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you’re in my veins (i cannot get you out)

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Lena had every intention of crashing into bed as soon as she got home. She had a long day at work, what with two big L-Corp projects launching and a third in its critical phase. Really, fuck anyone who thinks she gets special consideration just because her brother is CEO. If anything, it means she has to work twice as hard—one, to prove to everyone that she’s good enough to be the head of the L-Corp’s bioengineering research department when she’s barely thirty; and two, so she doesn’t disappoint her brother, who’s got high, high hopes for her.

“Yeah, fuck that,” Lena mutters under her breath. Her keys jingle as she unlocks the door to her apartment. “I swear to god I’m skipping the next 10PM meeting.” 

She huffs under her breath and practically drags her feet into the apartment. She’s exhausted, mentally and physically, that she slams her hand on the wall to feel for the switch to turn on the light in the living room. 

Lena’s eyes adjust to the light and she closes the door with a sigh. A yawn forces its way out of her, making her teary-eyed. She kicks off her heels and puts her bag on her couch. Lena blinks when she notices the black pillow on it move. She doesn’t have a black throw pillow. A jacket? Lena reaches out to take it, and then—

There’s a shrill meow! and Lena almost falls on her ass.

“What the fuck!” 

The black thing yawns and stretches, and a second later the furball looks up at Lena, wide eyes whose bright yellows become a ring around darkness. 

Meow!

It’s a fucking cat. A full-grown, fluffy, black cat, sitting on her couch. 

She doesn’t have a cat. 

The furball meows again. Lena blinks. Is she hallucinating? 

“How in hell did you get in?” She mutters, looking around to see possible entrances. Definitely not the front door. The balcony? A quick glance at the sliding door shows Lena remembered to close it before she left earlier. 

Lena hears a soft clinking, like a bell, and looks down when she feels something rub against her. The cat meows again as it headbutts Lena’s leg. It’s then that she notices the orange collar around the cat’s neck. 

“Huh.” Not a stray then. Lena sighs as she leans down in front of the cat. It meows again. “Prison break, hm?” 

Carefully, Lena reaches out her hand, watching if the black cat looks like it will scratch. It pushes its head against Lena’s hand though, and the woman can’t help but smile, her exhaustion be damned. She gives the cat a little scratch between its ears, then reached for its collar. Lena finds a bell and a small tag. The furball meows as Lena reads the name etched on metal. 

“Streaky,” she murmurs. The cat meows again, headbutting Lena’s hand once more. Lena laughs softly. “Yes, yes. Hold on, let’s see…” 

She inspects the tag again and lets out a breath when she finds a name and a number on the other side of it. Lena reaches for her bag on the couch to fish out her phone—all while her right hand is busy petting the black furball. Streaky. 

Lena juggles keeping the tag up so she could type the owner’s number on her phone, all while she gives Streaky the attention the cat demands. She chuckles when she manages to finish typing, hand moving to scratch the cat’s chin. “Quite friendly, aren’t you? Too bad. We gotta get you home.”

Only then does Lena realize that it was 2:34 in the morning. Streaky meows again and blinks up at Lena, like it—he? she? they?—could sense her predicament. “Your mom’s probably asleep now, kitty,” Lena mumbles. 

Meow. 

Lena chuckles and pats Streaky’s head. “I should be sleeping, too,” she says softly. She considers leaving the cat in her living room for a moment—a quick look around tells her nothing was broken and her leather couch is still pristine and white. “Will you behave if I leave you here?”

Streaky only blinks, then walks away from Lena. The woman laughs softly. “You cheeky, furry thing,” she says, pushing herself to her feet. Streaky meows and looks back at Lena, before walking to the direction of her kitchen. 

Lena shakes her head. “I don’t have cat food, kitty,” she tells the feline, even as she follows it. 

God. She’s talking to a fucking cat. 

Streaky meows again. They sit on the kitchen floor and look up at Lena, eyes wide, tail swishing side to side. 

Lena sighs. “What do you want?”

Meow. 

“Food?” 

Another meow. Lena walks to her fridge and opens it. Just some leftover salad, carrot and cucumber slices, some frozen fruits for her morning smoothies. She purses her lips and closes the fridge door, then turns to Streaky. “I don’t have food.”

Streaky only stares. 

Lena runs her palms over her face. “Kitty cat. I need sleep.”

Meow. 

With another frustrated sigh, Lena unlocks her phone again. She stares at the number she typed earlier. 

“Well, Kara D.,” Lena mutters, locking gazes with Streaky’s wide yellow eyes, looking every inch of the devil cat they are. Lena presses call.  “If your cat isn’t gonna let me sleep, then you won’t be sleeping either.”

Mrraow. 

Streaky stands and walks to rub their body against Lena’s legs as the woman waits for the call to connect. “Yes, yes, this is your mom,” Lena tells Streaky. The cat shakes its body, then sits back to watch Lena. 

The call connects. “Fu-udge—ngh, hello?”

Streaky sits in front of Lena. Meow.

“Is this Kara… Um, Kara D.?” Lena asks, eyes on the black furry thing by her bare feet. 

“Kara Danvers, yes. Who’s this?” The woman on the other line slurs, clearly just woken up. “It’s—”

“Almost three in the morning, I know,” Lena interrupts. “I have your cat.” Lena closes her eyes and cradles her head with her free hand when she realizes she just sounded like a kidnapper. Catnapper? Whatever. She’s so fucking tired. “I mean, your cat snuck into my apartment.”

That seems to wake up Kara Danvers. “What? That’s impossible. He’s right h—“

Streaky meows, louder than he had earlier since Lena found him. Lena stares at him in disbelief. 

Silence in the other line. “Streaky?” 

Meow. 

“Oh.” Kara Danvers—Kara D.? Just Kara?—sighs. “Crap.”

Lena lets out a soft laugh. “Yeah, that’s him. Look, I can just bring him home,” she murmurs. She holds back a yawn. “I don’t think I can sleep with him meowing and I don’t have food so he might just starve here. What’s your address?”

There’s more shuffling in the other end of the call. “That’s fine, I can come pick him up. I live in Argo,” Kara says, that sleepy drawl still in her voice. 

“Wait.” Lena blinks a few times, fighting back sleep. God. Just a bit more, please. “Argo Residences?”

“Yeah,” Kara replies softly. “Apartment 5A.”

“You’re kidding.” Lena leans down to pet Streaky. “I live in Argo. 5F.”

Silence again. Lena has to check that she didn’t accidentally end the call. 

“Cool,” Kara finally says. 

Lena thinks it’s better this way. Faster. She can go drop off Streaky, get back to bed, recover her brain cells. She has no brain cells left. Sleep. She needs sleep. “Look, I’ll get him right over, okay?”

Kara makes a small sound, like a half-hearted protest, but the cat owner finally agrees. “Okay. Yes. Yes ma’am,” Kara mumbles. She sounds like she needs sleep too. Lena doesn’t bother with the ma’am. “Yes ma’am. Please. Thank you.” 

“Don’t worry about it.”

Lena ends the call and pockets her phone. She looks at the black cat that keeps watching her, until she realizes she doesn’t know how to bring him to his owner’s apartment. She never had pets before, never had to take care of another living thing, unless she counted that succulent an old L-Corp engineer who retired a few months back gave her as a gift—and which subsequently died.

Taking her phone again, she makes a quick Google search on how to carry a cat, processes the information with the single brain cell she has left, and gets going. 

“Tell the cat your intentions,” Lena recites, sighing as she sits on her haunches in front of Streaky. “Hey kitty.”

Meow.

Lena chuckles. “Let’s get you home so we could all sleep, alright?”

Slowly, she reaches out for Streaky, placing one hand under his chest and lifting him up. She supports his hind legs with her free hand before pulling him to her chest, then turning him in her arms so she is carrying him like a baby. 

Thankfully, Streaky doesn’t react violently as Lena makes her way out of her apartment, strange black cat in her arms. 

“You’re purring like a fucking machine,” Lena mumbled as she walks barefoot to 5A, a few units from her own at the end of the hallway. Streaky meows, his tail twitching. “You big furry baby.” 

Lena reaches 5A. Surprisingly, Streaky hasn’t attempted to jump off her arms, yet. Supporting his weight with one arm, Lena knocks on the door. Two seconds later, it opens. 

“Hi,” the blonde woman on the other side of the door greets. Her hair is disheveled and the black-rimmed glasses atop her nose are askew. Lena didn’t really expect Kara Danvers to be so, so sleepily gorgeous, and she was wholly unprepared for the sight that she is startled when Streaky meows and jumps off her arms. He rubs against Kara Danvers’ legs, like a hello, then walks straight into the apartment like he owns the place and like he hasn’t bothered two humans off their beds for him. 

“I’m so sorry about him. I didn’t know he got out,” Kara Danvers says, her voice soft and husky with sleep and Lena thinks she is dreaming. 

“I don’t know how he got in either. Don’t worry about it,” Lena says with a smile. Her eyes feel so heavy. Sleep. Right. She wants to stare a bit more at Kara Danvers. Ha. Damn-vers

Christ. Stop it, single brain cell. 

“Um. I’ll let you go to sleep. I’ll need to catch some zzz’s, too,” Lena says, gesturing vaguely behind her. 

“Oh, of course,” Kara Damn vers says, then smiles. “Thank you again, and good night.”

Lena nods sleepily. “Sweet dreams.”

Kara Danvers nods and closes the door the second Lena turns on her feet to walk back to her apartment. She hears the soft clicking of locks, and she sighs as she arrives once again to her now cat-free and also Kara Danvers-free apartment.

Lena makes a quick work of her clothes, changing into some pajamas as her barely-awake brain cell processes what just happened. “Sweet dreams?” She mutters under her breath. Sleep. She throws herself face-first to her bed. “Catch some zzz’s?” 

She huffs and closes her eyes, and wonders why she’s never seen Kara before—for a second, at least, before she passes out from exhaustion. 

//

Streaky isn’t there the next night. Or the next, and Lena considers it a one-time accident—she’d think it was a dream, or a hallucination brought on by her exhaustion, except there were cat hairs on her otherwise pristine white leather couch. She still double-checks the doors and windows when she leaves for work. Of course, she doesn’t consider leaving any opening for Streaky to come visit. Definitely not. 

When she gets groceries that weekend, she takes a few minutes in the pet aisle to Google which brand to get, then takes two cans of the best cat food available at her local store. 

Just in case, of course. 

//

It’s a brand new week and Lena is three useless meetings away from committing mass murder. She has better use of her time than spend hours upon hours listening to men in suits argue about things they barely understand, but she has to be there to defend her funding choices. 

She comes home past midnight, exhausted to the bone and eager to go to bed. Grumbling under her breath, she opens the lights to her apartment with a little struggle. 

Streaky greets her with a yowl and Lena almost steps on the darned thing, sitting just past the doorway. 

“Jesus fuck,” Lena breathes out, frowning at the black cat in front of her. “You scared me.”

Streaky swishes his tail and blinks up at her. Meow. 

Lena shakes her head and closes the door behind her. Placing her bag on the living dresser, she kicks off her heels haphazardly. Streaky meows and walks after her, the ting of the bell on his collar following his steps. He meows and brushes against Lena’s leg. She takes it as an apology. 

“Yeah, yeah, it’s okay,” she says softly as she bites back a yawn. “Where’s your mom, hm?”

Lena thinks back to Kara. She hasn’t thought of her in a while—she has been busy, she tells herself—but now that she has, Lena bites her lip at the memory of disheveled hair and adorably sleepy face. Kara Danvers is gorgeous and Lena has seen her for all of the ten seconds she returned Streaky. Not in her best state, Lena knows, but still. 

She must be heartbreakingly stunning on her Sunday’s best. 

Meow. 

Lena looks down at Streaky, who is staring at her like he knows what she is thinking. Lena chuckles and sits on her haunches to pet him. “You don’t actually know what I’m thinking, do you?”

Meow. 

“Well. Even if you did, how’re you gonna tell your mom, hm?” Lena asks under her breath. Streaky pushes his head to Lena’s palm, then moves so her fingers brush his body, making her scratch his fur. He meows again, seemingly satisfied, then looks up at Lena again. Meow. 

“Good thing I got you food, huh?” Lena stands and heads to the kitchen, and Streaky follows her with another meow. 

“Your mom’s probably asleep, isn’t she?” Lena says, taking one of the two cans of cat food she bought. Streaky jumps up the counter and starts sniffing about. Lena pauses when she realizes she doesn’t have a pet bowl, and so just takes one from her dish rack. “I should be asleep, not feeding you,” she mumbles, side-eyeing the black cat as she opens the can and empties the wet food into a glass bowl. 

Streaky dives in, not half a second later. Lena chuckles as she starts petting his head and hears him purr in delight. The black ball of fur sits on her marble counter and starts munching on his bowl of chicken and liver paté, or so the label says. 

“What does that even taste like?” Lena asks, watching him. “Or better yet, how’d you even get in, you sneaky bastard?”

The cat doesn’t answer, of course. Streaky only continues to eat. 

“God, why am I talking to a cat,” Lena sighs. She watches Streaky for a few more seconds before shaking her head fondly and heading to her fridge to get some water to drink, then vaguely wonders if Streaky would need some water too. She pours herself a glass, drinks half of it, then takes another bowl to put some water on it before setting it next to the bowl of cat food. 

Streaky is finished by the time Lena empties her glass. He drinks the water Lena gave, then sits on the counter meowing at Lena. 

“You sure eat fast,” she laughs, petting his head. “Does Kara not feed you?”

Meow. 

Lena smiles at him. Breaking into her apartment aside, Streaky isn’t so bad. It’s like having a pet of her own without the commitment of it. 

Streaky meows again, like he heard what Lena was thinking of, yet again. Lena raises an eyebrow as she scratches between his ears, then his chin. He purrs, letting Lena pet him some more, before jumping off the counter and walking to the living room. 

“Hey. Where are you going?”

The black cat responds with a meow. Lena follows him and laughs when he stops by the door. 

“You little shit just went here for food and pets?”

Meow. 

Lena tilts her head and crosses her arms as she stares at the cat. “I will not be used like this, kitty cat.” 

Streaky looks back at her, meows, then walks to the door. Lena watches what he would do next. 

He stands on his hind legs and reaches for the door knob—except he can’t, bless him, and so he ends up yowling and just scratching the door. Forcefully, that Lena hears where the wood cracks under his claws. 

“Alright I get it,” Lena huffs, moving to open the door. She rolls her eyes and opens it, then glares at the cat. “You’ll make me forfeit my deposit, ruining the door like that. Do you do that back home?”

Streaky just meows at him. 

“Whatever. Go.”

The cat doesn’t move. He looks up at Lena from the doorway, then meows. 

Lena stares right back. Realization dawns on her after a minute. “Are you… waiting for me to carry you?”

Meow. 

“Oh you spoiled little fucker,” Lena half-laughs, half-scoffs. She stares some more at Streaky, but the cat doesn’t budge despite the door open wide enough for a crowd to get through. 

“You’re lucky you’re cute,” Lena huffs. She walks to her bag to fish her phone out, then goes to her call history from a week or so ago when she called Kara Danvers. She hasn’t actually saved her number yet—between passing out from after they met to work keeping her busy, there wasn't time to. That, and there was no reason to actually save her number, especially when Lena thought returning her cat was going to be a one-time thing. 

As she looks at the black cat staring at her by her doorway though, as if waiting for her to call his mother, Lena thinks she has a good enough reason to. She dials the number. The line connects after a few rings, that husky, sleepy voice of Kara Danvers going through. 

“Mmhm… I- Hello…?”

“Hi,” Lena greets softly. She walks to Streaky and puts her free hand on her hip, staring down the cat as she speaks to his human. “It’s me. 5F?”

“Oh,” Kara says, familiarity and some sort of relief in  her voice. Then, worry. “Oh no.”

Lena chuckles. “Yup. Sorry. Did I wake you?”

“It’s okay,” Kara murmurs. Lena hears shuffling from the other end. “I can go—”

“I got him,” Lena assures softly. “Don’t worry about it. Be there in like, ten seconds.” 

Kara laughs softly. The sound is so soft, so endearing that Lena feels a nervous flutter in her chest. “Mkay. I’ll open the door.”

“See you,” Lena replies, and she doesn’t realize how breathless it sounds until she’s ending the call and pocketing her phone with a sigh. She looks down at Streaky. “You’re lucky your mom is cute,” she mutters as she leans down to pick him up like the first time. Streaky doesn’t resist; in fact, he purrs, and Lena rolls her eyes. “Let’s get you home, you big baby.”

Lena walks barefoot to 5A again, just in time for her to see Kara Danvers opening the door. Hair disheveled, glasses askew, sleepy smile on her lips. Lena notices this time the tank top she wears. 

“Hi,” she greets, that same husky voice from the phone falling from her lips. Lena smiles. 

“Sorry for waking you up,” she says. Before she could safely hand her Streaky, the black cat jumps off her arms, bumps his head against Kara’s pajama-clad leg as if in greeting, before walking into the apartment. 

The two women watch him then share a laugh. Kara turns to Lena. “I’m sorry,” she says with an apologetic shake of her head. “I don’t know how he keeps getting out.”

Lena waves off her apology with a smile. “It’s fine. I just got home anyway.” 

Kara seems to frown at that, a crinkle between her eyebrows, before nodding. “Long day at work, huh?”

“You could say that.” Lena points back to her apartment. “I should go and let you sleep.”

Kara nods again, slowly, like she isn’t really up for conversation. Lena understands. She nods politely and steps back, but Kara speaks again. 

“You never told me your name,” she says softly, then flushes and fidgets with her glasses. “Just- just so I don’t call you 5F in my head. And on my phone.”

Lena blinks at that, and for a moment she doesn’t know what to say. “Lena,” she finally replies. “Um. Lena Luthor. So we’re fair.” 

Kara smiles again—it feels cozy, her smile, like a warm fluffy blanket on a cold early morning. “Okay. Good night, Lena Luthor.”

Lena doesn’t think anyone has said her name like that; or at least, she doesn’t think she has ever felt like this when someone said her name—all warm and giddy and feeling like she’s drank two tall cups of lattes with extra espresso shots with how her heart raced. 

Caught off-guard, she smiles. “Sweet dreams, Kara Danvers.”

Lena walks back to her apartment, but she doesn’t hear the sound of Kara closing her door until Lena has closed her own—as if Kara waited for her to get home, all ten seconds of her walk back. 

It shouldn’t make her swoon. She tells herself she doesn’t. It’s a happy crush, is all; Kara Danvers has one demanding cat but he’s cute and she’s adorable, Lena thinks as she cleans up in the kitchen. 

She saves Kara Danvers’ number and doesn’t fall asleep until two in the morning.