Trust the overthinker who tells you they love you. They have, most assuredly, thought of every reason not to.
Summer break was the dream of all students and all teachers. Three months away from the institute that had gotten far too boring and much too trapping – blissful. But like all things, summer breaks had to end, and the bell had to ring.
Still, an hour before the bell had rung, Kara Danvers was already within the building, having bought croissants and coffees for the night security guard and janitor.
She loved this feeling of coming back to a place that she was growing to dread three months prior, refreshed and prepared to face the world. She loved the empty halls and the rows of lockers. She loved the unencumbered vastness of knowledge that this one little building carried, be it within the teachers or the taught. She loved the challenge of the different individuals she would come across, being somewhat of a permanent fixture herself.
She loved teaching, even though the pay was abhorrent and some students or teachers were in serious need of rehabilitation. It was a noble job, and she was going to do it to the best of her ability within the confinements she was set in, just like she vied to do other things.
Having already prepared the syllabus for the rest of the week and partly understood the personalities of the classes she would be teaching this year by looking through student profiles, Kara was pretty much set for the day. She just liked being alone for awhile before the school returned to its rowdy glory.
Her classroom was 501, and across from her was 503.
503's door was…opened.
She stopped in her tracks, because no one was ever here earlier than she was.
Also, there was a very delectable ass halfway in the air as the owner was bent over the desk doing something or other with her laptop, and as a self-respectful bisexual, Kara just had to.
And then her phone buzzed in her pocket, jolting her out of her perverted trance – bad Kara Danvers. She blinked away, pretty much jerking her body around, and fished out her phone, grumbling at her sister's predictable text.
[7:12a.m.] Alex: Monster.
[7:12a.m.] Kara: we all hv our thing, alex.
[7:12a.m.] Alex: You're an English teacher, Kara. At least deign to use caps.
[7:13a.m.] Kara: u wldnt knw wht its like.
She left her sister alone after that, ignoring the following buzz, because someone had cleared her throat behind Kara and it was rude to ignore people. Pocketing her phone, she spun back around to face the owner of that ass, only to find herself completely unprepared for the vision standing before her.
Hair as black as raven's feathers and tied up in a neat ponytail, draped in a white blouse and a pair of unfairly slim fitting black slacks, slender arms with slender hands attached to slender fingers crossed over ample chest, and the most curious and mischievous green eyes ever encountered – Kara officially hated the universe.
The vision offered a kind smile and extended that slender hand with the slender fingers – honestly, the blonde could not get over it.
"I'm Lena, the new Chemistry and Physics teacher."
And well, really, Kara should have recognized that as the moment.
Lena Luthor was the new sensation in Midvale High School. The beautiful, intelligent, and innovative woman who strutted into the institution with a mysterious past, garnering glances and whispers and mountains of innocent and not-so-innocent crushes from students and faculty staff alike, giving voice to yet another talk of the town – literally.
Everyone was thinking about her. Everyone was talking about her. Everyone was wondering about her. Everyone was jealous of her. Everyone was crushing on her.
Kara wasn't surprised by the fervor of attention that Lena had gotten, and she certainly was not innocent of the last one.
Lena was a brilliant teacher who knew exactly what she was talking about. She had interesting syllabuses and never failed to make the class interesting with her intriguing analogies and unconventional experiments, alongside expert anecdotes that not only caught all her students' attention but also imparted unique knowledge that could definitely help in their portfolios. Not only that, she managed to integrate herself with the staff, making jokes and talking about teaching experiences, while keeping her personal life out of the professional setting. The kind of detachment she built around herself was incredibly impressive, getting more tongues lolling just to know more about her.
Namely, why she gave up a thriving career at LuthorCorp, probably even rising to the C-Suite easily given it was her family's legacy, to teach in a small-town high school at the edge of a Californian city. Her choice had made no sense – Kara was certain she knew of everyone's interest in that subject – but she never made any move to explain herself.
She just glided in and out in her high heels and bouncing ponytail and taught excellently.
And people craved mystery more than anything.
The woman looked up from her laptop with raised eyebrows at her intruder, her office the only source of light in the otherwise dim hallway. With one tilt of her head, Kara found the words stuck in the back of her throat for a second.
"It's already dark," Kara pointed out, forcing the fascination down.
"Oh," Lena exclaimed and turned to look out the windows of her office, making another small noise of surprise. "Oh, I didn't even realize."
Kara leaned further into the office, her body propping against the door panel. She bit her lip, wondering if there was a line that should not be crossed, literally or figuratively, until Lena simply turned back to her laptop and narrowed her eyes.
"I think I've noticed you staying back late for like…two weeks already," she pointed out again.
Lena hummed and offered a smile – Kara couldn't help but think that it kind of looked sad and lonely. "Yes, I guess you have," she muttered.
"Have you had dinner?"
"I've been too focused on preparing tomorrow's experiment for my tenth grade students to remember food, actually."
Kara's eyes widened. She stood upright and moved straight past the door into the other teacher's office, lines be damned, failing to notice Lena's wary eyes darting to her feet and then back up to her face. This just would not do.
"Come on. Pack your stuff. We're going for dinner."
Lena raised her brows again, but Kara was entirely too perturbed by the fact that someone could actually forget about food to notice anything sexy right now. It would be a hindsight thing for now, until after she made sure Lena actually ate.
And finally, the raven-haired woman only sighed with a relenting smile. Kara watched in satisfaction as she stood up and started packing her stuff. They were not going to party tonight until the newcomer got a taste of the best Chinese in town.
Alex sat down in front of her in the lounge during lunchtime with a Subway sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie, though she did not proceed to eat them, instead choosing to narrow her eyes at her sister and staring at her acutely. For so long and so intensely that Kara didn't feel comfortable to eat the delectable looking potsticker, which was part of the leftovers from last night.
"What, Alex?" she asked, sighing and dropping her fork to look at her sister.
"Students have been talking about you today," Alex replied.
Kara frowned, shaking her head and shrugging. "Students talk about all of us."
"No, no, they talked about you and the new teacher."
Still, for a moment, the blonde failed to grasp the point. That was, until she finally understood who 'the new teacher' was, which got her even more confused. Students had been talking about Lena since the moment she was introduced. Hell, the faculty had been talking about Lena since the moment she was introduced.
"Yeah, and? Everyone's been talking about Lena."
Alex raised her brows, finally deigning to unwrap her Subway sandwich, giving probe to Kara to do the same with her heated leftovers.
"Since when did you call her Lena?" Alex pointed out, deliberately not looking at her, but her tone said enough.
Kara stiffened, yet to eat the potsticker left hanging. She gulped and avoided looking at her sister, because no one knew Kara better than Alex Danvers.
Last night was…something else.
Kara had been out to dinners with friends and colleagues before, and she had always found it difficult to just gel with people at the beginning. She had always needed to just be there and listen and watch for at least ten minutes to comprehend the vibe of the environment before inserting herself into the conversation. Yes, she was a friendly person – it was kind of her brand – but she was only friendly after that period of comprehension, not right off the bat.
But Lena was different. Kara wasn't sure what it was, but it was almost like Lena's…manner of seclusion without being totally antisocial woke up something in the blonde. Something that drove her curiosity, a certain need to just dig deeper without caring for normal social norms or the fact that they barely knew each other and Kara was the creeper harboring a creepy crush on the new teacher.
Still, an unwilling Lena allowed herself to be dragged to Kara's favorite Chinese restaurant in town, sat down opposite each other, and let the blonde have the liberty to order what she would later call an "inhuman" amount of food. And then from there, somehow, some way, almost like the smell of sweet and sour chicken wafting in the background, Lena Luthor started becoming…Lena.
Her smiles grew less and less trained and more and more real. Her laughter became more unreserved as they spoke of the weather and the football team which transitioned into small things about each other – nothing big, just favorite colors and flowers and whether the other could cook. Her posture gradually relaxed from the straight and elegance that had become a natural association with Lena among the faculty and student body.
They laughed and they talked and they ate and they got leftovers. At the end of the night, Lena was Lena and Kara was Kara. This morning, Kara woke up and her first thought was a particularly lilting laugh that Lena emitted last night, which brought a smile to her own face.
"Some students saw you having dinner with Luthor last night," Alex said, looking up at Kara while biting a huge chunk off her sandwich. "And it's a small town with a small high school and a small number of new people…" Drifting off, the redhead just pointedly stared at the blonde without saying much else.
Kara wasn't a stupid person – she taught for a living, for the love of god – so she immediately understood her sister's implications. There was nothing between her and Lena, she swore, except for a superficial and pretty much nonexistent crush on Kara's side.
So she didn't really understand why her heart jumped a beat at the thought of students seeing her and Lena out to dinner together.
"It was just dinner. I saw her staying back late and decided we could grab dinner before getting home. It's nothing," she explained.
"You called her Lena."
"We had dinner, Alex. We talked and got friendly. It's a thing. You have friends. You should know."
"Yeah, but it's Luthor. She's like…the mysterious and vague antagonist in our very own Nancy Drew novel or something."
Kara narrowed her eyes at Alex and tilted her head. "You don't really know what Nancy Drew novels are about, do you?"
Alex shrugged unapologetically. "I'm a Biology teacher, not English. But you know there are already rumors, right?"
"It'll die out."
Okay, point to Alex, but…it would die out. Or, at least Kara hoped so. God, please let it die out.
Unfortunately, it did not die down. Oh no, it spread like wildfire, reaching the heights of being the new gossip in town. Then again, it wasn't like Lena and Kara had been working hard to quell those rumors either.
It had become some sort of a habit – Kara waiting for Lena after school and then going for dinner together. She wasn't exactly complaining about having to stay slightly later than usual, discovering that she could focus better and prepare for tomorrow's lessons faster and easier in her work environment.
When she was at home, she would find herself having to spend more time coming up with lesson plans because she was distracted by the dog or Netflix. Here at her own office, she could easily look up information without a dog or TV distracting her, and that made going home all the more relaxing and concern-free, because she would know that she had done her part for the day and she wouldn't feel guilty if she spent thirty minutes just cuddling with Barnaby the dog.
Plus, Lena had also learned to stop staying at the school so late because of her guilt for making Kara wait, and it wasn't like Kara was going to stop her. She had spoken to the night security guard, and he told her that the Chemistry and Physics teacher had never gone home on time since the day she started working here. So if guilt could be an incentive, Kara was going to make use of it.
And since Midvale was a small town with only five restaurants, there really were not many options for them to go to in the first place, and that applied to the students. Resultant of that was the many witness accounts of English teacher Ms. Danvers and genius-extraordinaire Ms. Luthor having dinner together in all five restaurants, fueling the rumors that Kara actively avoided learning the details of.
Except then students started getting braver, because kids these days were just amazing in their brazenness.
"Is it true?"
Kara stopped midway from explaining the literary theory of Animal Farm, casting her gaze across her classroom to find curious eyes staring back at her. She tilted her head in question at the student who directed her question.
"About you and Ms. Luthor?" the student clarified.
The teacher blinked, her brain grinding to a halt. She honestly should have seen this coming. For a moment there, she wondered if she should just change her teaching tactics all together and stopped being so friendly with the kids, almost 100% certain that her friendliness was the exact reason why Raven even dared to ask her about the rumors in the first place.
There really wasn't anything else she could do except pretend to be extremely obtuse. "I don't know what rumors you're talking about."
"Oh, come on."
"I'm a teacher, Raven. You know nobody ever tells the faculty anything, especially the students."
"The rumors!" another student piped up.
"That you and Ms. Luthor are dating!" a third student chimed in – and really, Kara walked right into that one.
Kara stared at the student who started the conversation, and then at the rest of the class – almost all of them had amused and curious expressions, except for one but that girl was texting and Kara could only imagine the rumor mill gaining traction outside this classroom. Lena was going to kill her.
But while the English teacher was still alive and safely breathing within the confines of this room, she did what she did best. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose, offered an enigmatic smile, and went back to Animal Farm.
"Can you believe you were once a journalist?" Lena pointed out as soon as she found Kara on the quad, not even asking permission as she sat next to the blonde on the blanket.
Kara narrowed her eyes curiously at her colleague while her hands skillfully unpacked the leftovers that they had gotten from last night's trip to the pizza place. This was what they do now: order an exorbitant amount of food from their chosen dinner location, and then pack up leftovers for lunch on campus the next day.
And yes, Kara was well aware that sitting out in the quad where almost every student could see them was not exactly stifling the rumors either. The funny part, however, was that Kara didn't care, even though she had seen firsthand how the rumors started by the students could catch fire quickly and easily tear friendships and relationships apart with Alex and Sam.
Sometimes, she still shuddered at the memories of the brief breakup between Alex and Sam and the role she had to play, because she didn't want to lose either of them, damn it. Luckily enough, they both found their way through the mess and the gossip and the conservative parents, deciding that their devotion for one another trumped anything else. Of course, that was thanks in no small part to the principal, Cat Grant.
Midvale High School lucked out in having Cat Grant leading it.
Lena gratefully took the leftover salad that Kara had willfully judged her for ordering in the first place. She picked up a carrot and waved it absently in the air before taking a bite from it.
"Considering your background in journalism, one would think you'd be better at, I don't know, diversion or something of the sort," Lena said, which only confused the blonde further. "Instead, you have managed fuel the fire further and now I literally can't walk anywhere without all the students staring at me. Also, Winn just gave me a wonky wink when he passed by my office earlier."
Kara released a groan and hung her head. "I didn't mean to – they just caught me off guard!" she exclaimed. "I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to. Our students are just very brave individuals."
Lena giggled. "It's okay."
The raven-haired woman hummed with a careless nod as she dug into her lunch. "It's a small town and I'm the new person. I get it." She then offered Kara a smirk. "Besides, I wouldn't pick anyone else to be swirling in rumors."
Wait. Suddenly, the leftover pork chop didn't seem very appealing anymore, not when the implication of Lena liking being rumored with her was swirling around Kara's brain relentlessly.
There was no dinner tonight. No, instead, Kara had decided to cancel it and invite Lena to the one and only bar in town with some of the faculty that she was closer to.
See, here's the thing. While she loved that out of the decent-sized staff Midvale High had, Lena had chosen to hang out with her, extend a quiet offer of friendship from her mysterious and shadowy corner, and actually tried out the whole friendship thing as best as she could – it didn't take a blind person to see that Lena wasn't really well versed in communications and generally being with strangers like she was with the sciences. She still thought it wasn't healthy for Lena to just have one friend in this small town after having been here for more than half a year.
So, being gracious and unselfish, which were things she'd been told that she was good at, she organized a rare hangout at the bar with the friends that she had, admittedly, neglected in favor of hanging out with Lena. And she didn't forget to invite Lena.
The other woman had been, as expected, reluctant to accept the offer, initially denying the offer. And honestly, Kara wasn't one to force someone to go out if they didn't want to, and she would have let it go, except then Lena let it slip that she would rather stay back on campus to organize lesson plans for next Monday.
After the efforts of wriggling Lena out of the overworked hole she had previously dug herself in, Kara was certainly not going to let that go. She put her foot down and insisted that Lena joined her, purposely threatening that she would stay back and stand her friends up until Lena chose to leave.
That was how they all ended up here.
Almost instantly, Lena clicked with Winn with their shared passion in all things technology, and with Alex with their shared passion in all things science. Weirdly enough, Lena and Sam found common ground as well – maybe there was commonality in sciences and math as well, Kara wouldn't know. It was nice, really, to see the woman she had grown very fond of to be able to easily interact with the people she considered her founded family.
But if there was one thing she found kind of irking was when James seemed to have his eyes locked on to the raven-haired woman almost the instant they walked into the bar together. He had immediately offered to specifically buy Lena a drink as soon as they introduced themselves; and for the past hour, almost everyone could see his lack of subtlety in trying to grab Lena's attention.
And it wasn't like Lena was aware of it, per se. As a matter of fact, she seemed rather oblivious to the attention that James was showering on her and would rather discuss some theory or other with Winn.
Still, as a spectator subtly gauging Lena's reaction to her peers from the faraway bar, Kara did not like it.
Her attentive gaze on Lena and her friends was broken off when Alex and Sam – seriously, it was like they were inseparable now that they found their way back to each other – sidled up to both sides of her at the bar. They both shared a look, turned to watch the table, and then turned back to Kara, eyebrows similarly raised and mouths similarly twisted in smirks.
God, Kara hated them.
"I never realized how exhausting it could be to grade around 200 worth of tests," Lena commented, leaning back in the chair with her feet propped against the edge of Kara's desk in her office.
"Welcome to teaching, Ms. Luthor," Kara teased, though she was growing curious.
This might have been the first time that Lena had even hinted at something that even so much as resembled her past. She wanted more, but she knew not to push. Pushing was never good. She settled on smiling mischievously at her colleague.
Dusk had settled, the sky a weird shade of orange and purple bruises. Food delivery was en route because it was grading season and neither of them wanted to take their work home to rush the grading so they can distribute the tests back to the student before homecoming. And yeah, Kara supposed a few nights of staying back at school was unavoidable and not that bad, especially when Lena was here.
"Perhaps I should have thought about this career switch more before I did it," Lena commented with a smirk on her lips.
Kara glanced out the doorway to check that it was truly empty and there was no one who could be eavesdropping. Then she hummed a little too strongly for even the most oblivious, immediately grasping Lena's attention. Her curiosity only grew, but she played it off and avoided looking at Lena at all as she looked through one student's writing on some Kazuo Ishiguro piece.
Still, through the small mistakes but overall rather impressive analysis, the blonde could feel the other woman's sharp gaze on her. She wasn't quite sure how to define the nature of the look, but she had, shamefully, googled the woman's reputation before; and Lena Luthor had a reputation with her piercing green eyes.
The fact that people actually wrote articles about those eyes alone should be testimony enough. Kara kind of regretted that she wasn't one of those writers.
"I couldn't deal with it anymore," Lena spoke up, her fingers twirling her pen in her nervous gesture. Like Kara before, she seemed to be making an effort to not look at anything or anyone but the tests.
The blonde remained quiet, knowing this was a rare moment easily broken by real people and real things. Right now, in this rare bout of quietness, they were alone, and Lena was telling her things. Real, important things.
"The name. The board. The corporate. The dishonesty. The pressure," Lena listed out softly and slowly, her gaze faraway. "All I wanted to do was stay in the lab and invent things. Maybe cure cancer. I don't know. I just wanted…to do science things, you know. Not…" She pursed her lips and closed her eyes. "I'm born for the lab. But then my brother did unsanctioned and illegal human experiments. And then I was thrust into the spotlight. CEO. Young. Woman – girl." She heaved a sardonic laugh then. "You probably think I'm stupid for abandoning that life for…this," Lena added, finally focusing back to real life and tapping the tail of her pen on the stack of unmarked tests.
"No!" Kara loudly exclaimed, acquiring Lena's attention finally. She swallowed and felt her heart ache at the sadness clouding her favorite eyes. "No, I don't think it's stupid at all."
Lena narrowed her eyes, her lips twisted into a self-deprecating smile. "I had a mansion. I had assistants. Secretaries. I had access to the kinds of information and resources that a high school teacher can only dream to get. I owned apartments in Paris, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, China, South Korea, and the UK. Men and women were clamoring to get into my bed and kiss my feet." She then tilted her head back a little to partially look at the ceiling. "I exchanged it all for a 600 square feet house, a job that pays me the bare minimum, and a town that only has one bar."
Like a rebellious child, the blonde's brain immediately locked onto the information about the men and women part of the other woman's diatribe. She blinked a few times and forced herself to keep that for later deliberation. There were more important things now.
"But were you happy?"
"Not enough to keep me there."
"Then no, it's not stupid at all."
Kara felt herself soften at Lena's voice. "I think it's very brave."
It wasn't that she was scared of hurting Lena. Yes, fine, for the duration of their friendship, Kara had grown scared of hurting Lena – who wouldn't after recognizing those eyes and knowing even just a little bit of the kind of person that Lena was? Kara would be the last person to hurt Lena on this earth if she had any say about it.
However, it was more than that. It was the vulnerability that Lena was clearly trying to hide but also clearly failing in Kara's vicinity. It was the tremble in her voice and the shimmer in her eyes. It was the way she wouldn't stop tapping her pen on the stack of papers in her lap. It was this rare display of defenselessness that Kara drank up like a thirsty camel.
"You gave up a life you knew, for a life you hardly understand, just to have a sense of normalcy and independence. Not a lot of people can do that," Kara comforted. "I'm not sure I would have been able to do that."
"You gave up a life you knew too," Lena shot back, eyes knowing.
Kara thought back to the night when she laid it all out to Lena at the dinner table. How she was on her way to having a byline that would awe the people and scare those in power. How she almost took the reins from Snapper Carr and become the editor-for-all at the company. How Jeremiah Danvers suddenly found himself a carcass in the sheets of rain and the slippery roads. How Alex gave up her own rising career as a doctor to come back here and teach biology and coach football because she didn't want to leave her mother alone. How Kara followed along because she gotten rather exhausted of the competitive life of being a journalist and she wouldn't have made it to where she was without Eliza Danvers.
Lena had only gaped at her when Kara's diatribe ended with a grin and a nonchalant shrug. And then she had asked Kara whether she had regretted it, to which the blonde only shook her head.
Teaching was an acquired taste. One either hated it or loved it. And despite the drop in salary and the rather confined environment with the confined town, she had grown to enjoy it – watching the young minds blossom and sometimes even giving the rebellious ones a good talking to. Maybe in the future, she would go back – Snapper had very gruffly told her that the position would always be open for her if she so chose – but for now, this was where she belonged.
She leaned forward and stared at Lena earnestly. "I gave up a life I knew for a life I grew up in," she corrected the sciences teacher. "It wasn't so much as brave as simply returning to my roots and rebuilding. I was happy here before I was happy there. And I came back, and I'm still happy here."
For the first time in the months that Kara had known Lena, she saw the woman's eyes shimmer with wetness, though she drew back from commenting on it. To show her own vulnerability like this, even with a person she considered a friend amongst few, must have been difficult for Lena. Kara wasn't going to ruin that.
"And I wouldn't be so sure about the men and women no longer clamoring to get into your bed and kiss your feet," Kara added vivaciously, trying to lighten to mood, as she leaned back in her chair and picked up her pen.
"Do you see the way James looks at you?"
"How does he look at me?"
Kara found herself quieting down at the question. Talking about how James looked at Lena was the last thing she wanted to do, because that would mean acknowledgement, and with acknowledgement came – dare she say it – competition.
Not that Lena was a prize to be won, though she was surely a treasure. The blonde just didn't like thinking about it; about someone else getting to look at Lena and touch Lena and kiss Lena the way she wanted to. It was the worst thing ever, to be jealous at a friend over a thing he had no control over. Who wouldn't be in love with Lena, really? The woman was perfect.
She shook her head and gave Lena a hopefully genuine smile. "I'm just saying – you shouldn't be worried about that department."
Lena hummed, and suddenly, there was a look in her eyes that Kara couldn't decipher. Something close to amusement but not that. Something close to hilarity but not that either. Something close to longing but also not that. Only Lena Luthor could pull such a look off and hook more people in with her enigma.
"Maybe I haven't noticed the way he looks at me," she drifted off, like she knew that Kara was hanging on to every word, "because I've been too busy looking at someone else."
Looking back up at Lena, the two of them shared a look. And it was deep. It was intense. It was laden with the kind of messages that Kara had never dared to let herself even fathom.
She looked right into Lena's eyes and saw the clarity and the hidden messages in those green pools. She narrowed her own a little and resisted from licking her bottom lip at the intensity with which Lena had pinned her down.
This woman was going to be the death of her.
Kara averted her attention from the English homework that Ruby had asked her to look over to her sister's girlfriend, who was standing by the window and nursing a glass of wine. Alex had been relegated to dinner duties and Ruby had gone upstairs to shower after her softball practice.
Now, the younger sister loved Sam. Sam was a fun person and a loving mother. She was a good teacher and knew exactly what she was doing as a disciplinary teacher. She made terrible jokes with hilarious punchlines. But the honest-to-god truth was that Kara would have loved Sam simply because no one had ever learned how to properly love Alex Danvers like Sam Arias.
But the fact that she loved Sam did not mean she wasn't terrified of being in the same room as Sam alone.
There was something about Sam, in the way she thought and the way she minced her words and the way she talked, that made her always hit the point in a conversation about the other person. So many times, people had been caught off guard by Sam's way of carrying a conversation, split between being offended and impressed – sometimes they even treated Sam like a counselor and poured their hearts out to her even when that wasn't really her intention.
And that was so sudden a way to start a conversation that Kara wasn't sure she wanted to know where it was headed. She didn't even have any idea of the context of the conversation that Sam had found appropriate to begin in the absence of her girlfriend and daughter.
"I love just how you and Lena are always effortlessly fueling those rumors," Sam continued after Kara had spent a long time just staring at her.
The blonde frowned. "Huh?"
"They caught you in your office."
Kara's eyes widened for a bit. Oh, that.
"Looking at each other with the heartiest of eyes."
She gasped. "There were no hearts in eyes!"
"Their words, not mine."
"I thought they'd left!"
"Club activities, Kara. Honestly, get with the system. You teach there," Sam said while clicking her tongue admonishingly.
Kara clicked her tongue in response. "Regardless, there were no hearts or any…eyes, or whatever it is the kids talk about these days." She waved her hand wildly in the air, failing valiantly in trying to defend herself and Lena. "We were just grading tests together."
"While staring at each other with heart eyes."
"There were no –" She was cut off by a look from Sam, a look that carried none of the amusement from before but a sense of investigation and disbelief. It was penetrating and intrusive, and exactly what Sam was branded for – lord only knew how many kids she had scared away from that look alone. "That's not fair."
Sam sipped her wine and moved to sit next to Kara. "Honestly, who are you trying fool? Yourself or the general public? Because let me tell you, I think even the janitor knows you're in love with Lena Luthor, and the janitor works at night."
Jerking in her seat, Ruby's homework was almost tossed into the fireplace as Kara whirled to face Sam. And the woman only kept on sipping her wine – it was no wonder she and Alex fell in love. "I'm not –"
"No, it's – she's a friend that –"
We are just good fr –"
Kara huffed and crossed her arms together, resisting from doing the childish thing and reaching out to smack Sam's arm, maybe even smacking her wine away. Alex would not like the stain it would leave on the carpet; let's see if Sam would regret doing this to her little sister when she was confronted with the signature Danvers pout.
As if sensing her debate, Sam carefully placed the glass on the coffee table and shifted to mirror Kara's position as well, propping her head in her hand against the backrest of the couch. She sighed and reached out to pat Kara's thigh. Instead of saying anything, she just lifted her chin, twisted her lips, and fixated on Kara with a perceptive gaze.
"Fine!" Kara relented. "Maybe Lena is lovely and gorgeous. Maybe she's smart. Maybe she's funny. Maybe she's one of the kindest people I've ever met. Maybe I like her."
"Kara," Sam interjected, her hand on Kara's squeezing a little warningly. Once Kara had seemed like she had chilled, she continued, but gentler and much less aloof as just now. "You need to try again."
The English teacher straight up avoided Sam's eyes, studying the pattern of the coffee table with the illumination of the fire from the fireplace. But in her mind, everything was whirling and being thrown around so rudely – damn Sam. In each of these whirls and jumps, Lena's face appeared in every single one of them, like Kara had taken a snapshot of every second they had spent together, capable of putting together a bad silent motion picture for her own consumption.
I've been too busy looking at someone else.
She sighed and scratched the back of her neck, still refusing to look at Sam as she pictured the look on Lena's face when she said those words. Her heart pounded and her palms sweated and good lord, she was going to die.
"I'm in love with Lena."
There was no knowing how she got roped into this, but Kara suspected Sam and Alex, maybe even Cat Grant because that woman seemed to have eyes everywhere, had something to do with this. This was a small town, and naturally, people sometimes get bored and band together to make things happen, like fuel even more rumors between the new teacher and the adopted daughter of that engineer who died in a car crash.
Things had been hanging on a precipice since Lena and Kara's lilting conversation in her office and her own admission to her deep feelings for the raven-haired woman. Not that things weren't good, because things were very good. They still laughed and ate and hung out and ignored the rumors together. Friday nights were reserved for bar nights with their peers and also ignoring the knowing looks they were all sending the two women.
But every time they were together, something was left unsaid. Just hovering between them, known only between the two of them. It wasn't that Kara knew for sure that Lena even returned her feelings, but she would like to think that she hadn't imagined that extra layer of something in Lena's eyes every time she looked at her.
So here Lena and Kara were, homecoming chaperones alongside two other teachers that they weren't so close. And guess what, the rest of their friend group was mysteriously absent from this very titillating event of teenage hormones and burgeoning ground for scandals.
Why their friends this would be a good place for anything to progress between the two of them was a mystery. Since Kara had been employed in this school, she had done everything she could to avoid events like homecoming or proms or seasonal games – she hated them while she was studying here; she certainly wouldn't like them as a teacher now.
"I think I just saw someone spike the punch on that side of the hall," Lena said as she sidled up next to Kara.
She was dressed in an alluring purple dress with heels that almost had her reaching Kara's eyes. Her hair was down for once, straight and pouring over her shoulders. She wore perfume.
It was all very distracting for one very weak Kara Danvers, so she only responded with a questioning hum as she tried to shake herself out of her lovelorn haze.
"A kid spiked the punch on that side of the hall," Lena repeated, indiscreetly drinking from her flask of vodka.
"Well, that's not our side of the hall." Lena was right, kids were spiking the punch. Oh well. "So let's pretend we didn't see it."
Lena chuckled, and even with the boomingly terrible music, the sound still warmed Kara's insides deliciously. "Vodka?" the woman offered, thrusting the flask in her direction.
Kara blinked at the prominent lipstick left on the lid and shook her head profusely. "No, thanks. I'm still responsible for this side of the hall. We are, in fact." She turned to narrow her eyes at her friend, who only shrugged back at her and continued drinking.
"I've never really got to dance at a homecoming before. For that matter, I've never even really got to attend one of these before," Lena muttered, but loud enough for Kara to hear.
The blonde gasped and stepped forward so she could turn around to face the sciences teacher. "Are you serious?"
"I was always too busy studying this or that. Or I was either home showing my face for this function or that. Proms and homecomings are for the…weaker class, as my mother always said," Lena said as her lips pursed, trying to hide herself again.
Kara could only gape at her for a long moment, absorbing the dancing lights reflected on her pale skin, somehow adding to her alluring obscurity to the others but magnifying the splendor that made up Lena Luthor in one fell swoop. God, she loved this woman.
And she wasn't going to just let this information go by. So, like any other rational teacher, she reached out, grabbed Lena's hand, and started tugging her to the dance floor, effectively abandoning their posts. Lena sputtered behind her, asking Kara what she was doing as they shouldered past the horny students and ignored their excited greetings amidst their way to drunkenness due to the spiked punch.
"You deserve to dance at least once at your first homecoming," Kara declared once she found a spot big enough for the two of them. She then offered a kind smile. "You deserve many things, Lena Luthor, but you deserve this tonight."
The stiffness holding Lena's body upright this whole time melted as Bruno Mars sang about 24k gold in the background. She nodded mutely and stepped forward to sling her arms over Kara's shoulders, essentially pressing their togethers almost together – and okay, Kara did not think this through, she decided, as she felt all the curves and all the fabric and all the closeness.
She forced herself to pull it all together because this was Lena's moment, damn it, and her hormones were not going to ruin it. She would let Lena have this, and she would think about the rest of it when she was alone and much too turned on for a hot shower later tonight. So, she gulped and put her hands on Lena's hips, trying very much not to notice how warm the touch was.
Backstreet Boys was on now. And accompanying the boys were students around them gasping and pointing fingers and whispering amongst themselves as they danced along. Lena and Kara ignored all of them. This was Lena's night, Kara decided, and it would be perfect at the end of it.
When the boys transitioned in Lady Gaga, Lena pressed closer, almost choking Kara's airway in the process.
"It was you, you know?"
Kara could barely muster the "what?"
"I said I didn't notice anyone looking at me, because I was looking at someone else."
Kara hummed in affirmative, too nervous because she thought she knew where this was going. Lena's eyes were brave and unwavering, strong and courageous, like they had spines in them, gentle but supporting – like she had taken ages to come this stage.
And somehow, the blonde knew how hard it must be for Lena to even be able to say these words, and it would be a deep affront to take that chance away from her friend who had been through the trials and tribulations of a dead mother and an adoptive family who didn't know how to love her.
"I was looking at you," Lena whispered, their foreheads leaning together. "I'm always looking at you."
Kara blinked, not knowing why her eyes were wet all of a sudden. "Yeah?" she said with a disbelieving and wet laugh. Lena nodded, laughing herself. "Good." She moved her hands from Lena's hips and encircle her arms around the woman's waist. "I've been looking at you too." She licked her lips. "I don't think I've looked at anyone else since that morning I saw you in your classroom."
Sure, there was no kiss – they were self-aware enough to know that kissing in front of the students would not only be blowing up the rumors to crazy proportions, but also land them in deep ethical troubles with the board. But this dance, their arms around one another, simple words to tell each other how they felt – this dance would suffice for now.