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Sister Time

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Ema is curled up on her side, facing away from the door, when Lana sneaks in late at night. The solar system lamp by her bedside is still on and has been set to a warm glow, bathing the room in an orange light. Saturn, Earth and Mars cast long shadows against the wall as they sway softly on their axis’. Lana pauses to admire the scene and Ema’s sleeping form in pastel purple pyjamas. She is full of love for her little sister, as curious and fascinated by the world for as she had been when she first began to make her way through it. And as much as they bicker and Ema sometimes fits the role of stereotypically annoying younger sister, Lana loves her more than anything.

 

She moves swiftly to Ema’s bed, sitting down carefully on the edge, before curling up in a similar manner to her sister. She tries not to jostle the bed too much but still ends up making Ema stir. She turns with a groan to face her, voice scratchy as she rubs the sleep from her eyes. “Hey, Lana. Back from work?”

 

Lana smiles softly at her. “That’s right, sleepyhead. Sorry if I woke you.”

 

“It’s fine.”

 

They look at each other for a while. Lana can’t remember the last time they had ‘sister time’ where it was just the two of them, talking or gossiping or doing whatever else Ema was interested in at the time. Just spending time together was enough for her. Lana wants to promise to make more of those moments in her busy schedule - this evening being one of them - but sometimes she is doubtful of her ability to keep that promise.

 

Ema scans her features for the last time and suddenly pouts. “How are you so pretty?”

 

Lana scoffs. “What are you talking about, so are you!”

 

Ema rolls her eyes, turning away from her but her grumble is playful. “Yeah, yeah.”

 

“Oh, come on.”

 

She turns her head back around with a knowing smile and raised eyebrows. “I’m not the one that’s got Mia Fey all hot and bothered-“

 

Ema!” Lana huffs, blushing lightly, propping herself up on an elbow. “I knew I shouldn’t have told you.”

 


“Well, even if you didn’t I would have found out anyway. Science never lies.”

 

Lana doesn’t bother to point out that science has nothing to do with a relationship, only settling onto her back with a sigh. She brings her hands together across her sternum. The mention of Mia is enough to bring butterflies in her stomach.

 

“Funny that you brought that up, though.” She says, teasing. “You’re not jealous, are you?”

 

She turns in time to see Ema’s gaze snap to hers in horror. “Oh God, no- ugh, Lana!”

 

“Ok, ok I’m sorry! I’m just teasing, but you did bring it up-“

 

“No, not like that!” She argues, gesturing, “I’m just- Lana you’re so lucky.”

 

Lana blinks at her in surprise, her chuckles die down. Ema continues. “You’re lucky to have someone so amazing as her feel that way about you, and for you to feel that way back. I just want you to be happy and satisfied - that’s all.” She breathes out calmly. “Sometimes I think you restrained yourself too much, for my sake.”

 


Lana is still unsure how to respond. Ema’s thoughtfulness absolutely melts her heart. She grins widely at her, unable to contain her emotion. “Ahh. How did I get such a wonderful sister?” She takes her face in her hands and kisses her on the forehead, and then on the nose.

 

“I love you, Lana.” She states, in a way of explanation.

 

“I love you too, Ema, but you really shouldn’t worry,” Lana replies gently, brushing some of Ema’s hair behind her ear before shifting on her back again. “I wanted to keep dating at a standstill so I could have time to balance everything in my life. I had law school, then a career to build and you to raise, I don’t think I was really in the right mindset for anything more than casual.”

 

Ema’s eyes light up at the last sentence. “Oooh, so does that mean…you did date?”

 

Lana frowns. “I did go on dates, yes, here and there. They never really turned into anything more, though.”

 

“How come?”

 

“Well, like I said, right place, right time-“

 

“Right person.”

 

Lana hums in agreement. “Definitely.”

 

There is a pause as they lay side by side in comfortable silence, Ema no doubt thinking. “So, Mia…she’s the ‘right person.’”

 

Lana allows herself to sigh somewhat wistfully before replying. “Yes, I really think she is.”

 

“And you make each other really happy?”

 

“Yes, of course, Ema.” Lana says with a laugh, “Are you done interrogating me, now?”

 

“Hey! I’m just curious!”

 

“And I appreciate that, trust me. I’m glad you like Mia, too.”

 

“Of course! And Maya’s pretty cool.”

 

Lana hums again and they fall into another comfortable silence. The breeze from the window stirs at the wind chime hanging above it.

 

“Hey, Lana?” Ema says, breaking the silence, but this time sounding shy.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Do you promise to do this every week? I mean, maybe not the same time or day, but like a dedicated ‘sister time’ where it's just the two of us.” She doesn't say 'like we did when we were little' but she doesn't have to.

 

Lana turns to look at her. Ema, from the way she’s chewing her lip, is braced for an apology and an explanation of how unpredictable her job is and how busy it makes her. It dawns on her that her sister is prepared for a disappointing answer. And that she’s not only prepared for it, but she’s expecting it. Lana suddenly doesn’t care about any of the reasons she may not be able to promise this - because she’s going to make it happen no matter what. “Yes.” She says finally, “I promise, Ema. Every single week.”

 


Ema’s eyes light up. “Pinky promise?”

 


“Pinky promise.” She says, hooking their pinkies’ together. They smile at each other and Ema beams at her. She’s so happy, Lana thinks with a pang of guilt, just at the prospect of spending time with me. She suddenly regrets how cold she’d been during the State vs. Skye case and the years before that - how she’d pushed away the closest person to her and neglected to give her the love she needed and deserved. Lana unhooks their pinkies’ and suddenly brings Ema into a one-sided hug. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make time before. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep my struggles to myself and had to take them out on you.”

 

Ema melts into the hug, her cheek laid across Lana’s shoulder. “Hey. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re free now, you’re happy, you have an amazing girlfriend again and also a kickass sister-“

 

Lana interrupts her with a laugh, shaking her head. “You’re right.”, she breathes and then adds more quietly, “But I still regret how I’ve treated you.”

 

“I know, Lana. But I also couldn’t even imagine what you were going through.”

 

Lana pulls back to meet her gaze. There is sympathy and also some guilt there, just from the way Ema is looking at her, and she leans in to kiss her on the forehead again. “We need to be more honest and supportive of each other from now on." She lays her head back down. "More open.”

 

“And closer.”

 

“And closer.” She agrees, watching Ema stifle a yawn through her smile. When Lana glances at the bedside table it tells her it is ten past eleven.

 

“Ok, Ema, time for bed.” She says, sitting up on the bed.

 

Ema pouts at her. “I’m not little anymore.”

 

“You are to me.” She replies while Ema grumbles as she’s tucked into bed.

 

Before Lana has the chance to wish her good night Ema pipes up again. “So what does dating Mia involve? Does she like gifts? Do you eat at fancy restaurants?”

 

Lana sighs. “I try to get her flowers anytime I can. She loves tulips, in particular.”

 

“Aww, you sap!” Ema beams up at her.

 

“I’m really not.”

 

“Yes, you are! It’s romantic.”

 

“Goodnight, Ema.” She leans to turn off the lamp and kiss her one last time on the cheek.

 

“Does Mia find it romantic?”

 

“Goodnight, Ema.”

 

The door shuts a couple of seconds later but Ema is still grinning.