Lucy rolls back into town like she never left. She's been working the angles, looking for Cadmus, military, CatCo, judicial, and she's got some ideas she'd like to share. Alex is a wreck, but work is a relief, and when Lucy finishes laying out the information she's gathered and asks Alex if there's a good place to have a drink, Alex nods, and smiles for the first time in weeks. They make vague overtures to asking Winn and Kara along, but Winn is being weirdly secretive, and Alex thinks he might have another bro-date with James. He's been trying to keep them on the DL, but Winn really isn't all that subtle. Kara smiles wide and panicked, avoiding Lucy's eyes, and Alex knows she doesn't want to be interrogated about all her bad life choices lately. So, it's just the two of them.
Alex takes her to the alien bar. It's probably asking for trouble, but she kind of wants to suss out where Lucy is. Her military persona had been virulently anti alien, and Alex watches, growing more and more amused as Lucy, subtle and controlled, takes in the just-not-quite-human feel of the people here.
M'gann serves them, offering Lucy a warm smile, and Alex a slight sideways look, and Alex groans internally, knowing J'onn has been complaining to her that his no-distractions secret agent second-in-command has been a wreck. Lucy orders a cider and Alex shrugs and gets one too. She doesn't need whiskey right now, and she had never drunk so much beer as when she was with Maggie. She doesn't need the reminder. (Thank god her tequila days are long over.)
"So how's it been, besides the investigating?"
Lucy smiles, shaking her head. "You know. My dad's a gem as always. Lois was so amused to find out I'd gotten myself caught in a love triangle with a Kryptonian. She keeps on telling me that I should have made a play for Kara, and I'm like, I'm not you. Somehow, no matter how often I say that, she doesn't get it through her head. It's no fun to talk to anyone though after you move across the country chasing a relationship that proceeds to spectacularly implode."
But Alex is having a hard time focusing. Everything is different now. Things that are jokes . . . aren't just jokes anymore. "Would your sister go for Kara? Like, Kryptonian-preferred, gender-non-exclusive?"
Lucy's eyebrows shoot up. She tips her head to the side. "What? Are you trying to defend your sister's honor, or are you testing the waters with my sister, Danvers? Because I might be a little upset over that."
Alex splutters. "I-- I was just wondering."
Lucy grins. "Well, my sister occasionally wonders that too. Aloud, to get on Clark's nerves."
Alex's heart is still pounding up in her ears. It's hard to breathe. Would it be that bad to come out to Lucy? But god, why is that always her first thought, why is she always so obsessed with all of the ways she's different now? She isn't different. This is just who she always was--but by saying it, knowing it, letting it change the world around her and her actions, she'll become different, and she doesn't want that.
"I'm gonna-- get another drink."
But the bar is not a place of refuge. Maggie's just come in, and Alex knew that this was a bad place to come, a bad place to take Lucy, but she hadn't thought it would be this bad.
Fuck her for being so pretty. Fuck her for smiling. Alex growls and demands two fingers of whiskey and M'gann just gives her that look that says she's not fooling anyone by being a complete asshole.
"Not enjoying your cider, Alex?" M'gann asks, teasing.
"You're drinking cider, Danvers?" Maggie's voice is full of mirth and it just makes Alex even more angry.
"What's wrong with that?"
"Her date is drinking cider. She's going along like a good girl." And M'gann was not helping.
"I'm not a--"
If Alex weren't so angry, she might have heard the half crack between the words as something besides a suppressed chortle.
M'gann gestures over to Lucy. "She's really cute," she adds, sotto-voce to Maggie.
"Shit." Maggie stares for a moment. "No kidding. Go Alex."
"I'm not--" The pressure in Alex's chest releases in a huff of breath. "This is why I don't have friends."
Both Maggie and M'gann laugh at her, but there's a bit of release to it. Alex made a joke. She didn't just fly off the handle. It's almost like she can be an adult about this.
"Here, another round of cider. You don't need the hard stuff to get through a date."
"And you don't want to fall asleep if she takes you home, tiger."
Maggie's words burn, bile in her chest and throat, and Alex hates her. But she's also a bit relieved. She can imagine it now, if Maggie had said yes to the kiss, yes to walking her through her first time, being the proof as she came out to her mom, her friends. She can see it, Maggie coaching her, encouraging her in bed. And Alex would have given in, given everything. She already feels like enough of a doormat when Maggie is around. And then, when every gate was open and the horses were all gone, Maggie would thump her arm and say, "I'm a little bored with talking you through all of this. You're just not very good at the lesbian sex thing. So I'm gonna go get my rocks off elsewhere. Go out, be free, my grasshopper." It would have killed her. This way, Maggie's just crushed her a bit. Alex opened one door, and Kara is keeping her foot stuck in it, but she's not pushing her to open any more of them. All the doors are hers. She's the only one who has the keys.
"Fuck off," she says, but manages to make it a little good natured, and takes the drinks, heading back to Lucy.
Lucy is leaning back in the booth, sipping slowly on her drink, and watching with a sly and evaluating expression. "Got new friends, Danvers?"
Alex lets the ciders thump against the table. "Got something, at least."
"Things happened while I was gone, didn't they?"
Lucy meets her eyes, steady and warm with a hint of steel behind them. For such a tiny person, Alex had always been impressed by that strength. She bites her lip, hiding behind her glass. She remembers the instant sharpness that had sprung through her when she'd met Major Lane--the hard as nails military officer who'd hated Supergirl. She remembers the energy that filled her when she strode in to shut down the DEO. She remembers, even more strongly, the first time Lucy showed up at game night with James, and this Major Lane was now just a girl, fashionable, well put together--and Kara was so right--smelling wonderful, but warm and open. It had felt so strange when they'd ended up on the same sofa, Lucy curled up against James mostly, but with her feet just tucked under Alex's shins.
And fuck. Alex, you're gay. Breaking news, Alex Danvers is so totally gay!
And Lucy's warm dark eyes are still on her.
"You could say that."
Lucy tips her head subtly toward where Maggie has headed off to chat with some of her usual informants. Just maintaining the relationship, she calls it. "She's cute."
Alex tenses. She lets the words put themselves together before she speaks. "That was completely the problem." She takes a breath. "So, was I barking up the wrong tree earlier? I was asking if your sister would go for Kara, but--"
"I wouldn't go for Kara," Lucy says. "Not first cuz my dad's head would explode. But yeah, I'm bi."
Alex sees her hand shuddering at an impossibly fast rate against the table. She tries to take hold of her cider, but it sloshes and she quickly sets it down before she looses it all.
"Cool," she says, managing not to bite her tongue. "Cool. I, um, let myself get in too deep with, um, her." She tips her head towards Maggie. "I kind've thought . . . but I'm too new for her."
Lucy scrunches her forehead. "Too new? But--"
Alex frowns. "But what?"
"Alex, I've known you only like a year or so, but, I've always known you were queer as fuck."
Alex stares for a moment, and then, she laughs. It's a burst of it, all up in her chest and head. "Someone could have told me!"
Lucy shakes her head. "Danvers, you really need to work on that unapproachable vibe. I know like six girls who would have hit on you if they weren't terrified you'd stomp all over them for violating protocol, or whatever."
"I--" wouldn't, Alex wants to say. But it's probably not true. "Work's important."
"Yeah. Which is why I wasn't one of them.' Lucy leans forward, resting a chin on an empty bottle. She's peering towards the corner where Maggie is. Alex sees, watches Maggie glance over once, realize she's being watched, and quickly jerk her head back, faster than Alex has ever seen her move in any moment that's not a brawl.
'She thought I was straight," Alex mumbles.
Lucy snorts. "Yeah. I can see why."
"What? I thought I was embarrassingly obvious?
Lucy's smirk is a hint devilish, and Alex finds herself shifting on the uncomfortable seat of the booth. Lucy's bi. Lucy is . . . one of hers, in way she's never felt connected to anyone before. It still feels strange, this twist of something else under her skin, reaching out through her fingertips to make connections with people that otherwise she might have nothing in common with. But she does have something in common with them. Something deep.
"Let me let you in on something about the queer-girl mind. It's really pessimistic. You meet a girl you like, and if it's not in a space explicitly coded as gay, you say, okay self, calm the fuck down. You know she's straight. It doesn't matter what signals you're getting. It doesn't matter how she responds to friendly flirting. Straight until proven otherwise, because dashed hope fucking hurts."
"Yeah." Alex curls her shoulders in. "It does, doesn't it?"
Lucy makes a face at her, like she missed the point. "Dude, buck up. Mopey Alex Danvers isn't sexy Alex Danvers."
Alex glares. "It's not like you haven't been mopey about James."
"I'm over it." Lucy downs her cider in one gulp. "And now I'm going to kick your ass at darts."
Lucy flirts. It takes a few minutes for Alex to notice, but only because she isn't that good at darts and needs to focus. But Lucy's grinning at her, and posing, and tossing her hair, and she grabs Alex's ass by 'accident', causing a dart misfire into someone's drink.
Alex isn't drunk, but she's buzzed, half on the cider and half on the attention. Fucking Lucy. And as M'gann rings the bell for closing, they find their jackets and step out into the cool night air.
Lucy is sweaty and flushed, her jacket over one arm, her shirt partly unbuttoned. She keeps teasing Alex, about work and Kara and her new friendship with Winn. The sexuality stuff is just a warm undercurrent of mutual knowledge. Not important, not forefront, but there.
And it may have been shitty the last time she kissed a girl and got flattened. But the stakes aren't so high this time. And the warmth and connection of it being someone she knows and already trusts with all her secrets, it's easier. She's ready to be let down easy. But maybe, for a moment, she'll have a chance to feel the way she never did, feel the connection with someone she cares about who cares about her rev into heightened intensity.
So when she reaches out, her hand curling around Lucy's arm, she doesn't expect Lucy to be the one who pulls her in, pushing up on her toes, seeking her mouth. Alex closes the last few millimeters, letting lips bump and sweet alcoholic breath spill across her face. The feeling that rushes up is unfamiliar. It hurts, deep down in her core, it makes her fingertips tingle, and when Lucy arches up against her, threads her fingers into her hair, and tugs, their mouths sealing together--the sensations turn to electricity.
Alex tries to remember how to breathe. Lucy's pupils are blown, and she's grinning, grinning like she's been waiting for this all night, grinning like someone who's landed on the final square on the board and nailed the riddle. "Agent Danvers," she murmurs, throaty and smirking. "As your superior officer I demand a billet and your company for the night."
Her hands are still in Alex's hair, fingernails trailing along the skin of her neck. "If you were still in my chain of command I'd report you for harassment," Alex mutters.
"You're the one with your hands on my ass."
True. Alex moves to release her, but Lucy's fierce gaze halts her. Her hands tighten. Lucy leans in, biting at the side of Alex's lower lip. "Take me home and fuck me, Agent Danvers," Lucy commands. "We'll see who's in trouble after that."
Alex is the one in trouble. She knows that for certain.
Lucy keeps their arms tangled together down the street to the NCRT stop, holding her by the wrist, and dragging her fingers down the skin on the back of Alex's forearm. The tram car is nearly empty, and Lucy slides right into her lap. She teases, dropping light kisses and nips on Alex's face, chin and cheeks and forehead, even as Alex seeks her mouth. She feels the need building in her lower belly, the heat and want and shaky desperation. What are you doing? You don't have any idea what you're doing. It's going to go bad, it's all going to go wrong. She won't want-- Pain cuts through her panicked thoughts.
Lucy bites, hard enough to make Alex's lip bleed. Their mouths knock together, and Alex's hands find her face, cupping her cheeks with both hands. The tram lurches and they are jolted apart. But Lucy's gaze is steady, focused on her.
"Stay with me."
Alex nods, helpless, as Lucy's hand slides into hers and she is led out of the car and up the stair to the street. Alex fumbles the keys a few times before she gets her door unlocked. Get a grip, she tells herself, get a grip. You didn't know shit about being a field agent the first time you went out. You can figure things out.
Lucy steps in. Alex closes the door, locks it, puts the keys down on the side table. Sidelong glance--Alex reaches for her. They bump against the door, Alex half missing her mouth. Lucy's hands are in her hair again, using it as reins to tug her off. She laughs, her eyes still smoked with arousal, her lips reddened, slick and swollen.
"Oh Alex, it's so cute you think you're going to top."
"Mm?" Alex's head is too fogged to make sense of anything.
Lucy leans in, murmuring in her ear, "let me let you in on another thing everyone twigs about you--" Her hand slides up under Alex's shirt and ticklish, Alex flinches at the touch. "--you're the subbiest sub I've ever met."
Nails drag across her back. "You don't have to worry about a thing. All you have to do is exactly what I say."
As if she can see the future, a sensory vision envelops Alex. Lucy's dark eyes, her hands in her hair, guiding her down, her calm voice, rough carpet on her knees, silky-soft skin against her cheeks, the way it would feel, the way it would taste. Cold metal creating tension on her wrists, crisp, certain instructions, and Lucy, steady and warm, murmuring, that's good, you're so good, you're doing so good, Alex.
Lucy smiles, bright and kind and gentle, and Alex lets the pleasure of it fill her and lighten her until she could hardly feel the ground.
"Oh," Alex murmurs to herself, staring up towards the ceiling, though it was invisible in the dark. Lucy lies sprawled out, half on top of her, an arm like an iron bar holding her down. She can still taste the salt on her lips, sense the tenderness between her legs, but mostly she can feel the gentle vibration from Lucy's breathing and the beat of her heart.
"Having a realization?" Lucy mumbles, mostly asleep.
"'kay." Lucy snuggles into her, mussed hair both silky and rough against Alex's shoulder.
This is good. It is good in a way it has never been good before. It's not a relationship, not long term, not all of the things she tells herself she's waiting for, and tells herself how she'll be fine if they never turn up, but it's good--Alex is good. The squirmy desperation in her chest every time she's been trapped in an intimate clinch with any of her boyfriends before is gone. But it isn't a guy. And . . . it isn't just any girl either. Lucy's special. That's important, more important than she's realized.
Alex closes her eyes and lets herself be there, feel the warmth, the breath, the life of it. She's been thinking that the doors are all to the outside, that opening them is what will change her, force her to be a kind of person she isn't. But there are doors inside her too, and they're unlocking, and all of the pressure and imbalance is spreading out into a calming equilibrium.
Okay, she thinks right before she falls asleep, breathing in the sweet scent of Lucy's hair. Okay, this is me.
Somehow, everyone shows up at the military airbase that Lucy is leaving from--Kara, Winn, James, J'onn. Even Maggie has turned up with a lead and is grumpily skulking in the background waiting for Alex to pay her some attention. Alex is kind of enjoying that.
Lucy is talking to James, something serious and businesslike and a little tinged with regret. Kara is hiding, half slumped behind Alex's shoulder, not wanting to call the attention of both halves of the couple she broke up.
Alex feels herself smiling a little more than usual, and it's Winn who gives her that wrinkled nose look and starts scanning the populace to see if he can figure her out. But then Lucy finishes with James and saunters over, giving a nod to Kara before turning her focus to Alex.
"Thank you for your hospitality, Agent Danvers."
Alex sees the exact moment when Winn's eyes bug out, and Alex can't help laughing. "My pleasure." She doesn't add the literally, it would be too obvious, but Lucy grins as if she heard it anyways.
"I'll let you know if I find out anything more." Alex nods. "And--" Lucy's eyes flick toward the cop car parked off to the side of the runway. "--I think things are going to work out for you, but if they don't, you've got my number." She smirks, and Alex bites her lip to keep from kissing her. There are too many military people around for that to be a good plan, but she scoops her into a hug regardless.
"You've got mine too."
She lets her go, appropriately, trying not to let on that she'd hugged her mostly to get a last lungful of her scent. And Lucy waves and merges in with the crowd of uniformed officers to head off into the aircraft.
Kara is staring at Alex with an open mouth. "You-- you--" she splutters.
"You're right, she smells great."
And the appalled betrayal and shock on Kara's face also shouldn't amuse Alex as much as it does, but it does.
She feels good getting in the cruiser with Maggie, not off balance, not powerless, like she's been for the past few weeks. She waits for the comment--getting your training wheels off? my baby's growing up, another thing that will just remind her of how worthless she thinks Alex is. But it doesn't come.
"Good weekend?" Maggie asks, pulling down her shades, but they can't hide the contemplativeness coded into her smirk.
"Pretty good." Obvious understatement.
Maggie shakes her head, still grinning in that odd, slightly confused way. "God damn it. You really are a badass, Danvers."
And Alex, smug and happy, shakes it off and reaches for the notes on the glove box. "Whatever, Sawyer. Let's go get justice for some aliens."
Maggie laughs and guns the engine. They turn out of the military complex and onto the highway, windows cracked to let in the hot desert wind. "Right on."