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how can we be lovers (if we can't be friends)

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Lena sees her tutoring assignment for that semester and her eyes nearly bug out of her head. A bolded Kara Danvers, Section 3B stares back at her in some kind of mockery.

It’s not that she has a problem with Kara Danvers necessarily. She’s never actually met her face to face despite having been in at least one class together nearly every semester. All Lena knows of Kara is her reputation, and she’d rather not spend her semester trying to get some dumb jock to understand a physics class she’ll probably get gifted a passing grade in anyway.

At least she plays a tolerable sport - hockey - and not something insufferable like basketball or soccer. Lena’s seen those athletes around campus before, has even made the regrettable decision to attend a party at the soccer house when Lana was dating their star midfielder. The night involved some very questionable MDMA, a soccer ball kicked at Lena's face and a one-night stand with her organic chemistry TA. It's not something she likes to remember. Hockey players were notorious morons, but at least they weren’t known for anything more severe than a couple of all-out brawls on their front lawn.

For a few moments while she stares at the corkboard with the list of tutoring assignments, Lena ponders the virtue of requesting a trade. It seems like a decent idea until she spots Jack’s partner - Beth Breen, Section 2C - and realizes that things could be worse. At least she’s not meant to tutor someone that’s all but stalked her for two years. A heavy dose of amusement has her smothering a laugh as she turns away from the board and texts her friend.

did you see who you’re tutoring this semester?

Jack’s reply is quick - he’s supposed to be in the middle of some pass/fail English elective, but Lena knows he never pays attention. I hope it’s Mike Matthews and his two total brain cells just for a fucking laugh.

Lena shakes her head, takes a delight in texting him: Nope. Just your number one fan.

Shit is all Jack sends back and if Lena wasn’t busy searching for an appropriate gif to send him in reply she might have been paying better attention to where she was walking. As it is, she’s got her focus on her phone and usually the Academic Affairs building is abandoned at this time of the day, but just as she’s found a great gif of a dancing baby to send him, she turns a corner and runs into something tall and hard.

“Fucking hell,” she spits out, agitated at being bumped backward into a stumble. Her irritation deepens when she looks up to see what she’s run into and sees none other than Kara Danvers, grinning stupidly at her. “Watch where you’re going.”

Kara’s smile doesn’t waver in that irritating, unflappable way she has. Lena’s seen her enough around campus to be familiar with it. In the classes they’ve shared, there’s never been an ounce of panic on Kara’s face when she gets startled into answering a question. The only difference right now is that Kara’s face is mostly obscured by a low baseball cap with the school logo on it and sunglasses. Who the hell wears sunglasses inside? Assholes, Lena thinks.

“Sorry,” Kara says, looking and sounding anything but as she shrugs a shoulder and pulls the strap of her backpack up further. “Didn’t expect anyone to be here.”

Lena rolls her eyes and adjusts the messenger bag slug across her body. “Whatever, just watch where you’re going,” she repeats.

“I’m Kara,” Kara says suddenly, thrusting her hand out between them and Lena feels her eyebrows shooting straight into her forehead.

“Yeah,” Lena says, drawing the word out into an unimpressed tone. “I know who you are.”

It’s the wrong thing to say. Kara’s grin goes the kind of smug that Lena’d like to smack off her face, but she channels the feeling into ignoring Kara’s outstretched hand and walking past her. Maybe not the best course of action in dealing with someone she’s going to have to see regularly all semester, but Lena’s far beyond caring about anything other than her annoyance at the moment.

“Nice to meet you too!” Kara calls out past her, but Lena doesn’t turn to give her the satisfaction of a response.

--

Thankfully, Lena doesn’t have to see Kara until their first scheduled tutoring session - a formal meeting set in one of the study rooms in the library, so they can square away some housekeeping tasks.

It gives her a week to ignore how much she’s dreading the entire thing and she fills it with getting her semester organized and hanging out with her friends.

“The best thing you can do is just be positive and get through it,” Jack says, sprawled across her couch and scrolling through something on his phone. “It’s just going to be worse if you’re all pissy about it the entire time.”

“I’m not sure I know how not to be,” Lena admits and Jack laughs.

“You could always just not do it,” Jess says, coming into the room with the cheese plate she’d been arranging in the kitchen. She’s serving it on a cutting board with Grandma’s Kitchen carved into the wood. “It’s not like you need the money, you snooty bitch.”

“But, Jess, how would she piss her mother off by having an independent stream of income with which she can order all her sex toys without oversight?” Jack replies with a put-on snotty tone that has Lena swatting at the legs he has draped across her lap. “It’s also the only job in town Lillian Luthor doesn’t have her dirty fingers in.”

Lena makes a face at that, but Jess laughs.

“You could be a stripper,” Jess teases, laughing again when Jack makes a show of gasping as if scandalized and Lena just rolls her eyes.

“I think they’re hiring at the Kitty Cat Club,” Jack says, full body chuckling at the thought until Lena pinches him hard in the calf.

Jess takes a seat on the floor in front of Jack and cranes her neck to look at his phone, grabbing it suddenly. “I take it back,” she says, her finger scrolling on the screen and smile looking ominous. “Who wouldn’t want to tutor her?”

The phone is suddenly thrust in her direction and her eyes focus on the Instagram page they have open - a picture of Kara stares back at her and it’s not a flattering one. Lena makes a face as she takes in Kara’s ridiculous expression, red cheeks, backwards cap and the red solo cup she has vaulted towards the camera. “You’re making it worse,” Lena says, pushing the phone out of the way and laughing.

“Come on, she’s not that bad,” Jack insists, plucking the phone from Jess’s hands and sliding his finger across it until he’s showing Lena a second picture. This one is more put together, but not by much. It’s clearly the Fourth of July - or at least Lena hopes it is, judging by the obnoxious American flag tank top Kara’s sporting along with matching board shorts and flip flops. She’s got her arm slung around two other girls that are both holding mini flags and beers in their hands and they’re all three grinning at the camera.

“Yikes,” is all Lena can say as her friends laugh at her misfortune.

--

Her mother calls her at six in the morning on Saturday because Lillian never forsakes an opportunity to torture Lena. The ringing of her phone pulls her out of a particularly nice dream involving a girl she met in Cyprus two summers ago.

“Good morning,” she says, grateful her voice doesn’t sound too muted by sleep. Lillian would surely pounce on the implication she hadn’t been awake and attacking the day already. Luthors work, Lena. They don’t sleep.

“Lena, I’ve heard a nasty rumor that you’re continuing working at the learning center,” Lillian says, voice dripping with disdain on the last two words. Lena can imagine the haughty look on her face just fine and she debates the virtue of just hanging up and dealing with the consequences after she’s had a few cups of coffee.

“You’ve heard correctly,” Lena tells her, knowing it’s sometimes easier to just remain straightforward when faced with Lillian’s never-ending disappointment.

“I know that your brother convinced Maxwell Lord to offer you a junior position in his R&D department,” Lillian says. “Surely that’s more fulfilling than tutoring the lowlifes of Vandermeer.”

“It’s good money, Mother,” Lena interrupts, already having rehearsed this speech in her own head when she and Jack renewed their tenure as student tutors.  

“What on earth do you need money for?” Lillian spits, incredulous at the idea Lena’d like to earn her pay rather than dip into the family coffers.

“My heroin addiction,” she replies dryly, wincing as she says it but unable to take it back. Best to cut her losses and run. “We’ll talk about it later. Have a good Saturday, Mom.”

It’s snotty, but Lena’s already deep in a hole at this point so she promptly hangs up over her mother’s objections and throws her phone towards a chair across the room.

--

The first tutoring session falls on a Tuesday at 8pm to accommodate Kara’s practice schedule. Lena doesn’t generally mind tutoring at the end of the day, but her annoyance prickles anyway when the academic advisor for the hockey team sends over Kara’s availability.

She gets there early enough to make sure their room is open and takes a few minutes to get settled - gets a coffee from the shop on the first level and makes sure her laptop is plugged in and running properly. Anything other than sit in the room and wait for the dreaded moment Kara shows up.

When the clock ticks to eight, then to five minutes past and Kara’s still not there, Lena thinks maybe Kara’s no showing. It starts to lift her spirits just the slightest - particularly the idea of reporting her - until she hears a knock on the wood door and it’s opening to reveal Kara’s form ambling into the room.

That same irritatingly smug smile is on Kara’s face along with the same worn baseball cap and sunglasses and she closes the door behind her casually like Lena’s time doesn’t matter and it’s totally fine that she’s arrived late. She’s dressed more appropriate for bed than a library - a pair of sweatpants and a large sweatshirt with hockey laces at the neck. Not to mention the boat shoes worn so far down that her socks are showing through at the toe.

“You’re late,” Lena tells her as Kara pulls the chair back next to Lena and drops down into it.

Kara looks at the obnoxious lime green calculator watch on her wrist and back up at Lena, her smile never faltering. It makes Lena frown. “Sorry. Practice ran late and then dinner ran late and -” Kara sits forward in her chair, twisting to get a better look at Lena. “You’re the girl I ran into in the academic affairs building.”

Lena arches a brow, fiddles with the pencil she has on the desk. “I’m your tutor.”

“Lena Luthor, right?” Kara says and Lena’s lips thin. Her ego scoffs at the idea that Kara doesn’t know who she is. Besides having had a class together every semester since freshman year, Lena’s a fairly known entity on campus if only because of her family, just the same as Kara and her goon teammates are well-known.

“I see your reading skills are intact. Nice to meet you,” she says sarcastically. “Don’t be late next time. And if you are, contact me ahead of time.”

Kara makes a face like she’s trying not to laugh - though Lena can’t entirely tell as most of her face is obscured. It irritates her enough that she reaches up to pull the hat off Kara’s head by its brim. Long blonde hair drops out of the hat and around Kara’s face and a waft of shampoo hits Lena’s nose. Kara startles a little, the phone she’s dropping on the table clattering against the wood.

“Also, no hats or sunglasses in here,” Lena says, throwing the hat across the table with a pointed look and trying to ignore the pleasant, fresh smell of Kara’s hair.

With a shrug, Kara pulls her sunglasses off. “Suit yourself,” she says and as her face is revealed Lena realizes the actual purpose of her disguise. There’s massive bruising all over Kara’s left eye, a cut held together with butterfly tape over her eyebrow and her face just a general mess, more obvious now as Kara pulls her hair back up off her shoulders and into a bun. There’s another bandage just under her eye over her cheekbone and she looks almost unrecognizable from the posters Lena’s seen around school.

“Did you get into a fight or something?” Lena vaguely remembers a video going viral on campus last year of Kara getting into a fight at the hockey house, complete with a memorable image of the two combatants tumbling into a castle composed of beer cans.

Kara makes a face. “Fighting is super illegal in college hockey, you get a game disqualification.”

“That’s not what I -” Lena stops herself. She really doesn’t care what Kara did to fuck her face up that badly. “It doesn’t matter, let’s get started.”

“I got hit in the face with a puck,” Kara explains anyway.

“Don’t you wear…” Lena gestures over her eyes, trying to think of the word and then realizing what she’s doing a moment later and ceasing her motion.

Kara laughs. “Yeah, but it was after practice,” she says, settling back into her chair and pulling a notebook out of the bag she’d dropped next to her chair. “Sam and I - she’s my winger - were doing a snipe contest and she was trying to hit a bar down but it sort of went bar out and hit me in the face. Blood everywhere.”

“Charming,” Lena says, shaking her head, but laughing just the softest at Kara’s explanation. “Why don’t we get some preliminaries out of the way?”

“Sure,” Kara agrees, opening her notebook and fishing in one of her pockets for a pen. Lena opens up her calendar on her laptop, but glances over to see Kara writing something down in her notebook.

Don’t be late, is scrawled there in nearly illegible handwriting and Lena makes a noise.

“What?” Kara says, not even looking her direction as she starts to write no hats, no sunglasses under it. “Just making sure I have all your rules straight.”

“Being timely is just having good manners,” Lena says testily and that at least draws Kara’s attention.

There’s something genuine on her face, but Lena can’t quite make it out through all the purple and yellow skin around her eye. “I’m sorry about being late. Seriously. Sometimes my schedule just gets thrown off like that. I’ll be better about letting you know as much as I can.”

It’s more sincere than Lena expects and maybe that’s why she has no snarky response for it. She accepts the apology with a soft nod. “Okay.”

They go over their schedules, settle on Thursdays as a good meeting time - before Kara has games on the weekend and usually the day of the week she has the lightest practice. When a discussion of where they should hold their sessions, Lena immediately suggests neutral on-campus sites, but Kara makes a face at that.

“Do you live on campus?” Kara asks, twirling her pen around in her hand absently.

“No,” Lena answers immediately, unable to stop the curl of distaste in her expression at the memory of the one semester she spent in a small, cramped campus dorm room. Just thinking about it makes the smell of burnt popcorn return to her nose.

“Where do you live?” Kara asks and Lena hesitates at disclosing her apartment’s location. It’s only fifteen minutes away, in a fresh new condo building.

“Off-campus,” she says in a deadpan that has Kara frowning, but laughing at the end of it.

“Well, I live a little off-campus, too,” Kara says. “Maybe there’s some place in between us that might work better.”

There isn’t much nearby as far as places that are suited to tutoring. They’re on the north side of the city where streets tend to be more residential, but it’s still a heavily trafficked area and the thought of going to the Starbucks four blocks down from her apartment building on a busy afternoon makes Lena annoyed just thinking about it. Not to mention the idea that someone might see them out and about and mistake her presence with Kara Danvers as a social call.

Her disastrous relationship with Veronica fucking Sinclair last year had done enough for her reputation around campus. She doesn’t need anyone thinking she’s rebounding with a idiot hockey player with a mangled face and an altogether questionable understanding of style.

“Campus is fine. I have a car,” Lena says, arching a pointed eyebrow that only makes Kara laugh again. The sound of it tightens in Lena’s stomach.

“So do I,” Kara says, shifting back in her seat and slouching in a way that has Lena’s spine straightening in response. “I just thought it’d be easier if we didn’t have to deal with coming onto campus, parking and all that.”

“We’re not meeting at my place,” Lena says, just to be clear, but Kara shrugs.

“I don’t know where you live, but my house is over on Harmon,” Kara says though Lena’d already known that. The hockey house – or Hockey Haus as its been nicknamed, by idiots – is notorious around school for their parties and it’s located on the street with most of the group or team houses. And she knows the murderer’s row of shitty townhouses Kara resides on is at least fifteen blocks west of campus. Sometimes if you stand on the quad fifteen minutes before class, you can see a mess of dumb jocks, frat guys, and general malcontents come piling off at the bus stop there.

Just the idea of stepping foot in that house makes Lena cringe a bit, but with the alternative being inviting Kara to her own apartment, Lena finds herself leaning towards agreement. Kara’s right, sometimes dealing with driving and parking on campus is more trouble than it’s worth and it’s not as if Lena’s going to be jumping on public transportation any time soon.

“Fine,” Lena says, albeit with considerable reluctance.

“Great!” Kara replies, sitting up and fishing a phone out of her pocket. “I’ll text you the address.”

In the interest of not letting Kara know Lena’s already well aware of the where the Hockey Haus is, Lena exchanges phone numbers and waits for the text message to come through. She saves Kara’s number in as K. Danvers and just barely avoids adding an angry face emoji at the end.

They part ways with plans to meet next Thursday at Kara’s house. Kara slings her hat back on her head, sliding it until it sits backwards, but neglecting to put her sunglasses on and instead sliding them into a side pocket on her bag. Lena thinks she looks ridiculous, but spares a thought to wonder what her face looks like when it’s not marred by injury.

The picture her mind composites in accordance with what little she’s seen of Kara’s Instagram or posters around campus is not completely repulsive, but Lena dismisses that with a roll of her eyes at herself.

Smacking on a piece of gum she’s just slid into her mouth, Kara grins as she stands and extends her hand towards Lena. “It was nice to meet you again,” she says and this time Lena summons her own manners to clasp Kara’s hand and shake it. Her grip is strong, her fingers long and surprisingly soft. “Thanks for deciding to be my tutor this semester.”

Lena considers telling her that assignments aren’t really a choice and that Lena’d been considering putting in for a switch but bites her tongue and just smiles thinly. “Have a good week,” she says before sliding her laptop into her bag and striding out of the room.

--

“We do not need that much vodka,” Lena says as Jack starts to pull the magnum sized bottle of Belvedere off the shelf. Jess is ahead of them inspecting the shelf of energy drinks at the end of the aisle.

“You always say that,” Jack says, huffing a little as he gets the bottle into his hands. “And then we always run out.”

Lena makes a noise of disagreement, but doesn’t stop him from hefting the alcohol into their cart. “Maybe if you stopped inviting every single person you know on campus to these parties, we’d stop running out of alcohol.”

“A party requires people, Lena,” Jack insists, moving around her towards the flavored vodkas to their right.

“And what?” Lena asks, propping a hand on her hip and blocking Jack from putting a butterscotch flavored vodka into the cart. “We don’t qualify as people?”

Jack follows the way her finger indicates the three of them with a mixture of amusement and pity in his smile. “I worry about your social calendar without me.”

“I’m sorry that I don’t particularly enjoy surrounding myself with people I know are only interested in the size of my family’s bank account and if I’m vacationing in Tulum this summer,” Lena says dryly, but doesn’t stop when Jack reaches around her to inspect a bottle of locally distilled vodka.

“That’s not all they’re interested in,” Jack replies, chuckling and making a suggestive show of gazing up and down her body.

“Gross,” Lena says, making a face, but laughing at the exaggerated wiggle of his eyebrows.

“I’m just saying. Unearned popularity has its perks.”

Lena rolls her eyes but is prevented from replying as Jess returns to the cart with two boxes of some green labeled energy drink. The sight of it makes a phantom headache spike in the back of Lena’s head. “I think I’m feeling an anticipatory hangover,” she grumbles as Jess slides the drinks onto the bottom section of their cart.

Her two friends laugh and ignore her glaring as Jack finally gets the rest of his vodka selections in the cart and starts to push it down the aisle, leaving her to follow.

--

The party isn’t tradition so much as just something they normally do on Saturday nights. Jack lives in one of the larger houses on campus - unofficially the Robotics Club House - and is known for hosting weekend parties there. Jack’s last name doesn’t quite bring the same sort of attention as Lena’s does, but that’s tough to do. All the same, their two families are fairly well known and there’s never a lack of students trying to suck up to them in hopes of getting an in for an internship or an invite to spring break in Barbados.

Lena’s always found it irritating to wade through all the fake offers of friendship – and has just sworn off new friends as a result – but it’s never bothered Jack nearly as much. “Think of them like minions,” he’s told her. “They’ll do whatever I want just to sweat in my shadow.”

“Not everyone wants to spend their Saturday night being fawned over like that,” Lena’s said, but Jack always waves her off.

“As if you have a better offer.”

It’s true. Much as she hates admitting Jack is right. She does wish she had something better to do those nights, but as it is, she doesn’t. And spending the night alone in her apartment studying or shuffling through her Netflix queue makes her mother’s reminders about maintaining a healthy social life resonate in her head.

Much as she’d like to, Lillian’s voice is hard to drown out.

So here she is, lingering in the kitchen while Jack mixes drinks and Winn, one of Jack’s roommates, complains about the grading rubric in his statistics general this semester. Jack hands Winn his signature tequila sunrise and slings his arm around the other man’s shoulders.

It makes Winn stutter a bit midsentence, his cheeks going pink and Lena wants to roll her eyes. Winn and Jack have been dancing around each other for two semesters now and the flirtation is getting old.

“You know, if you need a copy of the problem sets, Lena took that class freshman year,” Jack says, pointing at Lena with his beer and this time she doesn’t stop herself from rolling her eyes.

Winn looks at her hopefully, but Lena sighs, plucks a bottle of whiskey off the nearby table and walks away from them without another word.

The house is fairly packed. Some of the people she recognizes, but most she doesn’t. A few people try to catch her eye, and there are a couple calls of her name that she promptly ignores in favor of walking through the house in search of Jess.

There’s a rowdy game of charades on the couch as she’s passing by and Lena very much avoids it when they try to get her to join, in favor of finding the back deck where she thinks Jess must be hosting a poker game.

Sure enough, Jess is out on her deck holding court at a hexagonal felt table, a cigar burning in an ashtray next to her as she shuffles the cards in her hands. There are upended shot glasses littered across the game that show they’ve been playing for some time now – Jess never likes playing for money, would rather modify the rules of betting to turn it into a drinking game. She usually wins that way, anyway.

There’s an empty chair opposite Jess and Lena slides into it, setting her bottle of whiskey on the table and smiling at the little grin Jess sends her. There are two other woman at the table, one of them slouched so far in her chair that Lena’s fairly sure she must be deep in shot debt at this point, but the other one is a pretty brunette that Lena recognizes from her English elective.

The brunette startles a bit when she recognizes her, but recovers to bat her eyelashes at Lena in that irritating kind of flirtation she’s always complaining about.  

Ignoring the play for her attention, Lena turns to Jess. “Deal me in,” she instructs, reaching for an unused shot glass and putting it in front of her.

Her friend laughs, but does as she’s told.

--

They’re fairly intoxicated by the time a decision gets made to leave the house in favor of one of the bars. There aren’t many on their side of the city that don’t blink at underage students, but there are definitely a few less than fastidious ones.

One of them is a campus favorite – The Crossbar – and it sits on a less trafficked street three blocks behind the university’s ice rink.

It’s the grungy kind of place that’s nearly always breaking fire code and that you’d never want to see in the light of day, but it also doesn’t look too hard at IDs and serves a really strong long islands for the price of entry. Its floors start the beginning of the night sticky and end them slick with dropped cups and God knows what else.

Sober Lena hates The Crossbar, but Drunk Lena is easily talked into going just about anywhere, so when Jess says she’s calling them an Uber, Lena doesn’t really care where it’s headed as long as it’s somewhere away from the drunk couple on Jack’s couch that are about two minutes away from indecent exposure.

When they pull up and get in line to pay cover, Lena can hear the loud pumping sounds of “Africa”  blasting out of the doors, a disharmony of voices screaming along to the lyrics. Typical Saturday night at Crossbar. Winn starts singing along as he sways in place and James tuts out a percussion beat to go with it as he scrolls through his phone, swiping mostly right on Tinder.

Lena’s drunk. She can feel the way her extremities are starting to feel floaty and there’s a melon aftertaste on her tongue from the last round of shots they did before leaving. It’s a pleasant kind of intoxicated, where everything feels a little muted and Jack lets her lean up against him while they wait.

They’re nearly at the entrance where a bouncer is disinterestedly checking IDs and taking money when there’s a commotion not too far away from them and a side exit door is bursting open to clang loudly against the exterior wall.

“Get the fuck off me,” a girl is saying, shoving at the security guard who’s attempting to pull her out of the bar by the elbow.

She’s not successful and he gets her out toward the sidewalk before releasing her. “You’re banned for a week, Leslie. Don’t make me ban you for longer.”

“Oh, fuck you, Greg,” Leslie spits and it looks like she’s going to lunge at him, but another girl comes barreling out of the bar and steps between them before it happens. Three other women are tripping out of the bar on her heels and it’s like watching clowns pile out of a clown car.

Lena’s vision is a little unfocused, but as she continues to watch the altercation she recognizes a figure towards the back of the pack, lingering in the side door with a beer in her hands and an arm draped around a shorter blonde girl that’s plastered to her side. It’s Kara Danvers.

“Leslie, let’s go, you’re kicked out,” the girl that got there first is saying.

“Fuck you too, Smythe, I’m kicked out when I say I’m kicked out.”

“That’s not how it works,” the other girl says, and the security guard is puffing his chest up, arms crossed.

“Either get her out of here Siobhan or she’s banned for a month,” the guard says.

You’re banned for a fucking month, you doucheweed,” Leslie counters, going to point at him, but getting dragged away quite handily.

Jack shuffles her forward in the line, but most everyone waiting to get in has stopped to watch the interaction and Lena can’t help but laugh when Leslie almost maneuvers her way out of Siobhan’s hands.

“Little help guys,” Siobhan grunts and the two other woman watching in front of Kara move to help their friend.

The security guard turns back around to walk back inside and stops in front of Kara, giving her a stern look. “Finish that or take it inside, Danvers,” he says, gesturing towards her beer.

Locking eyes with him, she tips the plastic cup of beer to her lips and finishes it. She hands the empty cup to the girl that’s been pressed up against her as if in silent instruction to take care of it. To Lena’s surprise, the girl doesn’t bat an eye as she takes the cup and scoots from under Kara’s arm to retreat back inside the bar.

They’ve made it to the front of the line as Kara’s moving past the security guard to join her friends. Lena’s pulling her ID out of her bra, one eye still watching to see if the group successfully pulls Leslie away. That’s about when Kara notices her, the bruising on her face more visible now that she’s stepped out into the lights of the street.

And then, to Lena’s complete horror, Kara puts her hand in the air to wave at her. “Hey, Lena,” she calls out like they’re old friends.

The bouncer is handing her ID back and giving drink tickets to Jack in exchange for the price of cover, so Lena uses that as an excuse to pretend she hasn’t heard Kara.

Jack, however, has apparently heard and so has Jess who’s craning her neck around to place who just yelled out. “Who was that?” Jack asks, his glossy eyes searching around but distracted by Leslie falling bodily against a nearby parked car.

Kara looks like she might come closer to the line then, and another short call of her name rings forth, but Lena shoves Jack ahead of her in line and shuffles quickly past the bouncer and inside.

They push their way to the front of the bar and flag a bartender, exchange their tickets for their drinks and Lena thankfully doesn’t see Kara Danvers or her friends for the rest of the night.

--

Sunday morning comes with a wicked headache, a mouthful of cotton and about six missed calls from her mother that she ignores in favor of groaning and kicking at Jack where he’s passed out on the bedroom floor snoring.   

They spend their day eating takeout and slogging through homework in Lena’s living room. Lena’d gotten most of hers done Friday, but she has a few things she has to prepare for the coming Monday.

It’s lazy kind of end to their weekend and Lena enjoys the familiarity of it – of Jack over-ordering waffles and Jess running to the gas station at the corner to buy them all Gatorades.

With her phone on silent and the rest of campus sleepily doing much the same as they are, Lena’s life feels quiet and still and devoid of its normal pressures. She likes Sundays. She wishes every day was Sunday.

--

The week goes by uneventfully. It’s still too early in the semester for anything really interesting to be happening and most of her classes are still in that early stage of the material where she doesn’t have to pay attention too closely.

Her first official tutoring session with Kara comes far too quickly, however, and it’s only until that afternoon, an hour before it’s slated to start, that she remembers she has to go to the damned hockey house.

Though she’s never been there, she’s driven past the infamous house before and has seen it featured frequently in social media posts. It’s not as notorious a place as the softball house on the other end of the long street, but it’s still fairly popular for the kind of parties that leave the front yard littered with plastic cups and empty kegs.

When Lena rolls up on Thursday, the lawn is surprisingly devoid of such trash. There are, however, no less than six cars parked Tetris-style in the driveway – the contrast between the clean looking Jeep Wrangler and the beat-up blue pickup truck gives her some pause. There’s a Pride flag hanging out of one of the windows and a mannequin that’s missing its arms leaned up against a wooden bench on the porch.

The house is quiet, but she doesn’t let that fool her. She’s heard enough stories to be wary of what she’s about to walk into, but she’s certainly no stranger to chaos.  

The door opens rather swiftly after she rings the bell, but it’s not Kara on the other side. Instead it’s a taller girl with dark brown hair and attractive cheekbones and she’s smirking at Lena as she pulls apart two Twizzlers and sticks one in her mouth.

“Hiya,” the girl says, eyebrows raising as if to ask and you are?

“Is Kara here?” Lena says, impatient and barely restraining herself from tapping her foot.

The girl laughs, waggling the licorice stick not in her mouth towards Lena’s face. “Should have known,” she says, stepping aside to allow Lena into the house. “She’s in her room.”

The house smells like stale beer and something burning in the oven – maybe a pizza. Lena’s nose wrinkles up as she’s led inside and she hitches her bag higher up on her shoulder as she navigates the pile of shoes strewn across the entryway.

To the left, there’s a small kitchen where Lena can see an enormous metal rack with masses of boxes and foodstuffs on it. On her right, there’s a living room with a very large television and a large sectional couch that has multiple rips on its surface. There’s also an ad for STI testing plastered to the wall that looks like one of the ones that occasionally show up on buses or trains.

“I’m Sam, by the way,” the girl says, stuffing the second string of licorice in the side of her mouth and sticking her hand out to shake Lena’s.

“Lena,” she says curtly, shaking Sam’s hand, but not lingering on it.

Sam seems to find something amusing, but she doesn’t share with the class. Just points to a staircase down the hall. “All the way up, down the hall, turn right, up again, can’t miss it,” she instructs.

From the look of the house around her, Lena’s fairly sure she can in fact get lost, but Sam departs for the kitchen without any further instruction and Lena’s left staring down at a staircase wondering again if she should just call the tutoring office and bribe someone to switch assignments.

But she’s Lena Luthor. And she wants this job, wants something that her mother can’t touch. And Kara Danvers and her disgusting face and house won’t take that from her. She steels her jaw and paces forward, following Sam’s instructions until she’s up in what must be a lofted area of the house and facing a dark brown door with the number 18 painted across its face in bold red script.

When she knocks, something sounds like it crashes and then thumps on the ground somewhere in the room, but moments later the door is swinging open and a flushed looking Kara Danvers is smiling back at her. She’s in soft worn looking sweats and a faded sweatshirt that’s cut off at the collar, her hair swept up in a high ponytail.

“Hey, hi,” Kara says, sounding a bit out of breath. Her face looks much better than it did a week ago, the bruise yellowing around her eye and the cut on her cheek close to healing. She’s wearing glasses that Lena didn’t know she needed, the frames bulky in a sort of hip way. It’s the first time Lena realizes how blue Kara’s eyes are.

“Your face looks better,” Lena comments before she can think not to and Kara laughs, touching her eye gingerly.

“Yeah, I can barely feel it,” she says and then steps aside to beckon Lena further into her bedroom.

“That’s good,” Lena says as she surveys the room.

It’s clear Kara must have just been cleaning if only by the haphazard way her laundry is shoved under the bed and the faint hint of Febreze in the air, muffled only by the mahogany and teakwood candle burning on Kara’s dresser.

The room is a complete hodgepodge of décor – if one can even call it that. There’s a line of hockey sticks propped up next to Kara’s bed and beside it sits a small black mini fridge with a mix of fitness supplements and half-empty bottles of liquor on top of it. There are three different jerseys pinned to the walls – all of them with Danvers sewn into the back – and above the head of Kara’s bed there’s a huge Jackrabbits Hockey flag. Christmas lights are haphazardly strewn across the ceiling, held up by a mismatched array of hooks and duct tape. Lena eyes the way some of the lights are drooping as if they'll fall any moment with trepidation. 

“So welcome to the house,” Kara says, tucking her hands in the pockets of her sweatpants and shifting back and forth on her heels while Lena stands awkwardly in the center of the room.

Lena arches a brow. “Are you going to offer me a seat, or do you want to do this standing?”

Kara flushes and Lena looks away, irritated that she finds the panicky way Kara looks around the room somewhat charming. It’s so at odds with the smug expression she’s used to.

“I thought maybe the bed,” Kara offers and Lena’s back aches with the idea of hunching over books for the next hour like that.

“Don’t you have a desk?” Lena asks, pointing towards it. The surface is littered with books, an errant sweatshirt and a pair of hockey gloves. On the wall above it there’s a collection of papers taped up – what looks like a class schedule and a few children's drawings of what must be a hockey stick and goals with lots of hearts. “There is a desk under all that, right?”

“Yes, yes there is,” Kara says, moving forward and sweeping everything on her desk into her arms at once and then precariously depositing it on her bed.

Lena tries not to wince at the cluttered mess that creates, but her hands flex with the desire to reach out and straighten everything. Thankfully, the seat at Kara’s desk turns away from the sight and she can try to put it out of her mind.

She’s pulling her tablet out of her bag and setting up when a loud bang at the door behind them startles her and she jumps.

“Yo, Danvers, heard you had a girl up here,” a voice calls out from the doorway and Lena turns to see a girl with silvery hair standing there – the same one she’d last seen being thrown out of Crossbar Saturday night. Leslie.

“Get out of here, Willis,” Kara orders, standing and moving towards the door to shove the girl out. It begins a bit of a power struggle in the doorway, Kara shoving and Leslie clutching the doorframe to keep in place.

“I’m just here to see who thinks so low of themselves that they’d slum it with you,” Leslie says, resisting Kara’s push to look over her shoulder and smile at Lena. “Hey, you could do better, just so you know. Get out while you still can.”

It’s clearly directed at her and Lena’s only been here for ten minutes, but she knows enough not to engage. Instead, she arches a brow and smiles her most fuck you smile she can muster. “I’m fine, thanks.”

Leslie looks amused at the answer and finally gives in to the way Kara’s manhandling her out of the room. Kara gets the door shut and locks it with a shoddy looking deadbolt, turning to lean against it with an exasperated roll of her eyes. “Sorry about her,” she says, striding back over to the desk, grabbing a folding lawn chair from the corner on the way. “She doesn’t get out much.”

“And when she does she manages to get kicked out of such esteemed places like Crossbar on a Saturday night,” Lena muses dryly, fishing the rest of her materials out of her bag.

Kara laughs as she flops down into the lawn chair that basically brings them to the same level. “So it was you,” she says and Lena looks pointedly away from the quirky smile on Kara’s face. “I wasn’t sure with the way you basically ran away from me.”

“I did not run away from you,” Lena denies, defensive at the idea.

“Oh sorry, maybe you just didn’t hear me,” Kara says and it’s clear how much weight she puts behind that idea.

Lena rolls her eyes. “Maybe I didn’t want to associate with the group of people getting thrown out,” she says and Kara shrugs a shoulder, pulling her backpack towards her from where it’s leaned up against the bed. The bag is littered with iron-on patches - there’s a big one of the Jackrabbits logo colored in with a rainbow, another that just says FBI, and one of an alien giving a peace sign that Lena can see before Kara turns it around.

“Fair enough,” she says. “But when you’re friends with Leslie, you get kind of used to it.”

Curious, Lena watches as Kara starts to shuffle around the front pocket of her bag before pulling out a pencil. “What did she do anyway?”

“Threatened to kill some woman,” Kara answers, the pencil she’s put in her mouth muffles the words a little and the delivery is so casual that Lena thinks she maybe misheard.

“I’m sorry?”

Kara finds her notebook and removes the pencil, setting it on the desk. “She told some chick she was going to fucking kill her,” Kara explains, putting airquotes around the last bit. “And then they complained to security and so they had to throw her out.”

“I can’t imagine why,” Lena deadpans, glancing towards the door Leslie had just occupied. “It’s a wonder she hasn’t been expelled.”

Kara seems dismissive of the fact her friend’s been issuing weekend death threats. “That’s just the way Leslie talks. Her bark is way worse than her bite. Everyone knows that. Especially the bouncers at Crossbar.”

Smiling, Kara seems to have moved on from the conversation and she pulls one of her textbooks towards her, a leaf of paper in the front that Lena sees is a syllabus. “Should we get started?”

Remembering why she’s there in the first place, Lena nods and they get to work.

It’s not as awful as Lena’d expected. Kara’s rather attentive and she doesn’t interrupt Lena when she’s going through a complicated problem. It’s actually kind of satisfying to explain something and see Kara understand it so quickly and reminds Lena why, aside from the steady stream of Luthor-free income it provides, she actually enjoys tutoring.

They get almost entirely through the problem set before Kara’s stretching her arms over her head and standing. “You want a drink?”

Lena’s a bit wary of whatever kind of drink Kara’s offering, not expecting much out of the black mini fridge in the corner. “I’m okay,” she says, spinning her pen around in her fingers absently.

Kara paces to the fridge to open it and peer inside. “You sure? I have…well I mostly just have Gatorade and beer, but I’m sure there’s a water in here somewhere.”

“I’m fine,” Lena insists and Kara shrugs as if to say suit yourself before pulling a bottle of light blue Gatorade from the fridge and twisting it open.

There’s a loud crashing sound from somewhere in the house, distant and muffled by the closed door, but still enough to make both Lena and Kara jump.

“Jeez,” Kara breathes, glaring at the door as if it were the culprit. “I’m going to kill Nia.”

Lena has no idea who Nia is, but she can hear the sound of two women shouting at each other and it seems to be coming from somewhere below them.

“How many roommates do you have?” Lena asks, as Kara moves to sit back down.

“Seven,” Kara answers, her lips twisting wryly and the look of horror on Lena’s face. “It’s not as bad as you think.”

“There are seven women in this house?!”

Kara nods. “Eve and Nia live in the room right below me and then Sam, Grace and Julie share that big room at the end of the hall,” she explains, ticking her roommates off on her fingers. “Leslie and Siobhan split the basement and if you’re smart, you just…don’t go down there.”

“That’s about six too many roommates for my taste,” Lena says and Kara rolls her eyes a little, just in Lena’s periphery.

“Well, not all of us can afford swanky apartments by ourselves,” Kara says, a little pointed and a little teasing.

Lena bristles, but before she can retort, a knock at Kara’s door interrupts them and they turn to hear a slightly muffled. “Kara, have you seen my water gun?”

Lena watches as Kara’s attention draws to a neon green and orange Nerf gun propped up in the corner, covered in little stickers.

“Maybe!” Kara calls out, winking at Lena with her good eye and standing up to walk to the door. “What do you need it for?”

“Eve’s being a little bitch,” the voice calls out and Lena notices a mischievous look in Kara’s eye when she slowly, quietly unlocks her door and reaches for the handle.

Moments later, Lena realizes why, when Kara yanks the door open so swiftly that the body on the other side comes tripping into the room, falling onto the cheap rug under Kara’s feet.

“Fuck, Danvers,” the girl complains, picking herself up and glaring at Kara. “The hell was that for?”

“I’m trying to study, Nia, I don’t have time for your shit,” Kara answers and it’s then that Nia’s attention drags to Lena, her eyes widening noticeably, a surprised grin appearing on her face.

“You have a girl up here,” she says, voice a touched awed like this is some cosmically significant event. Lena wonders offhand if any of the women in the house have ever socialized with other humans before.

“Yes, and we’re studying,” Kara says pointedly before reaching for the plastic toy gun against the wall and thrusting it towards Nia. “So, get out and stop making so much noise. Tell Eve to calm the fuck down too.”

Nia takes the gun but keeps grinning as her eyes dart between Kara and Lena.

It’s what prompts Lena to sigh and reach for her bag. “It’s fine, we were just finishing.”

“Nia’s leaving, sit back down,” Kara says, pulling Nia back out of the room by her arm, but Lena’s already shoving her stuff back in her bag and standing.

“No, I should go,” Lena says, ready for the quiet of her own apartment instead of the circus of sound she can hear stirring in the house below them. “I think you can finish the last problem on your own.”

“No I can’t,” Kara insists, almost comically certain of it.

“Yeah, Kara’s a known dumbass,” Nia says, patting Kara on the arm in mock support until Kara swats at her.

“Shut up, Nia,” she says, but Lena’s done with this and she shoulders her bag intending to brush past them.

“I’ll walk you out,” Kara says, pushing Nia out of the way so Lena can pass by and following her toward the stairs.

“I can find my own way out,” Lena replies, but Kara continues her pursuit, skipping down the stairs behind Lena.

“I’ll walk you out anyway,” Kara says with a happy grin that Lena wants to find annoying but is almost cute in the way it stretches the purpling skin of her cheekbone.

“How chivalrous,” Lena says drily and under her breath when Kara shifts quickly in front of her to open the door.

“See you soon?” Kara calls out as Lena’s double checking that her key fob is in the front pocket of her bag on her way out the front door.

“In a week,” Lena replies and doesn’t wait for an answer before sliding into the front of her car.

Kara watches her from the porch, waves as she pulls away from the curb and Lena actually waves back before she can stop herself.

--

That weekend is thankfully tamer than the last – Jack decides against a Saturday party and instead has a much smaller group of friends over to watch some MMA fight he and James have bought on pay-per-view.

Lena declines the invitation – uninterested in spending her night watching two men beat the shit out of each other. Even if Jack had offered his best whiskey and cigars. It’s not that she has anything against the activity, but she feels too exhausted to listen to James’s unending claims that he absolutely could be a contender in the MMA if he just got serious about his training.

So, Saturday night finds her in her room working on a coding project she’d started earlier that month and binge-ing some show Jess had recommended on Netflix. It’s quiet, but nice and she’s certainly grateful for the lack of hangover she has Sunday morning. Especially when she agrees to drive Jack, James and Winn to the diner at noon and sees how green they all look when her plate of egg whites and asparagus arrives to the table.

The diner is where most of campus can be found on a Sunday morning, exhausted and dehydrated from the night before. The place is teeming with students drinking bottomless pots of coffee and taking advantage of the brunch deals.

Which is why it’s no surprise that two tables down from them, Kara Danvers is tilted back in her chair and laughing at something her tablemates are saying. The sound of her laugh draws Lena’s attention and she recognizes Sam – the girl that let her into the house – and Nia, but hasn’t seen the fourth before.

They don’t look as hungover as the rest of the crowd. Certainly not with the way Nia is shoveling oatmeal in her mouth and Kara’s laughing at her as she eats an apple.

It’s not that she’s staring, necessarily, but they’re the only lively crowd in the entire diner and Kara’s wearing an obnoxious combination of purple gym shorts and a long sleeved grey shirt and from the foot she has propped up on the table leg to keep her chair tilted, she’s wearing sandals with socks.

“Do you know them?” Winn asks around a mouthful of dry toast, his eyes squinting the direction Lena’s looking.

James looks over his shoulder and she almost kicks him under the table lest he draw attention their way. “That’s the women’s hockey team,” he supplies, turning back to his coffee.

“Oh!” Jack says, perking up and craning his neck to look. “Your new student?”

“Who? Which one?” James asks, looking back again and this time Lena does kick him.

“Kara Danvers, right?” Jack’s slouching in the booth, his feet coming up to rest on the bench between Lena and Winn.

“Which one is Kara?” Winn asks, squirming when Jack’s boot taps his thigh.

As if overhearing the question, Kara looks over in that moment, her eyes locking in with Lena’s in quick recognition.

“Shit,” Lena mutters and then Kara’s dropping all four legs of her chair back on the ground and for a moment Lena fears she’s going to stand up and walk over to their table.  

“I’m guessing that one,” Winn says and Jack laughs, the bastard.

But thankfully, Kara doesn’t head their direction. No, she’s just sitting in her chair whispering something to Nia who looks over at Lena as well and gives a little wave that Kara smacks out of the air.

“You don’t know who Kara Danvers is?” James says, drawing Lena’s attention back to the table.

“Keep your voice down, she’s right there,” Lena says out of the side of her mouth, wondering what possessed her to have Sunday brunch with a bunch of idiot boys.

Winn shrugs, plays with his fork. “Is the hockey team any good?”

“I think they won the MAC last year,” James answers and Lena’s not sure how they’re a competent team at all from what she’s seen of them so far. “Their team pictures have been all over campus.”

Movement out of the corner of her eye tells her that Kara and her teammates are standing to leave. They pass by Lena’s booth as they do and Kara lingers towards the back, grinning when she draws near and giving Lena a ridiculous little chin lift as if that counts as a greeting.

“‘Sup,” Kara says, surveying the table as she twirls a set of car keys on her fingers.

“‘Sup,” Jack mimics, but he draws the word out in mockery and puts two of his fingers in the air in a tiny wave.

Kara doesn’t seem to pick up on his making fun of her and it’s likely because her eyes are trained on Lena, focused there so singularly that Lena almost squirms.

“Can we help you?” Lena asks, a touch snottily, but Kara just laughs.

“Nope,” she says simply, and she gives another chin lift to the rest of the table. “See you around.”

And with that, Kara follows the rest of her friends out of the diner.  

“Jocks are weird,” Winn mumbles as they all watch Kara exit out the front door and onto the street.  

--

That Monday comes with the first meeting of her philosophy lecture that she’s been dreading since coming back to school. Thankfully, the class hadn’t had to meet for the first two weeks because the professor had been at some conference.

It takes an extra shot in her americano that morning to drag her feet into the liberal arts building on campus and find the right lecture hall.

By the time she gets there – a few minutes before class starts – most of the seats in the back row are already taken. It’s where she’d prefer to sit, far enough away from the professor that she can snooze through the lectures and no one behind her to snoop on her laptop when she’s not paying attention.

A quick scan of the back row reveals there’s still an empty spot over in the far corner, but as she approaches she catches sight of who it’d sit her next to. Because of course it would.

“Didn’t know athletes actually went to class,” Lena says as she rounds the corner of the row to plop down next to Kara. The lecture hall is cramped enough that she nearly elbows Kara in the side when she reaches down to grab a notebook from her bag.

Kara laughs when she pulls up from her phone to notice Lena. “Only for syllabus day,” she says and Lena can’t tell if it’s a joke or not.

As most of the student-athletes do, Kara’s dressed in a pair of team-branded trackpants and a shirt with the school mascot emblazoned on the front modified so the usual Jackrabbit is holding a hockey stick.

“Well, you won’t be getting any help from me if you skip,” Lena says and Kara just laughs again like everything Lena says is hilarious.

Her glasses slip down and she pushes them back up her nose. “I wouldn’t dream of asking.”

They’re interrupted, thankfully, by an enthusiastic TA with a stack of papers in his hand calling for their attention at the bottom of the auditorium and then class begins.

--

“Are you a philosophy major?” Kara asks, as they’re packing up to leave class. It’d been only a half hour of housekeeping information and a quick review of the syllabus before the professor had released them.

Lena scoffs at the idea and gives Kara a look. “This is a philosophy general for non-majors,” she says, emphasizing the word, but Kara doesn’t seem shamed by the condescension. She shrugs, stepping into the aisle and holding up like she’s waiting for Lena.

“Just making conversation.”

Shouldering her bag, Lena makes to leave and Kara follows after her, keeping in step as they file out of the room. “Are you following me?” Lena asks when they both turn out the side door of the building and out onto the quad.

“No,” Kara says, a happy little grin on her face that Lena is starting to find irritating. “My next class is this way.”

In the sunlight, Kara’s hair shines a little more golden than it had been inside, and she notes that the bruising around her eye is nearly gone completely. The lack of swelling and visible injury certainly makes her face look different, and Lena turns away lest she take too much notice of how casually attractive Kara might be, if she could dress well and become at least sixty percent less annoying.

“So what is your major?” Kara asks, her hands holding the straps of her backpack where they hang from her shoulders. Her long legs keep time with Lena’s as they stride across the grass toward the student center across the way.

“Astrobiology,” Lena deadpans, not understanding what has Kara so interested in the first place.

“Oh,” Kara says, her mouth going fish like a second. “That’s cool.”

Lena pulls a face. “That’s not a real thing,” she says. “Not at Vandermeer.”

It makes Kara laugh. Again. Lena’d really like it if Kara stopped laughing because it’s a pretty sound and developing a senseless attraction to the girl in front of her would be inconvenient at best.

“Well, I don’t know, it could be. Sounds kind of fun.”

They arrive at the student center doors and Lena makes to open them, but Kara beats her to it, pulling it open for Lena to walk inside. Though she rolls her eyes at the display, she takes the opening and beelines for the coffee shop just inside.

Kara still trails her until Lena turns and gives her a pointed look. “Don’t you have class?”

A flush pulses across Kara’s cheeks, but she doesn’t seem all too put off by Lena’s frosty attitude and she smiles. “Yeah. See you Thursday?”

“Yeah, whatever,” Lena says, waving Kara off and wondering what the hell she’s doing to make Kara smile like that so often, and how she should go about stopping.

--

Wednesday nights mean trivia at Legends Pub and Lena looks forward to the tradition as a nice break in her otherwise mundane week. It certainly helps that their trivia team has been undefeated since fall of sophomore year, except for that week Lena had the flu and had almost passed out mid-game.

“Do you want to make t-shirts this year?” Jess muses, twisting a sucker around in her mouth as they walk to the bar.

“Yes,” James answers immediately, his eyes lighting up at the idea. He’s already wearing an absurd looking shirt from last year’s Fall Festival that Lena wishes he would burn. It’s got a Jackrabbit on the front with a jack-o-lantern for a head and the color scheme is somehow worse than the normal school colors with they way they’ve shaded orange and black in.

“We need another player first,” Jack says, shaking his head at the t-shirt idea. “Now that Lana’s graduated, we’re one short of a full team and we’ve got no one to answer all the dumb culture questions.”

“I think we’ll be fine,” Lena replies, scrolling through a trivia app on her phone as some last minute prep. Jess has her arm twisted around her own so she doesn’t trip on their walk.

“Said like a true antisocial nerd,” Jack says. “Why go into a game without every weapon at your disposal?”

“Maybe we can hold auditions,” Winn says, walking fast to keep up with Jack’s much taller form.

“Does a team as powerful as Big Thick Roosters really need a sixth member?” Lena asks, following Jess’s tug as they turn right around a corner. Her phone buzzes with a text, interrupting her game: it’s Kara Danvers, asking if she needs any drinks for tomorrow to stock her fridge with. She ignores the message, irritated all over again.

“It’s always good to have as many members as you can get,” Jack says, and she doesn’t even have to look up to see him waggling his eyebrows.

--

Thursday rolls around again. She heads over to the hockey house for her second tutoring session with Kara about as reluctantly as she’s done just about anything in her whole life.

It goes a bit better than the first if only because it doesn’t involve Sam smirking at her at the front door or Nia chasing after Eve with a watergun. It does, however, involve Kara steering her wide of the living room when she walks inside because apparently Grace has a guest over and the couch is occupied.

“Is it normal to just have sex on the living room couch?” Lena asks when they safely make it to Kara’s room and close the door.

Kara shrugs, looks to consider the question for a second. “The couch, the kitchen, once I caught Leslie and Siobhan in the laundry room, and when we have house parties there’s always something going on in the hot tub. I mean even the roof –”

“Oh my god,” Lena interrupts, eyes having widened as Kara went on. “You’ve had sex on your roof?”

Lena doesn’t mean to ask it so personally, but that’s what comes out and Kara smirks a little.

“No,” she says, “But other people have.”

Lena makes a noise just thinking about how dangerous and exposed that is and Kara laughs.

“That’s ridiculous,” Lena says.

Kara’s face seems to indicate agreement. “Hey, I’ve always been perfectly fine with my bed,” she says, gesturing towards the furniture in question. Furniture Lena’s currently leaning against.

She jumps away from it as if it were scalding and it only pulls deeper amusement across Kara’s face. It makes Lena’s cheeks feel hot and she scrambles to find higher ground.

“Oh please, your roommates were so scandalized you had a girl in your room last week. As if that bed has seen any action.”

It doesn’t do the trick of swiping Kara’s smug little smile off her face and Lena feels the urge to fume.

“I don’t usually have girls up here on weekdays,” Kara says, still smirking.

There’s something about the implication of what Kara does on the weekends that makes Lena feel a little tingly and she boulders through the feeling before it becomes something significant. “Don’t you have games on weekends?” Lena asks, arms crossing over her chest and she feels a bit like she’s scolding a teenager, but it doesn’t stop her.

“Sure, but not every weekend,” Kara says, unrepentant as she leans back in her desk chair and puts her arms behind her head. Her shirt rides up the slightest, showing a hint of tan midriff. “And it’s not like they take up the entire day. There’s time.”

Lena’s not winning this conversation. Not with the way Kara’s biceps strain against the fabric of her t-shirt or the way the cotton falls over her stomach when it rides up.

“Whatever, I’m wholly uninterested in what you do with your free time,” Lena says, picking her bag up and striding over to the empty chair next to Kara.

“You sure about that?” Kara asks, still rocking backward and eying Lena a little cockily.

Lena pulls Kara’s textbook off her desk and shoves it in her stomach, satisfied when Kara lets out an oof and falls forward to grab it.

“Positive,” Lena says and then they get to work.

--

“Do you think I should get a tattoo?” Jack asks as they wait in line for coffees at the only Starbucks near campus. On Fridays, Jack’s always doing something with the robotics club, and Lena’s always trying to get her homework squared away at the library. Jess has a Friday morning Spanish class that she complains about near-religiously. But they still make time to meet before all of that and grab a quick coffee while talking over weekend plans. 

“Of what?” Jess asks while Lena scans the front page of the school newspaper.

“Like something tribal on my arm,” Jack says and Lena looks up from an article on the new library policies.

“Absolutely not,” she tells him, all but glaring at the limb in question.

“Just making sure you’re listening,” he says with a grin.

With a sigh, Lena folds her paper back up and tucks it back into the Burberry tote she has hanging under her arm. “You’re an attention whore.”

“Guilty,” he says with a little salute that has Jess giggling.

“How’s tutoring going, Lena?” Jess asks as they step forward in line.

Lena shrugs. “Fine.”

“And Kara?”

“About what you’d expect,” Lena says which isn’t entirely true – she’s not as dumb as Lena anticipated, but she’s still just insufferable enough to make Lena feel like she spends most of their session rolling her eyes.

“I hear Hockey Haus parties are legendary,” Jess says, a little pointedly. “I can’t believe we’ve never been to one.”

“Because it’s at a place called the Hockey Haus,” Lena points out, looking at her nails and trying to remember if she made a salon appointment for the weekend.

“Well now Lena can score us an invite,” Jack tells Jess, clearly amused by the prospect.

“I don’t think you need an invite,” Lena counters and they step up again. Lena scans the baked goods behind the glass and contemplates ordering a danish.

“It’s always good to have an in with the host,” Jess adds and Lena arches a brow at that, but instead of replying turns to the barista looking at her expectantly and gives him her order.

--

There aren’t many good bars within stumbling distance of campus, but there are a few gems and inevitably any Saturday night after a party at Jack’s house, they’ll spend twenty minutes trying to decide between them all. Lena immediately vetoes Crossbar from the list because she’s not drunk enough yet, and Jack refuses to go to the 1025 Bar because he claims they served him nonalcoholic beer last time he was there.

They end up landing on a place called the Hive that’s relatively new, mostly because James says he knows the manager and can get them all in for free.

Though it hasn’t been around that long, the place is fairly full when they get there but they’re able to find a table near the back. Jack orders a bucket of beers and James a round of shots and just like that, the second phase of their night has begun.

Lena sticks to white wine in favor of the less than palatable beer Jack’s ordered and after two glasses of it, she’s excusing herself into the crowd in search of the restroom. What she finds instead is Kara Danvers in cut-up jeans and a red flannel standing near the back hallway on her phone.

If it weren’t for the fact that she actually does have to go to the bathroom, Lena would turn around. Maybe she can just walk past her and not notice the way Kara’s forearms look with the cuffs of her flannel folded over them or how her hair is falling over her shoulders or the million other attributes that’s making two-drink-Lena want to press up against Kara’s body like some slut.

Two-drink-Lena seems to have fairly low standards, but maybe that’s because she’s forgetting about the whiskey she’d consumed at Jack’s house before they even made it to the bar.

Irritation at the drunken arousal curling in her gut somehow makes her capable of steeling herself and walking forward, but she still nearly curses when Kara’s attention draws up from her phone to zero in straight on Lena.

“Hey,” Kara says, clearly surprised to see her. “What are you doing here?”

“It’s a bar,” Lena says. “What do you think?”

Kara laughs and with the wine in her stomach, Lena feels the sound straight between her legs. It makes her exasperated with her baser instincts – as if she’d really be attracted to a sloppy jock like Kara in the light of day.

“Are you with people?”

“Yes,” Lena says simply and Kara just grins at that, sliding her phone in the front pocket of her jeans. Lena watches the motion and the way it pulls the flannel up to reveal her brown leather belt.

“This is twice we’ve wound up at the same bar,” Kara says, flirtatious little quirk of her lips. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re stalking me.”

Lena scoffs into an eyeroll. “In your dreams.”

Leaning back against the wall and looking far too good for Lena’s tastes, Kara just shrugs, crosses her arms. A bundle of girls come out of the restroom down the hall, rushing past Lena and forcing her in closer to Kara’s body, close enough that Kara puts one hand out to stabilize her. Kara’s hand on her arm is a little sweaty, but it feels good, warm, and Lena is distracted immediately by it.

“You know, I was thinking - maybe we could be friends,” Kara says. “I’ll buy you a drink.”

“I don’t need you to buy me a drink,” Lena returns. “I can buy one myself.”

This makes Kara laugh, again. Lena wants to reach forward and shove the other girl for all the fucking laughing, has half a mind to say something about it. The other half of her mind is still hovering somewhere around the primordial feeling of Kara’s touch on her arm.

Kara opens her mouth to say something – something deeply irritating no doubt – but never gets the chance.

A haughty, “Lena?” interrupts them and Lena feels all the warm annoyance and arousal in her stomach drop like a rock as she recognizes the voice.

“I didn’t expect you to be here,” Veronica says, voice silky, but somehow demeaning. It makes Lena shift in place. 

“You think of me so often as to expect me somewhere?” Lena replies, arching a brow and refusing to be cowed by the sight of her ex-girlfriend confronting her with a new flame.

“I suppose not,” Veronica says, prickling at Lena’s senses. Veronica turns to the redhead at her side. “Excuse my manners, let me introduce you. Lena, this is Margaret. Margaret this is Lena.” Veronica smiles her third most evil smile before adding. “An old toy of mine.”

“What did you just call her?” Kara’s voice interjects, her body suddenly very close to Lena’s and just the littlest bit in front of her. Lena startles, having completely forgotten Kara was there.

There’s a pause as Veronica looks Kara up and down, a look of disdain in the curl of her lip. Kara doesn’t seem to much care, similar to how she doesn’t seem to much care about dressing well or Lena glaring daggers at her throughout their interactions.

“Sorry, do I know you?” Veronica says, sounding the kind of snobby that makes Lena think unerringly of her mother. It truly kills whatever boner she might have had once for the other girl. The contrast between the two women in front of her couldn’t be more stark – Veronica in her designer shoes and perfectly coiffed hairdo and Kara in her ripped jeans and mussed blonde curls.

“What the fuck did you just call her?” Kara repeats. It’s a little more apparent now, with the adrenaline kicking in Lena’s veins, that Kara is somewhat tipsy. But she’s standing tall, her fists clenched. Lena reaches to grab at the fabric over her biceps tugging backward, trying to corral whatever neanderthal instinct is running in Kara right now.

“I believe I might’ve said toy,” Veronica says. Her hand raises between the two of them a smirk on her face. “My name’s Veronica.”

“Well, you seem like a bitch, Veronica,” Kara says. She does not extend her hand to shake, and Lena almost laughs, almost cries but becomes too startled by Kara’s next words to do either. “I’m Kara. I’m Lena’s girlfriend and I think you’ve about overstayed your welcome.”

The threatening way Kara says it is bolstered by her arms crossing over her chest and chin lifting and Veronica’s eyes flicker to Lena a moment in question. Lena, for her part, is a bit shellshocked.

“Is that so?” Veronica is more curious than skeptical, and Lena is so surprised by what Kara’s said that she can’t answer right away. But apparently the helpless way she doesn’t deny it is answer enough, and by the time she thinks to say something, call Kara out for being crazy, she decides against it.

It’s a decision she’ll likely regret in a few minutes when Veronica and her overwhelming aura are out of sight, but for now it feels safer to idle behind Kara’s back and see what unfolds. There’s a fleeting feeling of satisfaction that comes when Lena catches the surprised blink of Veronica’s eyes.

“Lena,” Veronica starts, the name coming out on a laugh, but whatever she’s about to say next gets cut off when Kara steps up to even further block Lena from view.

“She doesn’t want to talk to you,” Kara states firmly. “So back the fuck off.”

Lena’s not sure what’s gotten Kara in such a protective mode, but if it gets Veronica away from them, Lena’s fine with it for the moment, even if there’s a dangerous alarm going off in her head with the way Kara and Veronica stare each other down.

Whatever Kara’s face looks like, it seems to do the trick. With a last lingering glance over Kara’s shoulder, Veronica chuckles lowly and though she’s observing Kara, she speaks to Lena. “You ought to put a leash on this one, Lena,” she says with dark amusement. “I think she might bite.”

“Walk away before I make you,” Kara says firmly, but Veronica keeps smiling anyway.

“We were on our way out anyway,” she says, never one to cede ground willingly. “The crowd here’s not to our taste.” Veronica waltzes off then, with her Margaret on her arm and it leaves Lena and Kara alone again in the long hallway leading towards the bathrooms.

Kara turns to her and puts a placating hand on her bicep, nothing but concern in her eyes when she asks, “Are you okay?”

The question startles Lena out of her shock and her brain starts to rapidly process the last few minutes. When she realizes what just happened, what Kara’s said – really realizes it – anger and panic bubble up so swiftly she snaps at Kara.  “What the hell was that?”

Kara’s hand retreats from her arm quickly. “What was what?”

“That with Veronica,” Lena says, gesturing wildly at the direction Veronica had just retreated. A few people pass them on their way to the bathroom but seem to ignore the hysterical lilt to Lena’s voice. She thinks for a second that it probably just looks like a couple fighting, and that makes her even more irritated.

Kara remains defensive. “I was helping you! She was an asshole.”

“You thought that the best way to help me was to tell her you were my girlfriend?” Lena asks.

Kara looks mystified as to what could be the problem with that plan, but frustration edges into her voice on her response, her body close and tone heated. “Well, it got her to go away didn’t it?”

“And what happens when she finds out that it’s a lie?!” Lena asks, hearing her voice squeak higher, as she looks around to make sure Veronica’s still not lurking in ear shot.

“So what? Why would that even be a big deal?”

Lena pinches the bridge of her nose. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe because she’s Veronica Sinclair and she goes to our school and is the most gossipy bitch I’ve ever met,” Lena says, emphasizing the last name strongly to get through to Kara. She should recognize it. The Sinclair family is infamous in the city and certainly on campus. Veronica has eyes just about everywhere and had a reputation for leaving a path of destruction behind her.

“Sinclair like…” Kara’s eyes go wide.

“Like Sinclair Bank, yes,” Lena tells her, wringing her hands in an exasperated manner. Just thinking about how she’s going to backtrack this one if Veronica finds out is giving her anxiety. She’s fairly certain her mother has had Veronica in her pocket for years now and the thought of having a conversation with Lillian about how she’s parading around lying about having a girlfriend - Lena, how pitiful. Veronica is so worried for you.

“Didn’t she get a professor expelled last year?” Kara asks, her voice hushed now, like she’s just as paranoid as Lena that Veronica’s going to jump back out at them. Her body has slipped closer to Lena’s against the wall in the hallway.

“Professor Flesthon, yes,” Lena says, remembering Veronica’s single-minded vendetta against the man that culminated in the ruination of his career. “Because she has stuff on everyone who’s anyone at this school! My family does business with hers, Kara. I already have to see my ex at family functions enough without the added humiliation of her knowing I faked a fucking girlfriend just so I wouldn’t have to talk to her and her new toy.”

Why she’s explaining all this to Kara, Lena’s not sure. She should just go and fix this problem herself, go tell Veronica that Kara’s hopped up on some bad shrooms or something and laugh it off like it happens all the time. Veronica might buy it if she sold it hard enough.

But she’s irritated at the prospect of having to fix something she didn’t break and she wants to shove at Kara until she fixes it. Everything feels big right now and maybe in the morning it’ll seem blown way out of proportion, but right now, Lena doesn’t fight the overwhelming feeling blurring up her brain.

“You could have said something, Lena,” Kara says, a bit hysterically, brought on likely by Lena’s own irrational panic. Her blue eyes are wide behind her glasses.

“I was in shock!” Lena defends with an irritated snap of her teeth. “Once you put it out there, what was I supposed to do?!"

“What was I supposed to do? Just let that bitch talk about you like that?” Kara asks, every bit as irritated sounding as Lena is. “She called you a toy.”

“Oh fuck you,” Lena bites, bristling at the protective look in Kara’s eyes like they know each other well enough for that reaction. “I can handle the way she talks about me just fine.”

“You shouldn’t have to handle the way she talks about you if it’s like that,” Kara says, clearly having stumbled onto a strong sticking point. Lena has half a mind to just punch her in the stomach, fuelled largely by the anxiety rippling through her.

“It isn’t your job to tell her to fix her attitude,” Lena says. “And I don’t need you to save me, either.”

“Well, I’m sorry that I was trying to be nice,” Kara says, not sounding at all apologetic. Her arms cross again, and Lena’s eyes can’t help but drop to the clear muscles of her arms. The mix of anger and a newfound arousal and panic make her want to scream.

“Trying to be nice by constructing an embarrassing lie to tell the school’s biggest gossip whore?!”

“You think pretty highly of yourself if you really think she’s going to run around telling everyone we’re dating,” Kara points out and Lena wants to throttle her.

“You know who I am, don’t you?” Lena says. Kara laughs, mid-argument, her head actually tilting back and looking up at the ceiling.

“I’m pretty sure you’re just my physics tutor,” Kara says in a surprisingly amusing impression of  a frat guy sort of moron, shrugging. “Of course I fucking know who you are, I’m not an idiot! Look, I get that you’re freaking out, but what is she going to do?”

“I don’t know what she’s going to do,” Lena says feeling a throbbing at the back of her neck from how hysterical everything’s getting. “That’s what makes her dangerous.”

Kara seems to realize that Lena is reaching the maximum threshold for pure and unadulterated panic, because she takes a deep breath, her hand reaching out to grip ahold of Lena’s wrist for a second before Lena jerks it away.

“It’ll be fine,” Kara says. “We won’t tell anyone, she’ll think I was just a dumbass, and it’ll blow over. You’ll be fine.”

“Of course we’re not going to tell anyone,” Lena hisses, barely biting back the urge to flick Kara in the temple. The ridiculousness of the situation is making Lena’s head spin and she reaches up to rub at her temples. When Kara looks to speak again, Lena stops her with a lift of her hand. “No, stop. Stop talking. I can’t think.”

Kara shuts her mouth promptly.

“I’m going to the bathroom and when I come back out, I don’t want to see you,” Lena says, thinking the only thing she can really do in this situation is to ignore it. A flash of irritation crosses Kara’s face, but whatever, Lena had been trying to have a good night and all of this is killing her buzz and she really needs to pee.

Without another word she turns and stomps into the restroom, but not before she hears the heavy sigh that escapes Kara’s lips.

--

The rest of the night goes considerably better, though it takes switching to whiskey sours for Lena to get rid of the annoyance from her altercation with Kara and Veronica.

A quick scan of the bar tells Lena that Veronica actually has left the premises for greener pastures and though she sees Kara’s posted up at a table corner with half the hockey team, the two of them stay in their respective corners until bar close.

“You know, Kara Danvers has been like glaring at you all night,” Jack tells her, bumping into her shoulder drunkenly. His cheeks are flushed and his eyes glossy and Lena has to lick at the thickness she feels in her mouth in order to answer. Maybe that last drink was a bad idea. “Or like. Seducting. It’s unclear.”

“I ran into her earlier,” she says, glancing over to where Kara’s standing in a corner talking to some girl Lena doesn’t know. It looks flirtatious from this angle – the way Kara’s got her arm up on the back of the girl’s chair even as she leans back in her own. There’s a smile on her face but when she looks away from the girl to grab her drink and her eyes meet Lena’s, it drops into a frown.

“You piss in her Wheaties or something?” Jack asks, laughing at himself enough that she rolls her eyes.

“We got into a fight.”

“You know each other well enough to have a fight?” Jack looks incredulous and Lena’s brain gets fuzzy all over again from the lie Kara had told earlier and the truth.

She settles on a firm, “It’s none of your business.”

The lights of the bar turn up abruptly, signaling the end of the night and the crowd groans as they start to shuffle out.

She catches Kara’s eye again when they’re leaving – Kara’s got one arm around the girl she’d been talking to all night and she’s leading her out along with the group of her teammates. Kara’s face is impassive, but she watches Lena for a long moment before turning away.

--

Sunday morning – or more like afternoon by the time she finally wakes up – brings a headache and an all too vivid recollection of the previous night’s events. Lena turns to groan into her pillow and ponders the virtue of just never leaving her room again.

There are about sixteen texts on her phone and a few missed calls and when she hears her mother’s voicemail she feels her hangover get worse somehow.

“Lena, I’ve heard another interesting rumor about a new girlfriend you’ve failed to mention. And to hear about it from Veronica Sinclair, no less. You know she’s still so stuck on you and I don’t think I need to remind you about –”

Lena clicks out of the message before she has to hear more. That’s something best dealt with after she takes about twelve ibuprofen and drinks a gallon of water. She should have fucking known Veronica would go running to Lillian like a little pet. It makes her want to throw something at the wall.

The texts are thankfully easier to deal with. A couple from James asking do you remember how we got home last night?

Jack’s sent her two pictures and a video from the bar last night and Lena tries to watch it, but the sound is so loud and discordant that Lena’s head throbs and she files it away for later.

Jess’s text is an amusing: did we get food last night because I have a lyft receipt for like a hundo and I’m vaguely remembering speaking spanish in the taco bell drive-thru

The last one is an early morning message from Kara and all it says is can we meet up today and talk? I feel bad about last night.

In the light of day, Lena does feel a little regretful about her panicked reaction to running into Veronica. Not because she’d been wrong about how Veronica was out to ruin her life, but because it’s not Kara’s fault she didn’t know that, and Lena probably didn’t need to yell at her and make everything seem so dramatic. Even if it really, really was.

She texts Kara back I’m free later tonight before setting her phone back on its charging pad and heading to the kitchen for coffee.

--

They meet that night when Lena feels like she’s finally prepared to join the living again and has gotten enough of her work done to afford taking a break. Kara texts her to meet in a park that borders Lake Kandor east of campus. Lena finds her on a park bench there looking like she’d just been on a run. At least that’s what Lena hopes Kara’s just been doing, considering the sweaty way her hair is poking out from beneath her baseball cap and the damp spots in the grey of her t-shirt.

“Hey,” Kara says, scooting over on the bench for Lena to sit down.

“Hey,” Lena parrots, not nearly as irritated as she’d been the night before, hyped up on chardonnay and panic upon seeing her ex.

“So,” Kara starts in a slow drawl of the word, but Lena interrupts her.

“I’m sorry I got so crazy last night, Veronica’s just a sore spot and she makes me go a little insane,” Lena says, laughing at herself. The lingering dredges of her hangover and the quiet way the sun’s setting over the lake is making Lena feel softer than normal.

Kara clearly hadn’t expected the apology. There’s shock on her face that Lena rolls her eyes at a bit.

“It was still really stupid to pretend we’re dating, but I probably didn’t need to yell at you,” Lena adds and Kara laughs softly.

“Actually, that’s kind of what I wanted to talk to you about.”

“About how I yelled at you?” Lena asks, arching a brow in challenge. She already apologized, Kara doesn’t get to dress her down for it.

“No,” Kara says with a chuckle. “I was thinking about pretending to date.”

“About how stupid it is?”

Kara pauses. The silence of it and the way her jaw works around like she’s picking her words out carefully makes Lena think maybe Kara’s about to say something stupider.

And so she does. “Actually, I was thinking about how I think we should do it.”

Lena blinks. “You’ve lost your mind.”

“Think about it,” Kara entreats, shifting a bit to better face Lena. “You were so worried about Veronica finding out it was a lie. What if we just make it…not a lie?”

Squinting at Kara like she’s a child, Lena nearly laughs. “It would still be a lie.”

“Sure,” Kara acknowledges, “But we’d be the only ones that know that. We date for a few months, make everyone think we’re together, break up publicly when it feels natural. Veronica never has reason to think it was a lie and,” Kara chafes her hands together. “No harm no foul.”

It’s an illogical, ridiculous plan clearly born from the mind of someone who’s been hit too many times in the head with a vulcanized piece of rubber. And yet, something in Lena’s brain whispers that it’s not completely without its merits. Maybe it’s the crazy Luthor part of her. It’s all about how you play the board, Lena.

Not having to worry about setting Veronica straight or talking to her mother about how the rumor she’d heard was just that has its virtues. And even if Kara spends most of her time bothering her with inanities, she’s nice - protective too. A good buffer to have on her arm whenever she’s getting shaken down by drunk college students eager to get an in with a Luthor. She feels more susceptible to the idea than she really should be.

“What’s in it for you?” Lena asks, still skeptical.

Kara twists the strings of her headphones around in her hand, shrugs a shoulder. “My adoptive mother Eliza and my sister have been on my case about meeting a nice girl and bringing her home,” Kara says with a touch of exasperation in her tone, though it’s rounded with affection. “They think it will give me much needed stability.”

“I don’t think this qualifies,” Lena tells her, eyebrows raising at the mention of something like a parent. The subtle slip that Kara’s adopted isn’t lost on Lena and she files that away for another time, surprised to find something in common with the other girl.

“So if we do this,” Kara says, ignoring Lena’s comment. “You have to agree to come make nice with my family for me, get them off my case for a while.”

Looking out at the lake, Lena weighs the pros and cons of the situation and tries to decide how necessary it is – how bad the fallout would be in telling her mother that Veronica heard wrong or worse, that she’d lied.

A more enjoyable thought floats across her consciousness. The look on her mother’s face when Lena tells her she’s dating a hockey player that wears socks with her sandals, will probably lose all her teeth before graduation in some sort of puck-related incident and worse, that they met because Lena’s tutoring her.

Just thinking of the horrified shape of Lillian’s mouth makes Lena start to think this plan isn’t entirely terrible. It could be fun, even. If she can just get past the idea of being romantically linked with Kara, that is.

“What about all those girls you bring upstairs on the weekends?” Lena asks. Kara snorts, shaking her head and watching a dog passing by with its owner.

“Those are usually just really drunk girls that seem to find me at parties. I bring them up to my room so they can sleep it off,” Kara says, her shoulder raising up and dropping in a hesitant shrug. “I’m a lot less worried about you puking in my bed. So it’d be an improvement.”

The image makes Lena grimace, but she pushes past it.

“You want to pretend to date,” Lena says, enunciating the words slowly. “Even though we barely know each other.”

Kara laughs. A biker passes them on the narrow lake path. “We’ll have to change that,” she says simply.

Lena’s nose scrunches up a bit, but she can already feel herself giving in. “I suppose.”

“Eliza will think I’m settling down and your ex will think you’re happily moved on and all we have to do is smile at each other a little more for a few months,” Kara says with a convincing little quirk of her lips.

Maybe it’s reckless, but it’s actually starting to sound like a good idea. The satisfaction of sticking it to both Veronica and Lillian is really all Kara should have led with.

“Okay,” Lena says softly, hoping she won’t regret this. “Let’s try it.”

Kara grins and sticks her hand out. Lena shakes it, but makes a good show of wiping her palm off on her shirt after she’s done. Kara doesn’t seem all that bothered by it, just starts laughing at her.