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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

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Kisses fall on her forehead and her cheeks and the tip of her nose and on her scrunched-shut eyes.

"Kara," Lena whines.  "I'm tired, poppet.  Stop."


"I love making you call me poppet."

Lena huffs.  It would be irritating, fishing for a petname like that.  She had planned to say something to Kara about that.  Words were involved.  Strong words.  Words...words...words are something that happened before and this is after and after involves Kara's steely thighs straddling Lena's and it involves Kara's warm hand on Lena's belly and really words are just a bad idea right now.  There's a woman made of stardust and gold and laughter above her and she moves the hot chocolate from hand to hand, so that the hand she puts on Lena's skin is always as warm as possible.

"Why am I up?" Lena groans.

"It's raining," Kara explains.  "Rain's special here."

Sure enough, it's raining hard enough to wash National City out into the Pacific.

Lena used to love to sit out in the rain.  Her earliest memories are of cold, slow rain on her face.  It smelled like the sea, when it rained.  The rain came over the mountains, over the farms and churches and the sheep and the grass and it smelled exactly like the sea when it fell.  The first thing she did after escaping her family was have her shower converted to a rainfall shower.  Paid the landlord, in cash, for the install. Somewhere in the ratty, shabby, worn-leather-jacket part of Southside, there's a beat-up rental with mismatched chairs, peeling linoleum, and a shower that belongs in a penthouse overlooking Central Park.

Kara made fun of her for the rain thing, at first.  Spritzed her with a water bottle.  Called her a bad kitty.  Lena pouted.  Kara kissed her.  One particularly rough night early on, they might've broken up about it.  Until her girlfriend's older sister took to spritzing Kara whenever she stole a glance or held Lena's hand.  Lena flinched and then she saw Alex wink at her and nod towards Kara before drenching her sputtering sister with a carefully concealed water gun. Alex wasn't scolding Kara for being gay. Alex was fine with Kara being gay.  So fine that she took out an ad in the Midvale Morning Standard when Kara told her.  Ironically, it faced Eliza's ad across the page. Maybe Kara was not allowed to be paired up when Alex wasn't.  Maybe the Danvers Sisters are some weird two-headed creature that can't survive apart.  What mattered was Kara was about to do something stupid to Lena and Alex spotted it, did something stupider, and redirected Kara.

Kara snags the other cup and hands it over.

"I made room service call your PA," Kara promises.  "That's your brand."

She cocks her head, lemon-bright curls scampering across the tan skin of her neck.

"That's your brand? Or that's your bean?" Kara muses.

"Either is fine, darling."

"Poppet's better."

"I'll keep that in mind."

Kara shudders above her and the grip of her legs tightens.

"Great Rao, that eyebrow is dangerous."


"You were doing the eyebrow thing."

"I was?"

"You didn't know?"

Lena's coffee cup is plucked from her hand, each finger tickled after it is pried off.  The last droplets of Kara's hot cocoa are already trickling out onto the sheets.

"Sexy," Kara grits out. "You don't even know how sexy you are, do you?"

Long fingers bracket Lena's throat while the other hand scrapes upwards from her knee.

"M'gonna make you feel good."

"Is that so?"

"Smirky eyebrow thing means sex, Lena.  Thems the breaks."

"How terrible for me," Lena drawls.

Kara's finger finds its way into her mouth.

"Get it wet," Kara growls.

Hours later, as she recovers from a post-orgasmic delirium, Lena works on how to weaponize Kara's interest in her eyebrows, her smirks, and her petnames.  She's a Luthor, after all.  For all the things she's learned with Kara, about having without taking and getting without asking and needing without apologizing, she can't fully shake it.  Her criminally hot girlfriend goes into a state of rabid horniness when Lena's sarcastic, or teasing, or maybe just for some reason Kara sees that Lena doesn't.

Information is power.


"You think Alex is all right?" Lena mumbles.

For whatever fucked up,  internalized homophobia, maladaptive coping strategy reason, Maggie Sawyer left a tender-hearted, smart, brave woman stammering at the altar.  Kelly Olsen was there as a bridesmaid.  She listened.  Sam Arias was there as Lena's plus-one because her family monitors her social media.  Taking a single mother to her friend's wedding would be an act of charity.  It wasn't as if any man would want damaged goods, after all and Lena knew that if cornered, that story would hold up with her parents. 

If any of the single men were thinking about a move on Sam, they never got a chance to act on it.  By the end of cleaning up the not-reception, Sam had mounted Alex, toppled into the bar, knocked a table over, and sent Kara, Lena and the remaining helpers scurrying into their rooms.  Given that Kelly Olsen made it out of dozens of firefights in Afghanistan, Libya and Sudan without going missing, her being missing now is suspect in the extreme.  Maybe the psychologist in her saw a crisis looming and wanted to stop it.  Maybe the lesbian in her saw an inroad to Alex, or Sam, or both, and a lifestyle that an army brat from a conservative home was too scared to ask them about in front of others.

Eliza summoned Lena to the ballroom this morning.  She was leading the second attempt at cleanup.  By some not-yet-understood violation of the laws of physics, there was a bra tangled in a chandelier fifty feet in the air.  No question it was Alex's.  Her idea of lingerie is 'nothing kevlar-lined' and if she's really feeling fancy 'no military insignia' and this was a black, sweat-wicking oddity that was a sports bra pretending to be a push-up by way of a see-through top half.  

Lena learned two things.  Optically transparent fabric exists.  Spooky stuff.  Maybe one of the materials engineers in her class went into fashion.  Seems like something Amara would have done.  Stay in America and turn her brilliance into scandalous western workout clothing.  Sports bras cannot be thrown that far given the air resistance involved.  The only times they successfully launched it that far was a T-Shirt cannon or squicked-out Kara who demanded potstickers, ice cream, Lena taking one day of vacation every month, and a lap dance as payment.  

Kara never did learn how to negotiate.

"I'm not sure," Kara sighs.  "Maggie was..."

Kara groans.

"Maggie seemed like she was good enough for Alex until she  wasn't even close to good enough.  It happened like that!"

Kara snaps her fingers.

"And then there was all that stuff with Sam, and maybe Kelly.  It's been two days and I already think this is better for Alex.  Could be.  I think she maybe wasn't sure how much she loved Maggie enough, or if Maggie loved her back enough.  Guess not.  Ugh! Why do you humans make this so hard on yourselves?"

"We're primitive, poppet."

"Yeah, well, you all need to get a planetwide mental health system pronto so that everyone can be paired up with someone who's crazy makes their crazy feel not so crazy.  There's a reason matching worked.  The Codex would've put Alex with the women who held her when she was crying too hard to breath without putting her through the woman who left her at the altar first."

This isn't really about Alex.  If something happened with Alex and Sam and or Alex, Sam and Kelly (superpowered girlfriends are hard to trick) it's fine.  Or at least it's safe.  Kara's look of discomfort most of yesterday meant she was tuning in to her sister and she was probably seeing and hearing too much with her powers, way too much.  When she relaxed, and focused back in on Lena, she seemed content with what she saw.  Content that Alex would be all right in the long run.

This is about this lunatic idea of Kara's that she wouldn't have been good enough, back on Krypton, to be matched with Lena.

"I'm sure we would've found each other, Kara, on Krypton.  If that's how it went."

It's a lie.  Kara is so aggressively helpful and bright on Earth, after losing her entire species.  Kara carries survivor's guilt for billions and Clark's rejection and everything and as a result, she seeks puppies out in the park and makes Lena take pictures of kernels of popcorn at the movies and tickles Lena whenever Lena lowers her guard and swallows Lena's giggles before it gets too loud.  All that beating down on her every moment of every day and when she opens Lena's office door for their at-work dinner date every day, the low-hanging sun hits her hair and her lips and her eyes and it's like a stained glass window in a cathedral.  The archangel of mercy and Big Belly Burger visits the Broken Woman.  Kara had to lose a planet, conceal every single part of herself from the entire world and be rejected by every member of the human race save Alex before she saw Lena as worth a try.  Before she would settle for Lena.

Kara just doesn't realize that's what happened.

"I'm not," Kara huffs.  "And not having you, in any universe, terrifies me.  Plus, it's not fair to lie to me and be cute.  Pick one."

"I'm sure about this us, Kara."

"Yeah," Kara sighs.  "I'm sure about this us, too."


Jess snaps into place behind Lena as soon as she steps off the elevator.

"Good morning, Miss Luthor."

"Morning, Jess."

Jess holds the tablet out so Lena can see it.

"Not much," Lena realizes.

"No.  Do you want me to contact Kara?"

"Why would I want yo to do that?"

"Because, Miss Luthor, you didn't hire me to be an idiot.  You hired me to do your schedule, stock your office supplies, and manage the parts of your life you were too busy for."

"I did."

"Well, as the woman who has seen your office liquor sit untouched for four months, has seen you stop needing massage each Tuesday but start going to therapy, and the woman fielding irritated calls from CatCo about the number of bouquets they have to sign for...Kara is good for you."

"Don't tell anyone," Lena pleads.  "Name your salary, blank check."

Jess' face scrunches up.

"No!  Well, nothing like what you're thinking.  It's just good to see you with someone who fits well.  Besides, I knew you were closeted my first day."


Jess points out three women in the bullpen.  All of whom looked up at Lena's outburst.

"Gay.  Bi.  Questioning.  Every morning from my desk, I get to watch them watch you.  When Arias would have meetings with you, you had me arrange seating so that she wouldn't be next to you or as far away as possible.  Three members of the board are female and you only cared where I put her.  Because you knew that Jenny Diaz and Sathya Rahul are married.  Given that you didn't move any of the male board member's seating arrangements no matter how many times you wrote them up for hitting on you..."

"Fine," Lena hisses.  "Yes.  Fine."

Jess pats Lena's hand.

"I'm the oldest of eight kids, Lee.  Four sisters.  I take care of people and I've got a PhD in detecting and discouraging bad boyfriends.  I'm glad you have Kara."

Jess has found out and she wants nothing.  Well, almost nothing.  The increased vacation and the access to overtime is nothing compared to Lena's fortune.  It's nothing compared to what Lillian would take away if she knew. 

Lena's confused haze lasts all the way to her desk.  There's a gold-rimmed envelope on her desk, postmarked from Connecticut and bearing the swooping, embellished 'L' that sits on the manor's front gates.