Her assistant had been the one to suggest she go to this. Lena hadn’t done much beyond work and sleep since she’d moved to National City three weeks ago, and apparently it was starting to show.
Jess couldn't make it herself, but she'd shared the details with Lena. A masquerade night at a popular club downtown sounded perfect, especially after the day she’d had today: five different meetings, none of which produced anything remotely useful or actionable. At this point she was almost desperate for the anonymity afforded by a masque and a simple black dress. She’d have a drink or two, then find stress relief in the form of a willing partner without having to worry about any of the potential social media repercussions from being recognized.
Unfortunately, though, her evening wasn’t playing out as well as she’d hoped. A few people had caught her eye from her view at the bar, but no one had grabbed enough of her attention to spur her into action. In this respect, things were easier in Metropolis. Going out to a club there wasn’t her only option. She’d had a couple of semi-regular hookups whom she could reach out to when the need arose. But here, she was starting from scratch - like everything else going on in her life. Brand new city, brand new apartment, and brand new crop of employees and board members she had to win the confidence and/or fear of.
But she hadn’t come here to dwell on her problems. The exact opposite, in fact. Which meant she needed to focus a little less on her inner dialogue and a lot more on the people around her.
People that now included a newly arrived woman tending bar.
Lena was very good at getting a fast read on people, but there was some quality she couldn't easily identify about the gorgeous, blonde bartender. Maybe it was her subtle confidence amidst the club’s narcissistic atmosphere. Or maybe it was her sunny smile, so different from Lena’s usual hookups. Either way, it had her watching and eavesdropping as the bartender greeted her coworker.
“Hey, Eric, I’m so sorry I’m late, I got stuck at work and-”
“No, hey, you're the one bailing me out. Thanks for covering for me.”
The other bartender quickly finished up the drink he was working on, some kind of elaborate cocktail that looked like more effort than it was worth. He said something that Lena couldn’t quite make out, but apparently neither could the blonde.
“You look different,” he repeated a little louder. “Without the glasses.”
“Yea, they don't really work with this.” She gestured towards her masque, a domino style design similar to Lena’s, covering only the area surrounding her eyes and leaving the rest of her face bare.
He slid the cocktail down to a person on Lena’s right, then gave the blonde a quick hug and stepped away in a rush. “Thank you again!”
“Have fun!” she called out cheerily before turning her attention to Lena and smiling widely. “What can I get you?”
And okay, that smile was one thing when it was observed from a distance, quite another when it was directed at her. It lit Lena up with warmth and a pull of attraction, followed by the first sparks of arousal.
“Not sure,” Lena replied, allowing a small smirk to appear. “Are you one of those bartenders that hates when someone says, ’Surprise me?’”
“Well, since I'm not really a bartender I'm not sure if that applies to me. But to answer your question, no I actually like that.”
Lena nodded slowly, then let her voice drop a touch when she responded with, “Good. Then surprise me.”
Fortunately, her flirting didn’t go unnoticed, with the blonde giving her a lingering gaze before turning away. Lena could be more direct with her, but foreplay like this always made the chase more satisfying when it was successful.
If she wanted to, Lena probably could have figured out what drink she was making, but she was far more interested in the new view, appreciating the way the bartender’s jeans hugged her body, and the strong, toned arms on display when the blonde grabbed a bottle from a higher shelf.
A few moments later she presented Lena with a vibrant green drink.
“Midori sour?” Lena guessed after taking a sip. It wasn’t a drink she normally ordered, usually being too sweet for her tastes. But this one was well balanced and hit more pleasantly than expected.
The bartender’s face split into a grin as she nodded in affirmation.
“It looks a little darker than normal.”
“It is. I added some coloring to it.”
Lena tilted her head curiously. “Why?”
The blonde hesitated before answering.
“I was trying to match the color of your eyes,” she admitted softly. She opened her mouth to say something else, but was cut off by someone waving from the end of the bar to get her attention. Rolling her eyes at the interruption, she offered an apologetic smile before sidling down to get their order.
The small wait didn’t bother Lena, because now she knew for certain her interest wasn’t one-sided.
Sipping slowly at her drink, she used the time to stare freely at the bartender. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail, and Lena imagined pulling it free, carding her fingers through honey blonde locks before slipping hands underneath that black tank top to see if the rest of her body was as fit as what Lena could already see.
After finishing up with a nearby gaggle of collegiate girls, she wandered back to Lena’s side of the bar.
“So, not really a bartender?” Lena inquired.
It took a moment for the blonde to recall her earlier statement, brow furrowed before her eyes lit up in memory. “Oh, yeah!” Placing her elbows on the bar, she forward into Lena’s space. “So, I never really took any formal training or anything, I just bartended when I was in college at a place near campus. It was only part-time, and Eric worked there, too, before he moved here. When he found out I was in National City we got together and he mourned how great it was having me be able to cover shifts for him - I swear, he goes to more concerts in a month than I’ve gone to, like, ever - so then he half-jokingly asked if I'd fill in for him once in a while again, and he nearly fell out of his chair when I said yes.”
She laughed, then added, “It's on a much more limited basis now, though. My other job keeps me too busy to do this more than once a month or so.”
“Why do it at all then?” Lena asked, belatedly realizing it was probably for the money. But before thinking of a way to gracefully backtrack, she received an answer contradicting her assumption.
“Because I like it. This gives me a chance to talk and get to know people. Even if it is only in glimpses.”
She paired another one of those brilliant smiles with her response, and Lena shook her head, smiling to herself.
“Nothing. I’m just rather the opposite,” she admitted. “I prefer being by myself when given the option. Most people, once I get to know them, are disappointing.”
The bartender weighed that statement for a moment, looking at Lena more intently before shrugging gently. “Maybe your expectations are too high.”
It wasn’t said accusingly, more like words born from experience. But Lena shook her head again. She didn’t think it was too much to expect her mother to love her or for her brother to choose her over his vendetta. Or to have friends that were interested in more than just her last name and the wealth and status associated with it.
“No, I don't think so,” she responded, pursing her lips before slipping into a half grin. “But then again, I haven't meant many people like you.”
Lena was being flirtatious, but she was also serious. This woman had an optimism exuding from her that Lena didn't often come across. She was used to using adjectives like jaded, selfish, and privileged for people in her sphere. Not the unbridled and infectious warmth put forth by this woman with every smile and expression.
Lena wanted to comment on that smile in particular, but forced herself to bite back the first words that came to mind. They were too stale and overused to be believable. Her expression, though, must have betrayed her thoughts, because she received a quizzical look in response, followed by a curious, “What?”
“No,” Lena said emphatically. “It’s too cliche to say.” She may not have a degree in literature, but she could certainly come up with something less hackneyed given a little time. But her refusal only spurred the blonde’s interest.
“Oh, now I have to hear it. I promise I won’t laugh.” She looked so intrigued and eager, it was hard to want to refuse her - and after a short pause, Lena gave up trying.
“I was thinking that you have a really incredible smile,” Lena told her.
With anyone else, that line wouldn’t have worked. Shouldn’t have worked. But it was the truth, and despite the low lighting Lena was positive the blonde was blushing, which was surprising because at a job like this she should have been used to lines like that by now.
Lena waved her hand in apology. “I’m sorry. You must get hit on all the time. You deserve more imaginative compliments than that.”
Again they were interrupted by another impatient patron, but it gave the blonde some time to recover, and when she returned she was no longer flustered.
“I do get hit on a lot here,” she admitted. “And I’ve heard just about every line at this point. But cliche or not...I still liked hearing it coming from you.”
Externally Lena smiled, but internally she preened.
Their banter continued on over the course of the night, with frequent smiles and glances as well as the occasional touch of fingers whenever Lena ordered another drink. Her only complaint was that the bartender was working and it necessitated waiting until the end of her shift. Yes, there was something to be said for delayed gratification, but there was a limit to that and she was more than happy to hear the blonde’s next words.
“Well, I'm just about done for the night. Can I get you anything else?”
She licked her lips and let her gaze travel up and down the bartender. Based on what Lena had gleaned of this woman’s personality thus far, she was guessing that hookups weren't really typical for her. So when the blonde blushed at the unsubtle gesture but didn't look away, Lena took that as a good sign.
“Did you want to come over to my place for a drink?”
Lena watched as the bartender reached up towards her face, seemingly to push up glasses that weren’t there, before biting her lip in indecision. God, did she have to do that, Lena thought, staring at her mouth and trying not to focus on how much she wanted to leave indentations there as well.
Eventually a slow smile broke onto the bartender’s face, and a matching one emerged on Lena’s. Her heart rate sped up as the blonde opened her mouth to speak, with Lena already knowing the answer she was about to hear.
Kara followed the woman out of the club, still a little surprised at herself that she’d said yes to this. Not that she hadn't ever gone home with someone from a bar or club before, but it’d never been with so little information.
She didn't even know this woman’s name, for Rao’s sake. But her personality and demeanor had pulled Kara in, and what she could see of her face and her body in that tantalizing dress had been equal parts distracting and tempting.
Guessing they’d need transportation, Kara was about to pull out her phone when the other woman tugged her in the direction of a sleek-looking luxury vehicle parked a few cars away. Kara slid into the back seat after her, and as the divider between them and the driver rose, the woman laid her hand on Kara’s thigh, most likely anticipating nervousness on Kara’s part. The thoughtfulness was appreciated, well and truly, but now that she’d made her decision Kara was sure of what she wanted and how to act on it. Turning towards her companion, Kara cupped her cheek and captured her mouth in a slow but searing kiss, receiving a satisfied groan in response.
She kept to a languid pace, because sound carries and she didn’t want to traumatize the driver too much on the short drive over. But it didn’t mean she wasn’t distracted, so much so that it took several minutes before either of them realized they’d arrived at their destination.
As they made their way through the lobby, Kara regained enough of her senses to notice the expensiveness of her surroundings. The woman had a driver, so that was her first tip off, but this - a lavishly modern, high-rise apartment building in the most overpriced part of the city - this was something else entirely. She’d also taken note that when the doorman attempted to greet her companion, he’d only gotten so far as a “Good evening, Ms.-” before being cut off with a quick acknowledgement.
Apparently, she wasn't the only one who wanted her identity to remain hidden. It would explain why neither one of them had introduced themselves or asked for the other’s name yet.
That would certainly make things easier.
Kara had been fretting over how to avoid recognition. Pre-Supergirl, it hadn’t mattered, of course. But once she’d donned the crest, casual hookups suddenly became a lot trickier to navigate. She had to worry about glasses coming off or hair being pulled loose in the heat of the moment.
She’d never come up with an actual solution, hence her non-participation in one night stands for a while. Yet she’d said yes to one tonight, trading her glasses for a masque that needed to stay in place. But lucky for her it didn’t look like it would be an issue. Kara guessed if she made no attempt to pull her partner’s masque off, her own would be left untouched as well. And hopefully it would suffice as a disguise, even if her hair came free.
As soon as the elevator’s doors closed and it began moving upward, Kara stepped into the woman’s space, capturing her lips and walking her backwards. When her back hit the wall she tried to push forward, but Kara leaned in harder, gripping at her hips and holding her firmly in place. As if reading her mind from moments earlier, she responded by pulling Kara’s hair free of it’s ponytail, weaving her fingers in and tugging Kara forward to deepen the kiss until the elevator arrived at their floor.
Once inside the apartment, Kara found herself pivoted and pressed against the door. “Two can play at that game,” her companion whispered in her ear, teeth biting lightly on her earlobe.
Not to be outdone, Kara slid her hands to the woman’s hips and spun her around.
“But I play it better,” she murmured as she dropped her hands behind the woman’s thighs, lifting her off the ground and pushing her up against the door. Kara might lack confidence in some areas, but her strength wasn't one of them.
She heard a hum of agreement and “I guess you do” as the woman’s legs wrapped around Kara’s waist, while Kara sucked a trail along her neck.
Eventually Kara’s lips found their way back to her partner’s mouth, where she nipped at her bottom lip, then paused before continuing.
“Is this okay?” Kara asked against her lips.
“Is what okay?” She sounded confused by the question.
“This. What we’re doing.” Kara ducked her head down, suddenly a little self-conscious. “Sorry. I’m just checking in. I mean, it’s probably obvious you're still wanting to do this but I wanted to make sure you're comfortable and okay with what I’m doing. What we’re doing. Sometimes it can be unclear with people and it doesn’t hurt to double check and-”
Thankfully her rambling was stopped in the best way possible - with an opened mouthed kiss and a tongue seeking entrance. After a few moments of kissing intense enough that Kara started feeling dizzy with need, the woman pulled away, leaning her forehead against Kara’s.
“Yes, I'm very much okay with everything that's going on, both now and in the near future.” She cupped Kara’s cheeks, making eye contact through their masques as she said, “But thank you for asking.”
Kara leaned in a little closer, then paused when she caught a glimpse of something else in the green eyes looking back at her. Something besides desire. It almost looked like surprise.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked, giving in to her curiosity.
There was a pause, fingers lightly brushing against the back of Kara’s neck as the woman debated answering that. Kara thought maybe she wouldn’t, but after a few seconds she was given a wry smile and a simple but unexpected answer.
“Just that you seem like a nice person.”
“And?” Kara coaxed gently. Because it seemed like there was more to it than that.
“And-” her breath hitched when Kara’s restless fingers curled against the bare skin of her upper thighs, “And I’m not really used to that.”
Kara paused, eyes furrowed in confusion. “To people being nice to you?”
“Yes,” she replied matter-of-factly.
“That’s…” Kara shook her head slightly, at a loss for words. “You deserve better than that.”
“You don't know me,” she retorted, an eyebrow quirked up in challenge. “Maybe I’m not nice either.”
She punctuated that statement by leaning forward and pulling Kara’s bottom lip into her mouth before biting down on it. Not sharply enough to truly hurt, but enough for Kara to feel it, from her lips to her toes.
Kara replied with a soft kiss in return, wordlessly arguing against this woman’s self-assessment. She might have hard edges, but Kara wouldn’t have been attracted to her - wouldn’t have come home with her - if there wasn’t more to her than that.
The back-and-forth continued before settling somewhere in between, a heated mix of soft and sharp, with the same intensity and passion that preceded their impromptu conversation.
After that, Kara was more focused on kissing and removing clothing than talking. But she didn't forget the glimpse of vulnerability she’d seen and heard, the lack of kind treatment from the people in this woman’s life thus far. And Kara was determined to make up for it.
Even if it was through something as fleeting as casual sex.
Three orgasms and she hadn't returned the favor once yet. Lena wasn't keen at losing at anything in life, but she might be willing to make an exception in this case.
“Fuck,” Lena sighed, flopping against the pillows as she tried to catch her breath. “That was…wow.”
The blonde crawled up from between Lena’s legs, licking her way up her sternum before resting her elbows on either side of Lena’s face to grin down at her.
“Yeah,” Lena confirmed, reaching up to tuck a lock of hair behind the blonde’s ear. “I'm not entirely sure you're real. Like, you're going to mumble something about a pumpkin and leave your masque behind in lieu of a glass slipper.”
The woman above her chuckled before leaning down to kiss along her collarbone.
Lena never had cause before to describe herself as being fucked within an inch of her life, but tonight was getting close. And if she let her keep going and try for a fourth, that description would become accurate. Which, while tempting, would leave her useless. And that wasn’t fair to her partner.
Lena plucked at a strap of the woman’s tank top. “How is it that you’re still mostly clothed?”
The blonde glanced down at herself, then smiled.
“You got my jeans off.”
“But not you,” Lena retorted with an arched eyebrow, pushing at the blonde’s shoulder. “Lay down.”
She half expected an argument, but seeing the hooded look she got in response made Lena smile in anticipation. She could only imagine how built up the blonde must be at this point.
“Any requests?” she teased as she started inching the woman’s shirt up, kissing along her stomach.
“Just…don't hold back. You won't hurt me.”
“Are you saying you want it rough?” Lena was fine with that if she did, but she didn't want to be wrong either.
“No. I mean, I like that, too, just…not really rough right now, but,” she paused to lick her lips, looking up at the ceiling, “hard enough that I can feel you.”
“I can do that,” Lena replied, smiling as she gripped the blonde’s hip. And as she started kissing up her body, she couldn’t help thinking that one night with this woman wasn’t going to be enough.
* * *
Kara wasn't asleep, but she wasn't really awake either, drifting in a soft haze of blissfully dull senses. This was her favorite part of every morning - the part before the noise of the world took over. It wasn’t that it was silent - because it was never silent for her - but it was quiet.
Sometimes that was all she wished for. For the world to just stop being so loud and noisy and pretentious and full of itself.
Maybe she needed a break. To spend some time outside of the city, where the cacophony came from nature and felt a lot less intrusive and agitated. But that required additional consideration and planning, neither of which she felt like thinking about at the moment, so she let those thoughts float away, let herself fall back into the half asleep-ness she was enjoying a few seconds ago.
Because this was nice.
Something about right now was extra pleasant, but she wasn’t awake enough to put her finger on what it was exactly. She didn’t really care, though. Just wanted to linger in it forever as she snuggled up to the warmth in front of her.
Forever, unfortunately, lasted a grand total of about thirty seconds. That’s when the warmth turned over. That’s when a name was gasped out in surprise.
Memories of last night suddenly came flooding back. The club, the car ride over, the incredible sex with the woman she was currently sharing a bed with...
And that one moment. When she was tired yet still should have gotten up and left, but her post-coital endorphin-flooded brain convinced herself it would be fine.
Words of denial were on the tip of her tongue as she opened her eyes - ”I know, I get that a lot...” - but instead, the only words coming out of her mouth were ones full of just as much shock.
Because she knew the face staring at her.
Lena woke to light streaming through windows at a different angle than she was accustomed to. Regardless of the fact that it was a Saturday, she usually woke up early out of habit. The only times she didn't were as a result of drinking, utter exhaustion, or - she felt an arm around her middle, pulling her back to lie flush with the body behind her - or that.
It was unusual for Lena to let someone she wasn't in a serious relationship sleep over, but then flashes of the marathon sex they'd engaged in starting coming back to her, and that made sense. By the end they'd both been too tired to do much beyond pull the sheets over their bodies before sleep took over.
Unfortunately, what didn't come back to her was the impetus for last night’s foray, so when she felt something askew covering part of her face, she haphazardly pushed it off of her head before rolling over to the person sharing her bed.
And that's when Lena got a big enough shock that she knew her morning caffeine would be completely unnecessary today.
Supergirl was in her bed.
And she was in her bed because they'd had sex.
A lot of sex.
Belatedly she realized she'd must have said the hero’s name out loud, because the blonde blinked her eyes open to look at her and said Lena’s name out loud in just as much surprise.
They stared at each silently, until something caught Lena’s attention lying on the pillow above Supergirl’s head.
Pulling it towards her, Lena suddenly recognized the masque the blonde had been wearing last night. And now Lena understood what she'd pushed off her own face moments ago.
“Well,” Lena said with a smirk, “…this is awkward.”
Awkward didn't even begin to cover it.
Kara recognized Lena immediately. Her sister had given her a DEO packet about Lex’s sister a month ago, right before she’d arrived in town. She didn’t recall much from what she’d read - she’d told Alex she wasn’t about to judge a woman by her brother’s actions - but she did remember the pictures. The pale skin and striking green eyes and…oh, Rao.
She was an idiot.
And to make matters worse, her stunned silence took away any hope of believably denying her identity. Alex was going to kill her if she found out about this.
After a few more moments of staring at one another unproductively, Lena turned and got out of bed, walking naked towards her closet. As she slipped into a robe, Lena smirked. “It's a little late to be blushing, Supergirl.”
Lena calling her out on it only served to deepen Kara’s blush more. But she couldn't help it - seeing Lena’s body on full display in the bright light of day was more than she could handle.
Rather than respond, Kara rolled out of bed and snagged her top off of the floor, pulling it over her head and running a hand through her tangled hair as she looked for her underwear. She didn’t spot them anywhere on the ground, and when she turned to search the bed she was startled to find Lena standing in front of her dangling her boyshorts from a fingertip.
This morning really couldn't get any more mortifying.
“Thank you,” Kara mumbled, slipping them on as Lena reached behind her to hand Kara her jeans.
She pulled those on as well, eyes studiously avoiding eye contact with the woman in front her. But that meant her gaze landing on Lena’s robe.
Lena’s slightly open robe.
Lena’s slightly open robe that revealed the swell of her right breast - perfectly smooth, pale skin marred only by a fresh bruise peeking out from beneath the edge of the fabric. One of several marks she’d left as she'd sucked along Lena’s chest and collarbone.
Oh, Rao…Kara had given Lena Luthor hickies.
Lena cleared her throat pointedly, and Kara snapped her eyes up to Lena’s, face reddening once again.
“Sorry,” Kara apologized softly, “for staring.”
No need to mention or apologize for the hickies.
“Don’t worry about it.” Lena waved her hand absently. “It's not like we haven't seen every square inch of each other already.” Lena walked past Kara, halting in the open doorway. “I'm going to go make some tea. Would you like some as well? Or coffee?”
“Um, sure. Tea is fine.” Kara’s head was still spinning at the surreality of the situation to really care about what she was drinking.
A few minutes later, after Kara had used the bathroom and otherwise stalled as much as possible, she wandered into the kitchen. Lena was seated at the kitchen island, sipping at her tea while perusing something on her tablet.
“Hey,” Kara announced herself.
Lena looked up, gaze traveling up and down Kara before a slow smile crept over her face.
She gestured to the mug across from her as she set her tablet aside.
Kara stepped forward, setting the masques she’d grabbed from the bedroom onto the counter. She picked up the tea and murmured a quiet ‘thank you’ before taking a sip, trying to figure out what to say. Mornings after a hookup were awkward enough already, but this…this was a whole new level.
“This is good,” Kara commented, in lieu of anything better to say.
“Mmm,” Lena hummed. “It is. But don't get your heart too set on it. Tieguanyin tea is hard to come by.”
“Yes,” she admitted with a small quirk of her lips.
“Does it matter?”
“Not really,” Kara shrugged. It was more a question to keep the conversation going, rather than any real desire to know.
Lena tilted her head at Kara, appraising her. “I buy it because I like it, not because it comes with a high price tag.”
Kara took another sip, closing her eyes as she chased after the memory the tea was teasing at. When she reopened them, it was to a questioning look, the piercing intelligence behind it catching Kara off guard.
Lena didn't say a word, but Kara felt compelled to answer anyways, despite the fact that she really shouldn't. Because while Kara hadn't denied Lena’s assumption of her identity, she hadn't confirmed it either.
So she hedged.
“It reminds me of a drink from my first home,” Kara answered. “It's a bit mellower, but…very similar.”
Lena eyed her for a moment before standing up to reach into the cabinet behind her. Kara watched as she pulled out a small tin, then slid it across the island towards her.
Kara gave her a confused look.
“I’m assuming the memories it's evoking are good ones?”
“Then take it.”
“You said it's hard to come by,” Kara argued.
“But not impossible,” Lena replied.
Kara could have fought her on it, but she didn't want to undermine Lena’s gesture. So she stepped forward and picked it up off the counter.
Kara turned the box over in her hands twice, opening her mouth to make some excuse to leave, but Lena spoke first.
“I had fun last night,” she said, calmly sipping at her tea. Like she was talking about a night out at the movies or dinner with friends and not a wild night of sex.
Kara’s face heated up again, but at least her voice was steady when she replied, “Yeah, I did, too.”
And she had enjoyed herself. A lot. If she’d woken up next to anyone else she would have thought about pursuing something beyond a one-night stand. But with both of them being who they were, there was no way either of them could consider-
“We should do it again sometime,” Lena suggested smoothly.
Kara’s eyes shot up to Lena’s, just barely avoiding dropping the tea in her hands.
“I said, we should-”
“No,” Kara sputtered, “I mean, I heard you, but…”
“But what? You're Supergirl? And I'm Lena Luthor?”
Lena sipped at her tea again, studying Kara. “Why did you come home with me?”
Kara paused. It was a good question. One she suspected Lena already knew the answer to.
Several reasons came to mind - because you're beautiful, and we had really good chemistry, and wow, that dress - but one thing in particular stuck out. “It was easy talking to you. I didn’t have to pretend or act a certain way. I felt…more like myself.”
“Agreed.” Lena reached over for the masques and turned them over in her hands. “Neither of us had any expectations to live up to.”
She set them down in the space between them.
“We’re both under the pressures of living up to an identity. High-profile CEO... Superhero….” Lena shrugged. “It would be nice, for once, to have a partner that understands the need to let go of that.”
Lena waited for Kara to respond, but Kara was silent - and that silence spoke volumes. Because she knew what she should say. What she should have already said out loud. But it was too tempting to flat out say no to it, and Lena knew that.
Grabbing a nearby pad of paper, Lena jotted something down before folding it in half and walking up to Kara, slowly tucking it into the front pocket of Kara’s jeans.
This was the moment where Kara should just step back.
But she didn’t. She ignored that part of her brain very clearly telling her this was a bad idea, and instead slid her hand into Lena’s hair and kissed her. And Lena opened her mouth, and then Kara’s tongue was slipping inside and yeah, kissing Lena now was just as intoxicating as it was last night.
Kara was trying to figure out what to do with the box of tea still in her other hand - she didn’t think Lena would appreciate her dropping it on the ground - when a distant siren went off, followed by the telltale buzz of Kara’s phone.
Lena dropped her head onto Kara’s shoulder and sighed. She knew what Kara was about to say.
“I have to go.”
Kara flopped onto her bed, staring up at the ceiling. Just when she thought her life couldn't get any weirder, today went and happened.
Or rather, last night and this morning happened.
She’d basically run away from Lena to go handle that fire, and then, rather than think about the ramifications of sleeping with Lena Luthor, she’d chosen to assist the local authorities for most of the afternoon.
She’d been ready to head home after that, but then Winn had cornered her about dinner at that new taco place. It would have been fine if she’d bailed, but she hadn't seen her friends outside of work in a while and she really wanted to put off thinking about the whole Lena thing for as long as possible. So she went to dinner, ate a lot of really good food, and pretended everything was fine. If her friends noticed her behavior was off, they were nice enough not to mention it. And luckily Alex wasn’t there, because she definitely would have noticed and brought it up. Kara wouldn’t have told her what had happened, but she really didn't feel like making up some excuse that her sister may or may not have believed.
Therefore, Kara’s happy bubble of denial lasted all the way until that evening, when after stripping off her jeans to start an early pajama night, she'd emptied her pockets and come across the scrap of paper Lena had slid into her pocket earlier - with her phone number neatly written across it.
Everyone - Alex, especially - would tell her it was a catastrophically bad idea. It was one thing to accidentally sleep with Lena Luthor. Quite another to engage in any sort of relationship with her on purpose.
The problem was, Kara herself wasn't convinced it was a bad idea. Not entirely anyways.
Because all she knew about Lena was that Lex Luthor was her brother. And that she wielded a lot of potentially dangerous power at the company she ran. If Lena wanted to hurt Supergirl she certainly had the resources. And Kara would be giving her the opportunity, too, if she continued having sex with her. Even assuming she didn't fall asleep in her bed again, Kara would still be vulnerable.
But those were all if’s.
Judgment based on circumstances and a last name.
The only way to know Lena’s intentions was to actually get to know Lena. But there wasn’t any easy way to do that. She couldn’t just pop on over to her office or apartment in full Supergirl regalia on a regular basis. That would spark a lot of questions and wasn't exactly low key. And street clothes were out of the question. She was too recognizable with her hair down and glasses off, and with them up and on she’d be looking like Kara Danvers. And even if she never gave Lena her name, it was too big a risk. Kara was a reporter and at some point she would cross Lena’s path at a press conference, and then Lena would know both of her identities.
So she left the phone number on the small table next to her bed, knowing she should just crumple it up and throw it in the garbage, but giving in to the part of her that didn’t want to. Wanting to pretend, at least for a little while, that she could have some sort of semblance of a normal life.
* * *
Lena sank back into her chair, sighing as she ran her hand over her face. That video conference was one she’d been dreading all week and, unfortunately, had lived up to her expectations. She'd ended up with what she wanted, but not without a fair amount of less-than-ethical leveraging of power and information. It was Edge Tech, though, so she felt zero remorse. That company had been built on stolen intellectual property and they considered corporate espionage an acceptable substitute for legitimate research and development. She could practically hear them choking on their hubris near the end of that call, and that had brought a smile to Lena’s face - unlike everything else that had transpired over the last several weeks.
Ever since she announced a change in direction for the company, it was as if every damn shareholder, employee, or citizen of National City felt the need to provide their own singularly insightful opinions. (Yes, she was already perfectly aware that shutting down certain divisions would put a dent in their bottom line. And no, she wasn’t going to ask her brother, in prison, the man whose attempts to kill her had precipitated her early move to National City, what he thought the company should do going forward.)
The only person she'd failed to hear from was a certain caped superhero…which was disappointing. The least Supergirl could do was text her.
But honestly, Lena had expected this response. Or lack thereof, rather. Too much of a risk or a walk on the wild side, she supposed. Lena had held out hope anyways, because she really could use the stress relief, and the setup was ideal.
But so be it. Lena wasn't one to lament over lost opportunities.
* * *
Kara touched at her glasses and ponytail for the hundredth time since she walked out the door of Catco. It's fine, she told herself again. It’s fine. Just act normal. But Rao, she felt like she did when she’d just arrived on Earth. Those first few weeks when she kept worrying, thinking people would find out because she did something wrong. Or even if she was perfect, that they'd still somehow just know…
But they didn’t know, and things turned out fine. Just like they would now.
The elevator doors opened and she walked at a normal pace like a normal person, then gave her name to the assistant at the desk.
She sat down, glancing at the clock on the wall, both wanting to start right away so she could stop speculating on the outcome, while also hoping to have to wait so she could delay the inevitable. But less than a minute later she was being shown in, and Kara was taking a seat across from her.
Sitting three feet away from Lena Luthor.
She was just as strikingly beautiful as Kara remembered. Maybe even more so, in the bright light of day, in an environment she commanded. Her demeanor was more formal, exuding power and authority, but there was a soft edge to it. At least, to Kara’s eyes there was. She guessed others might only see the hard lines, not wanting or able to see beyond that.
Kara waited and watched as Lena scrawled her signature on a rather imposing stack of documents, before looking up to meet Kara’s eyes.
Kara held her breath for a second, waiting…
But Lena just smiled politely before standing and extending a hand to introduce herself.
“I'm sorry to keep you waiting. Welcome to L-Corp,” Lena said warmly, with a quick glance up and down at Kara as she stood to shake hands. “I understand you’re filling in for your colleague, Mr. Sheppard?”
Kara exhaled and smiled, hiding away her sense of relief at Lena’s response. She ignored the small part of her that wished Lena had recognized her, because the last thing she needed was another complication in her life. Even if that same small part of her was saying that Lena was probably worth it.
“Yes, his wife went into labor this morning. I’m Kara Danvers. It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Luthor.”
Lena’s eyes narrowed a touch as she released Kara’s hand, her smile fading as she said, “Lena.”
“What?” Kara replied inelegantly, nervous at the sudden shift in Lena’s demeanor.
“Please, call me Lena.”
Kara just stood there, trying not to fidget with her hands as Lena kept staring, having made no move to sit down yet.
And then Kara saw it. The spark of recognition.
No, no, no, no, no.
Kara took her seat and tried to push on, hoping it would remain as some hazy sense of familiarity and not solidify into distinct knowing. Everything might still be fine. She flipped open her notebook, eager to launch into the interview.
“I have a list of questions ready, but I thought we could start off with any statements you wanted to make first about the new developments at L-Corp. The name change for one-”
“You never called me.”
Kara snapped the pencil in her hand clean in half.
She was wrong.
Everything was not fine.
Lena leaned against the side of her desk, crossing her arms as she watched Kara pick up the remains of her pencil off the ground.
“I don't know what you mean-”
“Kara,” Lena interrupted. “I spend a lot of time on the phone with a lot of different people. By necessity, I've come to be very good at recognizing voices. The glasses and hair are probably good enough for most people. But I've both seen and,” she smirked, “more importantly, heard you up close and personal. I have no doubt it's you.”
Kara looked away, and Lena watched as a host of different emotions crossed her face, changing too quickly for Lena to decipher. It ended with a look of acceptance, confirmed by Kara’s next words.
“I'm sorry. It's just…complicated.”
“Because I'm a Luthor and you're a Super.”
“Yes and no.” Kara sighed. “It could end up being the reason. Depending on your intentions.” She looked up, holding Lena’s gaze. “If I left myself that exposed, it would be easy for you to hurt me - both physically and emotionally.”
“I wouldn't say easy,” Lena replied with a touch of sarcasm.
“But easier. Far easier than almost anyone else I could possibly engage in a relationship with. You are a Luthor. I can't ignore the inordinate power and intelligence associated with that name.”
Lena shook her head, resignedly. “You aren't the first person that couldn't get past my name. And you certainly won't be the-”
“I didn't say I couldn't get past it,” Kara interrupted, her expression serious. “I said I have to tread very carefully. Me not calling you was because I couldn't figure out how, exactly, to do that.”
She seemed genuinely unhappy over that fact.
Lena drummed her fingers against her arm. Admittedly, Kara had cause for concern. And thanks to Lex, Kara didn't have to imagine the possible damage - it was there to see firsthand - and she couldn't know that Lena didn't harbor the same vendetta as her brother. Kara didn't really know her.
And that would have to change if she wanted to prove Kara’s worries were unfounded.
“My assistant is always harassing me about skipping meals,” she said casually as she sat behind her desk, leaning back in her chair. “Meet me for lunch this week. And the following weeks. Until you realize I'm not a threat.”
Kara looked at her in confusion. “Is this-” Kara stumbled over her words, caught off guard by Lena’s proposal. “Are you asking me out? Like, on a date?”
“It doesn't have to be. If it goes in that direction, so be it. Mainly, it's a way for you to get to know me a little better. To confirm that my intentions are wicked only in the sexual sense.”
Her eyes roamed over Kara at the end of that statement, taking in the button-up, belted slacks, and dark-framed glasses, paired with the same set of blue eyes, the same intriguing combination of careful strength and earnest purpose.
Different setting, same attraction. And the same blushing reaction from Supergirl.
Like at the club, Lena didn’t know what kind of answer she would receive to her proposal. But once Kara got over Lena’s overt flirting, she paused and considered.
The silence lingered, and Lena was one moment away from straightening her posture and moving forward in a strictly professional manner, when Kara responded.
“Alright,” she said.
Lena managed to contain her surprise, but just barely.
“When and where?” Kara asked, smiling, but with more than a hint of uncertainty in her eyes, because this wasn’t the safe play. This was a risk Kara was knowingly taking. And that display of trust evoked a swell of emotion in Lena, one she wasn’t prepared for and didn’t want to acknowledge. So she pushed it down, and answered Kara’s question instead.
“I’ll text you the times I have available once I look at my schedule. You can decide the where.”
Lena took a breath, about to move forward with the actual interview, when a small but important detail came to mind. “I don’t have your phone number. Which, I understand you may not feel comfortable giving me yet. We’ll just need some other way to-”
“No, that's fine.” Kara jotted her number down on her notepad, then tore the sheet off and handed it to her.
The significance of a Luthor having Supergirl’s phone number wasn’t lost on Lena. She took a moment to appreciate the magnitude of trust - staring at Kara’s looping script on the yellow lined paper - before leaning forward in her chair.
“Now that that's settled, Ms. Danvers,” she said, a smile emerging at the results of their conversation, “shall we get started with the interview?”
Thank you for all of the lovely comments already. I appreciate every one of them :)
Twice now Kara had to stop her leg from bouncing too hard lest she knock the glasses of water off the table.
Moments like this were when she usually called her sister to help her calm down, but that wasn’t an option right now. Alex wouldn’t let her get away with being vague about why she was nervous. Kara would have to tell her she was having lunch with Lena Luthor, then Alex would want to know why, until inevitably every last sordid detail spilled out of her. And Kara’s sex life was not something she wanted Alex privy to. Like, ever. Let alone when it was with someone Alex would berate Kara over.
No, she could deal with this nervousness on her own, thank you.
Just as she was about to needlessly look over the menu again, she spotted Lena walking towards her.
Lena, looking calm and collected and stunningly attractive, wearing a forest green dress with an asymmetrical neckline. It wasn’t exactly conservative, but it wasn’t daring, either, so Kara involuntarily licking her lips was a testament to her reaction to Lena herself.
If Lena noticed her reaction she didn’t say anything, but as she took a seat her eyes flicked down towards Kara’s hands, which were worrying at a cloth napkin and starting to tear through it. She quickly put it aside and picked up her menu, staring at it until the server came to take both of their orders.
He raised an eyebrow at the amount of food Kara ordered, but he didn’t question it. Unlike Lena, once they were alone again.
“Do you normally order that much food?”
Kara shrugged. “Depends on who I'm with. If it's someone who only knows me as Kara Danvers, then no, because they’d question it.”
“What about the servers?” Lena gestured towards the kitchen. “You don’t worry about them?”
“They don’t pay attention to how much I’m actually eating. I ask for takeout containers early on and they assume those boxes actually get filled.”
“Smart.” Lena tapped at the table, letting that information sink in. “But you always need to eat that much?”
“Yes, unfortunately. It’s nice at times, being able to eat whatever I want and not have to worry about it, but more often than not it’s just inconvenient. If you didn’t know about my other job, then I’d have to stop at a pizza place or something after this.”
“Wouldn't carrying around some energy bars be easier?”
Kara nearly choked on her water, her expression pulling a laugh from Lena.
“They're not all terrible,” Lena protested.
“Yes, they are,” Kara retorted. “I've tried every kind that exists and not a single one tastes anything like the flavor they promise on the wrapper. Unless cookie dough is supposed to taste like dirt.”
Lena snorted at that and Kara laughed with her, feeling herself finally start to relax.
The host passed by and seated a couple a few tables away, prompting Lena to look around the restaurant and take in the quiet ambiance. “I'm surprised you picked this place,” she questioned, a slight tilt to her head. “I figured you’d opt for somewhere more crowded. You said you liked being around people.”
Kara nodded. “I do. But at times it can be too much on my senses.” Seeing a hint of curiosity in Lena’s gaze, she elaborated. “My enhanced hearing isn’t something I turn on. It’s always happening, so I have to actively suppress it when I don’t want to be using it.”
Lena’s eyebrows furrowed in surprise and concern. “That sounds exhausting.”
“It was early on,” Kara admitted, pushing away unpleasant memories of her first months on Earth. “It's almost second nature now, but when I'm overworked it takes more effort to tune things out. This,” she waved her hand, indicating the atmosphere around her, “makes it easier.”
Lena hummed in understanding.
“Plus, I was guessing you preferred the quiet,” Kara added.
“Honestly? I’m not interested in what most people have to say. It’s rarely worth the interruption to what I’m doing.”
“But isn’t that a big part of being a CEO? Talking to people?”
“It is.” Lena smiled wryly. “Which is why I didn’t want the job. I was quite happy researching and developing my own independent projects before my brother went and screwed everything up.”
“Then why didn’t you let someone else take over?
Lena sighed. “Because Lex painted me into a corner.”
She swirled the wine in her glass, staring at its contents before taking a slow drink, holding Kara’s gaze when she answered.
“Lex was a ruthless leader for LuthorCorp. But people either don’t realize or they forget that he put in place programs and technology that truly helped people. He believed - and the broader financial data reflects this - that helping people helped LuthorCorp. Now, whether or not his motivations had any altruistic aspect is debatable. But the board of directors is short-sighted, and they only look to see if a project is making or losing money on its own merits. With him gone, they would have chosen someone under their control as a replacement. And those programs - many of them based on my own research - would have been the first on the chopping block. It gave Lillian the perfect opportunity to manipulate me, because she knew I couldn't stomach that. And for as much as she endlessly criticized me, she wanted a Luthor at the top above all else. She orchestrated my nomination, and I resentfully accepted.
Lena set her wine glass down, weighing her next words carefully.
“The person Lex is now...” Lena’s face twisted. “I don't recognize him. What he’s done since starting this grudge match against aliens has been appalling. But before that, when we were growing up, I was close with my brother. He was a good person. Especially to me. And I still hang on to those memories. Even though he’s tried to kill me. Which is messed up on my part, I suppose.”
Kara’s eyes widened. “He tried to kill you?”
“Yes. Multiple times, actually.”
She said it like it wasn’t a big deal. Like she was talking about the weather and not assassination attempts on her own life. Kara had trouble articulating a response.
“Appalled?” Lena supplied, taking a casual bite of her salad.
Kara shook her head. “No. Amazed. Most people wouldn’t try to hold onto good memories of anyone that tried to kill them. Even if it was their sibling. Maybe especially so.” She caught Lena’s gaze and smiled softly. “That’s extraordinarily compassionate.”
Clearly caught off guard by Kara’s compliment, Lena cleared her throat in a self-conscious gesture, unsure of how to respond. After the silence went on a little too long, Kara scooped up a forkful of her pasta and held it towards Lena.
“You need to try this,” she stated emphatically, blatantly changing topics in an effort to lighten the mood. “I know it’s simple, but they do something with the sauce that’s just incredible, and it’s too good not to share.”
“I'm fine with my salad,” Lena murmured after a moment’s pause, her lips turning upwards with amusement at Kara’s enthusiasm.
“Exactly. You're ‘fine’ with your salad,” Kara finger quoted. “Fine isn't acceptable.”
“I don't know about that.” Lena nodded her head in Kara’s direction, a suggestive drawl creeping into her tone. “You're pretty fine.”
Kara rolled her eyes, gratified to see Lena’s mood lifting. “I'm talking about food.”
Lena smirked. “So am I. You tasted pretty good when I was licking your-”
A loud laugh immediately spilled out of Lena, to which Kara shook her head in mock disapproval. Privately, however, she was more than okay with being teased if it meant getting to see Lena this unguarded.
Kara lifted her fork a little closer to Lena, pushing past her lewd comment. But rather than take the fork out of Kara’s hand, Lena opened her mouth and leaned forward. Wrapping her lips around the noodles, she slowly dragged them off the fork, and Kara couldn’t take her eyes off of Lena’s mouth as she pulled away. She couldn’t stop the hitch in her breath, either.
Lena’s smile was downright wicked as she leaned back in her chair, and Kara balled up her napkin and threw it across the table at her in retaliation. “You're incorrigible,” she accused, laughing.
“That’s not the first time I've been called that,” Lena confessed with a smile. “Although, it’s been a while. Not since I was younger and going through my ‘rebellious phase,’ as my mother liked to call it.”
Kara’s eyes lit up with curiosity as she retrieved her napkin. She’d never gone through that stage herself growing up. It took her so many years to fully understand what normal even looked like, let alone know how to rebel against it in a way common to most teenagers and young adults.
“Oh, do tell,” she asked eagerly.
“Really?” Lena looked skeptical as she ate another forkful of the pasta Kara had surreptitiously deposited on her plate. “I'd have thought you'd have dug up that dirt on me already.”
“I skimmed?” Kara admitted a little sheepishly. “But to be fair, that was semi-intentional. I mean, I knew the basic facts about you already, but nothing much about your personal life. I wanted to get to know you face-to-face. Once, you know, I was sure you weren't a serial killer or anything.”
Lena smirked a little at that. “That’s your line in the sand? Serial killer? Anything below that is workable?”
“You know what I mean,” Kara scowled playfully.
Lena smiled, the sparkle in her eyes teasing Kara further, before returning to the original subject.
“Yes, well, I predictably went through that phase in college. My mother was making me claustrophobic in her heavy-handed attempts to control me, so I defied her in whatever ways I could.”
“I started dressing ‘unbecoming for a person of my stature,’ as she so eloquently put it. Which was simply a lot of black clothing and dark makeup. Then I pursued degrees in both science and business, when apparently I should have been focusing solely on business. But the big showstopper was coming out to my mother as gay. Surprisingly, she said it didn’t matter to her who I wanted to sleep with. But she followed that up by saying it would hurt LuthorCorp if that kind of information became public, and that I had better keep my dalliances private. To the point that she recommended NDAs with any partners."
Kara’s eyes widened in disbelief. “Your mom is…not nice,” she responded weakly, because nothing resembling a proper adjective was coming to mind. But it brought forth a laugh from Lena, so it was successful at least on that front.
“Oh, and the piercings,” Lena tacked on.
Kara looked up, staring at the series of faint divots on Lena’s ears, noting that they ran along the upper curve as well as the lobes.
“That’s not too outrageous. I mean, yeah, that's a lot but-”
“It wasn't just my ears.”
Kara’s eyes flicked towards Lena’s, her mind going back to their night together. She didn't recall seeing any other piercings, and Kara had touched every inch of her. She started to mentally revisit the landscape that was Lena’s body, remembering the things she had done, the things she wanted to do again, and-
“Tongue,” Lena interjected.
“What?” Kara blurted out, a blush forming as her mind linked up ‘tongue’ with her previous thoughts of a naked Lena.
“You were trying to figure out where else.”
“Right! Tongue,” she repeated, a little too brightly. “Piercing. Tongue piercing.” A clarification that was wholly unnecessary and that caused a slow grin to spread across Lena’s face.
“Should I even ask what other tongue-related thoughts you were having?” she asked, her smile widening.
Kara groaned as she slumped down in her chair. “Please don't.”
Which, of course, prompted Lena to throw her head back in laughter - the kind that builds on itself until her whole body was shaking. It lasted long enough that Kara got caught up in it herself, any embarrassment forgotten in favor of Lena’s unrestrained amusement.
Eventually, their mirth subsided and faded into a comfortable silence, with Lena dabbing away tears from the corners of her eyes. “It's been a while since I laughed this hard, Kara. Thank you.”
She gave Lena a lopsided grin. “You're welcome. I mean I'd rather it wasn't at my expense so much but-” Kara paused, a question suddenly occurring to her. “Wait, how long is a while?”
“I don’t know…” Lena looked up, thinking about it. “Years, maybe? Not since I was in college.”
“Years?!” Kara exclaimed loudly, drawing a raised eyebrow from Lena as well as some nearby diners. She mumbled a quick apology, then continued on at a near whisper, “Years? I laugh like that with my sister every pizza-and-movie night.”
“And how often is that?”
“Usually every weekend. Lately, it's been a little hit and miss, what with my ‘other job’ being busier than normal, but yeah, usually every Friday or Saturday night…” Kara trailed off upon seeing Lena’s eyes widen. “But, like, I'm really close with my sister and that's probably not normal, getting together that often,” she said, trying to backpedal. “So I’m not really a good example. Years is a little much, but-”
“Kara,” Lena interrupted.
“It's okay,” she said. “You don't need to make excuses just so my personal life seems less pathetic.” She raised a hand to forestall any protests from Kara. “I’d rather rectify the situation by doing this again, if that’s alright with you? Preferably not years from now,” she added with a wink.
Kara grinned, but underneath Lena’s levity was a serious request - one she guessed wasn't offered often or lightly. So when she answered, she let the warmth she was feeling seep into her voice.
“Yes,” she answered, her expression turning more serious. “I’d enjoy that.”
* * *
“That’s just…I don't know what to say to that. Other than that's not what comes to mind when I think of boarding school.”
Kara shook her head in disbelief, while Lena grinned and arched an eyebrow at her as she took another bite of food - some kale quinoa bowl thing that was actually quite good when Lena insisted she try it because ‘being a superhero does not excuse you from eating healthy, you know.’
“You expected all prim and proper,” Lena said, both a question and a statement.
“Sort of,” Kara admitted.
“A lot of girls get sent to boarding school because they're anything but that. The only thing that changes is they get better at not getting caught.”
Lena didn't reply, but her smirk was answer enough.
“What about you?” Lena countered. “Any scandalous tales to speak of?”
Kara shook her head. “No. I was kind of boring growing up.”
“Come on…there has to have been something,” Lena insisted. “Super speeding to shoplift? X-ray vision to cheat on tests?”
“No, nothing like that.”
“Like what then?”
Kara leaned back in her seat, debating for a moment if she wanted to share the one incident that came to mind. It was something she hadn’t told anyone else about before, because for all that she didn't mind the attention she got as Supergirl, she preferred keeping her normal life out of the spotlight. Plus, the last thing she wanted was pity. But she suspected Lena wouldn’t offer that.
“I ran away from home.”
Lena’s eyebrows raised in mild surprise, clearly not expecting that answer.
“When I was twelve. It was a few months after the Danvers family adopted me.”
She didn’t often think about it. Didn’t like remembering how angry and confused and sad she was then, and how she’d had no choice but to try and get over those feelings as soon as possible for reasons of self-preservation. And when that failed, how she’d succumbed to her desire to escape.
“How long were you gone?”
She knew the exact number because she'd left during football season - a sport she'd become acquainted with when she’d noticed people wearing clothing with the same symbol on it. She'd thought they were all related to each other, and that the logo was a symbol of their house. But her excitement over finding a cultural commonality had deflated when she was told it was something quite different.
Regardless, she’d known she was gone for eight days because the day she ran away was ‘football day’. The following week she was in a different city - with a different logo emblazoned everywhere - and she’d returned home the night after that.
“What made you go back?”
Kara glanced up, meeting Lena’s eyes briefly. Enough to see that she was right - there wasn’t any pity. Only curiosity, and something else she couldn’t quite identify.
She picked up her fork, pushing at her food. “I realized I wasn’t running away from them. It was everything else. This whole world that I didn't understand and didn't like, and that I had nowhere to run to because home was gone for me. Eliza and Jeremiah were familiar at least, and nice, and I knew they were probably worried sick about me and I didn't want to hurt them like that.”
Kara smiled sadly, remembering the moment she'd shown back up at the house. She'd worried over her adoptive parents’ reactions, thinking they'd be mad, but they’d only been relieved she was safe. Alex’s reaction, though, had caught her by surprise - a hug so strong it nearly knocked the wind out of Kara, and a whispered apology in her ear.
“Things changed between me and Alex after that. She stopped ignoring me. Started looking out for me instead. Eliza and Jeremiah, they did their best and they were wonderful, but Alex…Alex made me feel home again.”
Lena was quiet, her expression conflicted, as Kara’s story came to an end. When she didn't say anything, Kara asked if she was okay.
“I'm happy for you, Kara, that you had a family like that. But I can't help feeling jealous. I had Lex when I was growing up, and he was protective of me, like Alex. But there was only so much he could do when the person he was protecting me from most was our mother.”
Lena took a sip of water, then shook her head in exasperation. “Funny thing was, I kept trying. Thought that if I just worked harder, did everything perfect, that things would get better, and that Lillian would finally show me a shred of love. Or at least some damn affection.” Lena clenched her fists, frowning. “But that never happened. And rationally I know it's her fault and it's idiotic of me to keep wanting that. Yet my first instinct when she contacts me is to chase after that love and approval. It's pathetic.”
“No, Lena. It's not pathetic to want that. Everyone wants that. But you're right, she’s the one with the problem, not you. It's not your fault.”
Lena frowned and made a dismissive gesture with her hand, trying for indifference but missing. Sensing that her emotions were bleeding through, she shifted topics, picking up the thread of their earlier conversation. “So the most out-of-line thing you've ever done was run away from home? Not that I’m dismissing that, but that’s not really the kind of rebellion I was thinking about.”
Kara shrugged. “I was trying to avoid attention. Dying your hair and getting piercings is kind of the opposite of that.”
“Being too perfect attracts attention, too, you know,” Lena countered.
“I was never perfect. Supergirl may seem that way,” she conceded, “but Kara Danvers isn’t. She’s…ordinary.”
Lena shook her head. “No, she’s not. When you walked into my office that first time…even if I hadn’t met you already, you would have stood out.” Her tone was serious, as was her expression. It wasn’t some flippant comment for Kara to brush off or joke about.
“You would have stood out to me, too,” Kara admitted.
They both stared at each other for a few moments, until Lena finally broke the charged silence. “Still,” she said, with a teasing lilt to her voice, “you really do need some more sordid experiences, if for nothing else than fun conversation.”
“Do I, now?” Kara asked, matching Lena’s playfulness. “Can’t have me going around being a boring conversationalist, now can we?”
Kara grinned. This felt like that first night at the club. When they were both flirting and not worrying about personas or ramifications. “I guess you’ll have to figure out a solution,” Kara challenged with a raised brow.
“Oh, I’m sure I can think of something.”
* * *
‘Something’ manifested later that week.
Kara had been eager to get out of Catco - a lack of news made for some seriously irritable journalists - and was thrilled to see a text from Lena inviting her to a late lunch. She'd been excited enough to overlook the fact that the restaurant didn't open until two, and that Lena had sent her the address, but not the name of the place.
Now, staring up at the glowing cursive lettering above the entrance, a voice in the back of Kara's head whispered that Lena's omission had been intentional. She studiously ignored it and pulled out her phone.
K: Hey, I think I got the address wrong.
L: The fact that you think that means you definitely didn't.
Kara stared at her phone, looked up at the building, then stared at her phone again.
Eventually she walked in, immediately bathed in neon purple lights and a slow, bass-thumping rhythm, still expecting this to be a joke of some sort. But no, Lena was there, sitting oh so casually at a table on the left. As if this were any other place.
Lena’s lips curved into a smile as Kara slid into her seat. “For a moment I thought I thought I was going to get stood up.”
“No, I just, um, had to reply to Alex about something,” she said, trying not to cringe at the terribleness of that lie, while at the same time struggling to keep her eyes from flicking towards the stage in the center of the room.
“Mmhm,” Lena smirked. “I’ll be nice and not call you out on that lie as a reward for not ditching me. I wouldn’t have wanted to eat alone.”
“You're actually here to eat?” Kara asked as she tore her gaze away from the performer, a feat made exponentially more difficult by their table’s close proximity. She didn’t need enhanced senses to fully appreciate the lithe body on display - the way the brunette arched and turned to invite prolonged looking, the sly grin she threw in Kara’s direction.
“Best new vegan restaurant in town, according to your reviewer at Catco. Which, kudos to them for not being a prude.” Lena slid a menu across to her. “I couldn't pass up the opportunity to broaden your food horizons.”
Kara narrowed her eyes at Lena. “Somehow I feel like it's other horizons you're trying to broaden.”
“Well now that all depends,” she said, her voice dropping a notch. “Are you saying you've never been to a strip club?”
Kara was fairly certain Lena expected her answer to be a yes. She couldn't help but enjoy her small look of surprise when she said, “Once. My sister and her girlfriend took me to a coed one to celebrate when I came out as bi.”
“I’m liking your sister more and more.”
“Honestly, that was more of her girlfriend’s doing,” Kara admitted. “My sister is normally more reserved, but Maggie brings a different side out of Alex. In a good way.” As she said it, Kara realized the same thing was happening between her and Lena.
“And is this good for you, too?” Lena asked, having caught on to Kara’s line of thinking. There was no teasing or facetiousness in Lena’s tone - she genuinely wanted to know.
“At the risk of finding myself in a BDSM club for brunch next week,” Kara answered with a slight laugh, “yes, this is good. Everything with you has been good.”
Lena gave her a sincere smile, pleased with Kara’s response, before her expression turned mischievous as she picked up her menu.
“The BDSM club I like isn’t open for brunch,” she said smoothly. “So no worries there.”
Kara shook her head at Lena’s teasing, smiling as she picked up her own menu. She might be prone to blushing at Lena’s comments, but it didn’t mean she didn’t enjoy this aspect of their relationship.
Switching focus, she studied her lunch options. Kara might eat a fair amount of unhealthy food, but more often than not it was out of convenience. And as much as she disparaged salads, her problem with them generally wasn't the taste, simply that her metabolism burned through them too quickly. The taco salad looked substantial though, so she took a chance on that, along with a veggie burger and three different appetizers.
Now that the food was taken care of, the entertainment a few meters away became an unavoidable center of attention.
Lena, for her part, looked as at ease in a strip club as she did behind her desk at L-Corp. Kara tried to settle in as well, allowing some of her Supergirl attitude to bleed into her mindset and posture - sloughing off self-consciousness as she leaned into a more casual position within the curve of her chair.
Lena noticed the shift, a quick glance in Kara’s direction lingering a little too long to be a simple check-in, and that got Kara’s mind turning...maybe Lena inviting her here was about more than just pushing Kara’s buttons.
“Why did you choose this place for lunch?”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Lena looked around the room, drawing attention to their surroundings. “It’s a win-win of good food and naked women.”
“Besides that,” Kara pressed.
A slow smile formed on Lena’s face, like she was pleasantly surprised to have been discovered. “Because I’m still trying to figure you out,” she answered, appraising Kara more openly now. “Neither Supergirl nor Kara Danvers would have said yes to a one night stand with a woman whose name she didn’t even know. And yet you did. Which means you’re more than either of those two personas. I’m trying to see the whole picture.”
A twinge of emotion passed through Kara at Lena’s words. Outside of Alex - and even with her, only to some extent - no one looked at Kara that way. Like there was more below the two surfaces to find. Someone who people didn’t know. Someone who people forgot even existed.
“You’re trying to figure out Kara Zor-El,” she said.
Lena turned the glass in her hand slowly as that statement sank in. Her expression was hard to read, but if Kara had to guess she’d say Lena was taken aback that she’d shared her Kryptonian name with her. It was quite possible that Lena already knew it, but it was still significant that Kara had volunteered it.
“I would give you my birth surname if I knew it, but Lillian refused to share any adoption information with me. All I can offer is my middle name, which is easy enough to find out on your own.”
“I’d still like to hear it from you.”
Lena paused, something too brief to identify passing over her expression.
For no good reason, a sense of warmth spread through Kara at that bit of information. Like Lena said, it wasn’t a secret, but it still felt like a private exchange.
“Well, Lena Kieran Luthor,” Kara tipped her head in Lena’s direction. “I’ve been trying to figure you out, too.”
Lena looked like she was about to say something more, but their food arrived, neatly ending that conversation and launching a new one about the dishes in front of them. The food was just as good as the reviewer promised, to the point that Kara planned on eating here again, with or without Lena. Good food was good food.
Just as Kara was debating whether or not her other friends would say yes to having their next group outing here, a new performer took the stage. One who just so happened to have Lena’s same hair color and fair skin.
They didn’t look alike, exactly, but there was a passing-enough resemblance for Kara to make the connection, and for Lena to notice Kara noticing.
“See something you like?” Lena asked smoothly.
“She kind of looks like you. So, yes.”
Lena smiled at the compliment. “I have many skills, but dancing like that, alas, is not one of them. Don’t get your hopes up for any role-playing in the future.”
Kara coughed on the water she was drinking, badly enough that she half expected the performer to stop and ask if she was okay.
Lena took a sip of her own drink, her grin widening. “Do you want me to buy you a lap dance when she’s done with her set?”
That Kara didn't say no right away said a lot about where her head was at. Between the pulsing music, Lena’s close proximity, and the now almost naked woman on stage who looked like her…it had slowly been doing things to Kara.
“I’m not hearing a ‘no,’ Kara.” Lena raised an eyebrow in challenge.
But before Kara could formulate a response, Lena’s phone buzzed a few times in quick succession. She reluctantly picked it up and read through the texts before typing a reply. After a few more back-and-forth texts, she sighed as she tucked her phone away.
“Saved by the bell,” Lena said, directing an arched brow and smirk at Kara. “Unfortunately I have to go take care of something that just blew up at work.” She paused as she got to her feet. “Not literally,” she clarified with a half-smile, “just a clusterfuck of stupidity.”
When Kara made to stand as well, Lena waved her off.
“Please stay and finish eating. Otherwise you’ll be hungry all day and I'll feel worse than I already do for cutting our meal short.”
Kara sat back down without a fight. This morning she’d been running late and had barely managed to wolf down a couple of bagels. She needed to finish this meal or she’d be useless at work.
“Thank you, Kara. It was a pleasure as usual.” Lena leaned down to press a soft kiss to her cheek, letting it linger for a moment.
Without thinking Kara turned into it, just enough so that when Lena pulled away their lips brushed. It didn't go unnoticed, as Lena held Kara’s gaze for a few moments longer, analyzing and assessing.
It was enough time that Kara could have stood up and kissed her properly, but she held back. There was no rush, and on top of her legitimate reasons for approaching this relationship with caution, Kara couldn't deny that she was enjoying this little cat and mouse game going on between them. She had a strong feeling Lena did, too.
With a small, satisfied smile, Lena turned and exited. At the same time, a couple of businessmen sat down a few tables over. And that’s when Kara realized she was now sitting by herself, having lunch in a strip club.
The dancer caught her eye, gave her a wink, and Kara thought Winn would give just about anything to have a picture of this.
Lena had been to lunch several times now with Kara, but outside of a few limited crises she'd yet to spend any real time with the Supergirl side of her. Therefore she wasn’t expecting the soft knock on the glass, and she could be excused for the undignified yelp of surprise she let out in response.
The hero apologized the moment Lena opened the balcony door to her office for her.
“It's fine,” Lena assured her. “What's the problem?”
“What do you mean?”
Lena scrunched her eyebrows in confusion, pointing at Kara’s crest. “I assume there’s an emergency you need my help with?”
“Oh,” Kara shook her head, looking at the floor slightly abashed. “Sorry, I just, um, I saw you were still here, so I thought-”
She paused and took a breath, and Lena watched, transfixed, as Kara’s posture straightened, her stance becoming more even - her Supergirl persona shining forth. But the insecurity was still there, in her eyes.
“I wanted company,” she said directly. “But if you're busy, that's fine.”
Lena understood now why Kara wasn’t recognized as Supergirl. Most people had contradictory aspects of their personalities, but they coexisted and shifted based on the situation. Kara, however, very firmly separated those facets of herself. Supergirl was all outward confidence, bordering on cockiness. Kara Danvers was hesitant and almost comically awkward.
But right now, Lena was seeing the two sides of her bleeding into each other.
“I am busy,” Lena admitted. “Unfortunately I have a lengthy overseas call I have to make in about five minutes. So it depends on what you mean by company. You're welcome to stay, for as long as you want. But if you need someone to talk to-”
“Not talking is fine,” Kara interrupted. “It's preferable, actually. I just don't feel like being alone in my apartment right now.”
Lena nodded, retaking her seat behind her desk while Kara sat down on her couch, head in her hands for a moment before laying down, an arm thrown across her face.
Lena pulled open the drawer to her desk, grabbing a few takeout flyers. “If you're hungry, I'm putting a few menus on my desk. Feel free to order whatever you’d like.”
“Okay,” Kara replied quietly.
She didn't dwell on Kara’s mood, needing to do some last minute prep. But about an hour or so into the call, Kara roused herself and wandered over to Lena’s desk to peruse the food options. She settled on Chinese, walking to the other side of the room to make the call without disturbing Lena.
Twenty minutes later she disappeared, presumably going downstairs to get the delivery. That must have been an interesting sight, Lena thought, seeing Supergirl doing something as mundane as paying for takeout.
Just as Lena was wrapping up, Kara re-entered the room with two armloads of food. Lena wasn't shocked by the amount, but she was surprised when Kara started placing several containers off to the side on the coffee table.
“I wasn't sure what you were in the mood for, so I got a few different things,” she explained as she sat down on the couch.
Lena tried not to let her surprise show. As if someone being thoughtful towards her, particularly while going through their own issues, wasn’t an unheard-of thing.
“You didn't have to get me anything,” she argued weakly.
Kara stopped and looked at her as if she'd sprouted another limb.
“Lena, is there any chance you actually ate dinner yet?”
“It’s been a long day,” she replied in lieu of an answer.
“Right. So sit. Eat.” Kara grabbed two pairs of chopsticks, placing one set next to Lena and keeping the other for herself as she opened the first container in front of her, the matter apparently settled.
Not wanting to give in quite so easily, Lena walked over to the bar and poured herself a glass of wine. She almost returned the bottle to the cabinet, then thought better of it and filled a second glass.
“I know the alcohol won't affect you,” she said, sitting down next to Kara, “but I think you might appreciate the flavor of this one. It's sweeter than most.”
Kara had specifically mentioned she didn't care much for wine, and yet she picked the glass up without hesitation and took a sip. It wasn’t a big deal, but still, it showed a level of trust Lena wasn’t accustomed to. Or maybe Kara was simply being polite and Lena was reading into it too much. But it didn't come across that way, and Kara was nothing if not an open book with her emotions - something Lena appreciated more than Kara knew. None of the head games, closely guarded feelings, or hidden agendas that were part and parcel of Lena’s everyday life.
Kara nodded. “You're right. This is, like, night-and-day better,” she said, taking a larger swallow. “I hope you like what I ordered you. But if you don't that's fine. Just let me know so I can make a better attempt next time.”
When Lena sat down and opened the first box, she was more than a little surprised. “I didn't think they had salads on the menu.” As a matter of fact, Lena was sure of that.
“They didn't. I asked them if they could come up with something.”
Lena turned and looked at her. “I’ve ordered from them before. They get annoyed when you even so much as modify a dish.” The only reason she even kept ordering from them was because their food was good and they delivered late.
“Yeah, they did seem aggravated at first. But I asked them nicely a few more times and eventually I won them over,” she said, giving Lena a wink.
Lena shook her head, and as she opened the other two containers she idly thought that the world had better hope Supergirl stayed a hero, because that level of persuasiveness would be truly dangerous if she ever switched teams. Her point was proven further when, looking down, it appeared that both her tofu broccoli and sesame vegetables were absent of any garlic, which Kara must have specifically requested as well.
She didn't know which impressed her more - the fact that Kara knew her dietary preferences this well already from pure observation alone, or that she cared enough to go through the trouble. She'd been in full-fledged relationships and never had a partner show that level of awareness and consideration before.
Lena laid her hand on Kara’s thigh, just high enough to be more than a friendly gesture, and murmured, “Thank you. This is wonderful.” Lightly rubbing her thumb in a circular motion a few times, she waited until the inevitable blush appeared, then withdrew her hand and started in on her meal.
From the beginning Lena knew she was in danger of being friend-zoned, regardless of the fact that they'd already had sex. Because friendship, while not without the Super/Luthor complications, would certainly be easier for Kara to justify than any sort of intimate relationship. So starting with that first lunch, Lena quite deliberately initiated moments like this last one, reminders that Kara and Lena were more than friends. Sometimes through physical touch, other times with lingering looks or verbal foreplay - none of which would be appropriate for a mere friendship.
Of course, if Kara had shown any sort of discomfort or resistance, Lena would have stopped. But to the contrary, Kara seemed receptive to Lena’s advances. Uncertain as to what she wanted to do about it, yes, but definitely open to them.
“Thank you for letting me hang out here for a while.”
“I'm sorry I wasn't better company,” Lena apologized. She’d been frank about her inability to offer real companionship earlier, but it didn’t mean she hadn’t wished the situation to be otherwise.
“It was fine, really. Oddly enough listening to you rattle off business statistics was kind of soothing. Usually when I'm feeling like this I'll go to the library, but my down time keeps getting pushed later and later and the ones I like to go to were closed.”
Lena fought back a twitch of amusement, knowing that Supergirl had a preferred list of libraries.
“There are a couple of twenty-four hour ones you could check out,” she offered, trying to be helpful.
“I have.” Kara frowned as she stabbed at a piece of eggplant. “The people there are grumpy.”
Lena chuckled at the put-out expression on Kara’s face. “Yes, well that's not surprising. The only people that go after-hours are desperate college students and lawyers.”
“And apparently me,” Kara muttered. She reached for another box of food and caught the small smile that had crept onto Lena’s face, despite her best efforts at suppressing it. “What?”
“You're laughing at me.” Kara’s eyes narrowed playfully, feigning anger.
“I’m not,” Lena insisted. “It’s just the idea of Supergirl, spending her free time at the local library…”
“Well, it’s not like I wear the suit when I’m there,” Kara grumbled.
Lena laughed loudly as that image came to mind. Supergirl, sitting at a table, her cape over the back of a chair, completely engrossed in a book. Kara joined in her laughter after a few moments, eyes shining as her despondence from earlier abated.
“Thank you. Again.”
“For laughing at you? Not a problem,” Lena quipped.
“For helping me feel better.”
Lena waited until the remaining laughter faded away, wanting to communicate her sincerity when she said, “Anytime, Kara.”
They continued with their meals, Lena deliberately eating slowly so as not to finish too soon. By now Kara was probably unfazed by dinner companions finishing well before her, but just because Kara was used to her ‘otherness’ didn’t mean she wanted reminders of it.
After boxing up the meager leftovers, they settled more comfortably on the couch, but Kara started to fidget with her cape, her mood seeming to regress somewhat.
“Can I ask you a question?” she asked.
Lena tensed. In her experience, requests for permission invariably prefaced uncomfortable discussions. However, not asking the question meant they were still harboring those thoughts, and Lena would rather have whatever Kara was thinking about out in the open.
“Of course,” Lena replied.
“Do you ever feel guilty?”
Lena froze. She didn’t know what question she expected, but it wasn’t that. And certainly not from Kara. She steeled herself for the followup - a litany of terrible infractions her family and LuthorCorp had committed - but it didn’t happen. Instead, Kara nearly tripped over her words in her haste to backtrack.
“Sorry! That came out wrong. I didn't mean it to sound like I was accusing you.”
Lena relaxed her body a fraction.
“What did you mean then?” Her tone wasn’t harsh, exactly, but it did demand an explanation.
Kara let out a breath, dropping her head onto the back of the couch to stare at the ceiling. She looked tired. And aggravated. Adjectives Lena would normally never use to describe Supergirl.
“I love being Supergirl. I love being able to help so many people. But sometimes I just want a break. Sometimes I don't like that this,” Kara pointed at the symbol on her chest, “always takes priority. Especially when I know I’m being called not out of need, but out of habit or convenience.”
Lena let go of the remaining tension in her body, understanding now that this wasn’t about her. Not directly. This was about the too-large responsibility on Kara’s shoulders. Which was probably the reason for Kara’s demeanor when she first arrived at Lena’s office.
“How do you deal with it? Running L-Corp. Do you feel guilty if you take a break? Is that why you work nonstop?”
If only, Lena thought.
“No,” she confessed. “My reasons are much more self-centered than that.”
Lena leaned over the coffee table and picked up a chess piece. It was the pawn, a choice some therapist would likely enjoy analyzing for hours on end.
“I was twelve, the first time I defeated my brother at chess,” she said. “I’d been playing against him for several years before it finally happened, and when it did I was so excited. Not because I won and he lost, but because Lex excelled at it and for me to win…it proved Lillian was wrong. That I wasn’t second best at everything compared to him. That, and the fact that I looked up to him, and his expression when I called checkmate - he looked so proud of me.”
Lena turned the pawn over in her hand, rubbing her fingers over the polished surface.
“At dinner that night, Lex told Lillian what happened. She looked at me, and for a second I stupidly thought she was going to congratulate me. Or at least give me a backhanded compliment that it was about time I showed a skill of some sort - which would have been something, at least. But no, she didn’t say a word to me. She took a sip of her wine, then turned to my brother and chastised him for being too nice to me. Then - just in case I somehow missed the implication - she flat out told him I’d never get any better if he let me win.” Lena’s face twisted at the memory. “And even though I knew that wasn’t true, Lillian still managed to plant a seed of doubt. She knew I was so starved for love that I would doubt my own achievement because it would reinforce Lex’s affection for me.”
Lena caught Kara’s expression out of the corner of her eye. She looked appalled.
“Every time you talk about your mother, I end up hating her a little more.”
“Hm. Join the club.”
Lena put the piece back down on the board. “So that’s the reason why I push myself so hard when it comes to running this company. With anything else I might do, Lillian would find room to doubt me. She’d argue that Lex could do better if he was given the task, or that if I somehow did better, that he wasn’t trying hard enough in the first place. But not this. Lillian wouldn’t accept anything less than Lex’s best when it came to running this company.” She turned to look at Kara. “I want to be better than he was. I want to prove her wrong.” Then she took it a step further, letting Kara have a peek at the darkness underneath. “And I want her to hurt because of it.”
Kara didn’t say anything. She just nodded, her expression hard and distant, fists tight at her sides. And for the second time that night, but this time in all seriousness, she imagined a Supergirl with fewer moral restrictions, and that the world better hope she remained a hero.
“Ask them to cut back on their calls to you,” Lena said, abruptly steering back to the original topic. Because this wasn’t supposed to be about her, this was supposed to be about Kara’s misplaced remorse.
Kara blinked once before flicking her eyes over to Lena.
“I do at times,” she said, relaxing her posture and letting out a small sigh. “And then I have to shove away the guilt that comes from knowing my wanting to go out for coffee or hang out with my friends might be costing people their lives.”
That was one of several reasons why Lena didn’t envy people with superpowers. There were always downsides. If not physical or mental, then philosophical.
“People die, Kara. Constantly. Giving up all of your free time - martyring yourself - isn’t the answer. It might work for a while but eventually it’ll take its toll. You’ll end up miserable, you’ll get sloppy, and you’ll want to give up altogether.” Lena reached out, laying her hand overtop of Kara’s. “Your life has to be more than just your job.”
Kara turned and looked at her pointedly. “So says the workaholic.”
Lena smiled. “Why do you think I was at that masquerade party? Why do you think I’m pursuing a relationship with you now? We each need time for ourselves, Kara. Doing whatever we want with whomever we want to.”
Kara’s eyes dropped down to Lena’s lips, then came back up again, but she didn’t move forward.
With anyone else, Lena would have taken the initiative and closed the gap. But she needed Kara to make that move first. Because for all the intimate conversations and details they’d shared thus far, Kara was still unsure of her. Lena felt it. Kara needed to truly trust her for things to ever work out between them - as both friends and more than friends. And Lena wanted it to work. But what little trust had been extended so far would evaporate if Kara ever felt like she was being seduced.
So when Kara flushed, turned away, and reached for the remainder of her drink, Lena let her.
It was a fine line, between flirtation and seduction, and Lena was determined to walk it. And right now, just sitting next to Kara, watching her enjoy her wine and laugh and talk about nothing…
It was enough.
* * *
Kara was feeling on edge, and with good reason. Lena had requested getting together after work, which was a departure from their usual lunch dates.
Memories of the strip club conversation had leapt to mind, and Kara had given into her need to know and asked Lena where she was taking her. Lena had replied it wasn't anything outlandish or kinky, qualifying it with a ’not this time,’ followed by a ‘but you seem rather interested’ tease - none of which alleviated her concern over their destination tonight.
Upon arriving, however, she was pleasantly surprised to find herself at a normal-enough looking bar. And when she walked in and saw the old-school video games lined along the walls, her eyes lit up with excitement.
“Hi,” she heard in her ear, Lena having sidled up to Kara without her noticing.
Kara ignored the shiver caused by Lena’s lips ghosting across her skin, turning to Lena to state almost reverently, “You brought me to an arcade bar.”
Lena chuckled at her response. “I take it you're happy.”
Kara’s eyes lit up.
“You have no idea,” she said, before pulling Lena over to peruse the games, seeing if there were any she was familiar with. “There used to be this miniature golf place where I grew up that had a few old games like this. They were my favorite thing to do. Oh, here! I know this one!”
Lena pressed some coins into her hand, but before getting started Kara turned and pulled Lena up against her.
Last time they were together she’d almost kissed Lena, but she’d held back, stuck thinking too far ahead. Not this time, though. This time, with Lena’s words from that night echoing in her head, Kara chose to do what she wanted to - she kissed Lena softly, followed by a whispered, “Thank you.”
The look of surprise in Lena’s eyes was priceless.
“If I'd have known that's the reaction I'd get, I would have brought you here much sooner,” she replied with a quirk of her eyebrow.
“You say that now,” Kara teased, “but your tune will change once we’re playing. I’m really good at these games.”
“You’re really good at a lot of things,” Lena said, her eyes briefly flicking to Kara’s lips. Kara responded by kissing her again, this time letting it linger a little before stepping back.
They played for about an hour, although truth be told that was almost exclusively Kara, with Lena only joining in occasionally on a few two-player games. Kara had told Lena she could go off on her own - she didn't have to just stand there and watch her play - but Lena declined, saying she was more entertained watching Kara.
After corralling Lena into a game of air hockey - which Lena was unfairly good at for claiming to have never played - they found a table to take a breather and order some food.
“Thank you again for this. I'm sure it's not your first choice of places to go.”
“You’d be surprised.” A wry smile crept across Lena’s face. “When you attend as many fundraisers and corporate events as I do, you start to crave something a bit different.”
“Regardless,” Kara insisted, pushing past Lena’s tendency to downplay compliments and thanks aimed in her direction, “it was thoughtful of you to choose this place.”
For once, Lena acquiesced, murmuring a ‘you're welcome’ before leaving to retrieve another round of drinks. As she walked away, two things occurred to Kara at once. One, that Lena did, in fact, own jeans, and looked far better in them than she had any right to. And two, that her concerns about Lena’s motives were steadily melting away.
It was possible that Lena had a long play in mind, and that she was spy-level good at deception, but honestly that could be a concern with anyone Kara met. At some point she just had to choose whether or not to trust someone.
And hope they didn’t end up hurting her - intentionally or otherwise.
* * *
Kara tried not to fidget as she stood a little bit aways from the other patrons, elbows resting on the railing as she looked over top of the city.
The cocktail bar had a gorgeous rooftop terrace, and while a view like this was far easier for her to come by, she was usually too caught up in responsibilities to fly for simple enjoyment much these days. And right now the weather was perfect - warm but not hot, with a gentle breeze blowing in from the water. The sun was just starting to set, which meant the amazing view was about to get even better.
Normally a place like this on a Friday night would be packed, but this wasn’t a typical bar. It catered to an elite crowd and your name needed to carry the right amount of gravitas to be allowed entry. Lena certainly wouldn’t have had a problem, but Kara wanted to surprise her with an evening out together, and had cashed in a favor with Ms. Grant to make it happen.
So here she was, wearing a dress beyond her price point, waiting to have cocktails with Lena.
And not having a clue as to what she was doing.
She straightened and turned, thinking of getting a glass of water from the bar, but that plan fell to the wayside when she spotted her walking in.
Kara never failed to notice how sharply attractive Lena looked in her day-to-day business attire. But seeing her outside the office, wearing a dress that hugged her curves sinfully - well, that was another story altogether, and she found herself swallowing hard at the sudden pull of desire that coursed through her.
Lena seemed to be equally taken by what Kara was wearing, if the slow gaze down the length of Kara’s body was any indication.
“Hi,” Kara nearly whispered, before clearing her throat. “You look amazing.”
“Thank you.” Lena snuck in another glance at Kara’s dress. “You look quite stunning yourself.”
Lena casually slipped her arm into the crook of Kara’s elbow, slowly walking them over to the bar. “So what’s the occasion? You were a little shy on the details when you texted me.”
“No occasion.” Kara shrugged. “Well, not really. After our last excursion, I wanted to pick someplace that fell a little more in line with your tastes.”
“I liked the arcade,” Lena protested.
“Okay, but…” Kara took a breath. “I don’t know. I just wanted to take you someplace really nice.”
When Lena didn’t say anything, Kara snuck a glance over at her, suddenly a little nervous. Like maybe she’d guessed wrong or gone a little overboard.
Lena caught her looking, though, and squeezed her arm in reassurance.
“It's perfect, Kara. Truly.”
She reinforced her words by leaning in and pressing a light kiss just below Kara’s jaw, before turning to the bartender to order drinks and light appetizers for the both of them.
They talked and drank and ate, discussing things of little importance, mostly work-related anecdotes that neither could comfortably discuss with anyone else. It was pleasant and easy, and Kara more than once had to remind herself to pay attention to the words being said and not just the person saying them.
About an hour later, with the stars beginning to speckle the sky, she found herself once again leaning on the railing, but this time with Lena beside her. The distance between them had dwindled so that their forearms kept brushing against each other, and Kara couldn't help the light blush that appeared and didn't seem to want to go away.
“So, Kara…this feels a lot like a date.”
Kara didn’t reply right away, because the whole time she'd been planning this evening she’d studiously avoided reading into the implications of it.
Her first instinct was to deflect, to ask Lena why it mattered. But it did matter. Lena wanted to know where they stood, and it would be unfair of her to hedge when Lena had been upfront from the start.
She took a few moments to try and gather her thoughts, and when she finally spoke it came out haltingly.
“I'm not ready to, you know, go full steam ahead,” she said, clasping her hands together in front of her. “Not yet.”
The yet was important.
“But if you're okay with doing this sort of thing, sometimes, along with our more low key get-togethers…then, yes, this would be a date.”
She turned to meet Lena’s gaze.
“Is that okay?”
Lena brushed her fingers over top of Kara’s. “Very much okay. Just keep me in the loop on the occasions it’s a date, so I can approach things between us properly.”
Kara nodded, letting out the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, while at the same time feeling a flutter of nervousness at the thought that this was an official date. But rather than spiral downward into that feeling, she did something she’d been thinking about all evening - she leaned into Lena’s space and kissed her. And not a soft fleeting thing, either.
Kara kissed her with intent, and when she pulled back it was only far enough to give Lena a moment to process, for her to decide whether or not this should continue.
Lena slid her hand around Kara’s forearm, pulling Kara in close again.
Their kissing never strayed too deep - they weren’t exactly alone, even though most people were congregating closer to the bar - but it was the most intimate they’d been with each other since Kara had gone home with Lena that first night.
Kara was the one to pull back first, and when she did the nerves she’d pushed away before returned full force. She found herself looking away as she touched at her glasses, unsure of what to do or say next. This in-between state of their relationship had Kara feeling hesitant. When it was just flirting and sex, Kara had no problem being decisive in her interactions with Lena. But she hadn’t made her mind up yet on what she actually wanted with Lena - friends with benefits, something more, something less - and her actions reflected it.
Luckily Lena rescued her from her own awkwardness, leading her towards the bar to get another round of drinks.
“You’re thinking too much,” Lena said, interrupting her thoughts. “Which I know is laughable coming from me, but still.”
Kara nodded, taking a sip of whatever drink Lena bought her. Lena started talking about a new project at work, and Kara knew it was simply a distraction, but she appreciated it either way. Soon enough she found herself getting curious, asking questions and getting caught up in the finer details of it. Time passed quickly - too quickly - and eventually Lena was apologizing that she needed to get going.
Kara had ahold of Lena’s hand as they exited the building, Lena’s car already waiting out front for her. When they got within a few feet of the vehicle, Lena stopped and turned so they could say their goodbyes.
“Tonight was wonderful, Kara. I enjoyed this. A lot.”
“So did I,” Kara replied back softly.
Lena leaned in and placed a chaste kiss on Kara’s lips, but when she went to step back Kara moved in closer, pulling Lena in for another kiss, this one deeper. As Lena’s mouth opened to her, Kara turned slightly to pin Lena against the car, pulling forth a gasp as their bodies pressed more fully against each other. Only when her hands tightened against Lena’s sides, twitching with the need to explore, did Kara force herself to step back. Their gazes caught and held, until finally Lena wished her a good night and stepped into her car.
As the vehicle pulled away, Kara couldn’t help listening in on the heartbeat inside, noting it’s elevated rate. It was reassuring to know that Lena was affected by this, too, and a reminder that this wasn’t a one-way street. Lena was asking for Kara’s trust, and to get it she was opening up to Kara. She was trusting Kara not to hurt her, to not be like every other person in her life thus far. The only problem was, Kara didn’t know what she was doing.
No, that was wrong. She knew what she was doing - she just didn’t know where she and Lena were going. And that could end up hurting both Lena and herself.
Kara turned on her heel towards home, thoughts swirling.
What she did know was that she liked spending time with Lena. And she liked kissing her. And she wasn’t going to look too far beyond that for now.
Lena had learned early on in her tenure as CEO that the stress of this job wasn’t something you could fight head-on. It was too constant and all-consuming for that. You had to let it pass through you, not let yourself get worked up by everyone else’s anger or panic or frustration. Usually she was pretty good at doing just that. But not this week.
These past several days, it was as if every single person she’d interacted with had been tasked to find and drain her patience down to it’s last reserve, until she’d finally succumbed and absorbed the stress into her own body.
And now she was paying for it physically, with knots in her shoulders and neck, and a possible headache on the horizon.
She stretched her arms over her head, then rolled her head from side to side, trying to loosen it up even a fraction. Maybe she could con a massage out of Kara when she returned from whatever emergency had stolen her away a short while ago.
Kara’s evening visits had picked up in frequency, and even when they didn’t talk much Lena still found those nights significantly more enjoyable than ones she spent alone at the office - which was both a revelation and question mark to Lena. Was it the basic human contact she was latching onto, or Kara in particular? She had a suspicion it was the latter, but decided that was a thought best left buried. The last thing she wanted was to be dependent on anyone. The scars from Lillian were barely healed over, and the wounds Lex left on Lena were still raw and painful.
Just as she reached for her keyboard to scroll through yet another report, Supergirl dropped onto her balcony.
“That was quick,” Lena commented, surprised.
“Yeah, Alex let me skip out on the debrief. I think she felt guilty. The agent who made the call is new and doesn't understand yet that ‘alien criminal’ doesn't automatically mean ‘Supergirl emergency.’” As she was talking, Kara started putting her civilian clothes back on over her suit. It was unnecessary with everyone else at L-Corp having long since left for the night, but Lena suspected it had to do with Kara’s state of mind more than anything. Usually when she showed up at Lena’s office it was as Supergirl, the only exception being when she needed a quote for an article. Tonight was different. She'd texted asking if she could come by - normally she just flew in unannounced - then arrived in street clothes, proceeding to work from her laptop for about an hour before getting the call from Alex. And then, for the first time, Lena had gotten to see the actual transformation - which had been quite the sight to behold.
In the back of her mind, she knew it shouldn't have fazed her. She knew Kara was Supergirl. But witnessing her removing her glasses, letting her hair down, and pulling open her shirt in a seamless ritual had been breathtaking…and also quite the turn on.
Lena had dimly been aware she'd tightened her grip on her chair, but other than that she thought she’d hidden her reaction pretty well. And if Kara hadn't turned back to say goodbye, Lena would have been in the clear. But she did turn back. And Kara’s mouth curled up just the slightest in a knowing grin before she flew off.
Afterwards, Lena had taken comfort in the fact that her hormones would have time to settle down while Supergirl was busy with whatever disaster needed her attention. But no. Here she was back in her office less than a half an hour later, with Lena still feeling restless.
Kara wasn't helping the matter right now either. She'd pulled all of her clothes back on, but she'd left the top two buttons of her shirt open - the crest of her suit peeking through. And she'd slipped her glasses back on, but left her hair down. Lena was seeing an amalgamation of Kara’s identities. It summoned the attractive qualities from both sides of her personalities, combining into one achingly desirable woman.
Lena turned back towards the paperwork on her desk before she did something reckless. Things had been moving along between them, albeit slowly, and the last thing she wanted was a setback.
However...that didn't mean she couldn't have a little fun.
Fighting back a grin, Lena slipped her hand up along the back of her neck, squeezing at the tightness still there. Without even having to fake it, a slight moan of pain escaped her lips.
As expected, Kara immediately turned towards her. “Are you okay?” she asked, voice filled with concern.
Lena winced as she turned her head. “I'm just a bit sore. It's been a rather stressful past few days.”
“Can I help?” Kara took a step forward. “I can try and loosen up some of the knots if you want.”
“You don’t have to.”
Kara ignored Lena’s half-hearted refusal. “Just your neck or your shoulders, too?”
“Shoulders, too,” she answered, fighting off the smile that threatened to emerge when Kara stepped up behind her chair. That had been altogether too easy.
“Let me know if it's too hard, okay.”
Lena smirked, a smart-ass comeback on the tip of her tongue, but then Kara’s thumbs dug into Lena’s shoulder blades and all thought flew out the window, her hands scrambling against her desk for something to hold onto.
It took nearly thirty seconds for her body to recover from its shock, to gradually acclimate to the deep pressure rolling across her neck and back.
Kara’s hands found a particularly sore spot where her neck and shoulder met, and Lena moaned. It was on accident the first time, but the groans and gasps after were completely intentional, and definitely noticed.
“Right there,” she breathed out. “Yeah. A little harder.” And when Kara complied, she moaned again, adding, “Oh my god, Kara,” for good measure, fairly certain that Kara’s body bucked into the back of her chair at that.
Lena’s actions were obvious, the innuendo plain as day. But to call Lena out on it, to ask her to be less vocal, would be uncomfortable for Kara at the very least. Possibly mortifying. Her only real choice was to try and ignore Lena, and if the twitch of Kara’s hand was any indication, she was failing spectacularly at that.
After a few more minutes Kara slowly withdrew her hands, her voice strained as she asked, “Was that okay?”
Lena sighed in pleasure. “That was amazing, Kara.”
She slowly sat up, expecting Kara to be halfway to the safety of the couch. But instead she was greeted by a very stationary, very hot and bothered looking Kara.
Presuming she'd already pushed the envelope as far as it would go, Lena stood and gestured towards the couch, about to ask Kara if she wanted to keep working while Lena ordered some food. She only got as far as, “Did you-” before one hand was on her hip, the other at the back of her neck, pulling her into a hard, deep kiss.
The surprise of it brought her thoughts to a halt, which was a rarity for Lena. Of all the things she was good at, turning her mind off wasn’t one of them, but oh was it blissfully quiet in her head right now.
Lena focused on the sensations washing through her - pulse-pounding breathlessness, low-coiling heat, fluttering anticipation - while striving to return every kiss and touch. She had a dim awareness of being edged backwards, until she felt herself bump up against her desk. Then Kara leaned forward, and as Lena’s body arched back she suddenly became more cognizant of her surroundings, flattening her hand onto the surface behind her to brace herself.
Kara took advantage of Lena’s now-exposed throat, licking a wet path upwards before finding Lena’s lower lip and biting down - hard enough for Lena to feel but not enough to hurt. She released it a beat later, allowing Lena to pull her into a rough, messy kiss as Kara’s hand snaked behind Lena’s back, pulling her blouse up and out of her skirt.
Once her fingers started sliding along the bare skin of Lena’s spine, Kara suddenly slowed down, pulling out of the kiss to rest her forehead against Lena’s.
Her eyes were closed as she breathed heavily against Lena, prompting Lena to gently touch her face and ask if she was okay.
“I'm fine,” she replied, a little dazed. “Just a little too fast. I don't like-” she paused to swallow thickly, “I shouldn't lose control like that.”
Lena caught the correction, but chose not to comment on it. They could discuss Kara’s conflicting feelings of ‘like’ versus ‘should’ at a later date. Just so long as Kara’s only regret right now was the speed of her actions and not the person she was doing them with.
Once Kara got her breathing under control, Lena leaned forward until they were standing upright and no longer half draped over her desk.
“I'm sorry,” Kara apologized, watching as she tucked her blouse back into place.
“Don't be.” Lena gave her an understanding smile as she stepped closer to Kara, reaching up and fastened the two open buttons of Kara’s shirt to remove the temptation. Before Kara tried apologizing again, Lena strolled back to her desk and pulled open the drawer of takeout menus.
“Starving,” Kara replied as she fell backwards onto the couch.
Lena smiled wryly at her disheveled appearance.
In more ways than one, she thought.
* * *
Kara closed her apartment door behind Alex, cleaning up the empty pizza boxes and texting her sister another quick thank you for the food. One of the big perks of Kara working with the DEO? Her sister could officially pick up the tab with the agency’s credit card.
Kneeling on the floor, she pulled out the garment bag she’d stowed under her bed prior to Alex’s visit. If Alex had seen it, Kara would have spent the night being interrogated instead of watching movies with her sister, and as bad as that last film had been - the characters were literally explaining the plot halfway through it - it was still better than being grilled by Alex.
She’d already told her sister she was going to the gala on Friday - that wasn’t why she was avoiding a discussion about it. It was that Alex was under the impression she was covering the event for Catco. Which she was, technically. But she’d offered to do the write-up because she was already going to be there. And she was already going to be there because Lena had asked Kara to go with her.
More than just asked, though. It wasn’t some ‘by the way’ in between bites of takeout, or a dropped-off invitation. Lena had formally invited her, and had even bought Kara a dress when she said she had nothing appropriate to wear.
Kara unzipped the bag, and she was struck again by just how beautiful the dress was. Beautiful and expensive. A ‘two digits too many’ on the price tag sort of expensive. She could have tried telling Alex it was a rental, but while Kara was getting better at subterfuge - lying by omission or stretching the truth were now within her range - she was a far cry away from flat-out lying to her sister. Alex would have inevitably ferreted out the truth, and wow, that would have opened the floodgates.
Her sister had no idea she was having lunches with Lena regularly or that Kara was spending more and more of her evenings at Lena’s office. And finding that out, along with the fact that Lena gave her that dress - there’s no way Alex wouldn't read into that as something beyond mere friendship.
What that something was, though, Kara still couldn't define.
Right now, the needle was stuck at ‘friends with partial benefits’, and that was on Kara’s shoulders. Lena was assuredly ready for more - had been since day one - but she was following Kara’s pace, likely because she suspected Kara would bolt at the first excuse. And that was still a possibility, but it had nothing to do with Lena’s last name anymore.
Kara was feeling the urge to run from this not because she didn’t want a relationship with Lena, but because she wanted something more than what was being offered. Friends with benefits didn’t seem like enough. And the possibility of falling hard and having that not be returned scared her. Yet she was certain she didn't want to stop seeing Lena. So running away right now, while tempting, wasn’t palatable either.
It left Kara unsure, with a dress in her hands worth more than some people’s cars, and a text on her phone asking her when she was sending a picture of herself in it.
Kara tossed her phone onto the bed and started undressing. She was fully aware that this was one short step away from sexting, but in for a penny, in for a pound, she supposed.
After sliding the zipper up, she stepped in front of the mirror and was taken aback once again by how she looked in this dress. Maroon, sleeveless, and deceptively simple, she’d never realized how much of a difference smooth lines and expert tailoring could make. Kara had offered to visit a few stores on her own, but Lena had rejected that notion out of hand, instead texting over an address of a shop that catered to a more elite clientele. Kara wasn’t normally one to say she could get used to this, but having a personal assistant that knew exactly what styles and colors would look best on her was a relief.
She sent the requested photo, and a few moments later Lena reciprocated with one of her own - wearing an off-the-shoulder black dress that dipped dangerously low in front - and Kara nearly crushed her phone. Because on top of how much she liked Lena as a person, Kara couldn't deny how attracted she was to her physically, too. Lena was captivatingly beautiful, both inside and out.
Kara fell backwards onto the bed, still staring at the picture of Lena, ignoring the burgeoning realization that breaking things off wouldn't solve this, either. Maybe earlier on, before she’d gotten to know Lena’s mind and soul as intimately as she knew her body. But now it was too late. Now she was in too deep.
K: You look gorgeous
L: So do you. Thank you for doing this.
K: For sending you a picture? Or for going to the gala?
L: Both. But I meant the gala. The pictures are just a pleasant bonus ;)
K: Happy to help on both fronts. What time should I get there?
L: Around 8?
L: What are you doing now?
K: Trying to get out of this dress
L: Feel free to send more pictures once you’re successful
K: Sure thing…as soon as I get my pajamas on ;)
L: You’re no fun
Lena probably didn’t expect Kara to actually send more pictures.
And even if she did, she probably thought Kara would go with the first thing she found in her drawer - in this case, a matching set with puppies and donuts printed all over it. Instead Kara rooted around for something a bit less cutesy, finding a white camisole and a light blue striped pair of soft cotton pants.
And the picture should have been something quick. But no, she took an extra minute to position herself with her back against the headboard, the light from the floor lamp giving a soft glow while leaving her partially in shadow.
And when the strap of her top fell to the side…well, she definitely should have pushed that back up instead of leaving it halfway down her shoulder.
Kara sent it before she could overthink it and quickly finished getting ready for bed, trying to ignore her nervousness about Lena’s response. It’s not like she was wearing lingerie and being blatant about it, but it was flirty and meant to get a reaction.
When she heard the telltale buzz, she picked up her phone to see two replies.
L: I take back my last response.
L: Hold on a sec.
Kara clambered into bed, scrolling back to the picture of Lena in her gala dress while she waited for Lena to reply.
A minute later Kara figured out what Lena had been doing, as another photo came through.
Lena was also sitting in bed, leaning against her headboard. But unlike Kara, she wore a black silky robe - the same one she’d worn after they’d slept together. It was gaping slightly at the top, revealing an expanse of pale smooth skin. And the look on Lena’s face…
Kara inhaled loudly, and okay, yeah, maybe this was a bad idea.
K: That’s unfair.
K: When I send you pictures you don’t have to worry about accidentally breaking your phone
L: That feels like a personal challenge now...
Kara wasn’t surprised when another photo came through.
Lena had pushed the robe off both of her shoulders, one breast partially revealed, the other covered by Lena’s arm reaching down the front of her. The picture cut off before Kara could see where her hand was, but it didn’t take a strong imagination to figure out.
A half second later, Kara felt and saw the telltale cracking of her screen, just as another message from Lena came through.
L: A new phone will be on your desk first thing in the morning. Unless, of course, you say otherwise.
K: Goodnight, Lena
Every comment is always a lovely surprise. Thank you :)
Catch me on tumblr at indathreneblue
Lena knew about the red kryptonite incident.
It had come up unexpectedly, while Kara was recounting an argument at work with a rude coworker. Lena had rolled her eyes at Kara’s version of a biting comeback, telling her she couldn't be mean if her life depended on it. But instead of an eye roll or amusing denial, Kara had responded with a small and forced sounding laugh, and she wouldn’t meet Lena’s eyes.
Lena hadn't pushed, partially out of surprise at Kara’s reaction, but also because she could feel the guilt rolling off of Kara in waves. And that, in turn, had caused some of Lena’s own guilt-related memories to resurface - helping Lex with projects she should have asked questions about - which momentarily left her too frozen to interact with Kara.
Eventually they both got unstuck, and Kara chose to elaborate, providing a very detailed, albeit stilted, explanation.
It turned out Kara could be just as devastating with her words as she was with her punches.
Her conversation with her sister was on par with Lillian’s verbal attacks, which was saying something. But Kara being Kara, she owned it, admitting that while she never would have voiced those thoughts aloud otherwise, they were still the truth. Dipped in poison and wrapped in razor blades - but the truth nonetheless.
So Lena knew the true effects of red kryptonite. Knew how it silenced the voice of caution in Kara and removed any and all inhibitions. And because of this, it didn't take Lena long to put the pieces together when Kara called her. She’d barely said hi before Kara started questioning her.
“How come you're not at your office? Or your apartment?”
“Well, hello to you, too,” Lena replied drily, noting the tinge of annoyance in Kara’s voice. “I’m on my way home now. Do you want me to stop and pick up something to eat?”
She’d phrased it as question only out of politeness, because Kara always wanted food. Lena had her finger on the partition button, ready to ask her driver to stop at the Asian restaurant Kara was favoring lately, when she nearly dropped her phone at Kara’s reply of ‘no’.
Well, that was new.
“Is everything okay, Kara?”
“Why wouldn't it be? Because I don't want food? I have been known not to be hungry at times.”
Her tone was ostensibly teasing, but there was a bite to it. Lena thought about apologizing, debating over whether Kara’s overreaction warranted one, when several sirens erupted in the distance.
“Do you have to take care of that?”
Kara sighed into the phone. “The DEO existed well before I came into the picture. They can handle it on their own tonight.”
Alarm bells to match the ones outside were now going off in Lena’s head. Kara had confessed her frustration that the DEO relied on her too much, that J’onn and Alex called her too readily - but Kara had never actually acted on those sentiments. And the way she was doing it now, acting so dismissive about it…
“When will you be home?”
“Less than ten minutes,” Lena replied coolly. “Impatient much?”
“Yes,” Kara answered tersely, sounding aggravated. “I'm tired of waiting and being polite and always, always, having to hold myself back. It’s all the time, with everyone and everything, and I’m done with it, Lena.”
But it was too late. The conversation was over.
Lena leaned back against her seat, phone in hand as she debated her options. This situation was too important to have a text get misinterpreted or ignored, but at the same time Lena had no idea how far Kara’s superhearing reached. She couldn’t risk being overheard.
Better to play it safe, just in case.
L: Was Supergirl exposed to red kryptonite today?
Alex: Who is this?
L: Lena Luthor
A: How did you get this number?
L: From Kara. She told me to contact you in case of an emergency.
There was a pause as Lena waited for Alex’s response. Likely she was reevaluating what she knew of Lena and Kara’s friendship.
A: Why do you think something is wrong with Supergirl? Is she with you now?
L: I spoke to her on the phone and it was obvious. And I’m about to meet up with her.
Another pause, probably Alex wondering why Lena was talking to Supergirl on the phone, and how much Lena knew about Kara exactly.
L: We don’t have time for this. I know Kara is Supergirl. Trust me, something is wrong with her.
Lena waited again, this time for Alex to process that information.
A: We haven’t heard from her in the last few hours. But’s it’s possible she was exposed to it. When and where are you meeting her?
L: At my apartment in 5 minutes.
A: I’ll be there with a team in 20.
L: Make it fast. I don’t know how long I can stall her before things get out of hand.
Lena tossed her phone into her purse as her driver pulled up to her building, then quickly scooped up her belongings.
As she traversed the lobby into the elevator, she thought about what exactly she would be walking into once she entered her apartment. Kara had said she was tired of holding back, which Lena was sure applied to many aspects of Kara’s life. But the fact that she sought out Lena gave her a clue as to her more immediate intentions. The only thing up for debate was the pace at which Kara moved and how successful Lena would be at slowing her down. Because a lot could happen in fifteen minutes.
It also didn't help that Lena’s conviction to do the right thing here was less than one hundred percent. Lena was tired of waiting as well, and yearned to relearn Kara’s body.
But not tonight. Not like this.
Kara was effectively under the influence. And while she might not blame Lena for her actions - probably wouldn't even realize just how eager Lena was to comply with her wants - Kara would blame herself. That blame would poison their relationship, conceivably beyond repair. And Lena wouldn’t throw away something possibly long-term just to satiate her immediate lust.
But this did call for some careful negotiating. She couldn't simply turn Kara down. Not out of any real concern that Kara wouldn't take no for an answer - the red kryptonite dissolved inhibitions, it wouldn't turn her into a sexual predator - but Lena guessed that Kara would then leave. And who knows what damage she’d wreak while the DEO was trying to track her down. No, Lena needed to keep Kara in one place.
So, if she wasn't going to reject Kara’s advances immediately, and she wasn't going to say yes either, Lena only had one option left. She needed to delay her. It was simply a question of how much of an eyeful Alex would get from Lena’s method of delaying...
And the answer, it seemed, was going to be a lot. Lena had barely walked in - a quick glimpse of blue and red and the snapping of a cape her only warning - before Kara had her pressed up against the door.
“You’re home,” Kara said, voice low, her lips curling into a smirk. “I'm glad.”
“I can see that.”
“I want to fuck you, Lena.”
Lena’s eyes widened. Apparently along with a loss of inhibitions, all ambiguous language fled from Kara as well.
Kara slid her fingers under the strap of Lena’s purse and lowered it to the floor, while her other hand snaked its way around her neck. And then Lena found herself sincerely wishing the circumstances were different, because being kissed by Kara when she had no plans to stop felt distinctly different. It held promises of a sweaty gratification that she knew Kara could fulfill adeptly and repeatedly.
But when she felt Kara’s hand slip into the gap between the buttons of her shirt, Lena tore her mouth away. Circumstances were not different and she needed to slow things down. Covering Kara’s hand with her own, she let a teasing smile surface. “I do like this shirt so I'd rather you not rip it apart.”
Kara rolled her eyes. “You're no fun,” she pouted.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Lena drawled, reaching up to slowly begin unbuttoning it.
Halfway through she paused to kiss Kara, and when the kiss was hungrily returned Lena let her hands fall away from the buttons, wrapping them around Kara’s neck in an effort to extend this distraction as much as possible. This was essentially strip poker, and Lena only had so many articles of clothing to leverage. Once they were both undressed it would be game over. And Kara’s thinking might be a little cloudy right now, but she would know something was up if they were naked and Lena suddenly stopped for conversation.
Eventually Kara pulled away, leaning forward to lave at Lena’s neck and collarbone. When her progress was hindered by Lena’s shirt, Kara tugged at it.
“Off,” she demanded.
Lena resumed her previous task of unbuttoning, and as soon as she was done Kara was pushing her blouse off her shoulders. Or at least attempting to. She still had Lena pressed up against the door, which stymied her progress.
“How about moving to the couch?” Lena suggested. She needed to give Alex a clear path into the room, and the bedroom was best avoided for now.
Without warning Lena found herself being picked up, Kara’s strong hands grasping the backs of her thighs and pulling her in close as Lena quickly wrapped around legs around Kara’s waist.
If the supersuit hadn’t already reminded Lena of Kara’s strength, that little maneuver would have done the trick. The ease with which she picked Lena up was nothing compared to her full capabilities, of course, but that didn't lessen the impact for Lena; her body responded to the display of strength.
And the suit wasn't helping, either. It showed off Kara’s lean, muscular body, usually hidden away under button ups and sweaters.
All of that, plus the sexual tension that had been escalating since they'd nearly had sex on Lena’s desk last week...it was throwing Lena off. Enough that when Kara sat back on the couch with Lena straddling her lap, it was Lena’s mouth and hands that wandered first.
She kissed a wet path along Kara’s neck, hands sweeping up Kara’s abdomen and skimming across her breasts. And when Lena bit down on her ear lobe, Kara let out a pleased groan.
“Do that again. Harder,” Kara demanded breathlessly. “Please.”
The ‘please’ brought a smile from Lena. Even now, with a poison coursing through her, Kara’s duality was peeking through.
Lena complied, and that worked for Kara - a lot. She pulled Lena’s hips down while lifting her own to grind against Lena, dragging her into a hot, messy kiss.
When Kara pushed at her shoulder, urging her to lie back on the couch, a stray thought crossed Lena’s mind - the idea of texting Alex and telling her she’d failed at detaining Kara. That Kara had up and left.
It wasn't an idea she seriously entertained, but it did beg the question of why that thought occurred to her at all. Part of it, of course, was Lena’s lust speaking. But not all of it, and she needed to examine that other part more closely.
Just not now.
Lena knew her enthusiastic responses to Kara’s touches weren't helping the situation. She needed to temper her actions and shift into a slower gear, and to get Kara to follow along at the less hurried pace.
But to get something you usually needed to give something up.
In this case, it would be another article of clothing - but one of Lena's choosing. Because if Kara’s fingers sliding under the strap of her bra were any indication, she was going to lose something one way or another, and her goal was to avoid flashing her breasts to Alex tonight, for all of their sakes.
Lena covered Kara’s hand with her own, pausing her after Kara had managed to slide one strap off her shoulder.
“Help me out of my stockings first,” she said, absently realizing her shoes were already gone. She must have lost them somewhere between the door and the trip to the couch.
Kara’s hands slid along her thighs and just under her skirt, but her movements were a little too rushed.
Lena grabbed at her wrists. “Slower,” she said, catching Kara’s gaze as she said it, infusing it with innuendo.
Kara’s eyes darkened, and as she resumed at a slower pace, Lena had to deal with the heightened sensations elicited by her actions - the silken drag of stockings as Kara peeled them downwards, the wet heat of Kara’s breath ghosting along her newly bared skin, the light brush of kisses Kara pressed along the way...
God, Alex needed to hurry the fuck up.
After tossing them carelessly to the ground, Kara crawled up Lena’s body, stopping when she reached the apex of her thighs.
No, no, no.
She was not getting walked in on with Kara’s head buried between her legs. Especially not by Kara’s sister.
“Not yet,” Lena exhaled quickly, realizing she could already feel Kara’s breath against her. She pulled at Kara’s shoulders, urging her up to lie flush on top of her.
As Kara’s mouth hovered over Lena’s, she grinned down at her, raising an eyebrow in challenge. “Careful what you ask for, Lena. I'll build you up so much, you’ll be begging for my mouth on you.”
Lena’s breath caught and she licked at suddenly dry lips, right before Kara got to work fulfilling that promise. She started with open-mouthed kisses, then nips to Lena’s lower lip, followed by a small smirk - Lena’s only warning before Kara thrust her tongue into her mouth.
Nothing about this kiss was tender. Kara was rough, hot, and thorough - and fuck, Lena was reveling in it. Her lungs were screaming by the time she finally broke away, and as she gasped for air Kara continued her assault on Lena’s senses, sucking marks into Lena’s neck and collarbone that would leave discolorations by morning.
Arousal turned Lena desperate - she couldn’t think beyond her need to touch and feel more of Kara’s body against her own. She used one hand to grip across the nape of Kara’s neck, and the other to push Kara’s cape aside so she could stroke her fingers up the back of Kara’s thigh. When Kara’s mouth advanced lower, kissing and biting across the top of Lena’s breast, Lena’s hand slid under Kara’s skirt-
And that's when Alex burst through the door, closely followed by another female agent.
To her credit, Alex reacted with only a barely perceivable pause and a blink of surprise before she fired at Supergirl. The tranquilizer hit Kara in the shoulder, followed by a second shot from the other agent when Kara didn't fall unconscious immediately. And when Kara collapsed, it was directly on top of Lena, because of course this situation had to be as awkward as possible.
It took both agents to roll Kara off of her and onto the ground, and while Alex was checking Kara over, the other operative was polite enough to retrieve Lena’s shirt for her.
Once she’d finished refastening the last of the buttons, Alex signaled to her fellow agent to bring the rest of the team in.
“She’ll be alright?” Lena asked Alex, watching as they moved Kara onto a stretcher.
Alex nodded, keeping her eyes on her sister until she’d been transported out of the room. Once that was done, though, Alex turned to Lena, assessing her with a critical eye. “What about you? Are you ok?”
Lena waved her hand dismissively. “I'm fine.”
Alex looked doubtful, but rather than argue, she moved onto her next question. “How long have you known Kara is Supergirl?”
Lena knew better than to answer that. She guessed Kara had told her sister little to nothing about the nature of their relationship. Alex was fishing and Lena wasn't about to provide answers that would simply lead to more questions.
“Does it matter?”
“I suppose not,” Alex admitted.
As Alex surveyed the room, Lena couldn’t help noticing how anxious and distinctly uncomfortable Kara’s sister now looked. Eventually, she turned back to Lena, taking a breath to steel herself.
“I know you said you were fine, but I have to ask. Did she force or pressure you-“
“No,” Lena assured her. “Red kryptonite strips away the niceties, it doesn't change who she fundamentally is. But why are you asking? You’re already aware of how it affects her.”
“I had to make sure. It could have been a new variant, Kara’s physiology might have changed...sometimes things just find a way of going wrong.”
Lena believed her, but Alex’s posture had only partially eased and right now Lena just wanted to take a cold shower and go to bed. She didn’t feel like playing twenty questions when it was obvious what Kara’s sister was worked up over.
“Just ask me the question you want to ask, Agent Danvers.”
Alex tilted her head, looking slightly taken aback by Lena’s directness. But that didn’t mean she didn’t appreciate it, nor that she wouldn’t take advantage of it.
“Was that real? Or were you just playing along to keep her here until we arrived?”
Lena could have answered her questions. Could have told Kara’s sister the truth and weathered the inevitable anger and outrage and unfounded accusations. But it wasn’t for her to decide how much to reveal. And she wasn’t about to lie when it seemed like Alex already knew the answer.
“I believe that’s a conversation best had between you and your sister.”
It was the kind of non-answer that was still an answer, and Alex’s gaze narrowed, clearly not happy with that response. But her glance towards the door indicated she had other priorities as well, and her need to see after her sister won out.
“I have to go. But we’re not done here. I have more questions and I'll need you to sign an NDA.”
“Of course,” Lena replied calmly. “Stop by my office anytime.”
Alex turned to go, then paused and turned back, and Lena started to get annoyed. She didn’t feel like dealing with any more unwarranted concerns about her relationship with Kara.
But that’s not what unfolded. Instead, she watched as Alex’s brusque formality fell away, her stance and expression softening.
“Thank you,” Alex said quietly. “For contacting me and letting us help her.”
Lena nodded and debated leaving it at that, but she felt an urge to at least try and protect Kara from the interrogation she knew Alex would subject her to.
“Don’t be too hard on her,” she said. Your sister is fully aware of the risks of associating with a Luthor. She’s being cautious.” Continuing to hold Alex’s gaze, she let down her guard a fraction. “But she’s also not pre-judging me for my family's actions. And that’s not something I've been given before.”
Alex studied her for a few moments, face unreadable.
“Then don’t throw it away,” she said.
And then Alex came back to herself, her posture stiffening as she pivoted towards the door, telling whomever was on the other side of her earpiece that she was on her way.
Once the door safely closed behind Kara’s sister, Lena headed for her bedroom. The shower she’d planned on taking was now unnecessary, her conversation with Alex having effectively doused her libido.
As she got undressed, Alex’s parting words stuck with her. Not because the warning was justified, but because of the intensity of her reaction to it. Lena’s immediate internal response was one of protest - that there was no conceivable way she would throw away or do anything else to hurt her relationship with Kara.
And that realization was extremely unsettling. Because the last time she’d let herself care for anyone, it’d almost destroyed her. But this was Kara, not her psychotic family. Her feelings for her were different...
Which, unfortunately, made it so much worse.
The first time Kara had been exposed to red kryptonite, she'd awoken in a hospital bed at the DEO with her sister hovering nearby. Alex had asked her how she felt, and Kara had replied by violently throwing up over the side of the bed, catching Alex’s shoes in the process.
This time at least they were better prepared.
Alex was curled up in a chair in the corner of the room, a bucket was strategically placed on the floor, and Kara wasn't caught off guard by the overwhelming wave of nausea when she regained consciousness. Her aim wasn't perfect, but at least Alex’s footwear made it through unscathed.
Kara closed her eyes and laid back against the bed again, the brightness of the sun lamp accentuating the pounding in her head. A moment later she felt a sleep mask sliding past her forehead and over her eyes.
“Thank you,” she murmured.
“Better or worse than last time?”
“Headache’s worse. Nausea’s the same. I don't feel as weak, though. So there’s that.”
She heard Alex moving around the room - a wet mop sliding across the floor, the bucket being replaced with a fresh one.
“Do you need anything?”
“I just want to sleep. But I don't know if I can. Feel too sick.”
Alex’s hand squeezed Kara’s gently. “Try, at least.”
“Will you stay with me until I do? I don't want to be alone.”
“Of course, Kara.”
* * *
When she awoke again it was to an empty room.
Which, combined with what she’d been through and how she felt now, wasn’t great. But to be fair, last time she had slept for fourteen hours, and it wasn't as if Alex had nothing better to do than wait around for her to wake up.
And honestly it was probably better that she wasn't here at the moment. Now that the sickness had subsided, her mind could focus on other things - namely what she'd been doing right before Alex tranquilized her. She sat up and pushed the sleep mask the rest of the way off of her face, then hugged her knees to her chest, letting her eyes drift closed as everything that had happened came back to her.
It was revealing, the people she sought out. That it was Lena this time wasn't a surprise. Nor Kara’s intentions towards her.
What Kara couldn't figure out was whether or not Lena knew anything was wrong. She thought Lena had noticed, having asked Kara point blank if she was alright when they were on the phone. But when Kara had shown up at her apartment, Lena hadn't said a word. Had, in fact, seemed to respond to Kara’s advances.
Had Lena believed Kara when she said she was fine? Or maybe she’d known something was wrong and didn't care? Or, and Kara was desperately hoping this wasn’t true, had Lena gone along with it because she was afraid Kara would hurt her?
It all left Kara feeling confused and uncertain and scared.
She was in that same state when Alex walked in a short while later.
“Hey,” Alex said softly as she sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Hi,” Kara whispered.
Not to mention, Alex had stormed into Lena’s apartment to see Kara ravishing Lena on her couch. Because that was a conversation Kara wanted to have right now. She sat there, avoiding eye contact, wishing this talk could be put off for at least another day or two. Preferably forever.
Sensing that Kara wasn’t about to launch into conversation anytime soon, Alex spoke first.
“She’s different than them.”
”Who’s different?” Kara mumbled.
“Lena Luthor. She’s better than the rest of her family. A lot better.”
Kara lifted her head up to look at Alex. She could have predicted about a dozen different things her sister could have said to her just now, and that wasn’t one of them.
“We profiled her when she moved to town,” Alex explained. “I kept tabs on her, but no red flags came up so I didn't think about her much after that. That is, until she texted me and told me you were in trouble.”
Alex took a breath, looking uncomfortable as she broke eye contact with Kara and began to idly smooth out the bedsheets with her free hand.
“After seeing you two…together…I did a little digging and took a look at what she’s been up to. A ton of tech advances, which is to be expected, but also a lot of charity work, girls STEM programs at local schools, a few environmental pilot projects…and then some behind-the scenes-stuff, like orchestrating the ousting and resignations of some of L-Corps’s board. The ones that were supportive of her brother’s anti-alien feud.”
Kara was aware of some of that. Lena was proud to talk about the good causes L-Corp helped fund. And she'd known there’d been some housecleaning in the boardroom.
“Don't get me wrong, she's not all sunshine and roses,” Alex continued, her tone dry. “I suspect she blackmailed a couple of those board members into resigning. And there was a hostile takeover that was rather merciless and vindictive.”
Okay, those things she didn't know. But it didn’t come as a total surprise, either. Kara had gathered enough from their conversations to know that Lena could be ruthless at times. The ends justifying the means, within reason. And Lena’s definition of ‘within reason’ was rather broad. But then again, so was Alex’s at times.
Kara shook her head, trying to clear it. She was feeling a lot better, but her thoughts were still a little cloudy. It only now caught up to her that Lena had contacted Alex.
Which meant Lena had known something was wrong with her.
“She texted you?”
“Yes. Before you met her at her apartment. She told me she thought you’d been exposed to red kryptonite. She also told me she knew Kara and Supergirl were one and the same. Which needs an explanation, Kara.”
“I didn't tell her. She figured it out on her own.”
“How?” Alex asked, her skepticism clear.
“She saw me without my disguise when we, um,” don’t blush, don’t blush, don’t blush, “when we first got to know each other.”
Alex’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.
“And how, exactly, did you ‘get to know each other’?”
Kara groaned internally. She really didn’t want to answer this. But better to rip the band-aid off all at once, she supposed.
“I met her when I was bartending and I might have…gone home with her.”
Alex stared at her with wide eyes.
“You slept with her?!”
“Yes,” Kara confirmed, then rushed to add, “But, in my defense, it was an accident.”
“An accident, Kara?” Alex looked ready to explode. “How do you accidentally have sex with Lena Luthor?”
Kara grimaced. Yeah, that came out wrong. “Okay, the sex part wasn’t an accident,” she corrected. “That it was Lena Luthor was an accident. I didn't know it was her! It was masquerade night at the bar,” Kara pleaded, but Alex just continued to glare at her. “I fell asleep in her bed and then we woke up and saw each other without our masques on.”
“She recognized you as Supergirl?”
“And I’m guessing she already knew you as Kara Danvers because you introduced yourself at the bar?”
“No! We didn't even know each other’s first names,” Kara hurried to defend herself - and then winced. Because, okay, that definitely sounded bad.
Alex dragged her hands down her face and took a deep breath, indicating that Kara had just blown past the limits of her patience.
“Alright, I'm going to forego the speech on hormonal decision-making for now. How did she find out your other identity?”
“When I had to interview her,” Kara explained. “I introduced myself as a reporter for Catco and she recognized my voice.”
“You didn't try to deny it?”
“I did. She didn't believe me.”
There must have been something in her voice, something Alex picked up on, because she didn't say anything after that. She just stared and waited.
Kara hated when she did that.
“And,” Kara added quietly, “I might not have tried that hard to deny it.”
“Because!” she cried out defensively. “Because I’m-”
Her breath hitched. She looked away, fighting back sudden tears.
“You're what, Kara?” Alex prompted softly.
Kara closed her eyes, breathing in and out until she could find her voice again.
“I’m lonely,” she whispered roughly. “It’s lonely, Alex. And suffocating. I don’t get to be myself with anyone. I'm always one or the other. Even with people that know, like James or Winn, I'm switching back and forth. I'm either Kara or Supergirl.” She looked up and held onto Alex’s gaze. “But I'm not just one or the other. I'm somewhere in between and something more and I don't get to be that way with anyone...except with her.”
“You can’t be yourself with me?” This time it was Alex’s breath that hitched.
“It's different with us,” Kara said. “You’ll always see me as your younger sister. And Alex, I love you so much, but I need someone who isn't looking out for me. I need someone who is looking at me. All of me.” Kara blinked rapidly, wiping at the tears that had started to fall.
Alex reached over, wrapping her arm around Kara’s shoulders to pull her into a hug.
“I get it, Kara. I do. And I’m glad she does that for you. But if this thing between you two doesn’t work out, it could be bad. Like, really bad.” Alex sighed. “You'd have been safer picking almost anyone else in this city to sleep with.”
“I know,” Kara said. “And I'm not sleeping with her right now, if that makes you feel any better. Once I found out who she was…I needed to get to know her more before we continued on like that.”
“Lena told me you were being cautious,” Alex said, nodding in agreement. “I was surprised. It's not like you, honestly.”
“Yeah, well. I'm starting to realize I'm not invincible.” Kara waved around the room as a case in point. “And I don’t think things will end up badly between us. But even if they do...she won't hurt me, Alex.”
“Maybe not physically or intentionally. But you’ll still end up hurt.”
Kara didn't have a response to that, because it was the truth. Lena knew Kara well enough that if things ended between them, it would be painful.
It was simply a matter of degree.
* * *
Lena hadn’t seen Kara in person in close to a week. That normally wouldn’t have been too much cause for concern, except for the fact that Kara hadn’t contacted her at all either.
No phone calls. No texts.
It wasn’t hard to guess it was because Kara was feeling embarrassed or ashamed by her behavior stemming from the red kryptonite. Which was ridiculous, because it’s not like Kara was fully in control of her actions.
Lena almost messaged her a couple of days ago - to check in and let her know everything was fine, to try and get them back to normal. But she didn’t follow through, because she wanted to sort through her own feelings in the aftermath of that experience first.
Maybe wanted was the wrong word. She needed to sort through her feelings first. And she’d been putting it off.
But now Lena found herself alone in her apartment, wine glass in one hand and phone in the other, wanting to contact Kara - which meant she’d procrastinated long enough. Setting her phone down and taking a healthy swallow, Lena recalled their last interaction together.
Her first thought was of how torrid the encounter had been. The dominance Kara had exhibited and Lena’s attraction to it. Her desire to surrender to Kara’s strength and power.
Her second thought was of that moment when her resolve blurred.
That was the part that needed examining.
Lena hadn’t simply been chasing physical gratification. She wished it were that, because that could be understood and excused, but it was more than that. It was a need to be closer to Kara. A desire for connection and a wanting to say yes to her as they held each other’s gazes.
It was the beginnings of attachment.
And that went beyond the scope of what Lena wanted out of this relationship. Out of any relationship. She refused to open herself up to that much pain and disappointment. Liking Kara was one thing. It couldn’t go past that. Which meant she needed to put some safeguards in place.
Lena’s phone buzzed, interrupting her train of thought. She should have ignored it - and in the past, with any other partner she would have - but her eyes obeyed her subconscious desire, rather than her logic. That the text wasn’t even from Kara, but from Kara’s sister instead, only fueled Lena’s aggravation at her lack of self-control.
A: The guilt is smothering her.
Lena exhaled. It must be really bad if Alex was reaching out to her.
L: She has nothing to feel guilty about. I don’t blame her for what happened.
A: You need to tell her that. She said you haven’t spoken since it happened.
L: I was giving her space.
A: She’s had more than enough.
Lena sighed. If she was getting attached, the best thing she could do was to put a little distance between her and Kara. Yet she didn’t want Kara thinking she was upset with her.
L: Okay, I’ll text her.
A: Thank you.
Lena switched over to her conversation with Kara. The last messages in it were them saying goodnight to each other.
Definitely too attached.
She started to ask Kara how she was doing, then deleted it. Lena knew the answer to that already.
L: Lunch tomorrow?
Kara’s response was almost immediate.
K: I have a ton of work I’m behind on. Sorry.
L: Late dinner at my office then?
Because she wasn’t about to let Kara avoid her that easily.
Kara started typing a message, stopped, started again, then stopped again. Lena figured she was trying to come up with another excuse to decline. After a few minutes with no reply, Lena put down her phone and headed to the bathroom to get ready for bed.
The wine had relaxed her somewhat, but she was still a little too wound up to sleep. She took the opportunity to catch up on a few science journals, and just as she finished up the last article that interested her, a text came through.
* * *
They’d never set an actual time. Kara knew Lena worked until at least eight most nights, and more often than not was there until nine or ten. That it was now nine-thirty and Kara still hadn’t arrived didn’t mean she was a no-show yet, but it wasn’t looking good, either.
A few minutes later, though, she heard the soft landing on her balcony, and Lena’s lips curled into a smile.
That smile quickly faded when she got her first glimpse of Kara.
Two things struck her at once. One, that Kara was carrying way too much food for just the two of them tonight, even factoring in Kara’s appetite. And two, the expression on Kara’s face...she looked like a kicked puppy, but worse. She radiated nervousness and embarrassment, and combined it made for one very skittish-looking Supergirl.
Kara tentatively walked over to the coffee table, then began setting down and arranging the various bags and boxes. And that’s when Lena began to notice what exactly Kara brought - Lena’s favorite foods from all over the world.
Along with the box of tea Lena had given her that first night.
Lena stopped her perusal, picking it up off the table with a questioning look.
“I thought maybe you’d want it back,” Kara said quietly, her voice sounding strangled. “I’m so sorry, Lena.”
“You brought all of this to apologize?” Lena gestured towards the wide array of food. “Kara, I’m not mad at you.”
“Lena, you don’t have to be nice-”
“I’m not,” Lena interrupted abruptly. “Trust me, I don’t do empty reassurances.”
Kara said nothing, but she still looked doubtful, underscoring just how deeply this was affecting her.
Lena took a seat on the couch, smoothing her skirt while waiting for Kara to join her. After a moment, she did, but she avoided Lena’s gaze, staring at the wall ahead of her.
Lena needed Kara’s attention on her, needed her next words to sink in, so she gently picked up Kara’s hand, clasping it between both of her own to rest on her lap. It worked, because after a slight pause Kara’s head turned towards Lena, looking down at their joined hands before lifting her eyes upwards to meet Lena’s.
“Your previous experiences with red kryptonite are clouding your view. You said and did things to other people before that were pretty harsh, so there’s a lot past trauma you’re working through. But trust me, your actions with me were fine.”
“I took advantage-”
“No, you didn’t,” Lena stated firmly. “In case you didn’t notice, I was enjoying myself, Kara. And I’ve never disguised the fact that I want a sexual relationship with you.”
Kara shook her head vehemently. “You called my sister. You were stalling. You didn’t want to-“
“I didn’t want to take advantage of you, Kara!”
Kara froze, looking desperate and confused.
Lena took a breath, then forced herself to talk more calmly.
“You’ve been holding back for a reason. I’m not about to ignore that just because your inner voice took a holiday. It wouldn’t have been right and I’d be proving your exact fears if I did,” she said flatly. “And I don’t want our first time back in the saddle to be the equivalent of drunk sex for you - lacking clear thinking and full of regret the next day. It should be more than that.”
Only after the words were out of her mouth and Kara was processing them did Lena realize what she’d said - that sex with Kara should mean something. It revealed more of her emotions than she was comfortable with. Luckily, Kara either missed or ignored it, sitting back a little stunned after Lena’s outburst before shaking herself out of her self-flagellation. Her posture straightened, and when she spoke her voice was stronger, threaded through with more of her usual confidence - but still soft somehow.
“You do that a lot. Doing what’s right,” she said.
Lena arched an eyebrow, expression sardonic. “Some of my business competitors would disagree.”
“Yes, well, they probably deserved whatever you did to them,” Kara said with a small smirk.
Lena smiled in agreement, right before Kara circled back to the original point that Lena had thought she’d deflected her away from.
“Seriously, though, Lena. You’re a good person.”
Lena opened her mouth to refute her, but Kara cut her off by leaning in and kissing her. It was soft - full of thanks and affection - and so intimate that Lena found her breath shaking when Kara pulled back.
Their interaction was fine after that, now that Kara had shed the shroud of guilt she’d walked in with. As they worked their way through all of the dishes Kara brought, Lena’s astonishment grew. Half of them were things she’d mentioned at one time or another that she’d enjoyed. The rest were foods and drinks new to her, but which Kara thought Lena would like based on what she knew of her tastes. She’d guessed right on nearly all of them - so right that Lena found herself ranking many of Kara’s choices higher than her own previous favorites.
The few misses involved were drinks, which wasn’t a surprise. Lena would be the first to admit her preferences in that realm were all over the place. The wine Kara brought wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special to Lena. The two teas were a contrast in tastes. The first one was exquisite - smooth and calming, drawing a sigh of pleasure from her. But the second one was awful. Lena couldn’t hide her dislike for it, wincing as she just barely managed to swallow it. Earthy was one thing, but this tasted like it was infused with dirt and twigs.
Kara had the audacity to laugh at Lena’s reaction, doubling in volume when Lena grabbed for the nearest drink and poured herself a glass, needing to wash away the aftertaste as soon as possible.
The new taste invading her senses gave Lena pause. She had reached for the closest bottle of liquor, something strong enough to eradicate the tannins coating her tongue.
“What is this?” she asked, furrowing her brow as she tilted the glass of amber brown alcohol towards her.
“You don’t like it?”
“On the contrary,” Lena assured her, grinning. “I love it.”
A relieved smile lit up Kara’s face. “Good. I was hoping you would.”
Lena picked up the bottle, looking at the label.
“It’s Irish,” she said, humming in approval. “Where did you find it?”
“A tiny distillery in Dublin. I stopped at a few different places first but the proprietors at this one were really nice. I didn’t know what I was looking for but I told them it was for someone special, so they dug that one out from the back.”
“I see.” Lena felt heat rising to her face, caught off guard at hearing that she was special to Kara. To distract herself from that feeling she pointed to the glass bottle farthest away from her. “And that one?”
Kara followed Lena’s line of sight, then cleared her throat self-consciously. “I didn’t mean to set that one out. That’s a different kind of alcohol. It was for me, for after this conversation, which thankfully is unnecessary now. Not that it was necessary necessary. I didn’t mean it like that. I rarely drink-”
“Don’t worry, Kara, I know what you meant. But let’s back up a step. There’s a liquor that actually has an effect on you?” That was brand new information that Lena didn’t want glossed over.
“Yes. It’s from off-world.”
Lena frowned teasingly at her. “And all this time I’ve been drinking alone when you could have been joining me,” she reproached.
Kara shook her head, eyes gone slightly wide.
“No. This is decidedly stronger than the wine you have after hours. This is only for when I’m off Supergirl duty.”
“Well then, we’ll just have to arrange a date for when you’re not on call.” Seeing a tipsy Kara/Supergirl was sure to be entertaining.
Kara nodded her agreement, then glanced at her phone to check the time.
“Speaking of duty…I have a lot going on tomorrow so I need to get going. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Lena said, sighing. “I have a long day as well.”
After pushing away attempts to help clean up, she walked Kara to the balcony, following her outside to enjoy the cool evening air. She expected Kara to say a quick goodnight and fly off, but instead she turned and stepped into Lena’s space.
“I-” Kara looked down, then up again. She opened her mouth, closed it again, looking unsure of what she wanted to say. But then she suddenly moved closer, slipping her hands up to Lena’s face to kiss her, strong and with purpose.
Lena froze for a split second, and that was enough for Kara to pull back, her hands dropping away and an apology on her lips.
“Kara,” she interrupted, reaching for Kara’s wrists to keep her from moving any further away. “It’s okay. You just surprised me.”
Kara’s eyes searched Lena’s, checking the veracity of Lena’s statement. Eventually she nodded, replying with a soft ‘oh’ before exhaling nervously. “I guess I’m a little skittish from last time. With the red kryptonite and all.”
“I know, Kara,” Lena said with a small smile. “If you’re worried about consent, trust me, you have it.”
Kara nodded, more so to assure herself than in response to Lena.
Lena tugged gently at her wrists and Kara let herself be pulled in closer again. This time Kara slowed her approach a touch, such that Lena was able to meet Kara’s kiss halfway.
From the start, this kiss felt different than their previous ones. Less reserved, maybe. As if Kara was pouring all of herself into it. Lena felt something in her begin to release, a tension she didn’t know she had, as she sank into Kara.
A few seconds later, when Lena was almost dizzy from the warm pleasure coursing through her, it clicked.
This is what it was like when Kara truly let her guard down.
Intoxicating was the only way to describe it. For anyone to extend their trust towards Lena was rare. That it was Supergirl - who by all rights should be the last person to show faith in her - made it all the more significant.
Lena was on the verge of pulling Kara back into her office when Kara stepped away, seemingly with some effort.
“I have to go,” Kara said, more than a touch wistfully.
She took a few steps backwards until she neared the railing, only breaking eye contact when she turned to slip away into the sky.
Lena stayed there for a few heartbeats, missing the warmth of Kara’s touch.
She thought she had known what she was asking for when all of this started. For Kara to trust Lena enough so they could have sex on a semi-regular basis. But apparently there was no such thing as degrees of trust with Kara. She either held back or trusted you completely, and Lena wasn’t prepared for the latter being directed at her.
It pulled at Lena, making her want to reciprocate. And being that vulnerable was a bad idea, she reminded herself. She needed to keep a part of herself closed off, and so long as Kara didn’t try and pry that door open, everything would be fine.
“Relax,” Alex repeated. “You’re acting like this is your first date or something.”
“Well, this is her first time coming to my apartment, and she’s meeting everybody, and I want things to go well, okay?”
Alex grinned. “Well, I’ve met her already, if that helps.”
Heat crept up Kara’s neck as she remembered the circumstances of her sister’s introduction to Lena.
“No, Alex, that does not help.”
“Hey, it could have been worse. I mean I could have shown up ten minutes later and you two might’ve been-”
“Alex, stop,” Kara pleaded.
The doorbell rang, which saved her from any more of that conversation, but caused a spike in Kara’s heart rate in return. A quick dipping down of her glasses and peek through the door revealed it was only Winn, though.
He’d barely made it into the kitchen before Alex corralled him into a discussion about something DEO related, leaving Kara to stew in her nervousness.
She wasn’t afraid that things might be awkward. Last time they’d all gotten together she’d mentioned she was friends with Lena, and that she’d invited her to be here tonight. There was a fair amount of surprise and concern, but Alex had spoken up and allayed many of their reservations about it.
Kara was anxious because she was letting Lena into the rest of her life. It was the only side of her left to be uncovered, and it felt like a milestone of some sort. Not quite the ‘meeting the parents’ moment, but considering how close she was with her friends, it wasn’t far off from that either.
She just really wanted it to go well.
Biting her lip as she grabbed a few more snacks to lay out, she knew that Alex was right. She needed to relax
She made some progress on that front while other guests arrived, right up until the doorbell rang again…and then suddenly Lena was at her door, and Kara was welcoming her a bit too enthusiastically.
Eyes sparkling at Kara’s exuberant greeting, Lena replied with a much smoother, “Hello, Kara,” as she gave Kara a brief but warm hug.
“Thanks for coming. Um, stopping by, I mean,” Kara corrected quickly.
Lena smirked, leaning in so only Kara could hear. “I don’t make sexual innuendos at everything you say.”
“Yes, you do,” Kara retorted.
“Okay, I do,” she admitted as she shed her coat. “But I promise I’ll behave with your friends around.”
Kara opened her mouth to thank her, but Lena wasn’t finished.
“And if I don’t,” she murmured, “you can punish me for it later.”
Lena raised an eyebrow at her and Kara’s cheeks grew hot, but before she had a chance to respond Lena breezed past her towards Alex and Winn.
Despite Lena’s teasing, she did behave herself, with no trace of her usual flirtations. Lena had asked if her friends knew the two of them were in a relationship of sorts - making it clear she was fine with it either way - and Kara had answered with a ‘not yet, but soon.’ She didn’t want Lena thinking she was embarrassed about people knowing about them, because she absolutely wasn’t. She just wanted to ease her friends into it, to let them see firsthand the nice, non-evil person that Lena was, and hopefully avoid any conversations about the cons of a Super dating a Luthor.
So far everything was going swimmingly on that front.
Winn was enamored of Lena - her intellect, her company’s resources, her ideas - so much so that Kara checked in twice with her to make sure she wasn’t in need of a rescue. But Lena’s smile was genuine when she said she was enjoying picking Winn’s brain for ideas. (And Kara had never seen a grown man swoon at a compliment before, but Winn came pretty close to it.)
Lucy and Lena ended up bonding about overbearing parental figures - which, how that topic came up in between board games Kara had no idea. It was simultaneously lighthearted and not, and Kara wasn’t surprised when they both reached for more wine before starting the next game. Meanwhile, James and Maggie engaged her in the more normal get-to-know-someone banter.
And Alex...well, Alex was Alex.
Just because the red kryptonite incident had turned Alex’s overall opinion of Lena favorable, that didn’t mean she was ready to welcome Lena with open arms either. She treated Lena like she would any suitor of Kara’s; she was friendly and polite, while keeping an unsubtle eye on Lena the entire evening.
As if on cue, Kara caught Alex’s critical gaze following Lena as she strolled into the kitchen.
“So, is your sister always this overprotective, or is it just me?” Lena asked with an amused grin.
Lena didn’t seem surprised by that answer, humming in acknowledgement as she reached for a bottle of wine - which just so happened to give Kara a nice view of her cleavage. Not that Kara was looking or anything.
“Eyes up, Kara,” Lena murmured. “Unless you’re trying to agitate your sister on purpose.”
Kara quickly glanced over towards the living room. Thankfully her sister’s back was towards her, but Maggie was looking in their direction, eyes narrowed in assessment - because of course Kara was surrounded by people who made it their profession to be aware of every single thing happening around them at all times.
“Your friends are nice.”
Kara dragged her eyes back towards Lena who was looking over to the living room, a slightly bemused expression gracing her features.
“I sometimes forget what it’s like having a conversation without a thick layer of fake politeness over top of it,” she said, her tone devoid of any sarcasm. “It’s refreshing.”
Kara gave her a half smile - happy that Lena liked her friends, but sad that this experience was so far from Lena’s norm.
“You work too much,” she commented with a shake of her head.
“So do you.”
“Yes,” Kara agreed, “but the people I work with are nice.”
“True,” Lena admitted, before her expression turned contemplative. “People tend to surround themselves with those that are similar.”
Kara’s brow furrowed as she tried to decipher that statement - if Lena’s comment was solely directed at Kara, or if it was also a form of self-criticism. But before she had a chance to ask her about it, Lena changed the subject.
“What are you doing next weekend?”
“Honestly, I haven’t planned that far ahead yet,” Kara answered, her curiosity sparked. “Why?”
“A business associate invited me to a new club he opened downtown and I need to make an appearance. Would you like to join me?”
Kara raised an eyebrow. “A dance club I’m assuming?”
“Yes,” she answered, lips curling in amusement at the question. “It’s called Eclipse.”
Kara nodded. She’d heard of that club. Or rather, she’d overheard of it, from some coworkers mentioning they wanted to go.
“Barring any Supergirl-related catastrophes, then yes, I’d love to.”
“Wonderful,” Lena replied, a small smile blooming. “And for the record, let’s assume the ‘barring any superhero emergencies’ disclaimer is implicitly understood regarding any plans we make. As well as my own ‘barring any L-Corp catastrophes’ disclaimer.”
Kara smiled again, a little wider this time. Having someone on the same page as her when it came to canceling plans prevented a lot of headaches. Yet another thing to appreciate.
Lena cleared her throat and pushed herself away from the counter, motioning towards Kara’s friends in the living room who were waving them in for the start of another game.
* * *
Lena sipped at her drink as she studiously avoided eye contact with the people in her vicinity. Normally sitting in the VIP area of any club meant a certain level of privacy, but her lack of a companion at the moment combined with her choice of attire was basically an open invitation to be hit on.
Which she had been, three times already, and she hadn’t been here that long.
Any other given night it wouldn’t have bothered her, but she’d been frustratingly indecisive when it came to her apparel tonight and this added annoyance wasn’t helping her mood.
She’d chosen simple black slacks and a matching vest, which would have been fine if she hadn’t foregone the shirt underneath, leaving her arms and a large amount of skin on her chest bare. It dipped low in the front, and the wide arm openings left the sides of her breasts partly visible through the sheer sides of her bra.
It was a clear statement of how she wanted this evening to proceed with Kara, which was why she’d hesitated to wear it. She’d been purposefully letting Kara initiate any physicality between them, aiming to minimize thoughts that she was trying to seduce her. But at the same time, she didn’t want to deceive Kara either - sexuality was not something Lena ever shied away from, and she wanted more than just a platonic relationship with her.
When she finally caught a glimpse of Kara weaving her way towards her through the crowd, Lena’s concerns disappeared, because Kara’s choice of apparel suggested their goals were aligned tonight.
Kara’s dress was a deep blue, striking in comparison to the golden blonde of her hair, and the hemline was short enough that Lena knew sitting would be a challenge if Kara hoped to maintain any sort of propriety.
A smile of anticipation crept across Lena’s face as she rose from her seat. She caught Kara’s gaze slowly traveling down her body, lingering at her chest on the return trip, before meeting Lena’s eyes with an unconcealed edge of desire. When Kara licked her lips, Lena had to fight the urge to mirror her actions, striving for at least some measure of control as she felt her own desire ratchet up.
“Hi,” Kara greeted her, a bit out of breath. “Sorry, I’m late. Something came up last minute and, well, you know.”
“I do,” Lena replied, her voice unintentionally throaty, causing a slight blush from Kara in response. “I’m glad you could make it.”
“Me, too,” Kara replied, glancing at Lena’s lips and then quickly down her body again before making eye contact once more.
Rao, Lena looked good. Like, let’s skip the foreplay and go straight to one of their apartments kind of good.
Kara had tried to convince herself the past few days that she didn’t know how this evening would go. But when she was rifling through her clothes rack forty-five minutes ago and her fingers kept pausing on all of the more revealing options, she realized she no longer had a reason to keep waiting. She trusted Lena, and if there was an upside to the red kryptonite incident it was that it had proven that trust was deserved. It had also brought her sexual frustration to the forefront, and with her initial cautions about this relationship sufficiently mollified, she saw no reason to keep holding back.
Lena returned from the bar, handing Kara something fruity-looking as she slid in next to her. She couldn’t really make out all of the flavors - definitely strawberry and something else - because it was taking all of her focus to listen to the words Lena was saying and not get lost in the sensory overwhelm of being this close to her. The sight of all that skin, the sound of her quickened heartbeat, and the smell of whatever fragrance she was wearing combined with her desire to form a heady rush that had Kara reaching under the table to run her hand over Lena’s thigh.
Her touch broke Lena’s train of thought, but when Kara started to pull her hand away, Lena held it in place, eyes dark as she remembered what she was saying and continued her story. Halfway through Kara shifted positions, turning sideways to face Lena as much as the seat would allow, switching hands on Lena’s thigh so that her other arm could lie along the back of the booth, fingers weaving into Lena’s hair.
“You know, normally I get aggravated when someone’s only half listening to me,” Lena said, looking pointedly at the hand that had crept high up her leg, “but in this case I’ll make an exception.”
Kara grinned slowly. “And normally I’d apologize. But I think you’d rather I make it up to you in other ways.”
Without waiting for a response she leaned into Lena’s space, drinking in the closeness as she covered Lena’s mouth with her own. Lena hummed in approval at Kara’s method of restitution, her hand sliding along Kara’s bicep to wrap around her shoulder and hold her in place.
Eventually Kara had to pull back, because Lena had mentioned this was a work-related appearance...and if Kara kept kissing her they would definitely be leaving sooner than was appropriate.
They tumbled into the back seat gracelessly, with Kara waiting only long enough for Lena to raise the partition before reaching for her. Lena ended up half in Kara’s lap, with Kara’s lips drifting along her jaw and down her throat.
“Rao, you’re addictive,” Kara whispered against her skin. “I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of kissing and touching you.”
Lena responded by pulling Kara’s lips towards her own, because while she appreciated Kara’s words, talking was the last thing she wanted Kara doing with her mouth. And based on the groan she received in response, Kara didn’t seem to have any objections to her tactics.
Just as Lena’s hand started crawling up Kara’s thigh to edge along the hem of her dress, the car pulled to a stop in front of Lena’s apartment. Kara slid out of the car first and offered Lena her hand, gently pulling her to her feet and weaving their fingers together as Lena led her through the lobby and towards the elevator.
The entire ride up Lena avoided eye contact. Kara was vibrating with energy next to her and all it would take was one look and they’d be mauling each other in the elevator, and between the club and making out in the car Lena’s self-control had depleted to zero. The next time they started, she didn’t want to stop, even briefly.
She managed to take about two steps into her apartment before Kara was on her, spinning her around and bringing their mouths together. When Kara pulled away to allow her a breath Lena stepped backwards, tugging Kara with her in the direction of her bedroom.
Kara got the message, following Lena through the apartment. The journey wasn’t without its delays, as Kara used every wall as an opportunity to pin Lena and kiss and touch every part of exposed skin she could find. By the time they entered her bedroom Lena was worked up enough she nearly tore the zipper of Kara’s dress in her haste to get her out of it. Kara wasn’t in much better shape, fumbling at the buttons of Lena’s vest and pants.
Just as she started to ease Lena’s slacks down over her hips, Lena caught at Kara’s wrist, halting her motions. All signs thus far indicated Kara was more than ready for them to resume this aspect of their relationship, but Lena needed to make sure. To verify this was more than just hormones at work.
“Are you going to regret this tomorrow?”
“No,” Kara answered quickly. Too quickly - and Kara knew it. She took a breath, forcing herself to focus on Lena’s words and absorb the full gravity of them.
“I won’t regret this, Lena,” she answered more slowly this time, holding Lena’s gaze. “I needed to get to know you and I have. You’re not who everyone thinks you are. But you’re who I thought and hoped you’d be.” Kara took a breath. “I trust you.”
“I trust you, too,” Lena replied, her heart clenching a little against her will.
She let go of Kara’s wrist, allowing her to resume her task, and soon they were both nearly undressed.
Kara’s hands slowly skimmed across Lena’s collarbone, pushing the straps of her bra off her shoulders before sliding across her back to undo the clasp. Once it hit the floor, Kara leaned in, her fingers skating across Lena’s stomach as she whispered in her ear, “Lay down. I want to taste you.”
For all that Kara stumbled across her words in everyday life, she certainly had a way with them when it came to sex.
Lena obliged, and the look Kara gave her as she climbed up the bed…Lena could see her clear blue eyes darken with arousal, and Lena’s body responded in kind. More so as Kara worked her way down Lena’s body, licking and gently biting at her breasts, leaving a wet trail down Lena’s stomach before pausing at the edge of Lena’s last article of clothing. Kara’s fingers smoothed up Lena’s hips before grasping at the edges, easing the delicate fabric down her legs.
And then Kara was between Lena’s thighs, her breath teasing against Lena.
Kara lingered, letting the anticipation build for several torturous seconds, and just as Lena was about to give in with a ‘please’, she felt the flat of Kara’s tongue running through her. Lena couldn’t help the moan that escaped her, pulling a satisfied hum from Kara in response, and as her head tilted back against the bed, Lena lost herself in sensation for several long breaths.
She’d forgotten how good Kara was at this - with her tongue, and her hands, and her lips, and how she could use them to completely consume Lena. But Kara was intent on reminding her, and before long Lena was gripping the sheets hard in anticipation of her impending climax.
The attention Kara was giving her clit alone would have been enough to push Lena over the edge, but then Kara’s fingers slipped inside her, and oh, god. Kara drove into her, over and over, until Lena was clenching, crying out and drowning in the pleasure radiating outward from Kara’s fingertips.
“Fuck, Kara,” Lena finally breathed out, once she managed to gain some semblance of coherence.
She felt Kara grin against her thigh, before lifting her head to make eye contact.
“Good, huh?” she responded cheekily.
Lena didn’t bother to chastise her smugness - not when she’d earned that right. Instead she answered with a lazy, “Yes. Very much so.”
“Good,” Kara replied more genuinely, crawling up Lena’s body to give her a quick kiss before sweeping Lena’s damp hair off to the side, the backs of her fingers stroking along Lena’s cheek. “I enjoyed that, too.”
“Mm. Well, I think you’ll enjoy what I’m about to do to you more.”
“Is that so?” Kara asked with a laugh - a laugh that was quickly cut off when Lena’s hand slipped from around Kara’s waist to wander further south.
“You tell me.” Lena arched her eyebrow as she stroked through Kara’s folds, pausing when she received no response.
“Okay, yeah,” Kara gasped out. “That’s- that’s-”
“That’s what, Kara?” Lena smirked.
“That’s really nice. Don’t stop,” she whined.
Kara huffed, grabbing both of Lena’s wrists and pinning them above her head before she even had the chance to wonder if she’d pushed her luck.
“Or I’ll make you regret teasing me,” Kara growled.
Lena’s breath hitched as a wave of arousal swept through her.
“This isn’t the way to get me to stop antagonizing you,” Lena managed to say. “Just the opposite in fact.” They’d had a lot of sex that first night, but this was one facet they’d yet to explore.
“You like this?” Kara questioned.
Kara slid Lena’s wrists together above her head, allowing her to shift to a one-arm hold while still effortlessly pinning her in place. With an arm unoccupied now, Kara had the freedom to touch elsewhere. She leaned down to kiss Lena, their tongues moving languidly against each other as Kara’s fingers stroked along the outside of Lena’s breast, sending shivers down her spine.
Her hand slid lazily lower, sweeping across Lena’s hip bone and circling over it as Kara remembered how sensitive she was there. When she didn’t let up, a whimper escaped Lena.
“Is there a problem?” Kara asked, mischief dancing in her gaze.
Lena didn’t bother answering that because Kara knew exactly what she was doing to her. Instead she closed her eyes, biting at her lip and willing herself to be calm. That strategy quickly backfired, however, as Kara doubled down on her efforts.
“Kara, please,” Lena finally breathed out, fully expecting Kara to keep teasing her for at least a little longer. But to her surprise, Kara stopped.
“OK,” she whispered, the laughter in her eyes fading to earnest desire. Kara’s hand moved lower, reaching and finding her clit. All remnants of teasing were gone as Kara quickly worked Lena towards release again, and when she came it was with a loud cry of Kara’s name.
Gradually she eased her grip on Lena’s wrists. Once her hands were free Lena reached up and cupped Kara’s face, her thumb running over Kara’s bottom lip. Lena wasn’t normally prone to fondness, yet an affectionate smile slowly crept across her face.
“What?” Kara asked, noticing as well.
“You are a captivating combination of softness and hardness,” Lena explained. “And I don’t mean just physically.”
Kara stared down at Lena, her gaze thoughtful.
“So are you,” she said quietly. At Lena’s scoff, Kara shook her head. “People who don’t know you might only see the hard walls you surround yourself with, but anyone who bothers to look can see it.”
“See what?” Lena asked, unable to stop herself from asking.
“That you care about people.”
And the way Kara said it, with such confident certainty - it left no room for Lena to argue.
“Certain people,” Lena qualified, holding Kara’s gaze.
Kara’s eyes softened at that, clearly picking up what Lena was implying. Lena cared far more than she should about the woman draped over her - but at the same time, she didn’t want to go down the path of admitting feelings just now. Doing so would make it concrete, would affect their actions to follow, and Lena didn’t want to deal with that just yet. So she took the opportunity to deflect.
“Speaking of certain people,” Lena’s hand crept over Kara’s ribs, grazing underneath her breast, “I seem to be in debt to one right now.”
And although Lena would have bet a fair amount of money that Kara wanted to say more on the subject, she followed Lena’s lead instead.
“Well, then,” she said after a brief pause, a grin spreading across her face, “I guess you’ll have to repay me.”
“I guess I will,” Lena concurred. And as she nudged Kara onto her back, mapping her body with kisses, she tried not to think too much about just how soft her feelings for Kara were.
* * *
Kara put her phone down with a sigh, debating now on whether she’d grab something from the Catco cafeteria or one of the food trucks outside. Neither one sounded particularly appealing, although that feeling stemmed from Lena canceling their lunch plans again, and not for lack of decent food options.
Kara wasn’t upset with Lena - they both regularly had bouts of extreme busyness, plus she’d invited Kara over to her apartment that evening instead. It was just that Kara wanted time to simply talk and hang out, and with the change in plans the probability of that happening was small. Whenever they got together in private, their interactions were now precipitously low on conversation, consisting mostly of ‘right there’, ‘harder’, or ‘why are there so many damn buttons?’
Not that she was complaining about the sex. Very much on the contrary. As in, put that in bold letters and underline it kind of contrary, because sex with Lena was amazing. Whenever they weren’t together, her mind drifted towards Lena. Kara would imagine running her fingers along Lena’s so-soft skin, skimming her mouth across Lena’s stomach and along the inside of her thighs…all of which she’d done just two days ago, when she’d visited Lena at her office.
“Rough day?” Kara had asked, already knowing the answer based on Lena’s posture.
“Yes. And unfortunately I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
“I hate those days.”
“Anything I can do to help?”
Lena turned away from her laptop, looking Kara up and down. “I can think of one,” she replied with a suggestive raise of her eyebrow.
Kara didn’t hesitate. She met Lena halfway when she stood up from her desk, then slowly backed her towards it as their kisses got hotter and heavier. Despite getting a bit lost in the sensations, she noticed when Lena slammed her hand down onto the desk and let out a too-loud moan of appreciation. It was still the middle of the day and Lena’s assistant was right there on the other side of the door, very much within earshot.
“This room is soundproof,” Lena said, after Kara’s hands froze mid-action. “Too many vital discussions happen in here. I can’t risk someone outside these doors trying to listen in.”
That made sense. Kara relaxed and put her hands back into motion.
“Plus, I have an office sex kink that I don’t want anyone listening in on.”
Kara’s brain might’ve stuttered at that. But a short while later, when she had Lena bent over her desk with her skirt bunched around her waist, Kara was grateful for that soundproofing - hearing Lena yell her name out loud when she came was heady and exhilarating…
And too arousing a memory to be having at work. Kara sat up straighter at her desk, reminding herself that getting hot and bothered right now was neither convenient nor appropriate.
So, no, it wasn’t that she wanted less sex. She just wanted more of everything else.
And she probably wouldn’t have felt that so keenly if she was staying over afterwards. If Kara got to wake up next to Lena, have breakfast or at least a quick tea or coffee together, kiss Lena a little too deeply before they each departed for their respective jobs…that would have made a big difference. But an unfortunate series of Supergirl emergencies and an L-Corp overseas call led to their going their separate ways afterwards the first several times, and now that had become the unspoken routine.
Kara, of course, could bring up the idea of staying over, but she wasn’t sure what kind of response she would get. Likely it would be a yes, but Kara didn’t want to deal with the possibility of rejection just yet. Or ever. And even if it was a yes, whether Lena’s answer was rooted in sincerity or politeness would be hard to decipher. As much as Kara had gotten to know her, Lena was still hard to read at times. So Kara kept her feelings to herself, and would try and get their lunch routine back on track. Perhaps if she brought food over tonight that would give her a chance to talk with Lena about her schedule. Then they could get something penciled in before they started stripping each other’s clothes off.
As it turns out, food wasn’t a good enough plan for conversation.
A lengthy hostage situation took up most of Kara’s day - forcing her to miss both lunch and dinner - so she ate pretty much non-stop the first twenty minutes after she arrived. And Lena had a dinner meeting earlier, meaning she’d actually eaten for a change and was legitimately not hungry. She spent the time responding to work emails while Kara shoveled food in her face.
Lena disappeared when she was halfway through her second pizza, presumably to get something to drink. That assumption turned out to be breathtakingly wrong, because when Lena returned it was with far less clothing on than before. What remained was black and silky - barely enough material to even call it a slip - but it made Kara’s body transition from one type of hunger to an entirely different one.
“Are you done yet?” Lena asked, her small smirk indicating she already knew the answer she’d receive.
Kara put the slice of pizza in her hand down, doing her best not to drop it on the carpet since she was only using her peripheral vision, not wanting to look away from Lena even for a moment.
“I am now,” Kara replied, getting up and stalking towards Lena.
“There’s no rush,” Lena added, oh so innocently, just as Kara stepped into her space.
“Well, if that’s the case…” Kara teased, calling Lena’s bluff as she turned away from her.
A hand snaked out to grab Kara’s forearm, tugging her back.
“Funny,” Lena drawled.
“I thought so,” Kara muttered, her attention no longer on the conversation as she slipped her hands around Lena’s hips, pulling her flush against her. Leaning down to mouth at the juncture of Lena’s neck and shoulder, she nipped and sucked at the skin, not caring that she’d leave marks. Enjoying the thought of it, in fact, which was a new discovery about herself. However, she belatedly realized that Lena might not appreciate it.
She pulled back, her fingers dancing over the reddened area - it would be visible even with a shirt on. “I’m sorry. I should have asked first.”
Lena chuckled at that. “I own turtlenecks, Kara. And did you hear me complaining?”
Apparently that question was rhetorical, because she pulled Kara into a heated kiss before having a chance to answer.
They didn’t do much talking after that, not until Kara’s fingers were stroking inside Lena, the tempo they’d found starting to slow as she held Lena’s gaze. Soft moans replaced sharp exclamations, and somewhere along the way their touches and rhythm went from passionate to intimate.
And now Lena looked overwhelmed by it.
When her eyes slipped closed, Kara knew she was trying to escape it. But Kara wanted just the opposite. She wanted Lena to face this. Because Kara had felt this building between them for a while now. And Kara suddenly suspected that, consciously or not, the missed lunches and shift towards a more sexual relationship wasn’t accidental. She just didn’t know why.
“Lena,” Kara said softly.
When she received no response, she repeated her name again.
This time Lena shook her head minutely. “I can’t, Kara. Not now,” she whispered.
Kara didn’t say anything, just nodded, even though Lena couldn’t see it. Instead, she pushed her feelings aside and gradually picked the rhythm back up, determined to wash away whatever feelings of vulnerability had momentarily consumed Lena.
It was a discussion they still needed to have, but it could wait. Right now Kara didn’t want to see Lena in distress. Not when she could do something about it.
Lena’s fingernails dug into Kara’s back when she came, enough that it would have left marks on anyone else. After easing her through the aftershocks, Kara slowly withdrew her fingers before rolling onto her back, giving Lena space if that’s what she wanted right now. It wasn’t though, and Kara’s heart warmed as Lena turned towards her, resting her head on Kara’s shoulder, an arm draping across Kara’s torso and a leg entwining between Kara’s.
“Thank you,” she murmured, and Kara knew that was less for the sex and more for not pushing things when the intensity got to be too much for her.
Kara nodded, stroking her hand along the smoothness of Lena’s back.
She left after a languid kiss goodbye from a very sleepy Lena, and did her best to keep that memory at the forefront, rather than worry about things she didn’t want to think about just yet.
Lena wasn’t stupid. She knew she was fucking things up with Kara. She’d opened up too much while trying to earn Kara’s trust - and now that Kara had a taste of being close to her, she didn’t want to be shut out. And yet that’s exactly what needed to happen, because Lena had made a mistake.
She’d let herself care too much.
History had proven how dangerous that was, and she’d built up walls to protect herself - ones so high no one could scale them. Unfortunately, she’d gone and found a woman who could fly over them, and now she was left trying to mitigate the damage.
Lena glanced at her balcony, part of her glad that Kara was running late; it meant less time for pleasantries. They both had work the next day, and with each of them pushing themselves hard at their jobs this week, they desperately needed the sleep - yet not so much as to cancel the night altogether. Lena needed the stress relief, and she was betting Kara was in the same boat. Or at least she hoped so. The alternative was Kara simply wanting to see her, and that was exactly the sort of closeness Lena was trying to step back from.
A small part of her knew that what she was asking for was likely impossible at this point. From day one she should have known that Kara could never only be a semi-regular hookup, or that they could have an uncomplicated friends-that-fucked relationship.
Kara was too…Kara.
Too honest and kind. Too stubborn and reckless. Too confident, too awkward, and too similarly trapped in the public eye. Too non-judgmental of Lena.
She was too much of exactly what Lena wanted.
And that’s what made this so hard. It didn’t leave any easy excuses for Lena to use to override her feelings. The only reasons to back away from Kara were Lena’s own past traumas and worries about future ones. It would be a concession to those that had wrought that trauma, an action Lena was always loathe to take.
Lena glanced at her phone, realizing it was later than she thought, and that maybe Kara wasn’t going to show at all tonight. Normally she’d text if she could, but that wasn’t always feasible and tonight might be one of those nights.
Just as she was about to check the news for anything about Supergirl’s whereabouts, her phone rang from an unknown number.
It was Winn, desperately requesting access to L-Corp’s labs.
“Why?” Lena asked, trying to keep her voice calm in the face of Winn’s anxiety. But before he even answered, Lena suddenly knew why Kara was late.
“How bad is she?” Lena asked hoarsely.
“It’s bad, Lena. It’s really, really bad.”
Winn had given Lena the rundown while they were transporting Kara, explaining the attack and the aftermath. He’d sent over Kara’s bloodwork - which Lena didn’t know was possible to obtain until he explained about kryptonite tipped needles - and Lena had been poring over it, equal parts fascinated and worried by what she was seeing.
Nanites were attacking Kara’s cells, depleting the yellow sun energy in them. They were exceedingly efficient, to the point that even under sunlamps she wasn’t able to absorb more than what the nanites were extracting. When she looked at the second sample, the one Alex had drawn two hours earlier, Lena understood the panic she’d heard in Winn’s voice. The nanites in the older sample were now inert. Their activity had ceased because Kara’s cells had not only been drained, but her DNA had been completely torn apart.
Lena stepped back from her tablet, stunned, just as Alex and Winn came rushing into the lab, J’onn following closely with an unconscious Kara in his arms. While Winn hurriedly set up the two suitcase-sized portable sunlamps he’d brought with him, J’onn laid Kara down on the lab table. Within seconds yellow sunlight was flooding the room.
As the others set up various monitors and sensors, Lena went to Kara’s side and grasped her limp hand, shocked at how vulnerable she looked.
“Lena,” Alex said, touching her shoulder to get her attention. “We don’t have a lot of time.”
Lena nodded and turned away, following Alex back to the workstations. She pulled up the details on L-Corp’s latest nanorobotics project, the one they’d recently filed patents for and that the DEO had been keeping tabs on: a nanite defensive response system. With so many advances in the field over the past decade, concerns about weaponization had grown dramatically, and Lena had pushed hard for L-Corp to develop a counterattack.
While Alex looked over the specs onscreen, Lena put a few drops of Kara’s most recently drawn blood into a petri dish, applied L-Corp’s nanites, then turned towards the monitor to watch a microscope video feed of the nanites interacting. She didn’t expect it to be perfect right out of the gate - that’s why it was a test - but in no way did she anticipate any sort of failure. But less than a minute later it was over, and Lena’s stomach dropped at the devastation she saw onscreen.
“Wait, wh- what just happened?” Winn stuttered, staring at the destroyed L-Corp nanites.
Lena looked over at Winn. He understood what happened. He just couldn’t accept it.
“There’s a self-destruct mechanism,” Lena answered flatly, “triggered by the L-Corp nanites I applied. The ones in Kara’s body used ours as fuel to destroy not just the nanites themselves, but a large swath of their surrounding areas, too.” Lena adjusted the scope, zooming out to a larger view. “The damage to the cells is severe enough that it would kill the host.”
“The host? You mean Kara,” Winn clarified with a dark expression.
“Yes,” Lena confirmed.
The room fell silent - long enough that Lena became aware of the low hum from the sunlamps.
“Then make it so they don’t detect they’re being tampered with,” J’onn commanded gruffly.
Winn nodded, immediately tapping away at the workstation keyboard as he brainstormed possible modifications. But Alex pulled Lena aside.
“How long do we have?”
Lena swallowed. “About an hour. Maybe less.”
“Is that enough time to make the modifications?”
The answer was no, but Lena didn’t want to voice that out loud. Yet her face must have answered for her, because Alex’s expression fell.
“What else can we do?” Alex asked roughly.
Lena’s mind raced forward, trying to come up with something. Anything.
“This isn’t the first time Kara has had her power drained,” Lena stated, the glimmer of an idea forming. “What else has caused it?”
“Overuse of her powers and kryptonite.”
The first wasn’t feasible, but the second-
“Alex, it’s the-”
Alex flushed with anger, and then erupted at her. “You’re not using kryptonite on my sister!”
Winn broke the ensuing silence first, coming to Lena’s defense. “But Kryptonite would drain the energy the nanites absorbed from Kara, making them inert and unable to react to the L-corp nanites. It’s brilliant.”
“It’s too dangerous.” Alex’s eyes flashed a warning, but Lena refused to back down.
“It’ll work, Alex.”
“And kill Kara in the process.”
“Not necessarily?!” Alex snapped. “That’s hardly reassuring, Lena!”
“It’s a moot point,” J’onn bellowed to quiet their bickering. “We don’t have enough kryptonite at the DEO to even try it - only the small amount we confiscated last month. It would take over a day to leech away all of her power.” Hearing that quieted the group temporarily - enough so that when Lena next spoke, her words were clear as day.
“We wouldn’t need much if the exposure was internal.”
Alex’s expression turned incredulous, then furious. “You want to inject it directly into her bloodstream?” she asked, taking a threatening step forward.
Lena held her ground. “It would essentially be chemotherapy - giving her just enough to drain the nanites, but not so much as to kill Kara.”
“And how much is ‘enough’ and not too much?” Alex demanded.
“We’ll start small and increase the dosage as needed.”
“Which means you have no idea!” Alex yelled.
“Do you have any better ideas?!” Lena yelled back, stunning Alex into silence.
Nobody said a word. The others were probably used to Alex’s temper, but seeing Lena lose her composure was new. Alex turned and walked away, hovering protectively over her sister. Meanwhile, Lena looked to J’onn for some sort of response.
“Keep working on modifying the defensive nanites,” he said, his tone measured. “I’ll have the kryptonite transported over to be used as a last resort.”
Lena nodded, joining Winn at the workstation to apply whatever shortcuts they could find to speed up the process. But this was an exercise in futility from the start, and when J’onn approached thirty minutes later to inform her the kryptonite had arrived, she knew their window for helping Kara was rapidly closing.
She left Winn to continue on his own, moving to the adjacent lab to begin making the kryptonite suitable for injection.
Fifteen minutes later she returned, and their grim expressions told her that Winn’s continued efforts had proven fruitless.
“Is it ready?” J’onn asked quietly. Lena nodded, but when she turned to start walking towards Kara, he lightly took ahold of her arm. “What about testing it first?”
“There’s no time. And even if there was, I don’t have enough injectable kryptonite to spare on tests.”
She turned once again, and as she approached Kara she couldn’t help staring at Alex. She was holding Kara’s hand, grip tight, her face a mixture of anguish and anger.
“This better work, Lena,” she warned.
“It won’t be Lena’s fault if it doesn’t, Alex,” J’onn stated firmly. “We’re out of other options.”
Lena didn’t waste any time. She switched off the sunlamps, then injected a small amount into Kara, erring on the side of caution. Kara’s vitals declined slightly, but that was to be expected - the kryptonite was attacking both the nanites as well as Kara’s body.
Several minutes passed, then Lena took a blood sample and displayed it on the monitor for everyone to see. The nanites had turned somewhat sluggish, but not nearly enough.
Lena injected Kara again, with a larger dose this time. Kara’s body reacted more noticeably, with green veins spidering across her face and a more severe dip in her pulse and blood pressure. Another few minutes passed, and another sample was drawn. The results were better, with the nanites down to about a quarter of their previous strength.
She tempered the dose of the next injection, hoping for it to be the last. As it coursed through Kara’s system, her blood pressure dropped dangerously low and her pallor turned sickly, but when they displayed the latest results, the nanites still showed some residual energy.
As the others stared at the screen, Lena stepped back and quietly crossed the room, removing the AED from the wall to place it on the cart next to Kara.
Alex caught sight of what Lena was doing, and her eyes widened. “She can’t take another dose,” Alex choked out, both a question and a statement.
“No, she can’t,” Lena confirmed. “But she has to.” Her words hung heavy in the room as she began preparing the last injection. No one tried to stop her, not even Alex. They all knew Lena was right.
Alex unpacked the AED, then slid the electrode pads underneath Kara’s suit. Winn and J’onn stood nearby, ready to assist.
Moments after Lena pushed the needle into Kara’a arm, Kara’s weakened body began seizing. J’onn grabbed onto her upper body, while Winn and Alex held down her legs as Lena monitored her plummeting blood pressure.
Suddenly, the seizing stopped, but so did Kara’s heart.
“No,” Alex whispered as she engaged the defibrillator, getting no response after the first shock...and no response after the second.
J’onn administered CPR, the AED cycling and preparing for another attempt.
“Come on, Kara!” Alex yelled as she delivered the third shock.
Please, Kara, Lena whispered to herself.
And then they heard it - a quiet beep.
But they couldn’t celebrate yet. Lena drew another sample, and when they saw the nanites fully inactive, she rushed to inject Kara with the L-Corp nanites.
And then they waited.
Forty-five more seconds of anxiety, followed by Lena taking a blood sample and quickly sliding it under the microscope.
She stared at it for longer than was necessary, needing to be sure, before placing both of her hands on the table and sinking forward with a sigh of relief.
As Kara’s friends and her sister basked in the good news, Lena stepped into the hallway and sagged against the wall, finally allowing her pent-up nervousness to escape. Her hands shook as she pulled her hair out of its bun, running her fingers through it several times as her heart beat loudly in her ears. After taking a ragged breath, she tilted her head back and stared at the ceiling, then closed her eyes.
Lena jumped, startled by Alex’s voice and sudden presence. Blinking at her a few times, she shook her head to clear it.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Lena said softly. “Just tired.”
“Mmhm,” Alex hummed, unconvinced. She stepped closer and leaned against the wall next to Lena, staring at the far wall.
“Thank you,” Alex said quietly.
Lena simply nodded.
“I’m sorry for earlier. For getting angry with you.”
“No, it’s not. I can be irrational when it comes to my sister,” Alex admitted. “I thought you were being cold and reckless. But I saw how you looked at her when we brought her in. How you reacted when the bloodwork showed she was okay. You care about her more than I realized.”
Alex glanced towards her, but Lena said nothing. Denying it served no purpose, but Lena wasn’t about to confirm it either.
“Does she know how you feel?”
Again Lena chose not to answer, hoping her silence would abbreviate the conversation.
“After what nearly happened tonight-” Alex paused and cleared her throat, fighting back emotions that threatened to overwhelm. “After what did happen,” she corrected, “before we brought her back…you should tell her how you feel. She should know.”
Under different circumstances, Lena would have argued. But now wasn’t the time, nor the place, so she simply gave a short nod of acknowledgement.
Alex retreated into the lab, having said her piece, but Lena remained in the hallway, focusing intently on a scuff on the wall as she tried to shut down the feelings rioting through her. Fear and relief were front and center, the reality of how close she’d come to losing Kara starting to settle in.
This was why she didn’t want a close relationship with anyone. She hated feeling like this, hated feeling beholden to something outside of her control.
The glow of sunlamps from the other room suddenly flooded into the hallway, causing Lena to squint against the brightness. Kara should regain consciousness soon. And while Lena knew she was going to be fine, that didn’t dull her desire to verify it with her own eyes.
She ran her hands over her face, striving for some semblance of stability, before pushing her thoughts aside and heading back into the lab.
Unsurprisingly, everyone wanted to stay until Kara woke up, regardless of the late hour. They all needed the reassurance of seeing her conscious again.
Winn took the initiative to order pizza. It had been a while since anyone had eaten, plus he was convinced the smell of food would make Kara wake up sooner. But despite that, Kara didn’t open her eyes for another hour, and even then she was still exhausted - to the point that Alex had to coax her to eat. Winn was recording the moment for posterity when J’onn’s phone rang.
“Understood,” he replied. “Agent Danvers and I will meet you at their location. Agent Schott will coordinate from the DEO. We’re on our way.”
J’onn turned to the small group of them, Winn and Alex already on their feet.
“They’ve located the group responsible for this attack. We need to leave now, but Kara’s not ready to be moved. Lena, do you mind staying with her a few hours until she’s up on her own? If not, I can get someone from the DEO to-”
“I can stay, J’onn.”
“Are you sure?” he asked with genuine concern. “It’s late and-”
“It’s not a problem. Go, I’ve got this.”
In reality, it was a bit of a problem. Lena’s schedule was exceptionally full tomorrow and she needed the sleep. But she also didn’t want to leave Kara just yet. Her fingers itched with the need to touch Kara, to gain the tactile reassurance of warm skin and even breaths - and displaying that sort of familiarity wasn’t something she was about to do with other people in the room. Plus, the way Kara’s eyes had locked onto Lena’s when J’onn mentioned leaving…Kara clearly didn’t want her to leave.
Within minutes, the agents were out the door, leaving her alone with Kara for the first time since this ordeal began. Kara made to sit up, but Lena nudged her back down, pulling a chair over so she could sit closer to eye level with her.
“I’m fine,” Kara protested.
“You almost weren’t.” Lena gently brushed her thumb over Kara’s wrist, her gaze drifting over the scorch marks on Kara’s suit before pausing at one awful-looking streak along her collarbone.
Before she really knew what she was doing she leant forward, eyes closed as her lips gently touched Kara’s. She held it for a moment before resting her forehead on Kara’s, ignoring her own stuttered breathing as she indulged in the warmth of Kara’s body and the life emanating from it. Only when she felt a wetness trailing down her cheeks, threatening to fall onto Kara, did she pull away to sit back in her chair again.
Wiping the tear streaks away with the back of her hand, she looked down at the floor, caught off guard by her open display of emotions. She was usually far better at keeping them in check.
“Thank you,” Kara said quietly, her voice hoarse.
Lena waved off her thanks. “It’s not necessary.”
“Maybe. But I want to say it anyways.”
The silence stretched for several moments, until Lena made eye contact with Kara. Only then did Kara speak, and when she did it was measured and full of careful intensity.
“Thank you for saving me. And for staying with me.” Kara glanced away, then back, fidgeting with her hands. “But for so much more than just tonight. The time we’ve been spending together, getting to know each other…you’re part of my life now and I just-” Kara stilled. “I don’t know how to say it. Just that I’m really thankful and lucky to have met you.”
Lena swallowed as she shifted on her chair, feeling almost trapped by Kara’s words. No one had ever said those things to her before. That they were thankful she was a part of their life. That they felt lucky to have met her. Why did Kara have to say that? Why, when Lena was trying to make herself less vulnerable, not more.
She didn’t know how to process it. The urge to smile warred with her need to close herself off.
But on the heels of everything that had transpired, Lena didn’t want to argue - didn’t want to lay out her reasons for not getting this close to Kara. This close to anyone. Instead, she let herself be consumed by the swirling sincerity of Kara’s gaze, then whispered, “I’m lucky to have met you, too.”
Two hours and half a pizza later, Kara was well enough to complain about being cooped up in Lena’s lab. She wasn’t at full strength - feeling worn down and still without her powers - but Lena felt comfortable enough with her progress to allow her to go home.
“Provided I come along and keep an eye on you,” she added.
“I’m fine, Lena,” Kara protested, while slowly getting to her feet.
Lena didn’t say anything as she packed up the sunlamps, just raised a single eyebrow until Kara capitulated with a sigh.
As they took the elevator to the lobby, Kara’s hand brushed against Lena’s - accidentally at first, then on purpose as she entwined their fingers together. Her other hand pulled at the dark grey pencil skirt Lena had loaned her. The fit was a little off, but it was either wearing the spare clothing Lena kept at her office, or Kara staying in her Supergirl suit and making Lena’s driver privy to where Supergirl lived.
Lena had to pull free of Kara’s grasp when the elevator doors opened, picking up the cases again and carrying them outside until her driver could take them off her hands.
As the car pulled away from the curb, Lena’s eyes drifted over Kara. Her eyes were closed, head resting against the window glass.
“Tired?” Lena inquired after a little while.
“No,” Kara said, opening her eyes and sitting up straighter, “I was just listening to the city. It’s nice, at night. Quieter.”
Lena nodded. “That’s part of the reason I work late. Easier to focus.”
“Even when I come and bother you?” Kara asked, teasing but also legitimately concerned.
“You never bother me, Kara. If anything, I’m more productive when you’re around. I tend to not stress as much.” She reached over to adjust the collar of Kara’s shirt, her fingers grazing against the bare skin of Kara’s throat. “When you distract me,” Lena murmured, “it’s because I want to be distracted.”
She wasn’t surprised to hear Kara’s slight intake of breath, or feel her swallow against her lingering touch. It usually didn’t take much for them to get caught up in one another. But tonight, after everything that had happened - after Kara nearly died - their need to touch each other for physical reassurance was nearly overpowering, and Lena saw no need to fight it.
She brought her eyes back up to Kara’s, wrapping her hand around the nape of Kara’s neck as she leaned forward to kiss her. Kara met her halfway, their seatbelts limiting their mobility somewhat, but not enough to prevent Lena from resting her other hand on Kara’s thigh as their mouths opened, tongues sliding against each other. It didn’t get a chance to go any further than that as the car began to slow, pulling up to the address Kara had given her driver.
The building looked well-kept but unassuming, the sort of place that made sense for someone with a secret identity. Her apartment, however, was more vibrant, with Lena taking in the cozy decor as Kara led her inside.
“Do you want something to drink? Water? Tea?”
“Tea would be wonderful,” Lena answered, sitting at the island as Kara rummaged in the cupboards and put a kettle on to boil. She took out her phone and looked at her schedule for tomorrow morning - today, really, at this point - then texted her assistant about rescheduling her earliest appointments. She could have powered through them, but the evening conference call was more important and she needed to be on top of her game. A mere couple hours of sleep wasn’t going to cut it.
Just as she put her phone away, Kara placed their teas on the island and took a seat next to her. Lena wrapped her hands around the mug, bringing it close to her face, and when the scent of the familiar tea hit her it elicited a smile.
“You know, I was surprised when you tried giving this back to me,” Lena commented softly. “I didn’t think you’d have kept it.”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“For the same reason you didn’t call me. That you didn’t want a reminder of your tryst with a Luthor.”
Kara frowned. “My uncertainty over starting any sort of relationship with you...that was separate. When you saw the memories this tea evoked in me, you didn’t think twice - you just gave it to me. It was incredibly thoughtful and kind and…and I couldn’t just throw that away.” Kara shrugged, her lips quirking up into a small smile. “Plus, it probably cost more than my rent. I don’t know if I would have physically been capable of trashing it.”
They sipped at their drinks, falling into a comfortable silence as they each got lost in their own thoughts. Lena didn’t know what Kara was thinking about, but her own ruminations centered on the woman across from her.
Eventually, Kara noticed Lena’s staring and returned her gaze. When Kara reflexively licked her lips, it drew Lena’s attention downward, and the charged intensity from the car ride suddenly bled into the room. Lena slowly slid off her stool, stepping forward to straddle Kara on hers and earning a small noise of approval.
Pulling herself closer with the front of Kara’s shirt, Lena hungrily pressed her lips against Kara’s, opening her mouth to try and devour her. Kara tore away to pull her glasses off and toss them aimlessly to the counter, and Lena used the brief separation as an excuse to start unbuttoning Kara’s top. She continued even as Kara’s lips found hers again, tugging Kara’s shirt free and sliding it off her shoulders, pulling Kara’s hands free from her hips in order to push the garment off the rest of the way.
“Don’t do that again,” Lena whispered in between kisses, fingers weaving their way into Kara’s ponytail to pull it loose. “You almost died-”
“I won’t,” Kara rushed out, a promise neither of them had the right to ask nor to give, yet the temporary reassurance was soothing nonetheless.
Lena started undoing her own blouse, but Kara nudged her hands away and took over, going one step further by unhooking her bra and pushing it off before leaning down to kiss along Lena’s neck and jaw.
When she palmed at her breast, Lena’s hips bucked and started rolling in response. The stool they shared creaked forebodingly once, then twice, drawing enough of Lena’s attention to voice a concern. “Maybe we should-”
Kara took the hint, slipping off the stool with Lena still wrapped around her before carrying her to the foot of the bed.
Lena dropped her legs to the floor and stepped back, wasting no time in unzipping and shimmying out of her skirt while Kara mirrored her actions, but when Kara was down to her last undergarment, Lena stepped forward and stilled her hands.
Kara’s hands dropped to her sides, and Lena turned and guided her backwards until her knees hit the back of the bed.
“Lie down,” Lena murmured.
Kara sat down and scooted backwards, leaning back until she was spread out over the bed, and Lena followed, crawling up after her, kissing across Kara’s abdomen.
Glancing upwards, she caught Kara’s gaze, saw the hunger and desire, but also the softness and affection. Lena didn’t immediately look away like she normally would - like her instincts screamed at her to - but instead let the emotions of the moment wash over and through her. For anyone else it probably wouldn’t have been an issue, to return that look in kind. But for Lena it was a near insurmountable wall, with each brick placed out of her desperate need for self-preservation, and every joint more solidly mortared as the years passed. So when Lena took down that wall a bit, put forth some of the warmth and affection she felt for Kara as she stared back at her, Kara’s eyes widened slightly in surprise. But when Kara looked like she might comment on it, Lena broke eye contact. Conveying her emotions through a look was one thing...saying them out loud was something entirely different. Her walls were lowered, not gone altogether.
Turning her attention back to the matter at hand, Lena wrapped her fingers around the edge of Kara’s underwear, sliding them down her legs before tossing them to the floor.
Lena moved slowly - not rushing as she was prone to whenever her affection ran too deep. She nipped up Kara’s thighs and nosed her way through Kara’s wetness, sliding her fingers inside before Kara got too needy or impatient. Stroking into her, feeling every deep inhale, hearing every soft sigh - it was all incredibly intimate. And that closeness only intensified after Kara came, when she pulled Lena up her body and flipped them over, afraid Lena might try to get away. Kara searched Lena’s eyes for something, and it looked like she found it when her eyes glistened with moisture. Her mouth opened but paused, on the verge of speaking, before closing shut and holding Lena’s gaze.
Lena didn’t know exactly what she was thinking of saying, but when Kara leaned down and kissed her, she gathered a clear idea of it. Kara poured everything into that kiss, telling Lena without words how deeply she felt. There was a word for that feeling, for what Kara was conveying, but it was too much, too overwhelming to accept, even in Lena’s own silent train of thought.
Her hand skimmed down Lena’s body, slipping inside Lena’s underwear to circle over her clit and draw a muffled moan from her. Kara hadn’t let up kissing her, and only after she slid two fingers inside did she finally pull her head back, eyes locking onto Lena’s as she slowly drove into her.
Lena couldn’t look away as Kara went deeper but not faster, refusing to back away from the emotional intensity - Kara was intent on maintaining this experience for what it was. She began curling her fingers and moving her thumb over Lena’s clit, slowly inching Lena’s climax closer.
And when Lena finally peaked, when it would have been so easy and excusable for her to close her eyes or look away…she didn’t. She kept looking at Kara, letting herself sink into what Kara’s eyes were offering. Letting herself feel content. Letting herself feel happy.
Letting herself feel loved.
Putting on a burst of speed, Kara raced over the city below, anxious to get home. She’d invited Lena over for dinner, and while her apartment wasn’t exactly messy, it could use some tidying up. Plus, she wanted to shower and change into something more appealing than a soot covered supersuit, because things with Lena had been good lately.
Really, really good.
Ever since that night almost a month ago with the nanites, something had shifted. Lena seemed less reserved, less intent on keeping Kara at an emotional arm’s distance away.
Kara would never say she was grateful for almost dying…but Lena’s gaze was just a little softer when Kara landed on her balcony, they were having actual conversations instead of only flirtatious banter, and Lena was initiating eye contact during sex. It was wonderful and amazing, and combined with the fact that she was now staying over Lena’s several times a week, Kara felt like she was overdosing on yellow sunlight.
A quick speed cleaning and two outfit changes later, the doorbell rang. She’d settled on jeans and a black sleeveless top that showed off her arms, and the look Lena gave her when she opened the door validated her choices. It was equal parts appreciation and hunger, and Kara felt a low tug of desire in response.
Lena stepped into Kara’s space, her fingers sliding up Kara’s arm as she kissed her on the cheek. “You look nice,” she said softly into her ear.
Kara managed a soft thank-you as Lena stepped back and handed her the bottle of wine she’d brought.
While Lena slipped off her shoes, Kara tried to fight down the quick surge of arousal from Lena’s touch and proximity. She had plans for tonight: nice conversation over dinner, then snuggling up to watch a movie together - not ravishing Lena before she’d barely stepped into her apartment. That could wait until after the movie.
Or maybe during it.
At least sometime after dinner for sure.
Speaking of which, Kara remembered the oven timer had gone off right before Lena’s arrival. Out of habit, she slipped on a pair of oven mitts before pulling the dish out of the oven. It was unnecessary, of course, but it was one of the many ‘normal’ traits she’d been forced to learn over the years. She couldn’t really just turn it on and off.
She was extra excited about food tonight because, one, she managed not to burn it, and two, she’d picked out this recipe especially for Lena. Kara cut two servings and grabbed utensils while Lena popped open the wine bottle behind her.
“That smells exquisite, Kara. What is it?”
Lena raised her eyebrows in surprise, a slow smile spreading across her face as Kara set the plates down on the island.
“Really?” she drawled. “That doesn’t sound like your normal fare.”
“Yes, well...I wanted to make something you’d enjoy.” Kara reached up and rested her hand on the back of her neck, suddenly feeling a little shy. “Plus, it’s always good to try new things.”
“It is good to try new things,” Lena concurred. “And I’m going to hold you to that later.” There was a certain lilt to Lena’s voice when she said it, a smirk on her face, and after a brief moment of confusion a blush crept up Kara’s neck.
“Lena,” Kara both censured and pleaded, trying not to visualize the possible new things Lena wanted to explore in their sex life.
“What? Like you’re not turned on by that idea,” Lena challenged.
Kara shifted from foot to foot, crossing, then uncrossing her arms. “Okay, I am,” she admitted, much to Lena’s pleasure. “But dinner’s getting cold,” Kara continued, “and we can talk about that later.”
“It’ll be less talking, more doing,” Lena argued as she took a seat. “But fine. I can wait.” Her grudging promise was undercut by the playful pout she gave, which faded as she dug into the meal in front of her.
Later, after Kara consumed over half the pan and Lena had a second helping - much to Kara’s delight - Lena was helping her clear the table when she laid a hand on Kara’s elbow to catch her attention.
“Seriously, Kara, thank you. The food was wonderful, and the fact that you went out of your way for me - that was too nice of you.”
“It wasn’t too nice.”
“Yes, it was.”
“No, it wasn’t,” Kara insisted. “You deserve someone to make you a nice meal, Lena.” The fact that she thought otherwise made Kara’s heart ache.
“Maybe I deserve someone,” she acquiesced quietly. “But I don’t know if I deserve you.”
And there it was again - Lena choosing to be open and vulnerable with Kara. It took her breath away, knowing how difficult it was for Lena to take this chance with anyone. It left Kara in awe of that strength, and full of nervous joy to be the receiver of that trust. She leaned in to kiss Lena, but just as their lips touched, Kara’s phone buzzed. She emphatically ignored it, but it buzzed a second, third, and fourth time, until finally it started ringing and Kara was forced to tear her mouth away from Lena’s.
“Ugh, that’s probably-”
“I know,” Lena interrupted, groaning a little in frustration as she waved her away to go answer it.
Unfortunately, it was important. Halfway through the call Kara ended up putting Alex on speaker phone, changing into her suit as Alex finished giving her the details on their latest emergency.
“Got it. I’m on my way.” She tucked her phone away before turning to Lena. “I have to-”
“I know. Be careful.”
“Always,” Kara answered, giving Lena a brief kiss before she walked backwards towards the window, affording her a few more seconds to look at Lena. “I shouldn’t be long,” she added.
Lena nodded, and then Kara was taking off with a smile on her face, looking forward to the rest of their evening together.
* * *
When Kara woke up, her first thought was that she needed to call Lena. Needed to apologize for having messed up their evening together. She didn’t know what time it was, but the fact that she was lying on a sunbed at the DEO meant that her trip wasn’t nearly as quick as she’d hoped. Lena was probably pacing around Kara’s apartment, wondering if she should keep waiting and worrying if Kara was alright. But as soon as she sat up, a set of hands were on her shoulders, attempting to ease her back down onto the bed.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Kara. Hang on. Slow down.”
The hands and voice belonged to Winn, and she stilled when she finally registered what he was saying.
His face broke into a relieved smile, then he was hugging her and whispering, “you’re awake, oh my gosh, you’re awake” with a voice tight with emotion. As he pulled back, his eyes glassy with unshed tears, it dawned on Kara that something seriously wrong must have happened.
“Winn, what’s going-”
“Hold on,” he interrupted, still smiling as stumbled backwards towards the door. “I’ve gotta go get Alex.”
But he was already gone, and in less than a minute Alex’s shaking arms were wrapped around her, and all Kara could do was keep repeating that she was alright.
Only after Alex had separated from her and J’onn and Winn had quietly slipped into the room was Kara able to ask what was going on. But nothing in their explanation seemed out of the ordinary, including when they said she was hit with some device that knocked her unconscious.
“Okay,” she frowned, “but I’ve been knocked out before-”
J’onn cut her off, his voice somber. “That was five days ago, Kara.”
Kara’s mouth fell open.
“Yes. And we had no indications as to when you were going to wake up. If you were going to wake up,” he clarified.
“Lena-” Kara started, her voice tinged with panic.
“She knows,” Alex assured her softly. “I’ve been updating her each day, and while J’onn was getting you caught up I texted her to let her know you’re awake.”
“Okay,” Kara breathed out. That was good. But she still needed to go to Lena, to let her see with her own eyes that Kara was alright. “How soon can I get out of here?”
Alex, thankfully, didn’t ask why she was in such a hurry to leave - she knew how close Kara and Lena had become. Instead, she was almost apologetic while telling Kara she needed to stay for a series of tests and then observation.
“Two hours, Kara,” Alex said firmly, before her voice went soft as she added, “She’ll understand.”
Two hours and fifteen minutes later Alex dropped her off at L-Corp. Kara had argued that she was well enough to fly, but her sister’s ‘be glad I’m letting you leave the DEO at all’ look had convinced Kara to acquiesce.
“Ms. Danvers,” Jess greeted her, a bit startled. “It’s nice to see you looking well.” At Kara’s confused expression, Lena’s assistant elaborated, “Ms. Luthor mentioned you were very sick.”
It took Kara a second to realize she’d been seeing Lena often enough that her sudden absence would be noticed.
“Right!” Kara blurted out. “Yes, I was. I was sick with some, um, odd bacterial virus thing...” Oh, Rao. Bacterial virus thing? To think she’d been accepted to the Science Guild on Krypton…
“Well, I’m glad you’re better. It’ll be nice to see Ms. Luthor back to normal, too.”
Jess turned, but Kara stopped her with a soft touch to her arm. “What do you mean?”
The question caused Jess to pause, belatedly realizing she shouldn’t have volunteered that bit of information about her boss.
“Was she sick or something?” Kara asked. She knew that wasn’t the case, but she needed to get Jess talking again - and she responded just as Kara hoped.
“Oh, no, nothing like that,” she rushed to reassure. “She’s just been distracted this week. To the point that I prodded her a couple days ago about it and she mentioned you were ill. I mean, most people probably wouldn’t have picked up on it, but I see her every day and that’s not like her. She’s the most focused person I know.”
“Yeah, she is,” Kara agreed absently, concerned about Jess’ words, wishing she hadn’t caused Lena to worry.
“Anyways, you can go right in. She doesn’t have a meeting until three so take your time.”
Kara nodded and thanked Jess before approaching Lena’s office. She’d been thinking about this moment the entire car ride over - to see Lena, to hold her and prove to her she was okay, to apologize for making her worry. And that’s what she did, the minute she got through the door. Lena hugged her and smiled and seemed genuinely happy to see that Kara was alright, but it was off somehow. Kara couldn’t put her finger on it until she stepped back and made eye contact with Lena...and that’s when she saw it.
The walls Lena had let down were back up.
Kara didn’t swear often, but fuck, why did she have to end up in a coma. And so soon after her last near miss.
When she’d woken up in the lab at L-Corp, Lena had stayed in the background, giving space to Alex, Winn, and J’onn. But eventually it was just the two of them, and then - for the first time - Kara saw Lena unguarded. Normally she kept her emotions in check, and only from careful observation had Kara been able to read her. But Lena’s feelings that night were clear - starting in the lab, and culminating at Kara’s apartment. It was more than just sex. Lena let her feelings show, and left that window to her emotions open for Kara.
But now it felt like all of that ground had been lost. She’d had days to stew in her emotions, and it was too much for her to handle. Instead of wanting to be close to Kara, holding on tight because she’d almost lost her, she was pushing Kara away.
Despite the dread swirling in the pit of her stomach, Kara tried to tell herself it was fine - that Lena’s reaction was a defense mechanism. It would fade once it sunk in that she was alright. She would make more time to see Lena, and do whatever she had to in order to get them back to where they were.
There was no reason to be worried about it.
* * *
Three weeks later, she was worried about it.
Her concern had steadily been increasing, starting with her return visit to Lena’s office the same day she’d woken from the coma. They’d ordered takeout, talked a little, and had sex on Lena’s couch. Kara felt the distance, but she knew that wasn’t going to go away in one day. When her invitation to come back to her apartment afterwards was turned down, Kara was okay with that, too - Lena was in the middle of a big project and needed to keep working.
A few days later they had a quick brunch, and two days after that Kara went over to Lena’s for a movie…which they only got a short way into before Lena crawled onto Kara’s lap, the movie quickly forgotten.
That pattern repeated itself a few more times, except Lena’s replies to Kara’s texts and calls were getting slower. And the words and conversation became less personal.
It felt like those walls were getting stronger, not weaker. It felt like she’d been slotted into the friends with benefits relationship Lena had initially proposed - an arrangement they couldn’t pull off before because they’d become too intimate with each other. But now they could, because Lena had shorn that intimacy away.
Kara needed to talk to Lena about it, and soon. Before things got even worse.
She texted Lena, asking if she could come over tonight. The initial reply was a ‘maybe’, until Kara joked that Lena was working too hard and could use some stress relief. It worked, but Rao, she had just resorted to bribing Lena with sex in order to see her.
That strategy was probably a mistake, because when she arrived at Lena’s apartment Lena had no interest in the food Kara handed her, dropping it thoughtlessly onto the coffee table before kissing Kara, hard.
When Lena pulled back for a breath, Kara managed to eke out, “Can we talk?” But Lena only smirked and said ‘no’ before diving back in.
When she broke away and started kissing along Kara’s jaw, Kara tried again.
“Seriously, Lena. Please.”
Lena pulled back once more, but this time when she saw the solemn look Kara was giving her, all of her previous levity bled away.
“Alright,” she said quietly. “But after.”
Kara almost argued with her, but there was a flicker of vulnerability in Lena’s eyes - a need to delay this talk for just a little while longer. So Kara gave in, relaxing her body and tilting her head to the side so Lena could resume her path down Kara’s throat.
Most nights Lena was the one in control. Even when Kara was pinning her against a door, or holding her down on the bed, Lena was the one telling her harder or faster. Occasionally, she’d give up that control, needing Kara to give and take without any direction from her.
Tonight was not one of those nights.
Lena was borderline aggressive as she pulled Kara’s shirt over her head, tonguing and biting at Kara's ear as she unbuttoned her own blouse, before grabbing ahold of Kara’s belt and tugging her down the hall.
Stopping just short of the bed, she turned and unfastened Kara’s belt and jeans, shoving them down and kneeling on the floor to help Kara step out of them. Before Kara had a chance to help her up, Lena slid her fingers around the edges of Kara’s underwear, pulling them down and off. Kara barely had time for a sharp intake of breath before Lena was resting her hands on either side of her hips, leaning forward to lick a broad stripe across her sex.
“Lena,” Kara gasped. Her mind and body were still reeling from how fast Lena had undressed her - now they were short circuiting.
When she lifted one of Kara’s legs over her shoulder to give her better access, Kara’s fingers instinctively slid into Lena’s hair, unintentionally pulling as Lena hit a particularly sensitive area. Lena responded with a pleased groan and two fingers inside Kara, and Rao, it was as if Lena was determined to have her come in record time. “Fuck, Lena,” she choked out.
Lena was relentless, flicking her tongue and using the edge of her teeth until Kara dropped her head back, climaxing and trying not to fall onto Lena as her legs shook with the force of it. She’d just barely had a chance to catch her breath - hands loosening their grip in Lena’s hair, leg sliding off of Lena’s shoulder - when Lena climbed to her feet and pulled her towards the bed. Lena sat down, quickly discarding her skirt and underwear before sliding backwards and pulling Kara on top of her.
Kara attempted to move her mouth down to Lena’s jaw, but Lena halted that motion with a hand on the back of her head and a nip to her bottom lip. She took the hint, leaning down to cover Lena’s mouth with her own. Lena hastily unbuttoned her blouse, and Kara tore herself away from Lena’s lips to lay a string of kisses from her shoulder down to her breast, leaving a few reddened marks in her wake.
Despite knowing it was likely futile, Kara tried to slow things down. She’d been attempting it every time they got together over the past few weeks, and every time Lena had rebuffed any hint towards intimacy. Unfortunately, this time was no different. Kara endeavored to move back up, wanting to look at Lena when she unraveled, but once again Lena outmaneuvered her.
“I want your mouth on me,” she breathed out.
Not one to deny Lena anything, Kara slid further down, nuzzling the soft skin of Lena’s inner thighs before licking into her wet heat. She didn’t tease, didn’t make another effort at slowness, simply gave in to Lena’s need for pure physical release. But that didn’t stop the emotions from coursing through Kara, didn’t keep her from remembering the raw vulnerability she’d seen in Lena’s eyes after Kara’s first brush with death.
When Lena’s exhales grew louder and more uneven, she called out Kara’s name, and the feelings she hid from her eyes were laid bare in her voice. Kara locked onto that, drinking in each subsequent repetition, etching into memory the need and affection threading every syllable. She fought back tears when Lena came, hoping this wasn’t one last time for her, that Lena really was only delaying the talk Kara had asked for, and not grasping for future memories.
Collapsing against the bed with a heavy sigh, Lena gently combed her fingers through Kara’s hair - and suddenly Kara was the one wanting to put off this conversation. But when Lena’s breathing returned to normal, she spoke, and the casualness in her voice was betrayed by the slight tremble of her fingers, still moving softly across Kara’s disheveled tresses.
“What did you want to talk about?”
Kara took a breath, her head resting on Lena’s thigh, her eyes fixed and unfocused on the far wall. “Why are you running away from me?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Yes, you do, Lena,” she said softly.
Lena didn’t reply, but her hand slowed and stopped its motions to lie tangled in Kara’s hair.
“You were unconscious for five days, Kara.” Lena’s heart rate spiked, reacting to the memory of it. “Do you know what I did during those five days?”
Kara didn’t. They hadn’t really talked about it, Kara feeling guilty for the emotional stress she knew she’d caused.
“I canceled three meetings, rescheduled two, left dozens of important emails unanswered, and nearly botched a conference call with a potential new business partner.” Her hand on the bed clenched. “I couldn’t function, Kara.”
“People would understand-”
“No, people would not understand,” Lena said heatedly. Then, more softly, as she tucked a lock of hair behind Kara’s ear, “Not the people I’m surrounded with. They would use it as an excuse to undermine my authority and question my decisions.”
Kara fell quiet. Lena had just told her how her work was affected, but not why. So Kara asked her, and when she didn’t answer, Kara pushed up onto her elbows and turned to face her.
“You know why, Kara.”
Lena couldn’t say it. Couldn’t even look at her, it was that hard.
“Yeah, I do know why,” Kara finally said. “Because I feel it, too.”
Lena stared at the wall, looking torn. Kara wished she knew the right words to say to take away Lena’s fears. She wasn’t about to downplay Lena’s concerns, because they were valid. Nor was she going to lie and tell her this wouldn’t happen again, because it could. But she needed to say something.
“I figured out pretty quickly what a kind, fierce, brilliant, and beautiful woman you are, Lena. But I didn’t anticipate how much I’d like being around you. Talking to you, laughing with you, sharing the same space. Whether that’s in your office or at a cafe or in your bedroom, it doesn’t matter. I want to be around you.” Kara swallowed. “For more than just sex, though.”
“Why?” Lena asked, practically pleading. “That was the genesis of our relationship. We both enjoy it. Why can’t it be just that?”
Kara took a deep breath. “Because I love-”
“No!” Lena pulled away from Kara, jostling her as she scrambled out of bed. “Stop! Just stop.”
“Why?” Kara implored.
“Because it’s too much!”
Kara shifted closer to the edge of the bed, pitching her voice soft. “What are you so afraid of, Lena?”
“Of this!” Lena yelled, gesturing angrily. “Of you. Of not being able to do my job, of not being able to live my life! I can’t be this dependent on you, Kara!”
“I’m not asking you to be!” Kara nearly shouted. “I shouldn’t be the only person you let yourself get close to, Lena.” Kara took a breath, trying to calm herself down. “You need different people to talk to, Lena. To laugh with, to lean on, in case something does happen. In case a relationship falters. In case a person gets hurt. In case I get killed.”
Lena shook her head, crossing her arms in front of her. “You make that sound easy, Kara. But you’re not in my shoes. Despite your being from another planet, you’re a normal person here. Everyone around you isn’t trying to leverage something out of you, isn’t trying to gain your trust only to use it against you, isn’t trying to be your friend for a multitude of self-serving reasons. People want to be your friend, Kara, because they like you. Not your money. Not your power. You,” she said pointing at her. “That’s not something I get to have.”
Before Kara could even formulate a response, Lena threw on her robe, not bothering with the tie as she stormed out of the room.
Kara pulled on a random t-shirt and shorts from the drawer that had recently become hers, then stumbled after her into the kitchen. Lena’s back was to her, but Kara could see her tipping back a tumbler of some sort of alcohol.
Kara’s mouth opened and closed, but not another word came out as she watched Lena place her hands on the counter, refusing to turn around. Kara’s throat tightened. She didn’t know how to respond to Lena’s verbal onslaught from the bedroom, nor the dismissive words aimed at her now. She wanted to step forward and wrap her arms around Lena, but knew she’d be met with even more resistance.
Kara didn’t know what to do.
She stood there motionless, willing the right words to come to mind, wishing for something to break this standoff. But the only thing that changed was the amount of tension in Lena’s body, increasing the longer Kara just stood there.
And Kara didn’t want that.
Knowing she could at least take away the pain she was causing from her continued presence, Kara took a step backwards, then another, mumbled a “goodnight, Lena,” and left.
Reading through pages upon pages of legal jargon was not Lena’s favorite responsibility as CEO. Not by far. But she was the only one privy to the details of this particular deal, therefore she was the only who could accurately double-check it. Not that she expected this company to try and screw her over - they were fairly straight shooters when it came to negotiating deals - yet it wouldn’t be the first time something small but significant was accidentally omitted in the final paperwork. But everything seemed in order, so Lena signed off on it and reached for another folder off the pile, only to find that corner of her desk empty.
A quick glance at the clock explained why she’d caught up with her work - it was already past midnight.
And she was legitimately caught up - with email, texts, phone calls, and paperwork. She toyed with heading down to the labs, but she wasn’t really in the mood for it, which was a strong warning flag. Regardless of the late hour she usually jumped at the chance to do some actual science. Instead she found herself staring at the balcony.
All she had to do was call her. Or text her. Hell, she could probably yell her name and Kara would be there within seconds.
Lena wanted that. Wanted that a lot. Which was why she did nothing.
Well, not exactly nothing. She got up, poured herself a drink, and had it at her lips before she changed her mind and poured it down the sink. The last thing she wanted or needed right now was a drinking problem.
She sat back down at her desk, thinking about deleting their old text conversations - she’d been avoiding it since breaking things off - when her phone buzzed with a new message.
She hoped it wasn’t Kara. It was painful each time she ignored her. But considering what time it was, chances were high that was exactly who it was. To her surprise, though, it wasn’t. It was Alex. And as much as she didn’t want a text from Kara, she really didn’t want a text from Kara’s overprotective sister.
A: This isn’t about Kara.
Lena still almost deleted it. Talking to Kara’s sister stirred up memories she didn’t want to revisit. But Alex assuredly knew that and wouldn’t be reaching out unless she felt it necessary.
Reluctantly, she replied.
L: I’m listening.
A: We have a problem and Winn says you would know more about it than he does.
L: What is it?
A: Not something I can explain over text. Can you come to the DEO?
Lena sighed. Before she had a chance to respond, Alex sent another message.
A: Kara’s not here. Won’t be back until tomorrow.
That gave Lena pause. The fact that Alex was willing to risk her sister’s anger was significant. If Kara found out she’d been there, and that Alex had gone so far as to make sure Kara didn’t run into her...
Lena didn’t care. That was an issue between Alex and Kara. Right now there was a problem, probably a very large one if Alex was inviting her to their headquarters, and Lena‘s help was needed.
L: What’s the address?
Alex was true to her word. Kara was nowhere to be seen and the problem was something Lena was particularly suited to solving. So when Alex caught her on the way out of the DEO, asking if she could contact her again in the future, Lena agreed.
She didn’t expect that to be three days later.
Thankfully, it was for something much less urgent. More of a theoretical ‘what if’ scenario that Alex wanted some feedback on via text. And the week after that she ended up in a group chat with both Alex and Winn - a technical discussion about ways to improve their agents’ field armor.
All of her interactions with them thus far had been professional, but some humor had started to creep in - particularly in the now ongoing group chat. She was about to go to sleep when she noticed the twenty-three unread messages from them. After scrolling through and shaking her head at Winn’s misguided enthusiasm, she sent off a quick response.
L: Alex is right. It’s impractical.
A: Thank you!
W: But it’s such a good idea. You can shoot and stab a bad guy with the same weapon.
L: If the blade was retractable, it *might* work.
A smile snuck onto her face. It felt like college again, when she’d talk to Jack or Sam at god-awfully late hours...
But they weren’t friends, she reminded herself.
They were friendly, and she enjoyed talking with them, but Lena was a resource for them. Just because they were interested in her mind - rather than her money or influence - didn’t mean they weren’t using her.
Lena’s eyes strayed to the drawer that still held some of Kara’s clothes. Kara had never asked for anything. Lena had been the one wanting things from Kara from the start: her trust, her body, her kindness, her affection. And when she finally got them, Lena ran, because the tables had turned. She’d found herself wanting to give Kara everything, and if she did and then lost her…Lena would lose part of herself.
She’d made the right decision.
She had to keep telling herself that, because looking at the drawer she’d yet to clean out, she still felt the pull to give in.
* * *
Kara made one more pass over the city after signing off with her sister. It was one-thirty in the morning, but she wasn’t in a rush to get to bed. The last few days she’d been having trouble sleeping - managing only a few hours each night - and this evening she expected more of the same.
Insomnia was a thing with her sometimes, usually due to stress. Being pulled in too many directions, her thoughts would refuse to settle, making it harder for her to tune out the sounds of the city.
The cause this time, though, was more specific. Her mind was still stuck on having seen Lena at the press conference earlier this week.
She’d looked good, if a bit tired. Considering the announcement they’d just made, though, Kara could understand why - the leadup to new product launches was always rough. Kara had stayed in the background, not wanting to add any additional stress. She’d caught some flak for not getting a direct interview, but so be it; she’d landed enough exclusives with Lena that they couldn’t complain too loudly about it.
But that was four days ago - and Kara had been restless and distracted every day since. Rather than spend another night tossing and turning in bed, she decided to do something productive.
Bag of takeout in hand, she touched down on the DEO’s balcony and gave a quick wave to the overnighters before roaming the halls to find her sister. She wasn’t in any of her usual haunts, and Kara was just about to use her super hearing when she heard Alex laughing in the next room over.
“Hey, Alex,” she called out loudly, grinning. “I got your favorite sandwich from-”
Her words stopped abruptly when she turned the corner into the lab. Standing there, leaning casually against a counter next to her sister, was Lena.
Lena, with residual laughter in her eyes from whatever Alex had said.
Lena, whose gaze turned flat and distant the moment she caught sight of Kara.
Alex immediately took a step forward, her voice tense and too high pitched. “Kara, what are you doing here? You told me you were on your way home.”
“I changed my mind,” she said numbly, forcing herself to loosen her grip on the bag of food in her hands before she tore it apart. “Why-”
Lena grabbed her coat off a nearby chair. “I should go,” she said.
“You don’t have to,” Kara protested.
“I was on my way out anyways.”
Stomach churning, Kara’s eyes followed Lena as she strode past her. When she reached the doorway, she paused, giving Kara a glimmer of hope…but after a brief moment of eye contact, Lena turned on her heel and left.
Kara stepped into the hallway, watching Lena’s retreating form, but once she was out of sight she immediately rounded on her sister.
“Alex?! What the hell?”
“Why was Lena here? How come you didn’t tell me?”
“I wanted her help on some defensive tech improvements. And I didn’t tell you because Lena wouldn’t have said yes if you were here.”
Kara spun away from her sister, letting out an angry breath as she gripped the edge of the lab table, before quickly releasing it when the metal started to give.
Rao, she really resented her powers sometimes.
Making this whole situation worse was the fact that she shouldn’t be mad. Not at Alex, because if it helped keep their agents safe then of course she should take Lena’s help however she could get it. And not at Lena, because she was helping Alex, and Kara could understand why she wouldn’t feel comfortable with her around. But knowing these things didn’t change the fact that she was still upset - it only underscored that she had no one and nothing to direct her anger at.
She needed to leave. She needed to fly as hard and fast as she could until this frustration eased. But only after she got the answer to one more question. A question she knew she shouldn’t ask, because it would only make her angrier. And yet she asked anyways.
“How often has she been here?” Kara growled.
“I don’t remember exactly. Maybe six or seven times.”
Kara didn’t reply. She just turned and left, dropping the food on a passing table while ignoring her sister’s pleas to stay.
She needed to get away from everyone. Now.
Lena had nearly caved. Standing in the doorframe, it would have been so easy to reach out to Kara - physically or verbally.
She shouldn’t have paused, shouldn’t have let the idea of getting back together even begin to coalesce in her own mind, let alone let that idea transfer over to Kara.
“Fuck,” Lena huffed out, grabbing for her tablet as her driver pulled away from the curb.
She’d always thought her mother hypocritical, telling Lena not to form attachments while at the same time remaining so devoted to Lex. She’d even gone so far as to call Lillian out on it, but stormed out before getting any kind of response. Maybe if she’d stuck around, her mother might have explained that she was warning Lena. That for once Lillian was pointing out her own failing, rather than Lena’s. Maybe then Lena wouldn’t have to sit alone in the backseat of her car, distracting herself with work while wishing for once that she’d taken her mother’s advice.
After several unsuccessful minutes, Lena lowered the partition and instructed her driver to take her to L-Corp. Examining spreadsheets and quarterly reports on her tablet wasn’t cutting it. She needed to find a project in the labs, something complicated enough for her to get lost in.
Lost enough that she would stop missing her.
Kara’s frustration and anger and sorrow coursed through her unchecked as she sped over the outskirts of the city. Normally she kept a tight lid on her harsher emotions, but not tonight. Tonight she didn’t want to contain them.
She’d reached out so many times, wanting to talk, not really believing Lena could end it just like that. After a week of no response, she checked in from a distance, forcing herself not to linger once she knew Lena was okay physically. But evidently, Lena was just fine. She was working with Alex, and probably Winn, too, and Kara had to start dealing with the fact that Lena was no longer a part of her life.
It felt like a piece of her was being torn out.
Yet as much as it hurt, Kara knew she would be okay - she’d get over Lena just like she got over everyone else she’d lost. What she couldn’t accept was being pushed away because Lena cared for her more than she wanted to. Her fear of losing Kara, and having five whole days to stew in that pain, made her feel vulnerable. And Lena hated feeling vulnerable. She was giving up future love and happiness rather than experience the overwhelming emotions of losing a person she cared for. Well, guess what, Lena? That’s life. People fucking die on you.
Kara shook her head, screaming forward through the air. She knew she was being unforgivingly harsh. She knew Lena dodged pain for a reason. Two of the people Lena had loved - Lillian and Lex - had caused her the most pain. And Kara knew that wanting Lena to not reject her was her own selfishness at work - she wanted Lena’s love and affection. But it wasn’t just about herself, either. Lena seemed happier when they were together, both as friends and more than friends. Then again, maybe Kara was just seeing what she wanted to see. Maybe Lena was just fine without her.
Maybe she never cared about Kara as much as Kara cared about her.
Alex didn’t contact her for nearly two weeks - long enough that Lena assumed she was done asking for help for a while.
But Alex did call again, asking her to come to the DEO. And…wow.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Lena herself was the one being asked to do this, she would have commended Alex for making such a bold request of someone. And with a straight face even. But it wasn’t someone else…and again, wow.
“You can’t be serious,” she uttered, finally giving voice to her thoughts. But Alex just folded her arms over her chest and stared back at her, so Lena turned to J’onn, looking for some kind of acknowledgement that this was a joke. His expression dashed that hope.
“It’s our best option, Lena.”
“It’s a ludicrous option.”
“Perhaps,” J’onn admitted. “But it’s still our best one at finding those missing weapons.”
“Why can’t you just send Winn with her?”
Alex coughed to try and cover her laugh, while J’onn’s mouth quirked up. Lena knew she was grasping at straws, but she was desperate for some other solution.
“Agent Schott lacks the... level of suaveness this event will require.”
“That’s putting it mildly,” Alex said under her breath.
“Plus, you’re already on the guest list,” J’onn continued, “so that eliminates the need of procuring an invitation.”
Lena crossed her arms over her chest, mirroring Alex’s stance as she faced her. She had suspected that if the situation was urgent enough, the DEO would reach out to her again, even if it did require direct interaction with Kara. But never in her wildest dreams would she have guessed this.
“So to be clear,” Lena stated, voice dripping with skepticism, “you’re asking me to take your sister to a sex party.”
Alex nodded once, not backing down. Points for her.
It fell on J’onn to try and defuse the situation.
“Do not feel obligated to say yes, Ms. Luthor,” he assured her calmly. “We’ll find another way if this makes you uncomfortable.”
Lena raised an eyebrow at the ‘if’ in that sentence. Of course it made her uncomfortable. The last thing she wanted was to interact with Kara for an extended period of time, let alone under these particular circumstances. But she didn’t miss the look Alex shot J’onn when he said they’d find another way. There clearly wasn’t one, otherwise Alex wouldn’t have asked her to do this in the first place.
She shook her head. “My comfort level is irrelevant. This isn’t going to work, period. Kara blushes whenever I so much as drop a sexual innuendo into our conversations. She’ll stand out like a virgin in a porn film.”
J’onn coughed at Lena’s frankness, but Alex was quick to disagree with her assessment.
“Kara acts like that. Not Supergirl. The mission will take priority.”
Lena frowned. Alex might have a point.
“I’m not saying she won’t feel self-conscious or blush at some of what she sees,” Alex added, “but she certainly won’t be the awkward mess that Kara can be.”
Lena fell silent, staring first at Alex, then at J’onn. She should say no, if only for the fact that they shouldn't have put her in this position in the first place. But from the moment Alex brought it up, Lena already knew she was going to say yes. If years of self-analysis had taught her anything, it was that she had an abnormally high craving to feel needed - such that she consistently disregarded hardships to herself in order to fulfill that desire. (Yet another dysfunction to thank Lillian for.)
She let them wait a little longer for her answer though, because there was no sense in revealing that it was a foregone conclusion. Considering what they were asking of her, Alex and J’onn deserved to squirm a little. Plus, moments like this - when a potential partner or client awaited her decision, silence thick with anticipation - were ones she always took a bit of pleasure in. Naturally, she wanted to prolong it.
“Did you talk to Kara about this little proposal of yours yet?”
Alex shifted on her feet.
“We weren’t going to discuss it with Supergirl unless we knew you were on board,” J’onn explained.
Lena let loose a small grin, knowing full well there was a devilish tinge to her expression. Knowing Alex would have to have this same conversation with her sister - and that Kara would be stuck in a similar predicament - provided some perverse gratification for Lena.
“Well, then...go discuss it with Supergirl.”
Alex's eyes widened a fraction, her surprise at Lena’s agreement clear. But she quickly schooled her expression and thanked Lena, her tone conveying that she knew how big of an ask this was.
Lena waved away her gratitude. “Just make sure she knows what she’s walking into. I’ll take her, but it’s your job to prep her.”
“She’ll be ready,” Alex assured her.
“Let’s hope so.” Lena turned, striding towards the exit before she changed her mind. If she let herself stop and think, she’d have to address her conflicting feelings - twinges of anticipation layered over pangs of anxiety at seeing Kara again. Not enough time had passed for the rawness to scab over. Even if Kara somehow managed to be ready for this, there was no guarantee Lena would be able to say the same thing about herself.
* * *
Lena stepped back to eye her overall appearance.
Other than her lipstick, which was a darker red than usual, her look was familiar: a skirt, blouse, and heels. But the similarities ended there. Her white top was completely sheer, making her low cut black bra clearly visible, her knee length skirt had a high slit along one side, and her hair was pulled back into a slick ponytail. Compared to some, Lena’s outfit was almost modest, but it was in line with what she’d worn to previous events of this nature and wouldn’t draw unnecessary attention.
She didn’t know what Kara would be wearing yet. She’d given Alex some guidelines, though, and as the possibilities ran across Lena’s mind she felt a spike in her heart rate and a low thrum of arousal.
This was about helping the DEO, not helping herself get back into bed with Kara.
That thought bore repeating when Kara arrived a few minutes later and took off her coat.
Her jacket was too long to give any indication of what she might be wearing underneath, and Lena needed to see her outfit to judge if it was appropriate - both in general and if it paired with what Lena was wearing. They didn’t need to match, per se, but they did need to look like they were together. Kara did as she asked, unbuttoning it and slipping it off without hesitation.
Lena swallowed hard as her eyes travelled down Kara’s body.
Her first thought was that she needn’t have worried about matching. Like herself, Kara wore a sheer top over her bra - but hers was black and tight fitting across her chest and down her arms. And, unlike Lena, Kara’s skirt was short and sheer as well.
It looked like someone took Kara’s Supergirl outfit, removed the cape, then made everything black and translucent, leaving only her satin bra and underwear opaque. Not to mention the boots. Black and supple and…yes, this outfit most definitely worked.
Realizing she’d been staring too long, she jerked her eyes back up, only to find Kara’s eyes roaming over her body as well. Lena cleared her throat, pulling Kara’s attention northward.
“Your clothes are perfect,” Lena admitted, proud that her voice didn’t waver. “But you’ll need to remove your glasses.” She picked up two masques from the small table next to the couch, holding one out to Kara.
Lena ignored the eye roll and waited for Kara to take hers. She didn’t particularly like the reminder either - from when things were flirtatious and new, not tense and awkward - but most of the guests would be wearing masques and she’d worn them in the past. Best not to do anything that would draw unnecessary attention.
Kara removed her glasses and took the masque from Lena’s hand, slipping it over her eyes. Then, likely out of associated habit, Kara pulled her hair tie out, combing her fingers through her hair a few times.
The changes completed her look, bringing attention to Kara’s strikingly blue eyes and making her overall appearance even more arresting. Lena couldn’t help being a little stunned by it.
Kara took advantage of her momentary inaction, lifting the remaining masque out of Lena’s hands and sliding it onto her face. Her fingers brushed across Lena’s cheekbones, then down to her jaw, and Lena watched as Kara licked her lips, staring at Lena’s mouth, before dropping her hands and stepping back.
“We should go,” Kara said, voice unsteady. Lena nodded, not trusting her own voice as she put on her coat and grabbed her phone.
They hadn’t even made it out the door and she was already regretting saying yes to this plan.
As her driver navigated them out of the city, Lena mulled over the evening to come. She usually attended these events alone, interested mostly in networking with the other business elite in attendance. But bringing a partner - one that was a fresh face, in particular - changed things. They would be asked about participating, separately or together, and Lena wanted Kara prepared for that.
“It’s fine for us to decline any or all requests. Trust me, that’s not unusual. Everyone should be very polite, but if for some reason someone isn’t - if anyone touches you inappropriately or does something that makes you uncomfortable - let me know and I’ll handle it.”
Kara didn’t respond, just stared out the window somewhat aimlessly. Normally Lena would let it go, but this was important.
“Are you listening?”
Kara slowly turned her head towards Lena. “I’m listening. If something makes me more uncomfortable than I already am, I’ll let you know.” Her tone was heavy with sarcasm, any politeness from the apartment having completely evaporated.
Lena responded with a sigh, not caring that Kara could hear it. If this was how the night was going to go-
“Forget it,” Kara commented under her breath.
“No.” She wasn’t going to play this game, of Kara showing enough displeasure to get Lena to call the whole thing off. “If you don’t want to do this, then don’t.”
“Of course I don’t want to do this. Neither do you,” Kara replied hotly. “But it’s the safest way to get the information we need.”
“It’s safe only if we’re believable. This isn’t going to work if you act like you don’t want to be near me.”
Kara looked down, seeming to only just now notice the wide expanse between them. She slid over as close as the seat belt would allow, then laid a hand on Lena’s thigh, tense and motionless.
Taking a deep breath, Lena forced herself not to yell. She knew she was the reason for the tension in the first place. Instead, she waited, letting the animosity in the car cool a bit before opting for a different approach.
“Your article about alien health insurance issues was well done,” she murmured softly.
As expected, Kara swung her heads towards Lena in confusion, clearly not expecting the change in topic, nor the more congenial tone.
“I created a new division at L-Corp for alien pharmacology because of it,” Lena continued. “Hopefully in a year or two it can start producing viable medications for at least some of these refugee races. In the meantime, I made donations to the hospitals you mentioned that were desperate for funding.”
Several expressions flitted across Kara’s face as she tried to figure out how to react. Eventually, a small, controlled smile emerged - still reserved, but a sizable improvement over her previous irritability. “Thank you,” she said, sounding genuinely appreciative.
“Thank yourself. It wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t written that piece.”
Lena asked a few questions about another article she’d written, and with each answer Kara relaxed more. Her intention was purely to settle Kara down, but Lena found herself smiling, enjoying listening to Kara talk, watching her expressions as she related a story.
Kara also relaxed her hand while they spoke, rubbing circles with her thumb along Lena’s thigh. She seemed unaware of what she was doing until her hand shifted higher, when Lena’s heart rate spiked upwards in response.
Glancing down and realizing the cause of it, Kara started to pull away, but Lena covered Kara’s hand with her own, holding it in place. She didn’t want Kara waiting until they walked through the door to get into character. She also just liked Kara touching her again.
As the car pulled up the long driveway to their destination, Lena could feel the nerves start to kick in a little for Kara. She touched at Kara’s jaw, looking her in the eyes. “Remember, we can leave at any time. Don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do. And if you’re unsure or have a question, just ask me.”
Kara nodded and thanked her softly. Lena wanted to say more, wanted to prolong this detente a little longer, but the valet was already reaching for the door, and they had a job to do.
Alex was right. Kara was handling things fine.
That’s not to say that she didn’t have a moment or two when her eyes went overly wide or she hurriedly took a drink, but overall she didn’t look out of place. Which was a little bit of a problem now, because Lena no longer had her concern over Kara to serve as a distraction. She found herself falling into the mood of the atmosphere, getting turned on by the sights and sounds of the party going on around them. And with Kara standing next to her, looking the way she looked…it was a challenge for Lena to remember the reason they were here in the first place.
Whether Kara was similarly affected was hard to know for certain, but unless Kara was a better actor than she’d been given credit for, the answer was a strong yes. She’d been getting progressively more handsy, skimming her fingertips along the edge of Lena’s skirt when they were sitting, sliding her palm lower and lower from where it rested on the small of her back when they were standing.
They both needed a breather, and Lena would have sent Kara for drinks if the host of the party wasn’t currently making her way towards them. Lena gave Kara a quiet heads up before aiming a small, but genuine, smile in Veronica Sinclair’s direction. If pressed, Lena would say they were friends, but only as much as anyone who ran in their circles could be.
“Well, well, well...” Veronica drawled as she came to a slow stop, “look who showed up. And with a guest, too, no less. It’s been a while on both counts, Lena.”
“Yes, well, that’s partially your fault, Veronica. You’ve passed on hosting the last few times and they ended up at Lord’s place instead. You know how his parties are.”
A narcissistic peacock, Maxwell Lord kept his attitude somewhat in check in the business realm, but outside of that, he didn’t care. His parties were much less about his guests’ pleasure and far more about his own.
“True, and I apologize for that, but I’ve been rather busy lately. But then so have you.” Her last sentence was paired with a suggestive smile as she pointedly looked Kara up and down. Unsurprisingly, she took it a step further, slowly circling around Kara as she blatantly ogled her from every angle.
“She’s lovely,” Veronica stated, addressing Lena.
“That she is.” Lena hid a burgeoning smirk, already knowing what game Veronica was playing and how it was going to unfold. She made several more comments about Kara, all of them directed towards Lena. Each time Kara bristled more, until finally she’d had enough.
“I’m right here you know, and I do speak.”
Veronica’s eyes lit up at the slight edge in Kara's voice. It was the exact reaction she’d been prodding and hoping for. Veronica had a few different tastes - all of them involving a partner that would do what she said - but her favorites were the ones that sparred with her first.
“So you do,” Veronica replied, this time speaking to Kara directly. Normally she’d have been slightly shorter than Kara, but Veronica’s heels overmatched Kara’s boots and she used it to her advantage. Kara didn’t back down, and Veronica’s lips curled up into a smile.
“Are you planning on sharing tonight, Lena?”
Veronica licked her lips in anticipation, but Lena shook her head. “It’s her first party. A little too soon to throw her in the deep end, don’t you think?”
“That all depends on who you throw her in with,” Veronica countered, her smile turning into a smirk.
That was true, of course. But Veronica picked up on the implied no in Lena’s response, and while she was aggressively relentless when it came to business, in this setting Veronica always respected boundaries. Lena wasn’t surprised when she conceded a moment later.
“But we wouldn’t want to scare her off, either.” Her eyes drifted towards Kara again. “I’d hate for you not to come back.”
Veronica held Kara’s gaze for a few moments, and when Kara didn’t look away her smile grew. Eventually Lena cleared her throat, prompting Veronica to drag her attention away from Kara and back to her.
“I like her,” Veronica purred. “But if pleasure’s off the table for tonight, we should at least talk business.”
Lena handed Kara her nearly empty glass. “Give me a few minutes?”
Both Lena and Veronica watched as Kara retreated to the bar.
“Please do keep bringing her.” Veronica’s eyes nearly glowed with appreciation. “Even if I can’t touch, it’s worth it just for the view.”
Lena hummed in agreement, then listened as Veronica described a few new ventures of hers. Regardless of the not-quite-legal projects she dabbled in, Veronica had her hands in several legitimate businesses that benefited L-Corp, and Lena was truly interested in whatever proposals she had in mind. Still, she couldn’t help the occasional glance towards Kara, which Veronica noticed.
“Someone’s a little enamored.”
Her eyes flicked back to Veronica. “I’m simply making sure she’s alright.”
“I know. But the way you‘re looking at her, it’s clear she’s more than just a fucktoy. You’ve always had a soft spot, Lena. Stop trying to carve it out and just accept it.”
Lena glared at her. Veronica’s perceptiveness and directness were why she was successful. It was also why she pissed a lot of people off. No one particularly enjoyed having the truth rubbed in their face.
“I can’t. She’s a distraction.”
Veronica’s brows knitted together. “You say that like it’s a bad thing. The whole purpose of these parties is to provide distraction. Everyone needs something or someone to unwind with. Although if I had her, I might give up hosting them.”
“No you wouldn’t,” Lena retorted, shaking her head in obvious disbelief.
Veronica’s lips curved into a smile. “Okay, I wouldn’t,” she admitted. “But they’d no longer be necessary for my sanity.”
That, Lena wouldn’t argue. Veronica surveyed the room, before tipping back the rest of her drink.
“So with that in mind,” she said, “I think it’s time I started partaking in the festivities. Call me next week and I can give you more details on that acquisition after it’s gone through. Have fun with your girl.” Veronica winked and sauntered off, pulling a male and female server by their neckties as she disappeared into the next room over.
Lena turned back towards Kara, only to find her absent from where she’d last seen her. She headed upstairs - having had no luck locating her on the first floor - and found her in a hallway, talking to one of the guests. The conversation wrapped up as she approached, with Lena overhearing ‘Hopefully I’ll see you downstairs’ before the man turned and gave a polite nod as he walked past her.
Once he disappeared down the stairs, Lena cocked her head towards Kara. “What was that about?”
“He wanted to perform oral sex on me.” She answered matter-of-factly, like it wasn’t a big deal. And for a party like this it wasn't. Not by a long shot. But then she cleared her throat and added, “somewhere with an audience” - and that part had Kara shifting on her feet.
“What did you say?” Lena asked, more than a little curious now, because based on the parting sentence she’d overheard when he left, Kara hadn’t given him a clear rejection.
“I told him I was here with you.”
“In this setting, that’s not a ‘no’,” she explained.
“I realize that now.” Kara plucked at her skirt self-consciously. “He asked if you’d enjoy watching,” she added.
“And I didn’t know what to say, so I told him the truth - that I wasn’t sure. So he left the invitation open.”
Lena paused, trying to get a read on Kara’s body language; the way she shifted postures and how she didn’t know what to do with her hands. It could be uncomfortableness, but it could also be uncertainty...which would be quite interesting.
“Do you want to?” Lena asked evenly.
“Do I want to what?”
Lena didn’t reply, waiting instead for her question to register. Once it did, Kara swallowed and glanced towards the stairs. “You mean-”
“Yes. Do you want to?”
A variety of expressions crossed Kara’s face, too fast for Lena to fully interpret. But distaste wasn’t among them.
“Why?” Kara deflected. “Do you want to watch?”
“I asked first, Kara.” She wasn’t about to be deterred that easily.
“Not from him or not in front of an audience?”
It wasn’t both. “Which predominantly, Kara?”
“Not from him.”
“But from me?” Lena asked her questions quickly, wanting Kara’s honest preferences, not ones affected by societal expectations.
“In front of an audience?”
Kara hesitated - long enough that her silence answered for her.
“So, yes, then.”
Kara shook her head, but it was more to dissuade Lena from additional questions than from disagreement. “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it until now. What about you?”
“The only person I want performing oral sex on you is myself.”
“But in front of an audience?”
Lena shrugged. “It doesn’t really matter. I don’t get off on it but it doesn’t make me uncomfortable either. At a party like this, if we’re both turned on and want to have sex, I wouldn’t feel the need to wait until we got home.”
Kara swallowed at that, the wheels turning in her head. Internally, Lena smiled. There was something reassuring about Supergirl having kinks. But despite Lena wanting to continue this talk, she needed the conversation to get back on track.
“Why did you come upstairs?” she asked.
Kara blinked, the sudden topic change taking a second to sink it. “Oh. Right. I finally heard one of the guests talking about the stolen weapons. He came up here with another man. His partner, I’m guessing. The buyer is supposed to be meeting them.”
Lena nodded, relieved to hear that. It was the entire purpose of the mission, after all.
“That’s good news, but you could have listened from downstairs. Alex said we’re just here for information, that you aren’t supposed to engage-”
“I know. And I wasn’t,” Kara clarified. “But I had a hard time hearing them when they came upstairs. There’s some kind of sound dampening in these rooms. Even from here I can only hear about one room over.” Her brow furrowed in thought. “Which, now that I think about, makes me suspicious about why they said anything downstairs at all instead of just waiting until they got up here. This could be a trap.”
“That or they didn’t know. This is Veronica’s house. She put in sound dampening because she has business interests she doesn’t want Supergirl listening in on. It doesn’t mean she told any of her guests about it.”
“Good point,” Kara acknowledged. She took a step down the hall, but Lena grabbed ahold of her upper arm to stop her.
“Hold on a second. What’s the plan?”
“They went into the room at the end of the hall. I’m going to listen in from next door.”
“Not by yourself you won’t.”
Kara stepped out of Lena’s grasp. “Yes, by myself. If this is a trap, it’s too dangerous for you to be in there. And if they somehow manage to incapacitate me, you’ll need to call Alex for backup.”
Lena nearly shook her head in disbelief. Kara was clueless.
“So…I stay back and you do what exactly when you enter that room? Lean against a wall and ignore all the people around you that are fucking?” Lena raised an eyebrow. “Because that won’t look suspicious at all.”
Her bluntness brought Kara up short. “I didn’t know- I thought all of the activities were downstairs.” Kara cleared her throat. “But, that’s fine. I’ll just act like I’m watching.”
“No, you won’t. Performance happens downstairs. People upstairs aren’t watching, Kara, they’re doing.”
Kara glanced down the hall, scrambling for another solution. Up until this point, they’d managed to observe from the sidelines, avoiding any actual participation. “I might be able to hear from a couple of rooms over. Maybe that one’s empty-”
“It’s not. The only private room is the one those men went into. You have two options, Kara. We either go back downstairs without the information, or I go with you into one of those rooms and we blend in.”
Kara blinked. “Blend in?”
It was a question, but not really. Kara knew exactly what Lena meant.
“We might not have to have sex. It depends how long it takes for the buyer to show up. But we can’t stall forever,” she said. “And if it does go that far, do you want to give or receive? Will you be distracted too much if you orgasm?”
Kara didn’t answer. She looked frozen in indecision, which wasn’t like her - if anything, she tended to make decisions too quickly. But apparently this was too much and too fast for her to handle, and Lena couldn’t blame her. It was more than should ever be asked of her.
Taking Kara’s hand, Lena tried to lead her back towards the stairs.
“What are you doing?” Kara planted her feet on the floor and brought Lena to a stop.
“Kara, it’s clear you’re not comfortable with this,” she stated quietly. “And that’s okay. I’m fine with that and I can guarantee your sister will understand. We’ll head back downstairs and keep our eyes and ears open. It’s possible they’ll slip up again and keep talking once they leave the room.” Suggesting they could still succeed was a shot in the dark, but it gave Kara an out.
She ignored it. Kara wasn’t one to run away, regardless if she was uncomfortable.
“No.” She shook her head. “I can do this.”
“You don’t have to,” Lena stressed.
“I know. But I’m fine with it. Really. I just needed a minute to process,” she tried to explain. “But are you going to be okay with this? With us…” Kara gestured at herself and Lena.
“What? Making out? Possibly having sex?”
“I’ll be fine, Kara.”
“Are you sure?” she asked softly.
Lena nearly laughed. The only reason she didn’t was because of the genuine concern in Kara’s voice. Of course, she wasn’t sure. Of course, she didn’t want another taste of what she gave up and have herself question her decision to break up with Kara.
But then again, a voice in the back of her head piped up, maybe that’s exactly what she wanted. Maybe that was why she said yes to this whole thing in the first place.
“I’m sure,” Lena answered, ignoring her conflicting feelings. None of that was up for discussion at the moment.
They turned and began walking down the hall again.
“If at any point in there you change your mind,” she reminded Kara, “just let me know and we’ll leave.”
“That won’t look odd? To just stop like that?”
“No,” Lena reassured her. “It won’t be the first time someone couldn’t handle a situation, especially when they’re new. No one ever makes a fuss about it.”
Kara paused and caught Lena’s gaze. “Thank you for making this situation as comfortable as possible. I’m sorry I’m not-”
“Don’t be sorry, Kara. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a bit freaked out or overwhelmed by this. Everyone’s kinks are different.”
“And usually not on public display.”
Lena nodded her head in agreement as they neared their destination. “But you still need to answer my question from before. Give or receive?”
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Now that she’d decided to go through with this, it wasn’t a hard choice for Kara to make. She knew she’d be too distracted by her own pleasure if she were on the receiving end, but giving could work. She could get caught up in Lena and focus on her pleasure, focus on listening to the room next door, and ignore the other people around them. People she could now hear vividly as they got within a few yards of the room…
She drew to a halt, feeling more than seeing Lena’s questioning eyebrow. Before that expression could morph into words, she turned and pressed Lena into the wall. “I need to warm up a little. Before we go in there,” she whispered.
Lena nodded, wrapping her arms around Kara’s waist. “Just remember, everyone in there is going to be busy with their own thing. You might get a few glances here and there, or maybe someone watching if they happen to be facing you, but for the most part they’ll ignore us. Think about me and not them.”
Kara leaned forward, letting the words sink in as she breathed into Lena’s neck. Lena was right; she had no reason to be nervous. Yet the part of her that spent most of her life trying to fit in, trying to act like everyone else, kept reminding her that this was something average people would get nervous about. Her fingers on Lena’s hip trembled, and she pulled them into fists, trying to make them stop. The feeling of Lena’s hands smoothing up and down her sides helped some, but not enough. Not knowing what else to do, she was about to try and kiss her way out of this agitation, but paused when Lena’s heart rate ticked up.
“Do you remember when you were under the influence of red kryptonite?” Lena asked quietly.
Kara’s brow furrowed, not understanding why Lena was asking her this now. “Yes,” she answered after a moment.
Lena slowly placed her lips next to Kara’s ear, her shallow breath running across sensitive skin and forcing Kara’s focus to narrow to Lena’s next words.
“Be her,” she commanded.
The air left Kara’s lungs as she pulled back sharply. The guilt from that night flooded back, ready to break the surface, but Kara didn’t see any reproach in Lena’s eyes...nor any hint of her bracing for something she didn’t want. All Kara saw was Lena’s gaze darkening further with desire, her teeth biting into her lower lip as she dug her nails into Kara’s hips.
Oh, fuck. Lena really had enjoyed it.
And not just Lena, Kara forced herself to admit.
“That night, you wouldn’t have cared if anyone else was in the room,” Lena said, challenging her to disagree. But Kara couldn’t, because Lena was right. It wouldn’t have mattered. In fact, the thought of others witnessing what Kara could do to Lena - seeing just how much she could make Lena come apart…it obliterated all of her trepidation.
Kara surged forward, claiming Lena’s mouth and enjoying the startled gasp she received in response. She slanted her mouth further, trying to get impossibly closer before lifting Lena up, dimly aware of legs wrapping around her as she stalked down the hall and into the room.
A quick glance told her three people were on the bed, a couple was occupying the loveseat, and several others were on the balcony. Luckily the couch was still free, and as Kara strode forward and dropped Lena onto her back, it felt like they were picking up right where they left off that night on Lena’s couch - when Kara was unbridled and untamed. The only difference was that Alex wouldn’t be putting a halt to things tonight.
She draped herself overtop of Lena, her lips finding Lena’s once more as she settled more comfortably between her legs, trapping one of Lena’s hands against the couch underneath her. Lena wrapped her free arm across Kara’s upper back, her nails digging in when Kara latched her mouth onto Lena’s neck and left several marks across her pale skin. Lena was intoxicating, and that was half the reason Kara froze up when she was confronted with this plan to ‘blend in’. It was also half the reason she said yes. Kara might have the strength, but Lena was the one with the power.
“What’s happening?” Lena asked, a little bit at a loss for breath as she grasped at Kara’s shoulder.
“What do you mean?” Kara was too preoccupied with kneading Lena’s breast and running her tongue along an exposed collarbone. Lena didn’t answer right away, too caught up in Kara’s ministrations.
“Next door?” she finally explained.
Kara quickly listened in, relieved to discover they were still waiting for the buyer. Explaining to her sister how she got distracted was not something she wanted to experience.
“Nothing yet,” she whispered.
“Well then you’re going to want to slow down a little,” Lena gasped out, her back arching and her grip on Kara’s upper arm tightening.
Kara paused and took stock of the situation, realizing that her fingers had been busy unbuttoning Lena’s shirt, and that one of her hands had slipped behind Lena’s back and was now fiddling at the clasp of her bra.
“Right,” Kara breathed out heavily. She left Lena’s bra fastened and moved her hand to the front, skimming her fingers over lace edging as she kissed along Lena’s jaw. She’d touched Lena like this before, so many times and with so much less clothing, but not since Lena had broken up with her. And not in a situation where Lena might feel pressured to go along with what was happening for the sake of a DEO assignment.
“You’re still okay with this?”
“If I do anything that-”
“I’ll let you know.” Lena pulled her in by the back of her neck, languidly licking into Kara’s mouth and sliding her tongue against Kara’s. The slowdown in pace did nothing to curtail Kara’s desire - if anything it fueled it. She wanted Lena undressed and spread out beneath her, so much so that she groaned loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. A moan from the bed echoed hers a moment later.
Lena smiled against Kara’s lips. “Someone else approves.”
Part of her wanted to look around, to see if that really was a reaction to Kara or just coincidental, but mostly she wanted to pull those same sounds out of Lena. Unfortunately, that’s when she heard a handle turning next door, followed by footsteps moving across the hardwood floor.
Lena noticed Kara’s divided attention and seamlessly picked up Kara’s slack, sliding her hand over the back of Kara’s thigh and pulling Kara’s lower body flush against her own. Rolling her hips up, she set a slow rhythm for them to grind against each other while Kara listened to the conversation on the other side of the wall.
It didn’t take long for Kara to let out a huff of annoyance at what she was hearing.
“They’re arguing about price.”
“Did you find out who the buyer is?”
“Yeah. Someone named Keller.”
Lena sighed, but not in a good way. “That guy nickel and dimes everyone. It’s going to be a little while before they sort that out.”
Kara leaned down, kissing along the tops of pale cleavage. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
Moving lower, she laved her tongue over Lena’s breast, leaving a wet trail with every flick and touch until a hard peak was straining against the fabric of Lena’s bra. Repeating her actions on the other side, she listened to Lena’s breaths get shorter and shorter, her own hips grinding down harder in response.
Part of her attention was still on the room next door, but true to Lena’s word, they were still squabbling, with no mention yet of important other information.
Kara brought her lips back to Lena’s mouth, thinking to temper her body’s reaction with safer territory to explore. She knew better, though. No part of Lena was safe. Kissing her was a slow burn, rather than an immediate inferno, but it ended just the same - with Kara wanting to consume and be consumed. As her tongue delved deeper, her hand skimmed up Lena’s thigh, stopping when it hit the hem of her skirt. She toyed with it, running her fingers along the edge.
Lena had asked Kara to be the red kryptonite version of herself tonight - to let go of her inhibitions. So now, instead of pushing aside the bubbling impatience inside of her, she finally gave into it.
“You have too much clothing on,” she growled out.
Lena’s breath caught in her throat at Kara’s words and tone. Taking a breath, she exhaled, “I’m sure you can work around it.”
Kara didn’t question Lena’s answer - apparently neither of them cared about slowing things down now. Instead she just slid her hand underneath Lena and unhooked her bra, then pushed it up and out of the way. Now when Kara swirled her tongue over Lena’s breast, there wasn’t any fabric to dull the sensations.
“Oh, fuck, Kara. Yeah, that-” Lena cut off her own sentence with a sharp inhale, reacting to Kara’s other hand that had just slid underneath her skirt.
She teased Lena, lightly running her fingers across the soft skin of her inner thigh, then along the edge of lace blocking her way. Just as she started to slide her fingers underneath, she heard Keller and the others starting to talk about delivery of the weapons - where and when the exchange would happen. Lena felt Kara’s attention divert, her fingers winding through Kara’s hair and clenching in frustration. Luckily, the discussion wrapped up quickly, and once the men exited the room Kara placed her lips against Lena’s ear.
“I have the information,” she said.
Kara should have stopped speaking after that. She should have got up, offered Lena her hand, and pulled her to her feet. But she didn’t. Instead, she asked, “Do you want to keep going?” And Lena’s eyes were dark with want and a hint of desperation, but her voice was clear when she answered, “Yes.”
She reached up and grabbed Lena’s hand from where it was tangled in her hair, pulling it away and pressing it against the arm of the couch above Lena’s head. Her fingers below continued their previous journey, with Kara leaning down and swallowing Lena’s moan as her fingertips slid over Lena’s clit.
Kara never lost sight of the fact that they were still in a room full of other people - the threesome on the bed being particularly vocal at the moment - and that what she and Lena were doing right now was by no means necessary. They had the information on the weapons. But she wanted Lena, and right now Lena was letting Kara have her, and whether or not this meant anything more than heat-of-the-moment sex Kara didn’t care. It couldn’t make things any worse between them. And right now it meant one more memory Kara could hold onto.
She kept her fingers circling until Lena’s hips started bucking up, asking for more. Kara pulled away from Lena’s mouth, wanting to look at Lena as she slid two fingers into her. The masque covered part of her face, but her eyes were open, and Kara could see the blown out pupils and unfiltered lust front and center. But behind that was something else, something Kara wanted to drown in. And for a moment she did.
But then she started sinking too far, too fast, and no, she would not allow herself to go there again. She would not unlock those feelings and relive the pain and rejection.
She looked away, leaned down and licked a stripe up Lena’s throat, and concentrated on fucking Lena until she screamed. She bit and kissed and tongued every part of Lena’s body she could reach, until two fingers became three, until Lena’s voice got breathier, her sighs louder, and she was coming with a strangled cry of release.
While Lena came down from her peak, Kara steadily ground against Lena’s thigh. The whole time she’d been building Lena up, Kara’s own desire had been steadily climbing - low thrums had turned into sharp pulls, and Lena’s climax had pushed Kara right to the edge.
Lena strained against the hold Kara still had on her wrist. “Let me help,” she murmured.
Kara let her. Once her hand was free, Lena moved it down to rub at Kara’s clit. It didn’t take long - just a few swipes as Kara rolled her hips forward - and then she was coming, too.
She collapsed forward onto Lena, letting the white noise wash through her, breathing heavily and savoring the stillness. Eventually the sounds of the room intruded on her awareness, and Kara turned her head, watching the people around her with a curious detachment. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves, but they were less interesting to her than the feel of Lena’s fingers combing through her hair.
“We should go,” Lena said eventually. “Your sister will probably be getting worried.”
“Alex is always worried,” she grumbled.
Kara sighed. “Yeah, I know. I just don’t want to move.”
“Not even for food?”
Kara gave a half-hearted smile at that - not that Lena could see it. Lena’s words and tone suggested they weren’t going to talk about what just happened, which wasn’t surprising. But Lena wasn’t pushing her away either, so Kara could play along.
“Maybe for food. But I don’t feel like mingling downstairs for it, either.”
“We can get something on the way home,” Lena suggested. “Maybe that late night taco place?”
Kara got up and off of Lena, watching as she sat up and gracefully refastened her bra. After she rose to her feet, Kara stepped in close, bringing both sides of Lena’s blouse together to begin buttoning it for her. Glancing up, she observed Lena watching her actions, her eyes unfocused. Rather than ask Lena what she was thinking about, Kara remained silent, content to enjoy the close proximity.
When she was more than halfway finished, Kara stopped, leaving the top few undone as Lena originally had. But before she stepped back Kara ran her fingers up the vee of bare skin, skimming the pads of her fingers across the reddened marks littered across Lena’s chest.
“No, you’re not.” Not exactly a tease, but not accusing either.
Kara shrugged, not really having a defense against her obvious display of possessiveness. Lena lifted her chin towards the door. “Shall we?”
They didn’t talk much in the car, what with the drive being short and Kara needing to update her sister on the mission’s results. As the car slowed and pulled up to their destination, Lena caught her off guard by suggesting they eat inside. Kara had fully expected her to send her driver in to get something to go, but now that she thought about it, Lena probably wanted the neutral territory of a diner versus eating at either of their apartments. They slipped their coats back on in the car, and when they walked in it was to a fairly bustling atmosphere. Then again there weren’t that many places open this late, especially not ones with halfway decent food.
Kara slouched slightly in the booth, playing with a napkin as Lena placed her order. A few stray crayons behind the condiments caught her eye, and she flipped over her paper menu, setting to work on drawing something. She started with a lake and some trees, not really caring what she was drawing or how well it turned out, just wanting the distraction. Belatedly, she realized Lena had wrapped up with the waitress a little while ago and was watching Kara’s progress. She added a few more strokes before spinning it around and sliding it towards Lena, holding out a crayon to her.
“I can’t draw,” she said flatly.
Kara smiled. “So?”
“So I don’t want to mess it up.”
“It’s a quick sketch on a paper menu, Lena. Not exactly fine art.”
Lena still hesitated, until Kara added a soft, “Please.”
Reluctantly she accepted the crayon, eyeing up the composition before sketching a few more trees on the other side of the paper.
“Do you draw a lot?” Lena asked, not looking up as she colored in a few branches.
“No. I used to, when I was younger. I don’t really have much in the way of free time anymore. Although, Eliza would say art doesn’t have a time requirement. That even a few minutes here and there,” Kara gestured towards their shared drawing, “is better than nothing.”
Lena hummed in agreement, likely to the usefulness of small amounts of time in general, rather than art specifically. But it got the wheels in Kara’s mind turning, and as she tapped her fingers on the table her thoughts drifted to the art supply store she passed every day on her way to work.
“Maybe I’ll pick up some supplies,” she said, putting voice to her thoughts. “A sketchbook and colored pencils. Maybe some charcoal. Something. At this point I doubt I even have crayons at home.”
Lena pursed her lips. “I don’t think I’ve ever owned crayons. Too lowbrow for my mother.”
“Seriously. I think my first and only experience was with oil paints. But I made the mistake of getting some on the white carpet in my playroom and they were gone the next day.”
Kara shook her head. “Of course your mother would put white carpet in a kid’s playroom,” she mumbled. Only Lillian would set a child up for failure so blatantly. “When was the last time you did something creative?”
Lena pointed at the drawing she was currently working on.
“Working in the lab last week.”
Kara’s mouth turned down.
“I can feel that frown from here, Kara. Science is creative, I’ll have you know.”
“Okay, yes, but you know what I mean.”
“I do know what you mean,” Lena sighed. “And I enjoy music and art. I try to go to galleries and concerts when I can. But I’ve never really tried creating it on my own.”
Lena set her crayon aside, looking down at the picture with a critical expression. Kara wanted to ask what she was thinking, but the waitress showed up with their food and Lena pushed the picture out of the way before Kara could get the question out. As the plates were laid in front of them, Kara surreptitiously snagged it, folding and shoving it down into her coat pocket.
They ate in silence at first, Kara desperately needing the calories since the last food she’d consumed was breakfast and she’d been too nervous to eat anything before the party. But the lack of talking dragged on a little too long, and then she didn’t know what to say to Lena. She didn’t want to break this bubble they were in, and asking questions about it - about what they did at the party, about their companionable interaction since then - would do just that. She was stuck feeling confused and uncertain, waiting on Lena to bring it up, which she showed no interest in doing. So Kara focused on her food instead, making herself content by sneaking glances at Lena every so often.
As she finished off the last bite of her burrito, she realized she should have paid more attention when they placed their orders. She’d just gone along with whatever Lena had suggested, and now her plate was empty and she was still hungry. Her gaze drifted to the unfinished taco on Lena’s plate, and Kara couldn’t help blushing when Lena wordlessly slid her plate over to her.
“Thank you.” Lena just nodded, dropping some cash on the table once Kara polished off the last bits. As they stood to leave, she had to resist the urge to hold Lena’s hand, making do with holding the door open for her as they exited.
The drive to Kara’s apartment wasn’t long, and the lack of conversation persisted. But it was more of a pleasant silence, with Kara staring out the window, enjoying the light rain that had started falling on the darkened streets. It didn’t rain often - which was probably good because flying through it was difficult - yet it was her favorite type of weather. Especially at night, when the temperature was mild and you could just walk in it, and be in it, and…and you could just exist.
Kara’s eyes refocused when she realized they were pulling up to her building. As soon as the car slowed to a stop she opened the door and took a few steps onto the pavement, wanting some space between her and Lena when she said goodbye. They’d just had public sex a few hours earlier and Kara didn’t know whether that warranted a kiss goodnight or not; she’d rather avoid the awkwardness. But when she turned around Lena was right behind her, holding Kara’s forgotten clutch out to her.
Her fingers brushed Lena’s as she accepted it, her senses lighting up at the skin-to-skin contact. A spike in Lena’s heart rate confirmed it affected her, too, so when Lena licked her lips and glanced down at Kara’s mouth, Kara didn’t ignore the subtle invitation.
Stepping into Lena’s space, she wrapped her fingers around the back of Lena’s neck and pulled her into a kiss, slow and heated. And with her eyes closed and the rain falling upon them, Kara sank into the sensations.
Eventually she pulled away, needing to stop before she started asking for more.
“Goodnight, Lena,” she whispered hoarsely. Lena’s fingers tightened on Kara’s waist for a moment before letting go.
Kara stepped backwards and held Lena’s gaze, seeing within it so much uncertainty and desire and sadness...none of which she could do anything about. It was Lena who pushed her out of her life. It was Lena who would have to pull her back in.
Taking a breath, trying to instill a confidence she didn’t yet feel, Kara turned towards her building and didn’t look back.
Lena’s phone buzzed. Once again, her first thought was of Kara.
It had been four days now and Kara still hadn’t reached out - which was both surprising and not. She’d figured Kara would want to know if the party had changed where things stood between them, and not knowing the answer was probably why Kara had stayed silent. Lena herself didn’t know, which was why she hadn’t texted Kara either.
Picking up her phone, she saw that it was Winn, looking to see if she was available for lunch. Shockingly she was, with her 1pm having cancelled last minute. They picked a place not far from L-Corp, and fifteen minutes later she was walking into a cafe, searching for Winn’s smiling face.
“Lena! Hey!” Winn stood and made to hug her, the gesture surprising her so much that she simply accepted it before taking a seat.
A brief exchange of pleasantries led to a tangential discussion on the merits of locally owned businesses, until a pause gave Lena the chance to ask Winn why he wanted to meet up. More specifically, what project he wanted to talk about.
“Oh, there wasn’t anything in particular. I was just in the neighborhood and thought we could hang out.” He gave her a big grin, which Lena struggled to return as she sat there momentarily baffled.
Her perplexed expression must have set Winn on edge, because he hurriedly tried to backtrack. “I mean, if that’s okay. Were you thinking this was, like, a ‘work’ meeting. Did I take you away from L-Corp business to be here? I’m sorry, I thought-”
“Winn, it’s fine,” she interrupted. “I needed to eat either way. You weren’t taking me away from anything.”
Winn didn’t know her well enough to know that she barely ate lunch, and if she did it was in her office. The only exception was her lunches with Kara.
“Oh, good,” he said, visibly relaxing.
When Winn turned his attention to the menu, she mimicked him, even though she already knew what she was ordering. The pretense gave her time to think about their brief interaction thus far. It hadn’t occurred to her that Winn thought of her as a friend. Hanging out for no other reason than to see someone’s face and hear their voice - that was something friends did. It made her wonder if Alex thought of her as a friend as well.
Her musings were interrupted when their server arrived to take their orders, after which Winn launched into a story about a mishap at the DEO.
“So she shows up, and the park is completely not under attack. Kids are running around playing, birds are chirping and all that. And Kara is upset because it’s, like, her first day off in a month. So she stalks around the park, determined to find someone to help so it’s not a waste, and eventually she finds a kid whose kite isn’t working because there’s not enough wind. So Kara stands there and blows a breeze up into the sky so his kite would fly, and she keeps on doing that for nearly a half an hour until she got so light headed she almost passed out. And here’s the kicker...” Winn grabbed at his phone, quickly searching for something. “Somebody caught a picture of it and it turned into a meme that went rampant for a while.”
He turned his phone towards her, scrolling through the same picture with different tag lines: “When your day just blows...”, “To air is human”, “And now, for current events”. Each successive one pushed Lena closer to laughter, until she finally gave into the urge.
“I wish all of her emergencies turned out so benign,” she commented casually as he put his phone away.
“Yeah, me too.”
The smile on Lena’s face slipped as her statement registered a little more fully, her thoughts drifting towards the more typical emergencies Kara regularly faced.
“She puts herself in too much danger. The DEO needs to do a better job looking out for her.”
“We try. But-”
“No ‘buts’,” she interjected, not wanting excuses. “She’s almost died twice now, Winn. And that’s just since I’ve known her.”
“OK, however,” he lifted his hands defensively, “it was only those two times. And yeah, I know, that’s two times too many, but it’s not like she almost dies on a regular basis. Unlike you, I might add.”
Lena narrowed her eyes at him, but before she had a chance to reply he rushed on.
“I mean, yes, she comes out the worse for wear more often than any of us would like. But it’s never anything as bad or life-threatening like the two times you saw her. Between your time in Metropolis and then here in National City, you’ve definitely had more close calls than Kara has.”
Winn took a giant bite of his burger, and Lena sat back in her seat, taking in this new information. Assuming what he was saying about Kara was accurate - and she had no reason to think otherwise - Winn was right. There had been three separate occasions where she’d almost died. Possibly four. The first one was written off as an accident, but in hindsight likely wasn’t.
Drawing attention to the subject made Lena realize how much more affected she was by Kara’s near deaths than her own. In Metropolis she’d lost just a single day of work due to her attacker being at large, and here she’d never missed a beat. Not once has she wasted any time being upset or distracted because of it.
And then another thought struck her - how Kara had reacted to Lena’s near misses. The first attack in National City had happened a month into them knowing each other. Kara had shown up at Lena’s apartment that evening, barely saying a word. That she’d shown up wasn’t surprising, but the intensity of Kara’s gaze as Lena approached the glass - that had caught her off guard. Kara’s eyes never left hers as she opened the door, and once inside Kara pulled her into a fierce hug.
“I’m really glad you’re safe,” she’d whispered, exhaling shakily, before pulling her down to the couch and spending the next several hours next to her, being even more tactile than usual. But the next day things were back to normal, and the second assassination attempt followed a similar pattern. The only change was asking Lena to upgrade her security, and offering some DEO tech to assist in the matter. Kara didn’t suffer the same paralysis or concern of overattachment that Lena did.
Winn cleared his throat, politely bringing attention to the fact that she’d been lost in her thoughts for too long.
“What about you or Alex?” she asked, restarting the conversation before he inquired as to what she’d been thinking about. “Any close calls to speak of?”
Winn laughed. “Oh, wow, yes. Alex more than myself, but yeah.”
He regaled her with several tales of them escaping death in the nick of time, usually with Supergirl coming to their aid in the end. It was actually quite entertaining - Winn had a natural gift for storytelling - but after his latest anecdote she wanted to ask him a question more serious in nature. Specifically, how he coped with people he cared about nearly getting killed. But of course, that’s when they were interrupted by Winn’s phone ringing and the DEO urgently needing his help.
“I’ve got to go,” he apologized, tossing some money on the table. She didn’t even have a chance to tell him not to worry about the bill before he was running out the door.
And she still wanted an answer to her question. She considered following up with Winn later, then realized there was a better person to talk to. One who’d been dealing with this for a much longer period of time.
Picking up her phone, she texted Alex.
L: “Are you free for coffee this week?”
A: “I can be. Why?”
L: “I wanted to talk to you about Kara. Sort of. More so about you.”
She gathered her things while waiting for a reply, a smile forming when she read what came through.
A: “Only if it’s lunch at that ridiculously expensive new Italian place. If you expect me to talk about myself it’s going to cost you.”
* * *
Lena had come to realize there were two kinds of people that were perennially late - ones that couldn’t follow a schedule if their life depended on it, and ones that were swamped with responsibilities which didn’t follow a time table.
Alex definitely fell into the latter category. She hurriedly apologized, taking a seat with a sigh.
“No need,” Lena reassured her. “But if you’re too busy and need to be somewhere-”
“No. I’m wanted, but not needed. What I need right now is a good recommendation off this menu, because I don’t think I can handle another decision at the moment.”
Lena sympathized with Alex’s frustration and mood. There was an endless amount of decisions to be made at L-Corp, and occasionally she needed a breather as well. She’d already ordered a few different appetizers when Alex texted she’d be late, so that left only a main dish to pick out. She suggested the lasagna - a choice she could personally vouch for. Alex readily agreed, then leaned back in her chair as she eyed Lena.
“So, what did you want to talk about?”
Lena shifted in her seat. Like Alex, she wasn’t particularly fond of talking about herself. And while her questions would be directed outward, there was no doubt they related to Lena personally.
“How do you handle the perils of your job? Of seeing people you care about nearly dying on a regular basis?”
Alex smiled wryly as she picked up a piece of freshly arrived bruschetta. “I compartmentalize. A lot.”
“And that works?”
“Most of the time,” she said, answering between bites of food. “Sorry, but I haven’t eaten all day and this is really good.”
“What about with your sister?”
“It depends. For it to work I need to think of Supergirl as Supergirl. Not as Kara. Not as my sister. But that stops working when the emergency is over and she’s lying in a medical gown under an array of sunlamps. There’s no symbol on her chest, no larger than life persona anymore. It’s just my sister lying there and that’s when it hits me hard. That’s when I try not to cry and I just hold onto her as tight as I can.”
Lena nodded. That was useful, to an extent. But she needed more and Alex sensed that.
“I deal with it, with the risk she puts herself in, because I have to. This city, this world, needs her too much for me to lock her away somewhere safe. Even though that’s exactly what I want to do, and what I tried to do at first.” Alex’s eyes turned guilty. “I tried deterring her from becoming Supergirl, because I knew exactly how much danger she would be putting herself in. Physically and emotionally. But I can’t be that selfish again. Nor hypocritical. Because I do the same thing, risking my life on a regular basis, just on a less grand scale. So does Winn. So do you. It’s what we do.”
Lena swallowed, taking a breath before putting voice to the root of her fear. “And if you lose her? How do you survive that?”
Alex paused. Just the thought of it caused her to shake her head in denial before trying to come to hypothetical terms with it.
“I’d probably lose myself for a while. I’d scream and cry until I was able to face the fact that I was going to have an emptiness in my heart that would last forever. Meanwhile, the rest of the world would keep spinning around me, and I’d rail against it, but eventually I’d get pulled back in. I’d move on. Not from her, she’d always be there, always be an aching part of me, but I’d move on with my life.” Alex looked at her, held her gaze. “So would you, Lena.”
Her answer was both comforting and terrifying.
Alex’s eyes softened. “What you’re doing with Kara - distancing yourself from her, trying to cut yourself off from the pain - she tried something similar with me. Back when we were in college.” Alex’s fingertips began to run restlessly along the embroidered tablecloth, her gaze dropping from Lena’s. “I had graduated a year earlier - recruited directly into the DEO - so my time with her had diminished significantly. It went from seeing each other every day at school, to a here and there text or phone call. It was gradual, though. I didn’t really notice it happening.” She frowned. “I should have, though. I also should have noticed that I was Kara’s only real friend in college. And that she mostly hung out with me and my friends...and we’d all graduated.”
With Kara’s warm and friendly personality, Lena found that hard to believe and said as much.
“She had plenty of acquaintances,” Alex clarified. “People that were happy to see her at parties. But no one she could really talk to. It was vehemently instilled in her not to tell anyone she was an alien, which left her unable to share much of her life - her early childhood, her powers. On top of that, Kara was always worried she’d do something that would reveal herself as not ‘normal.’ So she ended up without any close friends besides me. And then I basically left her.”
Alex cleared her throat, trying to keep her emotions in check.
“She didn’t have any friends to talk to, she didn’t drink or do drugs because those didn’t affect her…she was stuck feeling alone and in pain, feeling like she’d lost yet another person on top of everyone else torn away from her. So she cut herself off, holding back emotionally now on top of physically. And by the time I realized it, it was too late.”
“How long was she like that?”
“Until she rescued me on the plane and came out as Supergirl.”
Lena’s eyes widened in surprise. “She was like that for over three years?”
Alex’s voice was tight with anger, all of it aimed inwards, and Lena didn’t know what to say. She’d received too little comfort in her life to try and provide it for someone else. Instead, she just tried to fill the silence. “It’s hard for me to imagine Kara as anything but the way she is now - caring too much about everyone.”
“I know. But with her it’s all or nothing.” Alex took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, forcing out the emotions associated with those memories. When she picked up the thread of conversation again, it was with a more neutral tenor.
“She talked to me about it - months later - when we’d become close again. She told me that distancing herself like that…it didn’t work. That after saving me, she finally realized that whether you care or not, people live and die. Planets live and die. And that although she was functional and seemed okay, she wasn’t happy. Hadn’t been for a while.” Alex turned a pointed stare towards Lena. “She decided, afterwards, that she’d rather take the pain with the happiness. That it was better than the emptiness.”
Lena broke eye contact, and for once, Alex didn’t push the situation. Instead, she picked up her fork and stabbed at one of the stuffed mushrooms.
They ended up talking about more mundane things for the rest of the meal. Alex raved over the lasagna, while Lena mentioned some items she’d recommend on a future visit - to which Alex replied she’d try everything on the menu so long as Lena was paying for it. Lena readily agreed, but took an extra moment to make sure Alex knew she was serious. Alex had looked at her, smiling sincerely as she said, “I’m holding you to that.” It was a nice moment, a confirmation of her earlier conjecture that perhaps Alex was a friend.
As she took care of the check, she felt Alex’s eyes on her.
“You two are a lot alike, you know.”
Lena’s hand hesitated mid-signature. Only for a fraction of a second, but Alex saw it and knew she’d caught her attention.
“On the surface, no. Your default personalities are strikingly different. But you share the same burden of responsibility. You both fight fiercely for what you believe in. And you both need and fear love.”
Alex paused, waiting for Lena to make eye contact before continuing. Once she did, the intensity of it was almost too much to bear.
“Don’t run away from this, Lena. From her. I get that you’re trying to protect yourself, and your life experiences thus far warrant that. But you both deserve more. I can give her love, but you can give her something else. A place where you both feel safe, and understood, and at peace with all the different parts of who you are.”
Lena nodded, more on reflex than anything else. But the words stuck.
Alex gave her a short but meaningful embrace as she departed, then Lena slid back into her seat and picked up her phone, sending a message before she could think too hard and change her mind.
L: Can we talk?
She kept her phone in her hands - part of her already wishing she hadn’t sent the text - while at the same time trying to figure out if she wanted a positive response or not. She received a reply before she had the chance to decide either way.
Kara leaned against the elevator wall and watched the numbers slowly tick upwards. Normally she just landed on the balcony of Lena’s apartment, but with a beautiful sunset tonight the chances were higher someone would notice her arrival. If that happened too often, people might connect the dots between Lena’s friendships with Kara and Supergirl, and, contrary to what Alex thought, Kara actually was mindful of protecting her identity.
She adjusted her glasses yet again, then smoothed her hands down her slacks as she exited the elevator. Yes, she was feeling self-conscious. Yes, she might have taken extra time this morning getting ready for work, knowing she was meeting with Lena afterwards.
As she approached Lena’s door, her uncertainty over this conversation turned into nervousness. With the way things had left off the other night, Lena might be reconsidering her decision to end things between them. Maybe she wanted to get back together. Or maybe she wanted to say nothing had changed. Kara had no idea which way it would go, which was why she’d avoided thinking about it up until now...yet she wasn’t going to find out by standing outside Lena’s door all night. She knocked, trying to keep both her expression and her emotions as neutral as possible, because she really didn’t want to get her hopes up.
But then Lena was opening the door, offering her a smile…and Kara got her hopes up.
There was the awkward exchange of hellos before she looked around, not knowing where to rest her gaze other than not on Lena. It landed on the boxes of food on the coffee table, likely dropped off by the delivery guy she’d passed a few minutes ago downstairs.
“You said you were coming by right after work,” Lena explained. “I figured you wouldn’t have stopped to eat yet.”
“Yeah, I didn’t have time. Thank you.”
Lena gestured towards the living room and Kara didn’t hesitate. She quickly took a seat on the couch, partly because she was extremely hungry, but also because it gave her something to do - something other than stand around and awkwardly wait for Lena to start talking about whatever it was they were going to talk about.
While Kara opened the take-out containers, Lena sat down on the couch, further away than usual. “You normally don’t get out this early,” Kara commented, needing to talk and preferring to open the conversation with something benign.
Lena’s posture loosened a fraction at the soft opening. “No, I don’t. Things are finally starting to settle down. It took longer than I hoped for Lex’s supporters to stop fighting me, but they’re finally realizing their spitefulness is hurting their own interests too much.”
“Realizing because you’re making them realize it,” Kara pointed out.
“Of course,” Lena acknowledged, letting slip a small smile of satisfaction.
They talked while they ate, both of them falling into the pretense that this was a normal dinner together. At one point she had Lena laughing about a mishap with her cape getting caught in a revolving door, and Kara let herself forget for a while why she was there, indulging in long stares and not caring that Lena noticed.
It came to an end after she’d finished about half of the food on the table. She could have eaten more, and it would have served to prolong the delay, but if their conversation went poorly she didn’t want to feel sick on a full stomach. She finished off the last dumpling on her plate, then set down her utensils - doing so with a little too much precision to come across as casual. Lena noticed, sitting up straighter as Kara sat back from the coffee table and angled her body towards her.
“So?” Kara asked, trying to sound calm, trying to ignore the sudden mood change that question would - and did - cause.
“So...” Lena looked down and smoothed her hands down her skirt. “The other night…”
Kara swallowed, bracing herself as Lena gathered her thoughts.
“I enjoyed being with you again. Talking to you. Touching you.” Lena looked up and met Kara’s gaze. “I missed it. I missed you.”
“Me, too,” Kara whispered.
Lena fell silent, her eyes wandering over Kara’s face.
And then, for the first time in a long while, Kara wanted to run away. She knew what Lena was about to say - could see the bittersweetness and melancholy in Lena beginning to surface - and didn’t want to hear it.
Lena took a breath, and Kara closed her eyes.
“But I ended things between us for a reason.”
Teeth clenched, Kara chastised herself internally. She should have known better.
“For a while, getting distracted by me was a good thing,” she argued, looking back up at Lena.
“Yes. When I controlled it,” Lena countered. “When I wanted to be distracted. But somewhere along the line I lost control of it. I started to need you. And I didn’t notice until I almost lost you.” Lena exhaled, her eyes focused elsewhere. “Lillian taunted me with a love she refused to give. Lex gave it and then pulled it away. With you, Kara...my heart is so scarred already. I don’t know if I can handle any more. I want to, but I don’t think I can.”
Kara didn’t say anything for several long moments. Her anger was too overpowering.
She wasn’t angry at Lena. No, her fury was directed solely at Lena’s family, for hurting Lena, for causing her so much pain that the wounds never healed. She suddenly wished Lillian and Lex were here, so that she could drag them high into the atmosphere, to have them choke from a lack of oxygen, and experience a physical pain to match Lena’s emotional one.
But while her emotions raged, her mind processed, and after a few seconds it pushed two important pieces of information to the front of Kara’s focus. One: Lena didn’t say she couldn’t, she said she didn’t think she could. And two: that she wanted to.
Kara forced her anger down, needing to understand what that might imply.
Maybe Lena wasn’t pushing her away again. Maybe she was hoping for a resolution just as much as Kara, but wasn’t able to find one.
She reviewed Lena’s words, both what was said and what wasn’t, until she began to understand that Lena’s pain went deeper than Lillian and Lex. A fear had taken root before they were even in the picture, with Lena’s first mother. The one person Lena was sure had loved her, had died when Lena was just four years old. Kara’s brushes with death had reminded her of that pain, and Lena had ran from it. But there was one thing Lena didn’t understand.
“Death wouldn’t stop my love for you.”
Lena’s gaze snapped towards her. The intensity of it, so lost and desperate, made Kara want to pull Lena into her arms, but words mattered more right now.
“Lillian made you chase a love she would never give. Your brother tore his away when you wouldn’t follow him into madness. It’s horrible what they did to you, but me dying is not the same thing. You would never lose my love, Lena. I wouldn’t be around to show it in any tangible way, but I would always love you.” Kara swallowed, then whispered, “That’s true for both me, and your mother.”
Lena let out a shuddery exhale, and Kara cautiously edged closer, keeping ahold of Lena’s gaze.
“You deserve so much love, Lena. And you don’t get nearly enough of it. The thought of not being around to give that to you - it makes me panic, let alone how you must feel at the idea of it. You didn’t want to just sit there, feeling needy and out of control, and wait for the other shoe to drop. So I get why you broke up with me.” Kara felt her eyes go glassy, tears forming and wanting to escape. But not yet. Not yet. She had more she needed to say.
“You don’t worry about a lack of control when it comes to anything else in your life. When a deal falls through or a product fails, you get upset but move on, knowing you’ll find another way. But when it comes to love, you don’t have other avenues. No family or close friendships. You need more people to love and that love you back, Lena. And I know that’s hard, especially for you. But if you open up and find those other people…it’ll hurt less if you lose one.”
No sooner had Kara finished speaking than Lena was shaking her head, her hands curling into tight fists on her thighs. When she spoke, her voice was high and shaky.
“It didn’t work for you, Kara. You had that and lost all of it. Your entire planet. Your entire everything. There’s no guarantee against pain.”
Kara flinched, but refused to look away. “You’re right,” she said softly. “I had to start over. And it was incredibly hard, with a lot of setbacks along the way. But it’s better than the alternative, Lena. It’s better to love, and to find ways to deal with the pain that comes with it, than to give up before you’ve truly tasted it.”
Lena stared at the far wall, and Kara slid to her knees in front of her, putting herself in Lena’s line of sight. She could feel Lena wavering, could see it in the way she held her jaw tight and how her fingers twitched in her lap.
“Please, just give us a chance, Lena,” she begged.
Tears started streaming down Lena’s cheeks, and Kara gently placed her hands behind Lena’s neck, asking without words for her not to turn away.
“I’m not that strong, Kara,” she choked out.
“You don’t have to be.” She let go of Lena, then unbuttoned her own shirt to reveal the suit underneath. Bringing one of Lena’s hands to the crest, she breathed out, “El mayarah.” She knew Lena knew the translation. Stronger together.
Lena’s fingers trembled as they traced along the edges of the symbol, and Kara held her breath, waiting for Lena to decide.
Please, Kara pleaded silently. Just...please.
She focused on Lena’s heartbeat, her breathing, her fingers touching along Kara’s chest. On anything but the possibility that Lena might say no and reject her again.
Finally, Lena’s fingers stopped moving. She paused, then looked up into Kara’s waiting eyes.
Kara stared at Lena, not breathing yet. Not believing yet. “Okay?” she asked, desperately needing the confirmation.
“Okay,” Lena said again, a little louder this time.
Sitting up on her knees, Kara swayed forward and rested her forehead against Lena’s. She took a stuttered breath, then exhaled raggedly as she allowed the emotions she’d kept restrained to wash through her. Her body, though, was slow to process Lena’s words. Even after several more breaths she still felt unsteady, so when Lena sought out Kara’s lips to offer comfort and reassurance, Kara gratefully accepted. She sank into the softness of Lena’s lips, gripped at Lena’s shoulders to ground herself, and let Lena’s presence consume her.
After her own anxiety and nerves calmed down, she was able to focus outward again, and could feel the persistent trembling in Lena’s body and her equal need to be reassured. Kara reached up and fluttered her fingers over Lena’s face, settling them on her cheeks and jaw as she stopped accepting comfort and started giving it. She poured her heart into kissing Lena, doing everything she could to convince her that she was making the right decision.
Lena pulled back first, needing air, and once her heart rate slowed Kara crawled up onto the couch and tugged Lena to lay alongside her.
Limbs intertwined, Kara stared into Lena’s eyes. Her fingertips ran along Lena’s jaw, while Lena’s hand drifted down Kara’s side. Neither said a word as they maintained eye contact, and this time when Kara got lost in Lena, she reveled in it.
The silence was comfortable and beautiful, yet Kara was so tempted to break it. She wanted to say out loud how she felt about Lena, to say I love you as she stared into glossy green eyes, and to see those eyes widen in instinctive denial before she repeated it, again and again, until Lena started to believe.
But she held back. She didn’t want to scare Lena off, or risk pushing her over the edge with emotional strain. Kara had received more than she could have hoped for tonight, and the last thing she wanted was to get greedy. So instead, she remained silent - softly looking and touching and holding - until the weight of the evening caught up to them, and they both slipped off into unconsciousness.
Normally, it didn’t take long for Lena to get past the disorientation of waking up. She’d blink her eyes open, stare at the light coming through her bedroom window for a few seconds, then slide out of bed. This morning it took longer. The early rays of dawn were streaking through her living room window, and her thoughts were muddied with confusion as to why she was on the couch. It wasn’t until she noticed the arm wrapped around her middle that she was able to break through the fog.
She turned slowly, doing her best not to disturb Kara.
They’d both fallen asleep in their clothes. Kara’s shirt was open, her Supergirl suit peeking out underneath, and she must have awoken at some point because her glasses were off and her hair was loose and tangled around her face.
Lena couldn’t help but stare, her gaze traveling over every sleep-slackened feature. It was almost too much, seeing her like this - simultaneously both Kara and Supergirl, her skin practically glowing from the sun alighting upon her.
Kara shifted, opening her eyes a fraction to drawl a sleepy hello at Lena.
“Good morning,” Lena replied quietly. She reached up and tucked a lock of golden hair away, pulling a slow smile from Kara.
“Mmm. It is a good morning,” Kara murmured. “You’re here.”
Lena shook her head. Kara’s words were sappy and sentimental, but they were also sweet and genuine, and Lena couldn’t believe she’d let herself fall in love with such an unabashed romantic.
It was a second later when that thought fully sank in, and her whole body tensed. She’d let herself fall in love.
How the hell was she going to navigate this?
The first images that jumped to mind were her father’s joke of a marriage to Lillian, and Lex’s string of failed relationships. None of that was love, but it was all that Lena knew.
“Hey,” Kara whispered softly. “You okay?”
She wasn’t, but she answered ‘yes’ anyways - automatically and unconvincingly - before her eyes focused on Kara and the symbol on her chest. That’s when she remembered she wouldn’t have to do this alone. Kara was willing to help her figure this out.
“Are you sure?” Kara asked, her expression leaning towards nervousness. “Are you regretting the things we said last night?”
“No regrets, Kara,” Lena assured her. “It’s just…this is scary for me. It’s going to take some adjustment.”
“I know.” Kara’s eyes searched hers. “Do you want me here right now? Or would you rather be by yourself? I don’t want this to be too much.”
Lena pressed closer and touched her lips to Kara’s. “Here,” she answered softly. “I want you here.” Then she kissed Kara properly, attempting to convey the part she wasn’t ready to say out loud yet: That she’d always want Kara here.
Even though the exchange was more emotional than physical, it didn’t stop either of their bodies from waking up and wanting more. Lena indulged in it as long as she could, but when Kara’s hand slid underneath her shirt, she reluctantly had to pull away.
“As much as I’d like to continue this, I need to go get ready for work.”
Kara’s face fell forward as she let out a groan. “Crap, I forgot today was a weekday.”
Lena laughed as she got to her feet. “Well, I didn’t. And I have a meeting I can’t miss, so I have to get up now if I want time for breakfast with you.”
The mention of having breakfast together perked Kara up, but the elation was short-lived.
“I can’t,” she grumbled. “I have a meeting, too, and I can’t really wear the same clothes I wore yesterday. I mean I can, but, yeah. Not really wanting to deal with judgy coworkers today.”
Lena bit her lip in indecision. She’d had enough of her vulnerabilities exposed in the past twenty-four hours to last several lifetimes, and she really didn’t want to add one more to the total. Yet at the same time, it’s not like Kara wouldn’t find out eventually.
“You don’t have to go home first,” she confessed. “I never emptied your drawer.”
Kara’s frown fell away, replaced by a furrowed look of surprise. She must have assumed Lena had just tossed everything out by now.
“I kept meaning to box everything up and send it back but…I didn’t.” A flush of embarrassment crept up her neck, but Kara quickly stood and cupped Lena’s face in her hands.
“Hey, don’t-” Kara started, kissing her gently to get her full attention. “That’s not a bad thing.”
“To you, it’s not. To me, it’s weakness.” Lena touched her hand to Kara’s chest, cutting her off before she had the chance to argue. “But I’m trying to be okay with that.”
She didn’t need to say anything further. Kara knew how difficult this was for her, and leaned forward and kissed Lena in acknowledgement of that fact - with enough intensity that Lena started to reconsider just how important her meeting this morning really was. The matter was never brought up for debate, however, as they were interrupted by Kara’s phone buzzing on the coffee table with an incoming call.
“How?” Kara exclaimed. “How does my phone know the exact moment to bother me?”
“I think that’s more the person’s fault and less the technology’s,” Lena teased with a smirk.
Kara made a face at her for that, but before she could reply, Lena pulled away. “And on that note, I think I’ll go shower.”
After exiting her bedroom freshly washed and dressed for the day, Lena wasn’t surprised to find Kara gone already. Calls that early in the morning weren’t generally of a social nature, particularly when the recipient was a superhero.
She texted her a picture of her breakfast - plain oatmeal and coffee - along with a comment of ‘Breakfast isn’t the same without you.’ If Kara had been with her she’d have made something a little more elaborate, but she wasn’t inclined to put in the extra effort when it was only for herself.
A few hours later Kara replied, just as appalled as Lena anticipated.
K: You’re not even trying. At least add some raisins or cinnamon. Something! That oatmeal looks so sad… :(
K: I’m safe and sound at Catco now. Although I guess that’s obvious since I’m texting you. Is this a good thing that I’m updating you? Does that help you worry less? Or is this too much? I’m sorry…
L: It’s okay. We didn’t really talk about it. And your rambling is cute.
K: It’s not.
L: It really is. And I don’t need updates all the time. But if you have to leave suddenly or if you’re involved in something that makes the news, a text afterwards would be appreciated.
K: Okay. Will do. :)
Lena put down her phone and exhaled. Admitting she wanted Kara to check in with her left her feeling exposed, and she hated it. But she couldn’t ignore that she worried over Kara’s well-being, and this would minimize her time spent doing so. If this relationship was going to work, she needed to accept her emotional ties to Kara, and deal with it as best she could.
She also needed to accept that Kara’s point about her lack of emotional ties to anyone else was a fair one. Kara’s friends and her sister were good people. Holding them at arm’s length wasn’t necessary, it was habit.
She picked her phone back up and found the group chat she’d yet to respond to. Winn wanted to know when the next game night was. Normally she ignored these kinds of texts and let other people sort out the details - if she could make it, fine, and if not, so be it. This time she handled it differently, mentioning a few nights she was free and offering to buy food. Winn jumped on that immediately, teasing that anyone willing to foot Kara’s food bill was someone to keep around. And then she took it a step further, replying ‘You’re not wrong,’ and earning herself a slew of angry-faced emojis from Kara.
Again, normally she’d avoid this kind of participation. But objectively she knew Kara was right about needing more friendships in her life, and getting closer to Kara’s friends was a safe start. It would lessen any burgeoning dependency on Kara (which, the thought of being dependent on anyone…it hurt to even think about).
And then, before she had a chance to change her mind, she started a new group chat with two people she hadn't spoken to in a long while. She didn’t expect an answer right away, she just hoped they responded at all.
It was her fault she’d lost touch with them. Work had been a convenient excuse, but Jack ran his own global enterprise, and Sam was a CFO and mother of a young teenage daughter, yet they had both still managed to find the time.
It took less than ten minutes.
J: So you’re not dead after all. Now I owe Arias money.
S: Fifty bucks, in cash or pizza, Jack.
S: It’s good to hear from you, Lena. Really.
J: Drinks soon?
Lena slid off her heels and coat, grateful to be back at her hotel room. Or, more accurately, grateful for her workday to be over. What she’d hoped to be a half-day meeting with her mother had turned into a full day marathon, but at least it had been productive. It seems her near radio silence since leaving Metropolis had convinced Lillian to play nicer, and several projects that had been languishing without clear direction had finally moved forward.
Her day wasn’t quite over yet, but the next part she was looking forward to; she was going out again with Sam and Jack. Tonight it was to a nearby club, with less talking and more drinking on the itinerary. The serious conversation had happened two days ago, when catching up had turned into a mini-therapy session for each of them. Lena’s tumultuous move to National City may have been the most dramatic discussion topic, but Jack was dealing with severe stress from a year-long tech problem, and Sam was battling waves of guilt due to her job taking time away from her daughter.
Talking to them was both restorative and comforting, but it was no replacement for actual therapy, which was why Lena had extended her trip until mid-week. Now she would have time to sleep off tonight’s inevitable hangover, see her therapist once or twice, and connect with some additional business partners. Kara had been disappointed when Lena had canceled their dinner plans for tomorrow, but she’d understood.
She’d told Sam and Jack about Kara. Not everything - she’d left out the Supergirl part, saying only that Kara was a reporter with a penchant for danger - but she’d filled them in on just about everything else. She’d had to fight the urge to downplay their relationship, reminding herself that there was no point in having friends if she wasn’t comfortable in letting them see her insecurities. Otherwise, they were just glorified acquaintances.
Both of them had been surprised and happy for her, but Jack had been especially shocked. As her oldest friend, he knew Lena’s history, knew the emotional barriers she’d erected and why.
After changing into more club-appropriate attire, she grabbed her phone to text Kara a quick good night, knowing she’d be too distracted to do so later. She paused before sending it, wondering if this kind of interaction was too emotionally needy. It was just a simple good night, but it wasn’t something she’d ever done in previous relationships - romantic or platonic. She sent it anyways, but reminded herself that this was why she had to see her therapist. She needed an outside opinion, someone that could explain to her what healthy relationships looked like. Fumbling was fine for now, but it wasn’t sustainable.
As she walked out the door, Kara replied with her own good night and a series of heart emojis. Lena smiled, then messaged Jack and Sam to let them know she was on her way.
Nerves over seeing them reared up again - it was going to take a while for her to not reflexively recoil at the prospect of being close with other people. But she’d fought past those instincts during their last conversation, and she was managing it with Kara. Progress was progress. One high emotional hurdle at a time.
* * *
Most people don’t pay attention to ceilings. Until she became Supergirl, Kara didn’t either, but after crashing through so many of them, she started to notice the differences. At first it was the texture, the foreign feel of drop ceilings and drywall compared to the more organic feel of plaster or wood. Later it was the appearances: looking up at the holes she created in historical buildings, wondering how they were going to repair an intricate coffered design.
Currently she was staring at the intersecting beams in her own apartment, lying in bed with her battery-depleted phone next to her. She’d been texting Lena for the past couple of hours and honestly she should have just flown to Metropolis. She’d suggested it twice, but both times Lena had told her she had a busy schedule the next day and that she’d never get to sleep if she saw her in person. While Kara was sure that was true, it fed her self-doubt. It made her want to prod for reassurances, but putting Lena on the spot - asking her to say whatever magical words that would make Kara feel more secure about the status of their relationship - would only heighten Lena’s anxiety and reservations.
Besides, it’d been nearly a week now since their big talk and overall things were good. They’d had lunch together once and game night had flowed smoothly. She just needed to be patient. Unfortunately, patience wasn’t one of her strong suits.
If it wasn’t so late, she would have called Eliza for support. Her adoptive mother was by far the most tolerant person Kara knew. She had to be, to handle all of the unique challenges Kara presented growing up. The first month alone Kara had pulled the front door off its hinges eight times, lit the curtains on fire with her heat vision twice, and had fought with Alex enough that they had to bring in a counselor. And yet, Eliza never lost faith in her.
She’d asked her once how she did it - how she managed to stay so patient in spite of the daily chaos Kara inevitably caused. Eliza had looked at her with so much compassion in her eyes, it had brought Kara to tears.
She’d said she couldn’t fault Kara for being who she was. That anyone thrown into a situation so daunting and foreign would make mistakes. All she could do was offer encouragement, because Kara had to figure things out for herself. And as long as Kara kept trying, how could she not stay patient with her?
“Because the alternative would be to give up. And I could never give up on you, Kara.”
Lena was in the same boat Kara had been in so many years ago - trying to navigate a scenario she had no experience in, but willing to try. As long as Lena kept trying, Kara wouldn’t give up either.
The problem was that this situation was different. Kara didn’t have a choice when she was younger - she had to figure things out for her own safety, as well as the people around her. For Lena, the incentive was happiness, and she’d been living without it for so long that it was a far less compelling motivation.
The only things Kara could do were to see Lena consistently and not rush things - to stay in her life and wordlessly remind Lena that what they had together was wonderful and amazing, and that it was worth the difficulties.
Kara just had to hope that was enough.
* * *
Lena stood on her apartment balcony and slowly sipped at her whiskey, thinking about Kara. She was out there somewhere, fulfilling her Supergirl duties after an urgent call from Alex.
Since Lena’s return from her impromptu trip out of town, she and Kara had only managed a few nights to themselves together. Tonight’s sudden interruption had been frustrating - more so than usual - because this had been the first night Kara had seemed like herself again. Where she wasn’t being overly cautious and holding herself back, emotionally and physically.
Kara wasn’t really Kara if she wasn’t blurting something out a bit awkwardly from time to time. But that had been absent lately, with her words more carefully chosen. And physically, they still hadn’t had sex since getting back together. Lena would initiate things, and Kara would respond quickly, but she’d end up excusing herself before the mood got too desperate. But Lena didn’t want to voice a concern yet, particularly when it came to sex. The last time things had become difficult for Lena emotionally, she’d escaped into physicality. She didn’t want Kara thinking she was falling into the same trap again.
Tonight had seemed promising, though. Kara seemed freer with her conversation, and during the movie, Kara’s hands were the ones to wander first. But just as she was easing Lena backwards onto the couch, the call came in about some emergency near the docks.
Kara had apologized, and Lena had tried to take the interruption in stride - holding out hope that maybe the emergency would be a quick one. But right before she’d left, Lena had pulled Kara in for a kiss goodbye. It was quick and domestic, and afterwards Kara had responded without thinking - getting as far as “I lo-“ before suddenly cutting herself off and flushing red.
She tried to cover it up, stumbling over an “I’ll see you soon”, before kissing Lena again briefly and then leaving. But the damage was done.
So Lena drank her whiskey, frustration turned inwards for not realizing the reason for Kara’s caution sooner. It was clear now she’d been moderating her actions and reactions, afraid that the full breadth of her feelings would overwhelm Lena. Not to mention the fear of what kind of response she’d get - or lack thereof - if she did say how she felt.
Lena didn’t want a relationship riddled with second-guessing. Kara deserved more certainty about how Lena felt about her - sooner, rather than later. But it would involve saying her feelings out loud, and that was problematic for Lena. In the past it had led to ridicule and exploitation, and while she knew that wouldn’t be the case with Kara, it was difficult applying logic to ingrained emotions. That was why she started going back to therapy in the first place, and her reason for booking weekly video sessions for the foreseeable future.
But she’d find a way.
She had to.
The question was, how or when was she going to bring it up? It wasn’t something to discuss over lunch, and she didn’t want to risk being interrupted again like tonight. It needed to happen on a planned night off from superheroing.
Inspiration struck a few hours later, after Kara texted her to let her know she was alright, apologizing for not returning.
She wasn’t injured, just incredibly tired, and wanted whatever sleep she could steal before an early day tomorrow. Lena suggested they get together this Saturday, but Kara had to apologize again - she had an obligation she’d already committed to that night.
An obligation that was too perfect for Lena to ignore.