“Look, Mom, I…”
“Alexandra, I asked you to look after Kara, and not only did you let her date that boy, the one who almost got her killed, and now you’re telling me she still isn’t seeing anyone? I thought you cared about your sister!”
“Mom, of course I care,” Alex said, near tears. “Look, I… I didn’t want to say anything, because Kara wanted to keep it a secret until we came home for Christmas? But… she is seeing someone, Mom. It’s pretty serious, actually.”
“Oh my. You mean like, engaged serious?” Eliza sounded delighted.
“Sure,” Alex said, waving an arm in the air. Why not add another lie on top of the first whopper? “She’s getting engaged, and she wanted it to be a surprise, Mom, so you have to act like you have no idea, okay?”
“Of course,” Eliza said, almost purring. Probably thinking about grandchildren or whatever it was that drove moms to pressure their kids to marry. The conversation ended soon after, and Alex hung up.
“Was that your mom, babe?” Maggie asked, stepping out of the bathroom. She was drying her hair with a towel and she looked… luminous.
“Yeah,” Alex said, touching the back of her neck gingerly. “I may have… lied a little…” she said.
“What did you tell her?” Maggie asked, pausing.
“I may have accidentally told her that Kara is in a relationship with someone, and that they’re getting engaged,” Alex said quickly.
“Oh, is that all?” Maggie asked sarcastically. “Why on earth would you do that? You know she’s still pining after the Daxamite douchemeister.”
“I know!” Alex said, throwing her hands up. “But Mom was giving me this lecture and asking me why Kara was single, and she was asking if I even cared about my sister, so I just… I just lied, Maggie. She always blames me for everything, you know? It’s not my fault Kara’s single! I could barely get her out of her apartment this last few months.”
“I know baby,” Maggie said, sympathetically. She moved to Alex’s side, pulling her close. “I guess we better find Kara a fiancé, huh?”
“She’s going to kill me,” Alex said, shaking her head slightly. Maggie’s smaller frame cradled hers perfectly.
“Yeah, probably. But at least with the heat vision it’ll be quick, right?” Maggie said, snorting indelicately down Alex’s ear.
“Yeah, quick. I’m sure she won’t rip me limb from limb and let me bleed to death,” Alex said, morosely.
In the end, it was worse than either option, in Alex’s opinion. Kara turned the pout™ on Alex, who was immediately filled with both deep shame and a desire to do anything to make it better.
“I’m so, so sorry, Kar,” she said, cursing her past self. All Kara needed was something else to worry about, after the year she’d had. “What about James? He’s still single, right?”
“That would be too weird,” Kara said, shaking her head. “He’s still pretty cut up about how I ended things.”
“Men, seriously,” Alex said, shaking her head. “It’s like he thought he was entitled to you, or something. I mean, I like him, but… you don’t belong to him.”
“I just wish he’d realise that. It’s like he had this pact with Clark, that he would come to National City to help me and then I’d be ‘his’ super, you know?”
Alex nodded. “What about Winn?”
“He’s with Lyra. She’ll rip out his spine if he even suggests it.”
“Good point,” Alex said. “Anyone else you can think of?”
“Not offhand,” Kara said thoughtfully. “I could just call Eliza and tell her that you were lying to get her off your back; what do you think about that?”
Alex looked at her with utter terror all over her face.
“Try me,” Kara said, face admirably straight.
“What’s this going to cost me?” Alex asked, sighing.
“Unlimited pizza. And potstickers,” Kara said.
“Of course. For like, a week, right?” Alex asked hopefully.
“1 year,” Kara countered. “Final offer, or else I dial Eliza.” She picked up her cellphone.
“Fine. 1 year. I’m going to have to take out a loan,” Alex moaned.
“Okay. I’ll find someone to fake-date,” Kara said brightly. “We’ll just have to break up after Christmas.”
“Mom will love that,” Alex said.
“It’s fine, we’ll say he cheated,” Kara said. “She’ll want to kill him.”
“Better choose someone you don’t really care about, just in case she decides to send him some sort of bio-weapon in the mail,” Alex suggested.
“Great idea,” Kara said, smiling.
Alex breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe J’onn would give her some sort of extra stipend to pay for Kara’s food? It was about time the DEO did something to pay Kara’s bills, given that she expended so much energy in their service.
She made a mental note to say exactly that when she made her argument to J’onn.
“I really am sorry, Kara,” she said, again.
“It’s fine, Alex. I know what Mom’s like. And you know I’d never tell her you lied, not really.”
“Yeah, you could have said that before I promised you free pizza and potstickers,” Alex grumbled.
Kara shot her a grin before freezing, exactly like a dog who’s just heard a dog whistle.
“Fire in those new apartments,” Kara said. “See you later, sis.”
“Bye,” Alex said, waving as Kara flew out of her apartment window. How half the neighbourhood didn’t know she was Supergirl, Alex would never know. She sighed, letting herself out and locking the door behind her. Maggie was going to laugh so hard when she realised what Kara had managed to blackmail Alex into doing. At least until she realised how much it was going to cost. They might have to postpone their wedding until next year, Alex thought ruefully. She sent out a prayer to whoever was listening that J’onn would agree to pay for Kara’s food so Alex wouldn’t have to sell her apartment. And her car.
“Stupid Kryptonians and their stupid bottomless stomachs,” she muttered. It was going to be an expensive 12 months.
Kara put out the fire in the new apartment block quickly, managing to limit the damage to one floor. She saved four contractors, carrying them down in twos over her shoulder, much to the chagrin of the burly men, who it appeared would rather have burned to death than be carried like that by a girl. She just smiled and waved, ignoring their protests, and flew to CatCo to meet Lena for lunch. She changed in her usual alleyway after scanning the area for hidden cameras and people – she could never be too careful – and walked into the foyer, waving at Mick the guard and smiling at Eve, upstairs, before knocking on the open door of Lena’s office.
“Come in,” Lena’s voice was low and husky. Kara smiled. She loved Lena’s voice, with that accent, how it made every sentence into a song.
“Hey!” she said, smiling as she stepped through the door. “Are you ready for lunch?”
Lena smiled at her, teeth flashing.
“Kara, you look amazing,” she said, rounding her desk quickly and holding out her arms. Kara hugged her tightly, relishing the tight hold Lena had on her. It was nice to know that someone wanted to hold on to her as much as she wanted to hold on to them. Lena hugs were almost as good as Alex hugs, and she always smelled so nice. Kara felt like she was at home in her arms.
“You too,” Kara said, drawing back in appreciation of Lena’s dress, which was a silky burgundy colour and fitted tightly to her figure. “That’s a beautiful dress.”
“Thank you,” Lena said, girlishly. “I thought you might like it.”
“Why, Miss Luthor, did you wear that dress for li’l old me?” Kara asked, hand on her chest, as if scandalised.
“Of course not, Miss Danvers,” Lena said. “I wore it because I had a meeting with the board this morning. The fact that I knew you would appreciate it was just a bonus.” She looked at Kara with a raised eyebrow and a slight smirk.
Kara blushed. No matter how hard she tried, Lena always managed to make her blush. She had no idea how. Lena just made her feel a little funny, sometimes. Nervous, but in a good way.
“So, I know we were supposed to be going to that new vegan restaurant Maggie suggested, but I don’t really feel like going out in public today, Kara. After the whole Morgan Edge thing I would just like to not be watched for a little while. Could I convince you to eat here with me, maybe if I get some of your favourite Chinese and pizza?”
“That depends,” Kara said, eyes narrowed. “Are we talking potstickers, here? Or just lo mein and egg rolls?”
“The whole shebang, baby,” Lena said, grinning. “Peking duck, egg rolls, crispy fried everything, and all of your favourite sauces. We’re talking a banquet here, Danvers. Does that convince you at all?” she asked, leaning back against the desk, arms folded, eyes slightly narrowed. Ever the negotiator.
“I suppose it’ll have to do,” Kara drawled, doing her best Cat Grant impression. “If that’s all you have to offer.”
“Oh, Miss Danvers, you have no idea what I have to offer,” Lena said, low and dangerous. She tilted her head back, looking at Kara through her eyelashes.
Kara blushed again, this time feeling a twisting low in her abdomen. Lena always made her feel so… weird. She couldn’t exactly place it, but she kept coming back for more.
“You’re too much, Lena Luthor,” Kara said, ruefully.
Lena grinned triumphantly.
“The food will be here soon,” she said, pressing the privacy button on the desk behind her to turn the office glass opaque. She went to sit next to Kara.
“So, tell me about your day,” she said, taking Kara’s hands in hers. “You look a little stressed, even for you.”
“Well, I had to put out some fires this morning with something I’ve been working on, but before that my sister dropped a bit of a bombshell on me,” Kara said. “You’ll never believe what she did.”
Lena looked at her attentively, but then someone knocked at the office door. Eve came in with a huge armful of bags, delicious smells emanating from all of them. On top of the bags was perched a huge pizza box.
“You’re the best,” Kara said, squeezing Lena’s hands. She took the food from Eve, unpacking it all quickly and starting to eat straight away. When Eve was gone, she looked up to see Lena watching her in amusement. Kara blushed again immediately.
“I always forget how much you can eat, and how quickly,” Lena murmured. “It’s astonishing that you have that figure when you seem to be able to eat your body weight in junk food each day.”
“Fast metabolism,” Kara said, after swallowing a huge mouthful of potstickers.
“So you’ve said,” Lena said, quietly. She filled her paper plate with her favourites, peking duck and pancakes and the crispy seaweed that Kara couldn’t stand. “So, tell me what your sister did.”
“Okay,” Kara said, wiping her mouth on a napkin. “So, have I ever told you how Eliza, my foster mother, is really hard on Alex?”
“You’ve mentioned it, yes,” Lena said carefully, taking a sip from a glass of wine that had appeared when Kara wasn’t looking.
“So, Eliza was giving her a lecture about how I wasn’t seeing anyone, how I’d been single since Mon… since Mike left,” Kara said, hurriedly correcting herself. She thought that a weary expression crossed Lena’s face, for a second, but then it was gone, replaced by an impassive mask. “So she was telling Alex off, saying that she obviously didn’t care about her sister if she let me end up alone when she had Maggie.”
“God,” Lena said. “That’s crazy. How is any of that Alex’s fault?”
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Kara said. “She blamed Alex when I came out…” she stopped hurriedly, realising that she’d been about to say, “when I came out as Supergirl”.
“Oh,” Lena said, eyebrows twitching. “I didn’t realise you were… bisexual, I guess? Since you were in a relationship with Mike?”
“Um, yeah. I don’t really like to label myself,” she mumbled. “But it’s not something I ever really gave too much thought to.”
“So your foster mother blamed Alex when you came out? What was that all about? I mean, does she have a problem with homosexuality? I thought she was okay with Alex and Maggie?” Lena asked, puzzled.
“I… well. She isn’t homophobic. She just thought me telling people would put me in danger, um, of being hurt, I guess?” Kara said. “She was more than happy for Alex when she met Maggie.”
“Okay,” Lena said, thoughtfully. She took a bite from an egg roll, chewing as she thought. “So your foster mom thinks that Alex should be responsible for every decision that you, a fully grown human, makes? Whether that be your sexual orientation or whether you’re in a relationship.”
“That’s pretty much it,” Kara said.
“That’s... wow. I mean, she can’t really hold Alex responsible for that stuff. Those things are your choices. I don’t mean that you chose to be bisexual or however you identify, I mean the choice to come out, and the choice to be single for a while after Mon… Mike,” Lena said. “That’s insane.”
“I think so too, but she always gives Alex these great long lectures about how she’s responsible for me. I’ve told her over and over that I’m responsible for my own decisions, but I guess old habits die hard.”
“Okay. So what did Alex do?” Lena asked.
“She told my mom that I was in a relationship, and that I was… getting married.”
“Oh my god!” Lena said, one hand on her mouth. “Are you kidding me?”
“Nope,” Kara said, rolling her eyes.
“So who’s the lucky guy?” Lena asked. “Or girl, sorry. This is new information.” She flashed an apologetic smile at Kara, who shook her head.
“It’s not a problem, Lena. I’ve only ever dated guys, so you had no reason to think otherwise. Anyway, the lucky person is… an unnamed individual. So now I have to come up with someone who doesn’t have holiday plans, who doesn’t mind pretending to be my fiancé for a week in front of my foster mother.”
Kara gesticulated with a piece of shrimp.
“I have no idea where I’m going to find someone. Everyone I know is going home for Christmas or going on vacation, and I wouldn’t want to ask any of my friends, since most of them have had feelings for me at one time or another. But I did manage to blackmail Alex into paying for my potstickers and pizza for the next year to make up for it.”
“Well done,” Lena said, smiling. “You know, I haven’t got any plans for Christmas, and honestly after Thanksgiving it would be nice to spend a holiday with a few friendly faces around me. If you’re comfortable with it, I could be your fake fiancée. Since you are attracted to women and your mom knows that, it would be a realistic cover. Then we could break up in the New Year. We’ll say I cheated. It’s not like I’m ever going to run into your mom at a board meeting or a gala.”
Kara stared at her, mouth dropping open. A piece of potsticker fell from her lower lip, unnoticed.
“Kara, was that… I’m sorry. Should I not have offered? I didn’t mean to make you feel awkward, or to basically invite myself on your vacation. I’m your boss, after all, and that’s just… unprofessional of me. Sorry. Forget I said anything, please,” she said, sinking the rest of her glass of wine in one long swallow.
Kara unfroze, hearing the panic in Lena’s voice.
“No, Lena, please don’t be embarrassed. It’s a great idea, actually. I mean, we’re such good friends, I’m sure we could manage to pretend for a week. It’s such a nice offer, thank you. You’re my favourite, Lena,” Kara finished, holding both of Lena’s hands in hers.
“No, Kara. You’re only saying that to make me feel better,” Lena said, trying to pull her hands away. “Forget I said anything, please.”
Kara could tell that Lena’s walls were going up, more strongly than ever. She began to rub Lena’s knuckles with her thumb, moving in small, soothing circles.
“Lena,” she said quietly. “You are my best friend. I wish I’d invited you to Thanksgiving and to our Christmas holiday. I just… I figured you would spend it with someone you were closer to.”
“There isn’t anyone I’m closer to,” Lena said, avoiding Kara’s gaze. Kara could tell, however, that she was softening.
“I would love it if you’d come with me to Midvale,” Kara said. “It would be my honour to have you on my arm as my faker-than-fake fiancée, Miss Luthor, if the offer still stands.”
She smiled slyly, waiting until Lena’s eyes flickered up to meet hers. When Lena looked at her directly, she deployed the pout™. Lena was helpless before it, she knew.
“Fine,” Lena said, sighing. “I accept your kind offer, my very not-new fiancée with whom I have a completely romantic relationship.”
“Yes!” Kara said, standing up and leaping into the air, fist first. “We’re gonna have so much fun.”
Lena groaned loudly, and Kara grinned back, unrepentant.
“You’re going to be the death of me, Kara Danvers,” Lena said, as Kara pulled her to her feet and enveloped her in a tight hug.
“I hope not,” Kara murmured. “I wouldn’t like to know what my life is like without you in it.”
“Oh, Kara,” Lena breathed. “How does anyone ever say no to you?”
“I’ll let you know when it happens, Miss Luthor.”