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Grumbling in frustration, Kara surveys the mess of discarded outfit options scattered all across her bed. Normally cleanup is a matter of seconds. After yesterday’s lengthy fight and the use of a bit too much heat vision, though, Kara had woken up powerless despite a night under the sunlamps. And it’s not as if she’s still hurt or has already caught one of the innumerable illnesses that seem to plague humans, but everything just feels wrong. Gravity is too strong, making her feel heavy and sluggish. A stubbed toe that morning sent pain radiating up and down her foot instead of denting the bed frame. The search for her phone and wallet required the careful exploration of all of her drawers and purses and counters instead of an easy scan through walls and doors. And now she has a pile of laundry to be put away at that infuriatingly slow human pace, all because she needed to find an outfit to go out with her friends from the Tribune for drinks at some trendy bar that so isn’t her scene. But she’d already cancelled on them twice for Supergirl emergencies, making up illnesses and family drama, and save for maybe some last-minute bout of food poisoning, she can’t really think up a good excuse not to go.

After a few more discarded options she settles on a sleeveless blue dress that seems slightly more daring than her normal work outfits and decides that the pile of clothing can wait until she gets home. Who knows, maybe she’ll get her powers back before then and never have to worry about dealing with human-speed cleaning.

After a long ride on overly crowded public transit, Kara finally spots the subdued signage for Nectar, slipping in with a crowd of stylish 30-somethings who put her dress to shame. It’s almost enough to send her running right back for the exit, but then Jamil notices her, and it’s too late to make a break for it.

“Kara!” He waves her over to the group of tables he’s claimed for them on the far right side of the bar.

“Hey!” With a forced smile plastered on her face, Kara hurries her way over to the group, letting Sarah introduce her around to a whole group of people who are apparently Sarah’s friends (and then some of their friends). She can only hope her annoyance doesn’t show. She had wanted to spend time with Jamil and Sarah and Sharice, but she definitely didn’t sign up for a night with a bunch of strangers. Still, after a few minutes of sipping the drink Sarah ordered for her, she figures she should be polite and mingle. So when one of the guys comes up to chat with her, she decides not to be rude—not when Jamil and Sharice have already found new people to talk to as well—and lets herself be led over to one of the smaller tables where it’s a bit quieter.

“Brad, right?”

“Yeah.” He leans over the table and into her space, his breath smelling of bourbon and his cologne seeping into the air around them. He carries himself with the level of self-assuredness that Kara thought only existed among celebrities. And fine, he’s handsome with a sharp jawline and blonde hair and a suit that probably costs more than Kara’s yearly paycheck, but still, she doesn’t appreciate being looked at like she’s just been granted some great honor of acknowledgment.

“I’m Kara.”

“I know. Wouldn’t forget the name of someone as gorgeous as you.”

It’s a line, and it’s a lot, but she guesses it’s nice to hear, especially when she feels sort of shitty, so she smiles at him. “How do you know Sarah?”

“We went to undergrad together.”

“Oh, that’s cool. Are you, um, a journalist too?” She doubts it by the clothes, but maybe he just comes from money.

“No. I’m an investment banker.” He says it like it’s the kind of thing that she should be impressed by. “That’s how Sarah and I reconnected actually. I manage CatCo’s finances.” Kara wonders if he was part of the team that ended up losing almost a year’s worth of profits during her first year working there. The memory of the day that news broke still gives her nightmares.

“Oh, that’s…neat. CatCo’s a great place to work!”

He shrugs. “We’ll see how long it lasts. I’ve got some job offers in from Metropolis.”

There doesn’t seem to be a good response, so Kara makes a noncommittal noise before reaching for her straw again, startling when she sucks up air. Maybe sipping at her drink to fill the awkward silences hasn’t been the best tactic, though, she consoles herself, she barely seems to be feeling it. Perhaps all the experience with alien liquors while dating Mon-El gave her a higher tolerance level.

“Can I get you another drink?”

“Um, I shouldn’t yet. But thank you.”

“Okay.” After a few seconds of silence, Brad starts talking again, asking about the best places to go in the city, good restaurants to try, all those sorts of things. And that’s one surefire way to get Kara talking, so she finds herself giving him whole lists of great places to see and the best hidden gem restaurants and the names of the shows that are in town that have gotten great reviews. It isn’t until she’s paused and he’s reached over to touch her hand without a moment’s hesitation that she realizes why he asked. “Wow, you really know the city, huh? Maybe one of these days we could go out, visit some of these places.”

“Oh, uh, maybe, I mean—”

“Don’t worry, you can pick the places, and I’ll cover the tab. I like to treat a woman.”

“Right, no, I mean, that wasn’t the worry.” There doesn’t seem to be any good way to explain that she’s not interested, and even if she were, she’s got a pretty terrible track record with relationships that she suspects has something to do with the damn crush on a former boss that won’t go away, no matter how many months or years the woman spends traveling the world and starting foundations and working in politics and doing everything but thinking about coming back to see who might still be waiting for her back in National City.

“Oh. Do you have a boyfriend?” he asks, furrowing his brow at the sight of Kara’s hand slipping out of his grasp.

“No.” She crosses her arms over her chest, biting her tongue to keep from ranting about how it’s not okay that men always assume that the only reason a woman is unavailable to them is if some other man has already pulled her off the market, like some kind of possession.

“Well then I don’t hear any problems.”

“I—I don’t have a boyfriend, but I do have a date. A first date I’m meeting here any minute now actually, and it wouldn’t be polite to start making plans for a date with someone else while I wait.”

“I never said I went for polite girls, baby.”

She’s honestly shocked that he can’t hear the sound of her teeth grinding together. “It was…nice meeting you, but I really need to go. Find my date and all that.”

The corners of Brad’s mouth lift, like he’s in on some joke that Kara couldn’t possibly understand, is in fact actively trying not to understand. “Well, even still, we couldn’t have you stuck here all alone waiting, could we? Plus,” he adds, leaning forward another inch or two, his elbows propped on either side of the table and making it wobble slightly, “you might just find yourself missing me once you’ve met that guy.”

Kara manages a tight smile, wishing more than anything that she had her powers, missing the sense of security they shroud her in. Because now all she can think about are the warnings she’s heard over the years—in health classes and college orientation and self-defense classes she never thought she needed, but also in the little tips that flitted among women, the whispers in the bathroom of a bar about some guy who wasn’t quite understanding the meaning of no or the barely perceptible widening of eyes as a signal to go rescue a friend in need. As her gaze skims around the increasingly crowded bar—and, Rao, why do people enjoy this so much?—Kara ignores the handful of single men perched at tables or clustered around pool tables; it wouldn’t do to end up owing her freedom to someone who might be even worse than Brad, someone who might think he deserved something for his efforts.

Her eyes catch on a flicker of wavy blonde hair being artfully tossed over a shoulder, and she feels her heart stutter. The hair’s a little longer than Cat’s, and she knows that Cat was all the way across the ocean in Antwerp less than a week ago, but she can’t tamp down on the flicker of hope that surges up in her chest at every reminder, every trace of the woman who’d once seemed so immovable—a fixture in Kara’s life more solid and permanent than almost anything else…until she wasn’t. Until she was in Bhutan, then islands and mountains and vast deserts, then DC, then suddenly jetting off for more unknown horizons—diving, a word Kara has come to loathe.

She shakes herself out of her reverie in time to hear Brad explaining to her that she doesn’t need to make up dates to seem attractive to him; he’d already like to take her out again, maybe end the night somewhere a little more intimate. A large swallow of water does little to rinse the bitter taste out of her mouth, and she feels like she’ll need a shower to get rid of the lingering smell of his probably overpriced cologne applied too heavily by an order of three—and that’s without her powers.

The smile is more of a grimace this time. “As enticing as that sounds, my date’s actually here already.”

“Oh yeah?”

Kara wants to punch the expression off of his face.

“Yep, she’s right over there.” She gestures at the blonde Cat lookalike, resolving to donate to some LGBTQ charity for being yet another woman claiming a female date to get rid of some guy. Of course, unlike in the movies, she doesn’t think it’s such an absurd idea. It’s just that this woman isn’t her date, probably doesn’t even like women in that way. But Kara sends up a quick prayer that the woman at least knows the code well enough to understand that Kara needs an out, even just a quick escort to the door where she can grab a cab or the bus if it’s running on schedule for a change.

The expression that flickers over Brad’s features makes Kara’s stomach churn with dread. He looks almost gleeful, and that can’t possibly be good. “That woman right there?” He points to the blonde whose back is still towards them.

“Um, yep.”

“You know, I saw her walk in a few minutes ago.” That damn too-wide grin is back on his face. “She’s striking. I certainly didn’t miss her.”

Oh. It hits Kara all at once. He thinks he can get a threesome out of it. Well, he has another thing coming. “Yep, well, now you know my type. So I should be off. Wouldn’t want to keep a woman like that waiting.” She’s talking too fast, she knows it, can tell he senses her nerves by the way he smirks and smoothly pulls himself up from his chair.

“Let me walk you over. At the very least, I should apologize for keeping you from her. Had I known that you had a date—and who your date was—I would have told you when she got here.”

“Uh, alright…” Her fingers twist at the strap of her purse insistently enough that she swears she can feel the leather creaking even without her powers.

The walk across the bar is over all too soon, and Kara takes a deep breath as they approach the woman who has remained steadfastly oblivious to their existence.

Brad leans against the bar, shooting an easy smile at the woman before Kara can run interference. “Cat, I think I found something of yours.”

No. No, no, no. It can’t be.

But then the woman is looking up from her tablet, and Kara would recognize those piercing eyes anywhere, no matter how many months it’s been since she last saw them in person.

“And what would that be, Ben?” Cat sighs, pulling her glasses off as she turns to follow the path of Brad’s outstretched arm.

“Um, hi.” Kara waves her fingers in the air, wondering if maybe her powers could come back from shame, as well as adrenaline. It’d really be a great time to be able to create a Kara-sized hole in the wall (or floor, or ceiling—she isn’t picky) and disappear for another ten or so years.

“Kara.” Cat’s eyebrows furrow slightly as she takes in the sight of her former assistant standing as far away from Brad as she can, her hands clasped together in front of her, and her cheeks tinged with a faint pink blush.

“So it is true.” The only word Kara can think to describe the look in Brad’s eyes is wolfish. “My, my, Cat, when she said you were her date, I thought she was just trying to get away from me. I didn’t realize you swung that way.”

Before Kara can cut in with apologies and explanations about mistaken identities and thinking that Cat was another woman with wavy, blonde hair—you know, her actual date—Cat purses her lips. “I imagine you’re quite familiar with women wanting an escape from you, hmm?” Brad simply laughs, as if he doesn’t hear the ice in Cat’s tone. “Well, if you’re quite done harassing my date, I’d say it’s time for you to scurry along. Go on now.” Her fingers flitter through the air. “Shoo.”

The moment he’s out of earshot, apologies spill from Kara’s lips, one after another, no single thought quite completed before another is chasing its way out of her mouth.

“Kara.”

The name might be right this time, but it’s uttered in that sharp tone that Kara recognizes all too well from years of working as the woman’s assistant. It takes effort to tamp down on the Pavlovian response to stand up straighter and respond, “Yes, Ms. Grant?”

“Sit.” Cat taps the rungs of the barstool next to hers with a black heel higher than Kara would dare to walk in even with the ability to float.

“You don’t have to—”

“I’m aware. I’m Cat Grant. There’s very little I have to do at this stage in my life.”

“Right.” Kara fiddles with her glasses, her gaze wandering everywhere but Cat’s face.

“Now I was promised a date, so go on.”

“Excuse me?” Kara’s voice cracks a little on the first word, but she can’t even bother to muster up an appropriate amount of embarrassment.

“Did you or did you not tell that sad sack of a man that I was your date?”

“I did, but I mean, Ms. Grant—”

“Cat. Generally I don’t require my dates to use titles.”

Kara’s brain grinds to a halt at the generally, and it takes a good deal of will power to keep it from wandering to instances where she might demand it. “Cat.” Even if she’s used it before, the single syllable still thrills her. “I—I didn’t realize it was you. I just needed a way—Brad wasn’t exactly getting the hint that I wasn’t interested.”

“And so you thought you’d pull the time-honored trick of inventing a date—yes, yes, I might be older, but I’m not ancient.”

“But I wouldn’t want—I mean, clearly he knows you, and now he thinks you’re gay, and he seems the type to go telling people, and—”

Cat eyes Kara over the rim of her martini glass. “Do you think there’s something wrong with being gay?”

“What? No! My sister’s gay.” She sees Cat’s eyes already starting to roll. “I like women too.”

“That’s new…and mildly intriguing.”

“It’s not. New, I mean. It’s not new.” Cat’s response is little more than a quiet hum. “Like I was saying, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being gay or liking women, but this could give someone the wrong idea about you.”

“No, no, I think they might finally get the right idea. Lord only knows how long the tabloids can go on calling my dates my friends or, my personal favorite, some new rival I’m trying to bring down over candlelit dinners and late-night drinks.”

“I…” Any ability to form coherent thoughts or sentences stutters to a grinding halt. Kara wonders if maybe that drink from earlier just took a little longer to hit her because suddenly her tongue feels too large for her impossibly dry mouth, and she can’t figure out how to make words come out, and even if they did, she thinks they’d all be a jumbled mess centering around some combination of Cat and women and dates. Her traitorous brain takes that moment to call forth a litany of all the times Cat had ordered Kara to make reservations at intimate restaurants for her and various women, and oh Rao, were they dates?

“So perhaps your little mishap will do some good after all.” Cat’s eyes narrow then. “Speaking of…how did you of all people make such a mistake? Surely you haven’t already forgotten me.” It’s said with an easy surety, but Kara’s known Cat for too long to miss the hint of apprehension underneath it, the momentary pause, the fear that maybe she has been forgotten after all.

“No! I—I don’t have—not after yesterday’s fight.”

“I saw…” Cat purses her lips, eyeing Kara up and down as if she might catch injuries the DEO had missed. “Are you okay to be out?”

“Yep. Just, you know, human.”

“I assume that’s the reason none of Brad’s fingers are broken?”

“More like the reason why I had to invent a date.” Kara sees the moment the words’ meaning hits Cat, watches the way her expression darkens, the corners of her mouth pulling taut. “But, um, I can let you go. I think the next bus is getting here in a minute or two, so you know, I’ll be fine.”

“Honestly, Keira, how many times do I need to repeat the fact that I’m willing to play a part in your little charade? Be your fake date for the evening?”

“My dates generally call me by my name,” Kara huffs under her breath.

Cat actually smiles at that, leaning in a little closer. “Say it a little louder, and I might just be willing to say that you’ve grown a backbone in my absence.”

“You’ve been gone long enough. It could have happened.”

Cat’s throat bobs as she swallows. “Yes, well, I had things to do, plans to set in motion.”

“And now you’re here.”

“I am.”

“Is this just another…visit, like the other three times you’ve come back?”

“Two times,” Cat corrects.

“No.” Kara shakes her head, unwilling to let Cat deny it. “Once I woke up from the coma Alex told me I’d had a visitor—a rather insistent, angry, impossible to make leave visitor. After, um, Reign,” she adds in a whisper. She’d spent nearly a month obsessing over whether or not she should send Cat a message, eventually deciding that if Cat had wanted to talk to her, she would have waited or called or something.

“I needed—Olivia said she’d gotten word that you weren’t—but I needed to see for myself. To know with certainty.”

“Well, as you can see, I’m here. Alive.”

“But you almost weren’t.” Cat’s voice comes out thin, the words brittle, like they’d snap under the slightest amount of force. She clears her throat then, blinking quickly and shaking her hair back. “Anyway, this time isn’t just a visit. I accomplished the things I needed to accomplish. Things are lined up now.”

“Good.”

“Now this is a terrible start to a date, Kei—Kara. If this is how all of your dates go, it’s no wonder you’re still single.”

“Cat.” The warning tone is clear.

Cat doesn’t apologize, but she does flag down the bartender, ordering another martini for herself before turning to Kara and adding, “And whatever she’d like.”

“A Cuba Libre would be great.”

Cat turns fast enough that Kara worries she’ll give herself whiplash. “Not a seltzer water?”

Kara shrugs. “This is one of the few times when…”

Cat nods in understanding. “Little sweet for my taste, but not the truly appalling drink order I expected of you.”

A few minutes later, once they’ve gotten their drinks, Cat leads them over to a small booth along the back wall, surprising Kara by sliding in alongside her instead of taking one of the chairs on the other side.

“So is this your first time?” Cat asks as she swirls the contents of her martini glass.

Kara nearly chokes on the first sip of her drink. “Excuse me?”

Cat rolls her eyes. “Honestly, Kara, this isn’t a high school slumber party. I mean drinking. Or…well, drinking while human.”

With a little shake of her head, Kara takes a sip of her drink to settle her nerves. “Alex took me out the second time it happened. The first time I was—well, I was terrified.”

“The earthquake?”

“Mhmm.”

“In my office…when you cut your finger…was that the first time you’d seen yourself bleed?”

“On this planet,” Kara answers, her voice low, though Cat’s sitting close enough that she hears it anyway.

“Mm, you did seem rather panicked for a small cut.”

“Yeah. But, um, the next time I sort of knew it was coming. Once I’d healed up from the injuries, it was just a matter of waiting a few days, and Alex thought maybe getting to experience the joys of whiskey would help make them better.”

“And did it?”

“Well, neither of us really thought about the fact that it was like taking a teenager out for their first drinks… I was kind of a lightweight. The hangover was”—Kara manages a laugh now that it’s only a memory—“it was a nightmare.”

Cat’s mouth twitches. “Does this lightweight status of yours still hold? Because I need to be honest with you: I’m a catch and a fabulous date, but I will not hold your hair back in the bathroom like your sorority sister.”

Folding her arms over her chest, Kara lets out a little huff of annoyance. “I know better now. Besides, I think almost anyone who tried to keep up with Alex on their first go would wake up half-dead.” She doesn’t mention that she suspects the same thing would have happened if she’d tried to keep up with Cat.

“Okay, okay.”

They sit in silence for a few minutes until Kara shifts to angle herself towards Cat. “So…how’s Carter?”

From there, they slip back into their old rhythm—only this time there are lingering glances and grazing touches that don’t end with hands being pulled back like they were burned.

Talking about Carter coaxes those easy, genuine smiles out of Cat, and from there it’s simple enough for Cat to ask after Alex and Eliza. She even throws in a question about Winn, using the right name and all (not that Kara can really explain that he’s no longer in the present). Talk of family coupled with another round of drinks eventually turns the conversation to the questions Kara has wanted to ask for months now—what Cat did over her years away, why she needed to leave, catching up on all the little thing she’d missed when far away from the minutiae of Cat’s life.

As Cat talks, she lets slip how closely she’s been watching Kara’s career, commenting on the changes in her writing style, the evolution of her interests and ideas, how very proud she’s been to see Kara turning into the journalist she always knew she could be despite a rocky start that Cat admits almost had her on the first jet back to National City.

It’s when they’ve gotten back to talk of CatCo that the reality of everything hits Kara. She thinks about what they look like to anyone watching—hell, what it feels like to her as someone who knows it’s technically fake. She’s leaning up against Cat’s side; they’re smiling and laughing easily, like two people who intended to spend the whole night together; Cat’s hand is resting on her thigh, the warmth of her palm making Kara think about how good it might feel to have more of Cat pressed up against her.

“Oh no!” Kara jumps back, putting a good few inches of space between them. “Ms. Grant, what if—I mean, okay, yes, you date women, but I was your assistant! Oh Rao, if Brad says something, the tabloids will…. This is all my fault.”

“Kara,” Cat snaps. “First of all, it has been years since you were my assistant, and I spent many of them in other cities. Hell, half the time I was on whole other continents.”

“Right, but—”

“Second of all,” Cat cuts in, not letting Kara gather up anxious steam again, “I would hardly be the first person to date my former assistant. I think after the whirlwind that hit when Miranda took up with hers, the press might be growing bored with these stories.”

“Yes, but—”

“And besides, it’s not as if half of CatCo doesn’t have money in that illegal betting pool they think I don’t know about.”

“What?”

“You can hear for miles and see through walls. How are you possibly still in the dark about this?”

“I don’t spy on people,” Kara grumbles.

“Fine, fine. It was some silly pool about you and me and when something might happen, or, if certain entries are to be believed, how long we’d already been screwing one another after hours.”

Kara feels sick, physically sick. Had she been that obvious? She thought she’d hidden her crush better. At least, Winn and James had never said anything about it, and it sort of seems like the kind of thing they might have mentioned. “Oh god.”

“Yes, yes, apparently someone from HR was running a different illegal betting pool about staffing issues and happened to notice that I fired significantly more people than usual on the mornings after you’d gone on one of those horrid dates you talked about all around the office.”

“Wait. You?”

“What about me?”

“They were betting because they thought you—that you liked me?”

“It’s not as if you were particularly subtle when I wore pencil skirts.” Kara can feel her cheeks flaming. “Oh—oh!” Cat laughs around a sip of her drink. “Or, my favorite was when you nearly killed…what was his name? Jake? Jared? It doesn’t matter. I swear I thought you were going to save me the work of dumping him by forcibly removing him for me.”

“He didn’t deserve you.”

“Considering I did end things with him, I think you’ll find I agree.” Cat looks closely at Kara over the rim of her glass. “Now who do you think does deserve me?”

“What?”

“You clearly have thoughts. Your muttered complaints about all of my dates weren’t quite so quiet as you thought.”

“It’s just—you deserve someone who knows how amazing you are. Who takes you on dates you’d actually like to go on, instead of the easy ideas that might cost a lot but don’t require any thought. Someone who isn’t going to yell at you because there was an emergency at CatCo or because Carter needed something. And none of them ever gave a…a crap about Carter. He’s this incredible, brilliant, sweet kid, but they never even tried.” Kara’s building to something of a rant now, but Cat can’t quite find it within herself to stop it. “It was like, like they wanted this tiny sliver of who you are. They wanted you at dinner or drinks or…you know.” She actually wrinkles her nose in disgust at the memory of some of Cat’s past dates. “But they didn’t want to deal with your work or your family or any of the other things that you care about. And it’s just—why would you date someone so amazing and never try to get beyond the surface level?”

Cat swallows heavily, taking a few deep breaths before she trusts herself to speak. “Maybe I was looking in the wrong places.”

“Um, yeah, I guess. Maybe.” Kara shrugs. “Maybe you should have listened to all my muttering—could’ve saved you some trouble.”

“Oh, like you had such a winning track record,” Cat snips.

“Hey!”

“What? You can tear apart my exes, but I can’t do the same? Did you want me to pat you on the back and congratulate you for the prince with mommy issues a mile deep who only knew how to be a hero by telling you that you weren’t one? Or should we talk about dear Jimmy and the full two dates you managed before it all fell apart? Or maybe we could look at the string of blind dates and set-ups that all seemed to end with you alone and upset while some man-child who wasn’t half as smart or caring or attractive as you made you feel like shit about yourself?”

“Stop. Please. Please stop.” Kara pinches the bridge of her nose, willing herself not to cry. “I get it, okay? I’m not—I don’t get to have a normal life here. If I’m honest, which I can only be with a very small number of people, there are these extra high expectations that I’m held to, and if I lie, then I’m always leaving in the middle of dates until they get tired of it. I get it. I don’t need you to point it out.”

“Kara, that’s not what I meant.” Kara’s surprised to find she actually looks contrite in a way she rarely does with anyone who isn’t Carter.

“Really? Because it sure felt like yet another person telling me why I’ll never get to have a normal life.”

“Why would you want to settle for normal? You…you are extraordinary, and you deserve someone who knows that.”

“The ones who knew weren’t much better, Cat.”

The sound of Cat’s glass slamming down on the table makes both of them jump. “No. They didn’t really know how extraordinary you are. They didn’t get it. The little IT hobbit thought you would fix all of his problems. Our photographer thought you would just follow blindly in your cousin’s footsteps. Your intergalactic bartender knew that recognizing it would mean recognizing something missing in himself—something he didn’t want to see or admit to.” Cat takes a deep breath, turning all the way around to face Kara head on. “None of them saw you for you.”

“How do you know that?”

Cat’s voice is nearly a whisper when she answers. “Because no one who saw the real you and knew they had a chance to be with you would ever leave.”

Kara’s silent for a long few moments, finally breaking the quiet with a shuddering inhale. “You left.”

“Because I never had a chance.” With that, Cat slips out of the booth, striding over to the bar to close out her tab.

Kara’s waiting for her when she turns around. “What if you did?”

“If I did what?”

“If you had a chance. Or knew you had a chance. Would you still have left. Will you still leave?”

Kara catches the way Cat falters slightly. “Don’t say things you don’t mean.” Then she’s walking again, slipping through the crowds on her way to the door.

“Cat.” It’s forceful enough that the woman pauses. “I just had the best date I think I’ve ever had with the woman I have spent years falling for in what I always assumed was an unrequited crush, and it was a fake date.” Forcing herself to keep talking, Kara feigns a bit of that Supergirl confidence as she reaches for Cat’s hand to keep her from leaving. “Think about how much better it could be if we made it a real one.”

Cat clears her throat, turning all the way around to face Kara, not remotely interested in the complaints of the patrons who now have to make their way around her. “You’re serious?”

“I wouldn’t lie to you about this.”

“Well.” Suddenly Cat looks a lot more like herself again, but a version that Kara doesn’t know that she’s ever had the privilege of witnessing firsthand. “Despite a rather inauspicious start, I’d say by the end we made it work as a real enough date.” She runs her tongue along her lower lip, her gaze falling to Kara’s mouth.

“Yeah?” Kara grins as she takes a half-step forward, wondering if Cat would mind having their first kiss in the middle of a crowded bar.

“My car is waiting.” The timbre of Cat’s voice has changed to something lower and a little slower—Kara might even call it a purr if she had a death wish—and it makes Kara wish she had her powers back to get them somewhere private even faster. “Perhaps we could go talk…maybe finish our date somewhere less crowded?”

“Please.” She tangles her hand with Cat’s as they make their way out of the bar and into the cooling night air.

A moment later, Cat drops her hand, but before she can be disappointed by the loss, she feels Cat’s arm snaking around her waist and pulling her even closer as they take the last few steps to the idling car. It takes catching sight of Cat’s smirk for Kara to glance around them, spotting Brad standing off to the side at the valet stand and staring at them, mouth agape.

“I’m not really one to be petty, but Brad’s staring, and maybe we should give him even more of a reason to be jealous.”

Cat’s devilish answering grin reminds Kara of all the campy villains Alex used to pretend she didn’t have crushes on growing up. “I think I can be petty enough for the both of us.” Her hand slips down Kara’s back, her fingertips ghosting over the curve of Kara’s ass as she uses her free hand to reach out and open the car door.

Kara can tell Cat’s ready to leave it at that—or, more likely, turn around flash him one of those tight smiles that promise destruction to anyone who gets in her way—but she doesn’t want there to be a question in his mind that she wants this every bit as much as Cat, so before she climbs into into the car she reaches out, fisting Cat’s blazer in her hands and dragging her forward into a kiss that’s no less searing for its brevity. She counts it as a victory when Cat doesn’t even think to look back at Brad, instead following Kara right into the car.

“I’m sorry if I—”

“Don’t you dare apologize for that.” After a moment she adds, “Unless you didn’t mean it.”

And it seems beyond wrong to let Cat continue under this deluded belief that there is any world in which Kara doesn’t want to be kissing her, so she leans forward, letting her lips find Cat’s once more.

Cat takes charge this time, hitting the button to raise the privacy screen before wrapping one arm around Kara’s waist and letting the other cup Kara’s jaw, slowing her movements to something sensuous and deep that has Kara melting in Cat’s embrace.

After some amount of time—it could have been minutes or seconds or hours, Kara can’t say—Cat pulls back slightly. “Where should I take you?”

Kara doesn’t even consider the idea that Cat’s asking if she should drop her off at her apartment. In that moment it could only be a choice between Cat’s place and hers. “My bed’s covered in laundry.”

The catch in Cat’s breathing seems to reverberate through the quiet of the backseat. “Carter won’t be back from his father’s until Monday.”

“So your place? I mean, if you want—I don’t want to assume—”

Cat stops Kara’s second-guessing with another kiss, which leads into another, then another, until they’re nearly on top of one another, hair mussed and clothes disheveled and mere minutes away from deciding that waiting is overrated when the car finally slows to a stop in front of Cat’s building. After a half-hearted attempt at straightening her blazer over a silk blouse that she thinks might be permanently creased, Cat steps out of the car and motions for Kara to follow her. The fact that they make it all the way through the lobby without tearing each other’s clothes off seems like a victory. Cat celebrates by pushing Kara up against the mirrored walls of the elevator car and trailing searing kisses down the column of her throat. Kara’s already panting by the time they make it to the penthouse.

Somehow the change in setting seems to settle them both slightly. “Perhaps we should talk first,” Cat muses as she kicks off her heels and drops her purse on one of the chairs. Kara follows her lead, losing her shoes and settling in over on the couch while Cat ambles into the kitchen, pulling out two glasses and a pottle of San Pellegrino despite her earlier teasing comments about Kara’s drink preferences.

“Right. Um, I like you.”

Cat bites her lower lip to keep from smiling. “If that’s where we’re starting, well, I have feelings for you as well. I have for a while, in fact.”

“Oh?”

Cat brings over the two glasses she’s just poured, setting them both down on the coffee table before settling in a few feet away from Kara on the couch. “Well at first I assumed I could play it off as physical attraction. Then you tried to feed me Chipotle, and it seemed obvious that those feelings would fade away rather quickly. Only…they didn’t. Of course, Supergirl confused things for a little while until I put two and two together, then did it again after your little magic act.” Kara has the decency to at least drop her gaze, even if she doesn’t quite seem apologetic. “Either way, it would have been inappropriate to act on feelings when I was still your boss, so I simply pushed them down for a while.”

“And now? Technically you’ll be my boss if you’re coming back to CatCo.”

“Technically. Though you’ll report up an entirely separate chain of command, and I won’t have quite the same level of involvement at CatCo as I once did. All those foundations I was out working on still need someone guiding them through their first years.”

“Right.”

“And you?”

“Oh, I mean, my sister’s been teasing me for being head over heels for you since the day of my interview. I just sort of assumed you’d never like me back. Not that it made the crush go away, but it made it a little easier to deal with for all those years. But now”—Kara shifts closer to Cat—“well now I don’t think I could bear going back to the way things were. Not now that I know I have a chance. Not now that I know what it’s like to kiss you.”

“No, I certainly don’t think we should go back to the way things were. Moving forward is key.”

Kara nods quickly, inching closer and closer to Cat.

“I’d like to take you on a proper date, Kara. You were so nervous about the idea that someone might see us tonight, but I don’t want to hide you away like some shameful secret.”

Kara blinks back the surge of emotions. “Really? I mean, I’d understand if you—”

“But I don’t.”

“Okay,” Kara whispers.

“I will want to talk to Carter first—let him know that I might be in the papers.”

“Of course. Yeah, and I mean, I—you know, I like Carter. I don’t want him to feel like… I mean, he’s an important part of your life, and I don’t want him feeling like someone is taking time away from him. So, whatever that means, I get it. I’m good with it.”

“You make it so easy to fall in love with you,” Cat whispers—as much a confession as it is an accusation born of fear and and nerves and memories of too many failed relationships.

“Good. Because I don’t plan on going anywhere.”

“No,” Cat agrees, “no more leaving.”

Kara presses a soft kiss to the corner of Cat’s mouth. “Maybe we can save the rest of the planning for tomorrow?”

Even as Cat winds her arms around Kara’s neck, she checks one more time: “Are you sure? I don’t want to do anything you’re not ready to do.”

“I think after all these years we’ve waited long enough.”

“Bedroom,” Cat manages, tugging on Kara’s hand as she guides her down the long hallway to the master bedroom at the very end.

Kara barely registers the details of the room she’d imagined so many times over the years. Lots of cream with coordinated accent colors and furniture that most definitely didn’t come from IKEA. Nothing can compare to the the woman in her arms, to the trail of teasing kisses being pressed all along her collarbone or the drag of Cat’s short, manicured nails over her back that she can feel like a burning path even through the fabric of her dress.

“Cat.” The broken whine catches in her throat as Cat’s fingers find the zipper to her dress, tugging it down until the two sides of the dress part, leaving Cat’s hand free to explore the newly bared expanse of smooth skin.

Kara pulls back just long enough to shrug her shoulders free of the dress, letting it pool around her ankles. There’s little time for Cat to appreciate the defined lines of Kara’s abs and arms and thighs before her own blazer is being pushed off her shoulders, her shirt joining it on the ground a moment later.

Unwilling to wait for Kara to figure out that there’s both a button and a clasp before the zipper of her pants, Cat rakes her nails up the back of Kara’s neck, nearly gasping at the low whine that tears its way out of Kara’s throat.

“Feels—feels good,” Kara pants as Cat’s fingers tangle in her hair, pulling her in for a kiss that’s rougher than anything else they’ve traded so far. Teeth dragging along her lower lip. The hand not in her hair clutching at her hip hard enough to bruise—one she might even get to see for a change.

Together, they stumble backwards until Kara’s back is pressed up against one of the walls, Cat laving wet, open-mouthed kisses along Kara’s jaw and down her neck. Kara manages to wedge a thigh between Cat’s legs, dropping her hands down to Cat’s waist and encouraging Cat to grind against her.

Some little voice in the back of Cat’s head protests that she shouldn’t still be wearing pants—pants that are being wrinkled beyond repair—and she probably shouldn’t feel two thrusts away from a half-dressed orgasm like some hormonal teenager. But when she slows her movements, starting to pull back slightly, Kara’s grip around her tightens, one hand sliding around to her ass to pull her more insistently forward.

“Take what you need.” Kara’s voice is rough and gravelly, her breath hot against Cat’s ear, and god help her, Cat’s powerless against an invitation as enticing as that one.

She bites down on Kara’s shoulder when she comes, barely registering two strong arms moving up to hold her upright as she shudders through the aftershocks.

“In my bed. Now.”

Kara hastens to comply, nearly tripping over her feet in her hurry. But then she’s settling right in the middle, propped against the pillows and looking up at Cat through thick lashes.

Cat’s pants join her shirt and blazer on the floor, and she pushes the last layer of sheer lace down as well, watching Kara’s eyes track every movement as her fingers fist in Cat’s duvet. When she reaches for her bra, though, Kara surges forward. “Please. Let me?”

And how could she possibly say no to that offer?

Kara crawls forward, meeting Cat at the edge of the bed. With slow, almost reverent movements, she pulls herself up onto her knees and reaches for the clasp of Cat’s bra, carefully unhooking it, then inching the straps over slim shoulders and down her arms. “You’re so gorgeous, Cat.” It’s a breathy whisper mixed in with soft kisses pressed all across Cat’s chest.

Kara barely even notices as Cat reaches behind her to remove her own bra, but then she’s being led back to the pillows and pressed down as Cat takes her time worshiping every inch of her. A line of kisses trace down her sternum, then trail up and around her breasts, circling around where she most wants to feel Cat’s warm mouth until suddenly Cat’s tongue is flicking across one of her nipples, then enveloping it in wet heat. She can hear herself crying out—the only noise in the silent room apart from the quiet pop of Cat’s mouth when she pulls back, only to lavish the same attention on the other side. Kara doesn’t think she’s ever been quite so turned on, and Cat hasn’t even gotten past her chest yet.

As Cat continues her thorough ministrations, Kara drags her fingers down Cat’s side, dipping along with the curve of her waist before dragging back up. Eventually Kara’s impatience gets the best of her, and she nudges Cat up far enough that she can lift her neck and capture Cat’s breasts. The softly exhaled oh is worth all the discomfort from having to battle gravity with her neck. When she can feel Cat’s hips canting forward into the air, Kara lets her hand drop lower until she’s cupping wet heat.

“I wanted to—”

“You will,” Kara insists. “Just let me take care of you first.” Somehow the pulsing between her own legs can’t compare to the need to feel Cat, to taste Cat, to be inside Cat. Her blood seems to sing with how much she wants, how much she needs. She swears she’s never felt quite this way before. Oh, there are still the usual nerves, sure, but in that moment there’s no fear of hurting Cat, of losing control of herself, of managing to do something she could never undo, could never forgive herself for. Instead, the empty spots that have been left behind by her fear have all been filled in with a desperate need to make Cat feel how much Kara wants her, how good she can make her feel.

She channels the energy of years’ worth of unrealized fantasies about Cat—her unavailable boss, then her still untouchable former-boss, and finally her absent mentor—as she follows every cue Cat gives her, every hitch in her breath, every soft whimper, every needy moan. The angle isn’t easy on her wrist, but she’d rather die than stop now—not when Cat’s writhing against her hand and clenching around her fingers and gasping out orders for Kara not to stop. When she manages to tuck her thumb just right to hit Cat’s clit, she’s rewarded with a loud cry, followed by her own name, chanted like a prayer until Cat’s whole body tenses, her back arching and thighs trembling. Then she’s crashing back down to earth with a breathy exhale and a full-body shudder.

Kara eases her soaked fingers out from between Cat’s thighs as Cat collapses into the mattress beside her, her chest still heaving and her skin glistening with a thin film of sweat.

“One minute.” Cat holds up a single finger. “One minute, and you are mine.”

As it turns out, watching Kara slowly suck the taste of Cat off her fingers is enough to cut that waiting period down to 30 seconds, and before Kara quite knows what’s happened, her underwear have been pushed down her legs, and Cat’s straddling her hips and nipping and sucking at that juncture of her neck and shoulder that makes her whimper every time.

“Do you know,” Cat whispers between kisses, “how long I’ve wanted to do this?” Kara’s hips buck up, and the full force of her arousal that had faded into the background while she focused on Cat comes roaring back twofold. “Do you know that when I came back to National City with Olivia there was a selfish part of me that thought maybe…just maybe, once we’d saved the world again, maybe then I could show you just how grateful I am for everything you do.” Kara’s thoughts flicker back to Cat’s broadcast, to the way she’d broken every earlier speed record to catch Cat, the president be damned. She’d been caught up in panic about a best friend and a boyfriend who she’d let matter so much more than he deserved, but even still, she couldn’t deny how right things felt with Cat back.

“I—” Kara stumbles in the process of turning the jumbled mass of thoughts into words—and words that she might dare to say out loud. “I wanted this too. For…for a long time.”

“Mm?” Cat pulls back enough for Kara to see the arched eyebrow.

Kara nods.

“Do tell,” Cat murmurs, slowly working her way down Kara’s chest.

“I, um, I sometimes, uh, you were in a lot of my dreams.” Cat’s hum vibrates along her ribs. “I never really thought you’d ever—but sometimes late at night I couldn’t stop my thoughts from wandering.” The keening whimper gives Kara the courage to keep talking. “I imagined getting to touch you so many times, Cat.”

“Fuck.” Cat’s fingers dig into Kara’s hips as she settles between her legs. Part of her wants to keep Kara talking, find out all the details about these dreams and fantasies, but her need to taste Kara wins out.

Kara lets out a gasp of air at the first flick of Cat’s tongue. Then fingers are curling around her hips, and Cat’s mouth is all around her, Cat’s tongue teasing at her entrance, just barely inside of her, and Kara loses the ability to keep track of what’s happening. All that matters is that it’s Cat between her legs, that it’s Cat making her feel better than she’s ever felt before, that it’s Cat whispering about just how good Kara tastes, how she could spend a lifetime between Kara’s legs, and still it would never be enough.

When one, then two fingers slide inside of her, it’s gentler than she’d imagined in some of her fantasies. Cat builds to a steady rhythm, curling them up inside of her, then dragging them slowly, oh so slowly, back down, then pressing deep inside her once more, again and again and again.

Kara’s orgasm hits her in waves, each one crashing over her, discreet entities that build on each other until she’s awash with pleasure, her whole body warm and loose, feeling more right than it ever has without her powers.

Cat only pauses for a few minutes to kiss up and down Kara’s thighs as her breathing evens out, but then Cat’s fingers are pumping harder inside Kara, her mouth rejoining them moments later. Half-sensical thoughts spill from Kara’s lips as her hips buck up into Cat’s mouth. She can’t find it within herself to stop, though, needs to keep telling Cat how good it is, even if the words come out in a babbling flood.

The next orgasm hits Kara all at once, her thighs tensing for only the shortest of moments before she’s crying out to Cat and Rao and earth’s God, clinging to anything to try to keep herself grounded, to keep the waves of pleasure from carrying her off when all she wants is to be right here in this bed with this gorgeous, perfect woman.

“You’re good, you’re good,” Cat repeats, her voice a soft whisper as she nudges at Kara’s hips until she drops back down to the mattress with a quiet oof.

Kara’s thoughts are still blurry as she tries to process everything she’s feeling, the things she can see and should theoretically comprehend. “My powers…” she trails off, watching as Cat smirks at her with lips that still glisten with her arousal. “Oh! I guess fear isn’t the only way to produce adrenaline…”

“I have to say, it really is a wonderful confidence booster.”

“C’mere,” Kara mumbles, reaching out for Cat’s hand and dragging her up to the pillows to kiss the taste of herself off Cat’s lips. “Even if I hadn’t gotten them back, that would still have been perfect.”

“It was rather wonderful, wasn’t it?”

“It was.” Kara presses her lips to Cat’s again. “Not that we’re finished.”

“Oh?”

“I have years’ worth of fantasies, Cat. We’re not even close.”