Chapter 1: the beginning
hello, everyone! this idea just came to me out of nowhere, so i just had to write it. it was originally supposed to be a one-shot, but by the time i finished the first part, it was already far too long so i separated them into different chapters.
all mistakes and medical inaccuracies are my bad. the extent of my medical knowledge comes from six seasons of grey's anatomy and quick google searches :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The first time she wanders into the hospital, Lena happens to be working in the ER that day. Lena had just finished examining a woman with severe abdominal pain. After prodding around and coming to the conclusion that the pain was coming from an inflamed appendix, Lena paged general, then went to the nurses' station to scope out any other cases she could snatch.
That’s when Lena sees her. Tall, honey blonde hair in loose waves cascading over her shoulders, thin, black frames on the bridge of her nose. With a baby blue button up tucked into the waistband of a pair of slacks, the woman clutches her right hand in toward her stomach. Her face consumed with pain.
“Hi, ma’am. I’m Dr. Luthor,” Lena greets warmly. “Is something wrong with your hand?”
The woman winces, “Kara.”
“Kara. Call me Kara, please,” the woman—Kara—clarifies. “Ma’am makes me feel old.”
Lena lets out an airy chuckle. “I feel the same. So, Kara, what seems to be the problem with your hand?”
Kara grunts when she jostles her hand. With her uninjured hand, she pulls it away from her body so Lena can get a better look. “My finger. I think it’s broken.”
All it takes is a quick once over for Lena to agree with her. The tip of her ring finger is covered in angry shades of purple and red hues and swollen significantly more than the rest.
“Oof, yeah, that looks like it hurts.”
Kara snorts her agreement.
“Okay, well, I still want to take a quick x-ray to make sure it’s actually broken and not just a really bad sprain,” Lena explains. When Kara nods along, Lena continues, “Let’s get you to an exam room.”
Lena leads her to an empty examination room and gently helps Kara to sit down on the bed.
“I’m going to go get the portable x-ray machine. It’ll only take a few minutes. A nurse may bring in some forms for you to sign while I’m gone.”
Kara nods again, and Lena notices that she’s biting down on her bottom lip.
“I’ll also make sure the nurse gets an IV line started so we can get you some meds in for the pain.”
Kara finally looks up to meet her gaze. Lena can see the relief spread through her face and azure eyes. Kara manages a small smile. “Thank you, Dr. Luthor.”
“Your eyes,” Kara comments as Lena steadies her hand on the x-ray detector.
“What about my eyes?”
Lena glances up and is instantly met with Kara staring intently at her. “You’re high off pain meds.”
“While that may be true, I’m pretty sure I would still find your eyes beautiful if I wasn’t.”
Lena can feel the blood rushing to her face at Kara’s lack of a filter. “Flatterer.”
Kara smiles a dopey smile, “It’s not flattery. It’s the truth. You’re stunning.”
In order to try and prevent her pale complexion from matching the shade of a tomato, Lena stands up from the stool she was sitting on.
“So, how did you manage to bang up your finger this badly?” Lena asks, changing the subject. She positions the x-ray machine above Kara’s hand and backs away. “Be sure to stay still.”
“My friend… well, my coworker… but we’re friends as well. She’s new. I’m sort of supposed to be her mentor. She studied under my mentor, and now she’s studying under me. It’s like a full circle type thing.”
A red blush covers Kara cheeks. “Right, sorry,” she smiles sheepishly.
Lena can’t tell if Kara’s rambling was because of the morphine or because she was just a natural rambler. She finds it endearing either way.
“Anyway, my friend and I were working. Looking for sources led us to a bank. We were walking out when I realized I left my notepad inside. You know how banks have those heavy glass doors? Well, I turned and went to stop the door with my hand, and-”
“You got your finger smashed in the door, ” Lena finishes for her, an amused grin on her face. She presses the button on the side of the x-ray to snap a picture of Kara’s hand.
“Yes,” Kara admits, ducking her head. “I am a total klutz. My sister is going to tease me so much.”
Lena’s laugh dies in her throat when Kara’s scan pops up on the monitor screen. Sure enough, there’s a fracture at the tip of her finger. Small, but there.
“There’s your fracture,” Lena announces. She blows the image up so Kara can get a better look.
“Geesh, that door must be really strong to break my finger like that,” Kara muses.
Lena smiles as she removes her latex gloves. She tosses them in the disposal bucket and makes her way to the door. “I’m gonna go find Stone Cold for a consult. She’s a bit of a hard ass, but one of our best ortho attendings. Just don’t mention the nickname. She doesn’t know we call her that.”
Kara doesn’t even try to stifle her laugh. “She knows.”
Cocking an eyebrow, Lena crosses her arms incredulously. “And how would you know that?”
Kara mimics her raised eyebrow. There’s a sly grin on her face and it makes Lena falter in her confident stance. “Did you ever ask me my last name? Or look at the paperwork I filled out?”
Lena swallows hard and picks up Kara’s chart from where it’s resting on the side counter. She skims over the sheet until her eyes land on what Kara was hinting at.
Name: Kara Danvers
Sex: Male | Female | Non-binary and/or genderfluid | Prefer not to say
Address: 1022 Hope St, Apt 4A, National City, CA, 90012
Lena clicks her tongue. “So you’re the famous wife that Dr. Danvers won’t stop talking about?”
“What? No! Gross!” Kara exclaims, gagging. “No, no, no. I’m Alex’s sister.”
“Now I feel dumb.”
Kara chuckles and gives her a shrug. “It’s all good.”
Lena spends far too long looking at Kara’s enchanting smile than appropriate. It takes over her entire face, reaching all the way up to her sparkly, blue eyes. There’s a light dusting of freckles that cover Kara’s cheeks, and a small scar next to her left eyebrow. Lena’s heart flutters because… Wow, Kara is the most beautiful woman Lena’s ever seen.
Her pager beeps, effectively breaking her out of her trance.
“Crap, I have to go,” Lena says, almost apologetically. “I’ll make sure to get Dr. Danvers to come down here. You just stay put.”
“And you stay gold, Ponyboy.”
Lena rolls her eyes.
Kara tilts her head, mouth wide in mock—or what Lena assumes is mock—offense. “Don’t tell me you don’t like The Outsiders.”
Lena shakes her head as she pulls the door handle down. “You’re insufferable, Kara Danvers.”
“And you’re stunning.”
When Lena makes her way back around to Kara’s exam room, she can hear Kara and Dr. Danvers in an apparent screaming match from the other side of the door.
“Kara, you have got to stop following this case. It’s dangerous.”
“I can’t just stop searching for the truth because things start looking dicey, Alex. These people deserve justice.”
“That’s the thing! It hasn’t just become dangerous. It’s always been dangerous, from the beginning. I’m not denying that the victims deserve justice, because they do, but it doesn’t have to be you giving it to them, Kara. You don’t have to put your life on the line for them.”
Before Kara can start up again, Lena knocks lightly on the door, then pushes it open. Kara is sitting on the edge of the bed. Her hand is resting on a small table. Dr. Danvers sits on the stool Lena previously occupied, hunched over the table. From the looks of it, she’s splinting Kara’s finger.
Both Danvers sisters swing their heads around to look at Lena. Kara gives her a smile, while Dr. Danvers’ face is tight and somewhat annoyed.
“Sorry to interrupt. I wanted to check back in with Kar—Miss Danvers,” Lena corrects herself. It’s proper bedside manner to refer to the patient by mister this, miss that. Even though Kara told her to call her by her first name, Dr. Danvers didn’t know that, and Lena cannot afford to slip up in front of her attending.
“It’s a non-displaced distal tuft fracture,” Dr. Danvers tells her with an exasperated tone. She stands up from the stool and shucks off her gloves. “I’ve already got her in a splint. She doesn’t need surgery, just someone to knock some sense into her.”
“Alex,” Kara irritatedly huffs.
Dr. Danvers looks at her sister like she’s about to punch her in the face. She starts to say something, then instead sighs and turns to face Lena.
“Dr. Luthor, can you please tell Miss Danvers that she’s being ridiculously reckless and that she should leave the crime-solving to actual police officers?”
Lena’s mouth opens, but Kara cuts in before she can say anything.
“No, Dr. Luthor, can you please tell Dr. Danvers that I’m doing my job and she needs to back off,” she emphasizes the final to words by raising her voice, glaring daggers at her sister.
Lena looks between the two of them, unsure on what to do. On one hand, Kara is her patient. As her doctor, it’s her job to do everything in her power to make her feel comfortable and respected. On the other hand, Dr. Danvers is her attending, therefore her boss, and could prevent her from further progressing as a surgeon.
She is conflicted, so she takes the easy way out.
“I’m afraid I don’t understand what’s happening here.”
“I’m a reporter,” Kara begins, “This woman came to me and told me she thinks her son got caught up in some sort of drug trafficking ring. She asked me to help get him out. In order to do that, I have to get all the details. Look for viable sources, get in contact with the higher-ups, find the ring leader.”
“Which is all very dangerous and shady, considering this guy has a higher body count than fucking Al Capone.”
“You can’t possibly know that, Alex.”
“And neither can you!” Alex shouts, startling both Kara and Lena from the volume of her voice. Realizing how loud she was, she takes a moment to collect herself.
“Look, I’m sorry. I worry about you, okay? This is serious shit, Kara. This isn’t just going out on the street, taking a poll of who likes chocolate ice cream over vanilla. People disappear looking into stuff like this. Kara, I can’t-”
Her next breath is a shuddering inhale and Lena’s chest constricts at the amount of vulnerability someone they’ve nicknamed Stone Cold is openly showing.
“The thought that you could become one of those people is overwhelming. I can’t stand it. I don’t know what I would do without you, Kara. I can’t lose you.”
Kara’s eyes are glossy with unshed tears by the end of Alex’s spiel, and when she blinks, they rush over the edge. It makes Lena’s heart ache.
“I’m sorry. I’ve never really looked at this from your perspective,” Kara says solemnly. “I promise I’ll be careful and I’ll be responsible, but I can’t stop working on this case.”
“—And you have to understand that- Wait, what?” Kara looks at Alex with a confused expression.
Alex gives her a weak smile. “I know you can’t, because you wouldn’t be you if you didn’t. You wouldn’t be my brave little sister, who wears her heart on her sleeve, diving head-first into danger just to help someone else.”
Alex turns to Lena again. It’s the first time either of them have acknowledged her presence in more than a couple of minutes.
“She’s always been this way. So reckless, so stupid,” Alex lists as if Kara isn’t right next to her. “Anyway, Dr. Luthor, can you make sure Kara gets properly admitted and into an actual room. She needs to finish the rest of her IV and she won’t be able to leave for a few hours because of the morphine.”
Lena’s already nodding her head when Kara pipes up.
“What? No. I need to get back to work. I have articles I need to finish before my deadline,” Kara whines. Lena can’t seem to suppress the smile that spreads across her face.
“You better get voice dictation because you’re not going to be able to type with that broken finger any time soon,” Lena tells her, half joking, half serious.
Kara scoffs, but finds herself in some sort of staring contest with Lena again. She isn’t sure of Kara’s reasoning for the stare down, but Lena finds herself unable to look away. She hates the way her heart races in her chest, and the butterflies that begin to stir.
But what Lena hates the most is the stupidly charming grin on Kara Danvers’ face.
thanks for reading! drop a kudo or a comment if you liked it, and i'll see ya in the next part, perhaps? :)
Chapter 2: kara the klutz strikes again
the second time kara wanders into the er and sees dr. luthor
hey everyone! thanks for all of the love on chapter one! sorry this took a little while to get out. i meant to get this posted earlier today, but i had to make sure taylor didn't get robbed at the grammy's o.o
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It isn’t until two weeks later that Lena finally tells Sam about Kara. Sam had been her best friend since the first day of their intern year. From the moment they double-teamed with the crash cart and ended up saving a little boy’s life, they knew they were in for a wild ride. Four years in, the two were inseparable.
Lena sits down at an empty table in the cafeteria. On her tray is a kale salad, an apple, and a small bottle of orange juice. Pulling the plastic wrap off of the to-go utensils and popping open the lid to her salad, Lena goes to dig into her lunch.
She has all but two seconds of alone time before a tray slams down on the other side of the table. Lena nearly jumps out of her seat at the sudden noise, but calms herself down when she looks up at who brought over the offending item.
“God, Sam, you almost gave me a heart attack,” Lena says as her best friend plops down into the seat in front of her.
“You would be in good hands if you did,” Sam winks, unwrapping her sandwich.
Being fourth-year residents, the question of which specialty to choose had begun to stir up. Sam wanted to go into cardiothoracics. She knew that from the day she got there. Sam was adopted when she was a baby because her biological mother had postpartum cardiomyopathy. She went into heart failure just two months after Sam was born and ended up dying.
Sam never got the chance to know who her birth mother was, so she vowed to do whatever she could to make sure no one else has to go through what she did.
As for Lena, when she first started out as an intern at National City General, she for sure thought she wanted to specialize in neuro. It made the most sense for her. She had always been fascinated by the way the human brain worked, and studying under some of the best neurosurgeons in the country would’ve definitely allowed her to learn more. (It also helped that she had steady hands.)
However, as time went on, Lena realized that she loved trauma cases. She used to puppy guard the entrance of the ambulance bay to try and snatch anyone coming in that looked to be a possible neuro case. The longer she spent there, though, the more Lena gravitated towards any type of trauma, not just head or spine injuries. A guy who had a (very bad) mishap with a power saw, a woman who accidentally got hit by a car while crossing the road, whatever the trauma, Lena lived off of it.
Lena lets out an airy chuckle at Sam’s cockiness, then digs into her salad.
“I haven’t seen you for more than three minutes at a time in the past couple weeks,” Sam says, “Catch any good cases?”
Lena bobbles her head around as she chews, contemplating over which of the patients she had seen in the past two weeks was the most interesting. The woman with appendicitis, the six-year-old with the perforated eardrum, Kara’s broken finger, the teenage boy who awkwardly asked her for some condoms while his dad was getting a colectomy-
“Well, there was this one case…” Lena trails off, her voice an octave higher and her eyes visibly brighter.
“Ooh, okay, do tell.”
Lena playfully rolls her eyes at her friend’s intrigue. “She came in with a distal tuft fracture. It wasn’t even surgical, but I- I think she was flirting with me.”
Sam gives her an incredulous look. “Was she actually flirting, or was she just making conversation and you are horny and attention-deprived?”
Lena sputters. It was a reasonable question, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. She furrows her brows. “I think she was?” She states, more like a question.
Around a mouthful of turkey, cheese, and bread, Sam asks, “Why do you think she was flirting.”
Lena chooses to ignore her friend’s non-existent manners and answers the question almost immediately. “She called me stunning,” she recounts, a wistful smile on her face.
More than once , her inner voice says. She called you stunning twice, and she said your eyes were beautiful, and you found her staring at you on more than one occasion.
Sam grins. “Was she cute?”
“God, yes, Sam.” Lena doesn’t even try to hide the blush coloring her cheeks. “Cute and hot at the same time, somehow.”
“That’s a dangerous combination.”
Lena hums. She looks down at the food on her tray, not finding herself hungry anymore. Of course, Sam being Sam, picks up on her sudden shift in body language.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Sam asks. She puts her sandwich down, giving Lena her full attention.
“She’s unavailable,” Lena sighs. “Like, way unavailable.”
Sam’s expression is almost pained. “I’m sorry, babe. She’s married?”
Lena shakes her head.
“Oh no, is she straight?” Sam gasps. “Did you interpret her friendly, girls-supporting-girls compliments as flirting?”
Lena can’t help but to snort. “Worse.”
Sam’s brow furrows, “Is she a homophobe?”
“What? No! Well, I wouldn’t assume so, considering her sister is a raging lesbian,” Lena mutters.
“How do you know her sister is a lesbian but you don’t know if she’s straight or not? How did you even get to that subject?”
Lena huffs out a heavy breath. She feels her lungs contract deep inside of her. “Kara. Her name’s Kara, and she’s Stone Cold’s little sister.”
It’s like record scratch sounds out. Sam freezes once the words leave her mouth, her brown eyes comically large. She stays like that for a moment, before her hung-open mouth morphs into a smile and she has the audacity to start laughing .
“Oh, honey, that’s bad,” Sam says once her laughter subsided. “That’s really bad.”
“I know! It’s terri-” Lena’s pager goes off before she gets the chance to complain any further. She looks down to read what it says. “Ugh, I’m going to kill him one of these days.”
“Yes,” Lena groans. “He’s paging me to the pit. It better be a four car pile-up or you might have to hold me back.”
Sam chuckles into her water bottle.
When Lena makes it down to the pit, she’s frustrated that there isn’t a good trauma case, but she isn’t surprised. Mike Matthews, one of her four interns, is a total doof. His hands shake when he tries to insert an IV, he complains that his hands are tired whenever he’s tasked with holding a clamp in the OR, and he’s almost always in an on-call room—and he’s not sleeping. The only reason he got into the damn program in the first place is because his mother is on the board.
Mike waves her over from next to an exam room. Lena crosses the ER floor without much hassle, it’s thankfully (annoyingly) an easy-going day. Lena gets a high from the operating room. What she wouldn’t do for a roof collapse right about now. She knows it’s wrong to wish harmful things onto others, but at least she’s able to help the injured.
“What is it, Matthews?” Lena asks. Exasperation seeps into her tone, almost purposefully.
“There’s a patient in there who’s refusing medical treatment from anyone except you.”
Lena frowns as she places her cupped hands underneath the automatic hand sanitizer dispenser mounted onto the wall. Usually when people find out her last name is Luthor, they do just about anything to get away from her. It’s odd that someone would voluntarily want her care.
“Did they give you a name?” She questions.
Mike shakes his head. “Nope,” he responds, popping the ‘p.’ “But she was a blonde, glasses, was wearing this dorky shirt that said something about a pony...boy, whatever that is. Oh, and she was super hot.”
Lena gasps in recognition. Without another word, she barges into the exam room. Kara’s sitting up on the bed, her back ramrod straight. She has an arm wrapped around her torso and she’s taking in short, shallow breaths.
“Kara! What’s wrong? What happened?” Lena fights the urge to reach out and cradle her face. To soothe her by gently running her fingers through tousled, blonde hair.
Kara winces when she takes in a breath. “If I tell.. you, you have to.. to promise that you won’t tell my sis- sister. She can be.. overprotective.”
Kara’s voice is laced with pain. A sinking feeling forms in Lena’s stomach. It makes her queasy.
“Your sister is my attending, Kara. I can’t keep this from her.”
“ An attending, not necessarily yours ,” Kara emphasizes. “She may be the best, but she’s not the only orthopedic attending. Consult with Dr. Lance or Dr. Allen.”
Ortho. Bingo .
Lena inches forward. “What happened with your ribs?” She places her hand overtop of Kara’s and the blonde hisses in pain. She instantly recoils. “Sorry, I’m sorry.”
Kara shuts her eyes tightly. Her hand that isn’t curling in on herself clutches the bed sheets tightly. “It’s fine, I- I fell down some stairs.”
“Kara,” Lena breathes out. The sinking feeling grows. “How did you fall down the stairs? No, how did you even get here?”
The question pops into her head unexpectedly. If Kara was brought in by ambulance, there would’ve been a team of doctors at her bedside, not just Mike. She would have a cervical collar around her neck, and would most likely still be on a stretcher.
“I drove,” Kara dismisses like driving herself to the hospital while in excruciating pain was just a regular Monday for her. “Believe it or not, I was actually walking up the stairs,” Kara chuckles. Lena can tell she immediately regrets that by the way she stiffens. “I was rushing to get up the stairs to my apartment, and I tripped over my own feet. I went down onto my right side.”
Lena cringes at the explanation. She’s heard her fair share of painful accidents, but it’s the mundane ones that always get a reaction out of her. Everyday mistakes are the most likely way to land yourself in the hospital. She’d never be out on a golf course while in a lightning storm, but she has and will continue to run up stairs.
Her fierce surge of sympathy has nothing to do with liking Kara. She barely even knows the girl. She cannot like her.
“You think you broke a rib or two?”
“Something like that, yeah.”
Lena turns her back to Kara to grab a pair of gloves. “Alright, I’m going to need to check you out first. Can you take off your shirt for me?”
“At least buy me a drink first,” she grunts jokingly.
Lena turns and rolls her eyes, latex gloves now practically a second skin on her hands. “I can grab some fabric scissors and cut it off.”
Kara eyes widen. “No! This is one of my favorite shirts,” she exclaims, already reaching for the hem. “I’ll do it, just look away.”
Sighing, Lena turns back around. She uses the extra moment to collect herself. She did not expect to ever see Kara again, let alone only two weeks after their initial meeting. With another injury, no less.
Kara did say she was a klutz.
There’s a few uncomfortable huffs from Kara before she gives Lena the OK. “Okay, you can look now. I’m done.”
“I don’t understand why you had me look away if I’m going to have to look any-” she mutters the words under her breath, but they die on her tongue when she sees Kara shirtless.
It’s completely inappropriate, the way she stares. She shouldn’t assume that Kara’s alright with her blatant staring because it is absolutely not okay. It is unprofessional and, frankly, an abuse of power, considering Lena is Kara’s doctor and she should be able to trust her. But all her brain can comprehend is abs, abs, abs.
And Lena feels dirty, and Lena can feel Kara’s eyes on her and dammit, why does a reporter need abs in the first place?
Kara picks up on Lena’s speechlessness and immediately gets worried.
“Oh, God, it’s bad, isn’t it? I’m gonna die, aren’t I?”
Lena’s brought back to the issue at hand. She jumps at Kara’s exclamation, and quickly tries to reassure her. “No, no, no, everything’s fine. Calm down, Kara. You’re not going to die.”
Kara lets out a sigh of relief, wincing halfway through. “Then, why were you staring at me like that.”
Lena steps closer and reaches out again tentatively. “I’m sorry about that. You have some bruising along the right side of your ribcage where you said you hit the stairs. It could just be from the impact, but it could also mean internal bleeding, which is a lot more concerning.”
“If it was internal bleeding, wouldn’t I be in way more pain? Or coughing up blood?”
Lena takes her stethoscope from where it’s hanging around her neck and plugs in the eartips. “I’m just going to take a listen to your heartbeat and breath sounds,” Lena mentions. “That’s not always the case with internal bleeding. It can present differently in everyone. That’s why we need to get you an MRI.”
Kara stiffens. Lena can hear the way her heart speeds up through the stethoscope before she notices Kara’s face suddenly going pale. When she glances up to question Kara about it, Kara is already looking at her. Her eyes are as wide as saucers.
“Hey, what’s wro-”
“Can you page my sister?”
The request takes Lena by surprise. She squints in confusion. “You just told me that you didn’t want your sister to know about this.”
“Lena, please,” Kara asks again. From the desperation in her voice, Lena infers that she wouldn’t be above begging for this.
“I- yeah, sure,” Lena nods, “Give me a second.”
When Alex Danvers sees her sister, now dressed in a hospital gown, on the bed in the examination room with her arm clenched tightly around her abdomen and an oxygen mask on her face, Lena decides then and there that she’s never going to call her Stone Cold again. The whole reason why they started calling her that was because of her constant stoic expression. The only time she would crack a smile was if she was talking about her wife. Besides that, her face was like that of a statue.
At that very moment, the woman that Lena and every other surgeon at National City General had been calling Stone Cold had tears in her eyes. Actual tears. They don’t fall, but they are there. Lena can tell.
“Jesus, Kara, are you okay?” Alex shuts the door behind her and walks further into the room. She disregards every doctor’s natural instinct to reach for the patient chart and instead opts to grab her sister’s hand. She smooths down Kara’s fly-away hairs with her other hand, just like Lena wishes she could've done.
“She fell on the stairs, complained of pain in the rib area. Chest sounds are normal, but I put her on oxygen to help her breathe a little better,” Lena explains. She averts her attention down to the floor when Alex presses a kiss to Kara’s forehead. It’s a tender gesture and it makes her feel like she is the one who can’t breathe.
She pretends to not hear Dr. Danvers’ strangled ‘Oh, Kara.’
“There’s visible bruising. It could be internal bleeding. I’ve already booked an MRI.”
Alex snaps her head around so fast Lena fears she may get whiplash. “Cancel it. Right now.”
“Why? Does she have metal pins or rods from a previous injury? Because, with all due respect, Dr. Danvers, if she doesn’t get an MRI and we find out later that she’s bleeding internally and we could’ve stopped it, it’s going to be on you.”
The words leave her mouth before Lena can even think of the repercussions of questioning her attending’s judgement, going so far as to put a hypothetical blame on her.
Both Danvers sisters stare at her with wide eyes. It’s clear that Dr. Danvers is mostly just surprised, while Kara’s expression is more in awe.
“She’s claustrophobic,” Alex tells her slowly. “She wouldn’t last five seconds in an MRI.”
Lena doesn’t need a mirror to know that her cheeks are turning red. “I- um, I-,” she stammers.
She hates the way both of them can make her feel like a fool. It’s not fair. Being in their presence has turned her into a stuttering idiot.
“Call radiology, cancel the MRI, and schedule a chest x-ray.”
Lena is nodding and halfway out the door before Alex can finish her sentence.
The results of the chest x-ray state that Kara just barely fractured her fifth rib, and only bruised her sixth and seventh. There was nothing they could do for her except prescribe some pain medication and give her a doctor’s note allowing her to rest up at home for a few days.
Kara couldn’t be discharged until later that afternoon, so Alex put Lena in charge of monitoring her.
“Your sister told me to tell you that she’s making you spend the night at her place,” Lena tells Kara with a grin after she checked her vitals.
Kara throws her head back with a dramatic sigh. “This is why I didn’t want her to know at first. She’s so overprotective,” Kara grumbles. “I won’t be able to get any work done on that drug trafficking article if she’s breathing down my neck all night.”
Lena laughs at Kara fondly. Whenever she complained about Alex—which was a lot—she always got this endearing, little crinkle between her eyebrows.
“How’s that going, by the way?” Lena asks once her laughter turned into weak puffs of air from her nose. “Any promising leads?”
“Actually, yes,” Kara’s face brightens up. “There’s this guy who has agreed to talk to me. Apparently he’s a cousin of one of the ring leader’s confidants. He says he’s got some good information for me. We meet in two weeks.”
“Well, just make sure to be careful. Your sister may be overprotective, but it’s only because she loves you. Neither of us want to see you coming in here with another injury, okay?”
Lena has no idea why she does it, but Kara legitimately smirks at her after she says that. “What’s that look for?” Lena questions her.
Kara smiles her toothy smile. “ Lena ,” she corrects herself, “if I’m not mistaken, it kinda sounds like you care about me.”
“I care about all of my patients,” Lena replies swiftly, always having been one to have a response at the ready.
Kara purses her lips in a you-got-me-there expression. Just as Lena thinks she’d won this round, Kara throws in, “Do you let all of your patients call you Lena, too?”
Lena can’t decide what she wants to do more: strangle Kara, or kiss her.
thanks for reading! leave a comment if you are so inclined! :)
tumblr link-a-doodle: bat206.tumblr.com
Chapter 3: stone cold? more like stone not cold
Alex invites Lena out for drinks with the Superfriends to celebrate a difficult surgery. (she sees kara there obvi)
hello dear readers! enjoy another chapter of this yearning dumpster fire. it's fluffy now, but it won't be for long... ;)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lena makes her way down the hall of the orthopedic sector of the surgical floor at a brisk pace. When she received the page from Dr. Danvers, her mind immediately jumped to something being wrong with Kara. It had been almost two weeks since Kara first came in with her bruised ribs. Lena hadn’t heard from her or Dr. Danvers since then. Until now.
Standing at the end of the hallway next to a closed room door is Dr. Danvers. She didn’t look worried or concerned, so Lena pushes away the thoughts of Kara having complications. When Lena stops a few feet in front of Dr. Danvers, the seasoned surgeon’s classic expressionless face splits into a grin. It takes Lena by surprise.
“Good morning, Dr. Danvers-”
“Luthor, I have something for you,” Alex cuts her off before she can finish greeting her.
Lena tilts her head, “You have something for me?” She repeats quizzically.
Alex nods, a smile still ever-present on her face. It honestly unsettles Lena. “Right behind this door is a car crash victim. His Prius got hit by a semi at an intersection. Terrible thing, but… I hear you like trauma, and this guy has got a lot of it to go around. You’re scrubbing in with me.”
Slack-jawed, Lena gapes at her superior. This was the type of case where the head of ortho and the head of trauma would work together in the operating room. The fact that Alex, the head of orthopedic surgery, was asking her, a fourth-year resident who wasn’t even in a fellowship yet, to scrub in was insane.
“Is that a yes, or…?” Alex trials off when the only response she gets from Lena is wide eyes and a dropped jaw. “Dr. Luthor?”
The sound of her name snaps Lena out of her stupor, though the words that she manages to form are nothing short of embarrassing. “Why me?”
When an attending asks you to scrub in on their surgery, you scrub in, no questions asked. Chief J’onzz said it on her first day as an intern, “Scrubbing in is a privilege, not a right. The attendings owe you nothing. You earn it.”
Had it been any other attending, they would have taken offense to Lena’s dumbfounded response and went on their way to find a different resident. But this was Alex Danvers, a doctor who, Lena recently realized, does have a heart.
Alex sighs, resting her hands on her hips. “This is my way of saying thank you for what you did for Kara. Out of all the people who could’ve found her wandering into the ER that day, I’m glad it was you. I don’t trust a lot of people with my sister’s care, but you’re definitely one of the few.”
Lena files away being one of the only doctors in the hospital that Alex trusts completely in an itty, bitty box to analyze later. Instead, she takes the high road, “I did what any doctor would have done. It’s really not something that should be rewarded.”
“I’d like to believe that, but you and I both know that most fourth-year residents would’ve passed Kara over to one of their interns,” Alex tells her. “And I totally get why. I was a resident at one point, too. Broken fingers and bruised ribs are far below what you are capable of, but you stuck with Kara anyway. It’s really telling of what kind of doctor you are.”
"I- thank you, Dr. Danvers," Lena smiles genuinely. "That's quite an honor, coming from you."
Alex waves off Lena's gratitude with a smile of her own. "No need to thank me. I'm just speaking the truth." Taking a glance down at her watch, the attending's eyes widen. "Oh, crap, okay."
Face scrunched in confusion, Lena asks, "What's wrong?"
"Rounds start in ten minutes," Alex answers. "You're with me on this case right?"
"Okay, grab your best intern and meet me back here at eight."
With that, Lena scurries off down to the locker room where she knows her most promising intern is getting ready.
By the end of the day, Lena, Alex, and Eve are able to save the patient's left leg from amputation, which was their main goal going into it. He still had a few more surgeries and a long road of recovery ahead of him, but they decided to call today's victory a win.
"Hey, Luthor," Alex calls. Lena stops brushing her hair and glances over to where Alex is throwing a flannel over a white tank top. "You free tonight?"
Lena hums, thinking a moment. It was a Thursday night. She planned on heading home, heating up a microwaveable dinner, and watching a movie or two before heading to bed. She'd call that 'free.' "Yeah, I'm free."
Alex smiles—which Lena has realized over the course of the last few weeks, isn't that uncharacteristic for the orthopedic surgeon—and picks up her bag from where it was resting on a bench. "Great! You're coming to Al's with us tonight."
"Yeah," Alex nods, still smiling. "It would just be me and a few other doctors. You probably already know them, anyway."
Lena's brows furrow. An invitation? To get drinks with Alex and her friends? First Alex says that she is one of the few doctors in this hospital she trusts, and now she's inviting her to hang out outside of work. Was this the same Alex Danvers that Lena had been scared to even make eye contact with for the past four years?
Somehow sensing Lena's uncertainty, Alex adds, "I'm not usually this... open to new people, but you're somewhat friends with my sister. If you get in good with Kara, you get in good with me."
That did make sense. If Alex and Kara's relationship was anything like hers and Sam's, Lena could see why Alex was making an effort to be more inclusive with her.
Lena runs a hand through her hair, sighing. What's the worst that could happen? "Okay, sure. I'll go."
Turns out the "worst" is that Kara, too, was invited to get drinks with the unruly bunch that has been dubbed the Superfriends. Alex had been right about Lena knowing who the doctors a part of their group were. She'd worked with James Olsen and Querl Dox (who preferred to be called Brainy) before. They were the head of pediatric surgery and a neurology fellow, respectively. Then came Nurse Schott, who Lena hadn't met before but quickly became fond of. He was dorky, sweet, and claims he faints at the sight of blood, but he'd been a nurse for the past three years anyway.
Lena was introduced to Dr. Kelly Olsen next. Kelly worked in psych and it didn't take Lena long to figure out that she was the lovely wife that Alex talked non-stop about. Kara brought along a friend as well, Nia Nal, a cub reporter at CatCo who happened to be dating Brainy.
After the introductions were made and Lena got over the initial shock of seeing Kara yet again, the night went off without a hitch. Alex and Kelly challenged Brainy and Nia to a game of pool, while James and Winn hogged the dart board. Lena kept to herself, more or less. She only ever spoke when she was talked to directly and even then, her input didn't add much to the conversation.
It was obvious that the Superfriends had been going out like this for a long while. They fit so well together. Some of them were in romantic relationships, but no one ever seemed to feel left out. Alex and Kelly liked being able to just talk amongst themselves, but they never minded if Winn or Nia popped in. Lena could tell though, that at the core of the group was Kara.
Kara was the heart of the Superfriends. Lena could see that from the hour and a half she's spent in Al's bar with them. It was surprising, considering more than half of the group consisted of hospital staff and Kara worked on the other side of town. Whenever Kara comes around, the group just lights up. If asked, Lena doesn't think she'd be able to describe why or how, but witnessing it was an amazing sight.
When everyone split off to play games, Lena stayed at their high top table, nursing her scotch. A short laugh escapes her pursed lips as she watches Winn completely miss the dart board on his turn.
"He's never been any good at darts."
Lena jumps at the sudden voice but settles once she sees who it belongs to. Kara smiles at her sheepishly, cradling a bottle of beer.
"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you."
"You're fine," Lena waves her off. "Um, how are your ribs?"
Lena internally cringes at herself. This is the first moment all night that she and Kara have gotten where it's just the two of them, and she asks about her ribs? What a great way to show that she's interested.
(Not that she's interested in Kara. No way. That- that's not okay. Kara was her patient and she's Alex's little sister. That's not okay.)
Kara lightly runs her hand along the front of her button-up. "Good, they feel good. Healing nicely."
Lena nods, her lips in a thin line. The air is awkward between them and she has no idea how to fix it. She needs a refill, but Kara is right there and excusing herself this early into their small talk seems a little rude.
"It sucks that my abs have lost some definition, though," Kara continues on.
Lena can't tell if Kara's just trying to push past the awkwardness, or if she doesn't even realize it's there. She never really knows with Kara.
"I haven't exactly been able to workout these past couple of weeks, let alone do any core work," she says, then goes to take a pull from her beer.
"I'm sure they still look great. You're, um, abs I mean. They looked good when I saw them." Kara's reaction of nearly choking on her beer only makes Lena the blush on her cheeks spread more. Why did she say that?
Kara coughs, her eyes bugging out.
"I mean, I-" Lena stutters as she tries to get herself out of the hole she dug. "I saw them when you came in after you fell. They were good, you're good. Very, uh... fit."
"Thank you?" Kara finally breaks free of her coughing fit and her response comes out more like a question.
Lena gives her a forced smile and grabs her glass from the table. As she downs the last of scotch, she wishes the floor of the bar would open up and swallow her whole. She's never been this flustered around someone she likes. She's always been well-spoken. You have to, if you want to be a doctor. You cannot show any type of fear or concern in your voice when you are presenting a patient's condition to them. They will most definitely pick up on your own uncertainty.
(Her brain makes a futile attempt at trying to convince herself that she's a blabbering mess because she does not like Kara, but that makes zero sense and, at this point, she just needs to accept that her schoolgirl crush isn't going away.
Her fifteen-year-old, hopeless romantic self who had seen The Titanic one too many times would be thrilled at the prospect of a forbidden love. But that was before she grew up and experienced heartbreak.)
Kara shuffles on her feet, successfully drawing Lena's attention back to her. "I was gonna head outside for some fresh air. Did you want to come with?"
Lean hesitates accepting her offer. She's already made such a fool of herself in the two minutes she's been talking to Kara, it could only get worse once they're both alone and not surrounded by rowdy bar-goers. "Thanks, but I think I'm just going to head home. I had a pretty busy day today."
To Lena's surprise, a flash of something next to disappointment washes over Kara's features. "Oh, um," she swallows thickly. "Of course. I heard about that surgery you and Alex did together. Saving that guy's leg. It's incredible what you surgeons are capable of."
Lena flushes, ducking her head at the praise. Incredible was a stretch, but then again, she never liked receiving compliments for doing her job anyway. She goes to wave off Kara's words, but something tells her that Kara was the type of person to insist she just take the compliment. So Lena nods, a polite smile on her face. "Thank you."
"I should probably go pay off my tab," Lena continues when Kara's stays quiet.
"Don't worry about it, I'll cover it for you," Kara replies nonchalantly. "As a thank you for being such a good doctor to me," she adds after noticing Lena's doe-eyed gaze.
Lena's already shaking her head in disagreement by the time Kara gets out her explanation. "Kara, no. I had two glass of scotch and a beer. That's way too expensive. I couldn't ask that of you."
"You're not asking, I'm offering," Kara shrugs as if paying someone's bar tab who is practically a stranger to you was a normal occurrence for her. Lena doesn't doubt that.
"I-," Lena's argument dies on her tongue when Kara arches an eyebrow at her, her face screaming don't fight me on this. Lena lets out a heavy sigh, but a grateful grins spreads across her face. "Okay, okay. Thank you."
"Mhm, that's what I thought," Kara smirks, extremely pleased with herself. It takes every ounce of self-control Lena has left in her body not to kiss that stupidly smug look off of Kara's face. "Let me walk you out."
Lena leaves her empty glass on the high top and moves to follow Kara out of the bar. The second the cool air hits her, Lena feels lighter. It was April, so the weather was getting warmer in National City, but the nights were still cooler. This Thursday night in particular had a slight breeze that caused goosebumps to spread across Lena's skin.
All that can be heard is the crunch of the gravel beneath their footsteps until Kara cuts through the relative silence and says, "You know, I was a bartender once upon a time."
Lena can't help but to laugh at the sudden confession. Kara? Bartender? No way.
"Something funny?" Kara questions.
Lena's laughter dies down as Kara stops walking and looks her in the eye. Her blue of her eyes are almost completely drowned out by how dilated her eyes are. It makes Lena's stomach flutter, but she chalks it up to the amount of drinks Kara's had. "I just- Why don't I believe you?"
Kara frowns, "What do you mean?"
"I don't know. You just don't look like the bartender type. Barista maybe. But bartender seems more up your sister's alley."
Kara scoffs good-naturedly. "So now you're stereotyping me?"
"I'm not stereotyping you," Lena rolls her eyes playfully.
"Uh, yeah you are."
"Okay, fine, yes I am, but can you blame me? You look too... bright, I don't know."
Kara just shakes her head, playfully offended. She reaches into the back pocket of her jeans and pulls out her cell phone. Wordlessly, she scrolls through the device, not allowing Lena any access to what she was doing. After a moment, her eyes spark in recognition and she flips the phone around to meet Lena's eyes. "What about her? Does she look too bright?"
"That's you?" Lena gasps, reaching out and taking Kara's phone in her hands. "No way."
It's a picture of Kara, and someone who looks to be a younger Winn. It's obvious the two are at some sort of college frat party, based on the keg Lena notes in the background and the suspicious amount of guys wearing tight polo shirts and khakis. What really grabs Lena's attention though is Kara, more specifically, what she was wearing. A leather jacket, thrown over a tight black blouse, paired with a red plaid skirt. Kara's hair is crimped and closer to a bleached color as opposed to her natural honey blonde. The nose ring is what surprises Lena the most. Most teenagers had rebellious phases, but a good number of them didn't go as far as to get a piercing.
(Though she couldn't be one to talk.)
"You really were a bartender?" Lena asks, still marveling at the photo in front of her.
"Only for a few months," Kara confirms and takes her phone back. "It was fun, but I'm pretty sure all of my coworkers hated me. I was notorious for dropping glasses."
Lena clicks her tongue, amused. She breaks away from Kara's gaze to look at the city. National City at night was always gorgeous this time of year, but something about this night just made its beauty multiply. "It really is a beautiful view," Lena muses.
Kara's voice is low and intense. Lena looks over at her, only to be met with Kara staring at her. That line was such a cliche and it in no way should make Lena blush as much as it does. If anyone else pulled that on her, she would've cringed and excused herself to her car. But this was Kara. Kara who looks like she actually meant what she just said.
It's only natural that Lena tries to deflect.
"Wow, that was cheesy, even for you, Danv-"
Lena gets cut off by a hard press of lips against her own. It's unexpected and exhilarating and it causes Lena's brain short circuit. She doesn't even get the chance to revel in the feeling of Kara's soft lips before Kara is pulling away. Lena's eyes fly open just in time to catch Kara's retreating form.
"I- I am so sorry," Kara stammers out. "That was not okay. I... I'm sorry. I read this wrong."
Kara nearly trips over her own feet as she swiftly turns around and rushes back into the bar. It's only after Kara's out of earshot that Lena's regains the ability to speak.
"Wait, Kara, no!"
But by then, she's already long gone.
mel in lowriders is such a vibe so i wanted to play around with that a little haha. thanks for reading!