Lena makes her way down the hall of the orthopedic sector of the surgical floor at a brisk pace. When she received the page from Dr. Danvers, her mind immediately jumped to something being wrong with Kara. It had been almost two weeks since Kara first came in with her bruised ribs. Lena hadn’t heard from her or Dr. Danvers since then. Until now.
Standing at the end of the hallway next to a closed room door is Dr. Danvers. She didn’t look worried or concerned, so Lena pushes away the thoughts of Kara having complications. When Lena stops a few feet in front of Dr. Danvers, the seasoned surgeon’s classic expressionless face splits into a grin. It takes Lena by surprise.
“Good morning, Dr. Danvers-”
“Luthor, I have something for you,” Alex cuts her off before she can finish greeting her.
Lena tilts her head, “You have something for me?” She repeats quizzically.
Alex nods, a smile still ever-present on her face. It honestly unsettles Lena. “Right behind this door is a car crash victim. His Prius got hit by a semi at an intersection. Terrible thing, but… I hear you like trauma, and this guy has got a lot of it to go around. You’re scrubbing in with me.”
Slack-jawed, Lena gapes at her superior. This was the type of case where the head of ortho and the head of trauma would work together in the operating room. The fact that Alex, the head of orthopedic surgery, was asking her, a fourth-year resident who wasn’t even in a fellowship yet, to scrub in was insane.
“Is that a yes, or…?” Alex trials off when the only response she gets from Lena is wide eyes and a dropped jaw. “Dr. Luthor?”
The sound of her name snaps Lena out of her stupor, though the words that she manages to form are nothing short of embarrassing. “Why me?”
When an attending asks you to scrub in on their surgery, you scrub in, no questions asked. Chief J’onzz said it on her first day as an intern, “Scrubbing in is a privilege, not a right. The attendings owe you nothing. You earn it.”
Had it been any other attending, they would have taken offense to Lena’s dumbfounded response and went on their way to find a different resident. But this was Alex Danvers, a doctor who, Lena recently realized, does have a heart.
Alex sighs, resting her hands on her hips. “This is my way of saying thank you for what you did for Kara. Out of all the people who could’ve found her wandering into the ER that day, I’m glad it was you. I don’t trust a lot of people with my sister’s care, but you’re definitely one of the few.”
Lena files away being one of the only doctors in the hospital that Alex trusts completely in an itty, bitty box to analyze later. Instead, she takes the high road, “I did what any doctor would have done. It’s really not something that should be rewarded.”
“I’d like to believe that, but you and I both know that most fourth-year residents would’ve passed Kara over to one of their interns,” Alex tells her. “And I totally get why. I was a resident at one point, too. Broken fingers and bruised ribs are far below what you are capable of, but you stuck with Kara anyway. It’s really telling of what kind of doctor you are.”
"I- thank you, Dr. Danvers," Lena smiles genuinely. "That's quite an honor, coming from you."
Alex waves off Lena's gratitude with a smile of her own. "No need to thank me. I'm just speaking the truth." Taking a glance down at her watch, the attending's eyes widen. "Oh, crap, okay."
Face scrunched in confusion, Lena asks, "What's wrong?"
"Rounds start in ten minutes," Alex answers. "You're with me on this case right?"
"Okay, grab your best intern and meet me back here at eight."
With that, Lena scurries off down to the locker room where she knows her most promising intern is getting ready.
By the end of the day, Lena, Alex, and Eve are able to save the patient's left leg from amputation, which was their main goal going into it. He still had a few more surgeries and a long road of recovery ahead of him, but they decided to call today's victory a win.
"Hey, Luthor," Alex calls. Lena stops brushing her hair and glances over to where Alex is throwing a flannel over a white tank top. "You free tonight?"
Lena hums, thinking a moment. It was a Thursday night. She planned on heading home, heating up a microwaveable dinner, and watching a movie or two before heading to bed. She'd call that 'free.' "Yeah, I'm free."
Alex smiles—which Lena has realized over the course of the last few weeks, isn't that uncharacteristic for the orthopedic surgeon—and picks up her bag from where it was resting on a bench. "Great! You're coming to Al's with us tonight."
"Yeah," Alex nods, still smiling. "It would just be me and a few other doctors. You probably already know them, anyway."
Lena's brows furrow. An invitation? To get drinks with Alex and her friends? First Alex says that she is one of the few doctors in this hospital she trusts, and now she's inviting her to hang out outside of work. Was this the same Alex Danvers that Lena had been scared to even make eye contact with for the past four years?
Somehow sensing Lena's uncertainty, Alex adds, "I'm not usually this... open to new people, but you're somewhat friends with my sister. If you get in good with Kara, you get in good with me."
That did make sense. If Alex and Kara's relationship was anything like hers and Sam's, Lena could see why Alex was making an effort to be more inclusive with her.
Lena runs a hand through her hair, sighing. What's the worst that could happen? "Okay, sure. I'll go."
Turns out the "worst" is that Kara, too, was invited to get drinks with the unruly bunch that has been dubbed the Superfriends. Alex had been right about Lena knowing who the doctors a part of their group were. She'd worked with James Olsen and Querl Dox (who preferred to be called Brainy) before. They were the head of pediatric surgery and a neurology fellow, respectively. Then came Nurse Schott, who Lena hadn't met before but quickly became fond of. He was dorky, sweet, and claims he faints at the sight of blood, but he'd been a nurse for the past three years anyway.
Lena was introduced to Dr. Kelly Olsen next. Kelly worked in psych and it didn't take Lena long to figure out that she was the lovely wife that Alex talked non-stop about. Kara brought along a friend as well, Nia Nal, a cub reporter at CatCo who happened to be dating Brainy.
After the introductions were made and Lena got over the initial shock of seeing Kara yet again, the night went off without a hitch. Alex and Kelly challenged Brainy and Nia to a game of pool, while James and Winn hogged the dart board. Lena kept to herself, more or less. She only ever spoke when she was talked to directly and even then, her input didn't add much to the conversation.
It was obvious that the Superfriends had been going out like this for a long while. They fit so well together. Some of them were in romantic relationships, but no one ever seemed to feel left out. Alex and Kelly liked being able to just talk amongst themselves, but they never minded if Winn or Nia popped in. Lena could tell though, that at the core of the group was Kara.
Kara was the heart of the Superfriends. Lena could see that from the hour and a half she's spent in Al's bar with them. It was surprising, considering more than half of the group consisted of hospital staff and Kara worked on the other side of town. Whenever Kara comes around, the group just lights up. If asked, Lena doesn't think she'd be able to describe why or how, but witnessing it was an amazing sight.
When everyone split off to play games, Lena stayed at their high top table, nursing her scotch. A short laugh escapes her pursed lips as she watches Winn completely miss the dart board on his turn.
"He's never been any good at darts."
Lena jumps at the sudden voice but settles once she sees who it belongs to. Kara smiles at her sheepishly, cradling a bottle of beer.
"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you."
"You're fine," Lena waves her off. "Um, how are your ribs?"
Lena internally cringes at herself. This is the first moment all night that she and Kara have gotten where it's just the two of them, and she asks about her ribs? What a great way to show that she's interested.
(Not that she's interested in Kara. No way. That- that's not okay. Kara was her patient and she's Alex's little sister. That's not okay.)
Kara lightly runs her hand along the front of her button-up. "Good, they feel good. Healing nicely."
Lena nods, her lips in a thin line. The air is awkward between them and she has no idea how to fix it. She needs a refill, but Kara is right there and excusing herself this early into their small talk seems a little rude.
"It sucks that my abs have lost some definition, though," Kara continues on.
Lena can't tell if Kara's just trying to push past the awkwardness, or if she doesn't even realize it's there. She never really knows with Kara.
"I haven't exactly been able to workout these past couple of weeks, let alone do any core work," she says, then goes to take a pull from her beer.
"I'm sure they still look great. You're, um, abs I mean. They looked good when I saw them." Kara's reaction of nearly choking on her beer only makes Lena the blush on her cheeks spread more. Why did she say that?
Kara coughs, her eyes bugging out.
"I mean, I-" Lena stutters as she tries to get herself out of the hole she dug. "I saw them when you came in after you fell. They were good, you're good. Very, uh... fit."
"Thank you?" Kara finally breaks free of her coughing fit and her response comes out more like a question.
Lena gives her a forced smile and grabs her glass from the table. As she downs the last of scotch, she wishes the floor of the bar would open up and swallow her whole. She's never been this flustered around someone she likes. She's always been well-spoken. You have to, if you want to be a doctor. You cannot show any type of fear or concern in your voice when you are presenting a patient's condition to them. They will most definitely pick up on your own uncertainty.
(Her brain makes a futile attempt at trying to convince herself that she's a blabbering mess because she does not like Kara, but that makes zero sense and, at this point, she just needs to accept that her schoolgirl crush isn't going away.
Her fifteen-year-old, hopeless romantic self who had seen The Titanic one too many times would be thrilled at the prospect of a forbidden love. But that was before she grew up and experienced heartbreak.)
Kara shuffles on her feet, successfully drawing Lena's attention back to her. "I was gonna head outside for some fresh air. Did you want to come with?"
Lean hesitates accepting her offer. She's already made such a fool of herself in the two minutes she's been talking to Kara, it could only get worse once they're both alone and not surrounded by rowdy bar-goers. "Thanks, but I think I'm just going to head home. I had a pretty busy day today."
To Lena's surprise, a flash of something next to disappointment washes over Kara's features. "Oh, um," she swallows thickly. "Of course. I heard about that surgery you and Alex did together. Saving that guy's leg. It's incredible what you surgeons are capable of."
Lena flushes, ducking her head at the praise. Incredible was a stretch, but then again, she never liked receiving compliments for doing her job anyway. She goes to wave off Kara's words, but something tells her that Kara was the type of person to insist she just take the compliment. So Lena nods, a polite smile on her face. "Thank you."
"I should probably go pay off my tab," Lena continues when Kara's stays quiet.
"Don't worry about it, I'll cover it for you," Kara replies nonchalantly. "As a thank you for being such a good doctor to me," she adds after noticing Lena's doe-eyed gaze.
Lena's already shaking her head in disagreement by the time Kara gets out her explanation. "Kara, no. I had two glass of scotch and a beer. That's way too expensive. I couldn't ask that of you."
"You're not asking, I'm offering," Kara shrugs as if paying someone's bar tab who is practically a stranger to you was a normal occurrence for her. Lena doesn't doubt that.
"I-," Lena's argument dies on her tongue when Kara arches an eyebrow at her, her face screaming don't fight me on this. Lena lets out a heavy sigh, but a grateful grins spreads across her face. "Okay, okay. Thank you."
"Mhm, that's what I thought," Kara smirks, extremely pleased with herself. It takes every ounce of self-control Lena has left in her body not to kiss that stupidly smug look off of Kara's face. "Let me walk you out."
Lena leaves her empty glass on the high top and moves to follow Kara out of the bar. The second the cool air hits her, Lena feels lighter. It was April, so the weather was getting warmer in National City, but the nights were still cooler. This Thursday night in particular had a slight breeze that caused goosebumps to spread across Lena's skin.
All that can be heard is the crunch of the gravel beneath their footsteps until Kara cuts through the relative silence and says, "You know, I was a bartender once upon a time."
Lena can't help but to laugh at the sudden confession. Kara? Bartender? No way.
"Something funny?" Kara questions.
Lena's laughter dies down as Kara stops walking and looks her in the eye. Her blue of her eyes are almost completely drowned out by how dilated her eyes are. It makes Lena's stomach flutter, but she chalks it up to the amount of drinks Kara's had. "I just- Why don't I believe you?"
Kara frowns, "What do you mean?"
"I don't know. You just don't look like the bartender type. Barista maybe. But bartender seems more up your sister's alley."
Kara scoffs good-naturedly. "So now you're stereotyping me?"
"I'm not stereotyping you," Lena rolls her eyes playfully.
"Uh, yeah you are."
"Okay, fine, yes I am, but can you blame me? You look too... bright, I don't know."
Kara just shakes her head, playfully offended. She reaches into the back pocket of her jeans and pulls out her cell phone. Wordlessly, she scrolls through the device, not allowing Lena any access to what she was doing. After a moment, her eyes spark in recognition and she flips the phone around to meet Lena's eyes. "What about her? Does she look too bright?"
"That's you?" Lena gasps, reaching out and taking Kara's phone in her hands. "No way."
It's a picture of Kara, and someone who looks to be a younger Winn. It's obvious the two are at some sort of college frat party, based on the keg Lena notes in the background and the suspicious amount of guys wearing tight polo shirts and khakis. What really grabs Lena's attention though is Kara, more specifically, what she was wearing. A leather jacket, thrown over a tight black blouse, paired with a red plaid skirt. Kara's hair is crimped and closer to a bleached color as opposed to her natural honey blonde. The nose ring is what surprises Lena the most. Most teenagers had rebellious phases, but a good number of them didn't go as far as to get a piercing.
(Though she couldn't be one to talk.)
"You really were a bartender?" Lena asks, still marveling at the photo in front of her.
"Only for a few months," Kara confirms and takes her phone back. "It was fun, but I'm pretty sure all of my coworkers hated me. I was notorious for dropping glasses."
Lena clicks her tongue, amused. She breaks away from Kara's gaze to look at the city. National City at night was always gorgeous this time of year, but something about this night just made its beauty multiply. "It really is a beautiful view," Lena muses.
Kara's voice is low and intense. Lena looks over at her, only to be met with Kara staring at her. That line was such a cliche and it in no way should make Lena blush as much as it does. If anyone else pulled that on her, she would've cringed and excused herself to her car. But this was Kara. Kara who looks like she actually meant what she just said.
It's only natural that Lena tries to deflect.
"Wow, that was cheesy, even for you, Danv-"
Lena gets cut off by a hard press of lips against her own. It's unexpected and exhilarating and it causes Lena's brain short circuit. She doesn't even get the chance to revel in the feeling of Kara's soft lips before Kara is pulling away. Lena's eyes fly open just in time to catch Kara's retreating form.
"I- I am so sorry," Kara stammers out. "That was not okay. I... I'm sorry. I read this wrong."
Kara nearly trips over her own feet as she swiftly turns around and rushes back into the bar. It's only after Kara's out of earshot that Lena's regains the ability to speak.
"Wait, Kara, no!"
But by then, she's already long gone.