I suppose you’ll just have to live vicariously through me.”

“I suppose I will,” Sara’s eyes rake down Andrea’s form-fitting dress. “Would you like a drink, Miss Rojas? I’m due for another scotch.” Sara toys with her now-empty glass for emphasis.

“I could use a glass of champagne, actually,” Andrea says. “Lead the way, Miss Lance.”

“Please, call me Sara,” Sara smiles like the cat who caught the canary.

The instant it’s just the two of them, Kara turns to Lena and says, “I have so many questions, Luthor.”

“So do I, Danvers,” Lena snaps back. “Why didn’t you tell me you were in Metropolis?”

Kara’s jaw clenches, a steely, hard look across her face. “I didn’t think you’d care.”

“What the hell does that mean, Kara?” Lena asks.

“It doesn’t mean anything,” Kara brushes her off. “My turn. Were you on a date with Dick Grayson?”

“I met Grayson tonight,” Lena replies sharply. If Kara’s going to be in a mood, then she sure as hell is too. “Lillian tried to set me up with him.”

A sour expression crosses Kara’s face, which brings Lena a bit of amusement.

“Doesn’t Wayne Enterprises have this big rivalry with Luthor Corp?” Kara rambles. “And I take it Andrea doesn’t know about us, since you yanked your hand away?”

“Luthor Corp’s rivalry with Wayne Enterprises is civil,” Lena says, “We have a few joint philanthropic efforts. And no, Andrea doesn’t know about our arrangement.”

“Hmph.”

“So,” Lena asks, fixing Kara with a poised, piercing look. “You want to tell me what that silent pissing contest with Sara was?”

“What pissing contest?” Kara suddenly plays innocent.

Lena gives her a disbelieving look. “The one where you almost punched your friend for flirting with me.”

“I didn’t almost punch Sara,” Kara objects. 

Lena rolls her eyes. “Kara Danvers, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were jealous.”

“Well do you?” Kara snaps.

“Do I what?” Lena asks.

“Know better,” Kara’s voice is sharp as a knife. “I’m not jealous over you, Luthor.”

Ouch. For some reason, that cuts deeper than any of the comments Lillian has made to her since she’s been home in Metropolis. 

Lena can feel herself turn ice cold as she rises to her feet.

She takes a deep inhale, jutting her chin out at Kara. “Clearly. You’re a ray of sunshine tonight, aren’t you, Danvers?” she seethes.

Kara’s face falls. “Wait, Lena,” she says softly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”

Lena waits, still as stone, for Kara to continue.

“I … I might be jealous,” Kara mumbles. She inhales and stands up straight, meeting Lena’s frosty eyes. “I wasn’t sure where things stood between us since we aren’t in National City.”

Oh, Lena realizes, this is the result of her silence.

Kara takes a deep breath before continuing. “I was jealous. Of Sara, when she was hitting on you. And that Grayson guy, even though I know I shouldn’t be. It just seemed like …”

“It’s alright,” Lena soothes, melting down a bit. Kara’s apology is so genuine and heartfelt, it’s easy to accept. 

She reaches up to play with Kara’s shirt collar. “You have nothing to be jealous of, Supergirl. I didn’t know Sara was your friend at first when she approached me. You came over right before I told her,” Lena says. “And Grayson just helped Andrea and I escape from the gala. Though, admittedly, I might’ve been trying to rile you up with him.”

“Rile me up?” Kara frowns. “Why?”

“I don’t really know,” Lena admits. “It seemed like a good outlet at the time.”

“Outlet?” Kara’s forehead crinkle appears. “Oh. You had that party tonight. Family stuff?”

Lena nods before she can process what she’s doing. “I … I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Kara gives her an understanding, soft smile. One of her hands caresses Lena’s bare wrist.  “I imagine the break is hard for you.”

“I can’t wait to get back to National City,” Lena confesses.

“Me too,” Kara agrees. “This is the longest I’ve been away from Alex in a while.”

Lena hums sympathetically. Her heart aches a little, longing for the familiar warmth of her old memories of her and Lex. This trip was the closest she had felt to him since Lionel’s death. Once inseparable as kids, now four-thousand miles apart. Oh, how times change.

“Why doesn’t Alex visit her cousin too?” Lena asks. She suddenly realizes Alex — who by all accounts seems to always orbit near Kara — isn’t here. And Alex wasn’t at Lex’s party with Kara and Clark either.

“Oh, Alex and Clark aren’t really related,” Kara gives a vague answer. 

Lena would follow up, but at that exact moment, both her and Kara get an eyeful of Andrea and Sara standing together, whispering a bit too close to be friendly.

“More importantly — Sara’s gonna fuck your friend,” Kara informs her, nodding in their direction.

“Oh, no,” Lena waves a hand. “Andrea’s straight.”

Kara gives a skeptical look. “Right. Okay, well, I know Sara and she’s about three minutes away from getting into your friend’s pants.”

“Huh,” Lena glances back over at them, re-analyzing. Andrea was flirting earlier, though that brings up more questions than it answers. Yet sure enough, Sara’s got a hand low on the small of Andrea’s back and Andrea is pushing up against Sara’s chest, one hand toying with the hem of her pant pocket.

“If you want me to stop that, you need to tell me now,” Kara warns.

Lena pauses for a minute. Andrea is a grown woman and can make her own decisions — apparently not the decisions of the ‘tragically straight’ though — and Sara seems more than capable of handling a potentially messy situation.

“Let her,” Lena decides. “If Andrea is distracted, I can do what I’ve wanted to do all night.”

“What’s that?” Kara lights up, practically glowing with excitement.

“Oh … you know,” Lena plays coy. “Find myself a nice girl …”

“And take her home?” Kara plays along.

“Why wait?” Lena gives her a look. “I’m not in a patient mood.”

Kara gives her a curious look. “You mean …”

“Bathroom, now,” Lena says, already pulling Kara by the hand.

“I thought you said no hooking up in bathrooms?” Kara asks.

“No seedy dive bar bathrooms,” Lena states. “This isn’t a seedy dive bar.”

“No, it’s not,” Kara agrees with a twinkle in her eye. “Sara’s gonna be pissed if I have sex in her suit, but I don’t care.”

Ah, so that explains why Kara’s clothes don't quite fit right. 

“We’ll be careful,” Lena promises.

They have the decency to wait until they're in the bathroom stall before they start making out. Lena goes in first and Kara slips in behind her. The instant the door gets latched behind them, Lena practically jumps Kara’s bones, marking her face with dark lipstick.

“So why … does Sara call … you ‘Hot Stuff’?” Lena whispers between kisses.

Kara playfully pulls Lena’s bottom lip between her teeth, then lets it go. “Nickname from basketball camp; ‘hot hand’ means a player’s been making a lot of good shots.”

“Oh,” Lena gasps, in both understanding and pleasure as Kara moves to suck on her neck. “Here I thought it might’ve had something to do with your looks.”

“Well …” Lena can feel the smirk spread across the blonde’s face. “It might have two meanings.”

“Spare me the bragging,” Lena rolls her eyes. “Find a better use for that mouth.”

“Yeah, I can do that,” Kara exhales with a grin, pulling up Lena’s gown.

Her excitement quickly wanes as she realizes just how long the garment is.

“Why are gowns so long …?” Kara whines, still hiking up fabric around Lena’s hips.

“A modern-day take on the chastity belt?” Lena suggests.

“Oh,” Kara gives her a hungry look. “There’s nothing chaste about the way you look in that.”

A hot blush spreads across Lena’s face. She forgot how instantly wet she gets when Kara looks at her like that. It’s enough to drive a woman wild.

Finally, they’ve got enough of the fabric up around Lena’s hips that they stand a chance of making this work.

“How do you want it?” Kara asks, fingers circling over Lena’s entrance.

“Two,” Lena states. “Deep and fast.”

Boy, does Kara deliver. Those strong forearms are good for more than just hours of dribbling a basketball. And those long fingers too.

“I’m close,” Lena gasps. “I’m—”

“—no, I want you in my mouth,” Kara growls, dropping to her knees. The position is awkward and crammed within the confines of the stall, but Lena couldn’t fucking care less. Kara Danvers is on her knees for her, her dangerously-talented mouth on Lena’s clit, and she's about to bring Lena to orgasm in a bathroom stall.

“Fuck, I missed y—this,” Lena gasps, coming on Kara’s face.

Once Lena’s finished, Kara stumbles back to her feet, licking her lips clean. She then wipes her mouth against the back of her palm, removing the remnants of Lena’s wetness and lipstick. 

“Is that right?” A cocky grin sprawls out over the blonde’s face.

Now that her legs are back under her, Lena takes a hold of Kara’s pants by the belt and jerks both open. Her hands are instantly down Kara’s tight boxers, rubbing her clit.

“Oh,” Kara gasps, sucking in a deep breath as she melts into Lena’s hand.

“What was that?” Lena teases. “Not so cocky right now?”

“Uh … mh … yuh,” Kara mumbles. “I’m …. Oh, fuck.”

“Already?” Lena teases, one sharp eyebrow raised.

“You’re hot,” Kara shrugs, the post-orgasm bliss settling in over her shoulders. “Plus it’s been awhile since we’ve done this.”

“Don’t worry, darling, I find it endearing,” Lena coos. “I’m glad to know what kind of a hold I have over you.”

“Psh,” Kara rolls her eyes, then pulls Lena in for a kiss.

Lena holds the kiss for a moment longer than she should, but it feels so nice to be in Kara’s embrace again. To receive such warm, tender affections so freely.

“You know, I think I could go for a second round,” Kara informs her as they break apart, grinning coyly. “It’s pretty easy to sneak girls back into Kal’s house.”

“Voice of experience there, Danvers?” Lena raises an eyebrow.

“Uhm … I plead the fifth,“ Kara blushes. “So — what do you say? Come back with me?” A gentle hand caresses Lena’s arm, leaving fire in its wake.

Lena bites her lower lip. “As tempting of an offer as that is, I should probably go back to the Manor. Lillian has certainly noticed my prison break.”

“That’s fair,” Kara nods. “Mind if I walk you out? We weren’t exactly quiet, and it’ll be a lot more fun if I get to show you off on the way out.”

“Show me off?” Lena gives her an unimpressed look. “You really are a fuckboy, aren’t you?”

“Fuckboy?” Kara pouts. “I’m not a fuckboy.”

“You are every bit a fuckboy, Kara,” Lena chuckles. “We literally just had sex in a bathroom stall. Now, come on, fix your pants.”

Kara re-fastens her belt, then looks at Lena and gestures to the stall door. “Well, since I’m a fuckboy … ladies first.”

“Fuck you, Danvers,” Lena seethes, but it has zero heat.

Kara just winks.


Lena wakes up in the morning with a killer headache, a deep purple hickey on her neck (that maybe she won’t hide, just to spite Lillian), and three texts from Kara Danvers.

K: thanks for a fun night last night ;) see you back in National City

K: also, did you see this?

Below is a screenshot of a news article heading: 

Obliterated! Olympic gymnast, Richard Grayson, falls into champagne fountain.  

(Club Acrata, Metropolis.) After what seems to be a wild night of partying, Olympic gold medalist and Wayne Enterprises heir Richard Grayson—

 

What a wild twenty-four hours. Lena can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all.


Lena’s sitting at the airport terminal, waiting to board a plane back to National City. Since Lex took the family plane to Paris for the manufacturing emergency, she’ll be flying back on commercial.

Delightful.

She’s currently scribbling away on her tablet, almost finished making some suggestions on the newest prototype of the Luthor Corp ‘Nanoknife’. It’s intended to use the latest Luthor Corp nanotech to aid in the surgical removal of malignant tissue, but it’s far from optimal. Lex isn’t sure about it’s viability, but Lena is optimistic they can get it to where it needs to be.

“Excuse me, is this seat taken?” A voice interrupts Lena's thoughts.

“Help yourself,” Lena gestures, not even looking upwards from her tablet.

“So, headed to National City?” the voice asks. Lena wants to scream in irritation.

The last thing Lena wants to make right now is small talk, not while she’s busy trying to finish up this schematic and totally not focusing on the flying death trap she’s about to board, so she turns to tell her new neighbor just that — when she sees that pair of steel blue eyes smiling back at her.

“Kara?!” Lena exclaims.

The blonde looks like a walking amalgam of holiday attire. She’s got an oversized red flannel thrown over top of what Lena can only describe as the ugliest holiday sweater she’s ever seen, jeans, and boots. Who wears boots to the airport?

“Don’t act so surprised, Luthor,” Kara smiles in greeting. “I saw you just a few days ago.”

“Yeah, but the odds …” Lena trails off. The statistical odds they would choose the same day and the same flight to fly back are … small. “It’s good to see you.” She actually means it too — there’s something about Kara's presence that instantly soothes a part of her. 

A small part. Infinitesimally small.

“Why are you headed back so soon?” Kara asks. “I have to go back for basketball, but you still have another three weeks of break?”

“Andrea went to visit her mother in London, Lex is on a business trip in France, and Jack is in Opal City with his family,” Lena says. “And I’ve had enough one-on-one time with Lillian to last a lifetime.”

Kara gives her a sympathetic nod. “Makes sense. If I had a private penthouse to go to relax in and escape that, I would.”

“Don’t you?” Lena feels calm enough to tease her. “At least from the hours of ten-at-night to three-in-the-morning?”

“I can’t confirm or deny,” Kara catches her meaning. “But if I did, I imagine my time there wouldn’t be spent relaxing.”

“Indeed,” Lena agrees. “So how was your time in Metropolis? I realize I didn’t have a chance to ask you the other night.”

“It was great!” Kara beams. “Jon — Kal’s baby son — is so cute! And tiny. It was wonderful to spend time with them all; I don’t get to see Clark and Lois nearly enough.”

“I’m glad,” Lena says, jotting down one final note. “Family seems very important to you.”

“It is,” Kara agrees vehemently. Her voice is a bit … off, and Lena can’t place exactly what her tone is laced with. It sounds as strong as steel though.

“So what’s the story with the sweater?” Lena’s eyes trail down Kara’s outfit with amusement.

“It’s my ugly holiday sweater!” Kara grins, pulling the material out so that Lena can see it even clearer. It’s bright red and green, with a scared-looking dinosaur in a santa hat cowering under the impending arrival of a meteor. It’s absolutely nonsensical.

“I can see that,” Lena muses.

“It’s a Danvers’ family tradition to wear ugly sweaters for the holiday,” Kara explains.

“Ah,” Lena says. “How adorable.”

“Hey, at least I didn’t wear heels to the airport!” Kara teases.

Lena looks down at her shoes. Sure, they’re heels, but they’re her comfiest pair — they might as well be slippers as far as Lillian is concerned.

“Heels are easier to take off than boots, Danvers,” Lena retorts, nudging Kara’s foot with her own.

“Fair point,” Kara says. “I was hoping it would snow though. Hey, mind watching my bags while I go grab a bagel?”

“No, that’s fine,” Lena agrees.

Kara makes it only three steps away before she turns back. “Have you eaten yet today?”

Lena’s stomach churns. She never eats before a plane ride. Yet, she can’t lie to Kara’s earnest face either. “Uh, no, I try not to eat before a flight.”

“Lena,” Kara frowns. “That’s a terrible plan. I’m going to get you something. You like scones, right?”

“Kara, you don’t—” Lena begins to protest, but Kara’s already taken off again before she can finish. Wait, when did Kara learn she likes scones?

“Ten minutes to boarding for Flight 3142 to National City,” the PA announcement rings out.

The dread sets in instantly, chilling Lena to her core. Her stomach must’ve dropped into her feet by now. Her heart beat is already starting to pick up, and the only thing her brain can fixate on, other than her impending flight, is Kara’s bright blue suitcase at her feet.

That gives Lena an idea.


“So,” Kara smiles down at Lena, “I don’t suppose you had anything to do with my ticket getting ‘randomly upgraded’ to first-class?”

Kara’s never been in first-class before, but she doesn’t think they do ‘random upgrades’.

“No,” Lena states. She doesn’t turn to look at Kara when she plops down next to her in the large, cushiony plane seats. That’s odd. That’s not the reaction Kara was expecting.

“Lena?” Kara asks.

“Mhm?” Lena gives a forced hum.

Kara gives her a concerned once-over. Something’s definitely wrong. Lena’s practically oozing anxiety into the cabin air; she’s sitting ram-rod straight, staring a hole in the headrest in front of her, while her hands are digging into the armrests so tightly Kara wonders if there won’t be a bunch of small cuts left behind by her manicured nails.

“Lena,” Kara states more forcefully, hoping to get Lena to turn to look at her. It doesn’t work.

Lena’s face seems impossibly pale, almost sickly.

“Lena, are you feeling alright?” Kara asks. She sets a comforting hand on Lena’s forearm, and she can feel how tense her muscles are underneath. Lena is definitely not okay, and Kara’s protective instincts go into overdrive trying to find the source.

“Yes.” That’s the most obvious lie Kara has ever heard (and she’s heard Alex ramble about how her sexual experiences with guys weren’t that unsatisfactory).

“No, you’re not,” Kara calls her out. “Lena, what’s wrong?”

“I-” Lena’s voice catches in her throat as the plane begins to roll forward. “Fuck, this was a terrible idea to bring you up here.” Her voice sounds wet with fear.

Suddenly, it clicks.

“Lena,” Kara says, the parts pieced together. “Are you afraid of flying?”

Lena nods in small but vigorous motions.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Kara slides her palm over Lena’s claw-hand to cup it. Lena clutches it like a lifeline. “It’s okay. I’ve got you.”

“I’m … afraid of flying,” Lena confesses.

“Yeah,” Kara chuckles through an exhale. “I realized. It’s gonna be okay. Can you look at me?”

Lena, after a moment, begrudgingly turns to look at Kara — terror filling her gorgeous green eyes.

“Do you trust me?” Kara asks.

“Yes,” Lena says, swallowing roughly. Kara tries to ignore how that one simple answer pulls at her heart. She needs to keep Lena distracted.

“Okay, good,” Kara smiles. “Because I’m about to talk your ear off about my days in Metropolis! My favorite night was spent out at this club. It had a champagne fountain. There was this guy I was jealous of who ended up jumping into that very fountain, actually. And I met this really fun girl there, and we had a lot of fun together in the bathroom, even though she’s not the kind of girl you’d expect that from. And she looked amazing — oh, man — like the kind of woman that makes people drop to their knees.”

“Didn’t you?” Lena tries to smirk. Not a smooth gesture, but a noble attempt at one.

“Drop to my knees?” Kara smiles slyly, feigning innocence. “I don’t know. That’s just between me, her, and that bathroom stall.”

Lena rolls her eyes. She looks a bit more relaxed now. Kara can feel from the tilt in the seats that the plane is definitely off the ground now, but they haven’t leveled out yet so she needs to keep going.

“But, I was in Metropolis for more than a hot date in the club,” Kara smiles. “I got to meet my nephew, which is a big deal for me after—” Kara suddenly drops that sentence and finds another. 

“Did I tell you Clark’s wife, Lois, is actually Lucy’s sister? But they do not get along. At all,” Kara says.

Those words seem to register with Lena, who gives Kara a mildly surprised look at the information.

“Yeah, it makes family gatherings interesting,” Kara confirms. “Her dad is a four-star general, and a five-star asshole … terrible parent.”

Lena lets out a soft snort. “Oh, I have one of those too.”

Kara nods sympathetically and continues. “Anyways, Lucy and James came over to the Kents’ to shoot around; Clark had a basketball court built with the house--”

Lena interrupts with a scoff.

“You can’t even,” Kara protests with a laugh. “He needs it for work! I’m sure you know plenty of rich people that have more ridiculous rooms in their houses.”

Lena’s eyes roll as she nods a confirmation. “A girl I went to boarding school with had a racetrack in her backyard. Her family makes cars, but still.”

“See? Exactly,” Kara says. “Besides, Clark just has half a court, technically. It’s mostly for shooting practice.”

“Practical,” Lena quips.

“Hey! I’ll have you know, once I make my millions in the league, I’m going to build myself one too,” Kara says.

Lena shakes her head in amusement. “Of course you will.”

“Anyways …” Kara drawls. “Lucy and Lois got into a huge fight after, like they always do. I swear, Lucy is going to be a lawyer someday; I’ve never met someone as good as arguing as her. But the funny part? Guess what they were arguing about … who had the TV remote last.”

Lena gives her an incredulous look.

“Yup,” Kara nods. “A nuclear-scale fight over the TV remote. It was on the couch, by the way.”

“They’re definitely siblings,” Lena says.

“They are,” Kara agrees. “Speaking of — how did things go with Lex? I saw you guys went to the Meteors game together.”

Lena takes a deep inhale. “Things were … good, actually. He seemed more like his old self.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Kara smiles. “And I have some good news for you.”

“What?”

“We’re done with take-off,” Kara says. “We’re fully in the air.”

“Oh,” Lena’s eyebrows shoot upwards. “That was … not miserable. Thank you, Kara.”

“I should be the one thanking you,” Kara teases. “I’m about to demolish some first-class snacks.”

Lena rolls her eyes, but smiles all the same. “You and your stomach.”

The pilot announces over the intercom that the plane has reached cruising altitude, and passengers are free to resume using their devices.

“So what do you usually do to pass time on your flights?” Kara asks.

Lena shrugs. “Homework, or look over some projects for Lex. Or read something. I like to keep my mind busy.”

“No movies?” Kara frowns, pulling her laptop out of her backpack.

Lena shakes her head. “Can’t seem to relax enough to enjoy them.”

“Oh,” Kara says. “Well, if you want to give it another go, Winn sent me a bootleg copy of the new Star Wars. You in?” She holds up the tangled wires of her earbuds, pulling one apart from the other.

Lena looks at the dangling earbud, clearly conflicted. After a moment, Lena plucks the earbud from Kara’s fingers with a bracing exhale.

“I can’t say no to Star Wars, can I?” Lena quips. “I’ll give it a try.”

Kara grins and croaks, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Against all odds, Kara Danvers manages to make Lena Luthor laugh on an airplane.


 

Chapter Text


Things feel different back in National City after the break.

It normally does, sure, as everyone adjusts to another semester, new routines, and fresh surroundings. There are changes, as always; Mike broke up with Imra, James and Lucy are ‘officially’ dating, there’s new construction on the highway. Little reminders that time has passed in their absence. 

After a few weeks at home, it’s normal to feel a bit rusty as they get back into the swing of things. 

So why does Kara feel better than ever before?

Not that she’s complaining — she loves being back in National City. Basketball has resumed, the break has rejuvenated her play, and she’s surrounded by her friends again. She should feel back in her element. She does. But it’s even stronger now, like she’s unlocked a whole new level to things.

It definitely has nothing to do with the fact that her and Lena came back together. Together as in on the same plane, of course (and as a little souvenir, Kara’s hand still aches a bit from how forcefully Lena had clutched it during their descent). Together on a plane. There’s no other way they would fit that word. 

They’re still very much just friends-with-benefits.

Friends-with-benefits who now do sleepovers.

That’s okay, right? No danger there.

Yeah, it’s fine. Life is good.

Kara texts Lena after practice one night. School technically hasn’t resumed yet, as there’s still another week or so of break remaining for the general populace. But since Lena came back early, Kara’s been careful to ensure the other woman still gets some social interaction. She highly suspects Lena can fall into some hermit-like tendencies without someone to extract her — and since Jack’s still out of town, the duty falls to Kara.

hey luthor, did you eat yet? just finished getting sushi with the team but i’m still hungry

hot girl bummer: Of course you are. I could eat, I got distracted coding and didn’t realize how late it is.

how does big belly burger sound? i’m craving meat and there’s one nearby

hot girl bummer: Delicious, actually. Burgers are my favorite food.

really? i can’t believe i didn’t know that

hot girl bummer: Yes, Lillian can’t stand that I’ll stoop so low as to eat ‘finger-foods’.

what?? it tastes even better when you get to eat food with your hands!

hot girl bummer: I fully agree.

good :) text me your order and i’ll be over in thirty

The next text to Kara’s phone is Lena’s burger order, which she quickly copy-and-pastes into her notes app. There’s already a page for it under the header ‘Food Lena Likes’; the other things on the list are: scotch, black coffee, bacon, scones (it’s still a work-in-progress, okay?). It’s just so she doesn’t have to put in the effort of memorizing things — it’s not important information, after all — but then she has it in case she needs to reference it again.

Kara almost drops the takeout bag as Lena opens the door to her apartment. 

She looks genuinely perfect.

Her hair is up in an immaculate bun, but her makeup is lighter than usual, and she’s got on Kara’s red flannel that the blonde loaned to her on their flight back to National City. But the thing Kara really can’t get out of her head? Lena’s not wearing pants. It’s just the flannel — long enough to cover everything, but not really. 

It draws Kara’s eyes right to Lena’s shapely bare legs. Oh, wow.

It’s way warmer inside than Kara’s own apartment, since Lena doesn’t have to consider anything as nominal as a power bill, and it makes Kara feel a bit flushed.

“Ugh, that smells delicious.” Lena grabs the bag from Kara’s hands, not at all aware of how Kara’s brain has completely shut off.

Lena’s not wearing pants.

“Yup,” Kara squeaks, watching her perfect ass walk away into the kitchen.

Lena’s not wearing pants.

“It’s really warm in here,” Kara gulps, following her usual routine to enter the apartment. Shoes off by the door, backpack down on the foyer tiles, jacket over the back of the closest dining room chair.

“Yeah, I can’t stand being cold,” Lena says from the kitchen. “And I’m not really one for layers.”

“I can see that,” Kara turns the corner, eyes flickering down Lena’s body.

“Keep it in your pants, Danvers,” Lena chuckles. She gives Kara a wink as she walks past into the living room. “For now.”

Kara follows, hot on her heels.

The burgers are delicious. They eat and chat; Kara tells Lena all about practice and how she made a shot from half-court, messing around with Lucy on a break, and Lena explains the bugs she’s trying to fix in her coding. Admittedly, Kara’s eyes glaze over a little when she starts discussing ‘function loops’, but Lena throws a fry at her and she tunes right back into those scandalized dimples.

Somehow, Lena manages to look absolutely divine the entire time, burger juice dripping down from the corner of her mouth and between her fingers. Kara’s too warm to blame it just on the ambient air.

“Wow, I didn’t realize how hungry I was,” Lena muses, trying to wipe back her poise with a long-gone napkin.

“No matter how full I am, I could always eat more Big Belly Burger,” Kara says, polishing off her fries with a very messy hand. She’s personally given up on trying to be a clean eater — it’s so much easier to just wash up once the job is done in its entirety.

“You could always eat more,” Lena corrects. “You’re a bottomless pit, Danvers.”

“What can I say?” Kara grins. “I’m insatiable.”

Lena cocks an eyebrow. “Oh, are you?”

“You haven’t noticed?” Kara slides closer to her, leaning in so their lips are tauntingly close. “I like to eat.”

“You’re being so subtle right now, darling,” Lena deadpans.

Kara shrugs. “I never said I was subtle.”

“No,” Lena chuckles, grabbing Kara’s chin and pulling it towards her. “No, you’re certainly not.”

She tastes like burger, but all Kara can think about is how impossibly soft Lena’s lips are against her own. It only amplifies her desire.

“You know,” Kara pouts as Lena pulls away. “Dinner’s not complete without dessert.”

“Is that so?” Lena gives a sly smile. “And exactly what is on the menu?”

The look in Kara’s eyes speaks for her. You, Lena.


Despite the fact they start in the living room, they finish in the bed — in more ways than one. The realization hits Lena’s stomach like a mallet: it’s the first time they’ve had sex both sober. 

That’s incredibly dangerous.

They wash up afterwards; Kara redresses in her underwear and Lena throws on a robe.

“Oh, shoot,” Lena says with a start, “We left the food out.”

“I got it,” Kara hops up to her feet, waving Lena back down. “I finally memorized what cabinet you hid the trashcan in.”

That should probably bother Lena, but it doesn’t even register.

“I didn’t hide it.” Lena objects. “The trash should always be kept out of sight.”

“If that’s the case, what are those raisin cookies doing out then?” Kara quips, walking out of the room.

“Kara Danvers!” Lena yells after her, but Kara’s already out of sight. 

How dare she? Those raisin cookies reminded Lena of her childhood! Damn Kara Danvers and her ridiculous sweet-tooth that prevented her from enjoying a good, traditional Irish soda-bread cookie appropriately.

While she’s gone, Lena gets through a few more pages of her latest book, her reading lamp positioned to provide adequate light in the dark bedroom.

Kara pops back into the room a few minutes later. “All cleaned up.”

“Thank you,” Lena nods.

“How’s your book?” Kara points to the novel in her hand. “What kind of books do you like to read?”

“It’s good,” Lena says, glancing at the cover even though she already knows what it is. “It’s about the discovery of exoplanets. And I tend to favor non-fiction primarily, barring a few exceptions.”

“You like learning about space?” Kara asks, flopping down on the bed next to her.

“I do,” Lena confirms. “I think it’s fascinating.”

“I do too,” Kara murmurs, drawing a circle on Lena’s exposed thigh. 

It makes her heart race, but she ignores it. It’s just Kara being touchy; she’s just like that.

“I used to be obsessed with space as a kid,” Kara continues. “Every night, my dad and I would go out and look at the constellations for hours.”

There’s a hint of yearning in Kara’s tone, but for what, Lena doesn’t know. A forlorn, wistful twinkle finds its home in Kara’s eyes as a hand comes up to touch her necklace.

“Kara …” Lena says slowly, noting the motion. “Can I ask what your necklace is from?”

She doesn’t respond for so long Lena half-wonders if she’s fallen asleep.

“It was my dad’s,” a soft voice confesses. “He’s … gone now. It’s one of the last things I have of him. Kal has a matching one from his dad too — they were brothers.”

“I’m sorry, Kara,” Lena whispers, grabbing a hold of Kara’s free hand. She means it too — she knows how hard it is to lose a father figure, whether he was a good one or not.

“It’s okay,” Kara exhales. “I always think of him when I see the stars. Like he’s still around, just a room over or something. You know?”

“Yeah, I do,” Lena agrees. Flashes of an old wooden desk and a fountain pen, resting in an elegant stand, cross her mind. A snippet in time; a moment in Lionel’s study as a young girl.

A minute of silence passes as they each sink into small memories.

“Do you mind if I stay?” Kara asks cautiously, like she’s laying on glass.

“Feel free,” Lena exhales, pulling her hand away to gesture to the far side of the bed, “Just stay—”

“—on my side,” Kara finishes. “Got it. Goodnight, Lena.”

“Goodnight,” Lena wishes. She closes her eyes and looks for sleep, the warmth of the bed ushering it close.

(For the third time in Kara’s company, Lena sleeps perfectly.)

At least for most of the night.

“Lena!”

She’s awoken several hours later by an incredibly panicked Kara Danvers, her face pale in the light from her phone screen.

“Lena!” Kara gasps in a panic. “Do you have a car?”

The look of fear in Kara’s eyes chills Lena right to the bone. Her heart leaps out of her chest, abruptly ripping the comfort of sleep away from her.

“Yes,” Lena murmurs, sitting upright. She can feel her pulse throughout every limb of her body. “Wait … why?”

“I snoozed my alarm too much,” Kara explains. “I’m gonna be late for practice. And anyone who’s late to practice the day before a game doesn’t get to start! Lena, I’ve never not started a game and—”

“—Relax,” Lena reaches a soothing hand out into the darkness. “I’ll take you.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Kara prays, ripping the covers off both of them in a hurry.

“How long do we have?” Lena asks, gathering her hair and stringing it up into a loose ponytail.

“I need to be outside the gym in the next twenty minutes,” Kara replies. Lena hears the tell-tale thud of Kara trying to put her pants on too quickly and falling over.

“I can get us there in fifteen,” Lena asserts. “Just let me get dressed, then we’ll take the elevator down to the garage; it’s under the building.”

“Lena Luthor, you’re my hero,” Kara exhales from somewhere on the floor.

Lena smiles into the confidential darkness of her apartment.


Kara knows Lena’s rich. 

It doesn’t bother her. (Well, it does in the general flaws-of-capitalism sense, but it’s not like Lena has the authority to just redistribute her family’s entire wealth to something more equitable, she’s just a college kid.) But yeah, it doesn’t really bother her or make her feel inadequate.

In fact, she kind of likes it a bit. Not in a gold-digger way though; Kara will have her chance to make her own fortune in the pros, so it’s not like she needs to go down that road.

But when Kara sees Lena’s car?  She’s a little tempted to become a sugar baby.

To call it sleek, elegant, sexy — it would all be an understatement. It’s a lightning-silver color and the chassis is clearly shaped for speed. There’s only one door on each side, and Kara half expects them to open up vertically, like all expensive cars do. And boy, does this car scream expensive.

It’s every bit Lena.

“Lena … this is your car!?” Kara gawks.

The car beeps twice as Lena unlocks it. Sure enough, the doors swing upwards.

“Yes,” Lena says simply. “Aren’t you running late? Get in.”

She’s got a point, so Kara doesn’t delay.

“Not even Kal’s car is this nice …” Kara runs a hand over the smooth leather armrest built into the door. The whole interior is decked out in a deep, royal-red leather. Even the black floor mats look expensive, and Kara can’t quite find the confidence to set the full weight of her feet down on them.

Lena gives her a wicked smile. 

She shouldn’t look so damn good for having been asleep only a few minutes ago. Her hair is thrown up in a messy ponytail, and she’s tossed on Kara’s Comets sweatshirt with a pair of leggings that make Kara feel very awake. The best and worst part is the glasses though — which Kara didn’t even process Lena wore, despite borrowing her contact solution once — but those black frames and the green eyes sheltered under them will certainly haunt her thoughts for the rest of the day.

“I only drive nice cars, Danvers. I’m a bit of a snob about my machines,” Lena jokes, but they both know it’s not a joke.

The engine roars to life with a low melodic thrum.

“Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” Kara muses, trying to refocus. “With a last name like ‘Luthor’.”

“It wasn’t always,” Lena says firmly, hands holding the wheel with authority as they exit the garage onto the street. “I may be a spoiled brat when it comes to cars, but it’s not in my DNA.”

“What?”

“I was adopted when I was four,” Lena states.

Oh.

“Oh …” Kara’s forehead crinkles. “I didn’t know that.” 

The car runs too smooth for Kara to blame the shaky feeling in her legs on it.

“Really?” Lena gives her a shocked smile. “I don’t hide it — I’m actually a bit proud of that fact. It helps … distance me from all the terrible things Lionel and Lillian have done.”

Huh.

“I …” Kara trails off, looking out of the window with tinted eyes. It’s been over a year since the last time she’s said aloud the words in her mouth.  “I … I was adopted too.”

“You were?” Lena turns to glance at her, but Kara doesn’t meet her eyes, and Lena is forced to redirect her attention back to the road.

“Yeah. It’s … hard for me to talk about,” Kara says. “Eliza and Jeremiah — Alex’s parents — took me in when I was thirteen. The Danvers’ are my family now, and they’re wonderful.”

That’s all Kara can and will offer. A silence falls over the car.

“Well, if you ever want to talk, Kara …” Lena offers slowly. “I might understand more than most.”

“Thanks,” Kara smiles softly. It’s not an acceptance of the offer, but it’s not an outright denial either. She honestly doesn’t know what to do with that information. She always just assumed Lena was born into her crown. And she feels a bit guilty for it.

The steady ticking of the turn signal fills the silence that follows.

Lena drops Kara off outside the gym not long after. Kara has her pull up to the curb to shorten the distance, and by some stroke of misfortune, they’re not the only last-minute arrivals. Lucy’s black jeep idles right in front of them, instilling Kara with a deep dread.

“Thanks for the ride,” Kara says, side-eying Lucy’s jeep, waiting for the doors to open. James is likely the one driving it, so maybe Lucy had already headed inside. Hopefully.

“Sorry about waking you,” Kara tells Lena. “I’ll make it up to you.”

“I’ll be waiting,” Lena teases, a sleepy smile on her face. “Now go, Supergirl, I won’t have you being late on my behalf.”

Kara winks goodbye and slides out of the car. Instantly, Lucy jumps out of the passenger side of her jeep.

Kara’s suddenly incredibly grateful that Lena has deeply tinted windows.

“Oh, I knew it was you, Lover Girl,” Lucy shouts aggressively, darting right up to Kara’s shoulder and grabbing her arm. Kara would make a run for it, really, but Lucy would just catch up with her eventually, and that would be an awfully hard conversation to have in the middle of the locker room. 

So Kara just accepts her fate.

“Good morning, Lucy!” Kara gives her an overly-chipper smile. “Running late too?”

“Yeah, James apparently forgot to set an alarm, even after I reminded him,” Lucy huffs. Kara gives a sympathetic wince for James, who will not be hearing the end of that for a while. “Way more importantly, whose car did you just get out of?!”

“Whose car?” Kara plays dumb. “I ran here.”

“Oh, you’re fucking hilarious,” Lucy barks. “I know nothing about cars but I can tell that one was expensive as shit. You’re fucking with another Rich Bitch, aren’t you?”

“No,” Kara lies. It’s about as strong as wet tissue.

“No,” Lucy’s eyes widen. “It’s not Veronica Sinclair again, is it?”

“Oh, no,” Kara retches. “Uh-uh. Never again.”

“Thank god,” Lucy sighs. “I thought I was going to have to get Alex involved.”

“Can we not do that?” Kara winces. “I don’t really need her judgment on this.”

“Tell me who it is,” Lucy states.

“No,” Kara sighs. A small part of her actually does want to tell Lucy. And that’s a dangerous fact.

“You really won’t tell me, will you?” Lucy peers at her best friend suspiciously. “Whoever it is, she’s really got you whipped, doesn’t she?”

Kara flushes bright red. “No,” she croaks. “I’m just being respectful of her wishes.”

“Respectful, yeah, sure,” Lucy huffs. “Are you guys dating or something?”

“No!” Kara exclaims. “No. We’re just friends … with benefits.”

“Uh-huh.” Lucy crosses her arms over her chest while Kara pounds the access code into the locker room keypad. “And do those benefits include sleepovers and rides to campus? Because that sounds an awful lot like d—“

Kara’s saved by the opening of the door.

“You’re late!” Alex roars, jumping to her feet. “Both of you!” 

As expected, everyone in the locker room is fully dressed in their practice attire and ready to go upstairs to the gym. Nia shoots Kara a concerned look, which Kara disarms with a soft smile.

“Sorry, Alex,” Kara gives her sister a toothy grimace.

“Sorry, capt’n,” Lucy mumbles.

“Get dressed,” Alex hisses. “Quickly. You have three minutes.”

“We’re not done, Danvers,” Lucy whispers, sliding her pants down.

“Yes, we are,” Kara replies under her breath, tossing her shirt off.

Nia — sitting directly across the locker room from Kara — takes an audible, crisp inhale. Kara turns around at the noise, only to see Nia looking mortified, hand over her mouth. M’gann looks ready to laugh out loud next to her.

“Damn, Little Danvers,” Maggie whistles. Fourteen heads all turn to look at Kara.

She vaguely remembers Lena having a rather sharp, fresh manicure last night. And Kara also might’ve encouraged her to use it to the full extent while they were fucking. Shit, of course, there’s still probably scratches on her shoulders and back.

“What mauled your back last night?” Maggie smirks. “A pussy cat?” 

Well, fuck.


In the end, Kara’s steel weathers a storm of interrogations, and she lives to fight another day.

And fight another day, she has to.

Both the girls’ and the boys’ teams played games away today, but the whole gang made it back in time to go out to Al’s together. They’re currently all clustered around one of Al’s new pool tables. (Apparently, he’s had a very generous tipper frequenting his bar the past few months, and was able to buy some new toys because of it). Alex and Maggie disappear into the bathroom for a bit while the rest of them start a round of pool.

“Solids versus stripes,” Lucy calls. “Girls versus guys. M’gann gets to break, since she finally agreed to come out with us heathens tonight.”

“Wait, why do we get Mike?” James protests. Mike, who sunk a particularly nice shot from behind the backboard to win the boys’ game today, is the drunkest of all of them. He’s currently draped himself over Winn’s shoulders from behind, the shorter man serving as his surrogate legs for the night.

“If you win, you get to change up the teams,” Lucy says with a smirk and a wink. “Keep up, Olsen.”

The girls sweep the guys, thanks to M’gann. Kara can hold her own, but pool isn’t her strongest skill, nor her favorite bar-time activity (especially with pretty women around) — so when Alex returns from the bathroom looking slightly ruffled but satisfied, Kara hands off her pool cue and heads for the bar.

“Hey Al,” Kara greets with a smile.

“Hey there, kid,” Al grins. “Likin’ the new toys?”

“You know it,” Kara jokes. “Something new to beat Alex at.”

“Ah, you guys are good kids,” Al says. “I’m gonna miss her next year. She’s spent a lotta time here.”

“Maybe a little too much,” Kara reminds gently.

“Well, yeah, there’s that,” Al agrees. “Least I got you for another year, yeah?”

“Where else can I get the best tequila shots in town?” Kara grins.

“Speaking of, what can I get ya?” Al asks.

“Tequila sunrise,” Kara requests. She wants something pleasant to sip, to keep her hands busy.

“Ooh, fancy, kid,” Al chuckles, “You got it.”

Al makes quick work of making the cocktail, an orange concoction with red syrup on the bottom. He then shuffles over to the register to add it to Kara’s tab — at least that’s what she thought he was doing — but he hands back her card along with her drink.

“What?” Kara frowns in confusion as she picks up her debit card from the sticky bartop. Was Al cutting her off? She had barely started!

“Some chick paid off your tab,” Al explains. “And the rest of your drinks are to go on hers.”

Kara’s heart leaps into her throat. “Who?”

“One of them pretty, rich girls,” Al says. “With a fancy metal card. Over there.”

Kara follows the line of Al’s nod, only to collide with the most captivating pair of eyes she knows of. 

Lena.

Fuck, she looks gorgeous tonight. Smoky eyes, signature red lips, perfect bare neck, and a low-cut teal dress that draws Kara’s attention right to her chest.

“Careful, Kara, that girl is dangerous,” James warns playfully, suddenly appearing beside her. He waves down Al. “Can I get another beer?”

“Sure thing, Jimmy,” Al nods, sliding a bottle over to James before walking away to his other customers.

Kara’s brow furrows, quickly averting her gaze to her friend. “Who?”

“Lena Luthor,” James nods his chin in her general direction as he leans forward against the bar. “I’ve seen her type before; so have you.”

“Oh, yeah?” Kara asks. “And what type is that?”

“You know,” James shrugs. “Ice queen. Rich Bitch. Like Lana Lang, Veronica, Siobhan …”

“You’ve been talking to Lucy!” Kara realizes. “Did she send you over here to do her dirty work?”

“Kara …” James confirms. He can’t lie to her.

“Tell her to fuck off,” Kara rolls her eyes. “I’m not telling her who I’m sleeping with.”

“Yeah, I’m not going to say that to my girlfriend, but I’ll pass along the sentiment,” James laughs. “So … who is she?”

“You too?” Kara groans. “You’re all getting on my nerves.”

“It’s not actually Lena Luthor, is it?” James asks, glancing back over the bar to where Kara’s eyes had lingered before. Lena’s no longer there, and Kara’s not sure whether to be disappointed or relieved.

“Absolutely not,” Kara lies.

“That’s good. She’d be too much to handle, Kara,” James warns. “Even for you.”

“That advice is a little hard to take from my ex-boyfriend, James,” Kara teases. “You just sound jealous.”

“I’m not.” They share a chuckle and a knowing smile. 

Kara and James had only dated for a couple months, right at the end of their freshman year — and it fizzled out as quickly as it started. It turns out, the intimacy and understanding they felt between each other was called ‘friendship’, and it worked much better for them than a relationship ever did. There was love between them, but it wasn’t romantic in the slightest.

Besides, he and Lucy were an infinitely better match (as they had discovered last summer).

“She is hot though, I’ll say that,” James sips his beer thoughtfully.

“Who?” Kara asks, hiding her mouth in her drink cup.

“Lena Luthor,” James nods.

“Eh, I guess so,” Kara fakes thoughtful contemplation. “She’s not really my type though.”

That’s the biggest fucking lie she’s ever told in her life, oh my god.

“Smart, pretty, and haunted,” James recounts. “She kind of is. Plus, I heard you two don’t hate each other anymore. You wouldn’t want to …?”

“We set aside our differences,” Kara waves him off, draining her drink. “But that was months ago. I’ve barely talked to her since.”

“And here Lucy thought she was onto something,” James says. “She’s going to be heartbroken if I come back empty-handed.”

“Lucy will survive,” Kara states, a muscle twitching in her jaw. Why did everyone care so much? The constant interrogations and sly looks were starting to grate her nerves. “Why the fascination with my love life?”

“It’s your first friends-with-benefits since Siobhan,” James says. “You’ve only had one-night-stands since. Everyone’s a bit curious.”

“Well curiosity killed the cat,” Kara says sharply. “And you all can fuck off.”

“Are you whipped?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Oh, you are,” James jeers. “Kara Danvers is whipped!” He sways over the bar a little, and Kara realizes he’s too drunk to realize she’s not playing along anymore.

She’s not fucking whipped. She’s just being respectful.

“I’m gonna go get some air,” Kara says, slamming her empty cup on the bar with a ‘thud’ as she makes an abrupt exit.

The cold air feels good on her angry skin. There’s the tell-tale creaking of the door behind her as someone else exits the bar. Kara prays it’s not anyone she knows, except maybe—

“Everything okay?” The voice is smooth as a pen gliding across paper. 

Lena.  

Relief washes away the tension in Kara’s shoulders.

“Yeah,” Kara sighs, resting her hands on her hips as she turns around to face the woman. “My friends are all annoying.”

“I’m well-aware of that fact.” Lena quirks an eyebrow when Kara doesn’t defend them like usual, but she doesn’t push further. “Do you want to get out of here?”

“Yes,” Kara exhales.

“Good,” Lena steps closer, every click of her heels against the sidewalk driving Kara’s anticipation higher and higher. “Because I have something I need your help with.”

“What’s that?” Kara gulps. Lena’s practically standing right on top of her now. 

Kara can feel the warmth of Lena’s breath against her face. Her heels are taller than usual, so her perfect red lips come right up to Kara’s ear.

In a voice that sends chills down her spine, Lena whispers, “Come with me and find out.”

Kara feels a bit like she’s dancing on the edge of something dangerous.

But she doesn’t care.


Kara’s friends don’t get any less annoying, and she decides it’s time to play with fire.

hey luthor. what are you up to?

hot girl bummer: Homework. why?

want to piss my friends off?

hot girl bummer: Happily. What do you need me to do?

come pick me up from practice tomorrow? ends at 7:30am

hot girl bummer: That’s awful early, Danvers, you’d have to make it up to me. Also, won’t that attract a lot of attention?

that’s kinda the point … my friends don’t know who you are and they’re being terrors about it. i wanna rub it in their nosy faces

so what do you say?

Kara’s phone doesn’t buzz again for several minutes, and she worries that she’s crossed a line. Right as she goes to text Lena and tell her to forget the whole thing, a message comes in:

hot girl bummer: I’m in. What are friends for, after all?

see you then ;)

It goes exactly how Kara hopes.

Lena’s sleek silver car is waiting for her outside the gym, pulled right up to the curb like last time.

Kara makes sure to leave the building along with her friends, like usual, but when they part right to head for the parking lot, Kara stays straight.

“Little Danvers, where are you going?” Maggie calls back. M’gann and Alex turn fully around too — a look of deep confusion across her sister’s face — and Lucy and Nia look up from their phones. Kara can practically hear Lucy’s brain jumpstart as she recognizes the car that Kara’s headed right for.

“Don’t wait up!” Kara yells. “I’m catching a ride with a friend.”

With her Luthor-perfect timing, the door to Lena’s car swings upwards, and Kara slides in with one final glimpse of her friends’ confused, shocked faces.

“Your timing was perfect,” Kara informs Lena. She’s all dressed-up and ready for the day, looking stunning as always. “You look very nice.”

“Thank you,” Lena says as the door falls back down in place. “Where to?”

“Breakfast?” Kara requests. “Noonan’s, on me.”

“Deal,” Lena agrees, her car tearing off with an expert flair of the tail. Kara can imagine Alex practically having a heart attack after that.

Since the athletics’ complex is right on the edge of campus, they quickly find themselves back in the streets of National City, headed in the direction of Kara’s apartment. Meanwhile, Kara’s phone is lighting up and vibrating like it’s about to explode.

“I think we were successful,” Lena references the phone.

“Fifteen messages in the group chat and counting,” Kara informs her. “And two missed calls from Alex.”

“You know our stunt likely made things worse for you, right?” Lena asks.

“Eh,” Kara shrugs. “They’ll throw a tantrum and then get over it. I needed to push back a little.”

“Fair point.”

“So … can I drive your car sometime?” Kara asks, feeling rather bold off their successful ploy.

“No,” Lena states, gripping the wheel firmly. “I don’t let anyone drive my car.”

“Why not?” Kara pouts. “I’m a great driver! Never been in an accident — technically.”

“Technically?” Lena snorts. “Regardless, the answer is still no. I spent hundreds of hours training with professional drivers before handling a car like this.”

“I wasn’t driving; not my fault! And like never ever?”  Kara double checks.

“Never,” Lena asserts. “I’d sooner fall in love with you then let you sit behind this wheel.”

Kara’s stomach flips over, and it’s not from the right turn Lena just made.

She’d dwell on why exactly that is, but a sharp ringing noise reverberates throughout the vehicle, a phone icon popping up on the dashboard tablet display. The contact reads ‘Jess’.

“Fuck, I have to take this,” Lena glances at the screen, her jaw set. She turns to glance at Kara with a warning look on her face. “Sit there quietly.”

Kara nods and Lena hits the answer button.

“Good morning, Miss Luthor,” a voice rings out through the car speakers.

'Miss Luthor?'  Kara mouths. There’s a quizzical, amused look on her face.

'Shut up,' Lena mouths back. “Good morning, Jess.”

“I’m just calling to remind you that you have a dentist appointment this Thursday, at three-o-clock,” Jess says. “I’ve also scheduled the dry cleaning delivery for tomorrow.” 

“Thank you,” Lena says. “Anything else?”

“The housekeeping service accidentally double-booked, so they’re sending someone Wednesday,” Jess continues. “Is that acceptable or shall I insist they send someone tomorrow?”

“Wednesday is perfectly fine,” Lena nods effortlessly, even though Jess can’t see it. Kara can, though, and it’s a refreshing reminder that while Lena might be rich, she’s not the demanding, entitled type.

“The last item is about your mother,” Jess says. Kara can see as Lena deflates before her very eyes. “At her request, I’ve added her to your schedule for lunch Sunday.”

“That’s fine,” Lena says absentmindedly. She’s got a far-away look in her eye.

“That’s all then, Miss Luthor,” Jess finishes. “Have an excellent week.”

“Thank you, Jess, you too.”

The call ends and the car is silent again.

Kara waits a respectful moment before asking, “Who’s Jess?”

Lena lets out a deep sigh. “For lack of a better term, Jess is my … handler. Lillian employs her to deal with the tedious every-day tasks; scheduling, appointments, the like. She’s also supposed to handle anything I might do to embarrass or disgrace the family name. Lex had one too in college, Otis — not that it made much of a difference.”

“Is that …” Kara trails off, frowning. “Normal? For rich families.”

“Not particularly,” Lena says. “Lillian prefers to keep her hands clean of the mundane responsibilities of motherhood. Hiring handlers for her children allows her that freedom.”

“Oh,” Kara says. "Your mother sounds …" She stops, frowning deeper, unable to think of a word that’ll fit what she actually feels and not be rude.

“There’s not many words you can call her that haven’t already been said,” Lena informs her.

“I’m sorry,” Kara murmurs. 

From the limited information she knows about Lena’s mother, Kara imagines Lena’s had a very dispassionate, cold childhood. It makes sense; it explains the effortlessness of her ice queen demeanor. 

Maybe it’s just the light of the new sun, but Kara feels like she sees a bit more of Lena Luthor now.

“It’s quite alright,” Lena tilts her chin upwards. “I lead a very privileged life and I do not presume to pity myself for it.”

“So, should I call you Miss Luthor now?” Kara teases, trying to lighten the mood.

“Not if you ever want to have sex with me again.” It’s a genuine threat.

“Got it,” Kara chuckles.


Kara’s never been one to run from danger. 

In fact, as a little girl, she’d often seek it out — earning her the moniker ‘danger girl’ from her father. It’s that instinct, that thirst to stand on the edge and stare downwards at fate, that often gets her into troublesome situations.

This time is no different.

Lena’s not at Al’s this Saturday, so naturally, Kara has to find out where she is instead. It doesn’t hurt that all her friends are minutes away from brawling over the rules of an awry drinking game, and she’s fed up with them.

not coming out tonight?

hot girl bummer: Not tonight, I’m afraid. As far as your interests are concerned, I’m out of commission.

what does that mean? are you hurt??

hot girl bummer: No, Kara, I’m on my period.

Oh.

Oh…

Well, that’s a slight change of plans, but Lucy and Maggie are now full-volume yelling at each other and  Mike simultaneously, and Kara would easily take a bitchy, moody Lena Luthor over her current environment any day. (It’s honestly a bit of a scheduling miracle that this is even the first time they’ve encountered this problem, not that it’s really much of a problem anyways.)

will you be up for awhile?

hot girl bummer: Yes. I just cracked open a bottle of wine that’s way too expensive to let go unfinished.

i can come help you with it?

hot girl bummer: That’s your own ill-advised decision to make. It’s in dangerous territory.

i like danger :)

By the end of the hour, Kara’s in the gilded elevator of Lena’s swanky apartment complex, her hands full of donuts from the late-night bakery across the street from Al’s. (One donut was lost to Henry, the doorman, but it was a worthwhile sacrifice.)

hot girl bummer: Actually, stay out with your friends. Upon a secondary evaluation, you’re liable to lose your head if you come here.

too bad, i’m already here. it’s not like i use my head for anything important anyways

just open the door, please?

A moment later, the door slowly cracks open, a grumpy Lena Luthor blocking the entry. She’s dressed for comfort in sweatpants Kara didn’t even know she owned, and Kara’s sky blue Comets t-shirt. 

(Kara keeps forgetting to take her clothes back, oops. It has nothing to do with the tingle in her stomach whenever she sees Lena wearing them.)

“Danvers,” she greets in the most unimpressed tone.

“Hi to you too, Lena,” Kara says, intentionally sounding as chipper as possible. “I heard there was a wine emergency?”

“I’m not in the mood anymore, Danvers,” Lena growls. “I have a less-than-fun day planned for me tomorrow.”

“Well, how about some fried, sugary goodness to cheer you up?” Kara asks, holding up the paper bag full of donuts. She didn’t know what kind Lena would like, so she got several.

“Are you bribing me?” Lena raises an eyebrow.

“With donuts?” Kara asks. “Yes. You’re like the only person in National City who’s not getting on my nerves right now.”

“The night is still young,” Lena says ruefully. “I’m really not in the best mood, Kara, so you should go.”

The door starts to close with a slightly-apologetic smile, and Kara pulls out the last card in her deck.

 

“There’s a chocolate one.”

 

The door widens shamelessly.

“I will be on my best behavior,” Kara promises, kicking off her shoes to their usual spot.

“You had better,” Lena warns, snatching the bag of donuts out of Kara’s hands. “I’m not in a mood to be trifled with.”

“Yeah, I got that vibe,” Kara whispers under her breath, watching Lena take the donuts into the kitchen and plate them.

“Which one do you want?” Lena demands. In a smaller voice, she then asks, “Can I have the chocolate one?”

“Of course,” Kara chuckles, coming to grab a glass of water. It’s funny, it should concern her how the act is practically muscle memory at this point, but it’s so natural she doesn’t even notice. “And I’ll take the pink icing one. Water?”

“I have my wine, but thank you,” Lena declines. “Feel free to grab another wine glass and join me.”

They end up eating in the living room. Lena sits on the couch while Kara spreads out on the floor rug, so their plates occupy opposite sides of the coffee table. Lena’s about halfway through the bottle of wine that rests in the center.

“Mhph,” Lena moans, having just taken her first bite of the frosted chocolate-cake donut.

“Good right?” Kara grins, then takes a bite of her own. She then pours herself a little wine — she’s still a beer and liquor girl, but it’s growing on her.

“Delicious,” Lena agrees, wiping a piece of icing from the corner of her mouth. Kara would’ve sooner licked it off, but whatever works.

“What did your friends do to earn your ire?” Lena asks. “Other than be themselves, of course.”

“Hey, my friends are great,” Kara defends softly. “Even if they get a bit loud sometimes.”

“Are they still interrogating you over my identity?” Lena guesses.

“No, thankfully,” Kara exhales. “It’s basketball this time. This time of year always gets intense because everyone’s sore and tired and stressed with having school again. It’s not January if we’re not all at each other's' throats.”

Lena takes another bite of donut, and Kara watches with pride as joy spreads across her face.

“Anyways, we were at Al’s like usual, and Mike suggested a new drinking game,” Kara continues. “But the rules were complicated and everyone just started getting super competitive and yelling at each other.”

“Ah,” Lena bemoans. “Athletes.”

“Hey, we’re not that bad!” Kara quickly defends, mouth full of donut.

“No, I suppose some of you have a certain appeal,” Lena’s eyes flicker softly over her face. Kara swallows her last bite roughly, coughing a bit.

“Want another donut?” Kara asks, getting to her feet for seconds.

“I’m alright, but thank you, Kara,” Lena says, her voice getting a bit quieter as Kara walks into the kitchen. “I’ll admit, I’m at a bit of a loss to keep you entertained without my usual means.”

Kara rustles around in the donut bag. “You don’t have to keep me entertained, Lena. I can do that on my own.”

“Oh, can you now?” Even though Lena is a room over, Kara can easily hear the insinuation in her voice.

“Oh, not like that!” Kara flushes, returning to the living room with plate in hand. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I mean I masterba—”

She stops short at the sight of Lena’s silent giggling. Her dimples look absolutely precious under the gentle lights.

“Oh,” Kara realizes. “You’re just tormenting me.”

“It runs in the family, sorry,” Lena says. “We still have a dilemma on our hands …”

Kara hums thoughtfully, raking over her mental list of Lena’s hobbies.

“What about chess?” Kara asks. “Do you have a chess set? You could teach me how to play.”

“That I can do,” Lena smiles. “I’ll be right back.”

Kara polishes off her second donut and considers grabbing a third, but Lena returns before she can decide. The raven-haired woman is holding a short, square box between her hands. Kara shifts up to sit cross-legged on the opposite side of the coffee table from Lena.

“Here we are,” she says, setting it down on the table. The box is made of an old, dark redwood, and there’s black and white marble inlaid into the top. It’s in immaculate condition, but Kara can tell just from looking at it that it’s an old and beloved relic.

“That’s a nice board,” Kara admires.

“Thank you. It was my father’s,” Lena says softly, perching on the edge of the couch. “So — what do you know about chess?”

Kara gives a thoughtful pout as she looks out over the chessboard. “I know it’s a mental game, and there’s a bunch of little horse pieces that get lined up on the board.”

“That’s … technically accurate, if not a bit elementary,” Lena concedes. “Let’s start with the board; it should be oriented so the dark-color square is in the bottom left hand corner.”

Kara rotates the board ninety degrees to match Lena’s advice.

“Each row on the board is referred to as a rank,” Lena explains, pulling pieces out of a drawer built into the frame of the box. “Dark or light?”

“Light,” Kara answers, carefully plucking the white stone pieces out of their felt-lined compartments. The marble feels cool against her palm.

“Good choice,” Lena nods, pulling out her respective pieces and placing them directly on the board.

“Which pieces go where?” Kara asks.

“These are the pawns,” Lena holds up a small, dark piece of her own to demonstrate. “They line the entire second-to-last rank. For your last rank, do the mirror image of what I do: rook, knight, bishop, queen on her matching-color square, then the king.”

Kara begins to position the pieces accordingly, shooting a questioning glance at Lena — she nods — to ensure the pieces end up in the right places. Lena explains the different pieces and how they can move next, and Kara does her best to try and keep up. She’s got a hot girl to impress, after all.

“So how do I win?” Kara cuts to the chase.

Lena chuckles. “You win by capturing my king. Once you have a piece in place that can capture my king — which is called being in ‘check’ — you call ‘checkmate’.”

“With any piece, or does it have to be my king too?” Kara frowns down at the board, trying to picture the scenario.

“Any piece,” Lena replies. “The queen is the strongest, but each piece is valuable in it’s own way.”

“Okay, I think I got it,” Kara looks up at her, determination across her face. “Let’s do it.”

“Light-player goes first, and they always have a slight advantage because of that,” Lena smiles savagely, and Kara feels a little bit like a sheep before a wolf.

Lena’s voice drops down an octave. “And darling?  You’ll need every advantage you can get.”

She’s not joking.

The first game goes slowly, and Lena is patient with Kara as she learns, offering helpful strategies and reminders as they go — it’s the bishops that move diagonally, not the rooks — but eventually that game ends in Lena’s victory.

“Next time, try to control the center of the board,” Lena advises. “Don’t sacrifice pieces without purpose, and don’t forget to use all of them.”

“Okay,” Kara frowns in thought. That’s so many pieces to consider. Who knew chess was so hard? She would take a sport, any sport, over this any day. At least she’d stand a chance then.

“Think you can handle another round?” Lena asks.

“Bring it on,” Kara welcomes her own demise.

The second game is not slow nor patient. Lena allows Kara to move the pieces with no guidance or advice whatsoever, and she checks Kara’s king within minutes.

“I can do better,” Kara frowns, pouring herself more wine. She needs it, with this beating. “Let me try again.”

She does not do better in the third round. Or the fourth.

“Lena, this is just painful,” Kara whines. “Haven’t you ever heard of mercy?”

“I warned you, Danvers, I’m ruthless,” Lena smirks. “I don’t do anything as sentimental as mercy.”

“Clearly,” Kara’s eyes bug out as she gestures to the board, where Lena has her king in checkmate — no, check? — for the fourth time.

“Go ahead and say it,” Lena goads, leaning back into the couch.

“Say what?” Kara’s eyes narrow.

“Tell me how good I am at chess,” Lena taunts. “I think I’ve sufficiently earned the right, considering I’ve beaten you four times whilst drunk off an entire bottle of wine.”

“Oh, no,” Kara shakes her head. “The last thing I am doing is inflating your ego further. And you’ve only had like three-quarters.”

“Why not?” Lena fakes a pout. “It will still pale in comparison to yours.”

“Hey!” Kara protests. “My ego isn’t that big.”

“That’s not what you asserted the first night we slept together,” Lena smirks.

“I didn’t call my ego big,” Kara mumbles. “I called my …”

“Oh, I’m well aware of what you called big,” Lena winks and there’s a new throbbing between Kara’s legs. “I do believe we’ve since explored that … avenue.”

The Luthor grabs a hold of the almost-empty wine bottle with a grin and chugs the rest from the neck.

When the wine bottle comes back down to the table, the smile has fallen from Lena’s lips, the celebration of her victories abruptly halted.

“What’s wrong?” Kara asks. Lena’s got a very pensive look on her face, waving around the empty bottle of wine like an idle wand.

“I feel like I’m forgetting something,” she muses, zoning out, staring down at the chessboard. “But I can’t remember what it is?”

“It certainly wasn’t how to be a good sport,” Kara mumbles.

“What was that, Danvers?” Lena calls her out.

“Nothing,” Kara rolls her eyes, then softens it with a smile. “You’ve finished your wine, though, so it’s probably time for bed.”

“I suppose so,” Lena speaks slowly. “Thank you for the company tonight. It was … pleasant.”

Kara nods happily. “It was nice.”

Lena bites her lower lip, eyes riveted on Kara. “I’m drunk and emotionally-compromised right now — and that will be my excuse to the grave — so, will you stay tonight?”

Kara’s heart catches against her ribcage. “Sure, yeah, if you want me to.” Kara starts to clean up their mess in a hurry, only for Lena to grab her hand and pull her away.

“Leave it,” she says. “There’s always tomorrow.”


Kara wakes up to the sound of Lena’s apartment door opening.

That can’t be right. She’s holding Lena — shit, she’s holding Lena!

Kara jumps away from her dangerous position, retracting her arm. The immediate lack of warmth makes her long for Lena’s body against hers again. They really do fit well together.

She then shakes Lena’s shoulder, who’s still in a bit of a sleepy haze, and asks, “Who’s that?”

“Who’s who?” Lena mumbles, stretching into the morning sunlight.

“Someone just came in,” Kara says. “Were you expecting someone?”

Lena bolts upright. “Oh, fuck!”

“Lena, dear?” a voice calls. It’s female and decidedly aristocratic.

Lena turns to Kara with genuine panic in her eyes. “Hide. Now!”

“What?!” Kara whispers, very confused and shocked.

“You need to hide,” Lena pushes at her shoulders frantically, Kara awkwardly scooting out of bed along with the motion.

“What? Where?”

Lena freezes for a millisecond. “Under the bed. Grab your clothes. Do not make a single sound.”

Under the bed? That’s not — that’s not gonna work.

Kara really, really, really  doesn’t like small spaces.

“Lena, I, I don’t … small spaces are—”

“—Please, Kara,” Lena begs, and the absolute desperation in her voice tips the scales in her favor.

And that’s how Kara finds herself shoved under Lena Luthor’s bed, lying on her stomach, half-naked and clutching the rest of her clothes. She lays perfectly still, taking shallow breaths, trapped between the low metal frame and the rug over the hard floor.

She can practically feel her skin crawling away from her as the fear sets in.

But Lena needs her to endure, and she will. She’s made of steel.

Kara keeps her breathing level with slow, deep inhalations, and even slower exhalations. She’s okay, she’s not trapped or stuck, it’s not dangerous — she can get out whenever she wants to. She just doesn’t want to, right, because Lena needs her not to.

Besides, she still has some space to wiggle around. That helps too.

From her vantage point, she can see the bottom of the door out of Lena’s bedroom, a small amount of sunlight filtering in underneath. It’s a reminder of her way out, but also a window into what’s happening.

“One moment!” Lena shouts back.

Lena’s feet dart frantically across her bedroom, to the bathroom, then to the closet, then back. The bedroom door opens with a flood of light.

A pair of steep black leather heels appears in the living room, framed by the bedroom doorway.

“Mother!” Lena’s voice exclaims in surprise, walking into the doorframe, blocking it with her body. Kara can see the hem of a thick robe fall around her calves (oh, so she does actually own a long one). 

Wait, Mother?!  

Oh, fuck.

Kara doesn’t dare move a muscle. She would rather die than make a sound right now. Even if she did, she imagines Lena would give her a swift death.

“What are you doing here?” Lena asks. It’s overly polite, and it betrays her true thoughts to Kara.

“Well, I still had the spare key from the signing, so I figured I would swing by,” Lillian explains, her heels clicking against the floors. “This lunch meeting is a huge opportunity for Luthor Corp and everything needs to be flawless.”

“Right, Rose Cosmetics,” Lena says. Kara can just picture her rubbing at her brow like she does when she’s annoyed or stressed. “Why do you want to acquire a cosmetics company again? Since when do you care about selling such ‘simple consumer products’?”

“I don’t, but it’s a promising avenue for some of our newest pharmaceutical developments,” Lillian answers. “Though given our polling numbers, we need a company with a more … favorable public image to launch the products.”

“Oh, because customers don’t want to buy lipstick from the same company that sells insulin at such a high markup that patients starve to pay for it?” Lena snaps.

“Enough,” Lillian seethes. "This is why I came here, so you can get all of this childish drivel out of your system now.”

“Don’t worry, Mother, I’ll be the image of daughterly obedience during the meeting,” Lena says coolly. “I wouldn’t want to give you any more grey hairs before you can get them touched up.”

“See that you are,” Lillian warns.

Kara fidgets under the bed as she hears Lillian’s footsteps again. Don’t come closer, don’t come closer, don’t—

“Did you have company last night?” Lillian’s voice cuts right through Kara’s thoughts. “Your living room is a mess.”

The wave of judgment is so strong, Kara is surprised that Lena’s left standing. 

“Jack was over last night,” Lena lies and Kara wrinkles her nose up at it. “We played chess and split a sauvignon blanc.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re not spending your weekends frequenting disgraceful bars like your brother,” Lillian muses. 

Oh, if only she knew, Kara smiles smugly to herself. A particular bar in Metropolis comes to mind — specifically the bathroom. 

“I always liked Jack,” Lillian continues. “Smart, handsome, good family. Are you two together again?”

“Jack and I aren’t dating, Mother,” Lena spits, “And I am still very much into women, despite your best passive-aggressive attempts to alter that fact.”

Lillian lets out a lofty sigh. “Yes, you take every opportunity to remind me of that calamity.”

In the solitude of the bedroom, Kara feels her heart shatter for Lena; the pressure of the bedframe on her ribcage is the only thing holding together the fragments.

“I’ll see you at lunch, Mother,” Lena dismisses. “I need to get ready.”

“Very well,” Lillian says. “Remember, the company is run by a mother-daughter team and we need to present a united front to get them on board.”

“Yes, Mother,” Lena bites. “I’m happy to help Luthor Corp, as always.”

Instead of hearing fading, distant footsteps and the thud of the door closing like Kara expects, the clicking of Lillian’s heels halts abruptly, and Kara’s heartbeat stops with them.

“Lena … are these your shoes?” Lillian asks. There’s a noticeable sting of repulsion in her voice. “It’s not like you to wear … canvas.”

Kara’s eyes blow wide at the epiphany her slip-ons are still by Lena’s front door, discarded in a hurry during last night.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

“Oh,” Lena exhales deeply, buying herself time to think of a suitable answer. “I use them when I walk to the gym.”

There’s a moment of judgmental silence.

“They’re quick to slip on and off, Mother,” Lena elaborates, a bit of exasperation in her voice.

“Hmph, at least you’re trying to lose those extra pounds,” Lillian snorts an acceptance. “I’ll see you at lunch, twelve sharp. And make sure to look presentable, Lena, I expect better.”

And with that, Lillian is gone, but her darkness still hangs in the air.

Kara should probably give Lena a minute to decompress from that horror show, but it’s so cramped and tight under the bed, there’s hardly any air, and she’s just gotta escape.

Once she recollected herself, lungs full of air and freedom once more, Kara walks out into the living room to see Lena standing — still as a statue — over their mess from last night.

“Lena …” Kara says. She doesn’t even know what to say. Not after bearing witness to that.

Lena silences her with a harsh look, jaw firm. Her eyes are wet and it only serves to magnify the intensity of her glare. 

“Do not even start that sentence, Kara Danvers,” Lena warns. “Leave, please.” Her lips tremble the smallest amount.

“But Lena—”

“Ou-t!” she says, her voice cracking. It sounds so pained and raw, and it takes every ounce of Kara’s strength to not bound right over and take Lena into her arms. But she can tell that would do little to help the woman right now.

So Kara leaves and pretends like she doesn’t hear the shatter of glass and the broken “fuck!” that echoes down the hallway after her.


 

Chapter Text


Lena hasn’t spoken to Kara in over a week.

Despite Kara’s best efforts — five text messages, each one more subdued then the last — they haven’t talked at all.

And Lena would keep it that way, were it not for the awful twisting in her gut.

It’s been keeping her up at night, frankly, and the bags under her eyes are harsh enough that she’s finally had enough. She needs to confess.

Jack, whose spare key was reinstated in the name of emotional support, is leaning across the kitchen island from Lena.

“So you haven’t talked to Kara?” he repeats. “At all?”

“No,” Lena bemoans. “How could I?  Jack, the last time I saw her, my mother insulted me repeatedly, covering a rather wide variety of equally-mortifying topics.  I can’t believe I forgot she was visiting; I should’ve known she would come to my place first.”

“Lena, it’s not exactly news that your mother is a raging bitch,” Jack says flatly.

“But to Kara it is,” Lena says.

Sure, Kara might’ve had a suspicion after Lena’s brief mentions of Lillian, especially after Lena kicked her out one night and had to apologize the next morning. But to have Kara experience it in person, both of them completely unprepared … that was a whole different beast. 

“Besides, Kara’s mother is nothing less than fully accepting,” Lena continues. “Kara Danvers’ life has been full of nothing but sunshine and rainbows and love.”

She’s told herself that lie many times in the past several days.

“Did Kara tell you that?” Jack raises his brows.

“… in a manner of speaking,” Lena lies. 

It’s a believable lie on the surface; Kara has a healthy relationship with her sister, a loving and accepting mother, endless basketball accolades, a flawless smile, and a bright and exciting future. But deep down -- currently shoved so deep down Lena can barely hear it -- her gut is reminding her she knows that’s not true. Kara’s happiness is a mask for something, she has an ‘anniversary’ that haunts her, and she’s lost her parents. But that provides evidence contrary to what Lena needs to hear to keep living like this, so she ignores that little inner voice. 

“So what’s the worst thing that will happen if you talk to her?” Jack asks.

Lena scoffs. “My wicked witch of a mother scares her off and she says she wants nothing to do with me. And I lose out on the best sex of my life.”

“You think she’s going to end things, don’t you?” Jack asks, smirking like he knows something.

Lena’s silence answers for her.

“Lena,” Jack says slowly. “I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to think before you answer.”

Lena’s heart skips a beat. “What?”

“Do you trust Kara?” Jack’s glass clinks down on the counter.

“I—“

“—Nope!” Jack cuts her off. “Think first.”

Lena goes silent and takes his request to heart. Truthfully, she does trust Kara. She doesn’t know how or when it happened — the night after Lex’s party, or when Kara first told her she was a good person regardless of her surname, or even on the plane leaving Metropolis where she might’ve accidentally echoed this exact sentiment — but she can’t deny that it exists anymore.

For the first time in a very long time, Lena trusts someone new.

“Yes,” Lena says, surprising herself with how easily the word comes out. “I do trust her.”

“Then act like it,” Jack says. “You clearly treat each other with respect, for this arrangement to have even made it this far. Trust that her bearing witness to Lillian’s awfulness won’t change things between you two.”

“… I’ll consider it,” Lena sighs. “But I still need some time to … decompress from that whole ordeal.” 

She’s in no rush to confront Kara, putting the odds around 50/50 that the blonde ends things right then and there — not wanting to have anything to do with Lena’s horrible family. Despite whatever Jack may think he knows, that’s the likeliest end result here.

Jack’s eyes narrow. “You’re procrastinating.”

“I will speak to her again when I’m ready,” Lena insists.

“No,” Jack hums. “No, you won’t.”

But then he leaves it alone.

A few nights later, Lena’s relieved to have a distraction when Jack takes her out for a nice steak dinner downtown.

She’s a bit caught off guard when he offers to drive, and pay, but she lets it happen.

Then she gets a bit wary when he says they need to swing by campus.

And the suspicion sets in full-force when Jack makes that distinct right-turn into the athletics sub-campus. The parking lot is packed with cars, and the gym is aflame with bright lights and the roar of cheers.

“Oh, no,” Lena looks at Jack with terror across her face. “We are not doing this.”

“We are!” Jack smiles, pulling into a priority parking space. He shifts into ‘park’ with a firm finality. “Deal with it.”

Absolutely not.”

“Absolutely yes.”

Her fate is already sealed, and she knows it. Plus, Jack drove them here (which Lena quickly realizes was incredibly intentional), that bastard.

“Jack, I don’t do bleachers,” Lena objects, as a last-ditch attempt to avoid her fate. Surely, Jack wouldn’t make her suffer in such a cruel way?

“I know,” Jack winks. “We have courtside tickets, courtesy of your brother.”

“What did you tell him?” Lena demands. She digs her nails into Jack’s forearm.

“Ow!” he yelps. “Nothing; just that I was upset you went to a basketball game with him and not me. He doesn’t know about … you know.”

“I could kill you,” Lena sighs.

“You could,” Jack nods thoughtfully. “But you won’t. Because deep down … you want to go watch Kara play.”

“Shut. Up.” Lena grits her teeth.

Jack hops out of his range rover and bounces back on his heels, grinning into the car. “I’ll give you a minute to get over yourself, and then we’re going to go enjoy the game.”

It takes a minute for Lena to let all her steam out. She hates this with every fiber of her being; she hates the noise of the crowd, she hates the spectacle of it all, and she hates that he’s right

She does want to watch. She wants Kara to see her watching. They still haven’t talked since Lena unceremoniously kicked Kara out after Lillian’s visit — and it’s eating Lena alive more than ever. She hasn’t slept well in days.

Against her better judgment, she wants to see Kara, talk to Kara, feel  Kara again. Desperately.

“You good?” Jack asks patiently, once she surfaces from the vehicle.

Lena sucks on her teeth as she rolls back her shoulders. “Yes.”

“Yay!” he says, skirting off in the direction of the basketball gym. “Now, come on, the first quarter is almost starting. You need to do your powerbitch walk.”

And that’s how Lena finds herself watching Kara play basketball, up close and personal.

Jack’s picked a good game to watch.

It doesn't start that way though. NCU takes a few minutes to find their momentum, and despite the fact Lena’s found Kara a hundred times over, she seems to have no idea Lena’s there.

In fact, it doesn’t get good until a very specific moment.

A certain blonde-haired basketball superstar is dribbling up the sideline, flanked by two opposing players. She’s so close that Lena can see the stitching of her compression leggings, the watch-tan on her forearm, and the sky blue mouthguard hidden under her lips. Kara stops her advance abruptly, pivots a leg backward, and turns her head to the crowd to conceal her eyes. Then? Steel blue meets frosty green.

The basketball practically falls from Kara’s hands.


Kara’s always locked in.

If there’s a basketball game that day, that’s the only thing she thinks of. She’s fully locked in.

She’s locked in early when she’s sitting in class, re-running plays in her mind instead of listening to Professor Lockwood drone on.

She’s locked in whilst lying on a training room table before the game, heating her sore, achy muscles, thinking of nothing but the battle about to erupt in an hour.

She’s locked in when she dresses in the locker room, donning her uniform. They’re home today, which means white kits. 

Dressing is a meditative process that only locks her in further. There’s layers to it: sports bra, mid-calf compression leggings that are reinforced in the knee, and a pair of fresh white socks. Then it’s the white sleeveless jersey with the sky blue ‘11’ ringed in black, the hem of which gets shoved into the elastic waistband of her shorts, loose and falling above her knees. Then it’s the hair, thrown up into a tight ponytail with a white headband to keep any annoying baby-hairs out of the way. Last are the shoes; almost ethereal white.

She’s locked in more than ever.

Then she throws away the lock’s key — her final, essential pregame ritual. 

It’s a sacred moment of preparation. Kara unhooks the gold necklace from around her neck, twists the chain around the crest pendant, and presses the metal into the firm flesh of her inner left bicep. Alex comes over to wrap a strip of self-adhesive bandage over it, holding it snug in place. Then Kara rolls her sky-blue arm sleeve up over it, integrating it into her whole. 

(Despite the college athletics association’s rules, Kara will never separate from her necklace.) It’s a part of her very being — to her, it’s what makes her Supergirl.

With it, she’s fully locked in.

She walks onto the court with the aire of a godling floating confidently over her world.

Kara’s always locked in.

Until she sees a pair of green eyes along the sidelines, and her hands go numb and her pass falls completely short, right into the hands of the other team.

Fuck.

It’s a scramble to recover. Kara darts after her costly mistake, jumping up to slam the ball tight against the backboard, the layup blocked.

She’s locked back in now.

She has to be; she has an audience to impress now.

“Hey, good block,” Alex pants, slapping Kara on the back. “But maybe next time, make a smarter pass so we don’t have to hustle like that, yeah?”

“Yeah, sorry,” Kara nods in agreement, lungs empty. She sets her hands on her hips and gazes out over the sideline full of spectators. 

Blue eyes hit green again, and while Lena’s perfect red lips hold their frown, a small nod of acknowledgment is made.

That’s all Kara needs.

The shot clock resets; the firm, pebbled ball is under Kara’s palm again, and she’s got a singular goal.

Win.

It’s Kara’s best game of the season so far. She completely shatters her career-best for points in a game, and it’s only the end of the third quarter.

They break before the beginning of the fourth, and the Comets’ huddle up around each other.

“Congrats, Kara!” Nia beams, handing her a full bottle of water. A few other teammates echo the sentiment, slapping her on the back. Alex looks the proudest of them all.

“Thanks,” Kara exhales, a proud smile on her face.

“Excellent work out there, ladies,” J’onn clenches his fist with a smile on his face, before rattling off how best to adjust their strategy to finish the game. Kara tries her best to listen, twisting her mouth-guard idly between her molars, ignoring the blurry silhouette of Lena over J’onn’s shoulder.

“Alright, let’s go get ‘em girls,” Alex holds out her hand for the team cheer. “3, 2, 1…”

The “Let’s go Comets!” that leaves Kara’s mouth is automatic. Mentally, she’s already out on the court, strolling over to the far sideline, capturing Lena’s eyes with her own, and giving her the most confident wink Kara has in her.

And that’s exactly what she does.

Kara’s never felt so electrified.

Lena’s here — despite over a week of radio silence — and Kara has no idea what’ll happen after the game, but that doesn’t matter right now. What does matter is Lena’s here in the flesh, only a few feet away from Kara, and she’s watching.

The same can’t be said for Kara.

On the next play, Kara’s got the ball, and she makes a drive up the sideline against the opposing team’s best attempts to stop her; suddenly, she hits something hard and she’s on her back against the cold wooden floor.

“Oof,” Kara exhales, a hand coming up to clutch her forehead. There’s another groan beside her.

“You good?” Kara asks, reaching her free hand out for the girl who collided with her.

“Not really,” the girl mumbles, clutching her head too. “Trainer …”

There’s something warm and wet rolling down Kara’s face as she sits up. “Trainer!” Kara yells, waving at the sidelines.

“Kara!” Alex is by her side instantly, hoisting her up to her feet then setting her hands over Kara’s.

“I’m okay,” Kara smiles, a bit disoriented — and fuck, her forehead is throbbing — but undeterred.

“Shit, you’re bleeding a lot,” Alex says, glancing down at one of her hands. It’s red.

Alex quickly steers Kara by the shoulders over to the Comets’ bench. One of their athletic trainers, Demos, meets them mid-way and flanks Kara’s other side as they sit her down off the court.

“Nia, in for Kara!” J’onn barks, wrinkles of concern across his forehead. “Alana for Alex!” 

The whistle rings out behind Kara as play resumes.

“Kara, let me see,” Demos says, as he pulls Kara’s hand away from her scalp.

Kara lets out a hiss at the pain that rushes in to fill the void left by the lack of pressure.

“It’s okay,” Alex soothes. “It’s okay, it’s not bad, it’s okay.”

“I’m fine,” Kara grunts. It’s really not that painful. Her eyes are a little wet, but no true tears.

“That’s a nice laceration,” Demos mumbles to himself, poking through her hair.

“Do I need stitches?” Kara asks.

“Glue for sure,” Demos says, dabbing at the wound. “Too close to bone for stitches.”

“What a shame,” Kara deadpans.

“Not one for needles?” Demos asks.

Alex snorts beside her, wiping Kara’s blood off her hand with one of Demos’ wipes. “Hah. Kara’s a huge baby about needles.”

“They’re not my favorite,” Kara admits.

“Alex!” J’onn calls. Despite the summons that Alex clearly desperately wants to follow, she doesn’t move — and she won’t, no matter what — until Kara tells her to.

“Go, I’m okay,” Kara assures.

Alex squeezes her bicep, nods once, and darts off to hop back into the game.

Kara hisses again as Demos starts to dig around in the open part of her wound.

“Sorry, “ Demos says, not relenting in the slightest. The pile of bloody wipes keeps growing.

“Will it scar?” Kara coughs, trying to distract herself from the searing sensation of the alcohol wipe. 

“Most likely,” Demos confirms, “Though it’ll be hidden in your hairline.”

“Oh,” Kara exhales. “That’s not bad.”

“You’ll live,” Demos smirks.

“Are you almost done?” Kara fidgets. “Can I go back in?”

“Sorry, Kara,” Demos shakes his head. “Not gonna happen.”

“Demos, I’m fine,” Kara whines.

“I haven’t even started gluing yet,” Demos argues, “And we have to run you through concussion protocol next.”

“I don’t have a concussion,” Kara objects. “I feel completely fine!”

“Have you seen how you look right now?”

“But …” Kara protests. She turns her head to skim the faces of the people sitting courtside; she almost makes it to where Lena’s sitting, only for Demos to grab her head and twist it back to face him.

“Nope,” Demos says. “Besides, your jersey is covered in blood; they won’t let you play in that biohazard.”

“There’s an extra in the Blood Bag—”

“No, Alex took it,” Demos says. Sure enough, her older sister is out on the court right now, wearing the number 55 instead of her usual 2, shooting a free-throw in the last of Kara’s hopes and dreams.

Kara lets out a deep sigh.

“Guess I’m not going back in then,” she mumbles.

“Now you’re getting it,” Demos agrees.

Well, that wasn’t exactly the plan.


The very first thing Kara does once she gets into the locker room is grab her phone.

She knew Jack was going to try and bring Lena to the game tonight, but after an hour of warm-ups and pregame fanfare, their two courtside seats remained empty, and so Kara pushed aside any idle thoughts of Lena Luthor to better focus on the one thing that would never change.

She didn’t expect Lena would actually be there.

But then she was there. 

And — fuck, right! — hopefully still is.

Direct Message from spheerical: FYI I drove Lena here, so she can’t exactly leave easily, but she’s not in a patient mood

Direct Message from spheerical: Sorry about your head Danvers, but any way you could hurry it up? Lena’s getting suspicious

Shit.

jack, are you guys still here?

Direct Message from spheerical: Yes, I’ve got her over by the trophies now

i’ll be there in ten

It actually takes her about fifteen minutes, between getting into her clothes without getting blood on them, and then talking Alex into leaving without her — which turns into Kara practically begging Maggie to take her smothering, overprotective girlfriend home. Kara finally escapes, the keys to Alex’s car in her hand, and sneaks off towards the hallway where Jack’s laid the trap.

She doesn’t get there a moment too soon.

“Jack, can we please leave now?  Lena’s voice rings out. She sounds thoroughly exasperated. “I have no interest in who won the tennis championship fifty years ago. We already saw Kara’s trophy, that’s the only interesting item here.”

Kara breaks out into a grin, pulling against the medical adhesive on her forehead. Lena saw their National Championship trophy. And it was interesting.

“Patience, Lena, darling,” Jack says.

Kara walks down the hall towards them as silently as possible, not wanting to spook Lena before she can use her puppy-eyed charm to buy her a few minutes to say what she needs to say. Thankfully, the hallway is dimmer than usual; half the lights are turned off to conserve power, since it’s now after-hours. The shadows keep Kara’s identity unknown as she gets closer.

“I have been patient with you this entire night,” Lena chides. “You have well and truly reached the end of my capacity.”

One of Kara’s shoes squeaks on the tile. Both silhouettes turn to face her.

“This is an ambush,” Lena realizes.

“Hi,” Kara exhales. She’s still tucked into the shadows, but it’s clear Lena’s figured out what’s happening by now. “Can we talk?”

Lena’s head slowly turns to face Jack for a moment, then back toward Kara. “It would seem we will regardless of my feelings on the matter.”

“I’m sorry,” Kara says, yanking nervously on the strap of the backpack thrown over her shoulder. She takes the few final steps into the light at the end of the hall. “Don’t be mad at Jack, I asked for his help. I didn’t know how else to—”

“—oh my god, Kara, your face!” A hand flies up to cover Lena’s mouth.

Her face?

Kara’s wound throbs in reminder.

Oh, right! That face.

“What?” Kara grins cockily, pointing at her forehead. “This little thing? It’s just a scratch.”

“That would be significantly easier to believe if I didn’t have eyeballs,” Lena quips, stepping closer. “Does it hurt?”

Kara clears her throat as Lena’s hand twitches outwards, as if to touch her. The hand is snatched right back.

“A little,” Kara admits. “But I’ve had worse.”

“Well, good,” Lena collects herself again, jutting out a proud jaw. “Because it won’t do you any favors. If I wanted to talk to you, Danvers, I would have.”

“Lena,” Kara flinches. “I don’t want to make you do anything you don’t want to do, but I really do think we should talk. I know you and you wouldn’t still be here if a small part of you didn’t agree.”

“Fine,” Lena sighs. “Say what you so desperately need to say, Kara.”

“I’ll leave you two alone,” Jack bows out, and walks away. 

He doesn’t leave unscathed; a wicked glare from Lena follows him, and for a split second Kara is grateful to not be the one on the receiving end. It doesn’t last long.

“I … I just wanted to ask how you’re doing,” Kara says, taking a deep breath. “After Lillian’s visit, you stopped responding and I was worried!”

“How saintly,” Lena deadpans. “I’m fine, Kara. I hardly think it was worth the trouble of roping Jack into this treacherous gambit.”

“The game was Jack’s idea,” Kara mumbles. “I just wanted to talk.”

“And have you finished?” Lena snaps. “Talking?”

A frown sinks into Kara’s face. “No, what, w—why are you being so difficult about this?”

“Oh, I’m being difficult?” Lena’s eyebrows shoot upwards. “It was your undeterred insistence to join me Saturday night that we’re even having this conversation right now.”

“You asked me to stay!” Kara exclaims. “I didn’t know your mom would barge in!”

“Enough,” Lena sighs. “Say what you need to say so we can be finished.”

“Finished?” Kara flinches. “No, Lena, that’s not what this is! I just wanted to see if you were okay. I imagine everything with your mom was really hard on you, and the fact that I was there … I, I just wanted to apologize.”

Lena’s brow sinks. “You want to … apologize?”

“Yeah,” Kara nods. “I realize me being there probably made things a lot harder for you, and I’m sorry for compromising your privacy like that.”

“So … you don’t want this to be over?” Lena asks slowly.

“No,” Kara shakes her head vigorously. “No, not at all. Things are good between us.”

Lena doesn’t react at first.

A frown crosses Kara’s face. “Wait, do you want this to be over?”

“No,” Lena exhales, lips quivering in her relief. “No, I … I’m having a lot of fun.”

“Oh, good,” Kara’s entire body relaxes. “Well … are we good then? Are you still mad?”

Lena doesn’t say anything for a moment.

“Lena?”

“I’m sorry, Kara, I wasn’t mad at you,” Lena says, stepping closer. “Lillian seems to — repeatedly — bring out the worst in me. Please, can you just forget everything that you heard?”

“Sure,” Kara says. “But for what it’s worth, none of that stuff your mom said is true. You deserve to be treated better than she treats you.”

“I … I know,” Lena admits. “But my family, being who we are, it makes all of that a bit more complicated.”

“I’m sorry you have to deal with that,” Kara says genuinely. “You really are a good person, Lena. You deserve happiness and love.”

Lena lets out a rueful chuckle. “You know, you’ve always been good at saying that like you mean it.”

“Because I do.”


Much to Kara’s surprise (and delight), Lena elects to head back to the Danvers’ apartment, citing some responsibility to ‘ensure the person with the head wound gets home safely’. It makes her feel all warm inside. Kara drives the both of them back in Alex’s car, and by some luck, she snags a decent street parking spot. They then head upstairs, Lena constantly shooting careful quick appraisals of Kara’s head when she thinks the blonde can’t see.

“Alex is over at Maggie’s. Do you want to stay here tonight?” Kara asks, face-first in her fridge. She pulls out a big bag of leftover pizza with ‘Kara’ scribbled in marker all over it.

“If you don’t mind,” Lena tilts her head.

“Not at all,” Kara smiles. “Pizza?”

“I’m alright,” Lena declines. “Jack and I ate before the game.”

“Suit yourself,” Kara shrugs, plopping four massive slices onto a plate.

“Hungry?” Lena raises an eyebrow as the small mountain of bread is thrown into the microwave.

“You literally just watched me play an entire game of basketball,” Kara protests, faking indignance.

“Almost an entire game,” Lena corrects. “You lost several minutes after they had to fix your face.”

“Well aren’t you a stickler,” Kara grumbles, digging into her second dinner of the day. “They didn’t have to ‘fix’ my face, that makes it sound like something’s wrong with it.”

Lena gives Kara an incredulous look. “Kara, do you have any idea how much blood was dripping down your face?”

Kara shrugs. “Face wounds just bleed a lot,” she says, digging into another slice. “Phere jusph like phat.”

“I see your manners have gone out the window, in your state of hunger,” Lena arches an eyebrow. “Didn’t anyone tell you not to talk with your mouth full?”

Oh, more than Lena could imagine. Now, Kara would rattle off some examples, but that is a very long list of people, and she has more important things to do with her mouth. Mainly involving her pizza and Lena (in that order).

“So, so many times,” Kara says emphatically. “None of them have been successful.”

Lena lets out a dramatic sigh for Kara’s benefit. “And well, I think you would understand why I said ‘fix’ if you had seen your face,” Lena says, scrolling on her phone, clearly in search of something. “Ah — here.”

She holds up her phone for Kara to see. It’s a photo embedded in an NCU Sports article summarizing the night’s game; Kara remembers the moment vividly, but it’s odd to be on the other side of it, looking in at herself.

The photo is of her on the sidelines after the collision. Demos, and another athletic trainer Kara didn’t even realize was there too, are inspecting her scalp while Alex and Kara exchange words. (Alex had been telling her ‘it’s okay’ on repeat, though now looking at the concern captured on her older sister’s face, it was probably more for her own benefit then Kara’s.)

Kara’s bloody-white headband is pushed back over the apex of her head, and there’s a bloody half-handprint (Alex’s) on the shoulder of her jersey. Kara’s holding one hand up, inches away from her forehead to give the trainer a better look — bright red seeping from between her fingers. Her face looks the worst of it; in her attempt to apply some pressure to the wound, she had simply spread blood across the whole right half of her forehead and down her temple.

“Oh, so that’s why they used so many wipes,” Kara marvels. “And why there’s so much blood still in my hair.”

Lena’s eyes flicker up the right side of Kara’s scalp, and Kara’s heart rate goes too. 

“You don’t seem remotely fazed by that,” Lena notes.

“Nah,” Kara says, biting a chunk of pizza crust. “Should I?”

“You’re really made of steel, aren’t you, Danvers?” Lena’s eyes rake down her form, shining with admiration or lust, Kara’s not sure. Maybe both, hopefully.

“Practically bulletproof,” Kara smiles. “Plus, I always seem to heal fast.”

“Well, let’s not go testing that, Supergirl,” Lena says.

“Why, Luthor?” Kara teases. “Worried about me?”

“Perhaps,” Lena concedes, and it makes Kara’s heart leap forward. “I need you and those fingers in good, working order, after all.”

Kara’s smile falters a little. Her fingers, right.

“Was that also a gift from another disgruntled ex?” Lena asks. From the look in her eyes, she’s only half teasing.

“No,” Kara chuckles, “I didn’t know that girl. Just an unlucky hit; she got the worst of it.”

“Well I’m glad you only have one aggressive ex after you,” Lena muses, her eyes trailing the angry red edges of the wound.

“One or two,” Kara shrugs playfully. “Maybe three.”

“What do you do to piss them off so greatly?” Lena gives her an inquisitive look, as if she’s studying a puzzle that’s missing a piece.

“I don’t know,” Kara huffs, waving a slice of pizza around. “It just always blows up in my face, every time, except James.”

“You dated James Olsen?” Lena’s eyebrows shoot up.

“For like a month max, end of freshman year,” Kara quickly assures. “We did not work, romantically. It was a very short-lived, safety-rebound situation.”

“Wow, I can’t even picture that,” Lena laughs.

“Yeah, it wasn’t a good look for us,” Kara agrees. “We’re much better off as friends.”

“I thought you said — from your experience — people can’t be friends with their exes?” Lena challenges. “When you improperly assumed Jack was my boyfriend.”

“Well, he was once your boyfriend,” Kara mumbles in her defense. “And James is different. We were friends first.”

“Ah, a loophole.”

“Not really,” Kara shrugs. “Besides, James is the only one that doesn’t seem to hate my guts now.”

“And you had the audacity to try and tell me you weren’t a fuckboy,” Lena says. “You’re so stereotypical it hurts.”

“Hey!” Kara protests. “It’s not my fault they always want more.”

“Want more?” Lena fake retches. “Could you have a bigger ego? Why don’t you just start bragging about how they can’t fit you in a Trojan?”

“No, no, not like that,” Kara quickly corrects. “I meant like more. I tried more with Leslie and that blew up in my face. After that, and then James, I decided to just keep things simple. Relationships don’t work for me.”

Lena hums curtly. “They don’t seem to work out particularly well for me either.”

“That’s okay,” Kara says. “Friends-with-benefits with you does work for me.”

“Me too,” Lena says softly. “I … I saw my ex back in Metropolis.”

Kara’s heart plummets past the mass of recently-consumed pizza in her stomach. “Oh. Who?”

“Her name is Sam Arias,” Lena explains. “We dated for about a year, but I knew her for two.”

“That’s a long time,” Kara marvels. Her shoulders sag a bit.

“It ended last spring,” Lena explains. “Sam was just here in National City to get her MBA. She moved back to Metropolis for work. Oh, and get this — Lex hired her to work for Luthor Corp a few months ago.”

“Did he tell you?” Kara asks, mouth slightly agape.

“No,” Lena shakes her head, sucking on her teeth. “And I barreled right into her office one night, expecting to find Lex.”

“Oh my god,” Kara stifles a laugh. “Oh no.”

“‘Oh no’ is right, Danvers,” Lena agrees. “It was mortifying.”

“Really?” Kara asks. “That bad?”

“Well, I suppose not,” Lena reconsiders. “It was nice to have my questions answered.”

“Questions?”

“Yes,” Lena says. “You ever have that one person you think back on and wonder about? If you were both just slightly different people, what would’ve been?”

“Not romantically, no. But I get wondering how life would be different, I really do,” Kara says softly. Her heart gives a little pang of yearning, for more than one thing. “What happened with you two?”

“Sam was … very important to me,” Lena says slowly, pulling on her fingers. “She was every bit a positive influence where everyone else in my past wasn’t.”

“So then what went wrong?” Kara asks. “If you don’t mind talking about it …?”

“It’s fine,” Lena folds her arms over her chest and leans forward on them. “Sam’s a few years older and she has a daughter, Ruby. She has a whole different set of responsibilities than me. There wasn’t enough room for me in her life, and she left.”

“I’m sorry, Lena,” Kara says. “You deserve someone who will make room for you.”

“Thank you, Kara,” Lena takes a deep breath. “Sam didn’t tell me that she was moving back to Metropolis; I figured it out myself first. I was … very hurt that she didn’t tell me. She betrayed my trust. Though, I come from a family of tricksters and liars, so I should be used to it by now.”

“Well, hey, you don’t have to worry about that with me,” Kara makes a promise she shouldn’t. “Lucy says I’m a terrible liar.”

“I believe it,” Lena says. “You’re too genuine for that. And for what it’s worth, nothing happened with Sam, other than closure.”

The vice is lifted from Kara’s heart.

“I’m glad,” Kara says, then quickly realizes how it sounds. “That you got closure!”

A moment of silence passes.

“I probably shouldn’t have told you all of that,” Lena smiles ruefully. “Fuck buddies don’t do the exes-talk.”

“I don’t mind,” Kara assures. “Besides, we’re friends-with-benefits. And friends are there for each other.”

She means those words 100%, yet they still leave a funny taste in her mouth.

“I suppose so,” Lena stands.

“Hey, did Andrea ever mention that night in Metropolis with Sara?” Kara asks.

“No,” Lena chuckles. “No, she’s ‘holding that information hostage’ until I share your identity.”

“I could always just text Sara and ask?” Kara offers, chuckling a bit too. “If you really want to know.”

Lena’s eyes light up with amusement. “Using those fabled brain cells, are you, Danvers?”

“Yeah, yeah. If you want to wash up, I’ll pull out some clothes for you,” Kara offers, stepping back from her empty plate. “I need to shower to get the blood out of my hair, so I’ll go after you.”

“Well, we are in the age of climate change, Kara. We should shower together to conserve water,” Lena smiles coyly, leaning forward. “If you want to, that is.”

“Well …” Kara breaks out in a grin. “If it’s in the name of saving the planet …”

The shower, while nobly intended to conserve water, probably spends more than if they had just gone separately. 

Kara’s not complaining though. It gets the blood out of her hair, and also down somewhere else between her legs. It’s not the sexiest shower they’ve ever taken though; she has to wear a special waterproofing patch to keep her wound dry (a Luthor Corp product, actually) and it apparently makes her look ridiculous, if Lena’s giggling is anything to go by.

“Now that I’m not freezing-cold this time, I have to say, your shower water doesn’t get particularly hot,” Lena notes, toweling off.

“Yeah,” Kara grimaces as she pulls the compromised waterproofing patch off. “That’s about as warm as it gets.”

“The horror,” Lena shivers.

“Well,” Kara says with a smile. “I do know a good way to warm back up …”

Kara will never tire of having a naked Lena Luthor in her bed, a stretch of silicone uniting them as one.

“You know,” Kara smirks, keeping the pace slow and relaxed. “I had a new career best tonight.”

Lena gives Kara a look of absolute admonishment. “Kara Danvers, do not talk about basketball when you are inside of me. Understood?”

“Understood.” Kara winks and speeds up as an answer, noting how desperately Lena’s watching the muscles of her arms flex from underneath her.

“Can you do something for me?” Lena gasps, legs tight around Kara’s waist, pulling her closer.

“Anything,” Kara nods, hips rocking forward continuously.

Lena bites her lower lip as she stares at Kara, clearly debating something. “Give me your hand.”

Kara obliges, shifting her weight onto one arm.

Lena brings Kara’s hand up to her pale neck and wraps both their fingers around. “Squeeze from the sides, not the front. Gradually go firmer.”

“I know how to choke, Lena,” Kara swallows, a soft frown on her face. “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Lena nods. “I trust you.”

Kara has no idea how to feel about that, so she locks in to the task at hand.

“Tap me three times or use your words,” Kara states, tensing her hand slightly inward with controlled strength. “Good?”

“Yes,” Lena gasps under her. Kara starts rocking her hips again.

“More?” Kara asks, watching Lena’s face for any single sign of distress. There’s nothing. There’s not a single thing to indicate Lena’s having anything less than a fantastic time; her pupils are blown wide and breathy moans keep escaping from her perfect lips.

“More,” Lena demands.

Kara delivers with mindful, tempered strength.

Lena starts to come undone underneath Kara's flexed arms and refined power, but it’s Kara who utterly falls apart. The friction is enough for them to hit their peaks at the same time, and Kara all but collapses on top of Lena.

“Fuck,” Kara exhales into Lena’s neck.

“Fuck,” Lena agrees. “You're heavy. Next time, I’ll  be on top.”

Next time? On top? That mental image practically explodes Kara’s poor brain.

“Kara, off,” Lena nudges her playfully. “Smothering isn’t what I requested.”

Kara pulls her into a deep kiss before pulling out and plopping down by Lena’s side.

“So …” Kara says, a playful lilt to her voice. “You liked being choked?”

She can hear Lena’s eyes roll in the darkness of the apartment. “I truly would kill you right now, Kara, but then I’d be out a half-way decent fuck buddy.”

The back of Lena’s hand comes up to playfully swat at her face. It brushes against Kara’s fresh wound, glue not doing anything to dull the sensitivity in such a tender area. 

“Ah!” Kara hisses. “Head.”

“Oh, Kara, I’m so sorry!” Lena exclaims, sitting upright to grab her phone. “I completely forgot.”

“It’s fine, hey, don’t worry,” Kara assures. “I’m fine. I’ve got a hard head.”

“I’m sorry,” Lena squeaks again. Her phone screen lights up and Kara can see the breathtaking profile of her face now.

“Don’t worry, Luthor,” Kara nudges her with her shoulder playfully. “And I won’t say anything; I don’t share what’s not mine to say. Thank you for trusting me.”

“Of co— shit, Kara, I think you’re bleeding!” Lena holds her hand under the light of her phone. “You are.”

“Shit …” Kara groans, begrudgingly sitting up and ripping the sheets off. “I must’ve ripped the glue.”

“It’s okay, it’s not a lot,” Lena says, setting a gentle hand on Kara’s bare thigh. “I’ll clean it up in the bathroom.”

Lena’s going to clean it. For some odd reason, the thought of that sends a shiver down Kara’s entire body.

Kara’s voice feels very small when she whispers, “Okay.”

They clean up quickly and redress — both in Kara’s shirts and boxers — before heading to the bathroom. Coming from the soothing darkness of her bedroom, the fluorescent bathroom lights sting Kara’s eyes. She tries incredibly hard not to imagine what the next few minutes will be like; nowhere to hide under Lena’s piercing, attentive stare, her light touch against Kara’s broken skin, their lips only inches apart.

They’ve kissed before, many times, but this is different. 

This is undeniably raw.

Desperate for something to occupy her, Kara pulls out the first aid kit from beneath the sink vanity, only for Lena to pluck it from her hands and start digging around.

“Do you want me to stand or sit?” Kara asks, shifting back and forth on her legs.

“Stand,” Lena says, turning back around to face the blonde. “But tilt your head down.”

Kara obeys.

“Hold still for me,” Lena orders, wrapping one soft hand under Kara’s jaw. Her grip is firm, riveting Kara’s skull in place, but it does absolutely nothing to stop her racing heart.

Something cold and wet starts to wipe at her wound.

Kara doesn't know where the breath to speak comes from, because there’s certainly very little in her chest.

“Thanks for doing this,” she whispers.

“Anything for you, Supergirl,” Lena teases, and never in her life has Kara wanted words to be genuine more.

Lena’s fingers are so gentle, so soft, so soothing against her scalp, and Kara can feel her eyes fall closed under Lena’s careful ministrations.

It’s a peace she’s truly never known.

“There,” Lena says softly, and Kara’s eyes open to meet emerald green. Every single molecule of air is gone from the room, taking the walls with it. The only thing left is Lena.

It hits Kara like the birth of a new star: Lena Luthor, I could fall in love with you.

Oh.

Oh, no.


Kara awakens to a terrifying realization.

She caught feelings.

She, Kara Danvers — apparent fuckboy-extraordinaire — has feelings for Lena Luthor.

Kara very slowly turns her head to the side, dreading looking upon the face of her realized affection.

The bed space beside her is empty, and Kara closes her eyes in relief. Well that’s a small mercy. 

But Lena Luthor doesn’t do mercy, and apropos to that very fact, her face appears in the doorway of Kara’s bedroom.

“Good morning,” Lena smiles softly, eyes sparkling in the sunlight. She leans against the doorframe; hair up, minimal makeup, dressed in her jeans from last night and another one of Kara’s sweatshirts.

It’s cruel, really. No one should get to look that good this early in the morning.

“G-good morning,” Kara chokes out. Great, way to sound natural.

“Are you alright?” Lena asks, walking closer, worry across her face. “You look like you’re in pain.”

“I’m fine,” Kara squeaks. I caught feelings for you. She shoots the woman the largest, brightest smile she can muster. I like you. I could fall in love with you, I’m fine.

Fuck, she needs to get out of this bed and find something to do before she says something stupid.

“I picked up Noonan’s,” Lena says. “You need food for your head, but I wasn’t sure what you’d like, so there are a few things to choose from.”

“Hell yeah,” Kara cheers, swinging her legs out of the bed to sit up.

Moving quickly is apparently an equally terrible idea as remaining in the bed would’ve been, as her wound gives a painful pulse. Thankfully, it’s just surface level (no concussion here).

“Oh, fuck,” Kara mumbles, clutching her head. She shuts her eyes and runs a feather-light finger around the wound.

“Are you alright?” In a split second, Lena’s soft hands are resting on Kara’s bare knees and there's a body between her legs. 

Kara opens her eyes. Lena Luthor is on her knees between Kara’s legs, looking up at Kara, her green eyes full of warm concern.

Kara’s heart melts to a place she hasn’t felt in a very long time. She feels a bit like a deity, the subject of such a revenant gaze.

“Kara?” Lena prompts again. 

“Never better,” Kara gasps. She’s not sure if it’s truth or lie.

“Good,” Lena accepts with a nod, standing up.

Kara follows to her feet, moving a bit slower. She doesn’t have her contacts in, and she doesn’t know where her glasses ended up, but it’s for the best she can’t see in high-def right now. It’s better to have her senses dim — less likely to overwhelm her — and hope her resolve holds.

Lena steps forward, places a hand on Kara’s shoulder, and pulls herself in to inspect Kara’s wound. The blonde holds still as steel, barely breathing. Their lips still hover only inches apart, and Kara has never known a temptation like this one.

“This looks better,” Lena notes, eyes staring intensely at the broken skin. A cold shiver runs down Kara’s entire body. “There’s considerable bruising adjacent but the scab looks solid.”

Kara can’t do anything but give a single nod.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I borrowed one of your sweatshirts,” Lena says, stepping back and pulling at the fabric over her torso.

It’s Kara’s favorite sweatshirt; royal blue with a black and red meteor on the front — the colors of the Metropolis Meteors. Clark had given it to her as a gift the last time he re-signed with the Meteors.

Mind? Fuck, in this moment, she would let Lena take any item of clothing she wants. Or all of them. Anything to see her wearing something of Kara’s.

“It looks good on you,” Kara says instead, eyes raking over Lena with admiration. More like perfect, she thinks.

“Thank you,” a bit of pink appears on Lena’s cheeks. “I thought it would be the most discreet, since the rest of your clothes seem to be thoroughly labeled with your name and number.”

“Discreet?” Kara blanks.

“Very funny,” Lena shakes her head, smiling. “I realize we’ve half-way discarded the rules, but some of them still exist, Kara.”

Oh, fuck. The rules. Right.

How unfortunate that Kara had just blown the last remaining one to ash and stardust.

That would certainly mean the instantaneous end of things, if Lena knew. If she knew.

But … she doesn’t need to know. Not yet.

And in that moment, Kara resolves herself to face an impossible decision: lie and keep Lena in her life for a little longer, or tell the truth and lose her on the spot.

It’s an easy choice after all.

She still wants this.

“Hey, it’s not my fault I’m practically showered with free gear; athlete perks,” Kara says, shoving her feelings so deep within, it might as well be entombed in the Earth’s inner core. “Besides, I seem to have a lot less in my possession than usual.”

“If you would remember to take your possessions back, you wouldn’t have this concern,” Lena points out. “There’s a small mountain of basketball clothes in my closet waiting for you.”

“Fair,” Kara smiles, using the sweatshirt in question to pull Lena in for a kiss before she can stop herself.

Oh, too much? No, that’s normal, it’s okay, she’s done that plenty of times before. It would be weird to not do it. Right?

“Come on,” Lena says when they break apart, lips twisted up into a hint of a smile. “Go eat, I know you’re dying to.”

Kara darts right for the kitchen. Spread out on the counter are multiple paper bags and a cup labeled ‘pumpkin spice latte, xtr. foam, cinnamon’. 

Lena remembered her favorite.

That dropkicks Kara’s heart into the stratosphere. But she ignores it.

“Lena, this isn’t a ‘few things’ to choose from,” Kara marvels at the array. “This is like half the menu! I would know, I was a waitress there last summer.”

“You were?” Lena asks. “And it’s nothing, I wanted to ensure you were well fed. Wound healing is impaired under a calorie deficit.”

"Look at you,” Kara smiles, grabbing the bag that looks like it would be filled with pastries. “You’re hot when you talk science.”

Lena snorts and rolls her eyes. “You’re easy to please.”

“It’s one of my charms,” Kara jokes, biting into a muffin. She looks over at Lena’s empty hands with concern, “Did you get yourself anything?”

“I finished my coffee already,” Lena says, “I should go. I have class and I still need to go home and change my clothes.”

Kara nods, stepping back and glancing at the time. “Probably for the best. Alex will be home any minute. Oh — and grab a scone! You need to eat.” 

She holds out the paper bag for Lena to dig through.

“Wouldn’t want to tempt fate, I suppose,” Lena says, obliging the blonde by taking a pastry. “I’ll see you around, Danvers.”

“Bye, Lena,” Kara smiles softly, watching as the raven-haired woman disappears behind the wooden door.

Kara doesn’t move from her spot in the foyer, stuck just staring at the cheap dingy door, mind empty yet terribly full at the same time. She’s not sure how much time passes. She just stays perfectly still in that moment, afraid of what it’ll mean when she leaves it. If she doesn’t move, she doesn’t have to deal with the catastrophe brewing inside.

Then, she no longer has a choice.

The door swings open in a fury and a familiar head of auburn hair appears in its place.

“Hi,” Alex smiles wickedly. The door slams shut behind her. She crosses her arms and narrows her eyes, looking concerningly ready to rip Kara’s head off. 

“Everything okay?” Kara looks at her with concern. She’s already full on crises for today.

“You tell me,” Alex states. “Why did Lena Luthor just walk out of our apartment wearing your sweatshirt?”

Kara’s heart stops.



Fuck!


 

Chapter Text


(Al’s Dive Bar, back in November …)

Kara has a fuck buddy.

Alex is fine with it, really. She knows who her sister is, and the reputation she has. Alex has settled her initial mortification into begrudging resignment. She knows Kara’s smart and safe — that had been quite the uncomfortable discussion — and Alex has learned not to worry. 

She still does a little bit … only because Kara has the worst taste in women. Alex blames it on Kara’s hero, knight-in-shining-armor complex. Always trying to save everyone. It got her hurt with Leslie, and Alex is terrified it’s going to happen again.

But otherwise, Alex has mostly accepted Kara’s vice for what it is.

(Plus, Kara has actually pulled quite a few attractive women. Casual hook-ups aren’t really Alex’s thing, but she can still live a bit vicariously through her sister.)

But ‘hot girl bummer’ officially has Alex vexed.

Because ‘hot girl bummer’ is Kara’s new fuck buddy. The same Kara who had a rather tumultuous ending to her last fuck-buddy arrangement, and had since sworn off anything more stable than a one-night-stand.

And the worst, most frustrating part?

No one knows who ‘hot girl bummer’ is.

Initially, it’s not really of concern, other than a quick conspiratorial conversation the first time Lucy catches Kara texting her. They forget for a while. But then Kara starts sneaking out of the bar earlier and earlier every time they go out. She doesn’t come home after her night out with Clark. And then she starts smiling at her phone screen.

It doesn’t go unnoticed.

In fact, it’s now very noticed, two months later. It’s Casino Night at Al’s, and they’re in the gambling mood. 

The friends’ finish the night crammed into their usual booth, minus Kara who has since disappeared for the night. Maggie is tucked into the corner, Alex practically in her lap, Winn to Alex’s side, then Imra crammed in on their end. On the other side is James, Lucy, and Mike. 

And they’re all engaged in passionate debate over the identity of Kara’s ‘hot girl bummer’.

“Does anyone know who this girl is, constantly stealing Kara away?” Lucy asks around the booth. “Alex, sister-privileges got anything for me?”

“Don’t look at me,” Alex shakes her head. “I’ve never seen Kara so secretive about a girl before.” It’s true, despite the fact that Alex knows her sister better than anyone, she still has no idea who this girl is, even over two months after it all started.

“Ugh, that just makes me want to know even more!” Lucy clenches her fists in anticipation. “I bet it’s someone really interesting. And maybe a little shameful …”

“What if it’s a professor?” James suggests, tipping his beer forward. “That would explain all the secrecy.”

“Kara is not sleeping with a professor,” Alex objects, a harsh frown across her face. Kara would never! Though, she can’t deny her sister often thinks with her heart and her … other parts, before she thinks with her head.

“What about a coach?” Mike asks, words slightly slurred. “The new women’s soccer coach is so hot.”

“Is she now?” Imra asks, giving her boyfriend a very unimpressed look across the table.

“Uh, no, no, not really,” Mike shakes his head rapidly. “Winn—Winn thinks she’s hot.”

Alex rubs at her brow as Winn nods a bit too vigorously next to her.

“Enough,” Lucy states. “We’ve gotten off-track. In honor of Casino Night, I suggest a little more gambling. Specifically … a pool.”

“A pool?” Winn asks. “A betting pool?”

“Correct, Winslow,” Lucy nods. “Kara doesn’t exactly keep her hookups a secret, which means there’s something interesting about this one. And so we might as well get something out of it too.”

“I’m in,” Winn smiles.

“Same,” Mike agrees.

“You cleaned me out last time,” James grumbles, but he pulls out his wallet anyways.

“Ladies?” Lucy turns to look at her teammates.

“I’m in,” Maggie nods.

Alex groans. “Can we not do this?”

“We’re Kara’s friends,” Lucy insists. “It’s well within our rights if she doesn’t want to share. So — votes! Winn, start us off?”

Winn pouts thoughtfully for a moment. “I think it’s someone new. Maybe someone who’s not out yet. Someone we don’t know … like one of Kara’s old co-workers from Noonan’s. Ooh! No, an athlete.”

“Pick one,” Lucy demands.

“Okay, athlete then,” Winn decides with a firm nod. He then rolls his eyes and mumbles, “I’ve heard so many girls in the gym gossiping about Kara Danvers’ biceps, it’s got to be one of them.”

“Okay. I’m going with Veronica Sinclair,” Lucy states. “Kara backslid into Rich Bitch and she’s too embarrassed to admit it, so that’s why she’s being sneaky. Next, Mike?”

“Hmm, I like the backslide theme,” Mike thumbs his chin. “I’ll guess it’s Siobhan again. She’s a crazy bitch but Kara’s got a weak spot for that.”

Alex buries her face in her palms. All of these are terrible options.

“Okay, Matthews, I respect it,” Lucy nods her approval. “Imra?”

“I’ll pass,” Imra says. “I don’t know Kara well enough to actually trust I’ll make a realistic bet, and I try not to just throw away my money.”

“Fair enough. Maggie?” Lucy asks next.

“Lena Luthor,” Maggie says, eyes slightly narrowed with a soft smirk on her face. If Alex had taken the time to actually look over at her girlfriend instead of continuing to bury her face, she would’ve noticed Maggie wearing her signature look of ‘I know something and I’m right’.

But Alex is too busy being mortified over her sister’s sex life to notice.

“Waste of a vote, Mags; they hate each other, but okay,” Lucy says. “Alex?”

“Leave me out of this,” Alex requests, head jerking back up. She brushes her hair back with her hands. “I don’t bet on my little sister’s sex life.”

“Boo,” Lucy pouts. “And last but not least, James?”

“I’m sticking with my professor theory,” James says.

“Okay,” Lucy exhales, setting her phone down in the center of the table. “All bets are set. Now, what’s the buy-in?”

“Twenty?” Mike suggests.

Multiple voices chime in to agree with twenty dollars. With five of them participating, that’s a nice hundred-dollar pot for the victor.

“Alright,” Lucy nods. “That’s that. Hot Girl Bummer Pool is officially set and closed.”

“Thank god,” Alex sighs. “Can we please talk about anything else?”

Alex tries very hard to bury that night’s discussion deep down into her latent memory. She really doesn’t want to think about Kara’s sex life, her taste in women, or this ‘hot girl bummer’.

Even if she’s a bit curious herself. She’s noticed all the changes too. And the biggest one? Kara’s been singing more than ever, when she’s idling around their apartment, which is a surefire indicator that something has her happy.

And Alex Danvers knows enough to guess it’s ‘hot girl bummer’. 

So months later, one cold January morning, Alex Danvers sees Lena Luthor walk out of her apartment building — wearing a distinct royal blue Meteors sweatshirt — and everything clicks together faster than a speeding bullet.

Well, Maggie will certainly be paying for their next dinner date … and they’re going somewhere fancy.


(Danvers’ Apartment, present day January …)

“Why did Lena Luthor just walk out of our apartment wearing your sweatshirt?”

Kara’s heart stops.

Fuck!

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

“And did you buy out Noonan’s? I get stress-eating but this a ton of food,” Alex squints at the bags of food before returning her piercing glare on Kara.

“Uh …” Kara trails off, desperately racking her brain for a good lie, any lie, to save her. “It’s not what you think! … I, uh, had to take her dog to the vet.”

“I highly doubt Lena Luthor has a dog, Kara,” Alex states. “And I don’t think vets are open at seven-thirty in the morning.”

The damage is already done. Might as well embrace it.

“Fine,” Kara flops down on the couch. “It’s exactly what you think.”

“You fucked Lena Luthor?!” Alex exclaims, stomping closer. “And you let her sleep over? You never bring girls here.”

The words come out before Kara can stop them. “Well she’s already slept here bef—”

“She’s slept here before?” Alex deadpans. “How long has this been going on? What about your other thing?”

Kara winces. “About that …”

“No, don’t tell me,” Alex holds up a hand. “She’s ‘hot girl bummer’? That means this has been happening since—”

“Yes,” Kara sighs. “ … and since September.” 

“September!?” Alex yells. “Kara, are you out of your mind?”

“Probably,” Kara mumbles.

“You can’t actually be doing this,” Alex scoffs. “You’re joking.”

“I’m not joking, and I have been doing this,” Kara says.

“Oh my god. Of course. It all makes sense now,” Alex says, pacing around the room, talking more to herself than Kara. “The ‘putting aside your differences’ bullshit. Always leaving the bars early. Being late to practice! And — oh my god — that watch isn’t fake, is it?” Alex points an accusatory finger at Kara’s wrist.

“No, it’s not,” Kara admits, rolling a hand around the item in question. “It was a gift from Lena.”

“‘Lena’? Okay that sounds bizarre to hear you say,” Alex says. “And a gift? Are you guys dating?”

“No!” Kara jerks up, a firm hand splayed in the air in front of her. “No, absolutely not. It was just a thank-you.”

“How did this start?” Alex asks, exasperation softening her tone. She brings a hand up to pinch the bridge of her nose. “I thought you couldn’t stand her.”

“I didn’t plan this,” Kara says. “It just happened one night at Al’s. We were both drunk and snapping at each other and then all of a sudden we were making out.”

“Right, of course, right,” Alex mumbles. “Continue …”

“Anyways, we had—”

“—nope! Don’t wanna know!—”

“—a lot of fun, and it just kind of kept happening,” Kara explains. “Then I ran into her when I went out with Clark, but she got too drunk and I had to take her home—“

“—there’s the knight-in-shining-armor complex—“

“—and then we started talking a little, and she’s actually a really great person,” Kara finishes.

“Oh, is she?” Alex asks sarcastically. “She’s a Luthor. Her family owns the Evil Empire of big pharma.”

“Lena’s more than just her last name,” Kara stands up, her jaw set as firm as steel. “She’s a good person.”

Alex seems to have sensed the shift in her mood, and backs down a step. “Fine. I’ll take your word for it. So what are you guys then?”

“Fuck buddies,” Kara says. “Friends-with-benefits.”

“Friends-with-benefits?” Alex repeats. “I thought you weren’t doing that anymore? Not after how things ended with Siobhan.”

“Lena’s not Siobhan,” Kara states, more a reminder for her benefit than Alex’s. Lena doesn’t want feelings involved; she doesn’t want this to be something more. And it’s for the best that way.

 “Fine,” Alex sighs. “Why all the secrecy and sneaking around?”

“This conversation, for one,” Kara shoots Alex an annoyed look. “But Lena has a bunch of rules and that was one of them.”

“Rules?” Alex crosses her arms. “Like what?”

Oh, fuck, right.

“Uh,” Kara blushes. “No one can know.”

“We’ve covered that. Next.”

“No sleepovers.”

“I see that one held up well.”

“No weeknights.”

“Okay. Anything else?” Alex raises her eyebrows. “You look like you just killed her non-existent puppy.”

“No feelings,” Kara exhales.

“No feelings,” Alex repeats. “Well, yeah, that one makes a lot of sense. So what happens if a rule gets broken?”

“Well …” Kara winces. “We’ve kind of broken most of them … and I might’ve broken one she doesn’t know about.”

“What, that I know now?” Alex asks.

“No,” Kara grimaces. “Technically Jack, her friend, found out before you.”

“Wow, okay, that cuts deep,” Alex hisses. “What ever happened to sister-privileges? Sneaking around is one thing, but behind my back?”

“I just want to point out, who do you think I learned to sneak around from?” Kara objects. She’s grateful to deflect any attention possible away from herself.

“Rude,” Alex says. “And this is different. Maggie and I are teammates, we had to be discrete.”

“It’s not really that different,” Kara objects. “You and Maggie didn’t want anyone to know. Lena and I don’t want anyone to know. It’s the same thing.”

“But Lena Luthor?” Alex gawks. “Isn’t that like social awkward suicide for you both? You’ve hated her for the past two years. Ever since …”

“Ever since what, Alex?” Kara hisses, more annoyed at herself than her sister. “Because that’s just the thing — I don’t even remember anymore!”

“Well,” Alex hums in thought. “She cut you off in the parking lot that one time.”

“Alex,” Kara gives her an unimpressed look. “Mike has cut us off plenty of times too. There’s no honor or loyalty in the parking lot. Even Lucy stole a spot from under you once!”

“Fine, whatever,” Alex shrugs. “What about the time she yelled at you in the dining hall for getting in her way?”

“No, I spilled a drink on her first,” Kara corrects. “It started as my fault.”

“O-kay. And then there was that other time that …” Alex trails off weakly, gesturing a hand out, hoping for it to be magically filled with an example.

“See?” Kara exhales. “How bad could it have been if no one even remembers anymore?”

“Okay, whatever, the past is the past,” Alex says. “But there’s clearly something else. What’s bothering you?”

“It kinda … gets worse,” Kara admits, throwing an arm over her face.

“How could it get worse?” Alex asks, hand to her forehead.

“I think I might, maybe, kind of … have feelings for her,” Kara admits.

“What?!”

“I don’t know!” Kara bolts upright. “It just kind of happened.”

“How long have you known?” Alex squints.

“I realized last night,” Kara confesses. “It just … hit me.”

Alex lets out a rueful chuckle, glancing out the window. “Oh my god, you never think these things through. ”

“Of course I thought this through!” Kara objects, darting to her feet. “The whole reason I even went ahead with it in the first place was because it was with Lena Luthor. Someone I never thought I could ever catch feelings for.”

“That worked well. This is clearly an absolute dumpster-fire of a situation,” Alex sweeps her arms out angrily, “What are you going to do?”

Kara makes a face. “What do you mean ‘what am I going to do’?”

“What you’re going to do about your feelings,” Alex says. 

“Nothing,” Kara exhales, a determined look on her face.

“Nothing?” Alex’s jaw drops open. “Okay, uh, that’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard. You can’t just pretend like they don’t exist.”

“Okay, woah!” Kara exclaims, setting her shoulders back and her chin upwards. “If you want to talk about horrible ideas, let’s review some of yours, huh?”

“I might’ve made a lot of questionable decisions,” Alex points defensively. “But I would never willingly sign up to let Lena Luthor break my heart.”

“Well, I guess we’re different,” Kara states. “If I wanted lessons in self-destruction, I would have asked!”

“You don’t need them, you’re doing great on your own!” Alex yells. “You’re not thinking with your head, Kara, you never do! You see the best in everyone and it’s going to get you hurt!”

Kara’s nostrils flare, her muscles tensing defensively.

“Has it even occurred to you Lena set those rules for a reason?” Alex continues. “So she didn’t hurt you?”

Kara wholly disregards the validity of that point. She doesn’t get hurt, she doesn’t let herself get close enough to.

The sisters stare at each other, chests heaving with restrained anger. Kara’s eyes are practically glowing with heat, and Alex’s jaw is set so firmly it could stop a bullet. Neither one wants to back down.

Kara sure as hell won’t. The steel in her bones won’t let her.

But Alex eventually does.

“Sit down,” she says, her voice softer than usual. It’s a far cry from her recent yelling. “Tell me about her.”

Kara eyes her wearily. “What’s the catch?”

“There’s no catch,” Alex sighs, sitting back on the couch. “… I should hear you out. I’m still going to give you my opinion—”

“— great, just what I wanted—”

“—but you deserve a chance to explain your side first,” Alex finishes.

“Oh.” Kara takes a moment to think. “You really want to know about her?”

“Yes,” Alex exhales dramatically. “It’s been ages since you liked someone. I haven’t had a chance to talk about girl-crushes with you since Leslie.”

Kara winces at the name. “Don’t remind me.”

“Hey, it’s okay,” Alex soothes. “Leslie wasn’t your fault. That was not a healthy relationship and you were right to end things. She shouldn’t have pushed you to open up when you weren’t ready.”

“I know,” Kara sighs. “I just still feel guilty. What if she had a point, Alex?”

“She didn’t,” Alex says softly. “… Are you considering telling Lena about your parents?”

“No,” Kara frowns. “No. I told her I was adopted and my parents were gone, but that’s it.”

Alex’s eyebrows shoot up but she holds her tongue.

“You really like her, don’t you?” Alex realizes, shifting closer to Kara.

“I do,” Kara admits. “She’s so clever, and generous, and caring.”

Alex watches her patiently, giving her the silence to continue.

“Oh, Alex, she’s so smart too,” Kara says. “She taught me to play chess and she kicked my ass so many times.”

"You played chess?” Alex snorts. “You have a fuck buddy and you two literally played chess in your free-time?”

“I know. And above all else? She’s so kind. She has a genuinely good heart, whether she knows it or not,” Kara says. “Even though she shouldn’t be, she’s soft, even though the world has been terrible and hard to her.”

“What do you mean?” Alex’s brow furrows. “She grew up in one of the wealthiest families in the country; she couldn’t have had a hard life. She’s a Luthor.”

“She wasn’t always,” Kara says softly. “She was adopted too.”

“Is that why you have a soft-spot for her?” Alex asks. “She’s got a tragic backstory too?”

“I’m pretty sure her tragic backstory came after the adoption; I don’t think it made her life any easier,” Kara says. “Her mom is … a terrible person.”

“Anyone who reads the news knows that,” Alex adds. “What Luthor Corp charges for their medicine is absolutely criminal.”

“I know that,” Kara huffs. “I mean explicitly to Lena. She treats her terribly. And she’s not very accepting of Lena liking women.”

“Oh.” Alex takes a sharp inhale. “Wait — you met her mother?”

“Not exactly,” Kara squirms. “Lillian came into Lena’s apartment one morning unannounced. I had to hide. But I heard everything.”

“You do have scary-good hearing,” Alex mumbles under her breath. “So what you heard …?”

“Was bad,” Kara confirms. “Lena was so shaken afterwards, that I had been there to hear it, that she kicked me out. We didn’t talk until last night.”

“And you made up?” Alex guesses.

Kara nods. “We slipped right back into things, it was so easy. She makes me feel weightless, Alex.”

“Oh, you got it so bad …” Alex shakes her head, her lips pulling up slightly. “Do you love her?”

“No!” Kara shouts. “No … at least, not yet.”

“Kara …” Alex gives her a cautious look.

“I know,” Kara closes her eyes.

“You need to either break things off now,” Alex lists, “Or tell her you have feelings and see if she feels the same way.”

“No, Alex,” Kara opens her eyes. “If I tell Lena, she’s going to end things right away. If I still have feelings for her in June, I’ll tell her then. That way I have the entire summer to get over her, far away in Midvale.”

“Kara, that’s a horrible, terrible idea,” Alex says. “You can’t just pretend like you don’t have feelings for her for the next several months.”

“I can and will.”

“Why are you being so stubborn?” Alex rubs her forehead. “God, Kara, you’re going to get seriously hurt if this goes too far. What happens when — not if — you do fall in love with her?”

“I won’t,” Kara states. “Alex, you know I don’t do love.”

“Right, because you can just ‘shut it down’ whenever,” Alex mumbles.

“And I’m not going to get my heart broken, Alex,” Kara assures, “I promise, I’ll break things off with her before I fall for her completely. I’m just not ready to be done yet.”

“I’m your big sister, Kara,” Alex says. “I’m always going to want to protect you. But you seem determined to do this, so I won’t stop you. Just … consider telling her sooner, okay?”

Kara just nods, fully disregarding Alex’s final request. Telling Lena means losing Lena, and she’s not going to do that yet. Besides, her feelings are new and small and just starting. She has time.

She can’t tell her yet.

“Okay,” Kara lies.

“Well,” Alex sighs, rising to her feet and offering a hand to Kara. “This isn’t exactly the way I pictured my morning going, but I’m glad I know what’s going on with you now.”

“Yeah,” Kara agrees, taking the hand. “It’s nice to get it off my chest. But Alex, you can’t tell anyone.”

“Where are my keys?” Alex deflects over her shoulder, walking away.

“The key bowl,” Kara answers. “Alex, I mean it!”

“Want a ride to campus?” Alex asks, pilfering through the bags of food on the counter.

“Hey, that’s mine!” Kara objects, forehead crinkling. “And yes please. Can you drop me off at the training room? I have to do the second half of the concussion protocol with Demos.”

“Sure. I’m guessing Lena bought all of this?” Alex says, holding up a cinnamon roll. “And considering I now have to keep your newest secret, it’s the least you could do to buy my silence.”

“Fine,” Kara huffs. “But seriously, Alex, you can’t even tell Maggie. No one else can know.”

“Fine,” Alex agrees with a great amount of annoyance, biting into the pastry. “Now come on, get dressed while I put the rest of this away so we can go. I don’t want to be late.”


Lena finds herself seated courtside again at Kara’s next home game, only a few days later, Jack by her side. 

“You seem to have reunited fully with your Romeo,” Jack remarks, watching Kara and Alex take some three-pointers as they warm up. “If that hickey is anything to go by.”

It’s futile to dispute, but Lena still needs to make Jack work for his victory. “Who says I’m Juliet?”

Jack lets out a belly laugh. “It’s in your nature.”

“And what does that mean?” Lena glares.

“Hasty and self-condemning,” Jack says. “Even when there’s no need.”

“This isn’t a love story, Jack,” Lena reminds. “We’re more like … well, none of those characters really.”

Jack opens his mouth to say something clever that Lena doesn’t want to hear, so she quickly asks, “How are things with you and William?”

Jack grins. “A gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell. And he certainly doesn’t get head from his paramour in the storage room of Al’s and brag about it afterwards.”

“Oh my god,” Lena pales, a hand flying up to her agape mouth. “Jack Spheer, you did not.”

Jack breaks out in a very satisfied chuckle, nodding his head vigorously.

“Jack!” Lena slaps his shoulder with the back of her hand. “I can never set foot in there again, how dare you!”

“Oh, Lena, I’m sure you’ll suffer it well,” he teases, sighing dramatically. “Just like I’m forced to bear your terrible secret alone.”

Lena bites on her lower lip. “Jack, about that …”

She expected a dramatic reaction, but it still pales in comparison to the speed at which he sits up and practically jumps into her lap. 

“Who else knows?!” he gasps.

Lena swallows hard. “Her sister found out.”

. . . . . . . .

K: i have good news and bad news

Good news first.

K: i don’t have a concussion. fully cleared to play

Congratulations. What’s the bad news?

K: alex knows about us

Well, fuck. 

Lena sucked on her teeth in frustration. For a second there, she was actually having a pretty amazing day. She got to wake up in Kara’s arms an action which her body and mind no longer seemed to register as being a bad thing stole another sweatshirt, ate a scone, and made it to class with plenty of time to spare.

Now she has to come to terms with the horrible reality that Alex Danvers, Kara’s mildly terrifying older sister, knew they had taken ‘putting their differences aside' into ‘putting their fingers inside’.

Fuck.

But for all her abject horror at the concept, the last thing Lena wanted to do is scare Kara off, so she channeled all her nervous energy into maintaining her cool, aloof composure.

Alright. Come over tonight?

K: are you mad? you seem mad

No, I’m not mad.

K: but you’re using punctuation

(Yes? That’s how sentences work … what an odd observation. Kara must’ve been just as anxious as Lena felt.)

I always do?

K: huh, yeah, I guess you do

I’m not mad, Kara, I promise.

K: okay, i’ll come over after practice then

Kara arrived at Lena’s late that night, looking a bit more haggard than usual.

“You look … tired,” Lena noted.

“Rough practice,” Kara replied. “J’onn overheard two of the freshmen talking about their outfits for going out this weekend, during a drill, and he made us run afterwards as punishment.”

“Sounds rather unpleasant,” Lena mused. “And I’m fairly certain collective punishment is a war crime.”

“Yeah, I’ll let you fight that battle,” Kara sighed, plopping down onto Lena’s couch. “J’onn can be very scary when he wants to be.”

“Oh, is the mighty Supergirl afraid of someone?” Lena mocked, sitting down next to her. Kara suddenly throws her legs into Lena’s lap, and the latter isn’t quite sure what to do next, so she just gingerly sets her hands over Kara’s bony shins, rubbing one thumb idly.

“I’m not scared of J’onn,” Kara mumbled under her breath. 

Lena gave her a look of absolute disbelief.

“So you’re really not mad that Alex knows?” Kara eyed Lena warily, like she’s mentally ready to jump out the window at the first sign of trouble.

“No,” Lena exhaled. 

She’s had plenty of time to rehearse what to say; anything to keep her cool and hide from Kara just how intimidated she is by Alex Danvers. Even the idea of making eye contact with Alex, sharing that implicit understanding of ‘hey, I’m fucking your little sister and now you know’, is enough to chill her blood. Lena’s never been done meet-the-sibling before … an especially not with a fuck buddy.

But Kara doesn't need to know that.

“It would be hypocritical of me,” Lena continued with an effortless air. “Jack knows. Alex knows now too. As long as we don’t get into the habit of adding anymore people to the list, I think we’ll be fine.”

“Oh,” Kara sighed. “Oh, awesome.”

“With that said …” Lena gave her a sly look. “I wouldn’t mind if you made it up to me …”

Before Lena could blink, Kara was straddling her lap, biting her bottom lip as she smiled. “I can do that; give me five minutes and you’re not even going to remember who Alex is.”

(While Lena truly does believe in Kara’s superior abilities, that’s not exactly the kind of dirty talk she wants to reinforce.)

“Kara,” Lena deadpanned. ‘Don’t say your sister’s name while you’re trying to seduce me.”

“Right. Sorry.”

. . . . . . . .

“How long?” Jack asks immediately. “When did she find out?”

“A few days ago.”

“Days!?” Jack screeches. “You kept this from me for multiple days?”

“Consider it payback for your duplicitous stunt with Kara,” Lena states, crossing her arms.

“You’re handling this well,” Jack's eyes narrow.

“It’s inconsequential,” Lena shrugs. “Kara trusts Alex not to say anything, and so do I.”

“Oh my god,” Jack grins. “I never thought I would see the day that Lena Luthor falls for a jock.”

“I have not fallen for anyone,” Lena states firmly. “Least of all Kara Danvers.”

“Sure you haven’t,” Jack says, a bit too smug.

She turns to give him a glare that would melt a normal man to the bone.

“So have you asked her yet?” Jack changes the subject.

“Ask her what?” Lena frowns.

“To be your plus one, for your mom’s Luthor Foundation fundraiser next month,” Jack waves a hand. “You know I’d love to go and kiss Lillian’s ass for you, but my parents will be in town and I’m introducing them to William.”

“I will absolutely not ask her to be my plus one,” Lena states.

“Why not?” Jack challenges.

“Because …” Lena trails off as her words fail her. “We’re just friends-with-benefits.”

“I’m your friend,” Jack points out. “And I would do that for you.”

Lena sucks on her teeth. “Jack.”

“I’m just saying,” Jack shrugs. “A night of expensive booze and Michelin-star catered food? Sounds like a benefit to me. It would be almost weird to not ask her …”

“Fine,” Lena huffs. “I’ll consider it.”

“There we go, love!” Jack grins.

“I hate you, Jack Spheer.”

“I love you too, darling dearest.”

Whatever venomous retort she has lined up for Jack is cut off by the roaring of the crowd as the Comets line up for their pre-game introduction.

“Starting tonight for your NCU Comets…” The announcer’s voice rings out, and Lena’s body betrays her with an involuntary pump of adrenaline.

One, two, five, ten, eleven. Kara has the highest number of all the starters, and goes last. The side of her face is still black and blue, but it does nothing to deter her proud smile.

“… and number eleven, Kara Danvers! …” Kara steps forward towards the crowd, mimes ripping her shirt off at the chest, then sends Lena a perfectly placed wink as she steps back in line.

Lena’s heart stops on the spot. 

“I think someone likes it when you watch,” Jack whispers in her ear, voice laden with double-entendre.

“That’s enough out of you,” Lena rolls her eyes, ignoring the heat spreading throughout her cheeks.

Surely, it’s just hot in here?

But it happens again at the next game, the next time that Kara’s eyes find her in the crowd. And then again. And before she knows it, her and Jack have seen almost every January home game for the Comets.

Fuck. Lena might kind of enjoy basketball now.


Time progresses for Kara too. 

Her face heals up nicely. Demos was right, the scar is almost completely hidden in her hairline. Classes are simple enough, but basketball starts to heat up even more. As January shifts to February, the team has a long run of away games; it means plenty of time trapped on the bus for Kara to feel the gradual pressure of Alex’s judgment, which is growing stronger every day. (As is something else Kara doesn’t want to think about.)

Finally, Kara has enough of Alex one night. They don’t get back late until that Saturday, and they have another game Monday, which means no one can go out drinking. Instead, everyone just shuffles home with bleary eyes and sore bodies.

J’onn holds the captains back for a debrief — they lost today, and he’s frustrated enough about it to ask their opinions on what needs to be improved — so once M’gann leaves, Alex and Kara are left completely alone in the locker room.

“Alex, I can feel you staring at me,” Kara rolls her eyes as she zips up her backpack. “Just ask it; you haven’t said it in, like, two whole days.”

Sure enough, Alex asks, “Have you told her yet?”

“Told who what?” Kara plays innocent, tossing her backpack over her shoulder and heading for the locker room door. Alex’s hand reaches out to pull her back.

“You know who,” Alex deadpans. “Lena.”

“No.”

Alex’s face shifts into an immediate look of disapproval.

“What?” Kara yanks her shoulder out from under Alex’s hand. “Save me the judgment, Alex. I thought you weren’t going to get involved?”

“That was almost a month ago,” Alex points out. “You really want to tell me your feelings haven’t gotten stronger since then?”

“No, they haven’t,” Kara lies, yanking the locker room door open.

“You do know what ‘self-delusion’ is, right?” Alex asks, following in exasperation.

“Spare me the lecture, Alex,” Kara huffs.

“You’re unbelievable,” Alex sighs.

“Yeah, I get that a lot,” Kara snaps. 

Kara doesn’t want to admit it, but Alex is right; she’s not going to make it until June. Not with the way Lena keeps appearing in her every waking thought. And some of the asleep-ones too. But she’s still not ready to tell Lena yet; she knows if she does — that’ll be the end of them.

And Kara, ever a paragon of hope (or fear-driven procrastination), believes that maybe — just maybe — there could be a happy ending in this for them. With enough time, of course. And Lena finding out too soon means that they wouldn’t get that time. Besides, worst case, she could always just declare for the basketball draft and never come back to NCU, right?

“Look, I’ll tell her soon, okay?” Kara’s voice is soft now. “Just not yet.”

“Okay.” Alex might as well be a human ball of anxiety as they make their exit, but she’s thankfully silent after that.

Kara’s phone buzzes.

hot girl bummer: I’m here.

walking out now

Kara doesn’t even try to smother the grin creeping up her face.

Sure enough, once they exit the building, there’s a very expensive silver car waiting by the curb.

“You’re kidding,” Alex huffs, pushing her hair back in her hands. “Seriously?”

Kara shoots her sister an annoyed, close-lipped smile. “Seriously. Night, Alex.”

“Kara …” Alex tries to protest, but Kara’s already walking away.

The silver door slides up to greet her.

“Hey,” she gives Lena a tired smile as she hops in.

“Hey,” Lena smiles back. “I’m sorry about the loss.”

“Eh, it happens,” Kara sighs, clicking her seatbelt in. She hates losing, but she’s had plenty of time to burnout on the bus ride home. Plus there’s something placating about Lena’s presence.

“We got sloppy,” Kara elaborates. “It’s good to have a reality-check like that every once and awhile, especially since the postseason is only a month away.”

“It was still a good game to watch,” Lena says. “Jack came over to join me.”

“Glad you liked it,” Kara allows her body to sink back against the pre-warmed leather. “Mhgh, these seats are so much nicer than the ones on the bus.”

“Well, I hope so, they cost a small fortune,” Lena jokes. “Where to?”

Kara’s stomach gives an involuntary grumble that echoes throughout the car. 

“What would you like to eat?” Lena sighs, half exasperated, half amused.

“How do you feel about Chinese food?” Kara asks. “There’s a good place on the way to your apartment, actually. They only do takeout but they make my absolute favorite.”

“That works,” Lena nods, and the car rolls forward. “What’s your favorite dish?”

Kara breaks out into an excited grin, already dialing the number into her phone from memory. 

“Potstickers!”


Apparently, Kara’s favorite place — just like all her other places — is a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a red awning over the front door. Kara hops out and heads inside to pick up the food, while Lena drives around the block, refusing to park her car in the one incredibly-tight parking space available on the street. (No one drives a car this nice to treat it that poorly.)

“Ready!” Kara says, sliding back into the car in one fluid motion.

“What do I owe you?” Lena asks automatically, pulling back into her lane.

“Owe me? What …?” Kara frowns. “Oh, for the food? Nothing!”

“Are you sure, Kara?” Lena frowns.

“Lena,” Kara states. “You only got a small thing of rice. I’m the one who ordered two pounds of potstickers. I’m paying.”

“Two pounds?” Lena’s eyebrows knit together. Kara’s eating habits will never not vex her.

“Roughly,” Kara shrugs. “Thanks for picking me up by the way.”

Lena gives her head a quick shake to discard the mental image of ingesting two whole pounds of oily (if not delicious) dough. It’s almost painful.

“It’s not a problem,” Lena says, swallowing roughly. “Actually, Kara, there’s a favor I need to ask of you …”

“What is it?” Kara asks.

Suddenly, there’s the telltale crinkling of the paper bag and a swift ‘pop’.

Lena doesn’t need to look over at Kara; she knows exactly what’s going on.

The audacity!

“Kara Danvers, you put that potsticker back into the box right now,” Lena states, in full powerbitch mode. “I will not have you dripping oil onto my very expensive leather car seats.”

And just like that, the potsticker is back in the box and Kara is squirming in her seat. “Sorry.”

“You can wait until we get ho—back to the apartment,” Lena says, her heart skipping a beat at her almost-admission. Since when did her apartment become ‘home’?

“Yup,” Kara swallows roughly.

The blonde’s face is heavily flushed. Odd.

“Are you hot?” Lena asks, moving her hand to turn down the car heat.

“Not exactly.” The muscles of Kara’s neck jump out as she gulps. She looks a bit uncomfortable; she has the same distracted look on her face that she gets watching Lena tease her from across Al’s bar. 

Oh. Oh.

“Kara Danvers …” Lena smiles coyly. “Are you turned on right now?”

“I …” Kara gulps. “ … no.”

“That’s the biggest lie I have ever heard,” Lena smiles. “Oh my god. You like my powerbitch voice.”

“ … maybe.”

Well, that’s the most interesting thing Lena’s learned all week. She’ll have to put that to the test sometime. (It’s too late tonight though. Lena heavily suspects Kara will fall asleep the instant her stomach is full again.) 

“So what did you want to ask me?” Kara asks. “Before the … uhm …?”

“Oh!” Lena inhales, having completely forgotten her second motivator of the night.

Fuck, right, that.

She grips her steering wheel a bit tighter, hoping it’ll strengthen her resolve.

“I was wondering …” Lena grits her teeth. It’s only a few words, it’s not that hard, Luthor. “If you’d consider coming as my plus-one to a Luthor Corp event later this month. As a friend.”

“Luthor Corp event?” Kara repeats. “So like—”

“It’s not actually for Luthor Corp, it’s a fundraiser for the Luthor Foundation. I would normally ask Jack, but his parents are in town,” Lena explains quickly. “And honestly, these events usually wreak havoc on my anxiety levels, so I try to keep a friendly face around. I understand if you can’t, or don't—”

“—I’ll do it,” Kara cuts her off, looking at her with determined resolve. “Whatever you need.”

Lena’s actually stunned silent. That wasn’t the reaction she was expecting, truly.

“… you will?” she asks, slowly finding her words again.

“Of course. It’s a favor, right?” Kara smiles weakly. “Friends do favors for each other. Wait, shit, what day is it? I might have a game.”

“You do, but it’s home at 1:00,” Lena recounts. “I’ll need you starting at 6:00. Does that buy you enough time between?”

“Yeah, that’ll be fine,” Kara confirms. “Uh, what do you want me to wear?”

Lena turns to glance at her. “It’s fairly formal, so do you prefer a suit or a dress? I’ve mainly seen you in suits, but I wouldn’t want to presume …”

“I wear both. But for this, I’ll do a suit,” Kara decides. “I have my maroon one from Clark and Lois I could wear, does that—”

“—no, I’ll have one made for you,” Lena states. “Not that yours wouldn’t work, I just … I’d like to do this for you, as a thank-you for coming.”

“Are you sure, Lena?” Kara frowns. “Suits are really expensive and—”

“—and I’m a Luthor,” Lena says. “It’s nothing, truly. Do you have your measurements or shall I take you to the tailor’s?”

“I can ask Lois or Eliza for them,” Kara says. “Lois took me to a good tailor in Metropolis once.”

“That works, then.”

Well, that’s that.  Kara Danvers is to be her plus-one to an event hosted by her mother. Lena’s stomach flips slightly. The feeling must be the come-down from all her nerves. That really hadn’t been so bad. Kara had made it easy.

It should scare Lena just how easy everything seems to come with Kara, but she’s too relieved to care.

True to form, the rest of the night is easy and mellow.

Kara does actually restrain herself from eating the potstickers in Lena’s car, but by the time they reach Lena’s apartment door, about half of the dumplings are already gone. The speed at which they disappear is impressive, really. She does save some for later though, so that once they get settled into the apartment, Lena can have company while she eats at her fried rice. They go to their usual spots in Lena’s living room (how Kara ever turned it into the new dining room escapes Lena, but she actually kind of likes it) and they settle into a familiar comfort while they finish their food.

Kara goes to clean up the plates afterwards, but Lena swats her hand away and does it herself. Kara looks painfully ready for sleep and Lena’s gone soft enough to want to let her be. When Lena returns from the kitchen, Kara’s eyes are about halfway closed.

“Did you want to sleep together tonight?” Kara asks as she stands up slowly, propping her hands on her hips.

“‘Sleep’ as in sex?” Lena asks shamelessly, walking closer. “No, you’re too tired for that.”

“Nah, I’m good,” Kara insists. Despite her words, her mouth contorts as she tries to subtly force down a yawn. It doesn't work.

“No, you’re not,” Lena watches her with amusement. “You look like you could fall asleep standing up.”

Kara tries to protest, but this time the yawn actually does escape. “Okay,” Kara murmurs, rubbing one eye with her fist. “You might be right. Should I — I can call a ride?”

“No,” Lena says a bit too quickly. She’s not fully sure why she even says it. “No, you’re welcome to stay if you wish.”

Despite the exhaustion across her entire face, Kara lights up with a smile. “Okay.”

They wash up in the separate bathrooms, and Lena’s not sure if she’s relieved or saddened by the moment of space.

She really shouldn’t even be letting Kara stay over. Yet it’s the easiest decision she’s made in a long time. It’s just that she sleeps better when Kara’s around. 

That’s all.

But tonight is the exception to that rule.

Around four in the morning, judging by the bleary numbers on Lena’s clock, Kara starts thrashing and muttering in her sleep. 

It’s enough to wake Lena, the lighter sleeper, but not Kara. There’s a sheet of sweat over the blonde, visible in the considerable moonlight seeping in through the window.

“Astra, don’t …” Kara murmurs, face contorted in pain. “No! Don’t …”

“Kara,” Lena mumbles, slowly sitting up. “Kara, it’s just a dream.” 

“Astra,” Kara cries. “No, no …”

Kara’s distress only grows, despite Lena’s best attempts to wake her by calling her name. Her body is now twitching rapidly. Lena’s not sure exactly what to do, so she just grabs Kara’s dense shoulders and gives a solid squeeze.

She’s rewarded with Kara bolting upright, tearing the sheets with her, gulping down air. Her eyes are blown so wide that Lena can see white all around the edges.

“Kara, Kara, Kara. Shhh, shhh,” Lena soothes, pushing a damp lock of hair back behind Kara’s ear. “It’s okay. Hey, hey, hey.”

Kara continues to gasp, a noticeable bead of sweat trickling down her temple. She’s shaking, shivering almost. She balls her legs up to her chest and wraps her arms around them.

“You’re okay,” Lena repeats. “You’re okay.”

Her breathing steadies some but otherwise Kara remains completely unresponsive, staring at something far in the distance with pure terror in her eyes.

“Hey, look at me,” Lena commands. “Look at me.” She shifts up to be kneeling next to Kara, nudity forgotten, craning her head out into the blonde’s line of sight.

“Kara,” Lena croons, invoking some ancient, nurturing side she didn’t even know she had.

Frightened blue eyes lock onto hers.

“Lena?” Kara mumbles, a frown setting in. “Wha … what happened?”

“You were having a nightmare,” Lena explains. “Are you alright?”

“I …” Kara’s lips quiver as she tries to find her voice. “Yeah — yes, I’m fine. I-I’m so sorry.”

“It’s quite alright,” Lena assures. 

“I’m so sorry,” Kara continues. “I get those every once and awhile, but I thought …”

Lena remembers something she had once overheard from Alex; Kara got nightmares around some ‘anniversary’ back in December. She wonders if it’s not one of those.

Kara almost seems more perplexed about it than Lena does, frowning deeply while rubbing a hand over her chest. Lena can hear the faint metallic clink of Kara’s necklace chain.

The dots are starting to come into focus. The nightmare. Her father’s necklace. Her parents being gone.

Well, Lena might finally have some competition for worst tragic backstory. Even if it makes her feel a tad less lonely, her heart still aches for Kara’s wounded one.

“It’s alright,” Lena assures once more. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“I …” Kara frowns. “I should probably go.”

“Absolutely not,” Lena states. “It’s the middle of the night. You’ll stay right here.”

“I don’t want to keep you from sleeping,” Kara objects, legs unfurling under the sheets once more.

“It’s alright,” Lena assures, lying prone again. “Tomorrow’s Sunday. And I’m not expecting any unwelcome visitors this time.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Lena says, pulling Kara’s forearm towards her. “Lay back down.”

Kara does so, sinking back into the fluff of the mattress. She turns onto her side to face Lena, who is watching Kara like a hawk.

“You can go back to sleep,” Kara says. “I’m okay.”

“And are you going to sleep as well?” Lena challenges.

“No,” Kara admits softly. “Probably not for a little bit.”

“Then I’m quite content as I am,” Lena says. Uncompromising green eyes hold blue and neither of them dare speak for the next few minutes. They don’t touch either, save for the very tips of their toes.

It’s Lena who’s eventually the brave one.

“Who’s Astra?” she asks softly, watching Kara’s face.

The corner of Kara’s mouth twitches involuntarily. “She was my aunt. My mother’s identical twin.” She swallows roughly, the muscles of her neck straining out.

The air in the room turns undeniably thick, waves of pure tension emanating from Kara. Lena’s fairly certain Kara would launch herself into space right now if she could, though Lena’s not sure as to the motivator — embarrassment, fear, or grief.

“You don’t talk about your biological parents much,” Lena notes. “But I’ve heard you brag about Eliza’s cooking so many times, I’ve lost count.”

“I don’t really talk about them with anyone,” Kara muses. “Except Kal. It just … it feels weird to talk about them with someone who never actually knew them.”

“I know what you mean,” Lena says honestly. “I can tell someone that my mother — my biological mother — used to sing me the prettiest lullabies, but they’ll never actually hear her.”

“Yeah,” Kara agrees softly. “Do you remember much about her?”

“Less and less every year,” Lena admits. “It’s just small, split-second moments now.” There’s an all-too-familiar ache in her heart, and she would imagine she’s not the only one feeling it right now.

“Tell me about her,” Kara requests, and her voice is so precious Lena can’t say no. Kara’s hand finds her own and their fingers intertwine, sinking together into the bedfoam.

“Well, she would sing to me before bed,” Lena recounts. “I don’t remember the words — they were in Gaelic anyways — but her voice was incredible. Hauntingly beautiful.”

“Do you know Gaelic?” Kara watches her, curious.

“I tried to teach myself once,” Lena admits. “But Lillian found out and all but banned it. It wasn’t ‘befitting’ language for a Luthor to know.”

“I’m sorry, Lena,” Kara’s thumb swipes over the back of Lena’s hand in soothing, slow motions. “You have every right to connect with that side of yourself.”

“Thank you, Kara,” Lena gulps. Never in her life has she ever admitted that to anyone, and now that she has, the response was nothing but absolute validation. It’s almost enough to melt a long-frozen heart.

“I think I might try again, someday,” Lena says. ”Supposedly, if you already know a second language, it’s easier to learn another.”

Kara’s head pops up like an excited dog. “You know another language?”

“Three,” Lena smirks, not feeling any need to be humble in Kara’s presence. “French and Japanese; Luthor Corp has partners in both places. I’ve picked up some rudimentary Spanish from Andrea too.”

“Diana tried to teach me Greek,” Kara chuckles. “It kinda worked; I can order just about any type of food now.”

“Why am I not surprised?” Lena teases. “Have you always been so food-oriented?”

“Always,” Kara says, smiling proudly. “My mom used to joke that I’d eat more than a bear. She even used to hide the snacks—”

“—that’s not a bad idea, actually,” Lena mumbles, more to herself than Kara.

“—but I always found them.”

Well, scratch that.

Kara’s smile falls from her face and she shifts a bit, drawing her free hand up to grab hold of her necklace. She then swallows so roughly Lena can hear it catch in the poor girl’s throat.

“I … I forgot the sound of my mom’s voice,” Kara confesses, voice so faint Lena can barely hear it. “The other day. I tried to remember what she sounded like, but … I can’t remember anymore.”

Kara’s eyes look a bit wetter in the moonlight.

Lena shifts her body closer to Kara without even realizing she’s doing it. There’s just an instinctive need to be close.

“I’m so sorry, Kara … But alright, look, your mother was more than just her voice; what else do you still remember about her?” Lena asks, desperate to keep Kara from falling into a pit she knows all too well.

“She was kind, and caring, and beautiful,” Kara recounts. “But firm. She was a judge, and upholding the law was very important to her. So she worked a lot. But she still always had time to help me with my homework.”

Lena doesn’t dare interrupt. She has a feeling from Kara’s slow, raspy pace that it’s been a very long time since these words have been said aloud in this order.

“I was closer with my dad,” Kara says. “He was an astronomer. We would go out and look at the stars every night, and he would tell me about the planets, and I would listen to every word.”

Kara’s arm stands straight up into the air, hand flexed, painting an imaginary sky over them.

“He was a huge nerd, too,” Kara chuckles. “Very interested in fantasy. I tried to make him a dragon sculpture once, when I was eight. But I couldn’t get the wings right. He didn’t care; he was so proud of it …”

Kara's smile fades slowly as her mind goes somewhere far from Lena’s bed.

“It must have been hard for you to lose them …?” Lena tries to leave her words as open as possible. She doesn’t want to force Kara to say anything, but perhaps …

“It was.” That’s all Kara offers for a considerable moment. 

Lena assumes that’s all she’s going to get, but then Kara opens her mouth to speak once more.

“But I was so lucky to find the Danvers. Jeremiah — Alex’s dad — would spend hours playing basketball with us every night,” Kara says. “He made it easier for me to adjust. He passed away a few years ago from a heart attack. But we still have Eliza, and she’s absolutely incredible. And I have Alex, of course.”

Lena feels a pang of jealousy. She remembers a picture frame on Kara’s dresser, of a man and a woman, with a young Kara and Alex sandwiched between them. They all looked so effortlessly happy, forever suspended in that moment. 

How lucky is Kara Danvers to have found a loving second family? Lena wouldn’t really know.

A moment of silence passes between them, their faces only inches apart. Kara smiles softly, her eyes riveted on Lena’s lips.

But Lena doesn’t notice. Because she's too busy thinking about how she really, really, wants to kiss Kara Danvers right now. 

But she can’t bring herself to.

So she focuses on memorizing the lines of Kara’s face.

“What’s this from?” Lena murmurs instead, trailing a finger over the old scar above Kara’s eyebrow.

“A long story.” Kara flinches back, jaw clenching shut.

Lena opens her mouth to apologize for whatever wound she’s poked her fingers into, but Kara speaks before she can.

“Tell me more about your mom,” Kara requests, and for a second time Lena is helpless to deny her.

Lena lets out a wistful sigh.

“She was a free spirit,” Lena says. “She loved the outdoors. There was a meadow she would always take me to. We would have lunch, and run and play in the field, the grass tickling our bare feet. I just remember laughing so hard my ribs would ache. Her smile never once fell from her face.”

“You have a beautiful smile, you know,” Kara tells her. “I’d bet you got it from her.”

“Well, I certainly hope so,” Lena defects, ignoring the warmth spreading throughout her chest. “I don’t even think Luthors have the DNA for smiling.”

“It sounds like you two spent a lot of time together,” Kara says. There’s just a touch of yearning in her voice, so subtle Lena almost misses it.

“It was just her and I for as long as I can remember,” Lena says. Her breath catches in her chest. “I … I’ve always blamed myself for losing her.”

“What happened?” Kara asks softly. “If you want to talk about it …?”

“No, it’s fine,” Lena shrugs. “She took me to a lake one weekend and we went swimming. I got tired, so she left me on the shore to go swim some more. I …”

Lena stops to take a deep breath, steadying the rattling of her shaking rib cage. She doesn’t even know why she’s even telling Kara all of this, but she wants to. She wants someone else to know, to share the weight.

So she tells her.

“I didn’t know, I didn’t realize what I was seeing. But I did,” Lena explains. “She started to disappear under the water. I just … stood there. I did nothing. I watched her die.”

“Woah, woah, Lena,” Kara practically envelops Lena with her entire body. She’s surrounded by warmth and firm muscle and a bit of hair tickling her nose. “You were four. You couldn’t have saved her.”

“I … I could’ve run to her, I could’ve cried for help,” Lena’s lips tremble as a single tear falls. “But I did nothing. What kind of child does nothing? … And for that, I’ve always known, even if I’m not truly one of them, I deserve to be a Luthor.”

The tears flow freely now.

“Lena,” Kara soothes. “Lena’s, it’s not your fault. You couldn’t have saved your mother. No matter what you could’ve done, there’s no guarantee it would’ve changed anything. It’s not your fault.”

For a split second, Kara’s voice is so earnest and genuine Lena actually starts to believe it. She allows herself a moment of weakness to cocoon in Kara Danvers’ hopeful world.

But she can’t stay too long. That would be incredibly dangerous.

“When did this turn to be about me?” Lena lets out a self-deprecating chuckle, pulling away slightly. “I thought this was your terrible night.”

“I don’t mind sharing,” Kara smiles down at her softly.

“How considerate,” Lena sniffles. “I’m alright now, Kara, you can let go.” She pats on Kara’s back.

“Oh, right! Sorry,” Kara quickly untangles herself, and Lena can’t help but miss her warmth as the cool, distant air takes her place.

“I suppose I should warn you now,” Lena says, a rueful tone to her words. “I think I might be cursed.”

“Cursed?” Kara frowns.

She sucks on her bottom lip. She really should stop talking, but there’s something compelling about this early morning hour that she can’t help but spill all her secrets to a pair of earnest blue eyes that feel like safety personified.

“Yes,” Lena inhales sharply. “Everyone … everyone always leaves. I’ve learned not to take it personally anymore. It’s just how it is.”

“Is this about your ex?” Kara frowns, eyes flickering all over Lena’s face. “Sam?”

“Sam. My mother — not Lillian,” Lena lists, “Mercy. Lex, even. He’s not really good at staying around when you need him.”

“Who’s Mercy?” Kara’s brow is crinkled.

“Ah,” Lena says. “Mercy Graves. She was Lex’s first and last long-time girlfriend. They dated for several years; Lex was at his best when he was with her.”

“She must’ve been important to him,” Kara realizes. “And it sounds like she was important to you too …?”

“Yes,” Lena admits. “As you know — firsthand, now — Lillian is very critical of me. She never took the time to, you know, teach the life stuff. But Mercy … she took me under her wing.”

“She sounds great,” Kara agrees, voice soft as to not be disruptive.

“She was, kind of. She taught me about fashion, manners, networking,” Lena says. “Even how to stand up for myself. We grew very close. She was almost like a big sister to me.”

“What happened with you two?” Kara asks.

“She left,” Lena sighs. “Never even said goodbye.”

“That must have hurt you,” Kara frowns.

“It did,” Lena states. “But I can’t blame her for it. Truthfully, the fault lies with Lex. He was too busy trying to prove himself different from Lionel — always drunk or high, out clubbing every night — that he pushed her away. Then his coke habit got worse, and Mercy wouldn’t stand for it. So she left.”

“I’m so sorry, Lena,” Kara says.

“It’s alright,” Lena sets her jaw. “It just reinforced what I always suspected: I’m better off alone.”

“Do you really believe that?” Kara challenges. “Deep down?”

“I do.”

It’s a simple trick of the ears, some city noise that her brain twists and manipulates, but for a split second Lena would swear she just heard a soft “I don’t.”

“It’s the same for Lex,” Lena offers, pushing her thoughts forward. Best not to dwell on delusions. “Luthors are just better off on their own.”

“I thought things were getting better between you two?” Kara asks.

“It’s … better,” Lena smiles sadly off into the distance. “But loving Lex is a bit like loving a thunderstorm; you don’t know where it’s going, what damage it’ll do in its wake, or how long it’ll stay. It’s not yours to keep.”

“Love can’t really be kept though,” Kara says. “It can only be given.”

“To give something is to lose something,” Lena retorts.

“No, it’s not,” Kara says, and Lena can practically feel her frowning. “It’s … to trust, to trust that you’ll get it back.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” Lena sucks her teeth. She doesn’t love Kara’s choice of words. “Trust has never been my most advanced skill.”

“Practice makes perfect, you know,” Kara’s voice tilts up lightly at the end, a friendliness to offset the intensity of the sentiment underneath.

“We should probably try to get some sleep,” Lena sniffles. “It’s past five. Think you’ll be alright this time?”

“Yeah, I’m good to go,” Kara nods. “I’ll just, uh, shift back to my side.”

Lena sucks on her lips to prevent any regrettable requests from leaving her mouth.

“Goodnight Lena,” Kara calls, readjusted back onto the far side of the massive bed.

“Goodnight, Kara,” Lena echoes.

A few moments of silence pass as the heaviness in the air dissipates.

“And Kara?” Lena calls out, protected in the darkness of the room. “You should talk about your parents more. You look … happy when you do.”

Kara’s response comes in the form of a slightly-too-fake-sounding snore. But she’ll get away with it, for now.

Lena shakes her head slightly and allows her eyelids to droop closed once more. She falls asleep feeling a bit like she’s about to stumble over the edge into something dangerous.

But she doesn’t care.


 

Chapter Text


The night of the fundraiser comes before Kara can even really process it. 

Basketball is busier than ever, with only a few weeks left of the regular season, and the Comets are boasting quite the impressive record. And Kara intends to keep it that way. If she’s not in class or in Lena’s bed, she’s in the gym — shooting, running footwork drills, everything. Occasionally, she’ll successfully rope Mike (who couldn’t care less about being a student-athlete) or Lucy (who’s just as obsessive as she is) into joining her.

It’s also a welcome distraction from a certain green-eyed goddess that’s now permanently residing in Kara’s mind, and all the stupid things Kara wants to confess to her. Of the things Kara already practically confessed to her.

She pours herself into basketball even more. She can always shut her feelings down when on the court.

But the status of her feelings when off  the court is quickly becoming a different story.

There’s an undeniable, snowballing mass of warmth and emotions accumulating inside her, and she has no idea how to handle it. She knows what she should do, but she’s not going to do that. 

Besides, Lena needs her for the fundraiser. She’s not going to back out when Lena needs her.

Kara takes a few deep breaths to brace her for the night. She’s nervous for all the pomp and circumstance, but it’s just like a game — get dressed, go out, do your best — and she’s always been great at that.

She can do this.

There’s a full itinerary. Fancy dinner with Lena, head to the tailors to pick up the suit Lena had made for her, then to the gala to make Lena’s night as pleasant as possible — despite being surrounded by her mother and the other asshole self-appointed aristocrats that’ll be there.

Easy. She can do this.

“And where the hell are you going?” Alex frowns, looking Kara up and down. She’s in pants and a sweater that are definitely a bit too formal for going out, and it’s a dead give-away. 

Alex’s eyes narrow at her. “Aren’t we going to Al’s tonight?”

“I’m going out,” Kara says. “I have a thing.”

“What thing?” Alex’s eyes narrow further. Kara would sell her soul to be invisible right now.

“ … Lena needed a plus-one for this party thing,” Kara mumbles.

Alex’s eyebrows fly upwards. “Oh, so you’re going on a date? With Lena Luthor? The fuck buddy who you have feelings for.”

Kara winces. “Can you not … say it like that?”

“Say it like what?” Alex challenges.

“Like it’s a bad thing,” Kara says. “Like it’s all going to blow up in my face.”

“Oh, but it is,” Alex insists. “You caught feelings for someone you explicitly chose because you wouldn’t catch feelings. And now you’re continually putting yourself into a situation where you’re just going to get hurt. You said you were going to tell her soon!”

Kara meets Alex with steely silence. That’s not how this is going to go.

“The longer this goes on, the worse it’s going to be,” Alex says. “You need to tell her, Kara, or break things off.”

“I’m not going to do either of those things,” Kara states. “I realized, it doesn’t matter that I have feelings for Lena—”

“—yes, it does—”

“—because we’re also friends—”

“—with benefits, and fuck, wow, feelings now too, apparently—”

“—and she doesn’t need to know I have feelings for her,” Kara finishes. “I’m going to stick with my original plan and break things off at the end of the semester.”

Alex gives her a look that would send mere mortals straight to the grave. “So you’re not even going to tell her how you feel?”

“Nope,” Kara confirms.

“But you’re still going to keep sleeping with her?”

“Yep.”

“And you don’t see anything wrong with that plan?” Alex frowns.

“Alex, it’ll be fine,” Kara assures.

Alex lets out a very long sigh. “Be careful, Kara. This is a recipe for disaster.”

Kara almost makes it out of the door.

“Kara?” Alex calls, and Kara begrudgingly turns around to face her sister. Gone is the stress and frustration from Alex’s face, replaced by resigned wariness.

“What, Alex?” Kara frowns.

“If you’re scared to tell her, you know that’s okay?” Alex says with earnest eyes. “You’re allowed to feel things.”

“I … I am … a little scared,” Kara admits, crossing her arms. “I don’t want to lose her, Alex.”

Alex walks closer. “I’m sorry if I’ve been pushy about it; I’ll stop. I’m just worried you’re going to get hurt.”

“It’s okay,” Kara says. “I know you kind of have a point.”

“It’s just …” Alex trails off. “Have you considered telling her for your benefit? It can’t feel good pretending and shoving your feelings aside all the time.”

“I’m fine,” Kara’s voice is firm at first, but then grows drastically softer upon her next words. “What if she doesn’t feel the same way?”

“Then she doesn’t deserve you, and we’ll get through it together,” Alex gives her a protective, loving smile, then nods her head at the door. “Now go, have fun with your hot date.”

“It’s not a date!” Kara protests, but her eyes spill sisterly love back at Alex.

“Go, Kara.”

She does just that; the door closes behind her with a firm click under her palm, and that’s the only solid thing she feels right now.

With Alex's words deeply unsettled in her gut, Kara sighs and squares her shoulders. She’s just gotta make it through tonight, and then she can figure out what she wants to do about Lena and her secret.

Oh, boy.


Lena takes them both out for dinner before the gala — the first of many gifts to repay Kara for sacrificing her evening. Much to Lena’s surprise though, Kara’s usual appetite seems to have deserted her, and for once, Lena’s on pace to finish her food before Kara.

It’s a phenomena she once considered impossible.

“Are you alright?” Lena fixes her with a concerned look. “You’ve hardly touched your meal.”

“Oh, Alex and I got into a bit of a fight,” Kara brushes her off, poking her fork in her mashed potatoes. “It’s nothing.”

Lena feels an icy hand grip her heart. “Is it about tonight?” Is it about us?

Kara jumps a little in her chair. “Oh, no, not at all! It’s basketball stuff.”

“Oh,” Lena sighs, warming back up. “Well I’m happy to listen if you need to vent …”

“Nah, it’s okay,” Kara smiles. “Thank you though. I’m already feeling better, actually.” She takes a big bite of steak for emphasis.

“Alright,” Lena accepts her words warily. “Are you nervous about tonight?”

Kara gives her an appraising look. “Are you?”

“A little,” Lena admits, with a nod of her head. “These events always spike my anxiety levels. It’s a political and social minefield, let alone the additional pressure of my mother’s expectations …”

“Don’t focus on her. I’m nervous too, but I have you, and you have me,” Kara says with a soft smile. “We’ll get through it together.”

Lena smiles, exposing white teeth between red lips. She holds out her wine glass towards Kara. 

“Together it is.”

After the meal, they head for the tailor shop where Lena had Kara’s suit commissioned. (Lena thought it best to have Kara eat before getting covered in thousands of dollars of clothes.) There’s also a stylist waiting there to do their hair and makeup first. Lena told Kara to keep her hair down, to rest in golden waves down her shoulders, but Lena’s own hair is to be styled up into an ornate braided pattern. The blonde has no idea what to expect of the clothes though, Lena had chosen everything from the style to fabric to color — she’d wanted to design it herself, as yet another thank-you for the blonde’s service.

And Lena’s made Kara a damn good suit.

“How do I look?” Kara grins at Lena, holding her arms out.

All the air rushes out of Lena’s lungs.

Lena knows fashion — thanks to the guidance of Mercy — but she’s truly outdone herself this time. Kara stands before her, clad in a brilliant dark-blue suit. The pants, the suit coat, and the tie are all the same rich shade of dark-blue. The button-up provides a bit of contrast; Lena elected for a stunning maroon color instead. The tailor also had taken the liberty of draping a matching silk scarf over Kara’s shoulders, handsome red against beautiful blue. 

Gold accents have been incorporated everywhere; gold suit buttons, gold belt buckle, gold watch, gold studs in Kara’s ears. It’s all for Kara; to match with the golden crest necklace lying proud over her tie. Everything has been tailored to fit the woman perfectly, showcasing her prime physique, and incidentally making Lena feel very weak in the knees.

“You look …” Lena trails off, lips agape. Her words have truly deserted her.

“Good, right?” Kara beamed, her chest puffing out with pride. 

“More than good. Almost perfect,” Lena murmurs, running a delicate finger over the fabric of Kara’s shoulder. “Though there’s one last thing …”

“What?” Kara asks, shoulders dropping. “Is it my necklace?”

“No,” Lena quickly assures, catching the defensive hand that’s already halfway up to her chest. “No, Kara, I would never make you take that off.”

“Oh,” Kara’s entire body relaxes, the arm dropping back down. “Thank you.”

“What you’re missing is a cape,” Lena explains. “You, Kara Danvers, are my hero once again tonight, and you deserve to look the part.”

Kara frowns. “A cape?”

“In a manner of speaking,” Lena muses. “This is your ‘cape’.” She gestures behind her, where the tailor is now holding the final piece. He unfolds it with a dramatic whoosh. It’s a long woolen coat, designed to be worn with the suit, in the same rich maroon as the other pieces.

“Woah,” Kara’s eyebrows shoot up, pulling the corners of her mouth up along too.

“Try it on,” Lena says softly. Kara holds her arms out, and the tailor slips it onto her.

“Miss Luthor,” the tailor steps back, allowing Lena the final step. She wraps each lapel between her clammy hands and tugs the coat down snugly into place.

Oh, Lena is good.

“Take a look,” she murmurs, stepping to the side to allow Kara to turn around and see for herself.

As far as Lena’s concerned, the blonde looks downright heroic. As she should.

“Wow, Lena, this is … perfect,” Kara’s eyes shine in the mirror. “… thank you.”

“It’s nothing, Kara,” Lena blushes, averting her eyes to the short carpet.

“No,” Kara shakes her head, grabbing Lena’s hands, staring deep into her soul. “No, you made this for me. It’s my two favorite colors. You even got my necklace to work with it. It’s … everything.”

“I … I’m glad you like it,” Lena gulps.

“Miss Luthor?” the tailor coughs, saving her from herself. “Your gown is ready for you.”

“Yes, right,” Lena nods, coming back to her senses. “Thank you, Frank.“

Her gown for the night is long but cut to be off-the-shoulder, exposing a fair expanse of her neck and collarbone, amongst other assets. It's snug but not restrictive. Lillian will certainly hate it, but Lena looks good — and more importantly — feels good in it. And she might’ve had it made to match the dark blue as Kara’s suit perfectly.

She’s like to say it was all to further Lillian’s ire, but that wouldn’t exactly be true. Lena’s actually a little excited to show up with Kara as her plus-one. Though Lena would never tell the blonde, for fear of her ego never fitting inside a room again, Kara is actually quite an incredible person. Plus they work well with each other; there’s a synergy between them. And Lena just wants their outfits to represent that.

She looks in the mirror for a second too long and a moment of doubt creeps in; hopefully, it’s not too much. Hopefully, Kara likes it. In her absentmindedness, she leaves behind the diamond necklace perched in velvet off to the side.

Lena walks out of the changing room with her usual elegant air, but it’s heightened by her tall heels for the night. They’re tall enough to put her right at Kara’s height, her up-do helping her bridge the gap.

Kara’s jaw actually drops open when Lena turns the corner. Lena could swear she actually hears all the air leave Kara’s lungs. Or maybe it’s the air escaping her own tensed ribcage?

“What do you think?”

“You look … gorgeous.” Kara’s looking at her like she’s the sun in the sky, and Lena’s never felt her soul laid so bare.

“Thank you, Kara.” Lena tucks her chin down humbly, fiddling with one of her ornate diamond earrings.

“I mean … Lena …” Kara trails off. “Wow … did you design that too?”

“I chose it, but no, it’s designer,” Lena explains. “Frank was kind enough to make a few alterations though.”

“Frank, you’re an amazing tailor,” Kara informs him.

Frank returns an amused smile. Everyone Lena’s met seems to find Kara’s earnestness utterly charming, and Frank is no different.

“Anything else, Miss Luthor?” Frank asks, hands clasped patiently in front of him.

“No,” Lena smiles politely. “Thank you, Frank, that’ll be all.”

Kara turns back to Lena, sucking on her lips while her eyes dart down Lena’s body again.

“Take a photo, Danvers, it’ll last longer,” Lena teases. She tosses on her white wool coat next, newly made in a similar style to the one she had ordered for Kara.

“Wow,” Kara scoffs. “I’m offended you think I’d ever forget this.” Kara gestures up and down Lena’s silhouette on the last word.

Lena blushes violently, praying it's hidden well enough by her makeup.

“Memory requires brain cells,” Lena deflects.

“Yeah. You know, we match,” Kara grins, eyes raking over Lena yet again. Lena half-wonders if Kara’s expecting her to disappear or something.

“So we do,” Lena smiles coyly. “I thought Lillian would appreciate the coordination.”

The invocation of her mother’s name sends a chill of dread down Lena’s spine. They actually do need to get going. They can only stay at this haven for so long.

“Oh, I’m sure she will. Shall we, Miss Luthor?” Kara jokes, holding an elbow out for her.

Lena wraps a shaky hand around her bicep, taking immediate comfort in the firm muscle underneath. 

“Keep up, Danvers,” Lena smiles.

“Game on,” Kara winks. She backs out of the tailor shop, waving one hand back inside. “Bye, Frank! Thank you!”

There’s a towncar waiting outside to take them to the main event.

Kara pulls the car door open for Lena, gently aiding her descent into the cabin before following after.

“Those heels are killer,” Kara notes, eying her footwear.

“They feel killer,” Lena admits, rubbing idly at the firm leather digging into her ankle.

“I have bandaids, if you need them,” Kara says, hand already reaching inside her inner coat pocket.

“It’s alright,” Lena declines. “I don’t have any blisters yet, these shoes are just steep.”

“I can always give you a massage later,” Kara offers. She then squirms in her seat and quickly states, “If you want that is!”

“I … I might take you up on that,” Lena exhales. Even just the thought of Kara touching her right now is enough to make Lena feel entirely electrified.

Kara nods in agreement.

A hushed silence falls over the car. Both of the passengers turn to look away from each other, the windows providing an excellent deflection for their attention. Though Lena doesn’t truly see anything they pass as she begins to pull on her fingers. Out of curiosity, she looks over towards Kara to see if the blonde looks as nervous as Lena feels, only to see Kara making cocky faces at the darkened glass.

“Are you admiring your reflection?” Lena teases.

“Hey I’m just appreciating your handiwork,” Kara objects playfully. “I look good; I’ve got that drip. You know your stuff.”

“You and your colloquialisms. And that I do,” Lena says proudly. The glint of Kara’s necklace catches her eye once more. It really is a brilliant, fresh gold color — for an old family heirloom, Kara’s taken immaculate care of it (in stark contrast to most of her other possessions).

Even though Kara’s head is turned once more, her hand flickers up to touch the necklace, as if she can feel Lena’s gaze on it.

A horrible realization sets in.

“Oh, shit,” Lena hisses, her hand flying up to her bare collarbone. “I forgot my diamonds.”

“You don’t need them; you look beautiful,” Kara offers. Her earnest eyes make Lena weak in the knees.

“Thank you, Kara,” Lena says, “But if I so much as have a hair out of place, Lillian will notice.”

Lena’s mind zooms in overdrive as she tries to think of a solution. She could call Jack to bring one — no, he’s out with his parents. What about Andrea? No, she’s sick. Lena could ask the driver to re-route to a store, but they’re already a bit too fashionably late as it is …

“I have an idea,” Kara says with firm resolution, quickly adjusting sideways in her seat. 

Kara’s hands fly up to her neck, toying with something at the back of her neck. Before Lena realizes what is happening, Kara’s eyes are baring deep into her soul and her hands are behind Lena’s neck, a slim chain settling around her neck.

The metal feels white-hot against her skin

Lena’s hand flies up to touch it, green eyes still riveted on blue. She swallows roughly.

It’s Kara’s necklace.

“Will that work?” Kara asks softly.

The necklace she never takes off.

Every single molecule of air in the towncar is gone. 

Lena looks at her reflection in the pull-down mirror behind the driver’s seat. Sure enough, a golden crest — emblazoned with a ‘S’ — hangs around her neck. The gold catches in the light, glinting and shining as if it was a piece of the very sun itself. It doesn’t match with any of Lena’s silver accessories, but she couldn’t give a singular shit.

“Kara,” Lena chokes out. “Yes, it’s … perfect.”

She has no words to describe the comfort it brings, her reverence of the trust it signifies. She knows the necklace is indescribably precious to Kara. She’s never seen it off of her.

It’s a calming, golden shield over her anxious heart.

Lena doesn’t know what else to say. She has no words. So she thanks Kara with a kiss, deep and slow and long, only pulling away to take a new breath. Lena’s eyes aren’t wet as she pulls away — they aren’t.

There’s a bit of red lipstick by the corner of Kara’s smiling mouth.

It hits Lena like the sunrise after weeks of forlorn rain: Kara Danvers, I could fall in love with you.

Oh.

Oh, no.

Lena stops breathing.

No, no, no, no … this can’t be happening. This is a mistake. This is a terrible decision. This is … hopelessly and incredibly out of her control.

She has feelings for Kara.

“Are you okay?” Kara’s voice breaks her daze.

“Yes,” Lena croaks, swallowing roughly and forcing her lungs to contract again.

She needs to regain control. She can concern herself with her misplaced affections later; she needs to focus on the task at hand — the fundraiser — and get through it. 

“You have lipstick on your face now. Sorry,” Lena says.

Kara brings a hand to swipe at the corner of her mouth. “Good?” she asks.

“Good,” Lena confirms with a glance.

World-broken after her realization, Lena is silent the rest of the drive to the venue. One problem at a time, one problem at a time. Kara seems content in the silence.

One problem at a time.

Once the car enters the gala’s vehicle queue, the main plight of the evening is now impending down on them with the inevitability of death. It only serves to add to the anxious cataclysm afflicting Lena.

She has feelings for Kara Danvers. She’s about to have to deal with her mother, in public, for a few hours. She has feelings for Kara Danvers, who’s about to formally meet her mother.

Fucking hell.

“You look nervous,” Kara observes. “Like we’re about to jump into a pit of snakes or something.”

“We might as well be,” Lena gulps. “Kara, I’ve made a rather egregious mistake. I’m afraid I’ve deluded you, and myself, regarding the circumstances by which we’ll be greeted tonight. Lillian is not a pleasant person to deal with and—”

“—Lena, it’s fine,” Kara gives her a reassuring smile. “I’m here and I want to be here.”

“I…” Lena fumbles to find the words. “I mean, Kara, there’s got to be a hundred other places you could be tonight. Yet you'd be willing to face this? Voluntarily?”

“Of course,” Kara nods. “You asked me to.”

Because Lena asked her to. It can’t really be that simple? That easy?

Kara smiles, and her fear melts away. Apparently, it is that easy.

“Well …” Lena trails off, unsure of what she even wants to say. “… Alright, then. You seem at peace with your fate.”

“I’ve embraced it fully. Though, is there anything in particular I should know about? Any old rich people rituals?” Kara asks in good-humor.

“Not particularly,” Lena says, too nervous to take the window for a scathing joke at the expense of the bourgeoisie. “Though you should probably follow my lead once we’re inside.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t leave your side.” 

Lena melts right into the expensive Italian leather seats.


They walk into the extravagant banquet hall together. Lena holds onto Kara’s arm, rubbing soothing circles with her thumb. Kara’s grateful for the little reminder of Lena’s presence; there’s a lot to take in all at once. The expansive lobby is full of people in suits and gowns, decorated in their finest pearls and diamonds, gingerly shaking hands as they hold themselves in high regard.

The venue matches the extravagance to the inch. It’s absolutely massive, made of expensive marble, with sweeping curtains falling along the walls, framing the many windows. Attendants and staff swirl around the perimeter; some of the waiters have already caught Kara’s eye, carrying trays of bacon-wrapped food. The decor is minimalistic yet expensive, and very, very far out of her depth.

It’s hard to imagine Kara started off today covered in sweat and gym floor grime, and now she’s ending it here. It feels like a different world. 

At first, Kara's enchanted by the excitement and novelty of it. But it's when she sees Lena fit right into it, a crow amongst the gallows, that Kara’s heart starts to ache. Lena — a twenty-year old college kid — wears this strange, hostile environment like a glove. It’s seamless. But it’s wrong.

They shouldn’t be here; Lena shouldn’t have to be doing this. 

For fucks sake, she’s just a kid like Kara, and she should get to be one. They should be playing drinking games at Al’s, or eating way too much sugar in a booth at Bob’s Diner, or wearing pajamas at a movie night over in Kara's place. But instead they’re here, Lena carefully navigating the web of nocuous capitalist politics and cold familial obligations like it’s what she’s made for. But she’s not made for it; she was forced into it by circumstance, and for a moment, Kara mourns for Lena’s youth.

It makes Kara realize; Lena’s loss is greater than she knows. But despite all of that, Lena is still so good.

The first thing they do is get their coats checked. Kara grabs the paper ticket with clammy hands, knowing that they’re getting one step closer to the inevitable. Not wanting Lena to see the visible manifestation of her nerves, Kara shoves her shaking hands into her pockets. Lena’s already anxious enough for the both of them; Kara needs to be her rock tonight.

“The main hall is up those stairs,” Lena informs Kara, nodding the direction of the grand half-height staircase in the center of the room. “We’ll stand somewhere in the back of the room. All the donors were invited for dinner earlier, but I figured neither you nor I would enjoy sitting through that, so the only mandatory event left is my mother’s speech about the foundation at nine.”

Kara breathes a small sigh of relief. She didn’t even think about having to sit through a meal as a possibility.

“I’ll have to leave you to stand by my mother’s side during her speech, but I expect the dessert bar will be able to hold your attention in the meanwhile,” Lena continues. “After the speech, I’ll come find you. We’ll both have to speak with my mother before we can leave.”

Kara nods.

It all goes exactly as Lena describes. The food is delicious, but Kara abstains from any of the alcohol. She knows Lena can’t drink at the function, and it seems almost cruel to partake without her, no matter how much Kara wishes for the relief of a tipsy buzz. Around 8:50, Lena parts from her side.

Kara zones out during Lillian’s speech, much more interested in admiring Lena from a far. 

She really does look otherworldly tonight. The stage lighting practically makes her skin glow, and Kara can see how vibrantly rich the blue of her dress is. Lena is stunning as always, but what makes Kara’s entire body throb in pride is her own necklace in full view, hanging like a shield over Lena’s heart.

Lillian’s speech drags on and on; Kara’s bladder continues to fill up from an endless supply of raspberry lemonades, and she starts to shift uncomfortably from one leg to the next. It doesn’t sound like Lillian will finish anytime soon either. Eventually, Kara sees a window of escape, and ducks out to beeline for the bathroom.

She’s just finished washing her hands when another woman comes crashing into the bathroom in huff, dramatically kicking her heels off in one of the plush chairs by the makeup vanity.

“I swear,” the woman seethes, rubbing her ankle. “It’s impossible to find a competent assistant nowadays.”

The woman has blonde hair, cropped below mid-neck, and appears to be middle-aged, but aging in a very graceful way. She’s dressed in a sharp-looking black dress, with jewelry that's probably more expensive than Kara’s entire wardrobe put together. Kara quietly watches in the mirror as the woman moves to inspect her ankle; even though she’s a few feet behind Kara, there’s a distinctly visible and angry, bright red patch of flesh running down her Achilles tendon.

That has to hurt.

Never one to walk away when there’s something she can do, Kara turns and approaches the woman.

“Bandaid?” Kara offers, holding out a small paper slip. She originally had brought them for Lena, if she needed them, but she has enough to spare a few for someone else in need. 

The woman eyes her with a mixture of scandalization and intrigue, lips pursed.  Kara can’t help but be intimidated under her gaze; this is a woman who commands a room. One look from her and Kara feels as if she’s somehow failed at something important already.

“They’re special for blisters,” Kara adds. She took them from her stash in the locker room — these were a must when breaking in new basketball shoes during preseason. They’re practically magic.

“I hope you’re not expecting a tip,” the woman grimaces. “I haven’t carried cash on me once this decade.”

“Oh, no, I’m a guest too,” Kara clarifies. “Just offering some help. Those blisters look painful.”

The woman gives her a thoughtful look, starting at Kara’s toes and working her way up. Under such careful scrutiny, Kara becomes hyper-aware that everything about this woman is immaculate. Not in Lena’s ‘extreme attention to detail’ way, but in an ‘effortlessly flawless’ way that only comes with confidence and collected power.

“Well aren’t you … heroic.” Her eyes rake over Kara again from head to toe. “Hmph. You have a good eye for fashion. Better than half the bumbling idiots here.”

“Oh, I can’t take credit for—” Kara breaks off into a chuckle, gesturing down at herself. Her mind goes blank. Who is this woman, and why does she make Kara feel like a wobbly, terrified deer?

“Who are you?” the woman asks, eyes narrowed.

“Kara Danvers, ma’am,” Kara bows her head in compelled respect.

“Well, thank you, Kira,” the woman says, swiftly snatching the bandaid from Kara’s fingers. “And you may call me Ms. Grant. Hold this; the floor in here is disgusting.”

“Oh, it’s Kar--” The woman promptly shoves her bag into Kara’s hands, effectively muting her.

The woman quickly slides off her other heel, slaps the bandaids on, and is back in her shoes before Kara can blink. 

“You’d make a half-decent assistant,” she muses, hand now up in the air beside her head. “Strong shoulders. What is it you do?”

“I’m a, uh, student,” Kara rambles. “I play basketball for NCU.”

"A student?” Ms. Grant’s eyebrows raise. “How quaint. And do you make a habit of carrying medical supplies around in your formal wear?””

“Oh, no, I just brought them for my …” Kara stumbles over her words trying to think of how to describe Lena. What even are they anymore? The hopeless fixation of her affection? “My, uh, friend.”

“Your ‘uh, friend’?” she snickers. “How … mildly intriguing.”

“She’s the one that chose this suit,” Kara blurts out, running her palms down the front of her coat. “I’m her plus-one tonight; I’ve actually never been to one of these parties before.”

“Hmm, yes, that I’ve already determined,” the woman crosses her arms, “Thought I can’t help but wonder why it is you’re here. It’s not exactly a basketball field.”

“Oh, it’s a ‘court’ actually, but—” Kara falters as Ms. Grant sends her a scathing look. “Right, uh, I’m just here for my friend.”

“And who, pray tell, might this little friend be?” Ms. Grant raises an eyebrow. “And why have you gone all doe-eyed on me?”

“Uh, her name’s Lena,” Kara says, unsure if she could give more detail, but Ms. Grant’s eyes light up in recognition anyways.

“The young Luthor  …” she trails off, giving Kara a final once-over. “Hm. Good for her. I wasn’t aware she had a new girlfriend.”

“Oh, we’re just friends,” Kara quickly assures, not wanting to give Ms. Grant the wrong idea. Lena is not her girlfriend and it’s very unlikely she will ever  want to be. 

Not that Kara thinks about that a lot. Or ever. Because armed with the understanding she has actual feelings for Lena, that would be — as Alex put it — a ‘recipe for disaster’.

Just friends,” Kara insists, “We’re not — it’s complicated.”

Life is complicated, Kira,” Ms. Grant rolls her eyes. “Don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s something exclusive to you and your attempts to find human connection. It’s like blaming the sun for being bright.”

“Uh, Ms. Grant, what, uh—” Whatever half-composed question is about to fall from Kara’s mouth is cut off by the bathroom door opening.

“There you are!” Lena’s voice exclaims behind Kara.

“Lena!” Kara turns around to greet her, her usual grin on her face. “Hey!”

Kara holds out an arm, and Lena almost fully slides her waist to it, until she catches a glimpse of Kara’s conversation partner.

“Ms. Grant!” Lena’s eyebrows raise in surprise, halting her movement. She pulls back from Kara’s touch, and the blonde respectfully drops her hand back down.

“Hello, Miss Luthor,” Ms. Grant gives her a coy smile, like she now knows a delicious secret.

“Kara, this is Cat Grant,” Lena introduces, gesturing to the woman. “She’s the founder and CEO of Catco Worldwide Media.”

“Oh!” Kara exclaims with a start, realizing she just offered her lowly locker-room bandaids to one of the largest media moguls in the country. “Oh, it’s very nice to meet you, Ms. Grant.”

Cat smirks at Kara, satisfied with the dramatic reveal. “Yes, I imagine it is.” 

She then turns to Lena and asks, “And how have you been, Miss Luthor?”

Lena bows her head. “Very well, thank you.”

Cat’s eye catches the glint of gold over Lena’s collarbone, and her eyes widen an almost-imperceptible fraction. 

But Kara notices. And her heart rate skyrockets.

“That’s a lovely necklace,” Cat taps at her chin, staring at the necklace in question. “I once had a brief but amorous dalliance with a man who wore the same exact one.” 

There’s only one other person on the planet with the same necklace, and both Kara and Lena know who it is.

“You know Kal?!” Kara wrinkles her nose. Did Cat Grant date her cousin …? They were like ten, fifteen years apart?

“Clark Kent?” Lena translates smoothly. “Kara is his cousin, actually.”

“Is she now?” Kara once again finds herself under the heat of Cat’s stare. The older woman has her lips pursed out in thought, her eyes boring right through Kara’s, to her soul. “Fascinating.”

Kara can feel the sweats set in.

“This necklace is Kara’s,” Lena explains, one of her hands clasped protectively over her chest, and by extension, the golden crest.

“Of course,” Cat tilts her head. She looks between Kara and Lena, as if drawing a web of invisible lines between them. “… Well, it’s been a pleasure, but I am 'the Queen of All Media' and you don’t get a throne by just standing around, making idle chit-chat. Goodbye, ladies.”

Cat then plucks her bag from Kara’s hands, who didn’t even realize she was still holding it, and makes straight for the door out of the bathroom.

“Oh, and Kara?” Cat calls back over her shoulder, door half-way open. “Good luck with your … basketball. I imagine you have quite the future there.”

“Because of Clark, right?” Kara asks, deflating a little in preparation for the confirmation she knows is about to come.

“No.” Cat smirks, then disappears.


“What was that all about?” Lena frowns at Kara, who apparently managed to befriend the Cat Grant in a bathroom, of all places. Was there anyone on this planet immune to the charm of Kara Danvers?

“I have no idea,” Kara insists. “I just offered her a bandaid, since she had blisters on her feet—”

“—Wait, did you just give Cat Grant my bandaids?” Lena gives Kara an incredulous look.

Your bandaids?” Kara frowns. “I thought you didn’t want them?”

“I did not say that!” Lena replies, miffed at the idea of Kara giving away something the blonde had already promised to her. “I explicitly remember saying ‘not yet’.”

“Don’t worry, Luthor, I still have plenty,” Kara gives her a playful smile and she sets a hand on Lena’s waist. “So, we’re in a bathroom … we look hot … I was thinking…”

Kara starts to pull Lena closer, and it doesn’t take an expert to recognize the thirsty look in Kara’s eye. Lena knows if she takes even so much as a single step towards her date, she will surely not leave this bathroom for the next half-hour or so, minimum.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly opposite of what they need to do.

“No,” Lena gives Kara a look, setting a stiff hand over Kara’s collarbone. “Behave.” She leans a little extra into her powerbitch voice (now knowing the compulsive effect it has).

Kara reacts, predictably, exactly how Lena expects. The blonde goes slack under Lena’s palm and her face flushes.

Lena knows it won’t last long.

“We need to go meet with my mother,” Lena informs her.

“Oh,” Kara grimaces, and Lena can actually see Kara’s desire die out on the floor in front of her.

“Trust me, I would much rather hide in here with you for the duration of the night,” Lena says. “But there are … expectations.”

“Okay,” Kara says, re-inflating herself with a deep inhale. “What do you need me to do?”

“Just stay by my side,” Lena says. “No matter what you say or do, Lillian won’t like you. So just be yourself.”

Against every single brain cell in her head screaming at her not to say it, Lena adds, “I like that Kara Danvers.”

Kara gives her a soft smile that makes Lena melt. “I do too.”

They find Lillian off in one of the side hallways, exchanging words with a woman with a clipboard. Lena forces herself to take a deep breath as they approach; her and Kara aren’t touching and Lena misses the stability.

“Hello Mother,” Lena fakes a toothy smile. The woman with the clipboard makes her exit at the same time, much to Lena’s relief. The less spectators the better.

“Lena,” Lillian greets her daughter, holding Lena by the forearms to press a performative kiss to her cheek. “You really do look so lovely, dear.”

“Really?” Lena quirks an eyebrow. “It’s just us this time, Mother. You don’t want to know what street-corner I bought my dress at?”

“Of course not,” Lillian scoffs playfully, playing the dig off as charming humor. “You look … titillating. In fact, there’s a young man who would certainly appreciate it. I’d like you to meet with him, he’s from—”

“Mother, this is Kara Danvers,” Lena introduces abruptly, desperate to halt whatever that scheme is. 

Lena gestures between her mother and Kara, who’s now come to stand by Lena’s side; Kara takes the cue to offer out her hand. “She’s a friend from school.”

Friend. The word puts an odd, bitter taste in Lena's mouth. But she can’t think about that right now; there are more urgent forces in motion.

“Danvers?” Lillian frowns slightly as she shakes Kara’s hand.

“Nice to meet you again,” Kara says without thinking, a fake, deadly smile across her face.

‘Again’, Kara?!  Lena’s heart skips a beat at Kara’s admission. As far as her mother knows, Kara Danvers and Lillian Luthor have never so much as shared air before tonight, let alone been only feet away from each other.

“Again?” Lillian arches a brow. Despite her disdain for her mother, the flawless brow arch is the one good thing she imparted to Lena. “I don’t believe we’ve met before.”

“No, we haven’t, I’m sorry,” Kara corrects, letting out a flustered chuckle. “I would remember that.”

“Hmph,” Lillian huffs. “I can’t recall anyone named Danvers. What is it your parents do?”

Lena’s hand darts out to wrap around Kara’s bicep, but she’s not quite quick enough to catch the blonde’s flinch.

“I met Kara through Lex,” Lena volunteers, trying to pivot the conversation into more comfortable territory. She gives Kara’s arm a reassuring squeeze. “She’s cousins with Clark Kent.”

“Ah, Lex’s friend,” Lillian realizes. “The one who filled his head with such … lofty thoughts.”

“Lofty thoughts?” Kara tilts her head like an inquisitive puppy, but Lena knows there’s a rigidity underlying the innocent gesture.

“Oh, yes, you know,” Lillian waves her hand. “Basketball; the poor man’s pastime. It’s thanks to him that Lex would rather sit and watch a bunch of fools throw a ball around obsessively. It’s an absolute waste of his intellect.”

Kara shifts her weight from one foot to another, leaning back from Lillian in her affront. “I play basketball too, actually, for NCU; but I’ll join the pros this year or next. It’s a pretty great game if you give it a chance.”

Lena’s too focused on watching her mother’s reaction that Kara’s words go in one ear and out the other.

“Another basketball player, lovely. At least I don’t have to worry about that with my darling daughter,” Lillian shoots Lena a proud smile. “Fencing; now that’s a true sport. An artform really.”

“Yeah, I heard Lena’s an excellent fencer,” Kara smiles. This one is genuine and toothy, and it’s a beacon of hope to Lena amidst the dreadful, forced conversation.

“Yes, it’s a shame she wasn’t blessed with the same intellect as Lex,” Lillian muses. “Then maybe she could have stayed with it while she finished her degree.”

“Actually, Lena’s one of the smartest people I know,” Kara pipes up. “She’s got a brilliant, impressive mind.”

“Yes, I’m sure it seems that way when you spend all day fraternizing with mesh-clad fools,” Lillian says.

“Well Mother, it’s better than consorting with thieves and criminals who wear designer suits,” Lena defends.

“Wonderful,” Lillian juts out a haughty chin. “Could you please spare me the socialist rhetoric for one night? What if a donor hears you?”

“Oh, does your hearing not go when you sell your soul?” Lena asks sarcastically. “I thought that was why you can’t hear the cries of the millions of patients you’re exploiting for profit?”

“Enough,” Lillian seethes, voice colder than ice. “The nerve of you to come here tonight, dressed like some expensive whore—“

There it is.

“—and tell me how to run the company that’s given you a better life than what you ever should’ve had — it’s an absolute disgrace to the Luthor name.”

Lena opens her mouth to deliver her next scathing, sarcastic response — but she doesn’t get a chance to.

Her hero beats her to it.

In one swift step forward, Kara puts herself between Lillian and Lena, shoulders tall and firm, and gives Lillian a laser-hot glare of judgment.

“The only one disgracing your family is you,” Kara tells her, voice as strong as steel. Her eyes are so bright and fierce, they might as well be small suns. “Lena is one of the most caring, beautiful, intelligent women I’ve ever met. She has fantastic ideas as both a future scientist and businesswoman, and you should listen to her sometime. Whatever issue you have with your daughter is far beyond me to understand, because she makes the ‘Luthor name’ mean something positive, for once. She’s the best of all of you, because she’s a genuinely good person.”

Lillian looks about as stunned as Lena feels.

No one has ever said anything like that to Lillian Luthor, and that fact is quite apparent by the absolute shock on her face.

(Oh, this is, by far, Lena’s favorite Luthor family function ever.)

Lena wants to either giggle or melt into Kara’s arms, she’s not exactly sure. Instead, she settles for intertwining her fingers with Kara’s and pulling her date back to her side, a smug grin on her face.

Lillian still hasn’t reacted, paralyzed in her shock.

“Goodnight, Mother,” Lena tilts her chin down and gives the woman a pointed, amused look. “I’m afraid I’ve spent too much time at the whorehouse recently, I’ve forgotten my manners. Have a safe flight back to Metropolis tomorrow; I hear flying brooms are rather unreliable these days.”

Lena turns around with the image of her mother’s still-agape mouth permanently saved to her memory.

They stroll over to the coat-check like victors returning from battle. Kara triumphantly holds Lena’s coat up for her to slip on; it’s an oddly intimate moment, Lena exposing her back to Kara, the proximity of Kara’s body to hers sending all the hairs on her neck racing up. Lena lingers halfway in the sleeves of her coat for a moment too long.

“Good?” Kara checks as when Lena turns around. Her sweet blue eyes are full of concern. It’s enough to make Lena want to throw herself around Kara’s shoulders and bury her face in her neck.

But she refrains. Lena Luthor doesn’t act like a dumb schoolgirl.

“Yes,” Lena clears her throat. “Thank you.” 

“No problem.” Kara then throws on her own coat afterwards. The long maroon fabric flows over Kara’s shoulders perfectly. Lena can’t help but give her an appreciative once-over from head to toe, whilst biting her bottom lip. 

Oh, Kara is hot. She’s always been, but there’s something about that suit and her proud, protective stature that shifts Lena’s every brain cell to one singular thought — jump Kara’s bones.

It would be a terrible idea for them to sleep together tonight, with Lena’s realization that she, for all her diligence, might have feelings for Kara Danvers.

But on the other hand, she’s a dumb, horny bitch, and she’s absolutely going to play right into her worst desires.

Her desires that seem to center around this … well, there really are no words, are there? There’s not a single word in Lena’s entire, extensive vocabulary that can sum up all the parts of Kara Danvers.

That realization makes her fall a little more.

Kara places a hand on the small of Lena’s back as they head for the exit, and if Lena wasn’t wet before, she’s certainly wet now.

On the other hand, the icy air outside seems to jar Kara from her confident strut.

“Oh my god,” Kara brings a hand up to her mouth, eyes going wide and jaw dropping open. “Did I actually just say that to your mom?”

“You did,” Lena chuckles, squeezing Kara’s hand. “I can’t believe it, but yes, yes you did.”

Kara stops abruptly, pulling Lena with her off to the side.

“I’m so sorry, Lena,” Kara turns to give her a mortified look. “She was just saying those horrible, untrue things about you, and I just—”

“It’s quite alright, Kara,” Lena assures. “I enjoyed every minute.”

“You’re not upset?” Kara’s brow crinkles. “But I just …”

“Never, I … I’ve never had someone stand up for me like that,” Lena admits. Her voice sounds so fragile out in the cold, open air, that it threatens to shatter.

“Well, now you have someone who will always stand up for you,” Kara sucks on her lips before they shift into a soft smile. “Ready to go home?”

“Thank you,” Lena says. Her throat feels painfully tight all of a sudden. They’re only holding hands as they walk together to the car, but in the warm cradle of Kara’s presence and the absolute reverence in her voice, Lena feels like she could melt right into her strong arms.

The sex is different that night. It’s leisurely and tender and intimate. Lena would over-analyze the shit out of it, but something stops her. It’s … too peaceful to let her mind run wild.

She just lets herself be in the moment, tomorrow’s consequences be damned.

Apparently, that’s a bad idea.

Lena’s absolutely unraveled underneath Kara as the blonde drives her closer to her orgasm with unparalleled care and dedication. They’ve never had sex quite like this before, and Lena doesn’t know what to make of it. Truthfully, she doesn’t even know what to make of Kara anymore. She’s attentive and earnest and loyal. She makes Lena feel … cared for. Wanted. And to top it all off, Kara just defended her without a second-thought, to the one woman no one she knows (not even Lex) has ever stood up to on Lena’s behalf.

Lena feels the droplet roll down her cheek before she can process it.

Kara freezes. “Lena, shit, are you okay? Am I hurting you?” Panicked blue eyes look down at her.

Lena frowns. She’s not in any pain; the opposite in fact. “No, I’m fine, why—” 

Then it hits her.

She’s crying. Lena Luthor is crying during sex.

Well that’s new.

She stiffens underneath Kara as the blonde cups Lena’s face and swipes her thumb over the wet trail.

“What’s wrong? Do you want me to stop?” Kara asks. She’s still not moving and Lena’s downright annoyed now. She’s painfully close and she needs Kara to just fucking move again, so she tells her just that.

Absolutely not, keep going,” Lena squeezes her traitorous eyes shut, pulling Kara in for a kiss. “Please, fuck, I’m fine; I’m close.”

The blonde starts moving again, but her pace lacks its previous haphazard vigor, replaced by tender touches and adoring tinted eyes.

That’s not what Lena fucking needs right now. But much to her own annoyance, it does the trick just fine. Better than fine. 

“Fuck, Lena …” Kara finishes a minute after her, Lena’s bottom lip cradled between her own.

They wash up separately; Lena and her mascara-streaked cheeks go first, but when Kara returns from the bathroom after her turn, it’s clear there’s something on her mind.

Lena doesn’t need more than one guess.

“Are you okay?” Kara asks, eyeing Lena with tender caution. “You know that’s nothing to be embarrassed about, right?”

(Should she be? No, Kara had just said so.)

“I …” Lena double-checks in with herself. She’s certainly not okay, but what is she? She’s not agitated anymore, she’s not anxious, she’s not embarrassed. Here in the gentle cradle of Kara’s presence, she’s … calm … safe … home.

Oh, fuck no.  Bury that harrowing thought.

“I’m completely fine,” Lena assures. It’s genuine, somewhat (but that’s a problem for a new day). “It’s just an involuntary neurochemical reaction.”

Kara seems to accept her words without further doubt. She flops down onto her forearms and gives Lena a soft smile.

“For what it’s worth,” Kara says, eyes sparking in the moonlight. “If you ever want to make me cry in point-two seconds, just show me videos of dogs when their soldiers come home.”

Lena snorts, her lips creeping up into a smile. “Seriously?”

“Seriously,” Kara defends with mock-indignation. “It’s beyond wholesome. That’s just pure love right there.”

“Don’t you dare tell me you’re a dog person, Danvers,” Lena jokes.

Kara makes a face. “Are you a cat person?”

“I don’t know honestly,” Lena exhales. “Lex had a dog before I was adopted, but after that there were no pets allowed in the Luthor household.”

Kara frowns deeply. “That’s just … sad. It sounds lonely.”

“You get used to it,” Lena shrugs. “I never really think of it like that until I let something slip and you — or Jack — looks at me like I’ve locked in a cupboard under the stairs for my entire childhood.”

“Did you ever want a pet growing up?” Kara asks.

“No,” Lena says simply. “I never ever considered it; it just wasn’t within the realm of possibilities.”

“Well, if you do end up being a cat person, it’s okay,” Kara assures. “I love cats too. I actually had a cat for a few years at the Danvers’ house; his name was Streaky.”

“Streaky?” Lena repeats.

“He was all black, and he’d dart around like a little streak,” Kara explains, laughing in fond remembrance. “He was a stray; he helped me … adjust after I was adopted.”

“Ah.” Lena understands. Suddenly, she longs for a childhood pet she never once knew she wanted.

“You do … like animals, right?” Kara asks timidly, like she’s afraid of the answer.

“Really, that’s what does it for you?” Lena raises her eyebrows. “Not my diabolical family or my tragic backstory, no, it’s the notion I may not like animals?”

Kara looks ready to jump out of the bed, and Lena can’t tell if it’s in jest or not.

“Relax, I like animals, Kara,” Lena reassures with a single chuckle. 

“Phew,“ Kara exhales with a smile. “Good, you almost had me worried! Anyways, while both cats and dogs are great, there is definitely a dog in my future someday.”

“I can picture it now …” Lena’s voice takes on a teasing tone. “Thirty-year-old Kara Danvers, sporting a backwards cap and sunglasses, a beer in one hand and a basketball under the other arm, wearing some poor puppy in a baby carrier over her chest.”

“I hope you’re not joking,” Kara says darkly. “Because that’s literally my fantasy. It’s gonna happen, and his name will be Krypto.”

“Of course it is,” Lena rolls her eyes, trying desperately not to consider how hot said thirty-year-old Kara Danvers would look in this scenario, thick biceps on full display in some sleeveless tank-top and joggers tight in all the right places.

Seriously, that does it for her? How far has she fallen?

Fallen for Kara Danvers, right. Fuck, that’s her. 

What is she doing? What has she already done …?

The blonde seems to share in Lena’s pensive moment, and a poignant silence has fallen over the room. She looks like she wants to say something, so Lena keeps silent.

“Lena, I …” Kara swallows roughly and frowns, her eyes glancing down from Lena’s like she abruptly can’t bear to look at her. 

It’s a punch to Lena’s gut, and it persists until the blonde’s eyes return and she speaks again. 

“I … I had a really good time with you tonight,” Kara says.

Oh.

Relief spreads throughout Lena’s entire body.

“I did too,” Lena agrees, pulling Kara in for a gentle kiss. How are Kara’s lips so damn soft? The loving heat is enough to make Lena utter mush inside. 

She goes back for more.

Fatigue, both emotional and physical, inevitably pulls them away from each other. Neither says a word as Lena rolls over and pushes her back up against Kara, and Kara responds in turn by pulling Lena’s hips flush against hers. Her arm lingers protectively around Lena’s waist.

They fall asleep around the same time, two heartbeats only inches apart, each fluttering just a bit too quickly.


 

Chapter Text


How’s Lena handling the realization she has feelings for Kara Danvers?

Not well.

Not well at all.

She has feelings for Kara Danvers.

This whole situation can be distilled down to one truly terrible decision. And what’s worse? Lena’s the one to blame for it.

See, she kissed Kara first. Way back when, the very first weekend of the school year, in the dim, grimy bathroom hallway at Al’s. It had been a moment of monumental weakness.

Emotions had already been running high. Kara Danvers, the personification of arrogance and foolishness, had the audacity to call Lena cold. Which was simply just untrue.

She wasn’t cold; she wasn’t the ice queen that everyone thought her to be. They didn’t know her.

She was just a girl that wanted to feel something.

And Kara Danvers, for all her numerous flaws, made Lena feel something.

Kara had looked so incredibly hot that night — shirt halfway unbuttoned, abs peaking out underneath, and hair down just begging to have fingers ran through it — and Lena had acted on her most basic instincts. 

It was amazing. Their first kiss? Heated and desperate. Their first night together? Wild and debased. The utter contempt each woman had for the other infused their sex with a fire and a thrill that made Lena feel everything.

So Lena had allowed it to happen again. And again. Then maybe she had even started to seek it out. But then it started to grow into something more and Lena lost sight of her rules, the marker on the shore, and she had waded so deep that she was now adrift.

They had been enemies. Then neutral acquaintances that fuck. Then fuck buddies. And now they were allegedly friends-with-benefits, but they weren’t really, they were something more. Something with weekdays, and sober sex, and sleepovers, and feelings

Something that terrified Lena.

Because, turns out, Kara Danvers isn’t always arrogant or foolish. She’s genuine and fun and bright. Charming and caring and thoughtful. She makes everything around her better, in a way that’s so effortlessly pure it hurts.

Every time Kara had taken Lena’s clothes off, a stone from her emotional walls came with it. Then, Lena didn’t even need to be undressed anymore for Kara to continue dismantling her guards. Stone by stone by stone, levied away. Until last night … when the final stone had fallen.

Lena had caught feelings.

She had feelings for Kara Danvers.

And arguably worse? She had begun to trust Kara too.

She’s truly away with the fairies now.

How could she be so blind? Lena Luthor doesn’t trust people. But falling for people that are just going to break her heart? Well, that sounds more like something she would do.

And she had done both, leaving her an emotional catastrophe.

When she wakes up Sunday, there’s a small providence awaiting her; the golden noose around her neck is gone and Kara with it. The absence leaves Lena feeling cold.

But yet the woman still lingers all over Lena’s apartment.

Kara’s tea mug (the light blue one, that by some plot Lena had started to consider as Kara’s after repeated favoritism by the blonde) sits washed and set out to dry in the dish rack. There’s a pot of fresh coffee already brewing for Lena — a token from Kara, of course. And there’s another note on the countertop, in none other than Kara’s scribbly handwriting.

 

Sorry to leave so soon, but there’s an omelet in the fridge for you (from Apolline’s). Thanks for an amazing time last night. I meant every word I said.

— K

 

Every word Kara said? Brilliant, caring, beautiful, intelligent … good person.

Lena feels even more unsettled after that mental recap.

Despite the fact it’s still morning time, Lena makes her coffee Irish, and tries to figure out what to do about her new disastrous affections.

This was the exact reason why Lena had enacted the rules. Though never in a million years had she actually considered she would be the one to break their final rule.

The rules are all broken. All of them.

Lena knows what she should do; what she needs to do. She needs to end things. But yet … she can’t. She can barely bring herself to think about doing it, let alone actually doing it.

She can’t be without Kara Danvers, not yet.

So Lena resolves to wait. Damn her weakened resolve, she will not be broken by Kara fucking Danvers. She doesn’t want this to end.

Her feelings can and will be boxed up and stored away, to be disregarded and forgotten. She can ignore them for as long as she needs to, until they are inconsequential and irrelevant, and in the meanwhile she will continue to operate how she always has.

She can do this. Until she decides otherwise.

She still wants this; misplaced affections and all.

 

(Several blocks away, Kara Danvers shoots basketball after basketball through a metal hoop, equally as desperate to regain control over her wayward heart.)


Lena thanks Kara by flooding her apartment with bouquets upon bouquets of flowers, then promptly spends the next week avoiding the shit out of her. 

(Thankfully, Lena actually has a ton of homework to do, so it keeps her conscience clean.)

But then the weekend arrives and a crisis is inevitable.

It’s only been a week since her realization, but Lena feels like she hasn’t stood on solid ground for years. Her feelings for Kara Danvers have left her without control and power.

And she’s, quite frankly, had enough of it.

She needs to regain control. And that’s exactly what she’s going to do. She doesn’t care how.

So she makes the executive decision: it’s powerbitch night.

A powerbitch night entails a tight firetruck-red dress, very low-cut, sleeved but with the shoulder exposed, a matching red choker, red lipstick, and stilettos. And the final piece to complete to look? Lena’s resting bitch face and long-perfected air of sultry indifference.

It’s — plain and simple — an incredibly hot look. Especially for a certain someone that might be into that.

She can practically picture Kara wriggling nervously under her stare. (It’s also going to be yet another time she’s liable to run into Alex Danvers, and she needs every bit of confidence for that.) But the main objective? She needs to feel in control of Kara. Kara, who makes Lena feel absolutely zero self-control.

Jack wolf-whistles when she walks out into the living room. 

“Shit, Lena! What’s the occasion?” a wicked grin spreads across his face. “Big plans tonight?”

“No,” Lena states simply. “This is just a power-play, Jack, nothing more.”

“Power-play?” Jack frowns. “For what?”

“Control,” Lena declares, brushing her hair over one shoulder. “I am going to go have completely-indifferent, unattached sex with Kara Danvers."

“Completely-indifferent, unattached sex …?” Jack repeats, eyes narrowing in suspicion. “That would imply that’s different than what you’ve been doing …”

Jack looks like he’s been struck by lightning.

“Don’t,” Lena silences him with an uncompromising finger. “Don’t say it. I’m aware, and now you are too. There’s no need to say it out loud.”

The beginning of a sentence vibrates from Jack’s throat, only to be cut off by a stinging glare from Lena. The challenge is clear: don’t fucking say it.

Jack mercifully complies and Lena exhales in relief.

“I have just about reached my limit worrying over it, so for tonight, I’ve decided to stop caring and strip it back to the basics,” Lena says. “If it works, then great; she and I can continue.”

And if it doesn’t …? Lena doesn’t want to think about what that means. She still staunchly refuses to admit to Kara that she’s completely shattered their final rule into a thousand pieces.

“Wow, there is so much to unpack there,” Jack says, mouth slightly ajar in … shock? Delight? Honestly, Lena doesn’t care right now.

“Choose your next words very carefully,” Lena advises. It’s not an empty threat.

“Fine.” Jack sucks on his lip. “But Lena, you’re gonna give the poor girl a heart attack in that. Or a boner, which is saying something.”

She can practically feel amusement oozing from him. It’s a pleasant validation, in a way, but he doesn’t need to know that.

“If you have anything else smart to say, don’t say it,” Lena states, her lips twisting upward just a tad. “But … good.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Jack giggles. “Now, let's get you laid.”


Lena knows there’s many types of coping mechanisms. 

There’s the fabled ‘talking it out’, which Lena has really only ever heard of peripherally, and still kind of doubts exists in practice. And there’s the toxic ones. The tried-and-true Luthor family staples: alcohol, drugs, pills. But the weapon of choice tonight? 

Sex.

Lena walks into Al’s with a purpose, well aware of the trail of turning heads that follow her.

“I think your scheme is working,” Jack whispers in her ear as they sit down. “I think half this bar would drop to their knees if you asked.”

“I’m not asking,” Lena says, as nonchalant as possible.

William walks up to them as they sit, a smile on his face. “And what can I get my two hottest patrons tonight?” 

“Such a charmer,” Jack winks, pulling the man in for a quick kiss over the bar. “I’ll have my usual.”

“And scotch for me, please,” Lena requests, sitting impossibly straight. She goes to hand over her credit card, but William waves it away.

“Already paid for,” William smiles softly. “I think you have an admirer. She’s one of our regulars. Told me rather abruptly that all your drinks were to go on her tab when she saw you walk in.”

Lena’s not sure whether to blush or roll her eyes (she does both). She’ll not be outplayed by Kara Danvers and her horny chivalry. This is her powerbitch night, for fuck’s sake.

“Very well,” Lena smirks. “I’ll take your most expensive scotch then.”

“Al started stocking the good stuff. It’s … expensive,” William warns. “For your average college student.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure it’s paid for,” Lena assures.

Jack gives him a look of confirmation.

William nods. “Coming right up then.”

The ‘average college student’ in question magically appears across the bar from Lena, on the other side of the room, but she might as well be only a foot away. Kara’s got her hair down like usual, her cheeks tinged pink from what Lena imagines is a mixture of lust and copious amounts of alcohol consumed. Lena had arrived at the bar fairly late into the evening tonight, so Kara’s had plenty of time to get a few drinks in.

Kara gives her a flirty smile, and mouths the words “you look hot.

One corner of Lena’s lips twists upwards in recognition.

It’s the start of a game and they both know it.

Kara makes direct eye contact with her and rips the shot in her hand. If memory serves, it’s probably tequila. The raven-haired woman watches the whole display with indifference and tight lips; only her eyes belie her true enjoyment.

Kara then runs a hand back through her hair in the way that always makes Lena weak, and juts a cocky chin out. It’s a challenge.

That simply won’t stand.

“William?” Lena asks, in a saccharine-sweet voice. “Do you have any cherries back there?”

“For sure,” William nods. 

He gives Jack a quizzical glance, which is answered with a rolling hand gesture from Lena’s ever-loyal wingman. “Pop the lady’s cherry, William.”

“Would you … like one?” William asks her, still a bit confused, but he blindly follows his boyfriend’s nudging.

“If you don’t mind,” Lena gives him a charming smile.

William complies, and Lena holds the cherry in front of her lips like a prized kill. Her eyes don’t waver from Kara’s.

The tip of Lena’s tongue comes out to pull the cherry in her mouth, the red vibrantly clashing against the whites of her teeth before disappearing forever. The cherry stem dangles from Lena’s limp wrist. She raises her chin in a clear taunt.

Kara looks completely ready to vault the bar to get to Lena, collateral damage be damned and disregarded.

Good, Lena smirks. That's the reaction she was looking for.

Kara makes it about halfway to Lena (the normal way) before she hits a roadblock (cockblock) by the name of Alex Danvers. Alex yanks her unruly sister in for an animated discussion. They’re close enough for Lena to read their lips, faces reflected in the mirror behind the bar. Much to her annoyance, she misses the first few lines as a gaggle of drunk girls pass by them, but then she can see the sisters again.

I still think you’re an idiot,” Alex tells her sister, “But, like … I get it.

I know. And right? ” Kara replies, not taking her eyes away from Lena’s direction.

Go,” Alex sighs, releasing her arm. “I’ll cover for you.

Kara disappears into the crowd for a moment, and then appears magically in the barstool next to Lena.

“Hi,” she says breathlessly, face flushed bright red. The look in Kara’s eyes is unmistakable; she’s desperate for Lena.

“Hello, Kara,” Lena greets with a hint of amusement.

“Yes, hi Kara!” Jack interjects, popping his head into their bubble of sexual tension. Lena’s perfectly-manicured nails dig into his thigh in a territorial warning.

“Jack,” Kara greets him warmly, but it’s only for a second before her eyes are right back on Lena.

“You look …” Kara trails off as she swallows roughly. “Just … wow.”

Lena raises an amused eyebrow. “Feeling particularly eloquent tonight, are we, Danvers?”

“It’s the tequila,” Kara chuckles, pupils dilated. “It makes me stupid.”

“Indeed,” Lena agrees, biting her lower lip in amusement. Kara’s fairly drunk, but it almost serves to make this even better; she can’t hide the depth of her need. No matter the blonde’s innocent smiles or laughs, the absolute hunger in her eyes is undeniable.

Lena couldn’t have asked for a better reaction. She has all the power right now.

Time to flex it.

“If I had known you were going to dress like that tonight, I would’ve dressed up too,” Kara pouts, looking down at the sleeves of her red and blue flannel. She looks adorable, but it is quite the contrast to Lena’s ensemble.

“That’s inconsequential,” Lena says with her perfected air of indifference. “You’ll hardly be wearing your clothes for much longer.”

Kara’s face lights up. “Now?”

“Close your tab,” Lena orders. 

Kara practically vaults the bar for the second time that night, attempting to flag down Al. It’s William who ends up closing Kara’s tab, after a well-intentioned nudge from Jack, and all three of them — Lena, Jack, and William — watching with intrigue as Kara pulls the piece of paper from the sticky counter.

Kara doesn’t make a sound, but her eyes go impossibly wide as she reads the number at the bottom of the receipt: $104.23. She swallows hard as she signs for it, but again, she says nothing.

She says goodbye to Jack and William, but she doesn’t say anything to Lena as she places a hand low on the woman’s back and guides them out of the bar onto the street. She doesn’t say anything as Lena’s hand slides dangerously high up her thigh in the back of the ride-share, but she squirms a bit. She doesn’t say anything in the elevator of Lena’s complex as the raven-haired woman starts to unbutton her shirt right then and there, but Lena can feel her neck muscles strain under the attention of scarlet lips.

She doesn’t say anything until they get into the apartment (direct to the bedroom), when Lena feels a pair of very firm hands grab a hold of her hips in the darkness and pull her back against Kara’s chest. 

“You did that on purpose,” Kara accuses, her voice low in Lena’s ear. “That was the most expensive scotch they had, wasn’t it?”

“Perhaps,” Lena gives her a coy smile, turning her head to the side so Kara can see it over her shoulder. “You’re the one who bit off more than they could chew.”

“I was trying to be nice,” Kara says.

“And if I don’t want ‘nice’?”

It’s as if a switch is flipped.

Somehow, Kara discards her clothes so quickly it should be superhuman, and then she’s all over Lena with a tenacity that gets her soaked. 

“Can I rip your dress?” Kara growls, somewhere deep in her throat. Lena can feel that she’s already got the zipper all the way opened, but that’s not what this is about.

This is about destruction.

There’s no air left in Lena’s lungs, but she finds a way to speak anyway. “Do it.”

There’s the swift sound of fabric tearing and the cool bedroom air against Lena’s back. The remains of the dress fall to the floor with a definite thump.

Fuck, she’s ready.

Kara’s lips are pressed up against Lena’s shoulder, her hands wrapped around Lena’s torso, one hand shifting south. It’s soft and tender and she can’t handle that right now. Lena grabs it right as it starts to dip down and inwards with the natural curve of her body.

It’s going to be a fight for the right to come (out) on top.

“No,” Lena says, pulling Kara’s warm palm away from her skin. “Get on the bed.”

“Are you okay?” Kara’s voice is soft in an instant.

“Yes,” Lena states. “Get on the bed, Danvers.”

It’s an easy victory.

“Okay,” Kara complies instantly, sprawling out on her back in a confident pose that makes Lena want to absolutely shatter her.

“Put this on,” Lena orders, tossing Kara the strap and a small bottle. She then throws her hair up into a very pull-able ponytail.

Kara obeys immediately. Lena rewards her by mounting her without delay.

“Fuck, Lena …” Kara whispers, her hands cupping Lena’s rocking hips like there’s something valuable between. It’s too exalting and Lena refuses to tolerate that.

“No,” Lena says, pulling Kara’s hands off of her. “I’m going to ride you until one of us breaks in half, and you’ll hold onto the headboard and nothing else. Alright?”

The resulting look on Kara’s face completes powerbitch night.

“That’s … more than alright.”

Lena digs deep into her bag of dirty and depraved tricks, employing almost every weapon in her arsenal to complete the performance, and it works just like magic. She finally relents after they’ve both had an orgasm or three, when it seems like Kara hasn’t breathed air in a long time.

It’s not until Kara shifts her onto all fours that Lena realizes she’s been duped.

“Do you have another in you?” Kara rasps in her ear, pressing up against her in all the right ways.

“Yes.” 

Oh, Lena Luthor is truly a dumb, horny bitch for Kara Danvers. 

As a consolation prize, she pretends every thud of the headboard against the wall just rails her feelings down deeper and deeper.

It doesn't work, but it’s not for a lack of trying.

After they both wash up, they climb back into the bed; Kara’s sitting upright, regarding Lena with the same perplexed expression with which one would regard an unexpected set of data.

“So …” Kara says slowly, as Lena joins her. “Can I ask what that was all about?”

“What?” Lena asks. She already knows.

“Don’t get me wrong, that was the hottest thing I think I’ve ever experienced,” Kara starts to ramble. “Like so hot, oh my god, especially that tongue thing, but anyways, right, you seemed … determined. Is everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine,” Lena brushes her off.

“Lena …” Kara’s voice goes soft and those blue eyes steal a piece of Lena’s soul.

Fuck Kara Danvers and the hold she has over Lena.

“I …” Lena slowly exhales through her nose, buying time to think of a suitable lie. “I just had a difficult week with classes.”

“Oh,” Kara realizes. “So this was like a stress relief thing?”

“Yes,” Lena says. Something like that.

“Oh,” Kara accepts, a stunned smile on her face. “Well, if that’s what you do for stress relief, I’ll be your stress ball anytime. I’ll always be there when you need me.”

The last sentence falls differently than the rest; they both ignore the precious purity of Kara’s words.

“I’ll keep that in mind, darling,” Lena teases. “I do love an eager participant.”

“Ready and willing,” Kara gives her a mock salute. “In case you had any doubts.”

“I did not.”

They slide down between the silk sheets, laughing, just as easy as putting on a pair of sweatpants after a long day. Somewhere along the way, the inside of Kara’s right wrist ends up in Lena’s direct eyeline, and it calls a latent memory from that afternoon.

Lena traces a finger over the two letters inscribed in permanent marker on Kara’s soft skin: JD. It’s a little faded, but still unmistakable.

“What’s this?” Lena asks.

“Alex’s handwriting. It’s from Senior Day,” Kara answers softly. “You remember all the fanfare before the game today?”

Lena nods. She and Jack had been in their usual courtside seats. There had been extra decorations and banners for a few of the girls on the team. Prior to the beginning of the game, the seniors on the team and their families had lined up for a special series of announcements to honor them. Alex had been escorted by Kara and a middle-aged blonde woman — then later joined by Maggie after her own turn (escorted by J’onn, the man Lena had come to know as their coach and also the motivating factor behind quite a few of Kara’s annoyed rants). 

Lena already knew of Alex and Maggie, and Kara of course, but the person who had truly caught her intrigue was the middle-aged woman: Eliza Danvers. It had been Lena’s first glimpse of Kara’s mother, and she would not soon forget the image of her nor the nervous pounding of her own heart. Lena had only half-heard what the announcer had said about Alex, but some fragments of it still stirred in her memory.

JD.

Jeremiah Danvers.

Lena stops tracing the letters. “It’s for Jeremiah, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Kara exhales. “Alex and I wanted to make sure we still had him with us today.”

Lena’s lips are already pressed against Kara’s wrist when she realizes her presumptuous mistake.

Lena all but drops Kara’s arm. “I-I’m sorry, I don’t—”

“No, I—” Kara speaks quickly, then seems to realize they’re both about to jump out of the bed in their nervous jitters, and clamps a hand down on Lena’s forearm.

“That was nice,” Kara confesses. “It’s nice to be able to talk to someone about this kind of stuff.”

“I …” Lena pauses to collect herself. “I’m glad.”

“Lena?” Kara asks softly, as if afraid of her next words.

“Yes?” Lena’s breath catches in her throat.

“Can I ask a favor?”

I would give you anything, Kara Danvers, Lena wants to say. You could ask anything of me.

“Sure.”

“My friend, Barry, is coming into town next weekend,” Kara explains. “He’s a rookie in the ‘MBL, for the Central City Speedsters.”

Lena nods in faint recognition. “Don’t they wear red and yellow?”

“Yeah,” Kara confirms. “They were the other team at the Meteors’ game you went to with Lex.”

“Ah,” Lena says. That seems vaguely right. “So what’s the favor?”

“His fiancée, Iris, will be with him too,” Kara continues, speeding up a bit as she goes. “It’s been so long since I’ve caught up with them, but I usually bring someone so I’m not awkwardly third-wheeling the whole time; so Saturday night I’m supposed to meet up with them at a club — don’t worry about your ID, it’ll be fine — and I was wondering, uh, hoping maybe you’d join me? You don’t have to if you’re uncomfortable, or you don’t want to, I just thought—”

“I’ll do it,” Lena states. The words leave her mouth so easily.

Kara’s brain seems to finally grind to a halt. “Wait, really? You’ll come with me?”

“Yes,” Lena chuckles. “You have a tendency to ramble, Danvers.”

“Oh, Alex has told me many times about my ‘rambling-problem’,” Kara laughs. “She actually times me now.”

“Oh?” Lena arches a brow. “What’s the record?”

“Thirty-eight minutes,” Kara mumbles in disgruntled shame.

“Thirty-eight minutes?” Lena gawks. “What the hell were you rambling about?”

“Uh,” Kara’s face flushes bright red. Like redder than Lena’s ever seen. “Doesn’t matter.”

“Oh, it absolutely does,” Lena narrows her eyes. “Tell me, Danvers.”

Kara’s voice takes on a high-pitched, nervous whine. “I really don’t think … it’s not that important …”

Clearly, Lena’s going to get nowhere by playing fair, so she needs to adjust accordingly. After all, it is powerbitch night. She gets what she wants.

“Kara.”

“The first time I …” Kara mumbles so low, Lena can’t catch the end.

“The first time you what, Danvers?” Lena pulls out her ace card; re-mounting Kara’s hips and letting the sheet fall away from her chest.

Kara audibly gulps.

“The first time I had sex with a girl,” Kara pouts, practically straining with the effort required to keep her eyes on Lena’s face. “It … didn’t go smoothly.”

“Smooth, how?” Lena arches a perfect brow, and she sets her hands over Kara’s abs (a move she has discovered placates Kara in an instant). There is a clear, juicy story here and Lena will know it by the end of the night.

“I …” Kara sucks on her lips, grimacing. Lena can tell she’s so close to spilling it, so she enacts the final blow — a soft, curious pout, with half-lidded eyes, and her head tilted just the slightest bit sideways.

It works instantly.

“I — don’t laugh — I wrong-holed her.”

Lena starts laughing immediately, and Kara chuckles along in resigned defeat, though she doesn’t seem terribly upset with her eyes now riveted on Lena’s bouncing chest.

“You wrong-holed the first girl you ever slept with?” Lena repeats, eyebrows high on her forehead. Her cheeks are truly burning by now but the image of poor, baby-gay Kara Danvers sticking her finger in a place it was very much not intended to go, and the subsequent mortification that must’ve followed, has Lena absolutely dying.

“How do you even do that?” Lena laughs. “The anatomical differences are rather distinct.”

“Okay, woah, it was dark!” Kara defends. “It was very dark and I was very nervous! My hands were shaking!”

Lena just keeps laughing, the indignant look on Kara’s face forever preserved in her mind. In fact, she doesn’t stop laughing until Kara eventually has enough; she grabs Lena’s hips and flips them both over in one impressive show of strength. 

“I hate it when you do that,” Lena informs her. “It’s not fair.”

“Why’s that?” Kara grins. The blonde has a knee pressed up between Lena’s legs, indicating she knows exactly why it’s so unfair.

“You’re insufferable,” Lena informs her, gazing up into her beautiful, twinkling eyes. 

But I would suffer you gladly, Lena thinks.

“So I hear,” Kara winks, but then she plops down on Lena’s side with a tremendous groan and wiggles deeper under the covers. 

They fall asleep that way, one of Kara’s arms wrapped across Lena’s torso, her face pressed into the side of Lena’s neck. In her sleepy state, Lena registers absolutely zero complaints.

So much for completely-indifferent, unattached sex.

Fuck, this is getting hard.


Kara’s shocked that Lena offers to come meet Barry and Iris. She would’ve thought it would be too close to a date for comfort, or that it means more people will see them together, but neither objection is raised.

It’s a relief for Kara. She’s super excited to see one of her closest friends again, and it’ll be even better with Lena by her side. Barry’s thrilled to meet Lena too, as Kara may have accidentally drunkenly video-called him one night to ramble about how pretty Lena is, much to Iris and Barry’s amusement. So now they have to meet Lena.

But Kara also has another motive for dragging Lena here tonight to meet Barry. And it has everything to do with the impressive number of dead parents between the three of them. See, Barry has his happy ending. A happy ending Kara desperately longs for — for herself, sure — but also one she wants for Lena, even if it’s not with Kara. Lena just deserves to know it's possible; orphans like them get to be able to start over, get to find and make a new family.

They have a chance to be happy.

And so far, happy is exactly what the night has been.

Barry insists on going to ‘the bar with the super-strong margaritas’, despite the fact it’s the haunting grounds of more than a few of Kara’s ex-hookups. But Barry pouts and Kara can’t say no, so that’s where they go. Kara prays for it to go smoothly. At least she’ll have Lena by her side, her calming earthly tether.

Kara’s chosen to wear a thick, warm navy turtleneck, and it works a little too well when she looks at Lena’s ass for a second too long and gets caught, a hot blush spreading up her neck and face.

“Eyes to yourself, Danvers,” Lena winks.

As it turns out, the rest of Kara’s outfit — black jeans and a maroon bomber jacket — is even more disastrous, as Barry has taken it upon himself to wear the exact same outfit.

“No!” Kara protests, stopping short of Barry’s out-stretched arms. “Barry, you didn’t!”

“Wha …?” Barry’s face falls. He gives Kara a quizzical look. “What’d I do?”

Next to him, Iris starts laughing behind her hand, already realizing the source of Kara’s annoyance. Lena seems equally as amused.

“We’re matching,” Kara grimaces, gesturing to herself and then Barry.

“Oh …” Barry says, looking back and forth. “Hey, don’t be mad, I was technically dressed first!”

“Nuh-uh!” Kara protests. “When did you get dressed? I planned this outfit this morning!”

“Obviously after my game tonight,” Barry says. “But I packed like two days ago.”

“Take your jacket off,” Kara insists.

“Wait, no, you take yours off!” Barry objects. “You’re the one in a sweater; I only have a t-shirt on under this.”

“O-kay,” Iris steps in between them to hug Kara, effectively ending the argument. “Let’s move this along. Both jackets can stay on; you both look very handsome. Hi, Kara.”

“Hi, Iris,” Kara grins, sufficiently placated. She returns the hug with equal vigor, then practically tackles Barry in another.

“This is Lena,” Kara introduces, stepping aside so Lena can join them. “She’s a friend from school. Lena, this is Barry Allen and Iris West.”

Friend. Hah. That’s a comical under-exaggeration at this point.

“Nice to meet you both,” Lena smiles, shaking their hands. “Iris. Barry.”

“Why don’t we grab a booth?” Barry suggests, pointing a thumb over his shoulder.

Barry and Iris slide in along one side, while Kara and Lena take the other. To Kara’s surprise, Lena sits close enough for their knees to touch. She can feel the warmth through the denim and it's pleasant.

They start by chatting about the basics; school, basketball, what brings them to cluster around this table together, where everyone’s from. Lena’s eyebrows fly upwards in surprise when Barry mentions he was adopted; she quickly recovers, but Kara’s already noticed.

Kara shifts the conversation onto Barry and Iris, to give them a chance to highlight their healthy and loving relationship. It works a little too well, and Kara starts longing to reach out and wrap a loving arm over Lena’s shoulders and pull the raven-haired woman into her side.

Thankfully, Iris saves her from herself.

“How about some drinks?” Iris suggests. “Lena, will you come with? Then these two can get all the basketball-talk out of their systems before we get back.”

“And miss such stimulating conversation?” Lena jokes, giving Kara’s shoulder a playful nudge as she nods at Iris. “Sure, I’d love to help.”

“Margs?” Iris asks. Both Kara and Barry nod their confirmation.

The instant the two women are out of earshot, Barry slaps his hands down on the table and gawks, “Wow, Kara! That’s her, that’s the girl …?”

Kara can’t help it as her chest puffs out a little. “Right?”

“She’s gorgeous,” Barry says, in the most factual and respectful tone possible.

“Yeah, but she’s so much more,” Kara fawns, zoning out. “Barry, she’s amazing. She’s so smart, and clever, and fun to be around. Like every time I see her, I go to smile, but then I can’t because I’m already smiling and it’s just …”

It’s just heavenly.

“I’m sure she’s incredible. I still remember the drunken rambling,” Barry teases. “So, tell me! How are things going with you guys?”

“It’s … okay,” Kara replies, but her shoulders sag in defeat before she can catch them.

“What’s going on, Kara?” Barry frowns. “You don’t seem okay.”

“I’m fine, it’s just … I don’t know anymore,” she mumbles. “We’re supposed to be friends-with-benefits, but ‘friendly’ doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about her.”

“You like her?” Barry guesses.

“Yeah,” Kara exhales. “She doesn’t know.  I wasn’t supposed to catch feelings, but I did, and now I’m worried if I tell her, she’ll break things off right then and there. So I’ve just been keeping busy, trying not to think about it, or slip up and tell her.”

“That’s rough,” Barry says in sympathy. “But you gotta slow down, Kara, you can’t just will it away. How Lena feels about you is out of your control, and that’s okay. But the more you try to avoid your own feelings, the worse it'll get — trust me, I remember how it feels to swallow your feelings and stay silent.”

“Alex wants me to tell her how I feel,” Kara says. “But I just can’t quite bring myself to do it.”

“That’s … your decision,” Barry advises. “You can’t make it for Alex, or for me. You’re the only one who knows how you actually feel. It’s yours to share or keep secret. But the only way you can get what you want — if it’s what you truly want — is to pursue it.”

That’s a hard truth-pill to swallow, but there’s something about the gentle way Barry supplies it that makes Kara half-amenable to hearing it.

“I’m really glad to see you, Barry,” Kara smiles softly.

“Me too,” Barry smiles back at her, but it’s quickly replaced by an overly-enthusiastic smile as something catches his eye over Kara’s shoulder. 

“Hey babe!” he says, a little too loudly.

Shit, the girls must be back. Kara’s jaw clamps shut.

Kara’s grateful for Barry’s quick reaction, as Lena’s suddenly sitting next to Kara, sliding a large margarita next to her anxious hands.

“Your tequila-laden monstrosity,” Lena announces.

“Want to try?” Kara offers, giving her a playful wiggle of her brows. She twists the glass so the straw points right at Lena.

“Not on this earth or the next,” Lena declines with something between a grimace and a smirk. “I’ll stick to my scotch, thank you.”

“Suit yourself,” Kara says, then starts happily slurping on her drink. It quenches her burning thoughts while providing an excellent distraction for fingers that want to wander places they shouldn’t.

Conversation flows easily once more, and the night progresses pleasantly.

“You know, Kara is the only other person I’ve ever seen eat as much as Barry does,” Iris says.

“There’s two of them? Now that is something I thought impossible,” Lena jokes, nudging Kara’s shoulder playfully.

“I think it physically should be,” Iris laughs. “Our grocery bill is insane.”

“Hey, I burn a lot of calories!” Barry protests, throwing his hands up in exasperation. “Running requires a lot of energy.”

“The sacrifices one must make for basketball,” Lena teases, turning to look at Kara so that the blonde is well-aware the comment is meant for her as well.

Kara’s heart catches in her throat as time stops for her. 

Lena’s since moved on, laughing at something Barry said, but Kara can’t tear her eyes away from the face of her girl.

Her girl?

Lena — her girl.

Kara realizes with a start; she wants this. She wants Lena sitting next to her in a booth — in her booth at Al’s, in her booth at the diner, in her booth somewhere new. She wants Lena tucked snug against her shoulder. She wants Lena smiling next to her, chatting and joking with her friends. She doesn’t want it to be a one-night favor thing, out with Barry and Iris.

She wants it with Alex. And Maggie and Lucy and Mike and James and Winn. And M’gann and Nia and Brainy. And even with Clark and Lois and Eliza too.

She wants it to be real.

The second realization is less pleasant.

She needs to tell Lena.

She doesn’t want to, she really doesn’t want to, she’s terrified to; she doesn’t want to lose Lena.

But she wants this so desperately, she wants them to have a shot at love, so … she’s going to tell her.

Kara’s going to tell Lena she has feelings for her.

And hopefully, just maybe, Lena feels the same way. 

It’s not the most off-base thought. It’s been a long time since they've checked in about their enemies-to-lovers dynamic. Kara would even dare say they actually really care about each other. Kara’s caught Lena looking at her before, even when she thinks Kara’s not looking. She’s felt Lena’s heart race when Kara spoons her up against her chest.

It’s possible, right?

Unless Kara gets a sign otherwise, she’s going to tell Lena how she feels. Tonight.

It can’t wait any longer.

Kara tries to take a smooth sip of her drink, only to end up nearly choking on the liquid. It burns her throat, anchoring her back into the present moment, where Barry and Iris are looking at her with concern.

Kara coughs a little, trying to clear her throat.

“Are you alright?” Lena frowns beside her, setting a gentle hand high on Kara’s thigh. Even if Kara was alright before, she wouldn’t be now.

“Yeah, just … swallowed the wrong way,” Kara coughs some more.

“Why don’t I go get you some water?” Lena offers, rubbing her hand up and down as if to soothe Kara’s discomfort.

“No, it’s okay,” Kara rasps.

“It’s fine, I’ll go get you some water,” Lena assures, already sliding out of the booth. “Don’t die on me, Danvers.”

“Wouldn’t … dream of it.”


Kara’s taken them to one of the nicer bars in town.

To Lena’s surprise, there are actually a few vaguely familiar faces circulating this club. She had to do a double-take, but yes, Veronica Sinclair is definitely here. So are a few of Andrea's auxiliary friends that Lena’s met briefly. So, this must be where the NCU Rich Bitches come to party. Lena’s never been on the invite list (not that she minds in the slightest) but it’s still an interesting peek into what could’ve been.

Apparently the driving interest factor for Kara and her friends are the industrial-strength margaritas they’re known for serving. Iris drags Lena over to the bar to help get the drinks, making pleasant small-talk. When they return to the booth, Barry and Kara are having a hushed, intense conversation that falls off the instant Kara sees Lena’s face.

Kara’s bright smile has to assuage the chill that runs down Lena’s spine.

Nothing’s wrong, she’s just reading into things. They’re two old friends and they could be talking about anything. It’s just poor timing for Lena’s anxious thoughts.

Both Barry and Kara suck down their margaritas in an impressive amount of time, Iris sips slowly at her own like someone capable of restraint, and Lena declines Kara’s offer to share with a repulsed face to enjoy her glass of scotch instead.

The night is actually going much better than she expected; her nerves are gone, and the company is quite pleasant. They’re all laughing and joking around. It’s nice. She can see why Kara would be friends with Barry and Iris, they all have the same easy-going, compassionate way about them.

Lena would dare say she’s actually enjoying herself. It’s a good night.

Or so she thinks.

Then Kara chokes on her drink and Lena goes completely soft and offers to get her a water, inadvertently sending her down fated crossroads.

Lena leans against the bar and flags down a bartender for a water for Kara and another glass of scotch for herself, to be put on Barry’s tab (Iris insisted, despite Lena’s best protests).

“Lena Luthor, right?”

“Yes …” Lena turns to look at her new company. It’s a woman, a college student for sure, with shiny brown hair and angry, amber eyes.

“Siobhan Smythe,” the woman gives her a fake smile. “You were in my macroeconomics class, right?”

The name registers with Lena; something Andrea once said to her about Kara’s past lovers.

“Right,” Lena nods politely. “That class was dreadfully boring.”

“Uh-huh. So,” Siobhan gives Lena a curt once-over. “You’re Kara’s new flavor of the month, huh?”

Oh … that’s how it is. Well, two can play the bitch game.

“You clearly seem to have a vested interest in that answer,” Lena notes, tapping into her expert mask of indifference. Her heart trips a bit at the realization that Siobhan — someone they kind-of know — saw her and Kara together, but she doesn’t let it show.

“Not at all,” Siobhan sneers. “Just wanted to give you a friendly little warning.”

“And what might that be?”

“She’s going to break your heart,” Siobhan informs her. “And she’s not going to give a fuck when she does it.”

This bitch. This is no friendly warning.

“Speaking from experience?” Lena calls her out.

“Look, how well do you actually know her?” Siobhan asks, leaning in with a sense of arrogant superiority. “She’ll let you in, sure, but it’s always at an arm’s reach. She does that.”

Lena remains silent. She knows Kara. Kara is caring, selfless, and brave. She knows Kara.

Right?

“You guys will grow closer. She’ll make you feel special. Maybe you’ll even start to want something more,” Siobhan says. “But she doesn’t. At the end of it, Kara Danvers doesn’t want anything other than a good fuck.”

“Am I supposed to assume you were that good fuck?” Lena arches a brow. “Because if you truly were, it would be your name coming out of Kara’s mouth tonight, not mine.”

“When this is over,” Siobhan says. “She’s going to go back into her little basketball world and forget you ever happened. And you’ll be left to pick up the pieces of your heart alone.”

“That would require having a heart as a prerequisite,” Lena states. “Haven’t you heard? I’m Lena Luthor.”

“Yeah,” Siobhan scoffs. “It’s no secret Kara’s got a type — absolute bitch.”

“I’m feeling more flattered than insulted, if that’s what you were going for.” Lena gives Siobhan a look akin to spotting dogshit on the sidewalk. It only serves to further agitate the scorned woman.

“Whatever; I tried to warn you. You may think you know the real Kara Danvers,” Siobhan finishes, “But no one really does.”

“Well, thank you for such a benevolent warning,” Lena drawls, her voice laden with sarcasm, “Clearly, you have nothing better to do with your time. But I do.”

Siobhan gives her a judgmental look, and says, “I doubt for much longer.”

“Hm, no, I think the next few hours will be more than sufficient for good sex. And Siobhan?” Lena sneers. “I know Kara.”

“We’ll see.”

Lena doesn’t have a chance to respond because suddenly there’s a warm hand low on her back.

It’s Kara.

“Lena!” Kara exclaims, pulling herself to Lena’s side. “Everything okay? Oh, Siobhan, hi.”

Kara sends her a polite, close-lipped smile. Lena can feel how tensely coiled the blonde’s body is against her.

“Just fine,” Lena says, sending Siobhan a pointed look as she leans into Kara’s touch. “You know how important community service is to me, darling.”

Siobhan lets out an indignant scoff as she glances between them. “Well this is disgustingly basic of you, Danvers. I know you don’t normally care who you sleep with — as long as they’re all warm and wet for you — but a Luthor?  That’s a new, desperate low.”

Lena opens her mouth to give some sharp retort about who’s truly the desperate one here, but Kara gets there first.

“Don’t talk about her like that,” Kara snarls. “You have no idea how I feel about her.”

How Kara feels about her?

… How does Kara feel about her?

“Ooh, and the claws come out,” Siobhan jeers. “How domestic. Well, I think that’s my exit.”

“It is.”

Fucking hell, protective Kara Danvers brings out something in Lena that makes her want to practically whimper.

Kara’s eyes follow Siobhan as she leaves, her hand still pressed firm against Lena’s back. Once the woman disappears into the crowd, the defense drops and Kara’s shoulders sag.

“So, can I ask what that was all about?” Lena bites her lower lip, trying to catch Kara’s eyeline.

“What?” Kara frowns, looking a bit like a dog caught chewing something it shouldn’t.

“I take it Siobhan Smythe is another one of your scorned exes?” Lena guesses.

“Yeah,” Kara sighs, “Lena, I’m so sorry about that. Siobhan is … something else.”

“It’s fine,” Lena assures. “I can handle a bitchy ex. Jack has a rather terrible one too.”

“Still,” Kara says. “What she said is extremely uncalled for. You’re incredible and I don’t see you like that. At all.”

“I know,” Lena intertwines their fingers and gives Kara’s hand a reassuring squeeze. She actually does believe Kara sees her as more than just a Luthor. She always has.

Fuck.

Lena realizes with a start; she wants this.

She wants Kara pressed into her side — in their formalwear, in casual clothes out at Al’s, in between Lena’s silken bedsheets. She wants Kara’s firm arm under her anxious fingers, traversing through Lena’s latest social obligation together. She wants Kara’s radiant smile next to her, exchanging sly quips with Jack at the bar. She wants to wake up to Kara in the kitchen, her mug full of tea, cooking up eggs and bacon in a criminally attractive state of half-dress.

She wants it to be real.

Fuck the rules; she wants them to be more. More than enemies. More than acquaintances. More than fuck buddies. More than friends.

And she’s absolutely terrified. Every brain cell in her proud skull is screaming for her to run, run as far away as possible and forget Kara Danvers ever existed, but her muscles won’t move an inch.

She’s trapped in an ivory tower of her own creation. Does she have the fortitude to make the leap of faith out?

“Lena …?” Kara’s voice cuts through the noise. Tender blue eyes are looking down at her.

I have feelings for you, Lena wants to say. I’ve fallen for you, Kara Danvers.

If Lena had this realization twenty minutes ago, the next words out of her mouth would certainly be some declaration of her affections. She trusts Kara; surely, she should just be able to admit how she feels. Everything comes easy with Kara, after all.

But now … there’s just the slightest seed of doubt in her mind. Does she know Kara? Should she tell Kara how she feels?

“So what happened between you two?” Lena asks, pushing her thoughts aside. She needs more information before she can act. If she’s going to be so foolish as to admit she has fully and completely decimated the last of their rules, giving Kara every right to end their arrangement then and there, she at least wants to be confident in her choice.

And for all of Siobhan’s bullshit, Lena realizes that while she knows many things about Kara, her past has always been one of the things they’ve danced around.

“I’ll tell you later,” Kara’s face darkens. “Barry and Iris need to leave soon, so we should go say goodbye.”

“Alright,” Lena nods in agreement, ignoring the tremor in her stomach. “Your water.” She offers the plastic cup of water out to Kara; it’s the whole reason she even met Siobhan tonight. 

It’s funny, really; how things can change so quickly.

“Thanks,” Kara says softly, taking the cup in her free hand. Her other hand remains low on Lena’s back as Lena leads them back to the booth. Barry and Iris are all cuddled-up in the booth when they return; Barry’s head rests on Iris’s shoulder, his eyes half closed. He looks exhausted.

“Babe,” Iris says, nudging him upright.

“Hey,” Barry smiles softly, “I think we’re gonna head out. I’m crashing pretty hard.”

“No worries,” Kara smiles brightly. “I’m just so glad I got to see you both.”

“Bye, Kara,” Iris says, hugging the blonde goodbye. “It’s always so nice to see you.” 

Then she turns to Lena, who has only a split second to process what’s about to happen.

“Lena, it was lovely to meet you,” Iris smiles, wrapping her arms around Lena and pulling her in. Lena freezes for a split-second, but then relaxes into the hug. It’s funny, how much more accustomed she’s grown to physical affection ever since Kara entered her life like this.

“It was great meeting you both,” Lena glances from Iris to Barry, shaking the latter’s hand goodbye.

“See you around, Supergirl,” Barry grins at Kara. “Try to keep up.”

“Oh, don’t worry, Barry Allen,” Kara stretches her arms out as wide as they can go, and the two embrace as close friends do. “We both know I’m no match for you.”

Lena’s never seen two warmer smiles be exchanged.

Kara and Lena elect to walk home; they’re not really that far from Lena’s apartment, and it’s a warmer than average night in National City. Kara offers Lena her jacket and then her hand for support, even though Lena’s an expert in walking in heels by now, and the blonde begins to talk Lena’s ear off about her and Barry’s time at basketball camp. They’re only a few blocks away from Lena’s place when it’s clear Kara’s non-stop rambling is a cover for something.

“As fascinating as basketball camp is, I believe I’m still owed an explanation, Danvers,” Lena reminds. She needs to know; the seed of doubt has taken root in the silence. “You didn’t expect me to forget, did you?”

“No, of course not,” Kara exhales in obvious defeat. “You really want to know?”

“I do.”

“We were fuck buddies for a few months last year. Siobhan wanted it to be more,” Kara says softly. “I broke it off. It was … not the cleanest; Siobhan yells very, very loudly. She’s hated me ever since. I … I just couldn’t give her what she wanted.”

What Lena wants.

Siobhan’s words echo around in Lena’s overstuffed skull: “She’s going to break your heart." 

In that moment, Lena swallows her feelings, her hopes, her everything. Her walls slide perfectly up into place — months of Kara’s labor re-erected in a single second — reinforced with more cynicism and self-destruction than ever before.

Her decision is made for her.

“Well,” Lena rasps. “You won’t have to worry about that with us; I have no intention of ever requesting a relationship with you.”

It’s spoken out of fear, out of fear of loss, and the words might as well be ash in Lena’s mouth. But self-destruction is the most effective kind, and Lena Luthor is nothing less than efficacious.

“Oh,” Kara lets out a shaky exhale. “Right. I don’t—I wouldn’t either.”

“Right.” Lena agrees, as everything in her brain goes numb.

Suddenly, their intertwined hands feel more like an entangled web than a woven bond, but neither dares let go. They walk the remaining way back to Lena’s apartment in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.

Lena’s thoughts run berserk. Of course Kara wouldn’t want to be with her. Not like how Lena wants. But Lena, who will set the rules in the way that always makes her the victor, can still see one way in which she can get what she wants: Kara’s body, even if it’s not Kara’s heart.

She would give anything to know what Kara’s thoughts are. But she can’t, so she doesn’t, so she works with what she’s got.

“So, I was thinking,” Lena rasps, breaking the silence. “I’ve never properly anointed my car.”

“What?” Kara’s mouth parts in a mix of surprise and desire. “You mean …?”

“Yes,” Lena bites her lower lip. It’s a lure at the end of the line; she and Kara may never get to be what she wants them to be, but they can at least be this. Be together in this way.

It has to be tonight.

Lena realizes with a start; Spring Break is only two days away. 

She’s leaving Monday — along with Andrea, her friend Grace, Jack, and William — to spend the next week doing horribly gluttonous things in Empire City for Mardi Gras. She had gotten so caught up in the gravitational pull of Kara Danvers that she had all but forgotten about it. 

Her excitement for it has waned. For some reason, it feels like she’s going to set off and National City won’t be there when she returns.

That fear does nothing to settle her nerves.

“We’ll head down to the garage from the outside,” Lena says, pulling Kara along past where they would make their usual turn up into the building lobby. “Besides, I need to get my fill of you now before I leave for Spring Break. Those talented fingers are hard to replace.”

“Right,” Kara agrees, swallowing roughly. It sounds half-hearted, and it’s enough for Lena to extract her hand from Kara’s.

Kara shoots her a worried look. There’s something off about her eyes. They aren’t full of the lust and excitement that Lena’s come to expect. Instead, they look heavy, yearning, … sad.

“My hands are cold,” Lena explains, quickly looking away from Kara as she folds her arms over her chest.

“Ah,” Kara accepts, sliding her own hands back into her pockets.

Things feel … weird. And Lena can’t have that. She needs this to be normal. She needs things between her and Kara to feel normal. She needs Kara to want her.

But suddenly, Kara’s not walking by her side anymore.

“Kara, are you coming?” Lena asks over her shoulder, shooting her a playful smile. She then halts, frowning, realizing Kara is quite a few steps behind her and practically riveted to the ground.

“No,” Kara whispers. “I can’t.”

“What do you mean you can’t?” Lena gives her an incredulous look and turns on her heel. Her brow furrows deeper with every step closer back towards Kara.

“Lena …” Kara exhales, sucking on her lips. She paces a few steps towards Lena, actually walking a bit past her before turning around.

“Kara …?” Lena cocks her head.

Something is wrong; something feels very wrong.

“I …” Kara’s throat muscles pop out with the strain of her yet unspoken words.

Lena’s lungs start to burn from the lack of air.

“I … I’m declaring for the draft,” Kara blurts out.

“What?” 

Lena heard her — oh, she definitely heard her — but she needs to hear it again. Hear the sound of her heart cracking like glass.

“Basketball. I’m declaring the ‘WBL draft,” she repeats. Kara looks about ready to puke, and Lena’s stare falls off somewhere in the distance between them.

Kara’s declaring. That must’ve been what she and Barry had been discussing in hushed tones tonight. 

Kara’s not coming back to school next year. She’s leaving.

Lena had forgotten that was even a consideration. She had gotten so caught up in those sweet blue eyes, that smile of sunshine, the pure heart underneath all that steel. Of all the little moments; the winks, the smirks, the whispers. The little touches in bed. The warmth of Kara’s body, pressed against hers.

Lena’s going to lose it all. It’s not going to be hers anymore. 

“Oh,” Lena swallows roughly. Her stomach drops through her feet, tearing her heart with it. 

Kara is leaving. Just like everyone else.

“Well … that’s fine,” Lena chokes out, lips trembling. “We can still finish out the semester—”

“—No, Lena, I can’t do this anymore,” Kara whispers. Her voice is so soft and broken, like a ghost’s final howl in the wind. “I’m through.”

I’m through. I’m through. I’m through. The two little words echo through Lena’s head on repeat.

Lena can feel the hole in her chest freeze over in record time. It has to, lest she bleed out in full.

Without a sound, she sets her jaw, blinks back a lone tear, and walks right past Kara Danvers and the shattered remnants of her heart.


 

Chapter Text


They’re through.

Kara spends all of Sunday morning on the floor in the middle of the living room, cocooned in a blanket, moping and staring at the wall. The copious amounts of flowers from Lena that once adored the entire space are dead and gone. She’s fully alone.

Her necklace feels heavier than it has in a very long time.

Last night just keeps playing on repeat in her mind; ‘I’m through’ , Lena walking right past her like it meant nothing, the feeling of Kara’s heart shattering into a thousand pieces. 

Living it over and over, it feels a bit like having her flesh seared off from the inside.

And it’s her fault.

What the fuck was she thinking? Bringing Lena to meet Barry, getting so close to revealing her feelings, bringing up the draft …

Well, at least her record of her relationships always blowing up in her face remains intact.

Kara wraps the blanket tighter around her shoulders and lets the tears swell her throat so they don’t spill out and she’s not forced to acknowledge them.

That’s how Alex finds her.

“Hey,” Alex greets, projecting her voice through the apartment. “How was your date?”

Pain radiates through Kara’s entire body.

“Not a date,” she growls.

“Fine,” Alex sighs. “How was Barry? And why are you sitting on the floor? The TV isn’t even on.”

“He’s good,” Kara gives a curt reply. “I just want to sit on the floor.”

“‘Good’?” Alex parrots. “That’s all I get? Barry Allen gets to meet Lena Luthor before I do, and that’s all you have to offer?”

“Go away Alex,” Kara mumbles, wrapping the blanket tighter around her. Maybe if she pulls it tight enough, it’ll make the pain go away, or at least suffocate her to the point of passing out, and then she won’t have to deal with things for a little while. Dramatic, yes, but it’s all the heartbreak’s fault.

“What’s up with you?” Alex squints. “You never make blanket-burritos unless you’re upset …”

Kara gives the carpet a miserable glare. What about this indicates she’s anything else than upset?

Alex’s voice softens with realization. “… What happened with Lena?”

”Nothing,” Kara says.

Alex doesn’t say anything for a bit, but Kara can hear the fridge door open and close somewhere behind her back.

“This isn’t nothing,” Alex says. She plops down in front of her sister, sitting cross-legged, right in Kara’s eyeline so that she can’t be ignored. In her hands is the kryptonite to Kara’s state of emotional isolation — a pint of ice cream and two spoons.

Kara reaches for it; she knows it's meant for her.

Alex yanks the pint out of Kara’s range. “Talk first,” Alex denies.

“Alex,” Kara exhales, utterly defeated. She doesn’t have the strength or the energy for this today.

“Tell me,” Alex requests, softer this time.

“I …” Alex inches the ice cream closer to spur her on. “I broke things off with Lena.”

Alex’s brow furrows instantly. “What happened? Did you tell her you h—”

“—No,” Kara cuts her off. She doesn’t need that said out loud, an agonizing reminder that her heart wasn’t always broken. “No, I just broke it off. I couldn’t do it anymore.”

“Why not?” Alex pops the ice cream lid off, and rewards Kara with a spoon.

“I … there was a moment, when we were at the bar, just sitting and talking to Barry and Iris,” Kara explains, taking a massive spoonful of ice cream and shoving it in her mouth. “… I just looked over at her, and I realized: I wanted to tell her how I felt. Alex … I wanted a relationship with her. A real one.”

Alex squints in confusion, digging into the ice cream in solidarity. “So why didn’t you tell her?”

Kara lets out a deep sigh as she works through another spoonful. “We ran into Siobhan—”

“—I swear, I’ll grab Lucy and go slash her tires right now—”

“No,” Kara stops that right then and there. They won’t be winning anymore games if two of their starters get arrested for property damage.

“… Fine.”

“Anyways, she cornered Lena at the bar and said some awful stuff to her,” Kara explains. “I defended Lena — not that she needed it — but things were weird afterwards.”

“Does she know what happened with you and Siobhan?” Alex frowns.

“Yeah, I told her how Siobhan wanted a relationship,” Kara confesses. “And she assured me that she certainly didn’t. I had finally worked up the courage to tell her, but once she said that, I just …”

“Shut down?”

“Yeah,” Kara swallows roughly. Her throat somehow feels tighter now than it did last night, when she was crying her eyes out in bed at three in the morning.

“I’m so sorry, Kara,” Alex soothes, awkwardly straining forward to envelop Kara in a hug without crushing the carton. “It’s gonna be okay.”

Kara lets herself collapse under her sister’s secure weight. It doesn’t feel like that.

“I think we’re going to need more ice cream,” Alex mumbles, leaning back.

Kara can only nod in agreement.


Spring Break means the team is traveling again, away to Midway City for the conference tournament that will span the end of February into March. If they win in the finals, it’s a guaranteed spot in the national tournament. 

It’s a good distraction in theory but it works like shit. Lena Luthor is thousands of miles away; far, far away from Kara Danvers. The distance should help right? But it doesn’t make it any easier for Kara. Even though the fresh mountain air feels soothing in the depths of her lungs, it feels like she can never quite catch her breath. 

She sleeps like shit, she plays like shit, and she feels like shit.

It’s making her immeasurably angry. Who gave Lena Luthor permission to destroy her?

(Kara did, when she caught feelings like an idiot.)

Apparently, it’s obvious from the outside as well.

J’onn corners her at the hotel’s breakfast bar. Kara’s the first one from the team there (naturally), and unfortunately, it would seem to be exactly what was expected to occur.

“Kara, do you have a minute?” J’onn asks, his hands on his hips. It’s a very fatherly pose; normally she’s endeared by it, but it annoys her like no other right now.

“Sure, Coach,” Kara smiles. She knows this isn’t really a request.

“Let’s go for a walk,” J’onn suggests. 

Kara nods and follows him. They exit out of the hotel onto one of the sidewalks that winds through the auxiliary gardens. Snow-capped mountains line the horizon in the distance, but the rest is all open fields and blue sky. The sun soaks right into her bones — a pleasant sensation but slightly-unwelcome reminder that she's alive, no matter how she might feel inside.

“What’s this all about, Coach?” Kara asks, trying to put on her most innocent face. But she already knows exactly what this is about.

“How are you doing, Kara?” J’onn deflects the questioning back onto her, not once faltering from his languid walking pace.

“I’m good,” Kara insists. “Never better.” The smile doesn’t reach anywhere close to her eyes.

“Hm,” J’onn hums. “Your teammates wouldn’t agree with that assessment.”

Kara grits her teeth. “Alex?” she accuses.

“It’s not Alex,” J’onn raises a placating hand before she can go tear into her sister. “Your friends care about you, Kara. They’ve noticed you haven’t been yourself recently. I’m inclined to agree with them.”

You all should mind your own fucking business, Kara thinks.

“You’re unfocused, you’re not making smart plays, you’re taking selfish shots,” J’onn rattles off.  “That’s not Kara Danvers. That’s not the kind of basketball we play.”

No one knows Kara Danvers, she thinks. You all just think you do.

But barring Alex, there might have been one other person who would’ve come close.

“Kara, I like to think we have a respectful relationship,” J’onn adds. “You have my unwavering support, but I can’t get you help unless you tell me what you need.”

“I don’t need anything,” Kara says, voice like cold steel. “Thank you for the offer.”

“Is this about your parents, Kara?” J’onn asks. “If so—”

“—It’s not,” Kara seethes.

“Alright,” J’onn accepts after a moment. 

Kara can feel he’s not pleased by her tone, but he tries to keep it at bay.

“When we get back to National City, I’d like you to consider doing something for me,” J’onn says. Kara can feel the tension between them increase with every word, like a loaded spring.

“Yes, Coach?” Kara asks, but it lacks her usual respectful patience.

“Hank’s an excellent therapist, as are his coworkers,” J’onn says.  “I’ve sent players to him before, and it’s been a helpful resource for them. If you were to see him, maybe—”

“—I appreciate the offer, J’onn, but it’s not necessary,” Kara sharply declines.

J’onn’s eyebrows shoot up. Kara’s smart enough to know he’s very unimpressed; players don’t get to talk to their coaches that way.

“The semi-finals are Thursday,” J’onn states. “Every single person on this team, myself included, needs to be ready and able to give their all. Distractions aren’t an option.”

Kara stays quiet to let J’onn finish, no matter how done she is with his conversation.

“Kara, you’re one of my captains,” J’onn says. “And that comes with additional responsibility. You, Alex, and M’gann set the tone for the team; they’re looking to you for guidance. The team needs you — and I’m sorry, but as our best player — you don’t get to have off-days.”

An all-too-familiar weight settles onto Kara’s shoulders. She knows her duty; she’s always been able to rise to it. It’s a heavy mantle to wear but she’s always managed. She can do it again.

“I’m fine, Coach,” Kara insists, but it’s softened as she tries to recover from her moment of brazen hubris. “I’ll be good to go.”

“Make sure you are,” J’onn warns, his voice still hardened by frustration. “I need Supergirl out on the floor; I’ll bench Kara Danvers if I have to.”

“I understand, Coach,” Kara sets her jaw and raises her chin to meet his challenge. But it falls a fraction short.

“Good,” J’onn says. His mouth is a firm, tight line of disapproval. “Now go eat.”

It’s an explicit dismissal.

“Yes, Coach.”


Lena Luthor is still destroying her.

Kara doesn’t know what to do. The finals are tomorrow and she can’t go on like this. 

Apparently, she’s not the only one that’s had that realization. That night, Alex shows up in Kara’s hotel room when Nia ‘mysteriously’ disappears to get a snack with Maggie.

“Hey,” her sister greets.

“Hey.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Alex asks. It’s patient and kind and it makes Kara see red.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Kara states. She’s shifting around the room, pretending to be busy moving piles of clothes around.

“Tell me what I can do,” Alex pleads. She sits gingerly on the foot of Kara’s bed. “I want to help, we all do.”

“There’s nothing to help,” Kara states, further irritation creeping in. “I’m fine, Alex, there’s nothing to do.”

There’s a tense moment of silence. It’s a last chance and Kara knows it.

She doesn’t take it.

“Oh my god, enough of this pity-party,” Alex snaps. “You can’t keep acting like this.”

“Pity-party?!”

“Yes. I’m done,” Alex says. “Everyone is. We’ve all been walking on eggshells around you, but we can’t afford to do that anymore. Both you and I, and everyone else here, made a commitment to this team! We have a job to do but you need to get your shit right to do it, so we’re gonna sit down and figure it out together.”

“We?” Kara rolls her eyes. “There is no ‘we’, Alex. You have no idea what I feel like right now. No one does.”

“I’m your sister, Kara,” Alex insists. “You were there for me when I needed you the most, and I’m here for you now.”

“That’s nice, Alex,” Kara says in a condescending tone. “But I don’t need it. Drop it.”

“No, I’m not going to ‘drop it’!” Alex exclaims. “I’m sorry about what happened between you and Lena, but you got your heart broken and you’re not dealing with it at all. You’ve completely shut down; you’re not letting yourself feel anything.”

“So what?” Kara roars. “Would you rather I take a page out of your book? I could go downstairs and get trashed at the hotel bar right now!”

“Kara, that’s—” Alex’s jaw clenches roughly, but she speaks with measured patience. “I … get what you’re saying. I wouldn’t be handling it well either. But that’s why I want to h—”

“Yeah, I thought so,” Kara snaps. “So leave me the fuck alone.”

“Woah,” Alex flinches. “Kara, what … ? I haven’t seen you this bad since—”

“—Don’t,” Kara growls. It’s low and it’s a clear warning. “Don’t you fucking dare finish that sentence.”

“Kara …” Alex pleads, looking at her sister in great alarm.

It’s too much, it’s all too much. The constant offers of help, the worried looks, the endless compassion.

She doesn’t deserve it.

She can’t stand it anymore. Her best idea is to try and avoid it all. Hide from it.

Just like always.

“I’m going for a swim,” Kara says. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Alex.”

It’s late as she heads down to the hotel’s indoor pool. She’s not even wearing a swimsuit but she can’t dare resurface upstairs, so she just strips off her shirt and ends up in a sports bra and shorts.

Kara hopes the water can ease the ache in her soul as well as it does her sore muscles.

As always, she jumps in for the full immediate submersion. The water swirls all around her, whisking her hair upwards, and it's warmer against her skin than she would’ve expected. Kara does a few laps to adjust to the weightless feeling; she guesses this is a bit like what it would feel like to fly.

Kara then swims to the deepest part of the pool, takes a deep breath, and propels herself as far down as she can go. She allows her body to float in the darkness. A solitary pause leaves her imagining herself floating through space, nothing and no one. 

It’s nice.

Once she’s made her lungs burn enough to match the pain in her heart, Kara sets her feet against the concrete bottom and pushes up in one smooth motion. 

The cool air feels foreign on the skin of her face.

“Hey.”

Kara’s eyes open too quickly; droplets of water wash over her eyes and disturb her contacts. It stings. She takes her hands and swipes as much water away from her face as possible, but she still has to spend a good minute blinking the lenses back into place.

The first thing Kara sees is the aquatic blue-green of the pool water, vibrantly alight. The water ripples out away from her towards the edge of the pool a few feet away, where a pair of slender legs now hang down into the water, breaking the tidal pattern. 

Her first thought is of Alex, but the ACL surgery scar over the left knee tells her otherwise.

“Hey, Luce,” Kara sighs, finally bringing her gaze up to meet her friend. Her shoulders make broad circles in the water as she treads around. Lucy’s in shorts and an oversized t-shirt (one of James’s, she’d guess), looking near ready for bed, were it not for the piercing intent behind her eyes.

Lucy gives a soft, pitiful smile. “If you’re trying to drown yourself, don’t do it here. An over-chlorinated hotel pool is such a mundane place to die.”

Kara gives her a displeased look. “I’m just swimming.”

“Clearly,” Lucy sounds heavily underwhelmed. “It’s getting late though. Personally, I’d love to go to sleep but Alex’s pacing is keeping me up.”

“Go tell her that, or switch roommates,” Kara snaps. “I don’t know what you want me to do about it.”

“I want you to tell me what’s going on, and why Alex is wearing a hole into the floor,” Lucy explains. “What’s up with you?”

Kara lets her head sink down a few inches so the water brushes the underside of her bottom lip. “Nothing.”

“Bullshit.”

“What do you want me to say, Lucy?” Kara sighs.

“I want to know why you’re playing like shit,” Lucy says. “The finals are tomorrow, Kara, and I’m tired of picking up your slack.”

“You’re doing just fine at it,” Kara says in her best self-deprecating tone. It’s true; Lucy and Alex are the reason why they won the semi-finals today — for once, Kara can’t take even a slice of credit. J’onn had benched her after the first quarter and was firmly resolved to not put her back in. Nia had a hot hand anyways, so it was for the best.

At least that’s what Kara keeps telling herself on repeat.

“We need you if we’re gonna win tomorrow,” Lucy breaks through Kara’s thoughts. “I know it, Alex knows it, the rest of the team knows it, J’onn knows it. Do you know it?”

“I don’t care,” Kara says, idly drifting further away from Lucy.

“I don’t believe that,” Lucy says. “You’re in the gym more than anyone else on the team; I’ve watched you comb over film for hours. You care more than anyone else I know. Where’s that Kara Danvers?”

“I don’t know,” Kara says, and it comes out more honest than she intends.

“That I do believe,” Lucy concedes. “But you need to find her.”

“Just like you needed to go run your mouth to J’onn?” Kara challenges.

Lucy tilts her chin up to meet Kara’s burning glare with resolute composure. “I went to J’onn. So did Alex, and Maggie, and Nia, and M’gann. Go ahead — be mad at me. Be mad at everyone who cares about you. It’s better than whatever this apathetic act is.”

“You want me to get mad?” Kara raises her voice. It sounds even louder echoing off the walls of the enclosed pool chamber. She’s floated back far enough now to jerk to her feet.

“Yeah, I do,” Lucy challenges. “Alex is right — you’ve completely shut down and you’re not letting yourself feel anything.”

“Why are you here, Luce?” Kara rolls her eyes. “And why isn’t Alex here with you? She clearly has something to say to me if she’s using you as a messenger.”

“I’m not a messenger,” Lucy explains. “Alex made her attempt already; she’s not going to stir up more trouble for the team the night before the finals. And Maggie won’t dare yell at her girlfriend’s little sister. But I am a dick, and what you and your thick, stubborn skull needs right now is some tough-fucking-love.”

“Oh, well, I’m glad you  know what I  need,” Kara snaps.

A fierce heat appears behind Lucy’s eyes. “You want to know what you need? You need to get over yourself. You’re allowed to be going through something, but you don’t get to take it out on everyone else.”

Kara snorts into the water.

“You also don’t get to say that shit after how you’ve been acting,” Lucy continues. “Everyone keeps asking you what you need, but you just keep shooting us down.”

“That’s because I don’t need anything,” Kara clenches her jaw. Or anyone.

Lucy has always had an exceptional talent for pushing just the right buttons without going too far past salvation, but Kara can’t help but wonder if this is the time she miscalculates and goes past the line.

“Yeah, I guess you don’t,” Lucy sighs, retracting her legs from the water to stand, towering over the edge of the pool. 

Kara looks up to meet her with fire in her eyes, hating that Lucy has the high ground.

“Answer one question for me,” Lucy speaks down to her.

“What’s the question?” Kara retorts. She’ll offer no such concession blindly.

“Who are you so mad at, Kara?” Lucy asks, words piercing straight through Kara’s armor into her heart. “Do you even know?”

Kara swallows hard and doesn’t respond with anything more than a laser-hot glare.

“I thought so,” Lucy flexes her eyebrows. “I’m officially cashing in on my favor. Figure it out, Kara.”

Kara watches with unveiled irritation as Lucy walks out of the pool and she’s left alone again in the lucid waters. Her eyes are wet and it’s not from the water this time. She sinks back down beneath the waves, going as deep as she can, alone with just herself and Lucy’s words.

“Who are you so mad at, Kara?”

Who are you mad at?

Who?

Picking open one wound has a tendency to open them all.

Everyone!

Bubbles erupt from Kara’s mouth as she lets out a scream of anger.

Herself, for being weak and vulnerable.

Lena, for making her feel up to love again.

Alex, for her resolute and unwavering support.

Her friends, for their indomitable attempts to reach her.

Every failed attempt at companionship; Leslie, James, all the other blurry faces, even Siobhan. Especially Siobhan now.

Herself, for trying to push away everyone she cares about just to feed her new self-destructive streak.

Her parents, for leaving her alone and lost in a strange huge world.

Everyone.

Suddenly, Kara doesn’t care about the pain anymore; she opens her eyes. Her contacts wash into a blur and for a second, she can pretend the shadow cast on the wall in front of her is the face she wants to see the most.

Her mom.

She just wants a hug from her mom, to stroke her hair, tell her it’s gonna be okay, and that she’s still loved.

Why did you leave me?   Kara wants to cry. You were my mom and I needed you.

You left me alone. The searing heat in her eyes is growing stronger now, and she’s forced to squint against it. You abandoned me alone in this world.

How could you?   Kara can feel the rage boil in her neck, tensing every muscle, sealing off her airway. I lost everyone I loved. And now that’s all I seem to know how to do.

The shadow ripples unapologetically in front of her.

Why me? Why am I the one left?

It always comes back to that.

Kara’s eyes close fully as she’s forced to rise to the surface to take a long-overdue breath. Her arms shoot up straight up in the air during her ascent, only for her fists to slam back down on the water surface. She hits it hard enough to smart a little, but it’s good, it’s what she deserves, so she does it again and again until gravity drags her back down.

She sinks down again, anguish depleted, only to be replaced by cooled anger this time.

She’s too far gone, she knows this now.

She should’ve known that after Leslie, when her inability to let people into her past cost her the first (admittedly toxic) love she ever had.

She should’ve figured it out after James; he should’ve been perfect with her, but it just didn’t work.

She should’ve been certain after Siobhan — if she couldn’t get things right with someone she didn’t really care about, how could she ever get it right with someone she did ?

So she never stood a chance with Lena Luthor. She never deserved one. There’s just too much blood on her hands.

Love isn’t for her.

But basketball is. Basketball has been her retreat, her haven, her purpose for the past eight-something years. She buried herself into it after losing her family, after losing Jeremiah. And it worked. She’s just been going about it all wrong this time around; basketball isn’t the distraction from her feelings, it’s the outlet. The solution — it always has been.

It’s always been there for her.

And it’s the one thing she refuses to lose. She can control that part of her life.

She’s Supergirl, the college basketball superstar, just as much as she is Kara Danvers. And Supergirl is strength and power and perfection incarnate.

And she’s going to act like it.

Now that she’s done and reached her resolution, Kara slowly strides up the pool steps, feeling the weight return to her shoulders as the water rolls down her body, but now she has the strength to meet it. She feels furious and driven and cold as a steel edge — she feels like Supergirl.

Kara actually sleeps that night.

In the morning, Kara sits opposite of Lucy in the hotel lobby and gives her a small, stoic nod of gratitude.

“Thank you,” Kara says. Her voice is low and firm and charged with restrained anger. Not directed at Lucy, not anymore, but rather harvested and repurposed for the most-important and only task at hand.

Lucy smirks in relief; all is forgiven between them.

“We’re gonna fucking win today,” Lucy states.

The determination in Kara’s eyes speaks for itself.


They’re through.

It leaves Lena feeling a bit like she’s slipped from the sky.

She doesn’t really remember much of Sunday. But she doesn’t want to. She ignores the bomber jacket crumpled by the front door, she pretends there’s not a pile of basketball clothes in her closet, and she buries a certain blue mug in the back of her cabinets.

On Monday she finds herself in her tried-and-true hell: an airplane. But it’s bound for Metropolis, not Empire City. It was a last-minute decision, but one Lena had to make for the sake of her liver, which would not be able to support a whole week of wounded binge drinking graciously excused by Mardi Gras celebrations.

The flight east is dreadful as always, but this one is even worse because she spends the entire five-hour flight shaking and yearning for Kara’s soothing presence, to hold her hand and make her laugh.

But she’s not there. It makes Lena feel ever more hollow on the inside.

She’s hurt, but she can only half-blame Kara. Kara has an incredible gift and how can she turn down the opportunity to use it? Going pro means financial security for Kara and her family too, which is something Lena realizes she never stopped to consider until now.

How can Lena hate her for forging towards a better future?

A bitter, selfish part of her still can. But the rest has resigned to accept her new broken state; she was never going to be good enough for Kara Danvers. It was a naïve delusion to think otherwise. So she accepts the truth and prepares to weather through the stormy healing process while tucked away in the safety of her emotional ivory tower.

Besides, she’s already destined to spend the next week in her literal ivory tower — Luthor Manor, Metropolis.

The only upside to being home is that Lillian’s away at a conference the same week. They haven’t exchanged a single word since Kara all but berated Lillian in her own kingdom. Even the memory of it makes Lena feel so alive. She sucks her teeth in annoyance at that fact, but her gut dances happily all the same. She eventually quenches it.

For once, Lena’s actually a little relieved to be back in Metropolis. Far, far away from Kara Danvers and her broken heart.

She can block everything out here. Just like always.

In theory.

But for that to work, she needs to stop fucking thinking about Kara Danvers.

She tries fencing. She tries a few rounds of chess with some of the household staff. She tries going for a drive in one of Lionel’s old Ferraris.

It doesn’t work.

Blue eyes and an unyielding smile — that she would pay any amount of money to see again — plagues her mind and poisons her soul.

Her appetite is gone, as is her ability to sleep. All she can feel is the resolute ache in her chest.

So she does something truly desperate; she buys a paper brick and resolves to teach herself advanced quantum physics.

It comes close to working.

Until Jack (she still hasn’t told him the reason why she backed out of their break plans) texts her a photo of his bare chest covered in hair and multicolored strands of beads, and somehow she ends up scrolling through her social media instead. It’s mindless and distracting, for a while. But a long time ago, she had followed the NCU women's basketball account, and by some cosmic form of cruelty, the algorithm chooses now to bear that fruit.

An article pops up with a header she can’t tear her eyes away from.

 

Supergirl’s Stock: Will the NCU Superstar Declare for the NWBL Draft This Year?

With the deadline for the NMBL and NWBL draft declarations only a month away, all eyes are looking at Kara Danvers. National City University's resident superstar, nicknamed ‘Supergirl’, is one of the most-anticipated declarations of this draft year. Danvers is projected to be a first-round pick at minimum, but most experts agree she’s the clear first-choice. While Danvers’ draft stock may be solidified, the only murky detail is when it’ll hit the market. Danvers has yet to indicate how likely she is to declare this year or

 

Save your fucking breath, Lena thinks. Everyone will have their precious Supergirl soon.

She doesn’t care about the article’s contents. She doesn’t care about the blister it puts in her stomach. She has more important things to do, like teaching herself Fermi’s Golden Rule.

Golden. Rules. Kara fills her head again like some insistent parasite.

Fuck you, Kara Danvers, Lena seethes.

She clicks her phone off and chucks it over onto her bed. It hits with a solid thud, right as her bedroom door is pulled open.

“Ouch,” a smug voice says from her doorway.

“What do you want, Lex?” Lena asks, not even looking up from the book in front of her. “The door was closed for a reason; I’m busy.”

“For starters, I want to know what that poor phone did to you,” Lex teases, sauntering in. “And you should lock it then.”

“Most people know to respect a closed door,” Lena retorts. “Except pests, I guess.”

“You’re in quite the mood,” Lex notes, plopping down on her bed. Out of the corner of her eye, she can see Lex pick up her phone and start to fiddle with it.

“Yes, it’s almost like I want to be left alone …”

“What’s your passcode?” Lex asks, typing repeatedly into Lena’s phone. “Shockingly, it’s not 1-2-3-4 or 10-24.”

“My passcode is not my birthday, though I’m impressed you remember it,” Lena sighs. “And I’m not going to tell you.”

(It’s 5272 because she’s a sentimental idiot, but no living soul needs to know that.)

… Fuck, she needs to change that.

“Spoil-sport,” Lex huffs, plopping the phone back down. “Anyways, you and me, dinner at 5:30. You’ve got two hours.”

“No,” Lena declines. She’s never enjoyed it, but Lex’s constant expectation for everyone to bend to his whim is particularly irksome tonight.

“Lena, please,” Lex requests, oddly tender. “I want to do something special for you. It’ll be our last night in Metropolis together for a while.”

Lena gives him a stony stare, unimpressed at the notion of having her plans changed. He actually seems genuinely worried at the chance of disappointment. It's a new look for him, and her resolve starts to wane. Perhaps it would be a decent distraction …

“Fine,” Lena concedes. “I’ll go.”

“Excellent!” Lex smiles in delight as he makes his exit. “I’ll leave you to it then.”

Lena begrudgingly rises from her desk, the motion unfamiliar to her stiff joints. Her muscles are still a bit more sore than she would care to admit after her return to fencing. Regardless, she dresses in her Luthor best and finishes with every single hair in its place.

Mercer drives them to the restaurant, and Lena can practically feel Lex buzzing with excitement on the ride over. He’s high on something, but it’s really hard to tell just what.

“You could look even a little excited,” Lex tells her when they get close. “I don’t want to look like I’m pulling up with some emo chick who’s broken.”

Lena flips him a cold middle finger, face like a statue. Her emo phase had been restricted solely to tenth grade and was certainly long over.

The restaurant is a classy, upscale French place — Lex’s favorite — and also one of the most expensive places to dine in the whole city.

Lena feels her chest tighten when she sees where they’ll be eating.

“Lex,” Lena grits her teeth. “What is this?”

“Relax,” Lex says. “I dropped 10K on the table alone so we would be secluded. I know you value your privacy.”

Sure to his word, there’s only one table in the entire section of the restaurant with place settings. 

It’s a square right in the middle of the room, draped in elegant cream fabric and covered in crystal and silver. The surrounding tables nearby are pulled back in the name of space. None of that is unusual, but what instills dread in Lena’s bones is one specific detail — there are four places set.

“That’s not my present concern,” Lena grits through her teeth. “Who are the other two chairs for?”

“Oh, the Kents are joining us,” Lex says, inspecting the menu. “Clark and his wife, Lois.”

“Very funny, Lex,” Lena sucks her teeth. “I’m not in a joking mood.”

“I’m not joking,” Lex gives her a mildly puzzled look over the top of the leather square between his hands. “I thought you liked Clark?”

“I—”

“Lex!”

As if summoned by his name, Lena turns around to see none other than Clark Kent walking over towards them. 

He’s in a steel grey suit this time, bringing out the blue in his metal-framed eyes, and a single lock of hair falls down over his forehead. Next to him is a woman with long dark hair and a warm, tenacious smile. They both look a bit on the tired side — bags under their eyes — but Lena would imagine that’s just what happens to new parents.

“Lena, it’s great to see you,” Clark says, shaking her hand. “This is my wife, Lois Lane; the fiercest, most intrepid reporter in the business.”

“Nice to meet you,” Lena offers a polite hand to shake.

“It’s a pleasure,” Lois greets, ignoring the hand and pulling Lena in.  “I’m a hugger!”

Of course she is. They are only two seconds in and this is already testing Lena’s perilously thin patience.

“Lois,” Lex greets. He doesn’t bother to stand, secure in the company of old, familiar friends.

Clark pulls out Lois’s chair, takes her coat, and drapes it over the backrest with unparalleled yet effortless attentiveness. It sends a jolt of odd familiarity down to Lena’s gut.

They all exchange pleasantries and discuss what dishes sound good. While they wait for the food, Clark and Lex recap his latest game in a fever, until Lois puts her foot down and demands a new topic. They then discuss Lex’s latest ventures for a little while, then politics, then Lois’s recent works. The food is delicious but it might as well be mud for all Lena can enjoy it.

Her singular focus is this torturous, calamitous, in-a-different-world-could’ve-been family dinner.

Clark and Lois seem so happy and charming and in-love that it physically hurts to watch. And for once in his life, Lex appears to have no desire to take up the limelight. The only redeeming quality of this whole catastrophe is the one waiter who keeps Lena’s wine glass full with unparalleled dedication. But the rest is miserable to sit through.

She’d almost rather hear Kara break things off between them again. 

Almost.

“Hey, have you ever heard the story about how these two got together?” Lex asks, leaning conspiratorially into Lena’s space, but keeping his eyes on Clark.

Clark blushes, and it’s a wistfully familiar array of pink beneath steel blue. “Lex, no, we don’t—”

“—Oh, this story is one of my favorites!” Lois chuckles, an excited gleam in her eye. “I’ll tell it.”

“No, hun, you don’t really—”

“Nonsense,” Lois scoffs, leaning in towards Lena. “Clark and I met my first day on the job. I had just started as an assistant reporter for the Daily Planet, and I had been given the sports section — keep in mind, I knew nothing about basketball at the time!”

Lena gives a polite laugh.

“But I was ready, right, this was my first day and I was going to make the most of it,” Lois explains. “I was told to go interview Superman, the Metropolis Meteors’ superstar rookie.”

Clark picks at the label of his beer, all smiles as he watches his wife. He’s probably heard this story a thousand times before, but he’s looking at her like it’s all brand new to him. His grin is like a pure ray of sunlight and Lena can feel the last scraps of her appetite leave her.

“The first time I met him, he was still in uniform,” Lois says, “He looked superhuman, just oozing confidence and talent — and muscles. It took my breath away.”

Regrettably, Lena can imagine the exact sensation.

“The interview went well …” A sly grin creeps up Lois’s face. “So well, in fact, that he mumbled and bumbled his way through asking me to dinner, and—”

“—then she rejected me on the spot,” Clark chuckles.

“I didn’t want to be unprofessional,” Lois explains. “It was my first day! I had a reputation to establish, and that wasn’t the one I wanted.”

Lena nods sympathetically, taking a sip of her vital wine.

“And I respected that,” Clark says. “So I thanked her for her time and I didn’t say another word about it. Not until her last day, when she was getting switched off the sports section. I asked her out again, and she said yes.”

“Well, I couldn’t resist forever,” Lois bites her bottom lip at Clark. “I’m only human, after all.”

“I’m well aware,” Clark nods. “So human, in fact, that she got nervous and cancelled on me. Completely stood me up.”

“Hey, that’s not entirely true!” Lois objects. “Lucy, my little sister — who you might know actually, she’s friends with Kara now — got into a fight at school. Our dad was … indisposed, so I had to go deal with it. And someone here has terrible handwriting, so when I called his phone number to explain what was going on, it went straight to some stranger’s voicemail.”

“My ones look like ones!” Clark protests.

Lois holds up a hand to silence him. “They look like sevens.”

“They do look like sevens,” Lex confirms. 

Lena gives her brother a curious look; it’s very odd to see him like this. There’s no bravado or grandeur, minimal substances, and the oddest part of all? He’s quiet and relaxed.

It’s mundane and oddly … normal. If it wasn’t one of the first times she’d ever seen it, she’d say Lex was — as Kara would put it — ‘just chillin’.

Perhaps Kara isn’t the only Super who can bring out the best in a Luthor.

But Lex gets to keep his Super, Lena’s inner voice nags. Your Super didn’t want you.  

“Anyways,” Lois continues, interrupting Lena’s thoughts. “I don’t think I saw him for like three years afterwards. I assumed he had completely forgotten about me. I mean, he’s Superman! But I always pined for him.”

“So what led you to reconnect?” Lena asks, swallowing a little too thickly.

Both Lois and Clark’s eyes dart over to Lex, who’s now leaning back in his chair like a clever king.

“I did,” Lex boasts. There’s the brother she knows. “Lois was doing a piece on one of our newest Luthor Corp products at the time. I knew who she was, and I had noticed how Clark still always read her articles, no matter what the content. So I hatched a little plan.”

Lena arches a brow, asking her question without her lips ever needing to move. What did you do, Lex?

“I invited Lois to come to one of my parties — great for networking, or meeting a certain best friend of mine — and then I summoned Clark,” Lex explains. 

“Except,” Clark says with a bit of ire. “Lex told me it was an emergency, so I came as soon as I could, only I was a bit underdressed.  But when I walked in and saw Lois Lane standing there, it didn’t matter. At Lex’s insistence, I was going to try one last time.”

Lex’s chest puffs out in pride. Lena can’t remember the last time she saw her brother this content. It’s a stark contrast to her own turbulent heart.

“So I went up to her, still in my glasses and my old muddy barnyard clothes from earlier, and I ask—”

“—It was more of a nervous rambling,” Lois adds.

“—and I ask her if she’d like to get a drink together,” Clark recounts. “And she politely says no, she’s waiting for an old friend: Superman. I thought she was joking at first; I was so confused.”

“Who knew a pair of glasses could be so deceptive?” Lois laughs in good humor. “I had no idea Clark was Clark.”

“I realized Lois didn’t recognize him,” Lex explains. “And once I had assembled all the pieces on the board, I had Finch ‘accidentally’ knock Lois into the pool.”

“You didn't,” Lena hisses in surprise.

“He did,” Lois says. “Lucky for me, Kansas over here can’t resist a damsel in distress. Clark jumped right into the pool after me; my hero.”

The phrase makes Lena’s heart collapse.

“The water knocked off his glasses and slicked back his hair,” Lois says. “So when I opened my eyes, there was Superman to my rescue.”

“I would do it again in an instant,” Clark promises, then turns to Lex with an annoyed expression. “Though, you could’ve just introduced us like normal people. Next time, I’m throwing you into the pool.”

“Oh, hush, we all know there’s some steel under that Kansas wheat,” Lois says affectionately, sending her husband a look that drives a stake of loneliness through the rubble of Lena’s heart.

Fuck, she misses Kara.

“That part I also could’ve done without,” Lois adds. “But if that’s what it took to get us together, I’m glad you did it, Lex.”

“Ah, I figured I owed Clark a favor,” Lex gives a humble nod. “And the poor man really needed a girlfriend to ward off the resident Cat on the prowl.”

Lena gives her brother an incredulous look. Lex Luthor, a sentimentalist?

Lex catches the scrutiny. “What? I have my moments of weakness.”

“Love isn’t weakness, Lex,” Clark states.

What is this? Do Clark Kent and Kara Danvers swap these cliché, tender lines every morning over breakfast? Lena can feel the irritation set into her bones.

“Bah,” Lex brushes him off. “Though, it does seem like my parties have a proclivity for … bringing people together.”

His words are entirely too pointed and Lena stills. Her brother turns and gives her a cocky look, but she doesn’t react, and he falters in doubt.

“And the rest is history,” Lois says. “Another two years later, Clark proposed and I said yes.”

“Let’s not tell that story, hun,” Clark chuckles nervously, idly flexing a hand.

“You’re no fun, Kansas,” Lois teases him. 

“So you both still had feelings for each other?” Lena asks. “Even three years later?”

“Yup,” Clark nods. He grabs Lois’s hand and smiles at her. “I just could never seem to get her out of my head.”

“Of course,” Lois answers for herself. “When it comes to love, no matter what kind, you have to hold out hope.”

“To hope,” Clark raises his beer to initiate a toast.

“To hope,” the three of them echo. Lena hears the words leave her mouth, but she doesn’t mean them, doesn’t feel them. They just serve to worsen her longing and the hollow feeling in her chest.

Her hope is gone, drafted off to war and never to return.

“So, how’s school been?” Clark asks Lena. 

“It’s good,” Lena answers. It fucking sucks because your cousin broke my heart. “Pretty much business as usual.”

“Have you seen much of Kara?” Clark says. “It seems like she’s been having a great time this year.”

“Not particularly,” Lena lies. Yes. In my bed, in her bed, on my couch, in her shower, and maybe even a bathroom stall. “I would imagine we’re not really on the same schedule.”

“Yeah, basketball usually means a lot of early mornings and late nights. It’s tricky to manage it all,” Clark nods.

“Congratulations, by the way,” Lena says, giving him a polite nod. “You both must be excited that Kara’s declaring.”

“Declaring?” Clark frowns, thick brows disappearing behind the frames of his glasses. “For what?”

“For … the basketball draft …?” Lena says slowly, also now confused. She had thought her comment would be met with enthusiastic smiles and excited chuckling, not this. 

Certainly not this.

“Insider information, sis?” Lex drawls, and Lena can feel the heat of his gaze analyzing her every motion. Lex is uncharacteristically quiet afterwards, which instills a deep dread in Lena’s stomach. That’s going to be a problem she’ll have to address later.

But she has bigger problems, re: Clark’s confused and oddly amused face.

“Did you hear that from her?” Clark asks. There’s a bit of mirth to his confused voice and Lena doesn’t care for that shit at all.

“Yes …” Lena’s eyes narrow. “I … ran into her at the bar recently.”

That seems to connect some invisible dots for Clark. “Oh, the bar?” he chuckles, looking incredibly relieved. “She was probably just trying to impress you.”

Oh, nothing could be further from that statement.

“Kara likes to ‘talk the talk’ every year, keep the buzz going,” Lois adds. “By playing coy, it keeps a certain beneficial air of mystery; people love the suspense. But unfortunately for all those story-hungry reporters—”

“—Kara’s not declaring,” Clark finishes.

Kara’s not declaring? But …

Clark’s conviction is stronger than steel and it hits Lena faster than a speeding bullet to the heart.

Kara’s not declaring.

Lena’s firmly-set lips fall apart in her surprise. She blinks twice and swallows hard.

Kara’s not entering the draft. Kara’s not leaving NCU.

 

Kara lied to her.

 

Lena feels the realization run down her skin like licking flames. Kara lied. The truth cauterizes the shattered pieces of her heart a little too well.

“I see,” is about all she can muster up in her devastation.

Lex raises an eyebrow beside her, but she’s too focused on Clark to notice.

“Yeah, Kara won’t actually declare until she’s set to finish with her degree,” Clark says, fiddling with his glasses. “It was something her parents always wanted for her.”

Her parents?

Those two little words bring a painful moment of clarity to Lena. Kara’s parents, her loss … “it was.”  It’s a striking reminder that Lena actually doesn’t know Kara that well. But Clark does. There are people that do know Kara, and get to love Kara, and get to be loved by Kara. But not her.

It leaves Lena feeling like a banished outsider looking back at her former home.

“It took Eliza and I a lot of convincing to get Kara on board with waiting when she was eighteen and stubborn,” Clark continues. “But thankfully she’s grown out of that reckless streak.”

Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure of that, Lena thinks ruefully.

“Reckless streak?” One of Lena’s eyebrows shoots up to accent her question.

Clark and Lois both chuckle a little, exchanging a mutual understanding.

Clark gives an affectionate smile. “Kara’s a much more talented player than I was at her age. She already had high expectations to meet, given her relation to me, but she far exceeded them. She became the brightest buzz of the college basketball world almost overnight.”

“I love her dearly, but it went straight to her head,” Lois chuckles. “Like it would to any teenager.”

Now that sounds like the Kara Danvers she had first feuded with. Arrogant and self-absorbed. Shortsighted.

“She wanted to do a one-and-done and move up to the pros after her freshman year,” Clark explains. “She almost did it too, regardless of what she had promised Eliza and I.”

“Why didn’t she?” Lena frowns. By the principles of chaos theory, there now exists a world in which Kara left NCU two years ago and she and Lena never happened. Lena’s not sure if she’s relieved or saddened at the thought.

“Because of Alex,” Clark says. “They won the national title together Kara’s freshman year. If Kara stayed at NCU, she and Alex would have a chance for another. There’s no one on this planet Kara loves more than Alex — and she loves basketball — and at NCU, she could have both.”

There’s a bit of an uncomfortable tension between Lex and Lena, who both know they wouldn’t have made the same choice. 

In fact, there are times in their pasts where one would say they had actively avoided each other: after Lionel’s funeral, after Lena had come out, after Mercy’s departure. It hadn’t been malicious, just the combination of uncertainty and grief causing them to push away anything that made them feel vulnerable. But like the tide, they always found their way back to shore, eventually.

Lena’s not sure if their waters are rising or receding this time.

“Actually,” Clark lights up with a huge grin. “Kara’s team is playing in their conference finals tonight. If they win, they’re headed to the national tournament. Lois and I were already planning on watching it; we’d love for you two to join us.”

“Ah, Clarky! How could I say n—”

“—No.” Lena cuts her brother off, a death-grip on the seat of her chair. If she could will the wood to splinter under her fingers, it would be a pile of toothpicks by now. The last fucking place she will be going is to Clark Kent’s house to watch Kara Danvers play basketball.

“No, Lex and I should get back to the Manor. We have an early morning tomorrow,” Lena makes an attempt at diplomacy this time. “But this dinner has been absolutely wonderful, thank you both.”

“But …” Lex over at her, looking a bit like a kid in a candy shop with no money.

“We need to go,” Lena sucks at her teeth. She flares her eyelids in warning, which Lex seems to accept.

“Fine,” Lex sighs. “The Lost Princess will get her way. We should get going.”

Clark offers to cover the bill, but Lex declines and postures around, waving his metal card. Clark doesn’t back down, Lex pushes harder, Lois shoots her an apologetic look, and Lena wants to die. Anything to not be here anymore.

As always, Lex gets his way. The bill gets paid, friendly goodbyes are exchanges, and then the Luthors find themselves en route back to the Manor.

The tension in the car is palpable. Lena wouldn’t be surprised if poor Mercer could feel it all the way up in the driver’s seat, even through the drawn divider.

“So, do you want to go first, or shall I?” Lex sighs, sliding down in his seat.

She will absolutely be going first.

“What the hell was that, Lex?” Lena hisses.

“Ladies first, then,” Lex mumbles. “And what the hell was what?”

“That dinner,” Lena says. “What sort of draconian ambush was that?”

“You didn’t like it?” Lex gives her a look. He’s got a smug, close-lipped smile across his face but his brow is furrowed. “I thought it would be a fun little meet-the-family surprise.”

Lena’s stomach solidifies.

Meet-the-family?

Fuck. That only means one thing.

“You know …” Lena realizes.

“I know,” Lex grins, outstretching his hands in a grand gesture. “So, when do I get to meet her, officially?”

Never.

“How?” Lena chokes out. “How did you know?”

“You brought the cousin of my best friend to a Luthor Foundation fundraiser,” Lex says. “And whilst there, she insults our mother; you really think I wouldn’t have heard about that, one way or another?”

Fuck, he’s right.

In her blind desire to have Kara by her side, Lena had failed to foresee this particular yet inevitable conversation. Of course Lex would find out. And she doesn’t exactly have a very convincing cover story to save her ass.

It doesn’t matter though, because Lex’s next words are the nails into the coffin.

“And if that wasn’t enough,” Lex gloats, holding up his phone for Lena to see. “There’s also this.”

It’s a photo from the fundraiser, perfectly framed around Lillian and herself. Her mother is standing up at the podium, mid-speech, while Lena stands to her side, a glittering golden crest captured perfectly over her chest.

Motherfucker.

“That necklace is quite distinct,” Lex drawls. “In fact, it’s identical to the one Clark wears constantly, as if it was part of a pair of family heirlooms or something …”

“Don’t,” Lena requests, though she already knows he won’t be able to stop himself.

“You and Kara Danvers — together,” Lex grins. “I knew it.”

Lena imagines this is what dying must feel like; every regret and mistake quickly instilled into a single second. “We’re not together.”

Not anymore.

Lex ignores her.

“So, how long have I been right for?” Lex is practically giddy with delight. “Before or after the holidays?”

“That’s all this is to you?” Lena asks incredulously. “It’s a matter of being right?”

“No, of course not,” Lex snorts, a cocky grin on his face. “It’s just the most exciting part. I always figure it out, even when it's something you try to hide from me.”

His hubris rubs Lena’s ripcord in just the right way and it snaps, the baggage falling and spilling out onto the ground.

“That’s just the thing, Lex,” Lena bites. “You were always so good at seeing what I didn’t want you to see, that you always missed what I did want you to see.”

“What does that mean?” Lex frowns.

“It means you just had me sit through the most miserable dinner of my life, just to prove yourself right,” Lena seethes. “And considering our family, that’s saying something.”

Lex wisely stays silent, an uncertain look sinking in. If Lena was naïve enough, she’d almost say he looked a tad bit apologetic too.

“If you were clever enough to realize Kara and I were—“ Lena falters for a moment. “You should’ve been able to recognize why I’ve been an absolute bitch this whole week. Why would I voluntarily come back to Metropolis? I hate it here.”

Just now slightly less than I hate being in National City, Lena thinks.

Lex looks over at her but his vision has retreated into his skull to internally calculate something.

Lena rubs her brow. “God, I needed you tonight, Lex, but you were too focused on yourself to even notice. Kara and I are through.”

Lex twists the thick ring on his finger; it was once Lionel’s. Lena’s never been sure why he wears it, but it’s always there.

“You always see things from your perspective, exclusively,” Lena continues. “And did you know; Kara’s the only person that’s ever defended me to Mother? I know you two have your own terrible dynamic but not once have you ever been the big brother I needed when it comes to her.”

Lex frowns, actually showing genuine human emotion on his face. “I see.”

He doesn’t move or speak for a little while. Lena’s never actually seen him this quiet without a project, chess board, or a basketball game in front of him.

It’s a little unnerving.

Lena lets out a deep sigh. “Look, I’m sorry for getting short with you at dinner. It was unfair to expect you to know what had transpired between Kara and I.”

“No, it’s …” Lex trails off. He doesn’t finish the sentence but his apologetic tone hangs in the air, thick as fog. 

They don’t talk again until late that night, back in the Manor. Lex sulks up to Lena’s bedroom, where’s she back to reading again, and he takes a tentative half-step in through the doorway.

“I just spoke to Jess,” Lex informs her. “Our flight leaves at nine-AM sharp tomorrow. We should drop you off in National City around noon.”

Lex is taking the plane on a business trip to Japan in the morning. Knowing Lena’s aversion to flying, he offered to drop her off on the way, so she wouldn’t have to fly back commercial. It’s a luxury she’s grateful for, even if it puts her back in National City a day early.

“Thank you.”

There’s the sound of Lex turning on his heel and taking a few steps down the hall, only to backpedal.

“Lena?” Lex reappears in the doorway, an odd look on his face that Lena can’t place.

“What, Lex?” Lena sighs.

“When you pack,” Lex says slowly. “Think sentimentally. It’ll be nice to have some more of your important things in National City.”

“What, are you going to burn the house down or something?” Lena cocks an inquisitive eyebrow. This exchange is a bit bizarre and well-outside their usual conversational topics.

“No, arson is too uninspired,” Lex waves a dismissive hand. “Don’t then; it was just a thought. Goodnight, Princess.”

“Goodnight, Lex,” Lena mumbles after him.

What the hell?

She’s unsettled and nostalgic enough afterward that she does actually pack a few extra books and trinkets, but it’s all forgotten the next morning when the dread of flying sets in. 

They’re almost to the airstrip when Lena’s phone glows with a news notification, alerting her that NCU did in fact win their conference finals last night. Suddenly, her brain is filled with thoughts of Kara Danvers once more.

Thoughts that now make her blood boil.

She quickly dismisses the banner before Lex sees; she also couldn’t fucking care less what the NCU basketball team is up to.

Lex seems to pick up on her distress.

“Benzo?” Lex offers, pulling out a small bottle from his inner suit coat pocket.

Lena looks at it for a second longer than she should. 

“No, thank you,” she decides. She’s expended a fair amount of willpower and energy to avoid picking up that particular family vice, and she won’t let that hard work be squandered, even now.

“Suit yourself,” Lex shrugs, slipping it back in.

Once they’re on board, Lex pops one of the pills and he's halfway to faded in no time. It’s not that he’s afraid of flying like Lena, it’s just that he can’t stand to be so bored for the next five-something hours without some sort of pharmaceutical intervention.

She doesn’t goad him for taking one himself, this time; she’s the reason he’s flying so early in the morning. Usually Lex flies exclusively during the afternoons — a preference brought about by a combination of hangovers and basketball game air-times — and he usually livestreams a game during the flight to keep his mind occupied. 

But since he doesn’t have that stimulus for his overactive brain this morning, he has to resort to getting high then. Lena knows it's a concession on his end, so she takes it as an apology for the dinner with the Kents.

The gesture does mean something to her, even if small and misguided.

But as the plane begins its terrifying ascent into the atmosphere, Lena is left to cope by herself, and she stops feeling so compassionate. The turbulence is extra rough this morning and Lena lacks any sort of positive fixation.

It makes her miss Kara even more.

Kara — who lied to her.

That memory sends a new wave of anger throughout her entire body. It’s like cyanide pulsing through her veins, and it transforms her into an entity of wrath.

Lena looks down at her fingers, currently dug into her armrests, and she suddenly wishes it was Kara’s flesh under her punishing nails.

Kara Danvers left her and lied to her about why. Kara Danvers got her to trust and then shattered it. Kara Danvers made Lena care for her and then destroyed her.

So Lena makes a resolution.

She’s going to get Kara to confess her sins at Lena’s altar, and Lena will meet it with fury instead of forgiveness, and she will have blood for blood.

Kara Danvers hurt her, and now she’s going to show Kara exactly what it feels like.


 

Chapter Text


The conference finals end 81-74 for NCU.

Even though most of the school population is still away for break, it’s far from a quiet Saturday night at Al’s. The Comets are there in full-force; the women’s team with their third-straight conference finals victory (at one point, there are a few chants of ‘dynasty’ followed by the chugging of beer). The men’s team is there too — licking their wounds from a loss in their own finals on a questionable reffing call — but they’re certain to get a bid to the national tournament, so the mood’s still light. 

That’s about the only thing that is though; the drinks are strong, the patrons loud and rowdy, and the air thick with electric excitement.

Kara should be having a great time.

She wants to be having a great time.

But there’s something missing. She fake-smiles her way through several animated conversations and a few drinking games, making the idle cheering sounds expected of her whenever the rest of the group does. She can’t even sit down in their usual booth before Lucy is nipping at her heels to get up and join in the fun. Even when she goes to the bathroom for a breather, there’s people that want to chat.

She doesn’t have the energy for it. Her anger has left her drained, and they won’t play another basketball game until the national tournament starts, the weekend after next. So she’s just left without a suitable focus — tired and guilty and missing Lena.

Fuck …

Maybe a drink will help. It’s better than hopeless, errant pining anyways.

“Can I get another melon sour?” Kara asks, leaning on the bar counter. She shoots William a smile to go along with it, but the one he returns looks about as unenthusiastic as Kara feels.

“Actually, those are for you,” William informs her, pointing at a long row of freshly-poured shots running along the bar. “And your teammates.”

“Did someone order these?” Kara frowns in confusion at the small horde of glasses. Kara takes a whiff — it’s tequila for sure.

“They were sent for you,” William sets the tequila fifth back down in it’s rack; it’s almost empty now.

“Who are these from?” Kara asks him.

“She said to say your ‘hot girl bummer’.”

Kara’s heart catches in her chest.

Lena’s here?

Kara’s eyes rake all over the bar in a desperate, panicked search. Lena’s not in her usual spot, but she must be here, she must be.

Kara opens her mouth to ask William where she is when Mike cuts her off.

“I’m sorry, are those for us?” Mike peers over Kara’s shoulder. “Kara bought shots!”

Before Kara can respond, Mike’s shouting back at their friends.

“Everyone get over here!” Mike yells. He wraps an elbow over the top plane of Kara’s chest and pulls her back against his torso in a friendly jostle.  “Kara Danvers, our Supergirl!”

Kara doesn’t mind the affection usually but Mike is currently impeding her frantic hunt, so she bumps back up against him to get him to let go, but there’s nowhere to go. Like bees to the hive, there are hands all over reaching for the tequila. Kara’s basically stuck in a cluster of her friends and teammates now, so she might as well embrace it. 

She lets out a deep exhale, raises a shot glass for herself, and initiates one of their classic team chants (revised and repurposed for nights like these).

“1-2-3-4,” Kara calls out, raising a fist in the air. “Comets sweep the fuckin’ floor.”

“Comets sweep the fuckin’  floor!” comes the chorus of cheers and roars.

Kara looks down at the shot and shoots it back.

As the liquid burns down her throat, she meets a gaze of green fire.

Lena!

There she is, tucked into the far dark corner of the bar right near the door. She’s dressed in a long coat, too nice to imply she plans to stay long, with her arms crossed over her chest and a tumbler of scotch in her hand.

Mike’s arm around Kara’s collarbone suddenly feels like a wire trap, and Lena regards her like a wolf with nothing but contempt and an empty stomach.

“Hey,” Kara knocks a fist against Mike’s arm and it slides away. “I’ll be right back. Get another game of Thumper going.”

“Okay,” Mike whoops, stepping back a half-step to give Kara a decent chance of weaving out from the cluster of bodies. “Let’s go — Thumper! Why do we play?”

There’s the faint answer of ‘to get fucked up!’, but the adrenaline is ringing too loudly in Kara’s ears for it to register, and she finally breaks out of the drunken huddle of bodies into cooler air. 

Kara makes her way across the bar over to Lena, unaware in her path, like a lamb headed to slaughter. The raven-haired woman is leaning up against the bar top now, hidden in the shadows.

“Hi,” Kara exhales. It’s about the only word she can muster up with Lena’s piercing green eyes on her.

She’s … intimidating.

Danvers.”

Kara flinches slightly at the hostile tone by which Lena speaks her name. It’s been a very long time since she’s heard it said like that.

“I-I didn’t expect to see you tonight. I didn’t realize you were back in town,” Kara’s forehead crinkles.

“A change of plans,” Lena states, fierce red lips pressed tight. She looks pissed to even be sharing the same air as Kara right now, and the blonde isn’t exactly sure why. She would’ve expected uncomfortable or unsure, like she herself feels, but there’s not even a speck of that in Lena’s eyes.

She looks determined.

“William said you sent over the tequila,” Kara says, but it’s more a question in search of explanation.

“I did,” Lena gives her a wicked smile, revealing the sharp edges of her teeth. “I heard about the finals; the team must be very excited to move forward.”

“We are,” Kara says softly. “Thank you, but you didn’t have to do that.”

“Nonsense, it’s a celebration. A national stage will certainly give you a chance to inflate your stock,” Lena bites. “For the draft, that is.”

Kara swallows roughly, shifting from one foot to another. She can’t quite meet Lena’s eyes now.

“Right,” Kara says. “Did you, uh, watch any of the tournament?”

“Oh, absolutely not,” Lena laughs sharply. It’s not a real laugh and it stings Kara’s ears. “I had no reason to.”

“Oh,” Kara falters. “Well, I can’t really take any credit for the wins, that was all the rest of the team. I was kind of playing like shit for most of it.”

“How humble you are,” Lena deadpans. “I imagine whatever organization drafts you will be lucky to have a player with such admirable qualities. Respectful, hard-working, honest.”

That’s nails-on-a-chalkboard to hear and Kara’s heart skips a beat.

“Congratulations, draft pick,” Lena practically hisses, raising her glass up. Her words are laced with so much venom it’s a wonder Kara survives. “Drinks on me.”

It really should be a red light that Lena’s said the word ‘draft’ three times in under a minute, but Kara just barrels forward unaware. 

Lena closes her eyes and shoots back the remainder of her scotch. It’s in the absence of her enchanting eyes that Kara finds the strength to speak.

“About that,” Kara gulps. “I-I’m … I’m not entering the draft. I’m gonna get my degree first.”

She braces herself for the reaction, but all Lena does is slowly lower her glass until it rests on the counter with a solemn clink.

“Oh, I already heard,” Lena sucks her teeth. “When I was back in Metropolis, Lex and I had a lovely dinner with Clark and Lois.”

“Clark and Lois?” Kara frowns. “Wait, I thought you went to Empire City with Jack?”

“No, I was very much in Metropolis,” Lena says. “And I had a very interesting conversation about you.”

Oh, fuck.

“I’m sorry, Lena, I can explain—”

“No, you can’t,” Lena states, backing away towards the exit. “There’s no point. You lied to me, Kara. Consciously and intentionally.”

“Lena, wait—” 

Kara chases after her.

“I don’t fucking care what your excuse is, Kara.”

“Lena, please just—”

Lena pushes through the door of Al’s, out onto the sidewalk. It’s beautiful outside, truly. Cold but not unpleasantly so, crisp refreshing air, and the stars shine brighter than usual above them — it only makes the whole thing even more heartbreaking.

They’re only standing several feet apart, but it might as well be miles upon miles.

“Lena, stop!” Kara demands.

Apparently that is not the right thing to say, as Lena whips around almost ready to breath fire.

“You really are so arrogant,” Lena accuses, shaking her head. “I used to think you were a fool, but now I realize, that’s what I’ve been this entire time.”

“Lena, you’re not a fool,” Kara frowns severely. She takes a step closer, and Lena takes a step back. “You are—”

“Do not tell me what I am, Kara Danvers,” Lena snaps, pointing an accusatory finger at Kara. “I let you in. Against all my better judgment, against everything in my past that told me not to … but you didn’t extend the same courtesy. You didn’t let me in.”

“Lena …”

“I wasn’t looking for this,” Lena hisses. “I didn’t want to be subjected to your warmth and your kindness, and I didn’t want you to come in and break down my walls bit by bit.”

Kara can feel the cold wetness begin to flood her eyes, the lump amassing in her throat. The alcohol coursing through her veins only seems to magnify every gut-wrenching sensation.

“I told you my secrets; I confided in you!” Lena’s voice is growing louder in her anguish. “You knew everyone I cared about had lied to me and left me, and yet you did the same exact thing. I practically begged you not to do it — you told me you wouldn’t — and yet you did it anyway.”

Nine terrible words rattle around Kara’s mind, “you don’t have to worry about that with me”. A promise she shouldn’t have made, anchored to the still-tender scar hidden along her hairline. 

“Tell me,” Lena challenges. “Tell me the real reason why.”

Kara’s mouth opens, but no words come out at first, so her lips just tremble over the open air. It’s a monumentally difficult hurdle Kara now faces, one she’s never quite been able to clear. Because if she does admit her feelings for Lena, then it’s only a matter of time before they have to have that conversation, and Kara’s never ever done it before. She doesn’t know how to.

Does she tell Lena the truth? Would Lena even hear her if she did? Can she do it?

She can’t. Her feelings are hers alone to bear.

“I … I can’t tell you.”

Like any apex predator or scorned lover, Lena then goes straight for the jugular.

“Tell me, Kara,” Lena seizes the throne. “Which is more exhausting: being Supergirl, the school’s darling basketball star who never disappoints … or Kara Danvers, who can’t do anything but?”

Ouch.

It’s the vocalization of an implicit understanding Kara suspected they both shared, a confirmation of Kara’s insecurities, and it runs from her ears to her heart like a furious poison, paralyzing her.

“You preach about trust, about relying on others,” Lena states, level and cold again. Her voice is bone-chilling. “Yet you hide behind lies because you don’t have the spine to keep you standing. If you wanted us to be done; you should have just fucking said so. At least then I’d still have respect for you.”

Kara recoils like Lena just slapped her. “Lena, I—”

“You’re constantly trying to save everyone, even if they don’t want to be saved,” Lena seethes. “When the reality of it is that you’re so full of hubris and self-delusion to take your own advice.  You really do have a god complex.”

Kara never knew which was worse; to cage up her own heart, or to have someone else rip it free. 

Until now.

“Goodbye, Danvers,” Lena says curtly. “Fuck you.”

This is how it ends. This is how it was always destined to end, right? Like two solar bodies, drawn inevitably towards each other, they have met and merged in a cosmic-level supernova, taking everything in the universe with them.

Damage is always collateral.

“Yeah? Well, fuck you too, Luthor.”


And just like that, Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor hate each other again.

It’s a raging flame and it’s consuming them both.

They’re too stubborn and dramatic and self-destructive to step aside and put out the flames, but they can’t walk away and leave it to smolder out either. So it burns on.

But it’s worse this time — oh, it’s much worse — because Kara can’t actually hate her anymore.

Because Lena’s not the one to blame for it.

Kara is.

Kara, who had the brilliant idea to lie to Lena. Kara, who lacked the fortitude to follow-through when Lena asked her to bare her throat and trust. Lena, who didn’t pull any of her punches when she stripped Kara of her self-delusion and her excuses, justifiable or not.

And Kara deserves it all, every drop of guilt coursing through her veins like glass nails.

The night of their collateral damage, Kara reverts back to angry. She drinks. She silently seethes. She drinks some more. She burns like a wicked flame until she runs out of tinder and Alex and Maggie have to drag her drunk ass home. Sunday is lost mainly to moping and a hangover; her body certainly didn’t appreciate the additional strain whilst recovering from a grueling week of high-intensity games.

When Monday rises, Kara thinks she’s adjusted to the new feeling now. It’s just a part of her; she’ll learn to live with it as all humans do.

But then she nearly walks right into Lena Luthor’s car in the school parking lot. 

The guilt is numbing.

It’s only a few feet away from her, idling in the open lane, angrily close to the bumper of Mike’s freshly-parked mustang.

She can hardly see Lena’s eyes through the tinted windshield (and she hates that), but she knows they’re making direct eye contact. She can feel it in the shiver that runs down her spine. The spine that may or may not actually exist, according to Lena.

She’s transfixed in that moment. The terror, the pain, the utter relief of being close to Lena again—

“Kara!” Mike calls back to her, breaking through her thoughts. “You comin’?”

“Yeah, sorry,” Kara replies, shaking the thoughts out of her head. She pushes her sunglasses back up by the bridge, then turns sharply on her heel to catch up with her friend. They head off towards their respective classes, walking shoulder-to-shoulder.

“So …” Mike drawls. “Do you wanna talk about it?”

“Talk about what?” Kara plays dumb, adjusting the strap of her backpack.

“The parking lot,” Mike says. “Did you know that car?”

“No,” Kara grumbles.

“Are you sure?” Mike frowns. “Because it seemed like y—”

“—Drop it, Mike, please,” Kara sighs. He was the one friend who wasn’t actively interrogating her about her newfound angst and she desperately needed it to stay that way. She just couldn’t handle anymore.

“Okay,” he concedes. “But if you want to talk … I’ve been reading some mental health books lately.”

Kara’s forehead crinkles. “Since when do you care about mental health?”

“I had to go to this seminar about it, and I thought it was gonna be stupid like all the other ones, but it was actually really interesting,” Mike supplies. “It seems really important.”

“But you care about mental health now?” Kara repeats. “Your idea of getting over Imra was to see how many girls you could hook up with in one night.”

“The answer was three,” Mike brags instinctively. “Hey, no, don’t give me that look — I used protection each time!”

“You're gross and you’re literally proving my point for me,” Kara grimaces. “There’s no way I can take advice from you with that fresh in my mind.”

“Hey, it was a toxic coping strategy that I was using to mask my own insecurities, and I know that now,” Mike says. “Look, Kara, I don’t know what you’re going through, and I won’t pretend to be qualified enough to give good advice, but this past year I’ve never seen you so happy. You’ve been so happy. And now you’re not.”

“That’s … an exaggeration,” Kara scoffs.

“Not really,” Mike shakes his head. “Before Spring Break, you were constantly singing, you were always in a good mood — the sunlight practically followed you around. Your game’s been on fire too. You’ve been one of the best versions of you I’ve seen yet.”

“Best versions?”

“It was in the seminar,” Mike explains. “We all contain multitudes. And whatever’s been bothering you, it’s bringing out one of your … worse versions. Just like the breakup with Imra did for me.”

Breakup.

That’s just it, isn’t it?

Kara and Lena broke up. Kara’s been trying so hard to pretend like that wasn’t what it was, that they weren’t that far deep into it.

But they were.

“I fucked up, Mike,” Kara says softly, still gathering the energy to finish her thoughts out loud.

Mike gives her a gentle look; warm brown eyes full of concern. His lips are drawn into a tight frown under the stubble of his breakup-beard. In that moment, Kara knows she can confide in him. For all his flaws, it’s this Mike that Kara trusts with her life, this Mike that holds a piece of her heart akin to a brother.

What’s left of it, anyways.

“What happened?” comes his tender question.

“You know how I’ve had a fuck buddy all year?” Kara asks.

Mike nods. “Vaguely …” 

His voice is a little too high-pitched for Kara to believe his awareness was just vague. Knowing Lucy, she probably had roped everyone into trying to figure out who exactly Kara’s ‘hot girl bummer’ was.

But it doesn’t matter anymore.

“It was Lena Luthor.”

Mike grimaces as his hand slaps against his wallet, but he quickly hides it. “Lena Luthor? I thought you two didn’t get along?”

“We didn’t …” Kara admits. With a rueful tone, she corrects herself, “I guess we don’t again. But for a little while, we were actually kind of friends.”

“Just friends?” Mike pokes a hole through her paper wall.

“No,” Kara sighs. “No, it was more than that. I caught feelings for her. I almost told her too, but before I did, she made it clear that she would never feel that way about me, so I broke things off.”

“I’m sorry, Kara,” Mike sets a friendly arm across the back of her shoulders and pulls her to his side.

“You shouldn’t be. I don’t deserve it,” Kara says in her best self-deprecating tone. She’s gotten rather good at it recently. “When I broke things off with Lena, I lied to her about why — I mean, it’s not like I could tell her the truth — so I told her I was gonna declare for the draft.”

Saying it out loud … it’s like poison in her throat, eating at her from inside-out.

“The ‘WBL draft?” Mike’s eyebrows knit together. “Wait, are you—”

“—No,” Kara says sharply. “No and Lena found out.”

“Oh,” Mike winces. “Have you two talked?”

“Uh, ‘talked’ is not exactly the word I would use,” Kara grumbles. “She was the one who bought those tequila shots at Al’s. When I went over to thank her and talk, she told me she knew I had lied to her. It’s … a big deal to her. She’s got a lot of baggage from other people lying to her, and so when I did it too, it really hurt her.”

“And you’re blaming yourself now,” Mike states. He doesn’t need to guess, and Kara knows it.

“Yeah.”

“So how did things end off between you two?” Mike asks.

Kara winces. “Not great. She asked me for the real reason why I broke things off, but I still couldn’t tell her. We ended up shouting at each other on the street — well, Lena did most of the shouting — but basically it ended with a few ‘fuck yous’ on both ends.”

Mike lets out a slow, pained exhale. “Ouch.”

“Yeah, that’s the anthem,” Kara agrees.

“So where does that leave you feeling, Kara?” Mike asks.

“Like I should probably go back to therapy,” Kara exhales. “I think Alex is about ready to drag me there herself, and Lucy’s gonna help her.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that you know,” Mike reminds her. “It’s just like goin’ to the doc’s, but for your brain.”

“I know,” Kara whines. “But I just … I thought I got to be done, you know? I did it for so long after my parents, I thought I finally got to be finished.”

Mike gives her a sympathetic smile. “We’re never really finished, you know. Progress isn’t linear.”

Isn’t that the truth? Kara knows it’s true … on the court, in the weight room, and even, admittedly, with this too.

“I’ve been going, actually,” Mike volunteers. “After Imra. And you’re the reason why, Kara; you made me realize it’s okay to ask others for help. Do you remember what you said to me?”

Kara gives a faint, nostalgic smile. “Asking for help doesn’t make you weak; it makes you stronger because you don’t have to fight every battle alone.”

“And? What else?”

Kara chuckles. “And if you’re gonna grow a breakup-beard, fix your mustache.”

Mike smiles. “Well, I’ve since fixed my mustache … I think it’s time for you to fix yours too, metaphorically.”

Kara gives him an affectionate shake of her head. “I don’t like it when you’re less of a hot mess than me.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” Mike lets out a conspiratorial chuckle, “It’s a marathon, not a race. I’m sure you’ll be back to ‘golden child’ in no-time. Besides, a little bit of hot mess keeps things fun — I’m always the life of the party.”

“Oh, you wish,” Kara teases. “If by ‘life of the party’ you mean ‘first one passed out on the sidewalk’.”

“Hey, that was one time!” Mike protests, in good spirits.

“No, it was six times,” Kara corrects. “I mean, really, how many more times can you do that before the cops notice?”

“Oh, at least another six,” Mike gives a smug jerk of his head. “Besides, no one would dare arrest a senator’s son.”

Kara rolls her eyes. “Ugh, could you act any more privileged right now?”

“Probably,” Mike laughs. “Want to see me try?”

“Absolutely not.”

The joking fades as Mike comes to a halt, using his thumb to gesture to the building to his side. “This is my class. You gonna be okay?” 

Mike tilts his head down to make sure their eyes meet fully, restoring the moment of vulnerability they had just shared.

No.

Maybe?

Eventually.

“Yeah,” Kara accepts. “I will be. Thanks, Mike.”

“Anything for you, Kara,” he says, and they part ways with a smile.

Kara takes a deep breath, yanking her backpack straps downwards to anchor her. She pulls her phone out of her pocket and shoots a quick text to J'onn to ask for Hank’s number.  With one final glance over her shoulder, back in the direction of the parking lot, she stands straight and begins to walk forward once more.


Lena Luthor is an incredibly proficient liar.

It’s one of the perks of growing up a Luthor. Deceit and deception become second-hand, as easy as breathing.

Which is why Lena has always fiercely tried to avoid overusing this particular skill set of hers.

But the fact remains, Lena Luthor is a great liar — especially when it's to herself.

She was right to yell at Kara, to call her out on all her hollow rhetoric and bullshit. She was even so benevolent to give Kara a chance to come clean, to tell Lena the truth this time, and the blonde practically spat down at her feet.

Kara had denied her the truth — the basest level of respect — and Lena had been unable to enact her wrath in full.

Sure, Kara didn’t know that even if she had been honest, Lena would’ve just taken it and somehow weaponized it as the instrument of her execution — but Kara didn’t know that and yet she didn’t beg forgiveness. Lena’s not sure what hurt more; the initial lie or the stalwart resolution to hide the truth.

So Kara Danvers doesn’t deserve her sympathy anymore.

Lena Luthor has no intention of ever extending her grace again. Her faith. Her trust. She won’t let Kara Danvers hurt her again.

Her burnt and blackened heart remains chambered behind cold, platinum walls.

But no wall is impenetrable.

Of all things, it’s the parking lot that breaks Lena.

There’s only one open spot left, and it’s a race between her and the other car circling the lot like a vulture.

She doesn’t make it in time. The red mustang cuts her off with a base disregard for the well-being of either of their expensive cars (though Lena’s is significantly more so). Lena fumes so hard it’s a wonder the pressure doesn’t blow the roof off of her car, and she glares a hole into the cherry bumper, cursing out the douchebag driving around with the custom plate “MONEYEL”.

But that’s not what breaks her, no, it’s what happens after.

Both the driver’s and passenger’s doors open in smug satisfaction, secure in their parking space. Lena glares at the driver first, a guy with a head of gelled brown hair and a leather jacket, then the passenger. She’s got blonde hair pulled back in a low messy bun, a NCU Basketball-branded backpack, and a sherpa-lined jean jacket that makes Lena’s heart sink.

It’s Kara fucking Danvers, and Lena is so fucking tired of this happening.

The doors slam shut and they both walk out, Kara stopping abruptly at the head of Lena’s car. Kara’s got sunglasses on so Lena can’t see her eyes (and she hates that), but it’s clear there’s a moment of recognition between them both.

Yet Kara doesn’t react. There’s no infuriatingly apologetic smile, there’s no chin tilt of neutral recognition, there’s no arrogant middle finger brandished. It’s just absolute indifference — like Lena might as well be a stranger.

It shatters her soul.

The driver — who Lena now recognizes as Mike — turns around and calls back to Kara. It stirs the woman from her detached paralysis and she shakes her head like a wet dog.  Afterwards, Kara pushes the bridge of her sunglasses back up her nose, revealing a painfully pale band of skin over her wrist. 

A watch tan.

Then Kara turns her back to Lena and just … walks away. Like it’s nothing.

And Lena can’t do it anymore. She can’t keep it all inside.

She’s practically gasping for air, her heart weeping, her lips trembling. Hurried fingers type on the dashboard screen and all of a sudden the car’s phone line is ringing.

“Hey, love,” Jack answers. “You done avoiding me yet?”

“I-I’m sorry, Jack, I know I’ve been a bad friend,” Lena heaves. “I’ve been … going through something.”

“Penny for your thoughts?” his voice calls.

Lena takes a deep breath, gripping her steering wheel tight, and tells him the truth.

“Kara and I are through.”

For the first time in her life — in favor of crying over Jack’s stash of wine — Lena Luthor voluntarily skips class.


Lena Luthor doesn’t fear anyone.

Not explicitly anyways.

Yet there’s something about Alex Danvers that makes her bones feel like paper. Maybe it’s the constant stoic look that makes it impossible to tell what the woman is thinking. She borders on cold, which Lena is well-acquainted with. Or maybe it's her precise, calculating mannerisms; Lena has a feeling nothing goes unseen under her eyes.

Which is why the fact that Alex Danvers is her new lab partner for the next three hours means Lena’s now living in her own personal hell.

It’s a gift from the cruel hand of fate. Alex isn’t even supposed to be in this lab section usually, but thanks to a scheduling conflict from basketball, she’s here today — and the final kiss of death comes from the random number generator that pairs them together.

A three hour lab. With Kara's sister. Who knows exactly what they just spent the past six months doing. And also likely knows what they’re now not doing.

The only fact that keeps Lena from dying on the spot is the TA’s promise that this week’s lab is a quick one.

It doesn’t work out like that.

Fuck you, universe, Lena swears, holding the broken elution column in her hand. Have I not suffered enough?

The answer is apparently not, because when they get everything re-set up to start again (the rest of the class has finished by now), the TA dips (swearing to be back in ‘just five minutes’) and Lena and Alex are left alone together (in the unbearable silence of the empty lab).

There’s something about the way Alex regards her that makes Lena feel like her skin is being peeled bare, and revealed beneath is her raw, scorched heart. Alex has to know.

“Are you sure that’s the right buffer?” Alex asks, inspecting Lena’s every motion.

“Yes,” Lena clenches her jaw. “I labeled all the solvents before we started.”

“Right, that’s why I’m asking,” Alex says. “Because that says ‘eluent’ and I’m pretty sure we want the starting solvent.”

Shit, she’s right. Lena had gotten distracted in her thoughts and grabbed the wrong flask by mistake. 

Lena lets out a restrained sigh, exchanging it for the proper one. “Thank you.”

“No problem.”

Lena watches the liquid pour carefully into the packed glass column, but she can still feel Alex shift uncomfortably beside her.

Well, that makes two of them.

Out of the blue, Alex speaks again. But it’s not authoritative, or contemptuous, or scathing.

It’s soft.

“It doesn’t have to be weird,” Alex offers slowly. “We know each other outside of our connection to Kara. We can just focus on the lab and prete—”

“Alex, while I appreciate that sentiment, I prefer painful honesty,” Lena abruptly states. “Pretending is great but it doesn’t change the fact that there are still about a thousand places I’d rather be right now, and enclosed in a small room with my mother is one of them, which is saying something.”

It’s true; Lena would take the demon she does know over the stranger she doesn’t.

“Yeah, Kara told me,” Alex mumbles.

Lena stills. “Kara told you what?”

“That your mom … kinda sucks,” Alex admits. She adjusts the column stopper nervously. “About the gay thing. I’m sorry.”

Oh, if Lena wasn’t already amazingly pissed, she would be after that.

“Kara should’ve kept her mouth shut.”

A defensive look flashes over Alex’s face. “Hey—”

“—I’m well aware of the truth to Kara’s words,” Lena cuts her off. “But she had no business discussing that with you.”

“She didn’t do it maliciously,” Alex explains. “She was trying to advocate for you. And no offense, but finding out my sister’s sleeping with the girl she’s hated for the past few years? That requires some explanation.”

Fair point, but not one Lena’s willing to concede.

“I’m not looking for an advocate, Danvers,” Lena says. “And I wasn’t aware Kara needed her hookups to be Alex-approved.”

“Oh, they have definitely never been,” Alex says. “... but Kara says you’re different than how people think you are.”

“Aw, you two talk about me?” Lena sneers. It’s equal parts faux-amused and unimpressed. “I’m flattered.”

“Kara and I are sisters, so unfortunately for me, that’s part of the territory,” Alex says, her jaw set. “We don’t keep secrets.”

“Well,” Lena gives a bitter chuckle. “I’m glad there’s some grand exception for someone in Kara’s life.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Alex strips her gloves off, leaving them under the fume hood, and crosses her arms as best as she can in her lab coat.

“You don’t know?” Lena mocks, carefully pouring the next flask into the glass column. “I thought you two didn’t have any secrets?”

“We don’t, now,” Alex frowns. “But I’ve never seen Kara keep a secret like she did for you.”

“I’m afraid you’re overestimating her,” Lena bites. She strips off her own gloves and whips around to face Alex. “Is Kara declaring for the draft?”

“The draft?” Alex’s brows dip sharply downward. “No, she’s going to get her degree first.”

“Well,” Lena sets her jaw. “There’s your answer.”

“Kara told you she’s declaring?” Alex’s frown appears to be frozen onto her face. “Why?”

“I don’t have the faintest idea,” Lena sucks on her teeth. “Nor do I even care to know.”

Lie, that’s a big fucking lie.

“She’s not actually going to declare?” Alex mutters, more to herself than Lena. “Our mom’s gonna kill her. Though she’s been such a terror the past two weeks, that sounds like some reckless decision she would make.”

“Hm,” Lena hums, as unsympathetic as possible. “Too much to handle?”

“No,” Alex defends. “Just … exhausting.”

“My condolences,” Lena states, but it’s very insincere. “No, she’s not actually declaring. Kara confirmed it herself Saturday, so I doubt you’ll become an only-child in the immediate future.”

“Oh,” Alex says, the tension in her shoulders slowly fading.

They busy themselves with completing the rest of the lab for a while, until Alex feels bold enough to break the silence.

“So what happened with you and Kara?” Alex asks softly.

“She really didn’t tell you?” Lena finds that impossible to believe; Alex already knew they were sleeping together. And there were no secrets between the Danvers’ sisters, were there?

“Kinda …” Alex elaborates, a dark look over her face. “She’s not really being … forthcoming recently.”

“You’re worried about her,” Lena realizes.

“Yeah,” Alex admits. “But after seeing you, I’m not sure which one of you is worse-off.”

“You don't have to pretend to care about my well-being just for information, Alex,” Lena states.

“I’m not pretending,” Alex’s brow wrinkles earnestly, and in that moment she looks so much like Kara that it hurts. “Look, Lena, you don’t actually seem that bad. Sure, your family sucks, and it gets on my nerves how you skew every damn exam curve, but my only real issue with you was that you hated Kara.”

Hate, Alex, Lena thinks, but it’s equally if not more a reminder for herself. Present tense again.

“I hope you’re not expecting me to apologize for my intelligence,” Lena states coldly. It’s like fucking boarding school all over.

“No, of course not, it’s who you are,” Alex shakes her head. “Besides, Kara finds it impressive.”

“My life’s mission,” Lena deadpans.

“That’s not what I meant. Look, Kara is … complicated,” Alex takes time to search for the right words, clearly dancing around something. “But she thinks very highly of you, despite whatever this is that’s going on between you two. That’s enough for me to care too.”

“I’m flattered,” Lena deadpans once more, but this time she’s deeply unnerved inside. Alex Danvers is no one to her, a stranger, yet who is she to care about Lena’s well-being?

It only makes her immeasurably madder.

“How well do you know Kara?” Alex asks gently. They’re the same exact words Siobhan had spat at Lena, but they’re spoken so differently it might as well be a new language. “How much did she tell you?”

Lena’s not sure why she takes the bait. Maybe it’s the desire to fall into the protective, caring older-sibling aura that Alex Danvers seems to exude constantly. Maybe it’s just more self-destruction, albeit a slower and more gentler path.

“I know her less than I thought I did,” Lena admits ruefully. “And I was a fool to think I ever knew her in the first place. She’s told me a little about her family, but it was always … at an arm’s reach. But then when she put the necklace on me, I thought maybe—“

“—Wait,” Alex’s eyes pierce right into Lena’s soul. “Her necklace? You wore Kara’s necklace? The one with the gold chain and the ‘S’ shape?”

“Yes …” Lena answers slowly, unsure and unsettled by the intensity of Alex’s reaction.

“When?”

“Just once; at my mother’s fundraiser.”

Alex closes her agape jaw and blinks a few times, shaking her head. “Oh my god …” she mumbles. 

“What, Danvers?” Lena accuses. She hates it when she doesn’t know something and it feels like she should.

“Nothing,” Alex says, hastily returning her features to normal. “Just surprised.”

Lena sees it plainly for the truthful lie it is, but she lets it go. The Danvers lie, it’s what they do (even if Luthors do it better).

“Can I ask — why Kara?” Alex looks at her expectantly.

Maybe it’s the fatigue, or the loneliness, or the exasperation, but Lena actually answers.

“Because she’s Kara,” Lena sighs. What does she have to lose at this point? “She’s charming, and considerate, and selfless. She’s … absolutely incredible.”

“You actually care about her,” Alex realizes, giving her a curious look.

“I do,” Lena inhales sharply. She wishes she didn't; it would really make her life a whole lot easier — but she does. 

She still cares about Kara, deeply. And Alex Danvers has managed to disarm her enough to admit to it. “I did.”

“Which is it?” Alex challenges. “Do or did?”

Lena gives her a stony glare. “It doesn’t matter. I’m sure Kara already told you what transpired during our last conversation, and that’s all I have to say.”

“You and I both know that’s not true,” Alex states. “I’m sure you’re feeling burned right now but—”

“Don’t presume to know anything about me,” Lena sucks on her teeth. “This is the longest conversation we’ve ever had outside of academics, and I can hardly imagine it’s been sufficiently informative to make that bold of a claim.”

Alex frowns, clearly taken aback but she hides it well. “Can I give you some advice?”

“I have a feeling you’re going to regardless of my answer,” Lena quips.

“Yeah, I am,” Alex admits, and it's unapologetic. “I’m an older sister; it’s my divine right. I’m not about to get in the middle of whatever warzone you and Kara have going on, but from my perspective, all I see are two stubborn people who are doing just about everything they can besides talking to each other.”

There’s no use, Lena wants to bite. There’s nothing to actually be said.

Another lie.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Lena dismisses, making it clear with her fiery eyes she has no intention of doing so.

Alex lets out a long exhale through her nose. “Let’s just finish this so we can both leave,” she offers.

Now that’s something Lena can vehemently agree on. They do just that.


Kara tries. 

She tries to have fun, out at Al’s. It’s a Saturday night; it’s what's expected of her. It’s not just any Saturday out either; it’s the day after Alex’s birthday — which merits a celebration of its own accord (they did have cake at movie night yesterday though) — but it’s also the last weekend they have to go out before the start of the national tournament. If all goes well, the Comets will be spending the next three weekends on the road chasing that national championship title.

It’s a beginning as much as it is an end, and it’s a party through and through. Not quite as wild and electric as last weekend’s victory lap, but the school population is back in town, so things feel grander and more escalated.

Kara goes through the motions. She plays a round of pool with Winn, James, and Lucy, participates in a few of Mike’s drinking games, even dances with a few random girls. But none of them are the woman she wants, and when one of them starts pulling on her shirt a little too firmly, Kara bows out and hides in the friends’ regular booth.

She’s left alone for a little while; at peace with watching her friends have fun and live their nights in their own worlds. It’s oddly calming — to know the world keeps moving along. She finishes her drink while she decompresses, and just when she goes to get another, Alex slides into the booth across from her.

“Hey,” Alex gives her a soft smile. “You know this is supposed to be a party, right?”

“I know.” Kara looks over at her older sister. “Are you here to yell at me again?” 

“No,” Alex says simply. “Are you gonna stop avoiding me?”

“I wasn’t av—” Kara is cut off with a look from Alex. 

So … she might’ve been avoiding Alex a little. Or a lot. Leaving the apartment early in the morning before Alex got home from Maggie’s, getting rides to school from Mike instead, eating dinner over at Nia and Lucy’s place (a bit of an odd roommate combo initially, but a de facto pairing considering Nia’s meticulousness and Lucy’s militant cleanliness).

“Okay, maybe I was avoiding you a little,” Kara concedes.

“Yeah, I noticed. You hardly said a word at my birthday party yesterday,” Alex says. “And even more noticeably — you hardly had any cake.”

“I wasn’t hungry,” Kara mumbles, picking at the label of her beer.

“You’re still in a mood,” Alex observes.

“Obviously.”

“You might be unbelievably stubborn when you get like this,” Alex levies. “But I am still way more headstrong than you. And I am not leaving this booth until you meet me halfway.”

Alex leans back in the booth, casually sipping her water. She’s got a full cup but Kara’s is painfully empty.

Kara sighs. This was inevitable, as love always is.

“So, you ready to talk about it yet?” Alex cocks her head to the side.

Kara’s shoulders sag in confirmation.

“I’m so sorry for what I said back at the hotel, Alex,” Kara swallows roughly, her eyes wet. “The drinking comment was a low-blow, and I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Alex accepts. “And there’s some truth to it, I‘ve come to accept that. I’m working on owning my flaws instead of fighting against them.”

Alex’s voice is pointed and it’s not lost on Kara. Those words are meant for her just as much, if not more.

“Point taken,” Kara says. “Actually … I went to Hank’s practice yesterday.”

Alex’s head jerks back in surprise. “You did? I thought you basically told J’onn to shove that idea up his ass.”

Kara winces. “I-I should’ve been more … open to his suggestion initially. But Mike talked some sense into me.”

“Mike?” Alex’s brows knit. “Mike gave you advice? The guy who just spent the past hour trying to talk James and Winn into getting matching lipstick ass-tats? ‘Bruht-tats’, he’s calling them.”

Kara lets out a little chuckle. “Yeah. Apparently, he’s been reading up on mental health stuff. He’s actually oddly knowledgeable about it now … ?”

“Huh,” Alex gives a considerate chuckle. “Didn’t see that character growth coming.”

“I don’t think anyone did.”

Alex gives Kara a tentative look. “How was it? I know it’s been a few years …”

“It was okay,” Kara admits. “I still don’t really feel like myself, but I guess it’ll take time.”

“It will,” Alex agrees. “In the meantime, I have some advice for you, if you’re ready to accept help now …”

Kara gives her an uncertain look, her breath caught in her chest. Is she ready?

“You’ve saved me from myself plenty of times,” Alex pleads. “Let me save you this once.”

Kara lets the breath go. “Okay. What is it?”

“You need to tell Lena how you feel about her.”

Woah, absolutely not. Not after their last conversation. If it could even be called that.

“No way,” Kara declines, tone harsh. “And you should know me better than to suggest that.”

“I do know you,” Alex says. “You’re Kara Danvers. You’re human and you make mistakes but you never stop trying to do the right thing. And I get why you’re angry and hurt and scared of it, I do.”

Alex reaches across the table to grab and squeeze one of Kara’s hands. “You need to tell Lena the truth. Not for her — for you. I know you lied to her when you broke things off; you told her you were declaring for the draft, didn’t you?”

Oh.

“She said she didn’t want a relationship,” Kara states. “I had to tell her something. I’d make the same decision again. And again. It doesn't matter what reason I gave her.”

“I think it matters a lot to Lena,” Alex says. “And I think you know that.”

She does know that. It’s been deteriorating Kara from the inside-out for the past two weeks, after all.

“I’ll take your silence as agreement,” Alex says. “The fact that you lied to Lena is crushing you slowly and you need to drop the weight.”

Alex is right and Kara knows it.

“How can I possibly tell her now, Alex … ?” Kara’s head thumps back against the wooden back of the booth. “She hates me.”

“Partially,” Alex admits. “But I don’t think that’s all of it. She wouldn’t be this mad if she didn't also care, one way or another.”

“I doubt it,” Kara mumbles. “If she cared, how could she say those things to me?”

Alex gives her a piercing look that immediately illuminates her hypocrisy.

Oh.

“I know about the necklace, Kara,” Alex says softly. “I know you let her wear it.”

Kara’s heart quakes with adrenaline as the pendant around her neck doubles in weight. “You do?”

“I had my make-up lab Thursday,” Alex explains. “Lena was there too; she was my lab partner. She mentioned you let her wear your necklace at the fundraiser date.”

It wasn't a date, but Kara doesn’t have the energy to make the correction again.

“I know what that means to you, Kara,” Alex says. They’ve been making eye contact the whole time, but there’s something profound to it now; they’re both several years deep in a shared memory.

The memory of the last time that golden crest sat over someone else’s heart — Alex’s, in the hospital waiting room, the day Jeremiah died. Kara had given it to her as a comfort and a promise; Alex might’ve lost one family member, but she would forever have another. It had been the formal beginning of an unbreakable bond.

“I don’t think I’m very good at this, Alex,” Kara sighs. “Talking with the therapist, it made me realize that this — what happened with Lena and I — was the first time I’ve ever really started to open up to someone, in that way. And look how badly that turned out.”

“Look,” Alex squeezes Kara’s hand. “Love is hard. And messy. It has its ways of showing us our faults … and we don’t always make the right decision the first time. And sometimes that means we hurt people we care about. It happens. It’s what you do about it afterwards that matters.”

Kara gives Alex a look, drowning in emotions but with a small spark of newfound hope to guide her to shore.

“Go,” Alex tells her. “Go and tell her. If it doesn’t work, at least you tried. But if she was worth that much to you, it’s worth a shot.”

Kara can’t speak, but she nods. Her eyes are wet with anticipation and her throat tight with emotion.

Alex stands first, and Kara throws herself into her sister’s offered hug. Kara finds the last of the confidence needed in Alex’s warm, solid arms.

“Go on,” Alex smiles softly. “And be careful.”

Kara returns the smile and leaves.

Her feet operate on autopilot, weaving through the twinkling city streets. Her jittery hands are shoved into her pockets as she moves along with purpose. It takes eternity and only a single second until she finds herself on the sidewalk outside Lena’s grandiose apartment building.

Kara stops to look up to the top floor, at the window she’d since figured out belonged to Lena’s apartment. The light’s on. She takes a deep breath to steel her bones and quiet the pounding of her heart.

The first footstep forward is the hardest.


 

Chapter Text


Lena’s still in the mood for divine retribution. 

Maybe even more so than last Saturday. Because, see, this time she’s done something unthinkably idiotic. She told Alex Danvers that she cares about Kara.

Or that she did.

She’s not even really sure which one it is anymore.

(Or is she?)

All that aside, it was a moment of insane weakness and it’s left Lena enraged. 

And she can’t even deal with it right now, because what was supposed to be a nice (unhappy), quiet (broody) night-in has now been stolen from her — Andrea’s gotten a bit too drunk to stay out any longer and needs a rescue. 

(Lena’s nowhere close to sober either, but thankfully Andrea’s location pins her at a club only two blocks away, so Lena dutifully gets dressed and goes to save her astray friend.)

Barring any unforeseen emotional twists, Lena suspects she’ll end up confessing to Andrea about everything tonight: Kara, Lena’s brief coquetry with happiness, and the subsequent fallout that’s left her avoiding her friend for the past two weeks. Jack knows now, and it’s only a matter of time before Andrea does too. There’s rarely anywhere to hide on a drunken night.

That doesn’t mean Lena’s excited about it. Oh no, quite the opposite. She dreads the idea of anything that might remind her how close she was to having it all.

Lena keeps her head down as she shoots a text off to Andrea, idly walking into the elevator.

The elevator doors close and the hairs on Lena’s neck stand straight up. There’s already someone in the elevator. That’s never happened before, so to sate her curiosity and mild surprise, Lena glances up from her phone to determine the alien presence.

Unbelievable.

It’s Kara fucking Danvers — and Lena’s ready to see the world burn.

“What are you doing here?” Lena’s voice is a low, gravelly growl. Her jaw is tensed and her throat tight as she stares forward. She doesn’t dare look at Kara again, her heart can’t take it.

If she still had one, that is.

“I needed to talk to you,” Kara says softly.

“I have nothing to say to you,” Lena states. “And apparently, I need to make a new addition to the building’s blacklist. How did you even get in here?”

Kara shifts nervously to her side, as if weighing her options before responding. It’s a test and they both know it.

“I … I bribed Henry with a burger to let me in,” Kara confesses, her voice going up a guilty octave. “His shift always starts before his wife gets home, so he usually doesn’t eat dinner. Please don’t get him fired; it’s not his fault. I promised him he wouldn’t get in trouble.”

There’s a thrum of affection in Lena’s chest and the irritation tensing every muscle in her body is forced to double in strength to compensate. 

“You shouldn’t make promises you’re incapable of keeping,” Lena jabs a finger into the ground-floor button. “But, no, I won’t have Henry fired.”

“Thank you.”

The elevator lurches and Lena’s stomach gets left somewhere on the penthouse floor, but the anger in her blood remains, resolute in its welcome sanctuary.

“If you’re here to talk — talk. Otherwise you’re just wasting air,” Lena snaps coldly, her reflection’s eyebrows rising in the golden-gilded decorative panel in front of her.

“Y-yeah,” Kara gulps. “I’m here to say: you were right … you let me in, but I didn’t let you in. Lena, I am so, so, sorry and I want to try to make it right.”

Lena scoffs. “A bit late for that, Danvers.”

“No,” Kara states, slamming her hand over every single elevator floor button. 

Oh, Lena’s actually considering homicide now.

“No,” Kara reiterates. “It might be too late and I can accept that, but I still have to try.”

Lena doesn’t dignify that with a response. The elevator doors open with a chime at the next floor.

“For what it’s worth,” Kara gives a rueful chuckle as the doors close again. “I almost did declare, the night you yelled at me outside of Al’s. You were so furious, so hurt, and it was all my fault. For a second there, I was drunk and … so guilty, that I was ready to make it so that it wasn’t a lie after all.”

Her voice gets unforgivably soft at the end and Lena tilts a defiant chin.

“I’m not asking you for a self-imposed exile,” Lena sucks her teeth. “Though considering you showed up at my doorstep, uninvited, I doubt you’d have the fortitude to maintain it.”

“If you never want to see me again after tonight, that’s how it’ll be,” Kara promises, her steely tone grating against Lena’s mask. “I don’t need to get drafted for that to happen.”

“I’m starting to wish you would be,” Lena hisses, the elevator doors opening again. “Then I wouldn’t have to deal with this insistent torture of yours any longer.”

Lena can feel Kara deflate beside her, the spatial displacement allowing room for even more tension to fill the elevator. The elevator doors seal them in like a tomb once more.

“You know, part of me wishes I had never taken you to meet Barry and Iris; then that night never would’ve happened,” Kara says, shaking her head. “Then maybe things would be different between us.”

In another world, they would be.

“That makes two of us,” Lena says, and it’s cold but unsettlingly honest.

Kara lets out a little snort under her breath as the elevator doors open. “You know, you’re not making this very easy.”

“Making what easy?”

“This!” Kara huffs. “I’m trying to tell you something, but you won’t even look at me.”

“Your ability to speak is entirely independent of my eyeline.”

Lena refuses to utter another word after that, and Kara either doesn’t know how to or can’t respond to Lena’s last blow. She can see just a fraction of Kara’s frown out of her peripheral vision and she gets a little kiss of bitter satisfaction from it.

The elevator doors open and close again, and that seems to be the catalyst Kara needs to regroup.

“I …” Kara starts, fumbling slightly. The temporary silence feels a bit like the pregnant pause before a dam bursting, threatening to drown them both. “I came here tonight to tell you the truth.”

Lena’s heart (the one that doesn’t exist anymore) skips a beat.

“I … I have a really hard time opening up to people,” Kara admits. She shrugs her shoulders back, as if to assume a state of faux-confidence. “If I start to feel vulnerable, I get defensive and I fight it. I push it away and shut it down … and that’s what I did with us.”

The elevator doors open again and there’s clearly air flowing in, but Lena doesn’t find any to inhale.

Kara swallows roughly, her lips twisted in anguish. “My name is Kara Danvers, but before that … my last name was El,” Kara explains. 

Kara El Danvers, it clicks in Lena’s head. It’s not a middle name it’s her name.

Finding her stride now, Kara begins to talk quicker, her lips twisting up into a nostalgic smile.

“I told you how my dad was a big fantasy nerd,” she says. “He used to call us ‘the House of El’, like we were some noble ruling family. It was ridiculous, but I always kind of liked it. It’s fun to say.”

Lena needs more kindling for her waning sacrificial pyre, and the incessant opening and closing of the elevator doors once again makes a suitable stopgap.

“I grew up in a place called Krypton, Alaska,” Kara says. Her voice is hoarser now. “It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. So much snow and ice, like a cradle for the sunlight … and at night, you could see the stars so clearly, like a window to the galaxy.”

Lena doesn’t notice the elevator doors open this time. Or the many more times they will still.

“My favorite — my absolute favorite time — was when we got the red sunsets,” Kara explains. “The whole sky would turn crimson and the snow would glow orange and it felt like being bathed in gold.”

Kara’s reverent tone paints a picture so beautiful, even Lena feels a bit nostalgic for it.

“Krypton was and forever will be my home, but … it’s gone now. It’s never going to be like I remember it again,” Kara says.

Why? hangs off the tip of Lena’s tongue, and she would die to know the answer.

“And you want to know why, don’t you?” Kara asks.

Oh, Lena’s never felt so unbearably seen.

“This is the problem I always have,” Kara says, and for a second, Lena’s left confused. “When it comes to my love-life. I learned it the hard way the first time with Leslie. See, the longer you’re with someone, there becomes an expectation to learn each other. Leslie wanted to know about my past, about where I came from, about my parents … and I couldn’t do it.”

Kara swallows so roughly Lena worries she might’ve choked.

“I couldn’t open up to her,” Kara says. “I cared about her and I know it was expected of me, but I couldn’t do it. So I broke things off. And then with James, I thought maybe it would be easier with someone who was a friend first, someone who’d lost a parent too — but it didn’t work either.”

Lena concedes a small nod of acknowledgment. Sure, it’s a little different for everyone, but she gets what it’s like for something to just not work. It’s aggravating; the frustration, the confusion, the doubt … the broken feeling.

“So I gave up on trying to make things work,” Kara tells her. “I convinced myself that I was better on my own. I had care and companionship from my family and friends; I didn’t need romantic love, no matter how I might've craved it. And occasionally, if I got lonely, it wasn’t exactly hard to find someone to hookup with — and there was no commitment, no pressure involved.”

Ah, so that’s what motivates the fuckboy behavior.

“Siobhan was my first one-night stand that turned into more,” Kara sighs. Lena might just be projecting, but it sounds full of regret. “It was the timing. Alex and Maggie started to get inseparable, and I got really lonely. I love them both and I’m so happy for them, but it sucks coming home to an empty apartment day after day.”

That hits Lena a little too close to home.

“So I kept messing around with Siobhan,” Kara explains. “But one night, I was a little too drunk and half-asleep and I accidentally called her ‘babe’. It just slipped out. And after that, she got really pushy about making things between us more than just fuck buddies.”

“Why didn’t you?” Lena challenges. She needs to know.

“I just didn’t like her like that,” Kara shrugs. “She’s not a good person; she’s entitled, manipulative, and spiteful.”

Everything I am, Lena assumes. Her moment of recognition only adds oil into the fire inside.

“It’s a Rich Bitch thing,” Lena deadpans, cocking her head. “It’s the prerequisite for the annual membership card.”

“Very funny,” Kara says, making it clear that it’s not to her.

“I’m glad you think so, darling,” Lena retorts.

“You’re not a Rich Bitch, Lena,” Kara informs her, and it’s infuriating. “No matter how much you may try and act like one.”

“You—”

“—know nothing about you,” Kara sighs, unimpressed. “Yeah, I heard.”

Lena’s actually stunned silent and she hates that.

“It wasn’t like that with you,” Kara says softly. Out of the corner of her eye, Lena can see Kara turn to look at her, but she refuses to return the gesture. 

“It didn’t feel like there was an expectation to get close to you — but we did, because I wanted to,” Kara explains. “The more I learned about you, the more I wanted to know.”

Lena’s throat tightens and she doesn’t know why.

“I don’t like talking about my family because it reminds me of what I’ve lost,” Kara confesses. “But that one night with you, telling you about them … it felt like I had it all back, even if it was just for a moment.”

Well, fuck if Lena can’t empathize with that. Her heart yearns for the lush green of an Irish meadow, the feeling of ancient stones under foot, and the sweet embrace of her mother’s arms. But they’re nothing but split-second memories, blurry at the edges — lost to time and circumstance.

Kara brings a finger up to her forehead; Lena would guess from an abundance of context clues it’s on the small scar above Kara’s eyebrow. 

“You once asked me about this,” Kara whispers. “I … I got it the night I lost my whole family.”

Lena honestly, truly, genuinely has no idea what to say. A part of her wants to ask, desperately, and a part of her doesn’t — she can already feel in her bones that it's tragic.

“I haven’t told anyone … ever, really,” Kara tells her. “The Danvers’ already knew most of what happened, so I didn’t have to say much. So I’ve never actually told anyone everything.”

Lena doesn’t dare move, she just keeps staring at her murky reflection in the gold gilded panel in front of her.

“Do you know that’s the worst part of this whole thing, Lena?” Kara asks, her voice thick with pain. “It’s that — for the first time —  I wanted to tell it. I wanted to tell you, Lena. Because you’re the only person I’ve ever met that truly seems to get what it feels like to wake up in a strange, foreign world and know there’s no going home. You understand.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Lena can see Kara wipe a cheek with the back of her palm.

It’s a crocodile tear, a ruse for forgiveness. It has to be.

“Why are you telling me this?” Lena’s voice may be soft, but it’s a demand. There’s no logical reason for Kara to share this with her — they’re no one to each other now. She had made that abundantly clear in the parking lot.

“Because you know what it’s like,” Kara offers. “And because I’m trusting you. I’m letting you in.”

It’s the voice in which Kara speaks next that almost breaks Lena’s wrathful resolve, almost compels Lena to take Kara in her arms and tell her everything will be alright.

But it’s not. Because Lena’s still so angry, and hurt, and not ready to let go.

“I lost my entire world, Lena,” Kara whispers. “And I-I’ve built myself a new one, but …”

“… it doesn’t replace it,” Lena finishes, throat almost closed. She wasn’t old enough to know what exactly she lost, but she can still feel that she’s lost greatly. “I’m sorry, Kara.”

Nothing has ever tested her willpower like this before.

“Eliza says I don’t let myself feel weak, and when I do, I punish myself for it,” Kara continues. And I’m starting to think I do too. Actually, that’s exactly what I did — I self-sabotaged, I lied about the draft so I didn’t have to risk losing you over the truth.”

“The truth?” Lena scoffs.

Kara takes a deep breath, balling her fists up.

“Lena, I caught feelings for you,” Kara confesses. “I fell for you.”

That admission genuinely shakes Lena to her core, a wave of adrenaline overwhelming her.

Kara fell for her?

Kara fell for her? 

“I should’ve just told you sooner, I know that now,” Kara says. “But it just made me feel so weak and scared; I was afraid you’d run for the hills if I told you. And I was selfish — I didn’t want to lose you. Not yet.”

She’s right. A few months ago, Lena would have fled, never to return, but that’s nothing short of a death-bed confession.

Kara takes another deep breath before continuing.

“And the idea of losing you?” Kara admits, “It was so much easier to do it myself, my way. That’s why I really broke things off. Because I fell for you.”

“When?” Lena forces out. She needs to know.

“The day I busted my head open,” Kara says. “You cleaned it in the bathroom and when I opened my eyes and looked into yours, I just … I could’ve lived in that moment forever with you. No one’s ever taken care of me like that before.”

January. Kara’s had feelings for her since January. Two whole months.

Feelings during all those games Lena watched from the courtside. Feelings in all their car rides together. Feelings at the Luthor Foundation fundraiser, when Kara looked Lillian in the eye and all but told her to go to hell.

Kara had feelings too.

Unsure how to handle Lena’s silence, Kara’s clearly taken it upon herself to fill it further. They both send a nervous glance upwards at the elevator floor. They’re close to the bottom now.

“I don’t feel at home here. Not here, not even in Midvale,” Kara says. “But I feel at home when I’m with people who are important to me. With Alex. With Kal. With my friends. With … you, Lena.”

Lena swallows roughly, forcing every feeling and word back down into the fiery depths of her core. She won’t allow one moment of sentimental weakness to ruin this for herself. She has a plan and the scotch in her veins and the burnt remains of her heart will see it through.

“I was so afraid to lose you that I hurt you, and I’m so sorry,” Kara says. “I’m so sorry. I want you in my life; I want to let you in … I am, I am letting you in now. And I’m hoping it’s not too late.”

There’s not a single molecule of air left in the elevator. There’s no space for it, between the two of them and all their baggage.

“Lena, please,” Kara practically cries, “Say something, say anything.”

The elevator doors slide open one final time, finally at the ground floor.

This is it. It’s a crossroads. Two choices.

Kara just handed her the knife and knelt down at Lena’s altar and this is it — she can make Kara bleed. To know her pain. To be hurt by someone who she holds love for.

Or this is it, she could have everything she wanted. She could have Kara. She could stand in the sun.

But she doesn’t deserve it. She wants to deserve it, she wants to be able to forgive, but she’s still just so fucking hurt. 

Kara hurt her and she hurt Kara in return. Haven’t they gone too long now to recover, with feelings unspoken and words unsaid?

Lena knows no forgiveness. She never has. Not for her sins, her decisions, her identity. How could she forgive Kara if there’s no way Kara could ever do the same for someone like her? Words are easy to manipulate and hard to believe.

It’s clear to her now; if Kara’s everyone’s hero, then she must be the villain. There’s only one way for a Luthor. And like a shrike with her prey, she goes to impale Kara on the barb of their own creation.

“Thank you for telling me,” Lena speaks slowly, in measured amounts. She doesn’t meet Kara’s eyes; she can’t. “… But this changes nothing.”

This is to hurt Kara, to exact righteous retribution and even the scales.

So why does it feel like Lena’s now the one bleeding out?

She can’t stay any longer; this grave wasn’t dug for two. So for the second time, Lena sets her jaw — ignoring the anguish in her throat, the guilt in her gut, and the longing in her heart — and walks away from Kara Danvers.

She knows she won’t be able to walk away a third time.


Lena walked away.

Of all the reactions Kara would’ve expected — snide contempt or vicious anger — what she never expected was for her to walk away. Again. Yelling or spite would’ve hurt less.

Kara doesn’t know another pain like this one.

She knows it'll be a lifetime before she’s ever truly over this feeling, but it’s an oddly bearable burden. It just is . Telling Lena the truth — that she has feelings for her — was as liberating as it was heartbreaking.

Things can only be broken so many times over before that becomes all they are. Right?

So Kara settles into her new world once more. She has Alex, she has Kal, she has her friends. She’ll be okay, eventually.

Alex is there for her every step of the way.

The sisters are chilling in the apartment together after a Monday afternoon practice, both doing homework while the TV plays idly in the background, when Kara gets a phone call from the (second to) last person she ever would’ve expected. It’s been a long time since that ID popped up on her screen. But she’d recognize those three little words instantly.

Incoming call from Al’s Dive Bar  

“Hello?” Kara answers. “Kara Danvers.”

“Hey, kid,” Al’s raspy voice comes through the phone. “It’s Al, from the bar.”

“Hi …” Kara says slowly, brow crinkled like never before. She shoots a glance over at Alex, sitting in the flesh at their dining room table. “Um, Al, I don’t mean to be rude, but why are you calling me? I’m looking at Alex right now.”

Alex’s head turns at the sound of her name.

“This ain’t for Alex, kid,” Al says. “Got a different damsel-in-distress for ya. Keeps mumblin’ your name. You gotta come get her; she’s too drunk.”

Kara’s heart catches in her throat. “Do you have a name?”

It couldn’t be.

“Nah,” Al says. “Just keeps telling me ‘it’s on the news’ over and over. She’s a rich one though.”

No way it could be her.

“Al,” Kara chokes out. “Does she have dark hair and green eyes? Is she … really pretty?”

“Haven’t seen her eyes in awhile,” Al answers. “But yeah to the rest. Came in and dropped a few hundred on the bar — asked for ‘scotch and silence’ all dramatic-like.”

It is.

“I’ll be right there,” Kara states. “Don’t let her leave, please.”

“I’ll do my best, kid.” The line disconnects.

Alex looks over at her with concern. “What the hell was that about?” 

“Al just called,” Kara said, still holding the phone up in the air. “I have to go … go pick Lena up from the bar.”

“Jeez,” Alex hisses. “A house call? It’s not even seven-o-clock yet.”

“Can I borrow the car?” Kara asks, grabbing a water bottle and throwing her jacket on in a hurry. “I’m sorry, it’s just—”

“Go get her,” Alex tosses her the keys without delay. “You know the drill; don’t be seen. J’onn will kill you if anyone gets a photo of you out at a bar right now.”

“I won’t,” Kara promises, sliding a Meteors baseball cap down low over her face. “Thanks, Alex.”

“Let me know if you need anything,” Alex says.

“I will.”

“God, it’s nice to be on the other end of that call,” Alex mumbles to herself, and it’s the last thing Kara hears before the door shuts behind her.

Kara knows the way to Al’s like the back of her hand, but she still makes it there in record-time. Being here in the daylight is always odd yet familiar, like riding a bike for the first time in years. She throws the car into park on the side street and heads straight in.

It’s dark inside, like always, and her eyes take a minute to adjust. Al is standing at the closest corner of the bar, wiping a towel over the bar top while he waits for her. 

Kara beelines right for him. “Hi, Al.”

“Hey, kid,” he greets, giving her a grim smile. “You gotta getcha friend outta here.”

“I’m on it,” Kara nods in understanding. “Where is she?”

Al steps to the side and points over his shoulder. “Far back corner.”

Kara follows the line of his thumb and there she is. There, slumped over an empty tumbler and a cup of water, dark hair falling like curtains around her beautiful face, is Lena Luthor.

The sight of her knocks Kara breathless. She half-expected to never even see Lena in person again, let alone share the same air.

Kara wastes no time, walking over slowly like one would approach a wounded animal.

“Lena?” Kara asks. “Are you okay?”

The sound of her voice seems to stir Lena lucid; angry green eyes — half-lidded and slightly bloodshot — come to fixate on Kara. 

“Clearly.”

“Why are you here, at Al’s?” Kara asks. “It’s Monday and the sun’s still out.”

“I was feeling sentimental. The world deserves to see it’s pariah, does it not?” Lena challenges.

“Pariah?” Kara frowns. That wasn’t the answer she was expecting, at all. “What?”

Lena points a sharp finger up at the TV on the adjacent wall. “Look at a fucking TV, Danvers.”

Kara can’t really hear it over the bar noise, but she doesn’t need to. There’s a broadcaster up on the screen, talking at a fevered pace, and next to her is a projected headshot of Lena’s mom with a professional yet arrogant smile on her face. At the bottom of the screen is a bright yellow banner that reads:

Breaking News: Luthor Corp CEO, Lillian Luthor, M.D., Arrested

Arrested?

Kara’s stomach plummets through her feet. “Oh, fuck.”

“Mmm,” Lena hums, looking down into her empty glass. “Oh fuck, indeed.”

“Did you know?” Kara asks softly.

Lena sends her a sharp glare. “If I did, do you think I would be here right now?”

“Fair point,” Kara concedes. “Speaking of, we need to get you out of here.”

“We?”

“Yeah, ‘we’,” Kara says. “You’re too drunk to be here right now; you’re lucky Al called me before kicking you out.”

“My hero,” Lena glares, making it very clear to Kara that she is anything but. “It’s the second coming of Saint Danvers.”

“I’m just trying to help, Lena,” Kara sighs, plucking the empty glass from Lena’s hand.

“What are you, Kara, a saint or a sinner?” Lena mumbles. “God or mortal? Hero or villain?”

“You’re very drunk,” Kara informs her.

“Drunk, yes. Cynical, yes. Absolute bitch, yes,” Lena rattles off, still glaring at her. “Liar? No.”

Kara winces.

“So you do have a conscience,” Lena notes.

There’s something about that insult that lands harshly, and Kara can feel red rush through her veins.

“Listen to me,” Kara says through gritted teeth. She leans in towards Lena; it would be so easy to move that extra inch until their lips are touching again, but Kara is far too exasperated to notice in the moment.

“I’m not even supposed to be here right now,” Kara continues. “If anyone sees me in this bar, I could get into a huge amount of trouble with J’onn and the team. But you need me, so I’m here, and I’m going to help you, so stop fighting me.

To their mutual surprise, it works.

After shooting a quick message off to Jack, Kara’s able to get Lena to her feet fairly smoothly — no small task considering the woman’s heels. Kara then helps her into her coat, tying the sash a bit too tight, which earns her a scowl from Lena, who gets one right back.

“Put your arm around my waist,” Kara tells her. “And I’m going to put mine around your shoulder to keep you steady. You need to act as sober as possible for the next two minutes.”

Lena does as she requests — Kara shoots Al a nod of gratitude on the way out — and they make it to the car without issue.

Kara goes to buckle Lena in, but the woman smacks her hand away and does it herself in a grand show of independence. “Your two minutes are up, Danvers … you don’t get to help anymore.”

Kara rolls her eyes but lets it go, turning the engine on and gripping the wheel almost tight enough to snap it.

“Don’t puke in Alex’s car,” Kara warns. “She’ll kill me.”

“I won’t,” Lena slurs. “ ‘m not there yet.”

“You’ll probably want to pull trig sooner than later,” Kara informs her. “How much did you have?”

“Hm, too much,” Lena replies.

“Yeah, I figured that,” Kara says under her breath.

“I-you can’t take me home,” Lena says. “There’s photogr—”

“—photographers,” Kara confirms. “I figured. No, I’m taking you to Jack’s.”

“Oh,” Lena says. “ … thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Kara replies, her voice softened to match Lena’s.

They ride in silence for a while, until Kara breaks it to make sure Lena’s still conscious.

“How are you doing, Lena?” Kara asks softly.

“Like you actually give a fuck now, Danvers,” Lena snaps.

O-kay, still very much conscious. And furious. That’s fun.

“I do actually ‘give a fuck’, Lena,” Kara says firmly. “I care about you. I’m sorry that’s this horrible thing for you, but I can’t just magically shut it off. Believe me, I’ve tried!”

“Of course you’ve tried,” Lena goads. “I’m a Luthor. As of today, I think we’re now officially the most hated family in the country.”

“You’re not just a Luthor to me.”

“Save it.”

Kara realizes with a start she has no idea what Lillian was actually arrested for. She imagines she’s more likely to get an insult or a scathing dig than an actual answer if she was to ask Lena right now.

“Have you talked to Lex?” Kara asks instead.

“Briefly.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Kara asks with measured patience.

“With you?” Lena scoffs. “No.”

“Will you talk about it with someone?” Kara requests.

“Doubtful.”

“Lena …” Kara pleads. “That’s not healthy.”

“I’m not particularly concerned about my health right now, Kara,” Lena says. “I’m trying this novel thing: self-sabotage. I heard it worked very well for you.”

“Look, I know I’ve hurt you, and I’m sorry, Lena,” Kara says. “But I’m just trying to help you right now. Can you please fight me a little less? Like 50%?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re the most incredible person I have ever met, Kara Danvers,” Lena rambles. “And I despise you for it. I broke each and every rule for you, and it destroyed me softly and slowly.”

Every rule?

“… Every rule?” Kara realizes.

Lena broke the ‘no feelings’ rule.

Lena caught feelings.

Oh.

“You caught feelings for me?” Kara whispers. Even as the words leave her mouth, the order in which they combine feels impossible.

Lena attempts to roll her half-closed eyes. “You’re insufferable.”

“No,” Kara says, firmer this time. “You have feelings for me?”

“I’m not answering that,” Lena refuses.

“You have feelings for me,” Kara states. “You just said it.”

“Enough,” Lena seethes. “I’d sooner drink a glass of acid next than hear you say it again.”

“But Lena why …” Kara trails off. “Why did you say …?”

“Are you sure you’re not the drunk one?” Lena insults. “You can’t even string a sentence together.”

That hits a nerve.

“I lied to you, Lena, and for that I am so sorry,” Kara says, voice wet. “But you lied to me too. What … why would you say that you wouldn’t want to be with me?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Lena challenges.

“No, what? Why are you being so difficult about this?” Kara’s getting more agitated. “Why are you so difficult about everything? Why can’t you just say how you actually feel?”

“What, Danvers, you want me to change?” Lena says drily. “Fuck you.”

“I don’t want you to change, Lena,” Kara says darkly. “I want you to be happy and healthy and that’s not what this is right now.”

“My mother just got arrested,” Lena deadpans. “I’ve never been happier.”

Kara lets out an angry snort. “Yeah, clearly. Happy people always get trashed at seven o’clock on a Monday.”

“Don’t you dare presume to know how I feel,” Lena hisses. “You have no idea.”

“I don’t,” Kara agrees softly. “But I don’t think you know either.”

“I can’t stand you.”

“You can’t even stand,” Kara retorts.

“And here I thought you preferred me on my knees, darling.”

“Don’t do that,” Kara snarls. “Don’t make it sound like this was all just about sex.”

“Wasn’t it?” Lena’s head rolls around to give Kara a scathing look. “That’s what this started as. What it should’ve been.”

“Do you really believe that?” Kara challenges. “Because I don’t care what this started as! You’re an amazing person, Lena, and I’m glad I know that now. And at the risk of making this all a little too simple for you, here’s what I’ve got figured out: I have feelings for you, and you also apparently do, or did, have feelings for me.”

Lena doesn’t voice her dissent, so Kara keeps going.

“I lied to you about the draft, but I only said that because you told me you’d never want to be in a relationship with me,” Kara explains. “Lena, you lied to me too.”

“No, I didn’t,” Lena states. “I said I had no intention of ever asking you for a relationship, and I meant what I said. I wasn’t about to ask you to be ‘more’ after you made it perfectly clear you don’t do that with your fuck-buddies.”

“But you wanted it?” Kara’s forehead crinkles in frustration. “A technicality? Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

“That’s just great, Lena,” Kara sets her jaw, her teeth mashing together. “So what was your plan? You had feelings for me. Were you just gonna go along with being fuck-buddies forever?”

“I didn’t even realize I had feelings until my mother’s fundraiser,” Lena retorts. “I had two weeks. Whereas you had almost two months and not once did you admit to breaking our final rule.”

“I hate the rules; they’re stupid,” Kara says. “And they obviously don’t fucking work.”

“They would have if you hadn’t insisted on constantly bending them,” Lena seethes.

“Oh, okay,” Kara lets out an angry laugh. “Blame it all on me, but I’m pretty sure you broke more of them than I did.”

“Fine, Kara, I might’ve broken my own rules but you still broke my fucking heart,” Lena says. “We both might not have been open and honest with each other, but you’re the one that left.”

“That was the last thing I wanted to do! I was going to tell you how I felt that night!” Kara exclaims, voice breathy with exasperation. “But then things felt weird after Siobhan, and then you made that comment, and I just …”

Kara’s voice gives out under the wake of her anguish. They had been so close … they …

“I couldn’t do it anymore,” Kara admits softly. “I wanted the real thing. No rules. No holding back. And I knew it would’ve broken my heart to stay, thinking that was something you would never want.”

There’s a pause as both the car’s occupants survey the damage they’ve done. Kara tries her hardest to figure out her next words, but a complete thought never quite formulates.

“I … I planned to tell you that night too.” Lena’s voice is small and meek. It’s vulnerable and raw in a way that Kara’s only ever heard once before, at four-something in the morning the night of Kara’s nightmare.

“I was going to … tell you I had feelings for you, that night,” Lena continues, stronger this time. “That I wanted it to be real. No rules this time.”

Kara swallows roughly. “You were?”

“Yes,” Lena admits. “Until Siobhan made me doubt if I actually knew you, the real you.”

“Oh.”

Lena turns to face her now, and their eyes connect in a moment of sheer, wounded desperation.

“Kara …?” Lena rasps. “… Do you ever get exhausted by it all?”

“By what?”

“The pressure,” Lena elaborates. “The expectations. Everyone always having an opinion.”

“Yeah,” Kara nods. “Do you?”

“For the longest time, I never knew anything else, so I didn’t know what it could feel like to actually be relaxed and …” Lena trails off, swallowing roughly. “Until I got to know you.”

Kara’s heart skips a beat.

“I know what you mean,” Kara says. “What you asked me at Al’s, about if it’s harder being Supergirl or me? You already knew the answer when you asked. It’s because it’s the same for you, isn’t it?”

Lena gives just the slightest nod.

“I love being Supergirl. I love to compete, I love the challenge, I love the thrill. And I’m good at it,” Kara recounts, voice thick with emotion. “But I still disappoint people. I still fuck up. It just hurts less than when I fuck up at being Kara Danvers.”

Kara takes a deep breath and continues. 

“Everyone in my life sees me as some variant of Supergirl. They’re all connected with that part of my life. But you … you didn’t give a single shit about basketball and I kind of loved it,” Kara explains. “There was no pressure, no expectations. Once we actually started to get to know each other, I got to just be Kara with you. And it was terrifying because no one ever gets to see the full version of me.”

Lena doesn’t say anything at first, but Kara can feel every muscle in her body relax in the cradle of their mutual empathy.

Lena Luthor doesn’t get to make mistakes,” Lena whispers. “Lillian always made that very clear. And Luthors certainly don’t get forgiveness when they do.”

“But what about just Lena?” Kara asks.

No answer comes.

In that silence, they both share the profound realization that they know each other far more than they ever realized. Lena knows Kara, and Kara knows Lena.

There’s a confession hiding in Kara’s throat. Even after Lena’s hurt her, she still has nothing but love to give.

She still has hope.

But she holds her tongue for once. She’s made enough knee-jerk, half-assed reactions in the past two weeks to be tied over for a long time. And in her waiting, she’s recognized that now's not the time to share — Lena’s very drunk, her mother just got arrested for fuck’s sake, and Kara’s not going to add in anymore baggage then she already has.

“That water’s for you, by the way,” Kara says instead, gesturing to the bottle in the cupholder.

Lena cracks open the water and takes a few considerable sips. “… Thank you.”

“We’re here,” Kara says, the GPS on her phone announcing they’ve reached their destination. She slows the car down as she pulls over, mindful not to be too abrupt for Lena’s stomach’s sake, and parks in one of the few open spaces in front of Jack’s apartment complex. 

“He’s on the second floor,” Lena volunteers, remaining idle in her seat. “2B.”

Lena’s drunk enough now that Kara has to prompt her movement. She goes around to the passenger door and opens it, then unbuckles Lena’s seatbelt, and helps her out of the vehicle. Lena keeps one hand clutched around Kara’s forearm the whole time and Kara tries very hard not to focus on how her skin burns underneath the touch.

The singular flight of stairs proves to be a bit of a challenge for Lena, who’s currently staggering sideways more than forward, and Kara doesn’t have the patience for it.

“I’m sorry,” Kara mumbles, quickly sweeping Lena into her arms. Lena’s arms wrap around her shoulders in muscle memory.

Kara braces for complaints, but they don’t come. She sets Lena down again as soon as they reach the top.

“End of the hall,” Lena directs, stumbling forward. She lurches a bit too far forward and Kara reaches for her on instinct.

“Woah!” Kara exclaims, catching her and pulling Lena back towards her chest. They collide with a heavy thump and it stirs something deep and primal inside. 

Kara’s not sure how exactly it happens, but they’re facing each other now, lips only inches apart. Her hands are tense on Lena’s back, pressing them together with a restrained tension, and Lena grips her shoulders. Lena’s mascara is smudged under her eyes and she looks hauntingly beautiful as her eyelids flutter under Kara’s gaze.

If Kara thought she knew temptation before, this moment has redefined every misconception.

“Why did you come, Kara?” Lena asks Kara’s lips. It’s the softest demand Kara’s ever heard.

“Because I care about you,” Kara replies. “Because I—”

Lena shoves Kara away.

Kara just blinks at her, still spellbound, until the absence of the other woman’s warmth restores her cognitive function. An eternity passes after Kara knocks on Jack’s door. In that never-ending silence, Kara takes the time to say one final thing before Lena disappears forever.

“I don’t want this, Lena,” Kara whispers. “I don’t want to be two people that just keep hurting each other because they can’t handle how they feel about the other. That’s not how love should work.”

Kara’s not sure what Lena’s response would have been, and she’ll never know. The door opens with a swish and the moment is lost.

“Hey,” Jack greets them, opening the door wide. Kara can see a TV on behind him, rolling footage of Lillian being escorted out of a grey concrete building by three men in suits.

“Et tu, Brute?” Lena bites, pushing briskly past Jack to what Kara would imagine is the bathroom.

Jack grimaces, watching her disappear into the depths of his apartment. He then turns back around to face Kara. “The Shakespeare is never a good sign. Are you sure you don’t want to handle this one?”

“No,” Kara exhales forcefully. “If I did, she’d probably just hate me more.”

Jack gives a single chuckle. “For what it’s worth, love and hate are just two sides of the same coin for Lena. It’s toxic but that’s the dynamic she knows. Sam got some of it out of her system, but we all relapse.”

Everything she knows about Lena and her family confirms that fact.

“Yeah. Bye, Jack,” Kara says, shooting one final look past him into the apartment. She’s hoping, searching, yearning for one final glimpse of Lena — because once she walks away today, she's not sure she’ll ever get another.

“Goodbye, Kara,” Jack gives her an understanding smile. ”And I know I have no right to ask this of you, but … don’t give up hope yet. Lillian’s arrest just flipped her entire world upside down. She’s not her best right now. She was already stubborn and hurt before this happened, so … it’ll take time.”

Kara gives him a vague nod, unsure of what it even means herself. Her mind is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. She waves goodbye and backs away. 

It’ll take time, Kara repeats to herself. But how much? One lifetime or two?


It takes exactly two days.

Lena comes to her on a Wednesday.

She’s just about the last person Kara ever expected to see knocking at her door; she’s not sure if it’s the last person she ever wanted, or the one she wants the most.

It’s late, which means Alex is already over at Maggie’s, so the only spectators they’ll have tonight are each other and their ghosts.

The sight of Lena’s face through the peephole is like a switch; Kara’s heart goes soft and her body goes stiff. She ignores the fact of the former and sets her jaw, ready to shut down at the slightest sign that she’s going to get hurt again. She takes one final inhale to steel herself and pulls open the door with an overly tensed arm.

Green eyes meet blue and it’s a bloody battlefield the day after.

Lena’s lips open a fraction like she wants to speak, but nothing comes out. They just stare at each other for a moment while the anxious silence surrounds them like a cage.

Kara’s arm falls from the door. Lena’s eyes drop to the floor. She pulls at her fingers and Kara balls her own up into fists to fight the urge to mirror the action.

“Kara …” Lena finally chokes out.

Kara just blinks at her, a mask of steel and ice shielding her face.

“Can we talk?” Lena asks, voice painfully soft.

Kara turns around and walks away from the door, leaving it open, as her form of answer. As she walks over to the kitchen to lean up against the counter, she can hear the slow clicking of Lena’s heels on the floor and the firm lock of the door being shut. Kara feels the cold press of the laminate against her spine as she folds her arms over her chest and looks at Lena once more.

Lena’s still pulling at her fingers, her eyes darting nervously around the apartment, as if to check that the walls won’t collapse in on them. They won’t, no matter how much they might both feel like it. 

Kara can see Lena’s jaw tense when she comes across the pile of backpacks and duffle bags on the floor by the table. She and Alex are packed and set to leave tomorrow for Phoenix, alongside the rest of the team, to play in the first and second rounds of the national tournament. 

But Kara offers Lena no explanation; there’s a small satisfaction to watching her aggravation that she doesn’t know something.

Lena looks away from the bags after a second too long, making eye contact with Kara again. Kara’s jaw tightens like a vice to keep the words in — she’s not the one who came here to talk, she’s not the one with something to say. She’s already said everything.

Or almost everything, until Lena had shoved her away.

Lena’s lips flutter again.

“I…” she starts, going so slowly Kara feels as though death will take them both before she finishes. “… I thought about what you said at Jack’s …”

Kara’s words echo in her mind. “I don’t want to be two people that just keep hurting each other because they can’t handle how they feel about the other. That’s not how love should work.”

“… and I don’t want that either,” Lena gulps. “I-I’m here to apologize.”

For some reason that cuts right into Kara’s soul. Hope is always the sharpest sword.

Kara doesn’t respond, other than with narrowed eyes and an icy frown.

“I didn’t stop to consider things from your perspective,” Lena says. “But I do now. And I’m so sorry it even took me this long. That asinine comment I made after Siobhan … I was just scared and defensive, because I did want a relationship with you. So desperately, I just …”

Lena takes a very deep inhale. “So when you broke things off that night … it was a … shock. And then when I found out you lied to me about the reason why …”

Kara swallows roughly.

“I was hurt,” Lena explains, voice wet. “So, so hurt. But I get why you said what you did, I get why you didn’t want to tell me you had feelings. I didn’t exactly make it easy on you.”

Kara’s eyebrows fly upwards.

“You were right …” Lena gasps. “If you had told me you had feelings for me earlier, I would’ve ran. I would’ve ran so quick and far, I …”

Lena pauses and blinks rapidly a few times.

“I know I was hammered, but I meant what I said in the car,” she says. “You are the most incredible person I have ever met. And it terrifies me.” She gives Kara a teary look. “Because how can I have that? On what world do I deserve it?”

This world, Kara thinks before she can stop herself.

“I don’t expect your forgiveness,” Lena says. “I know you opened up to me, and I get how difficult that is, I really do … so I know what I said and did hurt you. How could it not? I just … I-I really need you to hear me right now.”

Kara swallows hard and tilts her chin up in acknowledgment.

“Please,” Lena gives her a weak smile, her dimples appearing for the briefest of moments. “Please believe me when I tell you: I am so, terribly sorry, Kara. You opening up — you trusting me — it meant everything to me.”

“When why did you say it didn’t change anything?” Kara asks softly, looking at Lena with wounded eyes.

“Because, I …” Lena stammers, as uncomposed and unsure as Kara’s ever seen her. “Because I thought by hurting you, it would make my pain go away. Blood for blood. And then I could just retreat behind my walls after. But it just made everything a thousand times worse, and I … I guess I’ve really lived up to my last name, huh?”

Lena shoots her the most heartbreaking, self-deprecating smile Kara’s ever seen. “You can scream at me if you want,” Lena offers. “I know I deserve it.”

That shatters Kara whole again. “I’m not going to yell at you, Lena, ever. You don’t deserve that; just like your last name doesn’t deserve you.”

Lena just looks at the floor and shakes her head.

“Lena, I have to ask,” Kara says slowly. “What changed for you? I thought I’d never see you again. Why did you come here?”

“You … you kept your word,” Lena explains. “I lashed out and hurt you and pushed you away. You didn’t owe me anything anymore. But you still came for me at Al’s.”

“I always will,” Kara swears. “I’d do it for anyone, but especially for you.”

“Why?” Lena challenges, her throat tight around the word.

“Because I love you,” Kara says simply. 

Kara Danvers loves Lena Luthor.

They might both be fucking idiots, but it’s really that simple to understand. 

Simple to understand, hard to accept. Lena’s lips fall apart in a silent gasp and she blinks rapidly as if to wake from a dream.

“You’re a good person, Lena,” Kara tells her. “And you've got to give yourself permission to be one.”

“I … you’ve seen my flaws laid fully bare now,” Lena says, lip trembling ever so slightly. “Yet you still say that like you mean it.”

“Because I do,” Kara says. “And because you’ve seen mine too.”

“You don’t think I’m a lost cause?”

“Never. All you can do is try to be a better person than you were yesterday,” Kara says patiently. “But it’s okay to slip up too; progress isn’t linear.”

Lena gives her an overwhelmed squint. “When did you get all wise and soulful?”

“You bring it out in me,” Kara smiles softly. “And I’ve been getting a lot of unsolicited — if not good — advice recently.”

“Alex did mention you were being a bit of a terror,” Lena chuckles.

“I was n—” Kara starts to protest, then drops it at the sight of Lena’s arched brow. “I was; I was being a terror. A little bit.”

The lightness in the air falls like a fleeting fog as they make eye contact again.

“So …” Lena gulps. “Where does this leave us?”

“I don’t know,” is Kara’s honest answer. 

Lena accepts her answer for what it is, and nods her head in small repeated motions. Kara can tell from the look in her eyes that her mind has since retreated inward. She looks unsure … something Lena Luthor is not known to be.

“Lena?”

Lena looks back up at her — green meets blue — and a resolution is made.

“There’s something I should have done in the elevator,” Lena says, taking slow, tentative steps closer to Kara. “And it’s been eating me alive since. I made the wrong decision then; I don’t want to make it again.”

Kara pushes up off the kitchen island to come stand tall on her feet, unsure of what to expect. 

“We don’t always make the right decision the first time,” Kara rasps out.

Lena’s so unbearably close now, red lips almost within reach — and for a second Kara thinks they might kiss — when Lena’s hand slowly rises up between their faces.

Kara closes her eyes on instinct.

Two of Lena’s fingers ghost over the scar on Kara’s forehead. A shiver runs through Kara’s entire body.

Oh.

Oh, that’s even worse.

“Tell me,” Lena whispers the request. It’s hallowed and venerating. “If you want to.”

Kara trembles slightly under her touch. She’s terrified to, she can’t be vulnerable like this … it’s a jump and she’s afraid to fall. Yet she really, really, really wants to tell her. She wants Lena to know. To know her fully, to be weightless with someone.

Flying is only for the hopeful.

“Okay,” Kara exhales. “I do.”

Lena retracts her hand, giving Kara space.

“You should come get comfortable though,” Kara says, glancing over at the couch. “It’s a long story to listen to, standing in heels.”

“Is Alex …?” Lena trails off, looking around in alarm as if she just realized there was a possibility of interruption.

“She’s at Maggie’s. J’onn always keeps them in separate rooms when the team’s playing away, so this is their last night together for a few days,” Kara says.

“You’re leaving?” Lena asks. A flicker of disappointment passes over her face, but it’s well-hidden soon after.

“Tomorrow. The national tournament is starting,” Kara explains. She side-steps out of Lena’s orbit to grab two mugs from the cabinet. “I don’t have coffee, but I have tea?”

While Lena kicks off her shoes and hangs up her coat by the front door, Kara busies herself with making the tea. She just microwaves the water-filled mugs — she’s not exactly a snob about the process — and plops the bags in. The smell of green tea starts to waft throughout the room.

“Green tea was my mom’s favorite,” Kara says, sliding a mug across the island to Lena on the other side.

Lena clears her throat as she takes a hold of her mug. “She had good taste.”

“She did,” Kara smiles softly. “She would’ve liked you, I think. She was always dressed up too; it used to drive her nuts that my dad and I would always be running around in sweats.”

“Did your father play basketball as well?” Lena asks. In one fluid motion, she extracts the tea bag and balls the string up around it, and Kara automatically holds out a hand to throw it away for her.

“Thank you,” Lena says softly, a bit surprised to see the open palm.

“Of course,” Kara nods, tossing her own too. “And no, he wasn’t really a sports guy. He was super athletic, but he just preferred to do his own thing. Kal’s dad was an Olympic jumper though, so the hops are in the blood.”

“I thought the Kents were farmers?” Lena’s brow furrows.

“Oh, they are! They adopted Clark when he was a baby.” Kara says with a start, realizing the confusion. “I meant Kal’s biological dad.”

“Mm,” Lena nods, taking a sip of tea. “I didn’t realize he was adopted too. You call him Clark sometimes, and Kal others. Why is that?”

“Oh,” the corner of Kara’s lips twist around in uncertainty. “I usually call him Clark with other people; I didn’t realize I had been calling him Kal with you so much. I really only use it when I’m talking to him or Lois.”

“I don’t mind it,” Lena offers. “It’s not like it’s difficult to guess who you’re talking about. Is it a nickname?”

“Not exactly,” Kara says into her tea. “It was the name his parents gave him; Kal El. It was changed when he was adopted.”

“Why did the Kents change it?” Lena frowns.

“I don’t really know,” Kara shrugs. “It doesn’t bother Clark; they sound kind of close anyways. Lois uses them interchangeably too, so it’s just kind of a name of endearment now.”

“Ah,” Lena says. “And his last name?”

“Same deal as mine,” Kara says. “The Kents made it his middle name to honor his family. That’s actually what gave the Danvers the idea for mine; I didn’t have a middle name before that.”

“That’s a sweet sentiment.”

“Lena?” Kara stands upright in sudden realization. “What’s your middle name? We’ve been sleeping together for months and I have no idea what it is.”

“It’s Kieran,” Lena chuckles.

“And what’s your birthday?” Kara continues.

“October 24th,” Lena replies.

“That’s so close to mine!” Kara exclaims in delight. “Mine’s September 22nd.”

“That’s not terribly close, darling,” Lena chuckles. “And I think you might be getting a little off-topic.”

“They’re both in autumn.” The smile then falls from Kara’s face, into a gentle frown. “But yeah, I think I am.”

“Maybe we should sit?” Lena suggests, leaning in towards Kara in concern. For a second, Kara expects Lena to hold out a hand. It doesn’t come and Kara begins to crave it.

“Yeah, okay,” Kara nods in acceptance. It’s a good idea actually, her legs are a bit stiff from standing. “Let’s head to the couch.”

They each get settled in on opposite ends of the larger couch, teas in hand, facing each other with their backs against the armrests. Lena tucks her legs sideways under herself. Kara loosely pulls her legs up in front of her chest and sets her forearms on top of her knees.

“Here,” Kara says, tossing Lena a throw pillow. Alex tends to let them accumulate all on one side, and Kara knows the armrests don’t have the same padding they used to.

“Thank you,” Lena says, sliding it behind herself. She looks more relaxed afterwards. She sips intently at her tea, not looking at Kara, as if giving the woman the time to collect herself.

“I’ve never done this before,” Kara chuckles nervously. “It’s … hard.”

“It is,” Lena gives her a sympathetic nod. “Take all the time you need.”

Kara swallows roughly. “I think I’m okay,” she says. “I … wow, this is really hard.”

“It’s alright, Kara,” Lena soothes. “Why don’t you tell me more about Clark? You guys seem very close.”

Kara smiles, grateful for the tangible focus. “Yeah, we are … We were always on good terms, but once I got to college, we got really close. I used to look up to him when I was little, but when I got older he became more my equal. He’s also one of the only people I know who gets what it’s like to carry everyone’s great expectations.”

Lena nods and sips more of her tea, content to listen.

“Clark didn’t know he was adopted until I was born; he was ten,” Kara informs her. “The Kents wanted him to have as normal of a childhood as possible, but they thought it was important for him to know the truth at that point. So the Kents brought him up to Krypton to meet me and my parents: his last remaining blood-relatives.”

Lena looks at Kara with gentle eyes as she continues.

“Kal’s biological parents died when he was about a year old,” Kara explains. “They were both doctors, away at a medical conference in Kansas, and they had brought Kal with them.”

Kara pauses to take a revitalizing sip of tea.

“There was a bad car accident,” she tells Lena, “An off-duty firefighter ran over to help. He was able to get Kal out of the wreckage in time, but his parents … they didn’t make it.”

The air in Kara’s lungs seems to thin a bit.

“My mom had just started law school, and my dad was in a PhD program,” Kara explains. “They weren’t equipped to handle a baby. But that off-duty firefighter that had rescued Kal, his name was Jonathan Kent … he and his wife ended up taking Clark in and raising him as theirs, on their farm in Kansas, so he wouldn’t have to know the pain of losing his parents.”

Lena frowns and Kara knows it’s out of a sense of understanding.

“I’ve always wondered if Kal didn’t resent my parents a little, though. He was part of our family, after all,” Kara says. “When the Kents told him the truth … he was heartbroken in a way, but he understood. The Kents were every bit his parents to him. He grew up in a house full of love and a life free of pain.”

Kara stops to take a sip of tea, then continues.

“Kal’s had a good life,” Kara says. “And he grew up to be the best basketball player alive. When I was younger, I wanted to be like him so badly … and I wouldn’t hear anything different. I’m not sure if you know this about me, but apparently, I can be a little stubborn.” 

Her voice picks up a playful lilt at the end and Lena lets out an amused snort in return, one eyebrow cocked to the max.

“Anyways,” Kara continues, feeling motivated in the comforting intimacy restored between them. “When I was thirteen, I got into a big fight with my parents. I insisted on becoming a professional basketball player, just like Kal — he had just joined the league the year before — but they wouldn’t hear it.”

“Why not?” Lena frowns, head cocked preciously to one side.

Kara sighs, shifting her feet down to the floor to anchor her. “Because they were arrogant and thought they knew best. My mom was a high-ranking judge, and my dad was an accomplished scientist. They didn’t want me to ‘waste my potential’.”

“I’m sorry, Kara,” Lena murmurs, toying with her mug.

“It’s okay,” Kara says, rubbing a knot in her neck. “My Aunt Astra was always supportive about it. She was actually out visiting on leave — she was in the military — when the big fight happened. I had made the mistake of telling my parents over dinner that I wouldn’t go to college if I could go right into the pros, and my parents got furious. Mom threatened to pull me from basketball forever, effectively ending my plan.”

Kara takes another sip of tea, bracing to keep her voice level.

“I got super upset and tried to run away, but that’s kind of hard to do in Alaska in December,” Kara gives a rueful chuckle. “But my dad had a small, heated observatory in our backyard. I hid in there. I—”

Kara’s voice cuts off abruptly, her throat swelling with grief already. She pushes through.

“I don’t know if my mom sent her, or if she came on her own, but Astra ended up finding me out there,” Kara explains. “She talked me down a bit. She and my mom never got along, but Astra was always wonderful to me. I like to think she loved me like a daughter.”

Kara finishes the rest of her tea like a shot; the end is always the most bitter.

“Astra and I talked for a long time … we eventually fell asleep,” Kara says, her voice tightening. “We woke back up in the middle of the night. Something felt … wrong.”

Kara swallows roughly as a dark shadow falls over her face.

“I still remember the heat,” Kara says. “How bright it was. The house had caught fire in the middle of the night. Astra … Astra ran in after my parents … but she didn’t come out, and neither did they.”

Kara can’t really see Lena anymore, her vision distorted by pooling tears, but she can feel Lena’s weight shift to sit right beside her — not quite touching, but only an atom’s length between them.

“I tried to run in after them …” she chokes out. “But next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital.”

Kara pauses to take a deep breath, desperate for air.

“I … I couldn’t do anything to save my family and I blame myself for it,” Kara admits, voice barely a whisper. “So instead I just try to save everyone else.”

“Survivor’s guilt,” Lena recognizes.

“Yeah.” Kara brings a finger up to touch the same place on her forehead where Lena’s fingers had been not long ago. It feels like touching the flesh of a ghost.

“No one really knows what happened exactly,” Kara explains. “They think there must’ve been some explosion and the shockwave must’ve knocked me out, or a piece of debris hit me, but I wasn’t too badly burned. All I know is that I woke up in the hospital — with this — no memory of what exactly happened, and … no parents.”

“A concussion?” Lena guesses softly.

“I wish,” Kara shakes her head. “It was a full TBI … I had a bit of brain bleeding, so I had to get a lot of MRI’s done. It was awful … the constant dizziness, the metallic clanging, the splitting headache. Feeling completely trapped. I still freak out any time I’m in a small space now.”

A hand flies up to Lena’s mouth as she looks at Kara in horror. “Kara … the bed! I shoved you under the bed, oh my god. Why didn’t you say anything? I had no idea you were claustrophobic, I never would’ve—”

“—It’s okay,” Kara raises a calming hand to cut her off. “The bed … wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t the worst. I could still move around some and I stayed next to the edge the whole time.”

“But Kara …” Lena’s eyes are wet with guilt — or maybe they already were wet from earlier — Kara can’t tell anymore. Not through her own tears.

“I promise, it’s okay,” Kara says. “I’ll let you know if I’m ever not.”

“… Alright,” Lena accepts after some internal difficulty.

“My time in the hospital is still kind of fuzzy,” Kara says, looking down at her lap. “My memory was shot and I slept a lot, so the days kind of blended together. That stuff really messes with you. On top of losing my parents and Astra, it … it was the worst experience I’ve … I felt like a complete phantom of myself.”

“Where was Clark?” Lena questions. There’s almost a hint of anger in her voice, much to Kara’s surprise.

“Kal flew out as soon as he could, but flights to Alaska in the winter time are a bit of a challenge,” Kara explains, still not meeting Lena’s eyes. “He stayed as long as he could. One of my dad’s old friends, Kelex, helped him figure out a lot of the estate stuff. But there was still the big question of where I was supposed to go live.”

Kara rolls her shoulders back, feeling the muscles snap over bone. It’s a better sensation to focus on than the tears running down her cheeks.

“Kal was just starting in the league, traveling every few days; he couldn’t raise a thirteen-year-old,” she says. “So he took me to the Danvers. Jeremiah was Clark’s basketball agent at the time. The Danvers took me in without hesitation … and eventually, I found my second family in them.”

Kara lets out a deep exhale. “I know I was so, so lucky to find the Danvers. But at first, it was a little … rough. I had a hard time adjusting. I saw my entire world destroyed in a single fire — I lost everyone and everything I knew — and then, next thing, I was left all alone in a brand new place surrounded by strangers.”

Lena’s hand finds hers and it means everything, assuaging the ache in her heart enough to continue. It’s a moment of mutual understanding, indescribably devout.

Kara chuckles awkwardly. “Alex was not exactly my biggest fan at first. I barely spoke, and yet everything I did seemed to offend her somehow. I was the new, weird kid at school who had just lost her whole family. I wasn’t very good at making friends then, and I didn’t try to be, because wouldn’t I just lose them too?”

Kara wipes away a tear before continuing. “Anyways, the one thing I did still have was basketball. So that’s all I did. Every free moment I had, I was in the gym shooting. It gave me something to think about that wasn’t my life; I could just shut everything off and focus.”

Lena’s thumb begins to stroke idly along the back of her hand and Kara melts under it.

“That’s why basketball is so important to me. Because of what happened with my parents, and because it saved me after,” Kara whispers. “When I joined the team for Midvale, Alex and I finally started to get along. It gave us something to bond over. I started to come back out from behind my walls — the copious amount of therapy Eliza and Jeremiah put me through helped too — and I started to feel more like myself.”

Lena gives her hand a squeeze, a spur forward.

“Soon enough, Alex and I became inseparable,” Kara gives a nostalgic smile. “True sisters. She’s my whole world now and I’m so lucky to have her. As I healed, physically and mentally, I started to remember bits and pieces of that night.”

“Your nightmares?” Lena asks.

“Yeah,” Kara exhales. “They’re always worse in December, around the anniversary of when I lost my family. But occasionally I’ll get them at other times, especially when I feel anxious or worried. I think it kicks in the survival instinct.”

“That’s not uncommon,” Lena says, sounding every bit the confident scientist. “The brain might be incredibly complex, but there’s a pattern to fear responses.”

Kara nods. “Alex’s room was right next to mine, so she’d be able to hear me. She’d come in, wake me up, calm me down, and then crawl into my bed and keep me company until I fell back asleep. She still does.”

Lena looks a bit like Kara handed her the final puzzle piece to something, but she doesn’t question it. Lena’s no fool and Kara’s sure she had some vague idea that there was something like this stirring under Kara’s surface.

“Things have gotten better,” Kara sniffles. “Time helps some. I figured out that meditating before bed helps me sleep without the nightmares, so I usually do it. That’s what I was doing before you got here, actually, that’s what this was.”

Kara gestures to the yoga mat in the middle of the living room.

“You didn’t meditate when you stayed with me?” Lena questions, cocking a curious head at the mat.

“Uh, no,” Kara smiles, feeling the blush spreading across her cheeks. “… sex also helps. It’s the stress relief.”

“Ah,” Lena chuckles. “Well, I’m happy to have been of service.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” Kara grins. “The pleasure was all mine, to give of course.”

Lena rolls her eyes. “Don’t even, Danvers.”

A silence passes between them both. For the first time since her arrival, Kara takes a good, full look at Lena Luthor. She’s got dark bags under her eyes — Lena’s mascara is certainly not waterproof, judging by the vertical streaks — and her cheeks lack their usual pink color. She’s absolutely gorgeous and she looks like shit.

“You haven’t been sleeping, have you?” Kara asks softly.

“No,” Lena gives a self-deprecating chuckle, glancing down at their intertwined hands. “Between my mother getting arrested and my best efforts to destroy our relationship, I’ve been terribly busy.”

“I bet.” Kara takes a deep breath to steel herself. “Lena … how are you doing? I know everything with your mom can’t be easy on you—”

The rest of her sentence is cut short as Lena practically crumbles in front of her, leaving only a husk in her place. Her eyes stare forward at something very far away, and even though Lena’s right there, it doesn’t feel like she is.

Kara squeezes Lena’s hand, ready to be the anchor now.

“Talk to me, Lena,” Kara requests. “I’m here.”

Lena gives a rueful chuckle. “What do you want to know? I’m sure you’ve already read the news and—”

“—No, I haven’t,” Kara interrupts. “I didn’t want to. I wanted to hear it from you.”

Lena’s visibly taken aback. “You … didn’t? Kara, it’s everywhere; my name is everywhere, I mean—”

“—It’s not fair, to you,” Kara states. “Whatever your mom did, it wasn’t you. You didn’t do anything wrong, Lena.”

That seems to do the trick, and Lena’s able to meet her eyes once more.

“Lillian was arrested for conspiracy to commit racketeering and falsification,” Lena explains. “She was caught bribing physicians to push the newest Luthor Corp opiate, Cadmus. It was marketed as being non-addictive, but apparently that’s not quite exactly true.”

“She messed with the data?” Kara frowns.

“I doubt she did it herself,” Lena scoffs. “But yes. She’s already had her medical license revoked. It’s an absolute nightmare for Luthor Corp; there’s a catastrophic-level of damage control to be done.”

“How did she get caught?” Kara’s brow crinkles. “Lillian doesn’t exactly seem like the kind of person to leave loose ends.”

“No, she’s certainly not,” Lena rubs her forehead. “But to answer your question — it was Lex.”

“Lex?” The crinkle grows stronger.

“Lex,” Lena confirms, taking a deep inhale. “Lex noticed there were some … discrepancies. That’s why he hired Sam; she’d be able to review the finances without suspicion, and Sam hates Lillian, so there was no concern of betrayal. Apparently, Lex partnered with the feds, to try and do what he could to protect Luthor Corp.”

Oh, wow. 

“Did you know?” Kara asks.

“Not at all,” Lena frowns, and her voice is undeniably raw. “My family doesn’t do honesty and transparency. I do think Lex tried to warn me, though, in his own way. Last time I was in Metropolis, he told me to ‘pack sentimentally’. I think he knew it would be the last time I’d be back there for a while.”

“You can’t go home?” Kara frowns deeply.

“I’d hardly consider Metropolis my home,” Lena quips. “But not really. I mean, I can’t even go back to my apartment here, and the media frenzy is ten-times worse in Metropolis.”

Lena hasn’t been back to her apartment since Monday? Kara tries not to let her surprise show, but she’s taken aback. Lena must’ve been at Jack’s the whole time.

“Have you spoken to Lex more?” Kara looks at Lena with tender eyes.

“Some, but he’s quite the busy man now,” Lena sucks on her teeth. “Lex is—was the senior VP, so he’s now the interim CEO. Though, I suspect the Board will likely make it permanent. We’re supposed to meet on Friday.”

Kara’s head quirks. “You’re on the Board?”

Lena freezes up.

“I … yes,” Lena nods, a look of regret on her face. “I’m a majority shareholder; Lex and I inherited Lionel’s shares after he passed away. I didn’t really … ask for them.”

“Huh,” Kara mumbles. She knew Lena was involved in Luthor Corp, but not to that level. Lena kind of owns a company. The only thing Kara owns is a few pairs of socks.

“I don’t tell people about it, for reasons you can imagine,” Lena says. “And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t repeat that. I … does it bother you?”

She gives Kara a deeply concerned look that threatens to break Kara’s recently-recovered heart.

“No, Lena, not at all,” Kara assures, throwing an arm around Lena’s shoulder and pulling her close. The feeling of touching her again — the warmth, the softness, the utter peace — it’s soothing beyond words. “I will always be here for you.”

“Thank you, Kara,” comes Lena’s shaky reply. She brings her free hand up to wrap around Kara’s wrist.

“You don’t really talk about Lionel,” Kara notes.

“Ah,” Lena gives a sad smile. “What is there to say? He spent his entire career building Luthor Corp from nothing into an empire. He had it all — money, a prominent physician as his wife, and a genius son to one day inherit his legacy.”

Kara notices Lena excludes herself, but doesn’t say anything about it.

“He was a larger-than-life, renowned man and the world loved him, while he was alive,” Lena continues. “And he was already dead and practically deified when Luthor Corp’s corrupt profiteering came to light.”

Kara notices the quiver in Lena’s bottom lip. “But who was he to you?”

Lena takes a deep breath. “He … wasn’t a bad father, at first. He always made me feel like his real daughter, even though I was adopted — almost to the point of favoring me over Lex. Lillian hated it, and I’m sure it hurt Lex. Nothing he could ever do was quite good enough for Lionel. But Lex was a good brother and never took it out on me. Lillian … Lillian did though.”

Lena gives Kara a miserable look. “I swear that’s why she’s always hated me; why I was never good enough for her. Lex was her ‘precious boy’ and could do no wrong for the longest time, until he met Mercy and started to disagree with Mother-dearest. I can’t tell you how contentious the Luthor family dinners are.”

Kara gives a sympathetic grimace. She loves food, but even that’s quite the price to pay.

“Lionel was a complicated man,” Lena continues. “He was certainly a terrible husband … he clearly didn’t love Lillian, but he stayed with her anyway, and it made him miserable. He started drinking all the time, and the man I had always seen as my loving father slowly disappeared. He would get so drunk and so mad and he would scream at everyone until he was hoarse.”

“I’m so sorry, Lena,” Kara whispers, pressing a kiss into Lena’s forehead. To her relief, Lena doesn’t flinch away. It almost feels like she leans into it.

“Lex and I used to hide from him in our treehouse.” A wistful smile floats across Lena’s face. “We’d play chess and talk about all the places we’d one day build mansions. Lex would make me feel safe, even as Lionel would be storming around under us, belligerent.”

“I’m glad you two had each other,” Kara says, pulling Lena deeper into her arms.

“It’s what killed him, eventually,” Lena explains, one finger idly tracing along the lines of Kara’s muscular forearm. “Cirrhosis of the liver, terribly poetic. I was twelve. After Lionel passed away, Lillian shipped me off to boarding school; she could hardly wait to get me out of her house, and I was fine with it. Lex was in college by that time, so I hardly got to see him anyway.”

“Lena, I …” Kara trails off. She doesn’t even know what to say. All she wants is to scoop Lena up in her arms and hold her close and never let anything hurt her ever again.

“It’s alright,” Lena gives her a self-deprecating smile. “We really make quite the pair, don’t we?”

“We do,” Kara nods. “But I’m starting to realize we’re both more than that too. I-I‘ve been going back to therapy again. It sucks, but it’s worth it … maybe it would be helpful for you too?”

“I …” Lena clamps her jaw shut abruptly, as if her mind and her tongue are at war. “I … I’ve never been, admittedly.”

“It’s not scary,” Kara promises, “It’s just talking. It’s been helpful for me. It made me realize, to get through all the stuff with my family, I made myself numb. But I realize now that I can’t pick and choose what to be numb about. If I want to be happy, I have to let myself be sad too.”

“I … I’ll consider it,” Lena offers with great strain.

“That’s all I can ask,” Kara accepts. 

An uneasy silence falls over them both, neither sure of what comes next. Kara’s the brave one to set out in search of an answer.

“Well, I think we’re officially out of dead parents to talk about,” Kara jokes. “So, you’re going to have to make a choice now.”

“A choice?” Lena’s brow furrows. “What am I choosing between?”

“I have to leave in the morning,” Kara sighs, gesturing to the pile of packed bags by the door. “The team will be in Phoenix until Sunday. Since you can’t go back to your apartment … you could always stay here until Alex and I get back.”

Lena’s mouth falls open in surprise. “No, Kara, I couldn’t possibly intrude, I—”

“—I’m offering,” Kara says. “Because I want to. You don’t have to decide right now; there’s no rush. Take your time and just think about it.”

“Hmm … and what do you propose we do while I mull it over?” Lena arches a brow, extending her neck sideways in a gentle curve, and Kara can suddenly feel her pulse throughout her entire body.

“Uh …” Kara freezes, not sure how best to proceed. “Uhm …” 

The best she can do is swallow roughly. She had no such intentions of going that direction, but clearly Lena has given it some thought, and frankly she’d follow Lena Luthor to the edge of the universe.

“Kara Danvers,” Lena says coyly. “Are you proposing make-up sex?”

“Well …” Kara says slowly, carefully choosing her words. “Does that mean we’ve made up?”

“Perhaps. I did interrupt your bedtime meditation, after all,” Lena says. “You know, it’s fitting where you’re traveling tomorrow — I’ve always been partial to the tale of the phoenix. The idea of rebirth, it’s incredibly tempting. To be able to rise from the ash of the past.”

“We could have that,” Kara offers. “We could start again.”

“And how do you propose we do that?” Lena gives her an incredulous look. They both know each other too much to ever truly start again.

“It’s easy,” Kara shrugs. “We start over, as our genuine selves this time. I’ll show you.”

Lena arches a brow.

“Hi, I’m Kara Danvers,” Kara says, smiling softly at her. At the same time, she pulls away and sticks out a formal hand for Lena to shake. “I have terrible survivor’s guilt and a hero complex that gets me into trouble.”

“Hello, Kara Danvers,” Lena shakes her head at the ridiculousness of it all, but she reaches for Kara’s hand all the same. “I’m Lena Luthor. I have abandonment issues and a tendency to lash out when I’m hurt.”

“Hi, Lena Luthor,” Kara pulls her in close, the tips of their noses brushing. “I think we’d be good together, and I’d like to try.”

“I’d like to try too,” Lena whispers. “Because I … I love you too.”

Lena Luthor loves Kara Danvers.

As Lena’s lips meet her own, Kara feels like she herself could outshine the sun.

They love each other.

It’s an impossible ball of energy in the universe, exploding outwards with incredible force — the creation of everything.

Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor love each other.

“So,” Lena takes a shaky breath, pressing her forehead to Kara’s. “What do we do now?”

Kara gives her a soft smile. “We take it one day at a time. As two people who care about each other. We’ll talk out our issues together, we’ll support each other, and we’ll have really good sex too.”

“As … partners?” Lena offers. The dimples of her smile are small and soft; it’s a tentative, guarded smile.

That simply won’t do. Kara’s in this now — and she’s not going anywhere.

“Partners until the end,” Kara reassures, sealing it with a kiss. Lena’s lips are amazingly soft and warm between her own and they belong there forever. “You’re not getting rid of me that easy, Luthor.”

The dimples reach full-force and Kara thinks, this is what good love must feel like.

“Wouldn't dream of it, Danvers.”

“Good,” Kara informs her, “Because I’ve got plans for you.”

Without warning, Kara moves and picks Lena up into her arms. It’s not as smooth as either of them would’ve liked; Lena’s arms wrap around Kara’s neck as she squeaks in surprise.

“Kara,” Lena exclaims, holding on for dear life. “What are you—”

The rest of Lena’s sentence is lost as Kara throws the woman down on her bed.

“Hi,” Kara grins, jumping on top of Lena, straddling her.

“Hi,” Lena returns. She tries to sound annoyed, but it doesn’t work. Kara can practically see the delight and excitement twinkling in her eyes.

They kiss again and it feels like coming home. 

Clothes are shed quickly, and soon expanses of warm, soft skin are brushing up against each other. They move in a soothing, steady rhythm together. It’s gentle and tender. Kisses are, for the first time, allowed to be given deeply and freely. Nothing is held back — not orgasms, nor tears, nor feelings, nor confessions of love.

It’s undeniably raw.

“Stay tonight,” Kara begs into Lena’s parted lips, teetering on the edge.

Lena just nods vigorously, clutching onto Kara with a vigor that could bend steel. “I will … just … don’t stop, Kara, fuck.”

Every single molecule of air in the room is gone.

“Lena!” Kara gasps. She’s so close, nearly dangling off the edge of the precipice now, and judging by the depth of Lena’s nails sunken into her skin, the other woman is right there too.

They fall together.

Sleep comes quick and easy for them both, firmly secure and wrapped up in each other’s arms.


 

Chapter Text


Lena awakes in a cocoon of warmth, and it’s only in part due to the blankets covering 95% of her body.

The sunlight pours in over her, bathing her in it, and it’s beyond tranquil. She stretches under the covers, the foreign but soft cotton sheets rubbing against her bare skin. She’s in Kara’s bed. 

The Kara who loves her.

The Kara she loves.

Fuck.

She should run, right? Surely, there’s no way they get to just … be. There has to be something, some reason why this is all a bad idea, why they shouldn’t be together. Why she shouldn't give her heart to Kara. After all, to love something is to inevitably lose it, right?

But she knows it’s not. Not anymore.

It’s to trust, Lena repeats wearily, a certain someone’s voice echoing around her head. To trust that you’ll get it back.

She trusts Kara. She loves Kara.

And Kara loves her.

Hearing it last night had all but melted her, and it would seem to yield the exact same result this morning — initial panic aside (old habits die hard, alright?). She could almost live in this moment forever. Almost. But as warm and comfortable as the bed might be, it’s also empty. Lena wants to hiss in displeasure.

Where the fuck is Kara?

In the distance, Lena can hear what sounds like rummaging through the kitchen — of course, the kitchen — and begrudgingly crawls out of bed to go find her precocious … whatever they are.

Partners? Why had she chosen such an ambiguous term? Were they international spies, a pair of cowboys, two idiots still a little afraid to be explicit …

Hm, alright.

As Lena rises to her feet with a stretch, she looks around the room for clothes. She doesn’t have to try hard; Kara’s set out a flannel and boxers for her, neatly folded under her currently-charging phone on the dresser corner. She tosses them on without delay. They’re soft and they smell so much of Kara.

Next on Lena’s list of shit to deal with is her dry, blurry contacts — she really needs to stop sleeping in them. But there were more important things to do last night.

When Lena exits the bedroom, a warm sunrise is pouring into the apartment through the windows; there’s a shroud of light over the whole space. It’s pretty, but it does little for her visibility. 

Sure enough, there’s a figure in black joggers, bent at the waist, and head in the fridge. The door obscures her from full view, but it’s Kara, of course. The woman’s ass dangles tauntingly out into the walkway, and as Lena passes by on her path to the bathroom, the idea is too tempting to decline.

“Morning, darling,” Lena greets, her hand already swinging out to slap Kara’s ass as she passes by.

Only it’s not Kara’s ass.

It’s a bit rounder and a bit softer than Kara’s, and Lena realizes with a sudden acceptance this is how she dies.

At the same time, their two equally-horrified voices state, “You’re not Kara.”

Not-Kara stands and turns to face her, and Lena is mortified.

She just slapped Alex Danvers on the ass.

Alex breaks the silence. “No, I’m sure as hell not Kara. And I take it now that the blanket-covered lump in Kara’s bed was also not Kara?”

“No,” Lena gulps. No, it was certainly not — and thank god for the copious pile of blankets that had saved a naked Lena and an unsuspecting Alex from a very awkward situation.

Even worse than this one.

She just slapped Alex Danvers on the ass.

“Alex, I am so sorry,” Lena begins to apologize profusely, all the blood drained from her face. “I truly thought you were Kara.”

Alex’s intimidating mask cracks into a playful smile as she closes the fridge. “As fun as it is to see you sweat, Luthor, it’s fine. Lucy slaps my ass like twice a day.”

Alex isn’t mad. Alex isn’t going to murder her. Alright, this is still a good day.

Lena’s shoulders sag in relief, but it’s short-lived.

“What I’m much more interested in is why you’re here, in my apartment, on a Thursday morning,” Alex’s eyes narrow. “And where’s my sister?”

Lena’s stomach does a few flips. “As for the latter, I have no idea. I was hoping you maybe knew. And for the former — I came over last night to apologize to Kara.”

“You did?” Alex’s eyebrows shoot up and she crosses her arms over her chest. “And how’d that go?”

Lena swallows roughly. This is a level of honesty and sharing she was wholly unprepared for. “It went … well, actually. I don’t know how much Kara told you, but—”

“—She told me everything,” Alex states, a subtle but sharp edge to her voice. “Did you tell her everything?”

“I did,” Lena admits with an exhale. “We talked for a long while, sober this time. I recognize how badly I hurt her, and I truly am so sorry for how I reacted when she came to me.”

Alex gives her a stony, undecipherable look and Lena’s not a huge fan that apparently possessing the surname ‘Danvers’ automatically grants the ability to pierce her impenetrable walls like paper. She pulls on her fingers, waiting for Alex’s response.

Alex’s eyes narrow. “So you guys are on good terms then?”

“Yes,” Lena gulps. “I … I love her.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Alex makes a face of utter exasperation. “As long as this means you guys are done being dramatic little shitheads, thank god.”

“Oh,” Lena can feel herself flush bright red at her unnecessary admission. This whole conversation feels terribly simple and easy and it’s throwing her off. “You know, I half-expected this conversation to turn into a shovel-talk.”

The older Danvers stands tall and squares her shoulders. “It can be, if you want. I just figured: how good of a threat is it if I have to say it out loud? You know where we stand.” Alex gives her a deadly glare to accent her point, then it fades.

Lena swallows roughly and nods a breathless acceptance. She asked for that one. But in a way, she’s relieved to have had it. It makes her feel … accountable.

“Relax,” Alex breaks into another soft smile. “I’m sure you could use it; I’ve seen the news.”

Oh, fuck.

Lena immediately launches into defense. “Alex, I—”

“—No need,” Alex raises a hand to cut her off. “Kara says you’re different from your family, and I trust her. I don’t love that she’s liable to get dragged into this media shitstorm, but you don’t have to apologize for something that’s not your fault.”

The Danvers cannot seriously be a real fucking family; where the hell do they get this endless supply of love and forgiveness from?

“So are you two dating?” Alex asks.

“I … I think so,” Lena decides. ‘Partners’ really is such fucking a vague term and she’s truly regretting her word choice now. “Kara and I haven’t actually fully discussed that point yet.”

“Hmph,” Alex grunts. “You two might want to do that.”

Lena gets a bit defensive on their behalf. “I had every intention of doing so this morning, but unfortunately that conversation requires two.”

“Kara probably just went to get food,” Alex says. “Noonan’s sticky buns are her favorite before we hit the road.”

Lena nods; she actually did know that. (She’s personally partial to something a bit less sugary and messy, but Kara has an insatiable sweet-tooth, and if she wants sugary, she usually gets it, one way or another.)

“Did Kara tell you we’re traveling today?” Alex asks, taking a sip of some sports-drink.

“Yes,” Lena nods. “Best of luck, by the way.”

“Thanks,” Alex gives her a polite smile. “Games are Friday and Saturday — you should watch them.”

Lena opens her mouth to inform Alex that she’s already planned her entire weekend schedule around being able to watch their games, when the door opens abruptly.

Kara’s eyes lock onto Lena’s the instant she’s in the apartment. 

“Hi!” she exclaims in unhindered excitement, a paper bag and a drink carrier with two coffees in her hand. She’s wearing what Lena now knows to be the Comets’ casual travel wear, her hair up but still a bit damp, with a blinding grin on her face.

“Hi,” Lena greets with an unstoppable smile, but her eyes dart over to where Alex is standing, halting Kara in her tracks.

“Alex!” Kara’s shock is immediately noticeable. “You’re … home early.”

“I am,” Alex confirms, sucking on her lip to hide her amusement. “And I got quite the greeting.”

Lena flushes bright red, which Kara misconstrues as panic.

“Alex, I can explain. Lena and I—”

Alex sweeps her hair backwards with her hands. “Lena already explained; I’m happy for you two.”

“Oh. Good,” Kara exhales in relief, coming to stand by Lena. “Coffee?”

“Thank you,” Lena smiles, taking the cup marked ‘black’ from the holder.

“Where’s my coffee?” Alex interjects. “I’m the one that’s been putting up with all your overdramatic, angsty shit recently.”

“You don’t get one because you weren’t supposed to be here yet,” Kara fires back. “And what do you mean ‘angsty shit’?”

Alex gives her an incredulous look, Kara’s words an inconceivable notion to her. Lena knows it's a look that can only be exchanged between siblings.

“What angsty shit?” Alex repeats. She points an angry finger at Kara first. “You’ve been an absolute terror the past three weeks. Lying about the draft? Completely unnecessary. Being a dick to your friends, the angsty midnight swim—”

“You took an angsty midnight swim?” Lena repeats, smugly enjoying the newfound mental image of Kara so worked up over their split.

“And you,” Alex wheels around to turn on Lena, who freezes up