'It's not just a river in Egypt.' — ancient proverb
"No, I don't like Lena." She says it too loud, can feel the eyes in the cafe turning towards her, and she makes herself smaller, pulls herself closer to Alex on the other side of the table. "Why would— why would you say that?"
"I'm sorry," Alex says, which is not an answer at all. "I just thought— it doesn't matter. My mistake."
And then— then— she takes a sip of her coffee like she hasn't just ruined Kara's whole life.
It's ridiculous. (Not the Lena part of it. Anyone would be lucky to have Lena as a girlfriend! Kara would be lucky to—)
"Where does Alex even get these things?" She's muttering to herself, and people are staring again. She goes on muttering to herself the entire walk home, a walk she would normally skip in favor of a quick flight but had thought the human way would let her walk the agitated shake out of her muscles.
Instead, she nearly rips her apartment door from its hinges, and she makes herself sit down quietly on the couch and breathe for a moment. In and out, ten times.
It's just, she's never—
Lena is her friend.
She doesn't— not like that.
(Not like what, exactly?)
She can't like Lena like that. She just, no. She can't.
Three hours, twenty-one minutes and four seconds later, exactly like that pops into her head.
Inconveniently, Lena is standing in front of her and sees the look that Kara can feel on her face for the three point five seconds before she can manage to turn around and flee the CatCo building, as fast as she humanly can.
Lena: everything okay?
Kara: Fine! Why?
She groans as she hits send, groans some more when Lena sends back a Superman emoji and a question mark— and when exactly is she getting her own emoji, she would like to know— and takes the easy way out with a thumbs up emoji back.
"Hey Siri," she sighs, kicks her heels against the side of the building whose roof she has commandeered for her little feelings party hideout, "Google 'am I in love with my best friend?'"
At one point in her life, Kara was supposed to grow up and become a scientist.
The empirical evidence suggests that she— that there might be some truth— that maybe she does—
(A google image search for photos of Lena at 2am had been enlightening—Lena graduated high school when she was fifteen!—entertaining, hilarious, and a little bit something else she's not ready to deal with in words.
It also produced a set of photos of Kara with Lena, at different events around National City that they have attended together. There were a lot of them.
She remembers each of them; a cocktail party for a new CatCo publication, a women in media event and the series of women in STEM speaking engagements Lena had hosted. A movie premier for a film so bad they'd spent the entire time making fun of it. There was also a set of paparazzi photos from the L-Corp Community Fair: Lena is wearing the world's biggest hat, and Kara is attempting not to laugh as it gets caught in the wind.
Mostly she remembers Lena looking gorgeous at all of them, but it's her own face in each of the photos that captures her attention, her own face looking at Lena like— like—)
Kara's not a scientist, but she does know where to find one.
She can only avoid Lena for so long. They work together, they spend basically all their free time together, and when they're not actually together they're usually talking about the next time they'll be together.
(And she doesn't want to avoid Lena. Which is kind of the point and the problem.)
"You have to tell me what made you think I like Lena," she tells Alex, stuffing a third potsticker into her mouth. "What if she thinks I like her?"
"What if she likes you?" Alex asks, a grimace at the oil dripping down Kara's chin. "Though god knows why she would."
Kara's going to stop talking to Alex about Lena from now on, because she hadn't even thought of that.
"I think I'm done with this show," Lena says, stretching against the arm of the couch. "It's the wrong kind of ridiculous now."
"Yeah," Kara answers, "I like this show, too."
Friday nights means three things: Riverdale, potstickers from the fancy place Lena insists on, and the two of them on Kara's couch.
For the last six months it's been the highlight of Kara's week, but it's been three days since Alex ruined everything with her big mouth and her stupid ideas, and Kara hasn't managed to shake whatever it is that's been sitting under her skin ever since.
The internet had been no help at all, which is to say the internet had been unanimous that Kara was absolutely, certainly, very definitely in—
She's trying very, very hard to act completely normal.
"Hey," Lena says, stretching her leg along the couch to poke her toe into Kara's thigh. "Is everything okay?"
No, she thinks, but she can't very well tell Lena that.
Things Kara Danvers Likes About Lena Luthor - A list by Kara Danvers.
She's smart and kind and dedicated and— over her shoulder her apartment door is shut tight, and she lets her fingers type out the letter p r e t t and y .
Kara's a journalist, and she speaks two earth languages and four non-earth languages. She could list six hundred adjectives in English alone. None of those words seem like enough, but the real problem is she's asking the wrong question.
Things Kara Danvers
Likes Loves About Lena Luthor - A list by Kara Danvers.
She presses her fingers together, tries to squeeze tremor of that out of them, then settles them on the keys.
Everything, she types, then adds a period. Because it's true, and she lets that feeling settle in her bones.
How do you tell your best friend you love them?
Google is no help.
'There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.' — Plato
The last time she was down in the basement of the DEO punching blocks of concrete, it had been Lena's fault, too.
(Kara tries very hard not to think there was something else going on there, too.)
Not that it's Lena's fault, exactly, other than being so amazing that Kara has gone and fallen in love with her. Everything else is on Kara, and her stupid, traitorous mind.
(She spends some time, like, making sure.
(No one said she needed to work through the stages in order. She's an alien.)
Alex leaves, and she lasts four minutes of telling herself she's not going to do it before she pulls out her laptop.
She's looked at porn before. When she was fourteen Alex had finally told her Eliza didn't know what they did on their phones, and it wasn't the first thing she looked up, but it was close. Humans were obsessed with it, and she didn't get it, so how could she not be curious?
It had mostly made her laugh, but in some of the videos she’d watched she could see the people were having fun. It seemed like a nice thing for Kara to do one day when she was older, and had a better handle on her powers.
She hadn't put much thought into who it would be with.
("Does— did Krypton have same sex matches?" she’d asked Alura last year, nudged into wondering about how Krypton society had really been compared to that of Earth.
"Matches served only political and biological purposes," Alura had intoned. " Love, on the other hand….")
The blush on her cheeks is a burning thing, but she makes herself type something generic but clear.)
'Hey, I thought about you while I touched myself, and it was amazing,' she imagines herself telling Lena, and the concrete explodes beneath her fist.
'Mister Sandman, bring me a dream
Make her the cutest that I've ever seen'
— Alvin & the Chipmunk
She doesn't have to do anything.
(She tosses a coin and breaks three magic 8 balls.)
'Love is a grave mental disease.'
"Oh, what would Plato know."
On her chest she wears a symbol that means stronger together.
'And I wish you all the love in the world
But most of all, I wish it from myself'
— Fleetwood Mac
"Can I kiss you?"
Lena nods, and something in her just breaks, with so much force it comes out in a sob.
"Did you think you were in this all alone?" Lena asks, cupping Kara's cheeks, thumbs brushing each tear as it falls. "I've been waiting all this time."
The words have barely been said before Kara's capturing them against Lena's lips, dissolving with the heat of her mouth, and— this is what she's wanted since before she knew to want it, and here Lena is, wanting it with her.
So when she said it ruined her whole life, what she kind of meant was it ruined her friendship with Lena.
And that's not really what happened at all.